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Pre-order for the 1686/1720 Bosch-Schnitger organ starting

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Pre-order for the 1686/1720 Bosch-Schnitger organ starting

PostWed Oct 25, 2006 1:58 pm

The 1686/1720 Bosch-Schnitger organ of Vollenhove, Netherlands, Province of Overijssel, is now ready for pre-orders.

For organ details and specification please check:

The organ was recorded and processed with 48 kHz, 24 bit, 6-channel technique, using the new multi-layer release technique introduced by OrganART (first successfully implemented for the reed stops of the Ducroquet-Cavaillé-Coll organ). All ranks of the organ are realized with the multi-release technique. Listen to the rapidly played notes and you'll hear that no more artifacts - caused by simple release amplitude scaling as used up to now - are present!

Preliminary sound demos you’ll find:

Memory requirements will be from about 2 GByte (16-bit, compressed) up to 4 GByte (24-bit, uncompressed)

The extended version will have an extended manual compass (C-d3) and extended pedal compass (C-f1), so that you'll be able to play all Bach organ works (Toccata F, BWV 540!)

Special introductory price until November, 25, 2006:
435. - Euro (afterwards 485. - Euro) + shipping

I’ll try, to release until Christmas, but I can’t guarantee it (quality always before release speed). Delivery will be in order sequence! If you have any more questions, don't hesitate to contact me.
Prof. Helmut Maier
OrganArt Media Sound Engineering
D-88662 Überlingen/Lake Constance



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PostFri Nov 03, 2006 7:20 am


Without causing a great polemic, I would just like to exprim my opinion about the latest prices of sample sets, wich I find are becoming a little excessive. I agree, sample sets producers deserve to earn a certain amount for their useful work, wich can represent a long time (especialy the multiple loops, releases,complexe ODF...), and we really thanks them
for their great works.

But, for example in this case, after 100 sells of the Vollennhove set, the amount is 485 * 100 = 48 500 euros (between 43 500 and 48 500). It's LARGE, and it's hard to trust that this is not suffisant to cover all expenses and assure futur recordings. The problem is not for Organ Art Media to earn TOO money (at the contrary, I wish to all sample sets producers a great train of life!), but...for us, sample sets users, this cost is simply TOO high (in particular when you are student). I would be happy to spend 450 euros in 2 or 3 sample set (I don't think such politic of price would break the market of sample set, at the contrary), but in 1 set, it needs MANY reflexion.

So, I don't think this will change, but...

In all case, this organ seems to sound great, thanks.

Last edited by [)Naeryl(] on Fri Nov 03, 2006 8:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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PostFri Nov 03, 2006 7:36 am

[)Naeryl(] wrote:But, for example in this case, after 100 sells of the Vollennhove set,

But we don't know the number of sales of each set; I doubt it's that many, and when there are several similar sets it could be less in the short term. In the future, when there are many more Hauptwerk installations, maybe the prices can be reduced - we'll see.

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PostFri Nov 03, 2006 7:48 am

485 * 100 = 485 000

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PostFri Nov 03, 2006 7:58 am

Hello François,

But, for example in this case, after 100 sells of the Vollennhove set, the amount is 485 * 100 = 485 000 euros

I have to correct you there: 485 x 100 = 48,500, rather than 485,000.

I can't comment on sales figures for individual sample sets or sample set producers, but I think you may be overestimating the size of the typical sample set market but quite a substantial factor.

I know very well from experience (Hauptwerk 1) that making a product too cheap in a very small niche market doesn't mean you make many more sales - it just means that you lose money if the costs are high. If you halve the price of a sample set, my experience is that you won't double the number of sales, maybe only increase them by 20 percent.

It's the nature of doing something that involves a lot of work and money for a very small number of people, I'm afraid!

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sample set costs

PostFri Nov 03, 2006 9:00 am


Eu48 500 is Sterling £32 400, or US$61 900.

There are c560 users registered on this forum; Vollenhove is one of the more expensive sets, so 100 purchases in a year may be ambitious. Even then, while £32k may seem a lot, remember this is turnover, not profit. Factor in costs and income tax and it starts to look significantly smaller.

I, for one, am perfectly happy for this new niche discipline to be distributed under a competitative commercial basis, and I have no problem with Helmut Maier and his competitors making a profit out of their work. The hauptwerk system's main strength lies in the quality of its output - if the quality were no better than established electronic organ models then it would be pointless to pursue. I can't think how disappointing it would be if the market were larger and cheaper, but flooded with poor sample sets; I (for one) would simply lose interest in the whole thing.

