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Stereo vs Surround?

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B777Captain

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Stereo vs Surround?

PostThu Nov 24, 2022 2:18 am

Guys…

When I started the whole HW experience a number of years ago, I recall asking my consultant/installer about different options for sound.

I decided at the time that “Stereo” would be best as it would “fill the room” with organ music and acoustics. I believed this would be best for what I wanted… a big sound with big acoustics. This way, the same sound would come out of each speaker, as I understood it.

However, I hear and read a lot of people over time do NOT use/install using Stereo. For example, I read where some of you have for example, the trumpet en chamade coming from only a few speakers in particular (as in the real cathedral) vs on mine, where the same voice would come out equally from all speakers

So…. My questions to you all are:

1. If I was to switch to a “Surround” installation and playback, would it sound more authentic as in…. Hearing the different divisions of the organ coming from different speakers as one might hear inside the cathedral

2. Is the surround option generally the better option? I’d enjoy hearing from you all which way you have your system set up….. stereo vs surround?

3. Is using the surround option/feature complicated when it comes to voicing at all?

Thanks for your input

Pat
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josq

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Re: Stereo vs Surround?

PostThu Nov 24, 2022 7:05 am

I think, when people talk about surround, they generally mean something different than routing different ranks/instruments to different speakers.

Surround means that you have an extra pairs of speaker behind you, and/or side speakers, and perhaps some ceiling speakers, etc. Stereo means a single pair of speakers only.

In a Hauptwerk setup, the surround speakers (rear speakers) will play exactly the same ranks/notes as the front speakers. But the rear channels will have some additional reverb (either convolution reverb added in Hauptwerk, or rear samples that are recorded at a larger distance from the organ).

A good surround setup like that does very significantly improve the sense of realism. But routing different samples to different speakers is not always beneficial because it causes significant deviations from the left/right and front/rear imaging that is present in a stereo/surround recording.
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B777Captain

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Re: Stereo vs Surround?

PostThu Nov 24, 2022 8:11 am

Thanks Josq!! Very much appreciated.

I guess I do have “Surround with the two rear speakers plus the 6 front ones and two subs on the floor below the two rears ones.

Another question then…. If the trumpets/reeds are at the other end of the cathedral, with surround sound, is it true then that I would not get that illusion that the trumpets/reeds were coming “only from the rear speakers” to simulate the actual cathedral?

Thanks for the information again Josq.

Pat.
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IainStinson

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Re: Stereo vs Surround?

PostThu Nov 24, 2022 9:10 am

I use a ‘surround’ speaker arrangement, with front stereo,rear stereo and a sub woofer.

For sample sets which include rear samples as well as the usual front samples, I assign (in the rank routing table) the front samples to the front stereo output and the rear samples to the rear stereo output. ( I usually route the stereo front samples to the sub woofer.). This does offer an improvement in the realism of the instrument over front stereo only.

For sample sets with only one stereo set of samples, I assign that sample to the front speakers (stereo as usual) and, depending on the sample set send a copy of the stereo samples, with a little added reverberation (from Hauptwerk) to the rear speakers. I keep the volume of the rear speakers quite low. This also, in my hearing, improves the realism. For dry sets, this can make them much more acceptable in a domestic setting.

Hauptwerk allows you to configure multiple speakers for audio outputs. I configure a group offive pairs of identical speakers to receive my front stereo output. Haupwerk can then use one of its speaker allocation algorithms to send different notes (samples) to different speakers in the group, sharing the sound across the different (pairs of speakers). This reduces the interharmonic distortion and clarifies the sound - this real does improve the quality of the sound from a sample set. I don’t do this for the rear channel as I have only one stereo pair as a rear channel.

Iain
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mnailor

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Re: Stereo vs Surround?

PostThu Nov 24, 2022 10:47 am

With your 3 front pairs and one rear pair of speakers, you're probably already using surround routing on surround samplesets: front/direct/close and middle/diffuse/ambient ranks to your front speakers, and rear ranks to your rear speakers.

For a stereo sampleset you can route everything to front, or route one division (e.g. Choir) to rear, or even make a new speaker group out of all four pairs if the speakers are the same type and at the same volume as heard at the console.

You could do the antiphonal effect for a chamade or Echo division if you wish. Route the front ranks of the antiphonal stops to your rear speaker group, route the corresponding rear ranks (if it's a surround sampleset) to your front speaker group, and it's done.

