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A few Armley Schulze questions / observations

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A few Armley Schulze questions / observations

Postby 1961TC4ME » Tue Dec 19, 2017 12:57 pm

Hello all,

I've been looking pretty heavily the past month or so at a number of sets, and although I was pretty certain a week back that my next purchase was likely going to be the recently released SP Skinner, I've also been investigating a few other sets and at this point I'd say that the Armley Schulze is probably the one that has caught and held my attention the most. I downloaded and installed the demo a few weeks ago and have taken the time each day to use it, listen carefully to it, and evaluate it as much as possible using the various stops and settings given the limited size of the demo. I've also listened to many of the audio examples of the set on CCH and the Lavender Audio site. I really like the sound and acoustic of this set, it's quite clear, not muddy or mushy at all, can be very grand if you like and very intimate as well, and is wet enough to be very satisfying and give a good rendition of the surroundings the instrument is in.

Now for the observations and resulting questions: First off, I don't know if this is inherent to English organs or what the deal is, but I notice when the higher pitched ranks are introduced into the mix I get a fairly strong grating sound on certain notes in the background, almost a sound like one of those high pitched smoke or fire alarms going off. The culprits are the Octave 4 and Rausch Quinte 2. Isolating these two stops gives the impression that they are either quite out of tune or perhaps it's the temperament, which ever it is I can't quite figure it out. This morning I used the voicing controls on the Octave 4 and tuned it just using the master control up a few cents and this for the most part solved the issue, but there is still some beating / undulation between notes, just not as bad. The Rausch Quinte 2 displays the same issue. Was or are certain ranks of the instrument that out of tune when it was recorded, or is this just the way things are supposed to be? It seems to me that a person would have to take considerable time to go note by note and tune the ranks to alleviate this issue. Funny thing is, when I listen to all the various recordings on CCH and on the Lavender Audio website, I don't detect what I'm hearing at home, so it makes me wonder if either the set was thoroughly tuned first, or if it's just perhaps these stops are not being used much in the recordings?

The second thing I notice is: There's 3 signals you can adjust, Chancel, Nave and Surround. The set actually sounds the best to me with all 3 signals set at their full levels of 127 on the master controls. Using either Nave or Chancel by themselves along with the surround signal does not sound as full and my thinking would have been that Chancel and Surround would produce the most full sound, Nave and Surround a more distant sound, but it is quite the opposite and all 3 signals need to be there for what I feel is the best sound. This leads to somewhat of a concern for me which is I'm currently stuck at 32 GB of memory and it's looking like that's going to be the most I'm going to be able to come up with in the near future. The set in its full form loading all signals requires considerably more memory. To get around this issue in the past on other sets I have, I've loaded some of the signals @ 16 bit and the rest @ 20 bit with good results, however David highly advises in his information not do do this. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm wondering if I were to load some of the signals (maybe Surround and Nave?) @ 16 bit if I'm going to ruin the sound?

Anyways, just a few things on my mind with this set. Anyone who has the set or knows more, I'd certainly appreciate some input before I plunk down hard earned cash.

Thanks,

Marc
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Re: A few Armley Schulze questions / observations

Postby mdyde » Tue Dec 19, 2017 1:46 pm

Hello Marc,

1961TC4ME wrote:Was or are certain ranks of the instrument that out of tune when it was recorded, or is this just the way things are supposed to be? It seems to me that a person would have to take considerable time to go note by note and tune the ranks to alleviate this issue. Funny thing is, when I listen to all the various recordings on CCH and on the Lavender Audio website, I don't detect what I'm hearing at home, so it makes me wonder if either the set was thoroughly tuned first, or if it's just perhaps these stops are not being used much in the recordings?


I haven't tried the sample set myself, but the tuning of a sample set will usually be significantly different depending on whether or not the 'Original organ temperament' option is selected in Hauptwerk, in case that accounts for any differences that you're hearing, compared to demos that you might have heard (but I don't know).

1961TC4ME wrote:The set in its full form loading all signals requires considerably more memory. To get around this issue in the past on other sets I have, I've loaded some of the signals @ 16 bit and the rest @ 20 bit with good results, however David highly advises in his information not do do this. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm wondering if I were to load some of the signals (maybe Surround and Nave?) @ 16 bit if I'm going to ruin the sound?


Different bit resolutions will only affect audio quality (very slightly). There won't be any other adverse effects (acoustic or otherwise) from using lower resolutions, or from mixing resolutions.
Best regards,
Martin.

