Search:
Submit Search


Multi-channel Audio -- Really Needed ?

Speakers, amplifiers, headphones, multi-channel audio, reverb units, mixers, wiring, ...

Multi-channel Audio -- Really Needed ?

Postby Jim Reid » Mon May 10, 2010 8:29 pm

There are 37 pages of posts in which this topic appears in the HW Forum; the first (by Martin) seems to
be in May of 2003. I have had various muti-audio channels since my start with
Hauptwerk in 2004. though had to wait for HW 2 for actual realization with HW.
Began with my original 8 channel Allen organ audio from my 1978 MOS-1 1203C,
or whatever it was called; had four MOS 1 generator boards each with two audio
output channels. Four of these were bi-amped, so had a lot of amplifiers and
large Allen speaker cabinets. Always had to select homes in which all this
would reasonably fit/sound.

Colin Pykett has written probably the definitive paper about why Virtual Organs
should use multiple channels of audio output:

http://www.pykett.org.uk/EndOfPipeOrgan.htm .

Most recent mention about Pykett was by Martin and others, here:

viewtopic.php?f=17&t=6498&p=45555&hilit=+Pykett#p45555

Prof. Helmut Maier has always urged the use of only stereo headphones of
the highest quality, dynamic range and absolute linear frequency response for listening/playing
his fine OrganArt Media wet sampled pipe organs. I began to question my multi audio set-up
following several years use, a LOT of money spent, and less than total satisfaction, even
using a fine convolution system arraigned for me by Francois Ratte (forum micdev).

I began to question the need:

viewtopic.php?f=17&t=6495&p=45460&hilit=near+field#p45460

and specifically that vs, near-field stereo plus sub woofer use.

For now my system is only using a pair of Behringer B2031A monitors sitting on either end of
my large 3-manual Allen console (now stripped of all Allen components with PC, etc. inside)
plus several sets of large Allen speaker cabinets, each with a 15", long throw, high-compliance
woofer, and a couple of mix down rear channel speakers with a simplified convolution system,
again arraigned by Francois. The Allen cabinets are across a wall in front of me as I sit at the console,
and are grouped into left, right stereo array; this brings the large bass pipes to a convincing two channel
stereo bass configuration. For listening without family disturbance when I practice, I still use the
headphones, AKG 701, as recommended by Prof. Maier in the past. Have sold my multi-audio
MOTU 24 I/O and PCIe-24 sound card; am now using the Echo Audio PreFire 8, and only stereo out
for now.

Have very fine stereo sound now, and am very pleased with the results.
User avatar
Jim Reid
Member
 
Posts: 1764
Joined: Mon May 17, 2004 7:50 pm
Location: Kauai, Hawaii

Re: Multi-channel Audio -- Really Needed ?

Postby toplayer2 » Tue May 11, 2010 6:11 am

Jim,

It is nice to read that you are pleased with the sound you are presently getting. My experience has been that one pair of very high quality speakers is preferable to multiple channels with speakers of lesser quality. The voicing work on the Paramount has been done using a single pair of Mackie HR824 (original) monitors positioned near-field.

If the same high standards are maintained for multiple channels, then I believe there can be definite benefits, at least for dry sampled organs. Using the exact same models for all channels also allows more flexibility when applying the various routing schemes possible with Hauptwerk.

Joe
User avatar
toplayer2
Member
 
Posts: 1055
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2007 3:15 pm
Location: Michigan, USA

Re: Multi-channel Audio -- Really Needed ?

Postby CHRIS 037 » Tue May 11, 2010 11:50 am

Hi Jim,

I have now tried all three of these approaches: multiple speakers, near-field stereo, and headphones. This is how I feel about them:

The headphones are best for an organ that has been recorded wet in its natural acoustics. A big wet organ can be quite a thrill to play using headphones. But a dry organ even with edited stereo positioning and added reverb just doesn’t sound quite right to me. At best, it feels like listening to a recording of the organ rather than actually being there in a reverberant room. But, it would be fine for practicing. I also get tired of the restricted feeling of the headphones.

