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  • Non-directional speakers for church organ?



    While some folks may seem to be fooled, I suspect that among this august group there are stillmany who can clearly hear the difference between a pipe organ and a "speaker" organ. No matter how perfectly captured the samples, no matter how long they are, not matter how seamless the looping, and how multitudinous the audio channels.</P>


    But we heard one this week that was surprisingly good, and I've pondered the reasons why my partner --normally not prone to waxing ecstatic over a speaker organ -- pronounced this particular one so good. And it's not even his favorite builder among speaker organs.</P>


    I'm beginning to think the completely omni-directional nature and broad separation of the speaker setup may have contributed much to the pleasant effect this organ evoked. Along with an unusually nice room and thoughtful speaker placement.</P>


    The organ itself is an unremarkable digital built in the early 90's by one of the well-known US companies. Two manuals, 35 or 40 stops, and a rather nice stoplist, several couplers, all the usual accessories. There are six audio channels, two for swell, two for great, two for pedals.</P>


    The interesting and remarkable thing about the installation is that each audio channel is reproduced through a PAIR of speakers, and all the manual speakers are HUNG FROM THE CEILING! Each matching pair is hung more or less back-to-back, so that the audio of each channel is dispersed both forward and backward. The Great speakers are hung about 20' off the floor (a couple of feet below the ceiling height at that point), and the two channels flank the altar. The Pedal speakers are in the floor, more or less in the front corners of the room. And the Swell speakers areabout 15' from theREAR of the sanctuary, at the same height as the Great.</P>


    The room itself is no more than 60 feet deep, and the console is just off the altar, quite near one pedal speaker, but fairly close to the great speakers and perhaps 40 feet from the swell speakers. The ceiling is vaulted and there are a lot of hard surfaces, so there is plentiful reverberation.</P>


    It seems that the entire room functions more or less as the "organ chamber" and the building is just filled with sound. The effect is so pleasing that it makes me wonder why we haven't done one like this before.</P>


    Wonder if anyone else has seen a "speaker" organ done up like this, and if it sounded unusually good.</P>


    John</P>
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    John
    ----------
    *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

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  • #2
    http://phoenixorganssouth.com

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    • #3
      Re: Non-directional speakers for church organ?



      Dave,</P>


      I like the concept of a "cube" speaker hanging from the ceiling! That ought to get the sound out into the room. Many years ago I actually designed and built a hanging organ speaker. It was an 8" cone in a cubical boxfacing up toward an inverted plastic funnel. It was built for a Conn organ's diapason channel, and there was to be a pair of them. Unfortunately, we never got around to actually hanging them from the beams and they languished on a shelf.</P>


      The best thingabout the "omni-directional" organ setup that we saw is that the sound is not in any way locked up in a chamber, as is so often the case. The organ is fully out in the open, as many of the finest pipe organs are. There is such an advantage to this, but few churches are designed to allow such an organ installation.</P>


      This particular church is blessed with structural beams, or more correctly trusses, that are fully exposed and available to mount the organ speakers on. Most churches I see have no exposed structural components on which to hang speakers, so we'd be left with finding some way to hang them from the ceiling on chains, not a fun prospect, considering that partner and I both detest working on ladders and lifts!</P>


      Now I've got to figure out some way to re-create this omni-directinal effect in my own church. I'm just dying to hearthe Allen's sounds projected out into the room like that.Partner's church has light trays that run down the sides of the nave, and he installed some of the organ speakers in them, facing upward at the vaulted ceiling. This gives a very good effect, similar to the omni's. But I don't even have light trays to work with...</P>


      John</P>
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      John
      ----------
      *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

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      • #4
        Re: Non-directional speakers for church organ?



