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OPEN LETTER TO SAMPLE SET PRODUCERS

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Re: OPEN LETTER TO SAMPLE SET PRODUCERS

Postby 1961TC4ME » Tue Sep 26, 2017 5:29 pm

I guess I agree on both sides of this, while I feel it's a matter of all parts working correctly (wind, audio, acoustics, etc.) and together, I can certainly see Adri's point as well.

Here's a video I'm rather fond of (instrument and organist) that fully explains Adri's side, and little surprise about half way through the video as well concerning wind :wink: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GG9nXryWNfk

To this day I can say I have not heard nor have been able to reproduce the subtleties you hear in this video.

Marc
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Re: OPEN LETTER TO SAMPLE SET PRODUCERS

Postby organtechnology » Tue Sep 26, 2017 7:35 pm

Sorry, I was going by the thread title.

Thomas

adri wrote:In all due respect to your otherwise excellent comments, I must disagree in turn.

I am simply talking in my original post, and my consequent posts, about wind interaction with pipes; about wind behavior, wind supply systems, etc. and its effect on pipe speech, in its most subtle details. My discussion has been ONLY about "the wind".

That's why I feel the topic has veered off to side discussions, no matter how great. One last time, to repeat myself:

I believe that the next frontier in organ sampling lies in mimicking the subtlest differentiation in pipe speech, in response to subtle variations in pressure and bellows and wind reservoir behavior; as I feel this level has not yet been reached. While this is most important in older organs, I also believe it affects organs with more modern stable wind supplies.

And yes, when you sample an old organ, you should indeed try to totally emulate the experience as if you are truly playing the real thing yourself!

That's why I said that CD and YouTube recordings of real organs still have a quality about pipe speech that we don't quite have yet in HW sampling. Hopefully just a question of time.

End of my discussion.
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Re: OPEN LETTER TO SAMPLE SET PRODUCERS

Postby sjkartchner » Tue Sep 26, 2017 9:07 pm

Some of the most informative and insightful posts I've read on this forum have been found in this thread (including the last two on page 3), and I thought those followed naturally from the discussion concerning the effect of wind models on VPO realism.
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Re: OPEN LETTER TO SAMPLE SET PRODUCERS

Postby Eric Sagmuller » Wed Sep 27, 2017 7:57 am

organtechnology wrote:Hi Eric,

I was not really impressed with the printed specs but after trying out the Atterotech units I am impressed with the performance. You might want to reserve judgement until you try them. I can tell no difference between the Dante boxes and the MOTU AVB audio through the same speakers yet.

Thomas


Hi Thomas,

You may be right. My sensitivity really is evident as stops are added. So it may not be so much the sound quality of individual stops, but as they are merged through the same audio channel / speaker. So many speakers even at a bit lower quality audio chain, is probably more important than few at very high quality.

Eric
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Re: OPEN LETTER TO SAMPLE SET PRODUCERS

Postby adri » Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:03 am

organtechnology wrote:Sorry, I was going by the thread title.

Thomas

adri wrote:In all due respect to your otherwise excellent comments, I must disagree in turn.

I am simply talking in my original post, and my consequent posts, about wind interaction with pipes; about wind behavior, wind supply systems, etc. and its effect on pipe speech, in its most subtle details. My discussion has been ONLY about "the wind".

That's why I feel the topic has veered off to side discussions, no matter how great. One last time, to repeat myself:

I believe that the next frontier in organ sampling lies in mimicking the subtlest differentiation in pipe speech, in response to subtle variations in pressure and bellows and wind reservoir behavior; as I feel this level has not yet been reached. While this is most important in older organs, I also believe it affects organs with more modern stable wind supplies.

And yes, when you sample an old organ, you should indeed try to totally emulate the experience as if you are truly playing the real thing yourself!

That's why I said that CD and YouTube recordings of real organs still have a quality about pipe speech that we don't quite have yet in HW sampling. Hopefully just a question of time.

End of my discussion.


NO PROBLEM!
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Re: OPEN LETTER TO SAMPLE SET PRODUCERS

Postby Antoni Scott » Thu Sep 28, 2017 8:37 am

This subject seems to parallel a post I made several weeks go about what makes a superior sounding digital organ. For sure, it is a baffling question that has many answers. Without facts or hard data I could not categorically state that wind modeling, air mixing or the total number of channels or speakers is the answer. I can only offer my opinion.
The speaker, in my opinion, has to be one that does not "color" the sound, although I suspect that all speakers color the sound they are attempting to reproduce in one way or the other. Also, the total number of speakers, in my opinion, makes a big difference. I would, but could not imagine the cost, like to hear an experiment where each pipe had its own speaker. Sixty-one speakers per rank !!!! Take a small specification of about four stops, an 8' Principal, 4' Principal, 2' Principal and a Mixture. Then with the 240 speakers playing, start reducing the number of speakers available and comapare its effect on the overall realism. At what point does it make an audible difference to the listener ?

