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A four-manual Zimnol Hauptwerk console in Germany

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A four-manual Zimnol Hauptwerk console in Germany

Postby orgelton » Sun Aug 26, 2012 3:40 pm

I would like to present my new hauptwerk console. It has been built by the organ builder Johannes Zimnol, Kaiserslautern, Germany. He has designed and made the woodwork; I realized the electronic part.

Image

The concept of the console is primarily aiming towards Central European organ building traditions, but it is flexible enough to use the console for organs of other cultural regions as well.

The instrument is located in my study, which has a size of 3.60x3.60m2 with a sloped ceiling, ranging from 3.80m at the side, where the console is placed, to 2.10m at the opposite site. This makes the room acoustically very well suited due to reduced standing waves. Several book shelves further contribute to reduce acoustic reflections and to achieve a semi-dry room response.

The console has been built using massive maple and beech wood with oil finish. It can be dismounted for transport. For cleaning purposes the pedal can be easily taken away after removing two metal pins, what can be done by hand without the need for a tool.

The four velocity-sensitive manual keyboards are from UHT with hornbeam for the naturals and granadilla for the sharps. The colors fit very well to maple and beech of the housing. The pedal is from Laukhuff. I used RS-168A reed relays and magnets from Conrad Electronic SE with the magnets mounted on the key ends to generate MIDI signals via a Doepfer CTM64 unit. The magnet positions can be adjusted for fine tuning the switching point of each pedal key. The music desk from Laukhuff can be changed in position. It can be moved towards the organ player and lowered in position to create convenience for two- and three-manual sample sets, where the fourth manual is not needed. The console light is from Weiblen.

Thumb pistons below the manuals are from Klann bought via Kimber-Allen in Great Britain, foot pistons from Laukhuff, and the small black thumb pistons from Conrad Electronic SE. I used Doepfer CTM64 units to read out the thumb pistons, and a Doepfer Wheel Electronic unit for the two swell pedals (Doepfer) and the roller (organparts). The thumb pistons below the bottom manual are, from left to right, set, four couplers manuals to pedal, four inter-manual couplers, setter decrement/reload/increment, 10 generals, and clear. Thumb pistons for setter decrement and increment are also below each other manual. Below the top manual two additional thumb pistons on the left side allow to switch the routing of this keyboard for sample sets which require more than four manuals.

The two touch screen monitors (ProLite T1731SR) are from Liyama. The two 2x16 LCD screens above the manual keyboards are from MIDI Gadgets Boutique.

A highlight in terms of user comfort is the box to the right of the manual block. It is part of the stand for the right monitor, and it has several thumb pistons to operate particular service functions. Pistons are used to reset the organ or the keyboards, to switch off the console and the computer, to start and stop MIDI and audio recording, to change between sample sets, temperaments and combination files, and to control the stepper. Hauptwerk appears to be not very flexible to set up specific functionality and to provide a comfortable handling for larger sets of virtual instruments, so I took extensive use of Bome’s MIDI-Translator. Using this software I also assigned three pistons to start batch files to switch my audio system between surround, stereo and head phones – this is much more comfortable then switching between Hauptwerk and the audio driver software with mouse/keyboard or via touch screen (as a side remark I feel that the top menu line on the screens is hard to touch from the player’s position). The wooden box to the left of the manual block is used for supporting the stand for the left monitor. I might later use it to add more thumb pistons. It is also home to a little wooden church mouse, a gift of my son. Both boxes have piano hinges at their outer edges to hold their top plates. These plates together with the wedge shaped monitor stands and the monitors can thus be canted aside to gain convenient access to the inside of the boxes.

On the right side of the console I use an Eicon fingerprint reader to bypass the password enquiry by Windows 7. Thus I have password protection without the need to use a keyboard.

The entire instrument can be easily moved away from the wall due to felt pads mounted under the table gliding on a parquet floor. For service, the electronic components of the manual stack (UHT keyboard electronics, Doepfer CTM64 for thumb pistons, MIDI interface, USB hub, as well as electric outlets and power supply adapters) are mounted on a drawer under the keyboard stack, which can be moved out to the rear.

The audio system is from Genelec. I use four 8030APM for the front channels and two 8020APM for the rear channels plus a 7050BPM subwoofer. Two of the 8030APM are mounted close to the organ player, who sits in their direct sound field with minimum reception of indirect sound from these speakers. The other two 8030APM are mounted higher on the wall and with larger separation. Originally I wanted to simulate different sound sources for the “Brustwerk” and the “Hauptwerk” etc., but it turned out that I obtain best sound quality if I use both pairs in parallel. The two rear speakers are for surround sample sets. For stereo sets I feed the signals of the front speakers attenuated by -5dB to the rear speakers which enhances the sound quality by giving it a more spacious feeling. The audio interface is a E-MU 1616 plus a Behringer ATA8000 for 8 channels analog output. As the MIDI interface I use a M-Audio MIDI Audiosport 4x4.

