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Hauptwerk 8 Early user experience

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IainStinson

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Hauptwerk 8 Early user experience

PostTue Aug 15, 2023 12:12 pm

I’ve been able to try HW 8 for a few weeks. It has worked reliably and the various sample sets I’ve used have sounded just as well as they did under HW 7 on my Windows 10 system. Everything just works as it should.

HW 8 installed easily, keeping all my settings and sample sets. The caches have to be regenerated for HW 8 as the format of the cache files has been updated to support faster sample set loading time. (When you load an organ for the first time with HW 8, its cache file will be regenerated.) I did notice that organs load a bit faster under HW 8, but the improvements are likely to be greater on more modern hardware than my six year old PC. HW 8 includes internal changes to the ways memory is managed which significantly reduces the time taken to unload a sample set. This, together with the reductions in sample set loading time, reduces the time taken to change virtual organs being played within a HW 8 session.

HW 8 has changes to improve the use of cores which may differ in performance; this offers improvements in polyphony on more modern CPUs. I did not see this improvement on my six year old Xeon based system.

There are now two audio quality options “higher” and “lower”, the “medium” option in HW 7 has been removed as it used almost as much resource as “higher”. The “higher” option is the same as in HW 7. With HW 8, I found that my system was able to support the higher option (at 48KHz sample rate) with good polyphony for realistic use of all my sample sets.

One of the most useful changes in HW 8 Advanced version is the provision of four rank routing/voicing presets for each virtual organ. These provide four distinct audio and voicing setups for each instrument and you can switch between the without reloading the organ . I’ve used this to provide switching from speakers to headphones and to compare different audio setups ‘at the touch of a button’. Each of an instrument’s four routing/voicing preset includes rank routing assignments and voicing settings and specifies one of the 128 audio mixer profiles. When a particular rank routing/voicing preset is selected the voicing, rank routing and audio mixer specified for that preset are used. There are new and updated control panels and new LCD messages to support this. However, there are no functions to copy voicing settings, rank assignments or audio profiles.

HW 8 has a new Touch Menu which brings together many of the functions needed to use the system through a convenient, “ modern “ interface. This designed for touch screens and provides access to all the functions required to use HW. I would have preferred a more colourful interface than the while / blue on black colour scheme and would have liked to be able to select my own colours too. The Touch Menu is rather slow to initialise when it is first used in a session. It is accessed through a new mini control panel, and appears when an organ is first used and when no organ is loaded. Some of the functions accessed through the Touch Menu open familiar screens for adjusting the behaviour of the system.

HW now has five different ways to select functions: the menu line at the top of main window, large and mini control panels, the Touch Menu and computer keyboard keys as well as being able to autodetect / assign many functions to midi controls.

HW 8 includes support for Launchpad X (mark 3). I didn’t try this but this support, but my old, original Launchpad continued to work with HW 8.

It is now possible to optionally store the state of the floating division assignment in combination sets and a midi piston can be assigned to toggle between floating division routes 1 and 2. I tried this to toggle the choir and solo divisions of my Hereford set. ( I used one piston to switch between the choir and solo divisions on the bottom manual instead of having one piston to select the solo and another to assign the choir division).

There are some updates to the supported platforms (my Windows 10 system is still included); the Apple M1 and M2 systems are supported through the Rosetta emulation software (as with previous releases).

The documentation for HW 8 is up-to the usual high quality we expect and it fully describes the new features.

Hauptwerk is now 22 years old and this latest edition, Hauptwerk 8, continues to be the best system available, setting the gold standard for digital pipe organ systems.

Iain
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mnailor

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Re: Hauptwerk 8 Early user experience

PostTue Aug 15, 2023 12:42 pm

I'll add that the polyphony capacity on my gen 12 Intel i9-12900K (with P and E cores) increased by 50 - 100% depending on my sample rate and buffer size. I'm now setting the polyphony limit at 16k voices at 96k/1024 on all organs including Nancy, Billerbeck, and Doesburg.

And I tested the Launchpad Mini mk3 successfully in beta testing.