I believe that Hauptwerk has the ability to assign the sound of one note to one speaker, if two notes are playing, the second note is assigned to a second speaker, and so on and so forth until all the speakers are being used and then one speaker has to play more than one note. If the C speaker and C# speaker are placed a distance apart, the spread of sound may create some realism by having sound come from different parts of the room or chamber.
I'm sure that some enthusiastic sound engineer has performed this experiment at one time and I would like to read the report.

Back in the beginning of my Hauptwerk experience I had an eight channel audio set up, basically two speakers per manual and pedal. Quickly I realized that to fully compliment the outstanding sound of my sample set (the Milan Metz) I would need an expensive audio system that would be beyond my means. Mixing and matching speakers is a risky proposition unless you know what you are doing. Finally, I ended up just using a pair of headphones (AKG 701's) and a subwoofer (to give the bass feel of the low Principal-like pipes).
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Re: OPEN LETTER TO SAMPLE SET PRODUCERS

Postby UndaMaris » Wed Jan 03, 2018 8:43 pm

“I believe that Hauptwerk has the ability to assign the sound of one note to one speaker, if two notes are playing, the second note is assigned to a second speaker, and so on and so forth until all the speakers are being used and then one speaker has to play more than one note. If the C speaker and C# speaker are placed a distance apart, the spread of sound may create some realism by having sound come from different parts of the room or chamber.
I'm sure that some enthusiastic sound engineer has performed this experiment at one time and I would like to read the report. “

There is, in fact, a device already in existence which assigns one note to one speaker.

It is called a pipe organ.
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Re: OPEN LETTER TO SAMPLE SET PRODUCERS

Postby UndaMaris » Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:35 pm

There seems to be a widely held misconception about Hauptwerk. Surely the object in producing a sample set is not to create a copy of the original organ. A copy of an expensive oil painting is often called a fake, whilst a photograph of the same painting is precisly that - a photograph, not a copy.

As an organist who spends many hours each day practising on various sample sets I do not want a “copy” of the original organ, neither do I believe that it is possible to produce such a copy unless you build a real pipe organ in a real building. What I want is a sample set which allows me to practise music for long periods on an “instrument” which delights the ear (my ear!), with beautiful sounds which are appropriate to the style and period of the piece and my and/or the composer’s musical intentions. The old style electronic or “digital” organs fail on many counts because they often make quite unpleasant sounds which bear little resemblance to a pipe organ - this particularly applies to reed stops.

Hauptwerk sample sets bear a close resemblance to the real pipe organs which they have recorded, but only in the way a photograph resembles a painting. Once you start actually using the sample set the problems begin. There is no comparison with a sampled piano. There is not a single concept of an organ in the way in which there is a concept of, say, a modern grand piano. Each organ and its building is a unique instrument, subject to a million variables of acoustics, registration, weather, temperature, maintenance, fashion and personal taste. The organist sat at the console may have a completely different experience from a member of the congregation or audience. I recall an organ I have played a number of times which has an open Brustwerk about 2 feet away. Playing any stop on this manual is (for me) an excruciating experience. It drowns out the rest of the organ, yet what is heard by someone in the body of the church I cannot tell whilst playing. I recall a newly restored baroque organ I played in Spain last year. The priest invited me to play the chamade 3 feet above my head. After 10 seconds I stopped. The row was so deafening I was afraid I would permanently damage my hearing.

You see a Hauptwerk sample set is, like a pipe organ, a unique creation. In my case, I do not want a “replica” of the sampled organ, whatever that may be. I want something which is, above all, pleasant to play for hours. At the moment my greatest bugbear with sample sets is the right amount of resonance (for my taste, not someone else’s!). Even real pipe organs suffer from this. There’s the old joke about the organist who has just finished a recital in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, gets up from the console and goes downstairs to hear what he has played. Last year I heard a recital at St. Eustache in Paris which has a recent state-of-the-art organ with a mobile console which looks like something out of the Starship Enterprise. The brilliant young virtuoso organist played the Finale of Vierne’s First Symphony at breakneck speed and because of the acoustics all I could hear was a muddy mush of sound. What is the use to me of a wonderful Cavaillé Coll sample set if all I can hear at my home console is a mush of booming sound? But then my hearing is also different to that of a person 40 years younger than me.