The organ plays very well and is very handy to use. The UHT keyboards are excellent and a big step forward regarding feeling und simulation of real tracker organ keyboards, compared to the Fatar TP/6L keyboards I was using before, although the Fatar keyboards had already tracker touch.

I wanted to have a four-manual organ console with minimum footprint and a rather light appearance in order of not too much dominating the rather small room. I am extremely happy with the result. My very special thanks goes to Sebastian Luck from UHT for his excellent product and support, and, very emphatically, to Johannes Zimnol. His creativity, his talent for design, his outstanding craftsmanship and his addiction to quality without compromise has made this result possible.

Here a few more photos:

Main view showing all four front speakers:

Image

Wooden box to the right of the manual block:

Image

The box opened. Note the piano hinge on the right side of the box connecting the top plate with the box, and the textile band to limit the opening angle:

Image

The drawer on the back side of the manual block containing the electronic components:

Image

Foot pistons, roller and swell pedals:

Image

The manual block:

Image

The same manual block with lowered music desk for 2-3 manual sample sets:

Image

Side view, showing the stand of the left monitor:

Image
Last edited by orgelton on Sat Sep 01, 2012 9:55 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: A four-manual Zimnol Hauptwerk console in Germany

Postby engrssc » Sun Aug 26, 2012 5:16 pm

Truly a magnificent result in all areas. You must have had great enjoyment seeing this project to fruition. Excellent workmanship totally. Could even make some of us envious. Thanks for sharing. Please post any updates altho it appears to have been very well thought out so as not to need much additional.

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: A four-manual Zimnol Hauptwerk console in Germany

Postby pat17 » Mon Aug 27, 2012 6:43 am

It's a well thought and implemented project, congratulations! It's quite impressive to see to which extent you thought to the smallest details, including access to the different organ parts so as to service it if needed be! 8)

If you don't mind, I have a few questions for you -

- as for Laukhuff, were you able to order directly from them, or did you have to go through your organ builder, Johannes Zimnol? Several sources report Laukhuff sell to professionals only, yet a few years back I had requested a quotation where such limitation wasn't mentioned from their side - indeed I am not a professional myself.

- your appreciation for UHT keyboard vs. Fatar TP/6L is quite interesting, as it is difficult to read of anyone who could really compare the two products. Nevertheless, when it comes to tracker touch, I have the feeling the comparison should be more with the TP/60LW, where Fatar's site states " the special “SNAP” function point out as the old church organ the feeling to open the air valve". By any chance, did you have the possibility to check the TP/60LW?

- overall, how long did it take to get your console ready?

- did you manage to enclose your computer (I guess it's a PC) in the console itself?

Sorry for all those questions, but as I find your console quite inspiring, I would like to get some ideas from it in order to complete mine. 8)
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Re: A four-manual Zimnol Hauptwerk console in Germany

Postby orgelton » Mon Aug 27, 2012 12:48 pm

Dear pat17,

than you for your interest in my project.

I am happy to answer your questions. I should first mention, that my new console had a temporary three-manual predecessor build by me in 2007 using pine and spruce wood. I used that to explore new concepts, such as, e.g., the service button box. At that time I bought the pedals and the first two foot pistons from Laukhuff. 

- as for Laukhuff, were you able to order directly from them, or did you have to go through your organ builder, Johannes Zimnol? Several sources report Laukhuff sell to professionals only, yet a few years back I had requested a quotation where such limitation wasn't mentioned from their side - indeed I am not a professional myself.


I cannot report on any problem with Laukhuff. Based on their online catalogs I called in, asked for a quote and then ordered via e-mail. The staff was always very helpful.

- your appreciation for UHT keyboard vs. Fatar TP/6L is quite interesting, as it is difficult to read of anyone who could really compare the two products. Nevertheless, when it comes to tracker touch, I have the feeling the comparison should be more with the TP/60LW, where Fatar's site states " the special “SNAP” function point out as the old church organ the feeling to open the air valve". By any chance, did you have the possibility to check the TP/60LW?


I had no opportunity so far to test the TP/60LW, so I cannot compare. The plastic TP/6L keyboards are certainly not bad, they have tracker touch, and I assume, the wooden TP/60LW are even better. How big there is a difference between the TP/60LW and the UHT keyboards I cannot tell. I was extremely satisfied with the UHT keyboards when I had the opportunity to test them, and thus I ordered them.

- overall, how long did it take to get your console ready? 


In total 8 months including the planning. However, in this time period my business job was quite time demanding and I had to do rather heavy travel.

- did you manage to enclose your computer (I guess it's a PC) in the console itself?


No - I have the PC under my writing desk about 2 meters away from the console. I never was planning to integrate the PC, and it would require a significant change in design, if one wants to do this. I fear the design will loose the rather light appearance I was aiming at.

Sorry for all those questions, but as I find your console quite inspiring, I would like to get some ideas from it in order to complete mine. 


No problem at all, thank you for your nice words.
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Re: A four-manual Zimnol Hauptwerk console in Germany

Postby pat17 » Mon Aug 27, 2012 2:53 pm

Thanks for your answer Orgelton!