Very happy with this release!
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mdyde

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Re: Hauptwerk 8 Early user experience

PostTue Aug 15, 2023 12:44 pm

Thanks very much, Iain and Mark.
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.
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Organorak

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Re: Hauptwerk 8 Early user experience

PostTue Aug 15, 2023 5:00 pm

That sounds most encouraging.

I'm still running "old school" 4.2 but that's because I have most of the sample sets I'm most interested in, my disk won't take any more and as everything works so well under Win 7 (I actually downgraded from Win 10 as I found it didn't work as well) I don't want to make any further changes until I have to get a new PC - at which point I guess I'll lose the benefit of faster loading as I won't be loading in 24GB RAM (pretty revolutionary 13 years ago when I bought my organ PC) but I expect over 100GB will be the norm so loading times will compensate. It's nice to think the upgrade path won't be too painful and will include useful features like multiple audio routes that seem to be strangely late to the table.

Great work on the part of the development and marketing folks!
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lefranc22

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Re: Hauptwerk 8 Early user experience

PostTue Aug 15, 2023 5:06 pm

I got it. At first glance I don't think there is a big difference with HW 7 but I think the better CPU support should solve a number of problems with low powered computers. Now there remains the chore of opening all my sample sets again to redo their cache. :o
I announce to those who, like me, have a Mac that purchasing or updating HW 8 is impossible with Safari which refuses to enter the numbers of credit cards or the payment by PayPal. Using Google Chrome I didn't have this problem.
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mdyde

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Re: Hauptwerk 8 Early user experience

PostWed Aug 16, 2023 4:03 am

Thanks very much, Organorak and Gérard.
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.
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larason2

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Re: Hauptwerk 8 Early user experience

PostWed Aug 16, 2023 7:31 am

I used Safari to order, and it went through ok. Maybe it depends on the version you have.
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Re: Hauptwerk 8 Early user experience

PostWed Aug 16, 2023 9:53 am

Interesting memory use now. Yes, organs load MUCH faster. However, I don't know how much memory is being used. The memory meter within Hauptwerk never drops now when unloading an organ or loading a new one. Example: I loaded a rather large instrument and I had about 8 GB free. I then loaded a much smaller instrument and I still had about 8 GB free - the meter never moved. Also, my iStat Menus shows the same thing - that the initial grab of memory from the first large instrument loaded is never freed. (iStat Menus shows Wired/Active/Compressed/Inactive/Free values and they all just slowly vary by just a little during a subsequent organ load.) However, this is not a complaint as everything is working great with MUCH faster loads. I just can't tell how much memory a given organ is using without exiting Hauptwerk. Just something to get used to.
Ray
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mdyde

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Re: Hauptwerk 8 Early user experience

PostWed Aug 16, 2023 10:02 am

Hello Ray,

Thanks very much for upgrading, and glad to hear loading and unloading are so much faster.

That's working as intended with the default values for the new settings on the "General settings | General preferences | Advanced ..." screen tab, i.e.:

- "Reserve RAM in chunks for fastest organ unloading/loading [may use a little more memory]" = ticked.
- "Max proportion of computer's RAM to keep reserved when unloading an organ" = 60%

You can reduce the latter setting if you like to free up memory whenever organs unload. Even if you set it to zero (keeping the first setting ticked) you should still get significantly faster loading and unloading than earlier versions, but higher settings (e.g. 60%) will give the highest possible loading/unloading speeds.
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.
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IainStinson

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Re: Hauptwerk 8 Early user experience

PostWed Aug 16, 2023 10:03 am

This is one of the new features in HW8. By retaining memory when unloading an instrument, HW can
a. unload the instrument more quickly
b. load the next organ by first using the memory it has already obtained from the operating system before asking for more (if it is needed). {One of the ways of speeding things up is to reduce the number of operating system calls, and reducing the number of requests for memory is a good way to do this.)