I’m afraid this whole thread is, as the Germans say, on the wood path. As the technology develops, as computers become more powerful, surely what each Hauptwerk user will want, before handing over their money, is a product tailored to their individual taste and requirements, not a one-size-fits-all product based on an ideological pipedream.
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Re: OPEN LETTER TO SAMPLE SET PRODUCERS

Postby scottherbert » Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:57 pm

I must say "Bravo" to UndaMaris' remarks! Re-creating a pipe organ is a lofty goal, and CAN be taken to ridiculous extremes if one wishes. I think that the primary goal, as UndaMaris pointed out, is to provide instruments that as many of us as possible can ENJOY! After all, is this not what we do? Enjoy organs? I know I do! I savor the timbre of stops, the texture of ambience. How they interplay!

I do not have the luxury of being able to travel to visit fabulous organs, but through Hauptwerk, some of them can come to me. I work hard in my little corner of the world, and when I finish, I can sit down and travel (virtually) to France, Germany, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, England, and visit my favorite organs. I am not about to nit-pick about the minutia, I just savor what I have!

I'm sure all of you have valid point, but enjoyment is a valid point too!

~S
"Life is just a dream, it is in death that we truly awaken!"
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Re: OPEN LETTER TO SAMPLE SET PRODUCERS

Postby adri » Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:14 pm

Happy New Year to all readers here!

I do not think it’s wrong to improve historical sample sets with, for example, manual compass extensions, extra stops in the pedal (borrowed from manuals), couplers, etc., but a lot is to be said for honoring the original instrument as you are a sample set maker and not an organ builder.

Please keep in mind that the owners of the organ also require or even demand their input in the process. Some want audible replicas with nothing changed, added or extended, etc., while others are far more flexible. It’s not always up to the sample maker to do as he wishes.

But if I buy as sample set of let’s say Amsterdam’s Ouse Kerk organ (daydreaming here) I want it to be as real as the real thing; otherwise what’s the point? Indeed what would be the point if it doesn’t sound like the real organ???

Remember the title of the people making the sets:
Sample set makers.
They make samples, also called recordings.

They are not organ builders.
They could offer a set they created from different recordings and edit them, and then they can be called virtual organ builders.

Jiri’s claviorganum is an example of such building. The virtual Rouen symphonic organ from Jiri’s sample sets is another example. And there are more from e.g. Augustine.

We all call them sample sets, but their genesis is quite different and perhaps we ought to use a different nomenclature for such fabricated sets.

It takes considerable audio editing as well as musical skills to build such fabricated sets to do it really well.

But let’s differentiate between as authentic as possible and as edited and altered as freely as possible. It’s not the same thing at all.

My somewhat wordy 2 cents.
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Re: OPEN LETTER TO SAMPLE SET PRODUCERS

Postby OrganoPleno » Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:39 pm

adri wrote:They could offer a set they created from different recordings and edit them, and then they can be called virtual organ builders.

We all call them sample sets, but their genesis is quite different and perhaps we ought to use a different nomenclature for such fabricated sets.


Yes, they're called "Composite Sample Sets".
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Re: OPEN LETTER TO SAMPLE SET PRODUCERS

Postby UndaMaris » Fri Jan 05, 2018 6:39 pm

“I want it to be as real as the real thing”

But what is “the real thing”? Would that be the organ played when the church is empty? or full of people? or when it is terribly out of tune because of a change in the weather? or when the pipes have been eaten by rats? or pumped by a “Calcant”? or as heard by the player? or as heard by someone at the back of the church? Or played by someone who does not actually have the physical strength to depress the keys, as was often the case in the 18th century? Or as reproduced in someone’s living room at home, which has a totally different acoustic from a church?

I’m afraid we have entered the HIP debate here. My view is that there is no such thing as “authentic” when it comes to sample sets. Indeed, a sample set is the very antithesis of “authentic”. The only authentic organ is the real pipe organ itself in its original building. The sound made by that organ changes from day to day according to weather conditions, maintenance, the location of the listener, the number of people in the building and other acoustic changing factors (such as the dreaded carpet!).
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Re: OPEN LETTER TO SAMPLE SET PRODUCERS

Postby josq » Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:57 pm

Assuming that the pipe organ that is being recorded has no significant design flaws, I would suggest the following ideal criteria for realism/authenticity of a sample set:

For the sampleset maker
* No defects of the pipe organ are present at the time of recording
* All pipes are well-tuned during the recording (with acceptable allowance for slight variations)
* The recording position is chosen at a location where the organ sounds well balanced with regard to the strenght of the different works and voices, and regarding acoustics, clarity and transparancy.
* Stereo effects (e.g. C/Cis division) and surround effects (e.g. reverberation, Echo work) are accurately recorded
* The recording microphones have a flat frequency response
* No background noise is present in the samples (samples of the mechanical and blower noises of the pipe organ should be provided as a separate option)
* All artifacts of sample processing are eliminated
* All gradations between staccato and legato playing (very short to sustained notes) are accurately recorded and/or modeled, including the effect of the acoustics of the church/venue
* Swell box, tremulant and wind supply behavior is accurately recorded and/or modeled for each individual pipe in all registrations, including the effect of the acoustics of the church/venue
* If multiple optima are present with regard to acoustic conditions,these might be modelled or recorded separately, and made available at the choice of the sample set users.

