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Hereford audio setup - non-identical speakers

Existing and forthcoming Hauptwerk instruments, recommendations, ...

Hereford audio setup - non-identical speakers

Postby sclg » Wed May 01, 2019 9:30 am

I've read quite a lot of the threads on here about setting up multiple channels/speakers for Hereford.
Many suggest one audio group and just letting the HW algorithms do their thing. Others suggest 'by division' or 'by type of stop'.
I currently have 3 pairs of speakers (and a sub) BUT the 3 pairs are not identical. There's a pair of Behringer 1030, a pair of 1031 and a pair of large Mission floor standing towers. (I know it's not ideal but, for historical reasons, it's what I've got!!)

Given the differences, I wonder if just using 1 group and the HW algorithm is the best bet? Just playing a scale does result in some change in sound as it goes from speaker to speaker - how noticeable it is is very pitch and tone dependent. Does the team think a different approach might be better??

Currently the tower speakers are either side of the console as are the 1030s and the 1031s are behind. I know the Hereford set isn't surround so perhaps they would be better elsewhere??

Any thoughts are most welcome.
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Re: Hereford audio setup - non-identical speakers

Postby mnailor » Wed May 01, 2019 11:25 am

I also have 3 types of speakers and a sub. In this case, there are 8 small speakers, 4 middle sized, and 4 large.

The bass on the small speakers only supports a lightweight 8' stop and above. The middle size supports a light 16' or above, with the sub. The large supports heavier 32 and 16' stops and above.

Your speaker frequency ranges seem somewhat similar (not sure about the Mission model), where the 1030s are small, the 1031s are middle, and the Missions are large.

So I use 3 audio groups, "upper" for the small speakers, "middle" for the middle ones, and "lower" for the floor-standing speakers. The sub gets the middle and lower signal with a compromise low-pass filter to support both.

I assign ranks based somewhat on pitch and weight of the stop. 8', 4', and upperwork is split mostly between the upper and middle groups, with some on the lower group to balance out the sound. Heavier 8' stops are on the middle group for better bass definition. 16' stops are split between the middle and lower groups, and 32' are only on the lower group.

As to speaker placement, my upper and lower groups are both split equally between rear and front, and my middle group is front only just because of shelving space on the walls. I like being surrounded by the sound, so that works for me. For a surround set, I mix rear ranks freely in with front ranks and don't worry about location. Not everybody's preference...

That's just how I do it. There are other schemes, like putting each division on a single audio group, that work for people.
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Re: Hereford audio setup - non-identical speakers

Postby sclg » Wed May 01, 2019 1:58 pm

mnailor wrote:So I use 3 audio groups, "upper" for the small speakers, "middle" for the middle ones, and "lower" for the floor-standing speakers. The sub gets the middle and lower signal with a compromise low-pass filter to support both.


Interesting idea - thanks.
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Re: Hereford audio setup - non-identical speakers

Postby magnaton » Wed May 01, 2019 3:32 pm

sclg wrote:Given the differences, I wonder if just using 1 group and the HW algorithm is the best bet? Just playing a scale does result in some change in sound as it goes from speaker to speaker - how noticeable it is is very pitch and tone dependent. Does the team think a different approach might be better??

This subject is dear to me as I have spent a lot of time experimenting with my setup, a professional install, and with my colleagues rigs. The 1 group, HW Algorithm really doesn't work well with different speakers for the reasons you stated. It sounds like you've already tried this? Since your Behringer active monitors are very close in design (same series but different sizes; 5" vs 8" drivers) you might be able to get by with having those 4 in their own group. Set the tower speakers to a separate group. When a HW audio group is set up correctly meaning identical speakers set at the same volume with proper spacing between them, etc. they should blend harmoniously and listening from a certain distance away, playing a solo voice you really can't pinpoint which speaker is actually playing.

In my setup, I too incorporate a set of large 3 way tower speakers along with an array of 5 pairs of studio monitors. The routing differs between sample sets. In your case, I would simply route all the pedal voices to your tower speakers. It sounds like they are full range to handle the highs and lows from the pedal division.
Your studio monitors should be able to handle the other divisions "sound wise" however when you have medium to large registrations they will lack the punch or power. Thus you may want to divvy up some manual ranks to the towers to help get a fuller sound. From my experience, use the studio monitors when you really want to hear ranks which require realism like reeds and solo stops. Some stops like maybe the 8' Stopped Diapason or a soft string may not gain from the realism offered by studio monitors so you can route them to the towers. On one of my sets, the Trumpet is too pronounced when played back through my studio monitors. It seems to stand out and not blend as I think it should. Instead of adjusting it with the HW voicing tools, I simply routed it to my 3 way towers where it really behaves. No voicing was necessary. So my advise is to experiment and find what works best for you.

One final tip is to separate a Celeste rank and its Unison counterpart (i.e. Viola da Gamba, and Voix Celeste) into different speakers. Having the undulation happen in the air verses the speaker cone produces a wonderful sound!

Danny B.
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