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Re: A few Armley Schulze questions / observations

Postby 1961TC4ME » Tue Dec 19, 2017 2:17 pm

mdyde wrote:Hello Marc,
I haven't tried the sample set myself, but the tuning of a sample set will usually be significantly different depending on whether or not the 'Original organ temperament' option is selected in Hauptwerk, in case that accounts for any differences that you're hearing, compared to demos that you might have heard (but I don't know).

Different bit resolutions will only affect audio quality (very slightly). There won't be any other adverse effects (acoustic or otherwise) from using lower resolutions, or from mixing resolutions.


Hello Martin, yes I am using 'Original organ temperament' but I did also try 'Even' this morning more so just to see what if any effect it would have on things, the difference was negligible.

That lessens my concerns and perhaps I should try loading the demo or portions of it in 16 bit to remove any further concerns.

Thanks for the input.

Marc
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Re: A few Armley Schulze questions / observations

Postby mdyde » Tue Dec 19, 2017 2:24 pm

Thanks, Marc.

You're very welcome.
Best regards,
Martin.

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Re: A few Armley Schulze questions / observations

Postby mnailor » Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:18 pm

With regard to needing all 6 channels for a full sound, maybe it's different audio systems or just my ears, but I found loading just Nave and Surround gives a full, saturated reverb effect. I have 64 GB but am always short of cache disk space, so adding the Chancel channels of the Schulze means giving up one or two other smaller cached organs.

I do think any one position, like Nave alone, sounds too thin, but maybe that's because I'm used to every rank sounding each note out of 4 speakers instead of 2.

Yet I don't hear Hereford or Salisbury as thin with only stereo ranks, so maybe that's not it...
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Re: A few Armley Schulze questions / observations

Postby biogon » Wed Dec 20, 2017 7:13 am

I also have to decide which Organ to buy to get into my 32GB.
The first of the list is the Armley of Lavender for its versatility and sound quality in 6Ch, and then the CC St.Omer with its extensions. I have rejected for different reasons the Rotterdam, Oberlinger, Caen, Metz and Salisbury sets.
In the Armley demo I have noticed that effect you say when I put Octave 4 and Rausch Quinte 2 stops. But with such a small demo, little else can be tested. I miss a "Vox Humana", which can be found in all organs of this style.
I have 4 + 1 speakers and the most suitable sound for me is adjusting the "Nave" channel to the minimum and using only the "Chancel" and "Surround", which allow me to feel the Organ presence and to reduce the space in memory by 1/3.
If you enter the page of Contrabombarde you have a lot of information about this organ:

http://www.contrebombarde.com/concertha ... ed/limit/6

We will have to make a decision ...
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Re: A few Armley Schulze questions / observations

Postby magnaton » Wed Dec 20, 2017 2:29 pm

Hello Marc:

I have the Armley-Schultze Complete organ and LOVE it.
Here is my set up:
32GB RAM using the full "6 channel" surround (Chancel, Nave, and Reflection).
I have loaded several Chancel ranks, at the 24 bit with lossless compression: Major Principal, Gedact, Octave, in the Great; a few other choice ranks in the Swell. The rest are at 16bit. I'm left with about 4GB of free RAM (according to HW).

By the way the Complete version has a separate, independent Trompete in the Choir (sample was copied from the Great) to act as an En Chamade if you desire. The A-S "Settings" tab allows you to fine tune this Choir rank with volume and voicing sliders in case you want a more State Trumpet edge or Tuba roundness. Nice! Soooo, the Trompete in the Choir is at 24 bit with lossless compression.

For the Demo (Evaluation) set, raise the amplitude and adjust EQ on the Swell "Horn 8 feet" stop as a poor-man's en chamade. You'll be amazed how nice that works as a solo stop.

Amplification:
I have 12 channels: 2 large 3 way tower speakers, 8 active studio monitors, and 4 surround sound speakers (passive studio monitors in parallel). The reason for doubling the surround channels is my studio is 17' X 27'. The first surround set is about 10 feet back from the console and the 2nd set about 20 feet back. I've hosted several music (organ) socials and the double surrounds really add to the realism plus organist and guests both get to enjoy the cathedral reverb effect! For organs with surround sound, the volume is set to where you don't really know they are present until you release a note or a chord. You also notice an absence if you happen to turn them off during a performance.