But you mostly wouldn't want to do that!!! Make sure what you're using for the front rank of the stop was recorded closer to it than the rear rank. If the stop was really at the other end of the church from the main organ, the rear mics were closer to it during recording, so the rear rank still belongs on your rear speakers. You'd only flip the ranks front to rear as above if the front rank was recorded closest to the pipes, say a front chamade or Echo division you want to hear as mounted behind you.

I have 4 groups of speakers, two in front and two in back. There are some heavy front ranks on the floor speakers behind me, with their rear ranks in front, so only about 2/3 of the front ranks are in front of me. I try to put ranks on the best speaker type for the sound of that rank rather than room position. The speakers are placed where the room's walls, a 6' piano, and a staircase allowed for installation. Not sure front-back orientation means that much to me -- I grew up with detached consoles facing away from or sideways to the organ as often as not. I do preserve left-right orientation.
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Jan Loosman

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Re: Stereo vs Surround?

PostThu Nov 24, 2022 12:41 pm

Hello Pat.

Interesting question.
I am a fan off multichannel Hauptwerk setups because they come closest to the real deal. Adding rear or even also additional side channels recreate a sound field that reproduces the acoustics off a church.
Adding rear (side) channels will not only give a more spacious feeling, but they also add to more natural sounding and more articulated organ stops off the front channels. I think you have to experience this to believe it.

I often see very very expensive consoles on this site or on the facebook site with some midiocre front speakers, placed sometimes even at the back or on the ground left and right of the console. This puzzles me sometimes ,i can’t imagine this gives a satisfactory result.
For me good Hauptwerk console needs a good audio system.
So yes if you strive to achieve a true simulation of a church organ( you know everything about simulations in your profession) then add rear or even side channels and i am shure you are going to appreciate this.

Jan
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JulianMoney-Kyrle

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Re: Stereo vs Surround?

PostThu Nov 24, 2022 8:06 pm

My experience is similar to Mark's and Jan's.

I have a large room (roughly 5 x 8 metres with a 3 metre ceiling) dedicated to my HW set-up, although the position of the windows, doors, a staircase and a fireplace limits the optimal placement of speakers and other equipment. I have six stereo pairs of speakers (Behringer active monitors), with three stereo channels at the front, two at the side and one at the rear. For surround samples I have the directly sampled channels cycling between the three pairs of speakers at the front, the more distant sampled channels ccling between the two pairs at the side and the surround / rear channels directed to the rear pair of speakers. I also have an SVS subwoofer taking a mix-down from everything. If I am using a two-channel sample then I either split the divisions, for instance with the Hauptwerk at the front and the Positif at the side, with the rear channels taking the blower noise and possibly the Pedal division or maybe a solo stop such as a chamade, or else add a little reverb to give a rear channel, which is then much quieter than the front. For stereo samples, I haven't experimented enough to find a more satisfactory arrangement than this, but on the whole they sound reasonably good. I have found, however, that adding any reverb at all to an already wet sample degrades the sound more than it improves it.

When it comes to surround samples, on the whole they sound very good indeed in my system, with a sense of space and presence that simply isn't there with stereo alone. This does, however, depend on the individual sample set, and some producers give consistently better results than others. Sonus Paradisi sets work particularly well in my system, as indeed do the less wet samples from Organ Art Media, even though the latter are mostly only 2-channel; some of the sets from OAM are a bit too wet for my taste (perhaps recorded with the microphones further back from the pipes than I would ideally like) and I think maybe they are optimised for headphones rather than speakers; this is a pity as they are otherwise superb.

I originally bought all these speakers and the sound interfaces for them as a way of trying to reduce distortion, which I heard as a fuzziness and harshness in the plenum and when using a lot of upperwork; I thought it was intermodulation distortion and that distributing the sound so that fewer pipes sounded from each speaker would help. However, the improvements in the sound engine from versions 4 through 5 and 6 to 7 have eliminated the problem almost completely, so possibly this arrangement is nor longer necessary, leaving more channels for spatial experimentation. However, I am happy with what I have and I prefer to spend my time playing music. One facility that I might l find useful, however, would be the ability to add delayed rear channels to a stereo sample set without adding any additional reverberation as I suspect that this could increase the sense of space, though I may be wrong here. I don't think the current version of the HW mixer lets you do that.

You have mentioned directing specific pipes to specific speakers, to give a spatial effect closer to a real organ. I think if you wanted to do this it would work better in a reverberant space, such as a large hall, but I don't think in a domestic setting it would sound very realistic.
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Jan Loosman

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Re: Stereo vs Surround?