The near field set up didn’t last very long for me. I had two powered monitors up on my organ console and also had a subwoofer included. The sound was quite good, in fact. I didn’t have surround speakers in back. That would have made it even better, I’m sure. This worked well for the wet sets, but was not very thrilling for the dry ones with reverb added.

Both of these approaches have in common that only the player can really appreciate the great sound. Your listeners need to be positioned somehow in that “sweet spot” for the near field, or be supplied headphones. I gave up the near field set up since when I have visitors who play the organ, I love to sit out front of the speaker array and just listen. The near field doesn’t allow that.

Multiple speakers are a whole different ball game. Here the organ (speakers) becomes a part of the room itself. The room and speakers must couple together in such a way that the organ sounds real. That takes a lot of voicing. I’d also say that the size of the speakers makes a huge difference too. A number of large speakers (say, 10”. 12”, or larger) would need a really big room. Otherwise the sound would get very boomy and mid-bass heavy. Speakers that are too large tend to drive the room resonances crazy in the low mid bass frequencies. For me, a bunch of the 5” powered speakers matches my organ room well.

I would suggest that if you were not pleased with the sound you got from your multiple speaker arrangements, it may be due to speakers that are too large and powerful for your room (those big Klipsch horns, for example---great speakers for stereo but maybe not so great for multiple HW setups(?) And, the Allen cabinets sound pretty large, too). Trying to voice something like that would be pretty difficult. The advantage of the multiple speakers set up is that one can have a whole lot of smaller and separate sound sources, as a pipe organ does. It is also meant for those of us who want the feel of the actual organ right in the room with us.

And I think Joe is certainly right in pointing out that the speakers should match each other as well as possible. Fortunately, I can match all 12 speakers in each of my six groups with the exception of one group. That group takes a bit more voicing, but does work OK since the quality of those speakers is high. The speaker placement is a big deal too. Smaller speakers are easier to locate along a wall, but any change in position can require more editing.

I’m totally thrilled with the multiple speaker sound coupled with the Paramount 310 (where’s that dog-gone 320, anyway???, can’t hardly wait!!!) That organ really seems to be a perfect match to my set up and my room. . . the organ and the room become one great sounding instrument. Although, as always in a multiple speaker arrangement, the organ doesn’t sound quite like the same instrument as it does through headphones.

In the end, you just need to seek the sound that satisfies you, yourself. It looks as though you have found that. . . excellent!

Leo Chris.
User avatar
CHRIS 037
Member
 
Posts: 1006
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2003 10:01 pm
Location: Spokane, WA, USA

Re: Multi-channel Audio -- Really Needed ?

Postby Jim Reid » Tue May 11, 2010 7:03 pm

Just coming from a long playing session (practicing actually). Mostly
working on Brahms " Eleven Chorale Preludes", the Biggs edition, and
primarily #8, "Es ist ein Ros' entsprungen", but playing Brahms
apparent manuals only version, not Biggs "untangled" version
in which he uses pedals for the lower notes. My left hand can
span to the needed score notes. Emulating, I hope, this playing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPoqaLAH ... re=related

I used Brett's Willis (as used in the above, I believe); also tried the
MDA Metz Cavaille'-Col sample set. The Willis seems more suited to
Brahms harmonies.

I used only my Allen speakers in a large two-channel stereo array,
with 6 large cabinets on each side. The sound was luxurious!
Identical speakers and amplifiers are used on each side.

Note: I could use speakers as my entire ohana (family) is
away for most of the day, wife out playing bridge, and will be
for three days in a row, at least for the mornings! All clear...

