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Good idea for end users making new sample sets?

Existing and forthcoming Hauptwerk instruments, recommendations, ...
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adri

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Good idea for end users making new sample sets?

PostSat May 18, 2019 6:15 pm

Is it really a good idea of end users making new sample sets from existing sample sets? Are they expert organ builders now?

Can you really make a good sample sets by randomly selecting stops from different organs, and then simply, with some adjustments, create a new instrument successfully? Convincingly? My ears, listening to these efforts, say no, with one exception: the Artistide that follows the specification of the C-Coll at St. Ouen de Rouen. It took a team of very meticulous people many hours to make that work quite convincingly. But it remains a compromised approach.

Are end-users now suddenly expert organ builders? Capable of producing a new organ about every month even?

Is our Hauptwerk community truly served by these amateur efforts? Why do I say amateur? Not because these people aren’t expert sound engineers, for they probably are, but simply because they are not real organ builders and do not truly know or sufficiently appreciate what it takes to build a truly great pipe organ.

This goes back to the distinction between an ‘organ builder’ and an ‘organ maker’ (orgelbauer vs. orgelmacher):

The ‘builder’ can be just an assembler; he knows enough about organs to order the parts and pipes, and then basically assembles them. He himself is mostly nothing more than a furniture maker and/or electrician. On average, such organs are pretty bad and uninspiring. They mostly follow no particular style, and are left-overs of the decline period seen before the Organ Reform Movement. Many of such organs are not even enclosed, and have no mechanical action. Instead of pneumatic, it now has direct electric action.

The ‘maker’ builds the parts mostly from scratch; makes his own pipes, makes his own designs, and employs craftsman and artisans, and builds according to historically proven and inspired approaches and styles, and pays enormous attention to pipe scales, metal alloys, acoustics, final voicing, wind pressures, tunings, etc. Such organs inspire, are beautiful to see, etc. Mostly they are mechanical action instruments, but sometimes with electric stop action.

Quality sample set ‘makers’ fall into the latter “maker” category, while sample set assemblers fall into the first ‘assembly’ category above.

An organ is so much more than just a "box of whistles."

Cheers,
Adri
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organtechnology

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Re: Good idea for end users making new sample sets?

PostSat May 18, 2019 6:56 pm

I think that is one of the wonderful things about Hauptwerk and the Hauptwerk CODM community. It provides the capability of producing organs that do not and possibly could not exist except in a VPO environment. So instead of carping let's offer constructive criticism on how to improve the sound. It does not need to be done in some rigid classical interpretation of organ building but in the joy that organ music can engender.

Thomas
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Andrew Grahame

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Re: Good idea for end users making new sample sets?

PostSat May 18, 2019 8:06 pm

There was a time when those who sought to experiment with organ design could do so only by spending other people's money on the construction or rebuilding of a pipe organ. The organ world is littered with many such failures.

I would like to highlight just one example here in Australia. The Hill organ of 1877 in the Adelaide Town Hall was ruined in a misguided rebuild in 1970, in which attempts were made to transform a 19th century English organ into a North German baroque instrument. As a result, the organ was removed from the Town Hall in 1990 and replaced with a new organ. The remnants of the old instrument were eventually acquired by the Organ Historical Trust of Australia (OHTA) - of which I am a member. Following a lengthy and challenging restoration process (as many original components - including the console - had been scrapped and had to be replicated) the organ has been returned to its original integrity and cohesion. Its splendid voice now rings out in its new home in the Barossa Valley.

https://www.ohta.org.au/organs/sa_ath.html

With Hauptwerk, those who would indulge in this practice can now do so at their own expense, without destroying existing instruments or creating new white elephants.
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adri

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Re: Good idea for end users making new sample sets?

PostSun May 19, 2019 2:59 am

organtechnology wrote:I think that is one of the wonderful things about Hauptwerk and the Hauptwerk CODM community. It provides the capability of producing organs that do not and possibly could not exist except in a VPO environment. So instead of carping let's offer constructive criticism on how to improve the sound. It does not need to be done in some rigid classical interpretation of organ building but in the joy that organ music can engender.

Thomas


I believe I am not carping, certainly not intending to. My post is meant as constructive criticism, as food for thought. After all, I am after the most musical of sounds, the most inspiring of sounds, the most uplifting of sounds, the most heavenly of sounds. That is positive criticism, I hope.