PostFri Nov 25, 2022 3:55 am

Hello Pat

I forgot to mention the use of roomcorrection software.
If you want to go the extra mile then use Sonarworks(max10 channels) or Dirac(max 16 channels).
you have to use Reaper and for Dirac you have to be online always if you want to use it.
Dirac is the best.

Jan
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mdyde

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Re: Stereo vs Surround?

PostFri Nov 25, 2022 4:00 am

[Topic moved here.]

JulianMoney-Kyrle wrote:One facility that I might l find useful, however, would be the ability to add delayed rear channels to a stereo sample set without adding any additional reverberation as I suspect that this could increase the sense of space, though I may be wrong here. I don't think the current version of the HW mixer lets you do that.


Hello Julian,

It's correct that Hauptwerk doesn't currently have a user setting by which you could easily delay some pipework/speakers, although that is logged is an enhancement request. (Technically speaking, you could actually do it by creating an impulse response reverb file set which had just one single-sample-width peak in it after the desired delay, and applying it via the mixer. However, that would be moderately involved.)
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.
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jerrymartin

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Re: Stereo vs Surround?

PostFri Nov 25, 2022 5:31 am

mdyde wrote:It's correct that Hauptwerk doesn't currently have a user setting by which you could easily delay some pipework/speakers, although that is logged is an enhancement request. (Technically speaking, you could actually do it by creating an impulse response reverb file set which had just one single-sample-width peak in it after the desired delay, and applying it via the mixer. However, that would be moderately involved.)


Thank you all for an excellent discussion here.

I generally use three perspectives in my setup:
- a close perspective made up of 4 studio monitors: two at the console and two at a distance on a bookshelf. I usually divide up the driest perspectives of the sampleset between these - putting the solo/chamades/pedals at the more distant monitors for effect
- a mid perspective which is two large floor-standing speakers
- a rear perspective which is two more large floor-standing
Finally I have a large subwoofer getting a mix of all the above.

For stereo non-surround-sampled sets, I treat close and mid speakers effectively as one group and divide up the ranks in a spatial way that might mimic the effect sitting at the console, and usually route a separate copy of the audio through an impulse reponse reverb to those rear speakers.

I really enjoy the effect and it is definitely an upgrade over simple stereo.

As Julian asked, I am intrigued about the opportunity to add delay in the system (I tend to do this manually when I make my personal recordings - by separately recording the output at various points in the mixer, and re-combining in Cubase with appropriate delay between the tracks) and am thrilled to hear that it is in the enhancement queue - Martin's suggestion about creating an IR piques my interest and gives me something with which to fiddle until that enhancement makes it to production :D This does indeed create the illusion of space as Julian thinks!

Shameless self plug here: this is an example of the Billerbeck set, with delay added in post-production. I am using three perspectives, with the delay in ms for each perspective prior to balancing of 0, 30, 70 https://youtu.be/TY7yEwV8pMc

Jerry
Jeremiah Martin,
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jerrymartin

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Re: Stereo vs Surround?

PostFri Feb 17, 2023 5:18 pm

mdyde wrote:[Topic moved here.]
(Technically speaking, you could actually do it by creating an impulse response reverb file set which had just one single-sample-width peak in it after the desired delay, and applying it via the mixer. However, that would be moderately involved.)


Thanks to Martin's inspiration, and as a solution to something I am working on myself, I created a set of Impulse Reverb Files to do exactly this. There are three in this set, each one applies a 30ms, 50ms, or 80ms delay (to simulate distances of 10m, 17m and 27m).

I created an impulse using the tools at https://www.wavtones.com/functiongenerator.php and then did the necessary 4-channel mapping and time-delay in Audacity.

You can download these at this link:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1W3Ojfy ... sp=sharing

(After following the link, be sure to use the "download" icon at the top right of the page, rather than navigating the presented folder directly, and you will get a RAR file that can be installed using Hauptwerk's component installer)

Usecase:
- these can be applied to any component of the mixer, but in my situation I am applying them to primary busses to create additional 3D-separation between multi-perspective organs before going into the final stereo mix for recording.

Do let me know if you find these useful.

Jerry
Jeremiah Martin,
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mdyde

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Re: Stereo vs Surround?

PostSat Feb 18, 2023 5:15 am

Thanks very much, Jerry.
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.

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