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New organ - Multi-channel with mixdown of some ranks

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New organ - Multi-channel with mixdown of some ranks

Postby nazardo » Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:26 am

Dear all,

I am designing an Hauptwerk virtual organ for my parish church.
The nave is around 130 ft long by 50 ft wide with a vaulted ceiling 40 ft height.

The original pipe organ featured 45 stops and two consoles, one on the balcony with three keyboards and one in the nave with two keyboards and a simplified stops range. (Link to description)
The organ was completely destroyed on the 15th of November 2006 when the church's bell tower collapsed.

The church facade has been rebuilt and the church has opened to the public in 2011. The wooden organ balcony is now rebuilt, but there are no hopes of rebuilding a pipe organ. I am then designing a virtual organ to satisfy the liturgical and musical needs of our community.

The church has a steady natural reverberation that allows dry sample sets to perform their job really well. We tested ranks from the dry version of Caen’s Cavaillé-Coll (Sonus Paradisi) with two ordinary stereo Hi-Fi speakers and we were really satisfied by the quality of the result.

For the virtual organ we have budget for 12 Definitive Technology BP-9060 full range towers, with adequate amplifiers by ATI. These speakers will be positioned on a wood structure on the organ's balcony, at almost the same position as the original organ pipes. At first I will try with a single audio output group made of 6 stereo audio outputs; if necessary I will change to manual routing of ranks to subset of channels. The audio board is a MOTU 24AO.

Here comes the issue I am facing.
The choir director and the organist (who are down in the nave) need a pair of speakers near their position to help them play fast pieces and to help the choir keep proper intonation. They need two monitor speakers, or something like that.

What I had in mind is to route a mix-down of the organ's audio outputs to these two additional speakers. I would not like though to route every rank but just the pricipals or diapasons (8', 4', 2'). I think routing everything to these two speakers will produce a bad sound, what do you think?

To the best of my knowledge it is not possible to perform what I have in mind, but I hope to be proved wrong.
The only solution that comes to my mind would be having two separate audio output groups, but wouldn't this compromise the benefit of having cyclic distribution of pipes over 12 speakers?

I am very much interested in your opinion about this and about the project as a whole.

Thanks,

Mauro
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Re: New organ - Multi-channel with mixdown of some ranks

Postby IainStinson » Wed Sep 19, 2018 1:21 pm

I remember some previous discussion about this on the forum but can’t find it.

Here is a possible solution (which seems to work).

I have simplified the problem so that there are
• 2 stereo channels (4 amps / speakers) at rear of church
• 1 stereo channel (2 amps / speakers) at front of church
You can add more channels to either of these speaker locations by extending the solution.

The “trick” (way to do this) is to use the aux send from the output channels to which HW assigns sounds and to send the output to all of the speakers or to only those at the rear of the church.

I created a new output group name Chancel; the default output group is normally always present.

Image

I then set up the following audio outputs.

Image

The bottom three Saffire 003/004, Saffire 005/006 and Saffire 007/008 are connected to three stereo audio systems. 003/004 and 005/006 are located at the back of the church and are to receive output from all the ranks. Channels 007/008 are only to receive selected ranks (located at the front of the church).

Image

They are set up with the Output Type set as Aux mix-down output (Dest. For primary output aux sends).

Image

The first four audio outputs specify the same output device as the bottom three but have their Device Channels set to <none> (and produce no direct sound) and are setup with their Output Type as Primary Outputs (dest. For pipe routing).

Image


The first two (stereo pairs) are assigned to the Main Output group and the third and fourth are assigned to the Chancel group.

The first two (the Main group channels) have their Aux send 1 to the Saffire outputs 003/004 and 005/006 respectively.

The third and four outputs (the Chancel group channels) have their Aux send 1 to send to the same output as the corresponding Main output channels (third is set to send Aux 1 to 003/004 and the four is set to send Aux 1 to 005/006). Each of the third and fourth outputs send their Aux send 2 to 007/008.

Image

This means that when ranks are assigned to sound through the output group name Chancel, HW uses its cyclic algorithm between the two stereo outputs allocated to that group. Each of these sends the output via aux send 1 to a channel with amps and speakers attached (2 stereo pairs 003/004 and 005/006) according to the cyclic algorithm and both also send on aux send 2 to a channel with amps and speakers attached (on stereo pair 007/008) – this sums the signals received.

