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Gethsemane Lutheran Church

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Gethsemane Lutheran Church

Postby brooke.benfield » Sat Nov 22, 2014 3:19 pm

Since my HW project has been playing for more than a year now it's really time I share it with all of you.
Let me start with some background.

Gethsemane Lutheran Church had purchased a new 2 manual, 10 rank, 46 stop Associated Organ Builders instrument just 4 years before I started playing for them which was a huge improvement over the old Hammond they had previously, and it was also much better than the old Baldwin at the church I left. This instrument featured an audio system that had 51 channels, each driven by a proprietary 35W amplifier located in the bottom of the console. Each note of every rank could be custom tuned, voiced and adjusted for delay but some of those changes involved soldering in new discrete electronic components. Say what you will about the limitations of analog oscillators but I assure you this instrument produced a diffuse wall of sound that was quite thrilling and it made me a believer in multi-channel audio. It's not that the stops were particularly beautiful because many (all?) of them were not, it was the fact that you could not pick out a specific location for the sound - it was more like omnipresent and powerful.

As time passed the organ speakers deteriorated and something needed to be done. Money was tight and few people outside of some choir members and myself were interested in a new organ. I was not in favor of fixing the existing organ because even if it were put back into original condition it still would have all the tonal limitations imposed by extensive unification and analog oscillators.

Sadly, around 2006, one of the choir members died at age 53 from ovarian cancer and left some money to the church. In the summer of 2009, her brother and her daughter, both of them choir members, consulted with their extended family about funneling all of the donation toward a new organ and they agreed that it should be done. It was perfect timing because I had just presented the idea of building a Hauptwerk organ to the church council which was approved and so we were able to get started.

We located a 4 manual Wicks console which was originally installed in the University Presbyterian Church, Seattle Washington, in 1952. The instrument had become quite unreliable in the later years of its life and so in 1999 the church retired it and now has a large Reuter in its place.

Dr. Nathan Stime from Deer Park, Washington removed the old Wicks and planned on having it rebuilt and installed in his church but the house where most of the pipes and all the windchests were stored burned to the ground so everything but the console and a few ranks of pipes was lost.

We purchased the console in July of 2009 and it spent the next 2 years in my garage where I stripped out all the old cotton insulated wire and schemed how I could reuse the original keyboards, drawknobs and coupler tabs. We ended up replacing all those items and having it refinished late in 2011 to match the church pews and I must say, it looks quite impressive.

Things really began to happen in 2012. The keyboards, computer and additional RAM was purchased, we met with Mike Byrd of GC Pro to discuss speakers, audio/MIDI interfaces and audio/MIDI cables and we ended up purchasing all these items through him. I set up a temporary Hauptwerk system in my house using the new keyboards and computer and began downloading demo samplesets so I could figure out which set to purchase. I ended up choosing the PAB Gravissimo sample set for this installation because of how well it fit the console, the dryness of the recordings and the stoplist. I wanted a sampleset that was more middle of the road in its sound because I didn't want to be stuck trying to play Vierne on a North German baroque instrument. I think you all understand what I'm saying.

In November the pedalboard was moved up into the church balcony where I installed the contact system and calibrated it and we decomissioned the existing organ on the Tuesday after Christmas and moved the new console into the place it had vacated. Later during that last week of December the new keyboards were attached to the modified keycheeks and installed in the console shell.

In 2013 the rate at which tasks were completed accelerated at a nearly exponential pace. In January the new drawknobs and coupler tabs were ordered. We had a small subset of the speakers we intended to order brought in for a trial and on the strength of the outcome we went ahead and ordered all 70 speakers.
This was particularly stressful for me because I'm no audio engineer and the success of the project was highly dependent on the speakers and we were not going to be able to return the them at this point. A couple of weeks before everything was installed and playing I was close to freaking out from the pressure of spending other peoples money and the fear of being stuck with something nobody might like.

In February, the ceiling joists above the sacristy were filled with fiberglass insulation to dampen sympathetic vibration and sheeted over with 3/4" plywood. Around this time, a separate circuit to power the organ was run around the outside of the building foundation by a journeyman electrician to a dedicated breaker panel inside the sacristy. Multiple circuits from this panel were run up through the ceiling to outlets from which the active speakers would draw power. Also, the speakers, drawknobs and coupler tabs arrived.

I then took time off from my regular job to work with a choir member in his garage for several days wiring the new drawknobs he had mounted into the stop jambs. He also mounted the new coupler tabs into the coupler board which required some retrofitting. Each of the drawknobs/coupler tabs had 5 soldered connections, 1 crimp pin connection and 2 screw type connections. We also brought the pedalboard to his garage and wired up the toestuds and expression/crescendo shoes.