Yes, you can produce any fantasy assembled/composite VPO organ you please. But will those fantasies make musical music and inspire improvisation? Or only be able to play the notes from the keys you push?

You write that "It does not need to be done in some rigid classical interpretation of organ building but in the joy that organ music can engender."

Will it? Are you sure you have not contradicted yourself in that sentence? Isn't organ music and building/making based on the foundation of organ building history? Shall I build an organ with the most non-traditonal stoplist and play Bach or Buxtehude, Franck or Messiaen on it? Even the revolutionary C-Coll did not totally depart from organ building of the past; his early organs were still reminiscent of French baroque organs, and they evolved from there on. They still had traditional stoplists, even though the sound was broader, and the wind supplies larger, etc.

Not sure what you mean by "rigid" for doesn't it run the risk of making classical interpretations of organ building sound as something bad or undesirable or unnecessary or surpassable? And thus entirely experimental?

We live in a very peculiar time in which we now play the heritage of organ compositions, and even restore and build organs that do justice to one or other of these periods, while in the past, the old was more quickly forgotten and organs were modernized or replaced to the fashion of the time, and it took people like Mendelssohn and Guilmant, etc., and the 20th century musicologists to revive older music, and the Organ Reform Movement to bring us back to sanity in organ building. We are still discovering stuff in archives, and we are still learning how amazing the old organ builders were.

Let's not water this down with VPO's of our own invention. As I said earlier: a builder assembles parts; a maker creates from scratch, and is way more than an assembler of parts bought from suppliers.
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csw900

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Re: Good idea for end users making new sample sets?

PostSun May 19, 2019 4:42 am

I have recently been trying out a wide range of HW sample sets and was quite surprised to find how variable they are in playability and general useability.

Some of those old organs are really weird - stops positioned all over the place with no proper labelling, text that is so small it cannot be read.

A feature I particularly dislike is where the key movements on the manuals are so small and indistinct it is hard to see which one is being played. I also dislike sample sets where the stops are not activated on the view that shows the manuals.

I was surprised to find that the midi format recorded sometimes depended upon which view of the stops had been selected (nrpn is normal but occasionally sysex is recorded). This is a particularly stupid idea.

Thus I am not all that surprsed that some VPO fans think they can do better themselves.

csw900
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sonar11

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Re: Good idea for end users making new sample sets?

PostSun May 19, 2019 7:36 am

Those who enjoy those sets, enjoy them; those who don't, don't. Why worry about it? Nobody is suggesting/questioning the use of your particular audio equipment, and I'm willing to bet I can suggest higher quality audio than what you currently use :)
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adri

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Re: Good idea for end users making new sample sets?

PostSun May 19, 2019 12:45 pm

csw900 wrote:I have recently been trying out a wide range of HW sample sets and was quite surprised to find how variable they are in playability and general useability.

Some of those old organs are really weird - stops positioned all over the place with no proper labelling, text that is so small it cannot be read.

A feature I particularly dislike is where the key movements on the manuals are so small and indistinct it is hard to see which one is being played. I also dislike sample sets where the stops are not activated on the view that shows the manuals.

I was surprised to find that the midi format recorded sometimes depended upon which view of the stops had been selected (nrpn is normal but occasionally sysex is recorded). This is a particularly stupid idea.

Thus I am not all that surprsed that some VPO fans think they can do better themselves.

csw900


CSW900: You are only talking about user interface; you haven't said a word about sound. But I agree with you that some user interfaces could have been designed a lot better, bigger, clearer, etc.
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adri

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Re: Good idea for end users making new sample sets?

PostSun May 19, 2019 12:52 pm

sonar11 wrote:Those who enjoy those sets, enjoy them; those who don't, don't. Why worry about it? Nobody is suggesting/questioning the use of your particular audio equipment, and I'm willing to bet I can suggest higher quality audio than what you currently use :)


Sonar11: whom you are talking to?
If to me, you're mistaken: I have a topnotch sound system that cost me well over $7,000.00; 4 monitors by top-rated Focal and Fireface UCX as soundcard. Plus headphones for nighttime playing.
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csw900

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Re: Good idea for end users making new sample sets?

PostSun May 19, 2019 1:16 pm

To adri

I did not mention the sound because I have very little criticism of it - most sample sets are good. However I have noticed clipping on the audio output of some organs. This is probably how the myth of HW's intermodulation distortion arose!!

csw900
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OrganoPleno

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Re: Good idea for end users making new sample sets?