Also bear in mind that purchasing such a sample set represents a long-term investment. I would say it represents considerably better value than, say, buying a copy of microsoft office, which will need to be upgraded in a couple of years' time. Also this is a very young market. Demand is currently high for each set because there are comparativley few available, and the per-user appetite for new sets may tail off in time - after all how many sets do we all really need? I'd be interested to know if there's evidence for an imminent explosion of interest in Hauptwerk, or whether the user base is only growing slowly. In either case, Martin Dyde and the sample set producers have entered into extraordinarily substantial risk by attaching themselves to this fledgling market, and the high purchase prices reflect this - all current Hauptwerkians are 'early adopters'.

Having said this, I believe the sample set producers do need to be careful of accusations of price-fixing. I know it's difficult to put a number on the value of a sample set like this, but my own professional role brings me into daily contact with many industrial disputes, and I can assure you that once the accusation of price-fixing has been made, it is invariably difficult and costly to refute.

The ideal is that a relationship of trust is established between producers and consumers. This means that producers need to be as open, honest and transparent about their pricing policies as possible without giving away commercial secrets or advantages to competitors, and it means that consumers need to establish respectful and friendly relationships with the producers.

I also think that it should be made very clear with each set, how much money, if any, is going back to the owners of the original organ.

Interesting times... Sorry for a long post.

christopher james quinn


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PostFri Nov 03, 2006 10:07 am

While I'd like to see every set sell for 49 euros, when I think seriously about just how small this market is, I wonder that any set is produced at all.

This all reminds me of an article I read in the NY Times many years ago about new opera and orchestral recordings. ONe recording executive indicated that until the widespread use of computer scanning at point of sale terminals, record companies really did not know how well a new recording (classical ) was doing in sales. Since there were huge pre-orders, and lots of product shippped and no one knew about sell-through. until years later . With the advent of scannning POS in the large retail stores, suddenly the companies realized that the sales on some titles were shockingly low. This executive quoted a USA national sales figure of about 200 CDs for a new, very expensively produced opera recording!

Perhaps sampleset producers can consider reduced price offerings if X number of consumers pledge to buy the sample set? I have no idea how large the market is, or if this would be too difficult to manage, but imagine that an offer for a substantially discounted price could be had if say 100 consumers commit (via non-refundable down payment) to purchasing a set. No product would be shipped until the target is met. This would allow the sample producer a guaranteed cash flow. Or course it would canabalize sales from people who would pay full retail anyway, but it may bring lots of people in as well.
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PostFri Nov 03, 2006 10:20 am

[thanks for the arithmetic correction!]


You're right, it take a certain risk for Martin and sample set producers to attach themselves to this market, and this can justify relatively high prices. But in fact, I think this risk concerns only Martin, since it's more easy to produce a new sample set each 6 months for earn money than producing a new Hauptwerk version. This explain why I only discuss the price of sample sets, and why I find Hauptwerk is really at a bargain price: since major new versions are rare (+- 1 each 5 years), Hauptwerk should cost 1000 euro, and this price would stay PERFECTLY honnest. But a medium-sized sample set at 500 euros? The producer could easily make one, then another.... no really problem of incoming, since I don't think that the sells of sample sets would decrease, even if the number of HW users would stop to increase.

So, I think there is a real problem of scale actually, wich is the excessive pricing of sample set, and the relative low cost of Hauptwerk. A solution would be cheaper sample sets (without changing the quality, it's perfectly possible) including a small donation to Crumhorn Labs (a few % of each sales for example - it won't impoverish sets producers) : this would ensure the perennity of Hauptwerk over time (permitting new improvements of HW, so the market of sample set will have to recycle him regularly, and this way staying a productive niche), and be an honnest compromise for anybody: Martin, sample sets producers, and users.

Then, when you speak of sample sets as a valuable item over time, I not totally agree. For example, when you compare firsts HW1 sample sets (with now perfectly unrealistic release handling) to actual sample sets, the difference is evident in many cases (exept for dry ones). As the improvements that will tend to the perfection will pursue, users must recycle continuously their pool of sample set to have a quality product (as standarts continuously increase). It’ MS Office!