For Rank assigned to the Main output group, HW uses it cyclic algorithm between the two stereo outputs allocated to that group. Each of these sends the output via aux send 1 to a channel with amps and speakers attached (2 stereo pairs 003/ and 004 and 005/006) which each sum the signals received from the Chancel group and the Main group.

So assigning a rank to Main results it in sounding only on the rear four speakers (2 stereo pairs 003/4 and 005/6) and ranks assigned to Chancel sound on both the rears speaker and on the stereo pair in the chancel (007/8).

The solution can be extended but is limited by the number of Aux Sends (four currently).
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Re: New organ - Multi-channel with mixdown of some ranks

Postby magnaton » Thu Sep 20, 2018 12:30 am

Iain:
Your post shows excellent ingenuity! Its amazing the solutions that show up when the need arises. I am quite familiar with the HW audio and routing schemes but was humbled when I read your post. Your last paragraph sums up the details quite nicely.

I took the liberty to convert your text and images into a table, as best I could with the forum editor, and simplified the conclusion. I feel this an excellent reference for future Hauptwerk enthusiasts.

Visual representation of Iain Stinson's routing design.
AudioOuput__Type___Group____Mix Down
blank_(A) ___Primary___Main____Aux-1 3/4
blank_(B)____Primary___Main____Aux-1 5/6
blank_(C)____Primary__Chancel__Aux-1 3/4 + Aux-2 7/8
blank_(D)____Primary__Chancel__Aux-1 5/6 + Aux-2 7/8
3/4 Rear____Aux
5/6 Rear____Aux
7/8 Front____Aux

Ranks assigned to Main Group will sound only on the rear four speakers (2 stereo pairs) 3/4 and 5/6.
Ranks assigned to Chancel Group will sound on both the rear speakers and the front Chancel speakers (7/8).


Danny B.
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Re: New organ - Multi-channel with mixdown of some ranks

Postby nazardo » Thu Sep 20, 2018 3:59 am

Thank you Iain, your solution is really brilliant!! I am eager to test it live now. :D :D
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Re: New organ - Multi-channel with mixdown of some ranks

Postby nazardo » Thu Sep 20, 2018 4:44 am

I have created an image with all relevant configurations highlighted (3 stereo channels on the balcony and 1 stereo channel for mixed down output of some ranks).

Image
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Re: New organ - Multi-channel with mixdown of some ranks

Postby IainStinson » Thu Sep 20, 2018 5:14 am

(Its not my solution - I think I read about it somewhere on the forum....)
Remember that because of the shortage of Aux send outputs the number of outputs in the group for allocation is limited to 3 stereo pairs at the rear and 1 stereo pair at the front of church. This also does not leave any channels for a sub mix down.

I think if I had the issue you have I might treat the front channels as a "fold back arrangement" (where the sound is really only to help the singers and a low volume) and go for a four stereo outputs at the rear and use one mix down of everything for the front: this would also avoid some sounds "disappearing" for the singers when other ranks are used.

Have you though of using an additional division just for the "choir"?

Good luck

Iain
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Re: New organ - Multi-channel with mixdown of some ranks

Postby engrssc » Thu Sep 20, 2018 8:49 am

Since you are using the MOTU 24 Ao, have you considered using the included (free - download) virtual audio mixing console - AudioDesk? Very powerful and easy to use for routing, even effects available

http://motu.com/products/software/audiodesk

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: New organ - Multi-channel with mixdown of some ranks

Postby nazardo » Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:20 am

IainStinson wrote:(Its not my solution - I think I read about it somewhere on the forum....)
Remember that because of the shortage of Aux send outputs the number of outputs in the group for allocation is limited to 3 stereo pairs at the rear and 1 stereo pair at the front of church. This also does not leave any channels for a sub mix down.

If I have understood correctly how the proposed solution works, there is no limit in the number of stereo pairs you put on the organ's balcony (rear speakers). I am not able to test this configuration, but in theory it should work:
Image

IainStinson wrote:I think if I had the issue you have I might treat the front channels as a "fold back arrangement" (where the sound is really only to help the singers and a low volume) and go for a four stereo outputs at the rear and use one mix down of everything for the front: this would also avoid some sounds "disappearing" for the singers when other ranks are used.
Have you though of using an additional division just for the "choir"?

