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A different kind of VTPO

Existing and forthcoming Hauptwerk instruments, recommendations, ...

A different kind of VTPO

Postby toplayer2 » Tue Sep 18, 2007 8:43 pm

Just today Martin asked me if I might have any interest in developing another VTPO set. As I thought about it the idea made more and more sense to me. I will say that IF I move ahead, the approach will be "different". One important point is that I have absolutely no desire to get into the business of selling sample libraries. But I do love the TPO and very much enjoy the challenge of recreating one in a living room. So, this very germinal idea would likely involve the following assumptions:

- The library would be "freeware", although samples would be encrypted
- A goal would be to keep "total cost of ownership" low
- Samples would be high quality stereo, "slightly wet and ambient"
- Not too perfect, a few warts add character
- A small VTPO (probably Barton 3/10) would be implemented
- Trem would be sampled (please, I've heard all the negative arguments)
- Convolved reverb would be a key consideration*
- The design would be intended for eight channels in four stereo pairs:
Main, Solo, mid-reverb, far reverb

I already have all of the finished samples for such a project, so it wouldn't be too much additional work to create the ODF. The most important objective is to recreate a "believable" virtual acoustic space in one's living room which transports the listener to the theatre.

[added Sep 19]

Another design goal would be to minimize the effort on the part of the user to achieve a satsifactory result. The B3/10 would be pre-voiced and should work well if the Main and Solo pairs are neutral, wide-range [including subwoofer(s) if desired], low in distortion, and forward facing into an "average" domestic room. The mid and far reverb pairs could be typical powered monitors such as the Behringer B2031A or M-Audio BX8a (examples only) and would be placed midway and at the rear of the room. If needed or desired, further refinement would still be possible with HW2 Concert.

* to render convolved reverb will require future version of HW or third party convolver.

Open for comment.

Joe H.
Last edited by toplayer2 on Wed Sep 19, 2007 12:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Jim Reid » Tue Sep 18, 2007 9:36 pm

BINGO!!!!

You got the sampled trems??? Go for it, NOW!!

And theatre ambiance sampled.....wow!!

Warts and all....yes, yes.
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Re: A different kind of VTPO

Postby John T. » Tue Sep 18, 2007 9:48 pm

toplayer2 wrote:
- Trem would be sampled (please, I've heard all the negative arguments)


Hi Joe,

I, too, prefer tremmed samples. The syncronization never seemed to bother me so I say Go For It!

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Postby Jim Reid » Wed Sep 19, 2007 12:56 am

Is a "lot" of reverb really necessary? Have a listen to Jim Riggs
playing the Paramount Studio Recording organ. The spec for this
organ was "prepared" for Jesse Crawford himself in the late '50s.
And Crawford made his last recordings on these very keys!

But the reason for this note: there is NO reverberation, nor other
room acoustic ambient apparent! If there is any, it is very light.
Almost a "dry" TPO sound. Yet the music is full of joy and a lot
of fun. Listen:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1FSCXwbDwc

You will note some other videos on the right. Be sure to listen to
the duets Riggs plays accompanying a roll player piano. The rolls
come from the '20s!

Great lesson here also in the use of "detached" rhythm notes in
the block chord style of theatre playing. He also leans to the
Crawford/George Wright style of rather sparse TPO registrations,
nice.

Also, Jim has rather small hands; check out his use of BOTH
hands in some of Crawford's melody glissando runs in the
piece "June Night" one of the duets.

Just amazing skill and technique.

Will have to give that a try when my re-wiring is complete and
my VTPO is playing once again.

Looks so simple and easy......but it is not at all!
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Postby toplayer2 » Wed Sep 19, 2007 5:28 am

Jim Reid wrote:Is a "lot" of reverb really necessary?


Jim,

No. I also am not overly fond of cavernous reverb. The Barton I have in mind for this project is situated in a 1600 seat theatre. The ideal would be to closely approximate the ambiance of that space. I would plan to return to the venue to capture a number of IRs to be used with the sample set.

One of the best sounding TPOs I have ever heard is Ron Wehmeier's residence 31 rank WurliTzer. The acoustics are somewhat dry. Barry Baker has recorded two CDs on this fine organ, "For The Very First Time" and "A Barry Baker Concert". For me they are reference quality. Unfortunately, Mr. Wehmeier has politely declined my overtures to sample his beautiful and meticulously maintained organ (as is his perfect right).

I heartily agree the Jim Riggs is among the top artists. His is a unique and engaging style.