Another point; the risk of such highly prices is the elitist effect (as Martin just said): for someone which is not particular an organ hobbiyst but a simple keyboardist, how could that person be interrested in discovering the virtual world organ of Hauptwerk?? Now see the mirror situation:
more accessible soft and sample sets -> more organ enthusiasts -> more demand on this
market -> dynamic and rich market

Rem1: it’s terribly simplified, you’re right
Rem2: without even considering the eventual positive consequences on real organs

And the actuel situation is perfectly the reverse, all this virtual world risks to slowly close to himself....*

[also sorry for 1. the lenght; 2. the many awkwardnesses in my english]


* it's not only a spiritual view: for example in my personnal case, the rise of cost has now reached a level wich make me out of the market of sample sets, and I'm maybe not the only one

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PostFri Nov 03, 2006 11:45 am

I think you largely underestimate the amount of time and money put into recording an organ.

Seeing as this thread is about the Vollenhove organ let's use it as an example. The organ is about 15 minutes away from my home, by the way.

Mr. Maier would have to travel all the way from the South of Germany to the North of Holland and back again which is probably about 1600 km. The recordings took an entire week meaning he had to pay rent for the church for an entire week. He would also have had to pay for an hotel for an entire week and all meals- totalling 21 meals for himself and another 21 for his assistant.

Furthermore he would have had to take time off of his regular work at the university. Afterwards he spent a few months to process all of the recordings. Figure out the wages of a professor, with other words how much he could have earned if he gave lectures instead of working on the recordings. Do not forget the wages of the assistant.

Do not forget he also has to write off his recording equipment. There are taxes.

I am sure he or any other producer could list a number of other costs I have overlooked.

Let's say he only sells 25 sets @ 485, than that would only be 12 125 euros. If I have been correctly informed I believe part of the income is donated back to the church for organ maintenance seeing as his project is aimed at conserving historical organs. I doubt it if he can make it much cheaper and then still earn enough to make the following recording.

Just my 2 cents. I hope that some time in the near future you are financially capable of buying a number of excellent sets, including the one from Vollenhove.

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PostFri Nov 03, 2006 11:53 am

A few comments from my side, rather new to Hauptwerk, but familiar with the world of electronic organs.
I compare the situation discussed here with the introduction of IBM's OS/2, some decade's ago. Technically really superior to MS Windows, but almost nobody bought it.
In our time, here in Holland, I think hundreds of new and used electronic organs are sold each year, for prices op to 10.000 euro.
There IS a market for Hauptwerk and the various sample sets. There are A LOT OF organ lovers in this country.
The problem is the marketing of the product. As soon as there is an factory like Johannus, Content, Domus, Ahlborn etc, which adopts this product, there is a large market. Or a Hauptwerk-computer manufacturer which delivers complete products, including the software.

But until now: you had to be an organ lover (which I am) and a computer scientist (idem) and be able to spent one or two thousands of Euros for it (which I can not!). And that while the sample-set-sound (wherefor you had to pay 200-700 euros) is in a lot of cases an unknown thing.
A positive exception on this point is Jiry Zurek with his mini sample sets with which one is able to evaluate it.



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PostFri Nov 03, 2006 12:19 pm

In my opinion, those who complain about the price of Hauptwerk sample sets are not giving due consideration to the cost of the alternatives. Just look at the vastly higher prices of commercial electronic organs, most of which have sound quality inferior to Hauptwerk, and none of which have the capability to emulate dozens of historic organs like Hauptwerk does.

Someone who feels the price of sample sets is high should simply build their instrument around one or two sets. They are still getting a better sounding organ with more capabilities at a far smaller investment than any other alternative.

christopher james quinn


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PostFri Nov 03, 2006 12:31 pm

JP, here's an extreme example of your point: ... 0053137791

(Allen R-400 digital organ on ebay, Buy It Now price of 106,000 US$) Oh, and it is a used model!
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PostFri Nov 03, 2006 12:57 pm

I'll weigh in here...

As a sample producer, I must say there are some misconceptions here from some folks...

It _does_ cost money to do this, and there are very few of us who are doing it for a living. Also, there is a natural progression to the sale patterns in a small market like this. _MY_ experience is that when a new sample set is released there are generally more orders within the first 2 months or so, then the sales taper off. I'm not privy to the sales figures or patterns of the other sample producers, so I cannot speak for them, but that has been my experience. For myself, I chose to set my prices at a rate that I would be willing to pay if I were buying the set. I had the luxury of not having to pay for rent on buildings, nor for purchase of equipment, since I already had a good set of microphones.