The reasoning behind not having a separate division for the choir is that there in no budget for a second set of high quality speakers to put where the choir is. We will place only two cheap studio monitors at low volume. I am a little bit afraid that routing every stop to such speakers will produce bad results. For instance I suspect that mutations, reeds and strings will not help singers very much.

Anyway, these are all matters that will require a live test once the system is setup and the organ stops have been “tuned”. It is very nice to know that Hauptwerk will support both scenarios.

Thank you for your help.

engrssc wrote:Since you are using the MOTU 24 Ao, have you considered using the included (free - download) virtual audio mixing console - AudioDesk? Very powerful and easy to use for routing, even effects available
Thank you Ed, I did not know about this. I do not have the MOTU yet.
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Re: New organ - Multi-channel with mixdown of some ranks

Postby engrssc » Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:31 am

Informative user guide for 24 Ao. Page 16 explains the matrix routing feature. Pages 17 - 22 explain the mixing console including the main mix bus, monitor bus, three group busses, and seven aux busses,

https://cdn-data.motu.com/manuals/avb/24Ai_24Ao_User_Guide.pdf

Suggestion, don't get overwhelmed by the initial read thru. This is very powerful software and if you don't "get it" right away, that's ok. BTW, the support people at MOTU are very knowledgeable and helpful.

The MOTU 24 Ao is AVB (Audio Video Bridge) network equipped. In one installation, the 24 Ao is 160 feet (able to be up to 400 feet) away from the console. The 24 Ao feeds the speaker amplifiers. In the console we have a MOTU Ultralite AVB feeding the 24 Ao via the network connection. 24 channels of Hauptwerk audio over a single Cat 5e cable. The 24 Ao works as a stand alone audio interface as well via a USB 2.0 connection to the computer.

Presently there is available on eBay a used 24 Ao at a reduced price.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Motu-24Ao-ESS-Sabre-24-Channel-DAC/173515130591?hash=item28664ec6df:g:GbAAAOSwehJbjpoL

To quote the seller "The routing is insanely flexible." I'll vouch for that.


Rgds,
Ed
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Re: New organ - Multi-channel with mixdown of some ranks

Postby Romanos » Wed Oct 17, 2018 6:50 pm

nazardo wrote:
IainStinson wrote:(Its not my solution - I think I read about it somewhere on the forum....)
Remember that because of the shortage of Aux send outputs the number of outputs in the group for allocation is limited to 3 stereo pairs at the rear and 1 stereo pair at the front of church. This also does not leave any channels for a sub mix down.

If I have understood correctly how the proposed solution works, there is no limit in the number of stereo pairs you put on the organ's balcony (rear speakers). I am not able to test this configuration, but in theory it should work:
Image


That is technically true. The technical limit is 512 channels I believe. That said, you should not create a slew of output channels if you do not have physical speakers to go with them; otherwise, HW will be routing audio signals to speakers that don't exist. So, if you have a total of 8 speakers, you only have 4 stereo pair at your disposal.

Personally, (and especially if you are keeping them at a low volume) I'd create 3 stereo pair in the balcony and an organ mix down as the 4th pair. That signal can then be duplicated and sent to the monitors for the choir at the front and also sent to the sub. At the bare minimum you need to create a stereo mix down set for the sub anyway.

Most of us started humble and only had a single pair of studio monitors when we first stet up our rigs. Unless you go extremely cheapo, most acceptable studio monitors can handle the whole signal of the organ. I had two 5' studio monitors (only) for a long time and that sound was enough to really spur me on to want a larger setup.
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Re: New organ - Multi-channel with mixdown of some ranks

Postby mnailor » Thu Oct 18, 2018 12:14 pm

Those were some good solutions to the technical problem as posed. But just as a sanity check, I would try a straight mixdown of all ranks to the choir/organist monitors and go with the default algorithm across all the main stereo pairs first.

I'm not sure why it would sound "bad", and there will be accompaniments that don't happen to include the ranks you selected, leaving gaps in the choir monitors' coverage.

A lot of people mix all the ranks on one pair of speakers or headphones. If the speakers really sound bad, they'll sound bad for just the principals 8 4 2 as well, and you'll have to get better ones anyway. There are many low cost speakers that can handle Hauptwerk at moderate volume without noticeable distortion.

For future expansion, using the Motu's mixer will allow you more than one monitor mix if you need to put more speakers up for the choir. But Haupwerk's single aux mix is easier to configure to get started.
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