Thanks to you and John T for your encouragement regarding the project.

Joe H.
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Postby Lougheed » Wed Sep 19, 2007 6:01 am

toplayer2 wrote:The Barton I have in mind for this project is situated in a 1600 seat theatre. The ideal would be to closely approximate the ambiance of that space.


I assume you mean the ambience of that space with 1600 people sitting in it! That's one problem I see with recording the ambience of spaces. The dampening effect of the people often gets overlooked.

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Postby Jon Hammond » Wed Sep 19, 2007 6:06 am

Mr. Wehmeier may be busy rebuilding the Wurlitzer from the demolished Cincinatti Emery theater for placement in the ballroom annex of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra music hall. When completed, that oTPO should be on the sampling wish list.
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Postby toplayer2 » Wed Sep 19, 2007 6:17 am

Lougheed wrote:I assume you mean the ambience of that space with 1600 people sitting in it!


Unfortunately no. The starter pistol (for the IRs) would doubtless be a source of anxiety in a packed house. The good news is that a quality convolver would allow some adjustments to achieve a desirable result.

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Postby PeterD » Wed Sep 19, 2007 8:28 am

Hi Everybody

I'm not sure that a cinema organ is any different when it comes to ambience,- the most important stop on the organ is the acoustic, and this is what makes it come alive or kills it stone dead.

I occasionally play a 1860 Sweetland organ which is in one half of a medieval barn which with beams and plasterwork is acoustically almost dead. It isn't pleasant to play - particularly with a dead acoustic one perceives the attack when playing as really quite harsh, yet with a just a little reverb added from the Lexicon system installed, it develops a quite different and alltogether musically satisfying sound. Similarly in my previous Parish we acquired a new Jones Tracker - discounting the fact I'm not not over fond of Neo-Baroque instruments it really didn't sound any better than it's creaking Victorian predecessor - simply a miserable acoustic.

I've had a similar experiences playing a TO home installation - one was reminded of a Tiger snarling in a cage - a quite horrible restriction of the sound.

It isn't just the size of the building- the RFH organ in London was absolutely ruined by the awful acoustic. In fact ANY organ stands or falls by the acoustic of the space it's played in. -VTO's as well !!

I'm somewhat at a loss to see why a concentration on a multichannel approach should have more than a marginal effect, particularly with TO's. In the case of a straight organ, emulating an array of ranks with dry samples, I can see that you might well create the soundfield in front of the organ quite exactly - but is that true of a TO ? - do you really hear separate ranks when they are emanating from the swell shades say 150 feet back in the centre stalls?
Additionally can a multitude of moderate speakers ever equal the sound from a really good pair of large speakers.

In any case after you have created the perfect image of the organ unless it plays in a benign acoustic you have been wasting your time and for me that's where I would put my investment. For the Milan 3-31 I use a Yamaha DSP -AX1 which really does deliver excellent room modelling from a stereo source, and it's quite as near to the real thing I shall ever own. The little Willis Groton organ - dry as a stick and dead through a straight amp, turns into a rather enjoyable instrument through the Yamaha's Europe Concert Hall "A" - I'm sure it never sounded like that in it's little church in Suffolk so whether you think it's appropiate to play a modest little organ in a concert hall is of course a separate issue.
Concert hall "A" seems to have a reverb of 1-2 secs with no reflections from the walls- seems to work fine with dry samples of all genre's

Quite right, the average Cinema full of people wasn't really very reverberant - but there is some, and if that's the sound you want to achieve, of course be sparing with your reverb. If you can get hold of the recording of Everett Nourse and Tiny James playing the swan song of the San Francisco Fox with all the furnishings taken out you can hear just what the Cinema Organ is really capable of. For me that recording does it. With Virtual organs we can achieve just what we require personally, by focussing on the accurate modelling of the reverberant space we wish to play in - I think High End Home Cinema amps do just that. They're multichannel, typically churn out 750-1000 Watts and if you're soundcard produces compatible SPDIF I think you could possibly assign the ranks in virtual chambers as well, using front and rear outputs with speakers arranged laterally of course.