My large 3 way speakers have 13" woofers and a dual distributed midrange. I have these on 4' base stands which raises the tweeter is about ear lever. They are about on plane with the bench, at a 45 degree angle. The studio monitors are just above them on a shelf whose woofer is about ear level. This set up flanks the left and right of the console. The monitors (4 on each side) are horizontal: 1 2 3 4 [console] 5 6 7 8.

Reverb
I thought it best to first explain my speaker design prior to going deeper in this discussion. Like you have posted in the past, I have done a lot of experimenting and tweaking get the most realism I can from my system. For the A-S, I did A LOT experimenting with trimming the reverb tails. From my experience, certain 'trims' result in an artificial sound. I quickly learned to start with a 'scratch pad' HW Alt Config and just load a few key ranks to reduce the cache rebuilding time :wink: . Here is the formula I ended up with:

Chancel - @.750ms (studio monitors)
Nave - @1.5ms (3 way speakers)
Surround - @ full release (surround sound monitors)

The result of this design is when you release notes, especially a large chord with heavy registration, you hear the sound move from front to rear! My space is bone dry acoustically so there isn't any ambient room reflection to contend with.

Routing
I started off using the popular "cycle within octave, octaves and ranks cycled" algorithm. Sounded pretty good. I then built a new config and did a 'classic' design of each division gets its own pair of speakers (studio monitors). So I followed the A-S stop jams with Choir & Great on the right and Echo and Swell on the left. Only Chancel ranks are sent to the Studio monitors. Chancel Pedal to the 3-way towers. All Nave samples are sent to the 3-way towers, Reflection ranks to the surround speakers, of course. Basically the only difference between the 2 HW configs is with the Chancel ranks distribution amongst the studio monitors. A slight variation in the 'classic' design is I separated celeste & unison ranks into neighboring channels so the undulation happens in the air.

I received input from other organists and audio enthusiast. Using a MIDI playback for consistency we compared the 2 configuration designs and the 'classic' design was the definitive winner. Marc, I have started to build yet another config based your "like sounding ranks" design but haven't had a chance to finish. If you do purchase the the A-S, which I hope you do, please share your routing design and setup as I have done. :-)

Danny B.
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Re: A few Armley Schulze questions / observations

Postby 1961TC4ME » Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:59 pm

Hi Danny,

Thanks much for the detailed response, all very good info! I once again spent the lunch hour listening to the various Armley Schulze audio examples and also read the very good write up by David a.k.a. Agnus_Dei who has uploaded many pieces of great variety, even some he admitted really weren't intended for the instrument but work quite well anyways, it was interesting to listen to his various uploads and descriptions.

You can find it here, he goes into great detail and I found it very interesting >>> http://www.contrebombarde.com/concertha ... d/limit/10

The only thing I'm currently wondering about is the question I raised about the 4' Octave and 2' Rausch Quint sounding rather out of tune in the demo, there's a lot of beating going on with these 2 ranks that I find a bit annoying.

On the great the demo comes with the Major Principal 8, Gedact 8, Octave 4 and Rausch Quinte 2. Try a combination of these stops with either the Octave 4 or Quinte 2 added (or both) and play some cords, etc. Do you hear the beating / out of tune sound these two ranks seem to produce? Maybe it's just a bad combination of stops, I don't know?

It seems some tinkering with tuning in the voicing provisions would help alleviate most of it though. Otherwise I think it's an awesome sounding set and I'm like right there ready to pull the handle and get it. I did at one time send divisions to pairs as you describe, it was good and I was convinced at the time it was as good as it was going to get, but after further experimenting I feel the like sounding rank routing scheme is even better. For me it opened up the stereo field even wider and the clarity / realism took a pretty noticeable jump. In any case, If I do get it, I will certainly be happy to share my routing scheme (and findings) with you and anyone else interested in giving it a try.