        John,</p>

        I would enjoy hearing this organ too. One question though-does the placement of the speakers in opposite ends of the sanctuary cause unwanted antiphonal effects? For example, if you play one verse of a hymn on the Swell chorus and then the next on the Great, does the sound jump abruptly from the back to the front of the church?[^o)] </p>

        I think the best electronic installation I heard was the Allen ADC 8300 in Calvary Baptist Church, Lansdale, PA. 3m, 3 32's, loads of couplers. It had 8 speakers on each side of the platform/choir loft, as well as speakers in the transepts and en chamade speakers high above the choir. Wow, what a sound, especially accompanying the 500-voice choir that was there for a music camp.
        </p>

        [img]file:///C:/Users/CLAUDE%7E1/AppData/Local/Temp/moz-screenshot-6.jpg[/img]</p>

        [img]file:///C:/Users/CLAUDE%7E1/AppData/Local/Temp/moz-screenshot-4.jpg[/img][img]file:///C:/Users/CLAUDE%7E1/AppData/Local/Temp/moz-screenshot-5.jpg[/img] </p>

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        • #5
          Re: Non-directional speakers for church organ?

          duplicate

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          • #6
            Re: Non-directional speakers for church organ?



            Philip,</P>


            Yes, the swell being in the rear of the church, it functions as an "antiphonal" you might say. It only sounds from back there, and the great only sounds from up front.</P>


            Of course, the room is not all the big, and there isn't a huge distance between front and rear, no noticeable delay when playing the swell. And the speakers are so high and the room so lively that you can hear both divisions equally well from wherever you are in the room.</P>


            I'm sure that 8300 is impressive. I haven't heard an ADC that large except for a demo at the factory. And with a 500 voice choirof music campers it must have been an awesome musical experience!</P>


            John</P>
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            John
            ----------
            *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

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            • #7
              Mike

              My home organ is a circa 1990 Galanti Praeludium III, with Wicks/Viscount CM-100 module supplying extra voices. I also have an Allen MDS Theatre II (princess pedalboard!) with an MDS II MIDI Expander.

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              • #8
                Re: Non-directional speakers for church organ?

                [quote user="jbird604"]

                Philip,</p>

                I'm sure that 8300 is impressive. I haven't heard an ADC that large except for a demo at the factory. And with a 500 voice choirof music campers it must have been an awesome musical experience!

                [/quote]</p>

                John,</p>

                I'd have to say the best part (musically) of the service was singing "How Great Thou Art" with the congregation. If any followers of Majesty Music &lt;majestymusic.org&gt; would like to know, Dr. Frank Garlock conducted, Christiane Emory was at the organ, Shelly Hamilton was at the 9' Yamaha, Matthew Whitcomb was on a Yamaha upright, Jean Cook was on a Kawai digital piano, all packed amongst 500 singers. I copied an MP3 that song off the DVD of the concert, and if anyone would like it, they can send me a PM with their email. Unfortunately the organ does not come out that clearly because the engineers just ran the signal from the church mixer into the recorder, and since the organ has its seperate sound system, it is not all that prominent. All you have of the organ is what drifted into the choir mikes--but it still sounds good.
                </p>

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                • #9
                  Re: Non-directional speakers for church organ?

                  I find your experience a bit contra intuitive. Traditional pipe organs are not omni directional because they are build into a housing that is/should be designed to project the sound into the room. Likewise a pipe isn't an omni directional generator in general: large bass pipes are more omni so than high treble ones (but so are normal speakers as well!). So the only reasons I see left are: 1) there has been taken good care of placement 2) because the speakers are closer to a large broad source than a narrow column 3) your lucky with your room.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Non-directional speakers for church organ?