It looks your project was planned carefully since quite a long time... You must be extremely happy it has come to an end, in such a brilliant way! 8)
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Re: A four-manual Zimnol Hauptwerk console in Germany

Postby orgelton » Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:38 pm

I would like to share my experience with an addition I have made recently to my organ console.

To the left and to the right of the keyboard stack there are wooden boxes which act as stands for the touch screens. In the first version of my organ console, which I reported earlier, I had already used the right box to bear push buttons for functions one needs to operate the Hauptwerk software and the virtual sample sets. These are functions such as reset functions for the keyboard and the registration frame, switching off the PC, changing the total volume, switching the screen between full or window, as well as push buttons for recording MIDI and audio. Advancing this idea further I added push buttons to switch the audio system between surround, stereo and headphone mode. I now added push buttons, which open the organ information screen (very useful when having guests who want to see pictures of the original instrument!), the Hauptwerk help screen, as well as for switching on/off the internet.

The box to the left was unused, and so I decided to use it for the Hauptwerk stepper (registration frame) system. While I can increment or decrement the frame counter with thumb pistons mounted under each manual and with food pistons, jumping to frames farer apart in number was only possible with use of the touch screens and/or mouse/keyboard. The box has push buttons for the general triggers XX0 … XX9 and increments/decrements of the cued 10s and 100s digits. This makes it very convenient to use.

The Hauptwerk software is rather inflexible to set these functionalities in a convenient way. The registration frame system needs 18 push buttons in total (see picture), and the way, Hauptwerk foresees to make these functions work, is to program the push buttons for each virtual organ – a nightmare in time for those who own more than a couple of instruments. I circumvented this problem by using Bome’s MIDI Translator and taking advantage, that in Hauptwerk many functions can be activated via keystrokes. The MIDI Translator is fetching the MIDI signals from these push buttons, converts them into key stroke sequences, and thus enables the functionality without the need of reconfiguring each virtual organ. The MIDI Translator also supports to start batch files triggered by a MIDI signal – thus I can switch my audio system between surround, stereo or headphone mode via push buttons. I am strongly wishing that Martin Dyde and Brett Milan will address this issue in a forthcoming version to find a more elegant solution. Fortunately, I could not detect any problem with the MIDI Translator, such as an additional delay.

The front material is beech plywood with a maple veneer. For the labels I used a self-adhesive film and an ink jet printer. For generating MIDI I use Doepfer CTM64 boards.

Credits go to Johannes Zimnol who has made the woodwork part of this extension.

Pictures of the left and the right box:

Image

Image
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Re: A four-manual Zimnol Hauptwerk console in Germany

Postby Kronenberg II » Sun Feb 03, 2013 3:59 pm

I just love these minimalist consoles and feel that these simple designs are so right for this modern, up-to -date concept which is Hauptwerk.

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Re: A four-manual Zimnol Hauptwerk console in Germany

Postby orgelton » Mon Feb 04, 2013 6:25 pm

Kronenberg II wrote:I just love these minimalist consoles and feel that these simple designs are so right for this modern, up-to -date concept which is Hauptwerk.

Richard


Thank you, Richard. Indeed, it was my intention to find a functional and at the same time pleasing design, which incorporates all functions of a traditional organ console as well as the new functions needed for the Hauptwerk concept, and which fits well into my study room, without too much dominating it.
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Re: A four-manual Zimnol Hauptwerk console in Germany

Postby pat17 » Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:50 am

Quite a brilliant evolution. I guess your Hauptwerk console is now fully functionnal - and ergonomic!
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Re: A four-manual Zimnol Hauptwerk console in Germany

Postby engrssc » Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:59 am

Hello Orgelton,

Looking back again to your post, I would like to know the source of your adjustable bench mechanism.

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: A four-manual Zimnol Hauptwerk console in Germany

Postby orgelton » Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:38 am

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engrssc wrote:Hello Orgelton,

Looking back again to your post, I would like to know the source of your adjustable bench mechanism.

Rgds,
Ed


Hello Ed,

I bought the bench as it is from Laukhuff (part # 9 335 01). You should find it in their catalogue.

Best wishes,
Orgelton
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Re: A four-manual Zimnol Hauptwerk console in Germany

Postby engrssc » Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:36 am

Thank you, Orgelton, for that information. I keep looking back, admiringly, at your postings as a point of reference.

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: A four-manual Zimnol Hauptwerk console in Germany

Postby Romanos » Mon Jan 26, 2015 5:56 pm

I would love to have these picture links corrected to see. Reading about it sounds impressive.
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Re: A four-manual Zimnol Hauptwerk console in Germany

Postby engrssc » Mon Jan 26, 2015 7:32 pm

Romanos wrote:I would love to have these picture links corrected to see. Reading about it sounds impressive.


Not sure what you mean. The pictures (images) show up fine on my computer.

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: A four-manual Zimnol Hauptwerk console in Germany

Postby Romanos » Tue Jan 27, 2015 9:30 am

You're right. Turns out it was the computer that I was using wouldn't render the images. When I hopped on a second computer they show up just fine. Very nice!
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