Iain
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RaymondList

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Re: Hauptwerk 8 Early user experience

PostWed Aug 16, 2023 10:18 am

I guess this means I should read the release notes first? Whatever for? :D
Ray
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Re: Hauptwerk 8 Early user experience

PostWed Aug 16, 2023 2:45 pm

mnailor wrote:I'll add that the polyphony capacity on my gen 12 Intel i9-12900K (with P and E cores) increased by 50 - 100% depending on my sample rate and buffer size. I'm now setting the polyphony limit at 16k voices at 96k/1024 on all organs including Nancy, Billerbeck, and Doesburg.

And I tested the Launchpad Mini mk3 successfully in beta testing.

Very happy with this release!


Here at 96 KHz / 512 buffer size, "polyphony test organ" improved only 10%, from 11 * "500 pipes per key" to 12, while maintaing them for more than 20 seconds, beyond thermal throttling timeframe of my i7-13700H-based MiniPC.
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Re: Hauptwerk 8 Early user experience

PostWed Aug 16, 2023 2:55 pm

mdyde wrote:Hello Ray,

Thanks very much for upgrading, and glad to hear loading and unloading are so much faster.

That's working as intended with the default values for the new settings on the "General settings | General preferences | Advanced ..." screen tab, i.e.:

- "Reserve RAM in chunks for fastest organ unloading/loading [may use a little more memory]" = ticked.
- "Max proportion of computer's RAM to keep reserved when unloading an organ" = 60%

You can reduce the latter setting if you like to free up memory whenever organs unload. Even if you set it to zero (keeping the first setting ticked) you should still get significantly faster loading and unloading than earlier versions, but higher settings (e.g. 60%) will give the highest possible loading/unloading speeds.


Here, loading samplesets became almost three times faster, from 600 MB/s to 1.6 GB/s. Overall CPU usage while loading is between 25 and 30%. Would it be an indication that there is still room for further improvement?

About the feature "Reserve RAM in chunks for fastest organ unloading/loading [may use a little more memory", here it makes almost no difference in loading time being it on or off, but it reduced the unloading time from 12 seconds to just 5 seconds on a certain sampleset I have installed. With the additional feature "Max proportion of computer's RAM to keep reserved when unloading an organ" set to 60% instead of 0%, this unloading time drops to 1 second. My compliments on such a great improvement!
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mdyde

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Re: Hauptwerk 8 Early user experience

PostThu Aug 17, 2023 3:29 am

Hello abaymajr,

Thanks for purchasing the upgrade and glad to hear it's benefited performance.

abaymajr wrote:Here, loading samplesets became almost three times faster, from 600 MB/s to 1.6 GB/s. Overall CPU usage while loading is between 25 and 30%. Would it be an indication that there is still room for further improvement?


Yes -- there is still potential for improving loading times, but going beyond what can be achieved currently on modern SSDs would require a fundamental redesign of Hauptwerk's loading mechanism, which is something we do hope to do in a future version major version.

abaymajr wrote:About the feature "Reserve RAM in chunks for fastest organ unloading/loading [may use a little more memory", here it makes almost no difference in loading time being it on or off, but it reduced the unloading time from 12 seconds to just 5 seconds on a certain sampleset I have installed. With the additional feature "Max proportion of computer's RAM to keep reserved when unloading an organ" set to 60% instead of 0%, this unloading time drops to 1 second. My compliments on such a great improvement!


Excellent. With default settings, once the RAM has been allocated to Hauptwerk (e.g. after loading one large organ) subsequent organs should also load faster, since allocating RAM from the OS (even in chunks) may take a a few seconds for a large organ.
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.
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Theatre Lee

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Re: Hauptwerk 8 Early user experience

PostThu Aug 17, 2023 11:08 am

I’m tempted to upgrade from v.5, mainly because the new touch menus could make life a lot easier for me with the disability I have. I’ve read the release notes, but I’m not sure the upgrade will do exactly what I’m trying to do, and I’d appreciate some advice before parting with my money.

I run Hauptwerk on an iMac that’s a few years old now, and runs on OS Catalina (it isn’t compatible with the latest Apple OS updates but runs v.5 just fine). I have two touchscreens for controlling stops, and a Hoffrichter console. I would like to have the v.8 touch menus for things like recording and the stepper on my iPad so I can use it like a remote control, instead of on one of my touchscreens.

Would that be possible to do?
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