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Evolution of Hauptwerk over the past decade or so

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  • Evolution of Hauptwerk over the past decade or so

    Though I'm not an active participant in the VPO world, I find a tremendous amount of good listening on Contrebombarde, the official "concert hall" of Hauptwerk. Now and then I spend an evening just browsing and relishing the lovely sounds and fine playing of the many contributors over there, some of whom are familiar names on this forum as well.

    I highly recommend the site as a source of excellent organ playing, always beautifully recorded, and a place where one may stretch his or her knowledge of and exposure to a wide organ repertoire. Just about every important organ piece can be found there, lovingly played, and a lot of pieces you've never heard of before as well.

    Tonight as I was browsing, listening as usual to the latest uploads and the most recommended and most commented of the past month, I decided to go back in time as listen to some of the older uploads. I seemed to get the impression that the sound is not as rich and immersive in the recordings from 10 years ago. Even back then, it was obvious that Hauptwerk had "something" going on that regular hardware organs couldn't emulate, and the basic tones are wonderful in those older recordings, but I do believe that the "atmosphere" is somewhat better with the newer ones.

    I wonder if the difference is due to the more advanced computers now in use, or if the sample sets have gotten a little better, or if the outboard reverb devices used in some setups have gotten quite a bit better.
    *** 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!

  • #2
    From Wikipedia

    Version 1
    Released 2002
    Available for Windows only
    Stops operated by MIDI Note messages
    Simple Swell simulation (volume only)
    Organ of St Annes, Moseley included

    Version 2
    Released 2006
    Available as VSTi plugin
    More flexibility in MIDI configuration
    Phase alignment of release samples
    Harmonic Swell simulation

    Version 3
    Released November 2007
    Support for Mac OS X
    Support for Multiple Touch-Screens
    Voicing Control for individual pipes

    Version 4
    Released April 2011
    Redesigned User Interface
    Automatic facility to configure MIDI to support most manufacturers
    Inbuilt MIDI recorder/player
    User defined Combinations/Crescendos
    Master Couplers available with all organs

    This list is not comprehensive, however, as it does not mention multiple releases and entry points, physical modelling of the wind supply, dynamic channel routing, randomization, and other improvements over the years.

    So yes, I would not be surprised if later recordings sound better, but I also suspect that sample set producers have also learned a thing or two about the production process.

    One thing that makes Hauptwerk conducive to recording is that has both MIDI and .wav recording built in, so there's no need to set up mics or patch in recording devices.

    Allen 965
    Zuma Group Midi Keyboard Encoder
    Zuma Group DM Midi Stop Controller
    Hauptwerk 4.2