For me it's rather transformed the way I view Hauptwerk. There has always been for me, a small measure of disquiet in the way looped wet samples combine together in ensemble, and the answers always seem to involve more processor demands i.e more expensive computers. With a relatively modest computer and dry samples I can achieve an equally satisfying result, - I'm currently looking forward to Litomysl Dry arriving in the post- although it's a bit of a Ralph Downes of an instrument, at least I shall be able to play it in a acoustic which will allow it to sound its' best which isn't entirely the case with the wet samples, - I'm sure it's the way forward for me at least until native reverb turns up,

Regards

Peter
Last edited by PeterD on Thu Sep 20, 2007 1:31 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby toplayer2 » Wed Sep 19, 2007 12:50 pm

PeterD wrote:I'm not sure that a cinema organ is any different when it comes to ambience,- the most important stop on the organ is the acoustic, and this is what makes it come alive or kills it stone dead.


Peter,

Well said, and I could not agree with you more. Thank goodness faster computers, well designed convolvers, and well recorded IRs have converged to give us the means to believably recreate the enveloping experience of a theatre, cathedral or concert hall in our living rooms.

Joe H.
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Barton VTPO

Postby T.C.Lake » Sat Sep 29, 2007 9:29 am

Hello Joe.
Ihave been reading your (September) added coments
on the Barton and trust your endevours in this direction will have a succsessful out come. You mention possible monitors for a set up
and I wonder if you could state a preference between those mentioned
or any other suitable units within a reasonable price range -I understand that some do not handle the sine wave too well !!

I envsage possibly two stereo channels (4 speakers) plus sub woofer
in a domestic situation (when the neighbours are out !!) and would be
interested in your opinion.

Looking forward to the" arrival" of The Barton
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SIGNING OFF

Postby T.C.Lake » Sat Sep 29, 2007 9:38 am

hello (again )Joe,
Sorry I got so excited about The Baron
I forgot to sign off

Best Regards

Terry Lake (UK)
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Re: Barton VTPO

Postby toplayer2 » Sat Sep 29, 2007 9:50 am

T.C.Lake wrote:Hello Joe.
Ihave been reading your (September) added coments
on the Barton and trust your endevours in this direction will have a succsessful out come. You mention possible monitors for a set up
and I wonder if you could state a preference between those mentioned
or any other suitable units within a reasonable price range -I understand that some do not handle the sine wave too well !!

I envsage possibly two stereo channels (4 speakers) plus sub woofer
in a domestic situation (when the neighbours are out !!) and would be
interested in your opinion.

Looking forward to the" arrival" of The Barton


T.C.:

There are lots of choices for speakers/monitors. The more critical ones would be the Main and Solo Pairs (or the single pair for two channel operation). The reverb channels can be of lesser quality. For Main and Solo, among my favorites are the Mackie HR824 and SR1530 models. For a subwoofer I like the Bag End Infrasub-18. But these are just a few choices among many. Low IM distorion is as you suggested rather important.

Here is a more recent status which I had posted on Theatre-sf:

The final configuration is not yet fully decided, but at present I am leaning toward a virtual version of the very fine Redford Theatre Barton 3/10, but possibly adding a Wurlitzer Post Horn since this Barton lacks one. (As Lynn Walls said, "you don't have to use it if you're a stickler for authenticity".) The ranks are:

* 16' Tuba 97 50%
* 16' Tibia Clausa 97 90%
* 16' Flute 85 0%
* 8' Open Diapason 85 100%
* 8' Oboe Horn 61 100%
* 8' Vox Humana 61 100%
* 8' Clarinet 61 100%
* 8' Kinura 61 100%
* 8' VDO 73 80%
* 8' VDO Celeste 73 80%
* 8' Post Horn 73 ? (WurliTzer) 100%
* Piano 85 100%
* Chrysoglott 100%
* Glockenspiel 100%
* Xylophone 100%
* Marimba ? (WurliTzer) 100%

The percentages indicated the degree to which final samples are completed. I have completely redone all samples from the original raw recordings, taking extra care to make them as clean and musical as I can. The samples are all true stereo and include roughly 0.7 seconds of sampled theatre reverb. Every pipe is sampled. The lengthes of all samples are in the range of 6 to 10 seconds. No audible loops can be detected. Tremulants are all sampled.

Also as part of the package (planning for the future version of Hauptwerk which will incorporate a real-time multi-channel convolver), will be a set of left and right near, mid and far IRs taken from the Redford. When played back through an eight channel audio system. a uniquely realistic simulation of actually playing the organ in the Redford Theatre will be possible in the average living room.


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Barton VTPO

Postby T.C.Lake » Sat Sep 29, 2007 3:33 pm

hello Joe,
Thanks for your reply
I do like the Barton sound

Best regards,
Terry
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