                    Of course, there isdisagreement as to whether or not pipes should be in chambers at all.Don't know if this forum has hashed it out, but some of the organ design books I've read have urged the placement of pipe organs right out in the room. One writer went so far as to say that if a church's architect neglects to provide chambers for the organ, they should pay him a bonus!</P>


                    I think we could all name many examples of outstandingorgans with the pipes completely unenclosed (swell divisions excepted, of course).Many wondrous organs are installed in the screen between the nave and the choir, for example, with the sound radiating essentially 360 degrees.</P>


                    Yes, a pipe does tend to be a little bit directional, louder right in front of the mouth. But not as directional as an ordinary speaker. And the combined effect of numerous pipe ranks placed out in the open is very nearly omnidirectional, withso manyreflections going on right in the chest, pipes being placed in close proximity to one another.</P>


                    The installation that I heard was not truly analagous to any pipe organ, of course. Each division was coming from only two audio channels, and the installer (whoever he was, that was going on 20 years ago) just chose to put the swell in the rear as a pseudo-antiphonal, possibly because there were no chambers provided. They could just as easily have been hung alongside the great speakers in the front.</P>


                    The unique feature of the installation was the back-to-back pairs of speakers, and the fact they are out in the open. The unimpeded projection of the organ tone throughout the room in an essentially non-directional manner just did wonders for the organ.</P>


                    So, I'm not saying this organ was truly more like a pipe organ, but it sounded really good for a speaker organ, and the room-filling effect was awesome. So awesome that it made me want to completely re-do the installation at my own church!</P>


                    John</P>
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                    John
                    ----------
                    *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

                    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

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                    • #11
                      Re: Non-directional speakers for church organ?



                      Yes, a pipe does tend to be a little bit directional, louder right in front of the mouth. But not as directional as an ordinary speaker.
                      </P>

                      No, the difference is rather more complicated. To be omni directional a sound generator has to be smaller (&lt;1/10) than the wavelenght it is producing. So a speaker has a changing radiation pattern because he is reproducing a very wide range of frequencies: might be omni at the low end, very directional with a lot of diffraction at the high end. But a pipe has an advantage as each tone uses a prortionaly scaled generator. So the radiation pattern doesn't change as much.</P>

                      The unique feature of the installation was the back-to-back pairs of speakers, and the fact they are out in the open. The unimpeded projection of the organ tone throughout the room in an essentially non-directional manner just did wonders for the organ.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Non-directional speakers for church organ?



                        Havoc,</P>


                        Interesting about the 1/10 wavelength. Very true that the directional character of any speaker changes markedly with frequency. And your explanation about the pipe sounds right to me -- there seems to be just the right dispersion at each pipe's pitch.</P>


                        Of course, that's why pipes are the real thing and speakers are not. Which is why I call any non-pipe organ a "speaker" organ -- the tone is produced by speakers instead of pipes. Just like ina reed organ the tone is produced by reeds. </P>


                        The speakers of an electronicorgan serve the same function as the pipes of a pipe organ, except that each speaker is called upon to produce a large number of different frequencies and tone colors. That is obviously a deficiency of the speaker organ, and the major reason one can generally identify a speaker organ when hearing one. (Although I have heard hybrid organs in which I personally could not be certain which stops were real and which stops were digital, from the console anyway.)</P>


                        The speakers in this case are in phase and each member of each pairis a complete full-range 3-way unit. The installer used one Rodgers full-range and one Walker full-range for each channel, with the Rodgers speakers facing toward the front or back wall of the church, the Walker facing out into the nave. A good idea, I'd say, since the Walkers are larger and probably put out more volume. But the Rodgers units have a very smooth sound and contribute just the right amount of reflected fill.</P>


                        This obviously wouldn't be sounding nearly so good if the room weren't also quite lively. There is just so much reflection going on and the sound is so well dispersed that you have to get quite close to a given speaker to even identify it as the source of the sound. </P>


                        One of the speakers had gone bad, and we had to leave it unhooked while the church decides on renovating the entire system. But honestly, it was hard to tell from the floor which speaker was disconnected. That tells me that we have a very broadly dispersed sound from each channel.</P>


                        I haven't revealed the name of the maker, but you should know that the samples are stereo, so you actually have four separate speaker systems handling each stop. Though I'm not a true believer in stereo samples, in this case having each stop coming from four separate speakers is surely an advantage.</P>


                        We haven't examined these particular Walker units up close, but there may be drivers on the top surface of these boxes as well, which would be contributing even more to the broadness of the dispersion. When they are brought down to the floor for repair (which the church is deliberating now) we'll be able to tell.</P>


                        John</P>
                        <P mce_keep="true"></P>
                        John
                        ----------
                        *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

                        https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

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                        • #13
                          Re: Non-directional speakers for church organ?