For Hauptwerk users:
* Any influence of room acoustics is eliminated or counteracted
* Speakers/headphones have a neutral frequency response; multiple speakers are equally loud at the listening position
* All drivers are in phase across the frequency range and between speakers
* No voicing is applied, provided that the above criteria are met
* No functionality is used that isn't (or hasn't been) present on the original organ

In my view, there will be no conflict, but rather perfect synergy between authenticity and joy of playing if these criteria are met. Those criteria are ideals, but if sufficiently approximated, the optimal sound recorded in the church/venue will sound optimal at home too.

Even for people who like to experiment electronically, or who want to simulate the defects that happen in real life, these criteria probably provide the best starting point.

For most of these criteria, very good optimizations are already present in many high-quality sample sets. Similarly, Hauptwerk users able to spend sufficient time (self-teaching, use this and other fora!) and to invest a reasonable amount money (possibly including consultancy) can achieve very high quality sound reproduction. Nevertheless, there will always be room for improvements, although perhaps increasingly minor compared to what already has been achieved. This thread is all about identifying which improvements are desired.

If those improvements will be implemented in the future, one limitation remains: accurate reproduction of the original acoustics will only be possible at a single sweet spot in your listening room (or by using headphones). If you want to have good sound throughout your listening room, you either resort to some compromises, or you need to forget about the original acoustics, and use (semi-)dry samples combined with large speaker arrays (e.g. Hauptwerk church installations).
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Re: OPEN LETTER TO SAMPLE SET PRODUCERS

Postby josq » Fri Jan 05, 2018 8:18 pm

UndaMaris wrote:The only authentic organ is the real pipe organ itself in its original building. The sound made by that organ changes from day to day according to weather conditions, maintenance, the location of the listener, the number of people in the building and other acoustic changing factors (such as the dreaded carpet!).


I would prefer to read that as a suggestion for improvement rather than something that would prohibit "authenticity"... I do not see any fundamental objection against modeling or even recording these variations.

Name anything else, it probably can be recorded and reproduced (although costs and computing power may yet be prohibitive in some cases). OK, touch and smell is going to be hard ... :roll:
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Re: OPEN LETTER TO SAMPLE SET PRODUCERS

Postby UndaMaris » Sat Jan 06, 2018 9:42 am

There are many reasons why a sample set can never be described as an authentic copy of a pipe organ. To begin with, Hauptwerk gives you the possibility of manipulating the sound you hear in a way which is impossible with a pipe organ. The first and least subtle of these is changing the volume without changing the registration, or the manual or using the swell pedal (if there is one). A few years ago I was with a group of organists at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig where we were waiting for our master class on the “Bach Organ” to begin. Whilst we waited I started to practise the piece I planned to play in the class, Bach’s “St. Anne” Prelude. After a couple of minutes of me doing this on full organ, the celebrated organist who was taking the class approached me and said in a rather irritated tone: “Why do you use such a loud registration when you are practising?”. This brought back memories of my organ teacher at school many years ago who would say the same thing! I quickly changed to some quieter stops! What I could not do, of course was to change the volume but keep the same registration. But when using a sample set you can play any combination of stops at any volume you choose. You can play full organ pianissimo or you can play a quiet single stop fortissimo. Now the moment you do this you have already moved away from the concept of authenticity. Which begs the question, what is the correct volume in order to experience organ “authentically”? I made the point in a previous post that a chamade situated very close to the player’s head can be so deafening that it is painful (and possibly dangerous) to play for more than a few seconds (of course there are now excellent sound-reducing ear plugs on the market!).

Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not arguing against Hauptwerk. On the contrary, I think Hauptwerk is absolutely wonderful. I practise with it for hours each day. But I don’t regard a sample set as an authentic copy of an organ. In fact, I am constantly manipulating the sound of each sample set I use for a number of reasons: the acoustics of the room where I play, the mood I am in, my sensitivity to shrill, high-pitched sounds (because of my age probably!), the time of day or how long I’ve been practising (my hearing changes throughout the day), the desire to experiment with the sounds or balance of one manual against the other, whether at a particular moment I want a wetter or drier sound, etc.

A Hauptwerk sample set is a different product from a pipe organ. It may resemble a pipe organ in the sounds it produces, but it’s not the same. In fact, I don’t want it to be the same. I want the freedom to manipulate the sounds my hardware produces. Hauptwerk is no better and no worse than a real pipe organ. Any improvements that are made in the coming years will hopefully increase the freedom I already have to manipulate the sounds that come out of my speakers in order to increase the pleasure it already gives me. But if I want to play a real pipe organ I will go and do just that - warts and all!
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