Not even a hint of IM distortion about which Pykett is so
concerned in his essay referenced above. My conclusion:
the argument supporting use of multiple speakers in various
note cycling arrays is not of real world value; certainly not
for me anyway. I put such ideas into the same bin into which
the arguments that we must use 24 bit sample play back to
achieve maximum signal to noise ratio; well so what? Our
ears cannot perceive the improvement beyond that s/n
obtained with 14 or 16 bit sample play back! CDs are 16 bit.
Previously this has been demonstrated at the AES convention,
as reported and demonstrated else where earlier in this Forum.
Jim Reid
User avatar
Jim Reid
Member
 
Posts: 1764
Joined: Mon May 17, 2004 7:50 pm
Location: Kauai, Hawaii

Re: Multi-channel Audio -- Really Needed ?

Postby CHRIS 037 » Tue May 11, 2010 8:01 pm

Each person's proof of the pudding is in each person's eating of it, I guess.

Bon Appetit! :)

Leo Chris.

BTW: For what it's worth, Joerg Glebe has mentioned on Contrebombarde that the postings of his organ use sound that is recorded through HW, not speakers and mikes. . . I assume the YouTube video is the same.
User avatar
CHRIS 037
Member
 
Posts: 1006
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2003 10:01 pm
Location: Spokane, WA, USA

Re: Multi-channel Audio -- Really Needed ?

Postby Jim Reid » Tue May 11, 2010 10:09 pm

Hi Chris, I did a further experiment this afternoon. Used only my two large
Klipschorn speakers in a simple stereo pair. For near-field monitors, they
are incredible. So.....I now have an entire new idea. These corner horns have
accompanying movable corners; makes possible various placements away
from room walls, if the space is available.

This will require major furniture moving to accomplish, including my large,
heavy console. If I proceed with this rearranging, will report, photograph
and post both sounds and photos of what I do. Spring time, so probably
a change is timely.
Jim Reid
User avatar
Jim Reid
Member
 
Posts: 1764
Joined: Mon May 17, 2004 7:50 pm
Location: Kauai, Hawaii

Re: Multi-channel Audio -- Really Needed ?

Postby CHRIS 037 » Tue May 11, 2010 11:41 pm

You know, Jim,

It seems to me you have the makings there of a truly terrific surround audio system. I think you had once mentioned having the Rabstejn sample set. Do you have the Caen surround set too?

Just imagine the huge cathedral sound you could have with say the Allen's in front and the Klipschorn's in rear corners. You would not even need a reverb system, just an amp for the rear surround set. With those speakers you could probably shake a few more volcanoes into eruption over there! :shock:

Leo Chris.
User avatar
CHRIS 037
Member
 
Posts: 1006
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2003 10:01 pm
Location: Spokane, WA, USA

Re: Multi-channel Audio -- Really Needed ?

Postby Jim Reid » Wed May 12, 2010 12:08 am

Oh Chris, there is almost no chance my wife would allow the K-horns
across the living room. It is a good thought, but certainly not going
to be possible, am afraid.

Still pondering the idea; would be a "really big" move (quoting Ed Sullivan).

No, I have no surround sets, as no way to use here. The issue is to
share the living area with the family. Difficult as it was to have both
organ and piano occupying 1/3rd or so of the large room already.

Continuing to mull the idea. Feel rather as a "mug-wump" of the 19th
century: my mug on one side of the fence, my wump on the other side.......
Jim Reid
User avatar
Jim Reid
Member
 
Posts: 1764
Joined: Mon May 17, 2004 7:50 pm
Location: Kauai, Hawaii

Re: Multi-channel Audio -- Really Needed ?

Postby mdyde » Wed May 12, 2010 6:42 am

Hello Jim,

I put such ideas into the same bin into which
the arguments that we must use 24 bit sample play back to
achieve maximum signal to noise ratio; well so what? Our
ears cannot perceive the improvement beyond that s/n
obtained with 14 or 16 bit sample play back! CDs are 16 bit.
Previously this has been demonstrated at the AES convention,
as reported and demonstrated else where earlier in this Forum.


That's not quite the full picture.