                          [quote user="jbird604"] I like the concept of a "cube" speaker hanging from the ceiling! That ought to get the sound out into the room.[/quote]</P>


                          Yeah! I'veheard these Phoenix "Accousticubes" played in an appropriately sizedauditorium; and coming from not only overhead, but fromwell engineered placement throughout the auditorium, they wereabsolutely awesome!! Really! []</P>


                          For my own home organ installation, I chose totake the chickenroute: presumingspeakers-dangling-on-chains in our livingroom wasn't something that I could ever sell to my resident interior decorator! Nevertheless, for esthetic purposes, I chose corner enclosures for theup-front speakersoneither side of the organ. During the process of mounting the corner speaker enclosers, I turned them around, facing the corner so that Iwould hear reflectedrather can direct sound.AndI'm somewhat reluctantto admit that the reflected sound, sounded substantially better than direct-sound corner enclosures. []</P>


                          Not to lay any of my experiential deficitsat Phoenix's feet!Phoenix did a most wonderous job of cluing into what we wanted for our home; questioningmy preferencefor directional corner-mounted speakers; andeventually designing corner-mounted speakers + rear mounted surround-soundspeakers that work very well within our environment. For a home installation, I suspect that my experience isabout asgood as it gets.</P>


                          While I am unfamiliar with your specificsetup; would it be possible for you to rotate yourspeakers180 degrees?, and listen to the results reflected from a back wall or whatever?? Whileplaying around with my specifichome-installation, I was quite aware/impressed withthebenefits of hearing reflected, rather than direct sound.</P>
                          2008: Phoenix III/44

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                          • #14
                            Re: Non-directional speakers for church organ?



                            Clarion,</P>


                            Interesting story. Reflected sound is generally more pleasing than direct because it will have been spread out, mellowed a bit, and will seem to come from a broad field instead of a point source.</P>


                            Unfortunately, at my church the speakers are not even in real chambers. They are mounted on baffles flush with the walls. So there is no moving them around!</P>


                            The saving grace here is that the speakers are not all in a wad or lined up. They are spaced out all over the front of the sanctuary, up above the choir. They are even angled in different directions, so there is less of a beaming effect.</P>


                            I do have a free-standing pair that I added later, with a cabinet sitting at each end of the choir loft, facing the outer wall. Those cabinets deliver nothing but reflected sound, and they considerably enhanced the sound when I added them.</P>


                            Sure wish I could put up some hanging "cubes" or something like that, but we made a decision in our church not to hang anything from the ceiling. Thankfully, we don't have one of those humongous PA system clusters hanging over the pulpit either! And no projector on a pole. (Though we do have one in the balcony projecting onto a screen above the choir.) -- [6]</P>


                            John</P>
                            John
                            ----------
                            *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

                            https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

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                            • #15
                              Re: Non-directional speakers for church organ?



                              [quote user="jbird604"] Sure wish I could put up some hanging "cubes" or something like that, but we made a decision in our church not to hang anything from the ceiling.[/quote]</P>


                              I recently read an amusing story of a church that had spent significant$$$ on erecting scaffolding for the purpose of installing ceiling-mounted speakers.Having taken place during the hot summer months, theworkerswere rewarded by hoisting afew ice-old beersup to them. It wasn'tuntil all thescaffolding had allbeen removed, that they noticed that a couple of empty beer bottles hadbeen beleftway up high on a ledge.The only option, one that they rejected, wastore-erect the$$$ scaffolding. [:|]</P>
                              2008: Phoenix III/44

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