PostSun May 19, 2019 3:55 pm

adri wrote:It took... the Organ Reform Movement to bring us back to sanity in organ building.


Is that what happened? The way I heard it, the Organ Reform Movement ruined a lot of beautiful Instruments (Romantic, Symphonic, and American Classic), while producing a whole new generation of pseudo-Baroque "Screamers", perpetuating the worst misconceptions of Baroque aesthetics. Only after the reunion of Germany, when a whole world of historic, undisturbed Baroque instruments could be re-discovered in East Germany, were Baroque-style instruments successfully built once again.
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adri

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Re: Good idea for end users making new sample sets?

PostSun May 19, 2019 6:39 pm

OrganoPleno wrote:
adri wrote:It took... the Organ Reform Movement to bring us back to sanity in organ building.


Is that what happened? The way I heard it, the Organ Reform Movement ruined a lot of beautiful Instruments (Romantic, Symphonic, and American Classic), while producing a whole new generation of pseudo-Baroque "Screamers", perpetuating the worst misconceptions of Baroque aesthetics. Only after the reunion of Germany, when a whole world of historic, undisturbed Baroque instruments could be re-discovered in East Germany, were Baroque-style instruments successfully built once again.


While you're right on the initial results of the Organ Reform Movement, although there are notable exceptions of great beauty in their own right, I stated my words carefully, but I should have elaborated: what I meant with the sanity is that the desire arose to build mechanical organs again and the conscious discovery that organs of the past sounded better than the present.

That this sanity of thought and intention however turned into a new-baroque fad, that indeed affected many especially romantic instruments was indeed more of an insanity. Correct, but who could have predicted that when the Organ Reform got started? Was that its initial intention? No it was not, but it was an outgrowth as the result of a mass hysteria, a fanaticism, of misplaced dogmatism and disdain for romantic organs.

I remember in Holland how much a builder like Van Oeckelen was hated. He was hated on the one hand for the right reasons, because he maimed many older organs in the 19th century, but his own work in building new organs was of solid musical and construction quality. He remains a controversial figure, which is a better position than being totally hated.

Thanks.
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sonar11

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Re: Good idea for end users making new sample sets?

PostMon May 20, 2019 8:17 am

adri wrote:
sonar11 wrote:Those who enjoy those sets, enjoy them; those who don't, don't. Why worry about it? Nobody is suggesting/questioning the use of your particular audio equipment, and I'm willing to bet I can suggest higher quality audio than what you currently use :)


Sonar11: whom you are talking to?
If to me, you're mistaken: I have a topnotch sound system that cost me well over $7,000.00; 4 monitors by top-rated Focal and Fireface UCX as soundcard. Plus headphones for nighttime playing.


Only 4? That's "entry level". You will have distortion and muddy playback.
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Re: Good idea for end users making new sample sets?

PostMon May 20, 2019 10:24 am

Really? So I suppose this means users of headphones are also doomed to "distortion and muddy playback"?
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Re: Good idea for end users making new sample sets?

PostMon May 20, 2019 10:40 am

:D :) :( :?

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: Good idea for end users making new sample sets?

PostMon May 20, 2019 12:00 pm

Dnsmo wrote:Really? So I suppose this means users of headphones are also doomed to "distortion and muddy playback"?


"Doomed", no, I would not use that wording, but yes you will gain clarity and dynamics by adding additional stereo pairs.

If you have 4 speakers, that's basically a Front Left, Front Right, Rear Left, and Rear Right (I'm assuming most people set up 4 speakers this way, but you could also do 4 front and no rears/perspective). So that means, each speaker is playing the full range of sounds at all times. On a moderately large organ with a Tutti active, how many pipes are playing through each speaker? Hundreds. You have 1', mixtures, 8', 16', reeds, flues etc, all trying to play back through 1 woofer + tweeter. The demands on that speaker are very high.

Now add another stereo pair to the front; suddenly the amount of work each speaker has to do, is cut literally in half. Add two or three extra pairs, and suddenly we're getting somewhere in terms reducing distortion and gaining clarity.

There is also greater dynamics available when using multiple speakers. The organ sounds "bigger", more lifelike, more spread out.

Each time I added extra pairs, my audio improved dramatically. I only have 8 speakers in use right now, that is limited by my current budget, but if I could afford it I would double to 16 without any question.
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