Very, very briefly (because I promised Brett I wouldn't spend any more time on these subjects at the expense of Hauptwerk v4 development) 20-bit and 24-bit resolutions *can* make a significant and audible improvement for very wet sample sets. Please see my previous replies on the subject here:

http://forum.hauptwerk.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6435&start=15

The AES 'audio myths' video you're referring to is absolutely correct in its implied contexts (listening to recorded music and recording studio mixing), but those contexts don't completely cover Hauptwerk's (wet sampling).

It initially states that 16-bit is perfectly sufficient for a final recorded medium. Absolutely. However a final recorded medium corresponds to Hauptwerk's *output* (i.e. post-mixing), not its input (the samples).

It then states that quantisation noise doesn't accumulate, by which I assume it means that summing (mixing) tracks together results in the same overall signal-to-noise ratio. Again that's absolutely correct. However, when a huge number of very wet-sampled organ pipe release tails are sounding together then, towards the end of the release tails, the signal-to-noise ratio of any one of them will often already be very low (for a 14-bit or 16-bit sample), so the signal-to-noise of the mixed result will still be very low.

That's the crux of why higher bit resolutions can indeed be relevant for wet-sampled organs. In a recording studio scenario (which the video is referring to) that wouldn't be relevant because each track in a recording studio would have a good signal-to-noise ratio throughout (i.e. it wouldn't usually have sections with extremely low signal levels). Also a recording studio wouldn't normally have thousands of tracks playing together, and especially not with the quietest portions of each track synchronised.
Best regards,
Martin.

[Please use email or the Contact page if you need to contact us privately, rather than private forum messages.]

Image
User avatar
mdyde
Moderator
 
Posts: 10644
Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2003 2:19 pm
Location: UK

Re: Multi-channel Audio -- Really Needed ?

Postby Jim Reid » Wed May 12, 2010 11:01 pm

Thanks Martin. Well I will need a bunch more RAM to load at 20 or 24 bits! Oh well.....

The heavy lifting and furniture moving is completed; an all day project, and I
needed added strength from both my wife and daughter to accomplish.

No connections as yet, however, that will be Thursday's project to get
HW playing again. The joy of this hobby. And the family is very pleased
with the new appearance of the organ system. Trust the sound will be also.
Jim Reid
User avatar
Jim Reid
Member
 
Posts: 1764
Joined: Mon May 17, 2004 7:50 pm
Location: Kauai, Hawaii

Re: Multi-channel Audio -- Really Needed ?

Postby pat17 » Sun May 16, 2010 8:45 am

I was listening to SACDs yesterday. Multichannel recordings, with this lovely analog-like DSD recording, much warmer and more alive than the classical PCM used for CDs. I think my setup is not that bad - full Martin Logan 5.1 electrostatics speakers fed by analog Harman Kardon vintage Signature series and each channel tuned with sound meter. :wink:

The best of the best? Far from it.

Since I have been trying Kampen Hinsz through Hauptwerk with my Stax electrostatic headphone, I can claim I really have an organ at home - a very pure, well reverbed sound. Ane more, it's really present, when I listen to it, I enjoy not only the sound, but also the feeling I actually am in the Boverkerk. It's difficult to explain how, but this is giving an awesome impression. And still, I have installed it with the default 16-bit setting only. 8)

Multichannel is really nice when it comes to movies or some concerts. But when it comes to Hauptwerk, and unless one has a really top level setup installed in a room that has a good accoustic - either naturally or after improvement - I would consider a very good stereo remains a better option. :wink:
User avatar
pat17
Member
 
Posts: 1094
Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2010 8:53 am
Location: France, La Rochelle

Re: Multi-channel Audio -- Really Needed ?

Postby jwillans » Sun May 16, 2010 1:02 pm

pat17 wrote:I was listening to SACDs yesterday. Multichannel recordings, with this lovely analog-like DSD recording, much warmer and more alive than the classical PCM used for CDs. I think my setup is not that bad - full Martin Logan 5.1 electrostatics speakers fed by analog Harman Kardon vintage Signature series and each channel tuned with sound meter. :wink:

The best of the best? Far from it.