I would be remiss to not mention that fellow Hauptwerkian, John Kinkennon, provided indispensable help with the expression/crescendo shoes. He lives not far from me and I visited him at his home, played his 3 manual Hauptwerk installation and looked at the system he came up with to midify his expression/crescendo shoes. After that, he took me over to Ace Hardware and scurried all around the store picking out the items I would need to do the same and I so appreciate what he did. Thanks again, John.

All of the wiring except the 12V power inside the console was finished on the last Wednesday of Lent and everything was moved to the church in anticipation of one marathon session to do the final assembly and be ready to surprise the congregation on Palm Sunday.

On Saturday night myself and two choir members started a marathon session to put everything together. The two choir members started hauling speakers up a ladder and arranging them on top of the sacristy. I buried my face deep into the console so I could run all the 12V wiring and auto-detect all the physical controls. After completing these tasks it was time to move the computer and Midi Interface out of the console and into the equipment rack, pull the 60' MIDI cables through a conduit and configure the audio system. At 3AM Palm Sunday morning we had to admit defeat because one of the Motu 24io units had died.

A new 24io was procured under warranty and so the Wednesday evening of Holy Week we got to work configuring the audio system. Finally, around midnight, I sat at the console and for the first time was able to play the organ through the complete audio system. A bottle of champagne appeared and between the three of us it magically disappeared. I don't know how any of that happened......that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Over the next couple of days, any doubts about speaker choices rapidly disappeared because this instrument can really pump out large amounts of sound. I had only a few hours with the instrument before Easter to practice and so there wasn't time to voice it properly, but even so, it was a dramatic improvement over the previous instrument.

From the beginning it was intended that This instrument be headless, so the computer and MIDI/audio interfaces are installed in a 19" equipment rack which was rescued from a government junk pile. You have to love "Good Old Uncle Sam" for throwing away a perfectly usable item so he can spend even more tax revenue. I must say the USA tax payers loss was our gain.

As things stand now, we are using only the original 92 stops with super octave extensions, celeste ranks sub extensions with all loops loaded in 24bit, and it all fits in around 20 GB, working nicely within the OSX 10.6.8 imposed RAM limits for applications.

I'm still working, albeit slowly, on the voicing and pretty much anything glaringly wrong to my ear has been addressed. It's a little tough to have to get off the bench and walk into the sacristy for every little change you want to make but we will likely fix that with a remote display solution at some time. I have not installed any of the labels for the divisions, toestuds, etc. I'm just so glad to have it playing and sounding so glorius that these things seem superfluous, but I promise they will be fixed.

Technical Details:
-Hauptwerk Advanced V4.0
-2008 Mac Pro, 32G of 800MHz RAM, OSX 10.6.8, 24" LCD monitor, Logitec wireless keyboard and mouse
-Motu Express128 Midi to USB interface
-Motu 24io Audio Interface with 2 expanders (72 channels)
-56 Behringer 2031A Monitors
-14 MAudio SBX10 Subwoofers
-1 Midiboutique HWCE Encoder
-5 Midiboutique mdec64dd-p Decoders
-UPS supplying the Mac and Audio Interface
-220VAC 80A dedicated electrical circuit for the instrument
-4 Fatar TP60L keyboards from Classic MIDI Works
-110 Syndyne SDK Drawknobs
-26 Peterson PowerTab tilting coupler switches
-12V 85 Amp RV Inverter for SAM coil power
-21 toestuds (the originals with exteriors polished and switch contacts cleaned)
-Peterson Model PKC-32 Pedal Contact System

For additional information and a few pictures regarding this installation please follow the link:
http://www.inspiredacoustics.com/en/ins ... and-oregon
Brooke Benfield
Organist, Gethsemane Lutheran Church
Portland OR
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Re: Gethsemane Lutheran Church

Postby murph » Sat Nov 22, 2014 5:29 pm

Hi Brooke,
many thanks for the detailed description. It's great when everything works out well.
1 question and 1 suggestion:
Do the SBX's shake the room? and
You really have to move up to HW4.1.whatever.
The sound quality improvement is not too noticeable for 16 bit, but for 24 bit, PAB improves enough to justify the cost of extra ram.

Keep up the good work,
Tony
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Re: Gethsemane Lutheran Church

Postby engrssc » Sat Nov 22, 2014 7:54 pm

murph wrote:You really have to move up to HW4.1.whatever.


That should be V 4.1.1 as there is a difference between that very latest version and V 4.1. :wink:

Congrats, Brooke. I have followed each of your posts with great interest. Your intensity to succeed is very admirable and stands as a goal for each of us. This proves again that literally anything (Hauptwerkly) can be done when due diligence is applied.

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: Gethsemane Lutheran Church

Postby brooke.benfield » Sat Nov 22, 2014 8:16 pm

Hi Tony;

The SBX-10 woofers definitely shake the room. Like I said in the write-up, I'm no audio engineer and I wanted to make sure that there would be enough low frequency energy to compensate for the flimsy construction of the ceiling and large amounts of single-pane window area to make things believable inside. I probably (most certainly?) could have gotten by with fewer of them. Each keyboard has its own pair of them and the rest are spread out in the pedal division.

In addition to the better sound and lower memory requirements HW 4.1X has those new reversibles which will solve a problem for me, so I will upgrade but it will require an OS update as well, making it a more involved process.

Hi Ed;

Thanks for your kind words and duly noted on which upgrade version to skip. I've been thinking I might wait for V4.1.2.
Brooke Benfield
Organist, Gethsemane Lutheran Church
Portland OR
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Re: Gethsemane Lutheran Church

Postby engrssc » Sat Nov 22, 2014 8:30 pm

From the IA writeup "aggregate concrete floor in the sanctuary is approximately 80’ square", would that be more like 800' square feet?

To analyze that space acoustically would be quite a project in itself.

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: Gethsemane Lutheran Church

Postby brooke.benfield » Sun Nov 23, 2014 12:46 am

Hi Ed;

The sanctuary floor is square and measures ~80' on each side so that would be 6400 square feet of floor space, in case anybody is counting :P . The room does seem to have some standing wave problems which I've tried to get around with lowering the volume on the offending notes - got to love HW advanced with all those voicing tools.

I wish the room followed the principle of long-tall-narrow for good acoustics but it is what it is and also quite beautiful to look at. The local representative for Walker Technical said it was better than like 70% of the rooms he has been in and the Rodgers representative was very keen to get an installation in there.
Brooke Benfield
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Portland OR
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Re: Gethsemane Lutheran Church

Postby engrssc » Sun Nov 23, 2014 3:42 am

Thanks for the explanation. It certainly is beautiful. Many inspirational features. In my quest for details, I wonder what such an installation final figure would have been with either a Rodgers or a Walker. A value of all the TLC that was a part of this H/W installation goes far beyond a monetary consideration. Another Hauptwerk winner.

Do you have any plans to post a demo recording someday? Even a best recording would not do justice no doubt.

BTW, cheers to your mom's appropriate comments. 8)

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: Gethsemane Lutheran Church

Postby brooke.benfield » Sun Nov 23, 2014 11:50 pm

Hi Ed;

I don't know what Walker would have bid on a job of ~60 stops, but both Allen and Rodgers came in around $90,000.00, but to be fair, the economic conditions in the USA were such that if we had chosen to squeeze them, we could have come quite a bit closer to reality for this church than those figures.

All that being said, Rodgers and Allen would have provided audio systems with far fewer channels (like 8 - 12) than I ended up with as well as ~30 fewer stops so I felt that the risk of not having a 10 year manufacturers warranty and the turn-key functionality of a fully engineered solution was a fair trade-off. Regarding Walker, they have a a recent installation in Vancouver, WA, that is 3 manuals and ~60 stops that has 13 audio channels. It is immensely powerful but sterile in its presentation. In my opinion, it does not provide that diffuse "Wall of Sound" quality in spite of being very clear and clean. To be fair the room is not anywhere as good as Gethsemane Lutheran Church, and we all know that the most important stop on the organ is the room it is in.

You are right in hinting that my input to the project was without cost to the church and in addition to that, I paid for some of it from my own pocket. They've been very good to me through the years and I didn't mind digging in to my $ resources to help just a little bit at all.

I had not planned on posting any recordings. I currently have no mix-down for recording purposes set up or inclination to do so even though it would be simple to do. I was worried that creating a recording mix-down would add to the latency (currently at 16.5 mS) and just didn't want to mess with it. In addition, the release tails are truncated to 120 mS and there would be no translation of what things sound like in the room without live recordings ( no Reaper or any other such thing installed). I'd suggest swinging on by to hear it in person. What's a multi-thousand mile/kilometer journey when Hauptwerk is the inspiration for it? :mrgreen:
Brooke Benfield
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Portland OR
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Re: Gethsemane Lutheran Church

Postby engrssc » Mon Nov 24, 2014 12:01 pm

Hi Brooke

My easy, lazy recording method involves using my Zoom digital recorder fastened to a shock mounted tall stand. It gives a good chance to hear the "big picture" as others hear it.

If you ever have a spare moment, would be interested in the audio routing scheme/theory you used to utilize all those speakers. Even wiring that many is a mammoth, (altho obviously worth the) effort.