Then came HW2.

Folks, you have NO IDEA of the complexity of this program until you have produced a set for it. I'm sure as one does successive sets, one gets better and faster, but there are a LOT of things, little details to an HW2 sampleset. I am fortunate that I was able to have some help with HW2 from Reiner Suikat - it was worth every bit that I paid him, since as a full-time musician I did not have the time to learn the finer points of programming needed to produce my set.

My point is, I guess, one must factor in the many hours of TIME spent producing a sampleset - it really can take many weeks of hours to complete (and de-bug!). I don't KNOW, really, if some of the prices are too high for samplesets, since I do not have an accurate knowledge of their costs and time spent in production. I _DO_ know that if I find the price too high, I am not compelled to buy their products, and (like any business) there is a distinct possibility that someone might release a similar product at a lower price. This is good, because it helps us all to see what the market can bear (as long as the lower price is reflective of the sample producer's actual costs).

It's all very complicated, and I for one take my hat off to all of our samplers, since I know somewhat the trials of the process.

One more thing - many of the fine orchestral sample libraries cost comparably - the Garritan Stradavarius is $200 (certainly less samples than a large pipe organ!) so I think there is some equality of cost here.

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Jonathan Orwig
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I love HW2!

PostFri Nov 03, 2006 1:02 pm

Hello All,

Here are a few of my observations, coming from a non-professional organist but someone with a great deal of love for organ music.

I think HW2 is an exceptional program and is well worth the cost. I have just purchased my 3rd Concert Edition so all three of my “off-the-shelf” dual-core computers can take advantage of the wonderful features of HW2. My approach is multiple speakers and dry sound. I can now spread organ ranks out to 46 speakers which gives me a very big, full sound. At this point, this requires importing HW1 custom organs, but with a new CODM I’m hoping to be able to get into the HW2 ranks eventually. A problem I’m faced with using multi-computers is that many of the HW2 organs now come with dongle protection so that once I’ve installed the organ, it’s stuck on that computer. I will have to get the large organ sound by buying two or three copies of an organ, or two or three different smaller organs. We’ll see. . .

Since I have taken this direction, I am not going to be buying those extremely expensive, large organs; they are simply too large to fit in any of my computers and still offer the full features of HW2. I’d need to go in a completely different direction to have one large computer that could drive 40+ speakers and have 8 GB of RAM. I wonder how many HW2 users have those big, beautiful, state-of-the-art computers and can take full advantage of the large sets? Therefore, I assume that sample set producers will continue to record smaller (and less expensive) organs too. That is where I will spend my money.

Even if I did want to purchase a very large sample set, Anton makes a point that hits home with me. All I’d have to go on is the sound of mp3’s that are probably recorded directly through HW2 and sound terrific. But, what would they sound like through my multi-speaker, live-in-the-room setup? I just can’t justify $600+ without knowing whether I would be happy or not. I suspect that the really large organs are mostly aimed at folks using headphones. And I agree that the wet organs I’ve purchased do sound great using headphones. But when I sit down to play, I just don’t want to be confined that way. I revel in the sound and feel of the huge, ultra low pedal notes and the big air-mixed chorus’ of sounds.

For now, I am really happy with the sounds I’m getting, even though most of them still come from HW1 imports.

Leo Chris



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PostFri Nov 03, 2006 2:00 pm

To Dutch Brad:

You estimate the sells of a set to 25? Please, ask producers to explicit the sells until now for each of their sets! (according to you, why is it a total lack of transparancy concerning these numbers?!) I's nice to wishing me to be able to buy these sets...but with little time, almost anyone can easily find 500 euros, it's not the matter. The problem is to spend this amount when you KNOW it is a dishonnest excessive price. AFK say (with reason) that it must be a relationship of trust between users and producers. If it was the case, you would know what are the REAL numbers of sells, and so being able to judge youself if the price is reasonnable.

To JPSmith:

Do you really think we can compare the cost of an electronic organ with the cost of a virtual sample set?

To Giwro:

You mention Garritan Products, wich have a greater diffusion that HW sample sets. Let's go: each set cost aprox. 180 euros. In each set, you can find until 80 differents instruments, EACH instrument recorded with differents articulations (legato, staccato, ...), and EACH articulation for EACH instrument at different levels of velocity, and EACH instrument played by a professionnal specialist. EXACT, the cost involved are ULTRA-FAR-FAR-FAR from those in the case of the recording of an organ!

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