Since I have been trying Kampen Hinsz through Hauptwerk with my Stax electrostatic headphone, I can claim I really have an organ at home - a very pure, well reverbed sound. Ane more, it's really present, when I listen to it, I enjoy not only the sound, but also the feeling I actually am in the Boverkerk. It's difficult to explain how, but this is giving an awesome impression. And still, I have installed it with the default 16-bit setting only. 8)

Multichannel is really nice when it comes to movies or some concerts. But when it comes to Hauptwerk, and unless one has a really top level setup installed in a room that has a good accoustic - either naturally or after improvement - I would consider a very good stereo remains a better option. :wink:


Hi Pat,

I'm not altogether sure that comparing headphones with a stereo speaker option is altogether realistic. Headphone have to move a very small amount of air because of the size of the driver, whereas speakers have to move a great deal more. Multi channel setups are very much about reducing intermodular distortion (see http://www.inspiredacoustics.com/wiki/index.php/Intermodular_distortion) and make absolute sense in this context where HW can allocate channels to reduce/elliminate this unwanted effect. For wet sample sets, acoustics plays a lesser role and I guess a dead acoustics would be better to avoid adding reverb beyond that retained by the sample sets.

James
jwillans
Member
 
Posts: 395
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2005 1:30 pm
Location: Sheffield

Re: Multi-channel Audio -- Really Needed ?

Postby pat17 » Mon May 17, 2010 9:05 am

jwillans wrote:I'm not altogether sure that comparing headphones with a stereo speaker option is altogether realistic. Headphone have to move a very small amount of air because of the size of the driver, whereas speakers have to move a great deal more. Multi channel setups are very much about reducing intermodular distortion (see http://www.inspiredacoustics.com/wiki/index.php/Intermodular_distortion) and make absolute sense in this context where HW can allocate channels to reduce/elliminate this unwanted effect. For wet sample sets, acoustics plays a lesser role and I guess a dead acoustics would be better to avoid adding reverb beyond that retained by the sample sets.


Hi James,

Sorry as English is not my mother tongue... I might have not been very clear in my post... :oops:

Actually I was comparing Multi-Channel speakers setup with a Stereo headphone solution. Both systems are more similar than what can be thought at first (a) full analog amplification - solid state for the speakers, vacuum tube for the headphone - and (b) electrostatic technology for the reproduction - Martin Logan for the speakers and Stax for the headphone. :wink:
User avatar
pat17
Member
 
Posts: 1094
Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2010 8:53 am
Location: France, La Rochelle

Re: Multi-channel Audio -- Really Needed ?

Postby Eric Sagmuller » Mon May 17, 2010 12:26 pm

Pat,

Just curious which of the Martin Logan speakers you are using? Years ago I had built a few electrostats and I can say they do have a very transparent sound, especially nice with vacuum tubes.

Thanks,
Eric
Eric Sagmuller
Member
 
Posts: 882
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 5:18 pm
Location: Bellefonte, PA USA

Re: Multi-channel Audio -- Really Needed ?

Postby pat17 » Mon May 17, 2010 3:12 pm

Eric Sagmuller wrote:Pat,

Just curious which of the Martin Logan speakers you are using? Years ago I had built a few electrostats and I can say they do have a very transparent sound, especially nice with vacuum tubes.

Thanks,
Eric


Eric, to answer your question -

Front: Pair of Clarities
Center: Cinema i
Rear: Pair of Frescoes
Sub: Grotto

Unfortunately I couldn't afford a full vacuum tube amplification for them, though the Harman Kardon Signature series are perfectly fit with those panels. :wink:
User avatar
pat17
Member
 
Posts: 1094
Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2010 8:53 am
Location: France, La Rochelle


Return to Amplification

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests