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New problem with sound, and some observations

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New problem with sound, and some observations

Postby TimR » Sun May 24, 2015 2:25 pm

In the process of demonstrating St Annes for our church organist, I ran into a problem.

First a recap of my equipment: Hp Pavilion with 6 G memory (but running Free Edition I know I can only load 1.5 anyway), M-Audio Fast Track interface for MIDI in and sound out, reasonably powerful home stereo, and one highly proficient but completely (and I mean completely) computer illiterate organist.

The organist is interested in possibly using Hauptwerk as an interim when scheduled repairs on our pipe organ get funded. So yesterday I set it up for him and we did a mock service, since we knew all the music scheduled for Sunday.

The problem: sound died in the middle, maybe a half hour into playing with it. MIDI still came out of the keyboard - I could see the lights on the Fast Track flashing, I could see the keys on the St Annes manuals going up and down, but nothing came out of the stereo. We had not changed anything, were just in the process of playing, listening, discussing, changing registrations, etc. I exited Hauptwerk and reloaded, and then it worked fine. This was a bit scarey, if it happened when playing a real service we'd be in trouble. Any idea why this happened? Maybe there's a timer on the free edition?

The observation: it is risky to let a computer illiterate person near this. I gave him a stop list and asked him to mark it up with what stops he wanted on what pistons. I set both manuals and pedals so he could play it from one keyboard. He never understood what would play, and I ended up redoing it many times. I would have been far better off just registering it myself and telling him this is what you get. Secondly, I stupidly set unused keyboard keys to work pistons. Naturally I asked him what was the highest note he would ever play, and since there another 8 notes above that I thought I could use them. Wrong! He lied, he did play them even though he didn't intend to, and since I'd set a couple of them to pp and FF just in case, he was constantly getting frustrated. Lesson learned: do the registration myself, don't set hot keys, just sit at the computer and change registration when he nods his head. Also, I set up speakers in front of us, and hearing what it sounded like meant walking out in front. I should have put them behind us, but I thought of that only when we were finished.

Good thing though, I keep learning more about this stuff.
TimR
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Re: New problem with sound, and some observations

Postby mdyde » Sun May 24, 2015 3:09 pm

Hello Tim,

TimR wrote:The problem: sound died in the middle, maybe a half hour into playing with it. MIDI still came out of the keyboard - I could see the lights on the Fast Track flashing, I could see the keys on the St Annes manuals going up and down, but nothing came out of the stereo. We had not changed anything, were just in the process of playing, listening, discussing, changing registrations, etc. I exited Hauptwerk and reloaded, and then it worked fine. This was a bit scarey, if it happened when playing a real service we'd be in trouble. Any idea why this happened? Maybe there's a timer on the free edition?


That isn't a limitation of the Free Edition and that certainly isn't something that Hauptwerk itself would cause directly. Presumably somehow the audio interface or its driver did something strange, or lost the connection somehow. You can tell whether Hauptwerk is producing audio output by looking at the signal level meter on the 'Audio, MIDI and Performance' large control panel ('View | Large control panels'). Probably exitting and restarting Hauptwerk made it work again simply because that would have caused the audio driver to be restarted. (You can also restart audio/MIDI drivers via the 'Engine' menu in Hauptwerk.)

TimR wrote:The observation: it is risky to let a computer illiterate person near this. I gave him a stop list and asked him to mark it up with what stops he wanted on what pistons. I set both manuals and pedals so he could play it from one keyboard. He never understood what would play, and I ended up redoing it many times. I would have been far better off just registering it myself and telling him this is what you get. Secondly, I stupidly set unused keyboard keys to work pistons. Naturally I asked him what was the highest note he would ever play, and since there another 8 notes above that I thought I could use them. Wrong! He lied, he did play them even though he didn't intend to, and since I'd set a couple of them to pp and FF just in case, he was constantly getting frustrated. Lesson learned: do the registration myself, don't set hot keys, just sit at the computer and change registration when he nods his head. Also, I set up speakers in front of us, and hearing what it sounded like meant walking out in front. I should have put them behind us, but I thought of that only when we were finished.


If you have a MIDI organ console with sufficient keyboards and real pistons then an organist wouldn't necessarily need to change anything in Hauptwerk. Touch-screens (or solenoid-actuated/illuminated stop switches) can be used to register in combination with pistons.
Best regards,
Martin.

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Re: New problem with sound, and some observations

Postby dhm » Mon May 25, 2015 3:34 am

TimR, Which side of the Pond are you?
If in UK, we might be able to help.
Douglas Henn-Macrae
Authorized Hauptwerk Reseller
http://www.midi-organs.eu / http://www.gundulf.org.uk
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Re: New problem with sound, and some observations

Postby RichardW » Mon May 25, 2015 11:43 am

Tim,

Having spent my working life in IT I can tell you that the last people on earth that you should let loose on any software package are the users!

The only advice I can give is never make anything complicated. For clarity, any change at all from "standard" will be perceived as complicated. Just because you have found some little "trick" useful that is not an excuse to include it in any demo. Just as over some things people need to make their own mistakes, with software, people need to discover shortcomings for themselves and then devise their own shortcuts and workarounds.

Users: You can't live with them and you can't live without them :)
Richard
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