As far as augmenting and adding to the fund base, I think that's been the case many times with VPO builders doing such for their church(es). In my case, the original idea of a VPO was exciting and brought in some funds, even a couple helpers. But later on, all of the above seems to have diminished/disappeared something like the story of "who will help me bake the bread, etc". :o The law of diminishing returns, maybe? But then there's the thrill of accomplishment that the "others" don't/won't have. Marathon sessions are in keeping with this "adventure". 8)

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: Gethsemane Lutheran Church

Postby ernst » Fri Nov 28, 2014 9:55 pm

Hi Brooke,

I´m admiring the job you´ve done with a couple of aids. Lots of engineering, hard work, determination and perseverance. My sincere congratulations in bringing this risky project to a good end. Chapeau!

Ernst
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Re: Gethsemane Lutheran Church

Postby brooke.benfield » Sat Nov 29, 2014 8:23 pm

Hi Ernst;

Thanks. As things turned out it was just not an option for the church to purchase a similar instrument from any of the turn-key solutions available. It was pretty much Hauptwerk or nothing and I really wanted to be playing a new organ.

Ed;

The audio routing scheme was simple. I used 6 stereo pairs of 2031A monitors for each keyboard and a pair of subwoofers fed by a mixdown. The monitors are being run with the cycling algorithm. The Chamades are played from the Solo manual and therefore don't have separate speakers. That accounts for 48 monitors and 8 subwoofers. The remaining speakers are used in the pedal division.

I also tried to distribute the 16' manual stops and the celeste ranks to other divisions so a single note with a string and its celeste use 4 monitors per note.

It's possible that even better use of the resources could be had but I'm not feeling adventurous these days. A full recache takes more than an hour so I'm not that interested in spending the time it would take to eke out improvements. Early on I did try a mono setup but liked the stereo pairs better.
Brooke Benfield
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Portland OR
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Re: Gethsemane Lutheran Church

Postby engrssc » Sat Nov 29, 2014 11:14 pm

Thanks for the response, Brooke. I comprehend the plan that you've put into place. Nice to have the resources plus the space to do it. Appropriate, of course, to the "big" sample set you are using. How did you go about setting volumes, etc. Voicing, or setting everything at something akin to unity gain?

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: Gethsemane Lutheran Church

Postby brooke.benfield » Mon Dec 01, 2014 1:45 pm

Hi Ed;

A fellow Hauptwerkian sent me a listing of changes to the volume of the stops in the PAB Gravissimo from earlier versions and I negated them early on. After listening for awhile I decided that things things needed to change so I significantly boosted the volume of the Tuba, Chamades, most mixtures and the 8' flues in the swell got a smaller increase. Many other changes have been mostly to avoid booming on specific stops/notes. The 16' soubasse seems to roll off in the lower octave so I've rebalanced it more to my liking. Recently I backed off the volume of most of the 8' flutes after being able to hear the instrument while someone else was playing. The sound heard at the console is not what you hear in the middle of the room.

Part of the reason I've been taking my time with this process is that the wooden structure at the front of the room may end up being "ventilated" which will change the room behavior and allow the Swell and Solo speakers a direct path to the listeners. Also, I'm hoping something like Arc2 Room Correction can be applied to this system and make much of the tweaking unnecessary.

When (if?) this process is finished I would really like to hear the PAB in person and see how far off the "True Path" I've wandered. :P
Brooke Benfield
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Portland OR
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Re: Gethsemane Lutheran Church

Postby engrssc » Mon Dec 01, 2014 2:44 pm

brooke.benfield wrote:. The sound heard at the console is not what you hear in the middle of the room.
When (if?) this process is finished I would really like to hear the PAB in person and see how far off the "True Path" I've wandered. :P


This hearing in the sweet spot (middle of the room) is a difficult problem in most cases. I sorta solved it by making the console relatively easy to move/roll out into the center aisle of the church. What a difference from where the console normally resides.

My other thought was to create a portable manual along with computer controls (i.e.) touch screen monitor, keyboard and mouse) that could be used mid church to make fine adjustments. So far that's only an idea. Not sure, for all the effort that would take, if it would actually solve the problem. Moving the console, at least for us is more feasible. Some one else playing is part of the answer as a general rule, but for fine voicing adjustments, it doesn't seem to work out.

If you ever get to hear/play the real PAB, you still have to mentally adjust for the different acoustics in that space vs your own. Kinda like beauty is in the ear of the beholder. maybe? Having your virtual PAB gives you quite an education as to how and what to listen for.

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: Gethsemane Lutheran Church

Postby mnailor » Mon Dec 01, 2014 3:57 pm

Another option for doing sound checks is to use Hauptwerk's MIDI record and playback. You can record a number of stops or combinations, leaving time to walk to the middle of the room to listen and take notes. Revoice and repeat the MIDI playback without re-recording anything. (I don't have an extra organist over 3 years old.)
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