Marc
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Re: A few Armley Schulze questions / observations

Postby 1961TC4ME » Mon Jan 08, 2018 3:04 pm

Well, just an update for anyone curious. I decided just a few days before Christmas, actually December 21st to go ahead and get the Armley Schulze. The downloads of 15 files went smooth, I received the dongle update in under 24 hours and was up and running in no time. So, what do I think? I absolutely love the set! There's a lot of talk concerning realism here, I will just say for anyone interested, pay very close attention to the sound of the many audio demonstrations of this instrument. I have to say David Butcher nailed it with the mic positioning! I've encountered sets that are too mushy, some given the larger space seem too dry or in your face, but this set gives a very clear representation of the instrument as if you were sitting right there in the church! Of all the sets I have heard, I'd have to say this one ranks right up at the top in the realism department. The presence of the instrument is just spot on! The pedal is very smooth and satisfying without being over powering, the choir and swell are just very 'sweet' to attempt to use some sort of description, and I find I use the choir a lot. it's a very enjoyable division. The echo is a nice quiet addition with some very nice stops, it also couples in well for some nice additions in a few places. The horns, and trumpets and so on are awesome and really fit in nice with the rest of the instrument. The great is well, GREAT! It is certainly powerful if you want it to be, but I've also found some stops of the great played by themselves do quite nicely for certain types of music. Overall I'll just say for the asking price there's (in my opinion) none better out there right now, mainly because of the superior sound / presence, and how nicely everything blends together. Even though I had some concerns up front about a few stops maybe being too strong, nothing blares and blows your hair backwards or jumps out at you. It has a full complement of stops and really does not lack anywhere. It's a great 'church' organ and then some, and as another user here mentioned, borders on being a concert instrument, or in my words, something you'd be more likely to hear at a cathedral or larger venue.

I was asked about routing for this set: Well, this one like others I've encountered is unique and after several different schemes and careful listening I've come up with the following.... I have 3 pairs of speakers (6 channels) up front, larger towers left and right which are channels 1-2, with two pairs of bookshelf speakers channels 3-4 and 5-6 stacked on top of them. I have settled on all 32', 16' and 8' regardless of division to the towers channels 1-2. All 4', 2', and nazard regardless of division to channels 3-4, and all reeds and mixtures regardless of division to channels 5-6. This routing scheme in my setup by far sounds the best. I have a pair of rear speakers for the surround signal and two subs that receive a mix-down of all. Could I experiment more? Sure, but I think i'm getting the best I'm going to out of the current system and more channels AND more speakers might be the only thing to go further although I do have my doubts about this being of much additional benefit. It has such a nice stereo 'picture' now which places you right there in the pew in the church that I don't know how much more a person would be able to improve on that.

With the exception of the trem ranks I use all front signals vs. choosing not to load one or the other and again for me gives the best sound. Being I'm a bit limited on memory, I have chosen for now at least not to load the trem ranks as this is something I really don't use much anyways. Current memory consumption loading the front channels @ 20 bit and the surround signal @ 16 bit leaves me with 5.9 GB free out of 32. I have also loaded and tried out the 'enhanced' version which is also very nice, and out of 32 GB with the same bit rates and no trem ranks, leaves me with about 4 GB of memory left over. So even though the set calls for pretty big memory requirements, it's certainly do-able with much less.

If you're thinking about getting it, just do it, you won't be disappointed! :D

Marc
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Re: A few Armley Schulze questions / observations

Postby magnaton » Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:34 pm

Cool! Congratulations Marc. I'm glad to see similar accolades to this sample set as I've mentioned in the past.

After playing this set almost daily since my purchase, I decided to detune the Zart Flote in the Echo to give me another celeste option. When coupled with the Swell's soft string and its celeste the sound is heavenly. Also makes a great accompaniment to the Clarinette in the Choir. I have both Swell and Echo on an expression pedal so the accompaniment can balance just right to solo voices in the Choir.

I only have 3 manuals and since this is a 4 manual instrument, I have the HW floating divisions setup for the Swell and Echo. I have 3 launchpad buttons that quickly changes to top manual to be only Swell, only Echo, or both Swell and Echo combined. The latter is what I use most of the time.

1961TC4ME wrote:I have 3 pairs of speakers (6 channels) up front, larger towers left and right which are channels 1-2, with two pairs of bookshelf speakers channels 3-4 and 5-6 stacked on top of them.
Marc


I'm assuming channels 3-4 and 5-6 are split Left and Right (3 left, 4 right & 5 left and 6 right) so your stereo image is retained?

Danny B.
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Re: A few Armley Schulze questions / observations

Postby 1961TC4ME » Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:04 pm

magnaton wrote:
I'm assuming channels 3-4 and 5-6 are split Left and Right (3 left, 4 right & 5 left and 6 right) so your stereo image is retained?

Danny B.


Correct.

Thanks, Danny. It's a great set and has become my go to favorite!

Marc
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