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    What makes pipes superior?



    Second question of the evening. (I must have too much time on my hands.) What characteristics -- in your opinion -- truly and undeniably distinguish a pipe organ from eventhe best digitals?</P>


    What is different about the experience of hearing or playing one? What tips you off that you are hearing real pipes? Yesterday, Matt and I were working at a church (on the piano only, unfortunately) where there is a small pipe organ, an Estey, from the 1920's, but in good working order. We agreed that it had a certain character, in fact many nice qualities that set it above just about any digital we ever service. And we had just been to some larger churches with big Rodgers and Allen organs, both of which had many more stops than this little Estey. </P>


    But there was something about those real pipes . . . what was it? Any suggestions?.</P>


    John</P>
    John
    ----------
    Church: Allen MDS-45 with Allen MIDI-DIVISION-II expander
    Home: Allen Renaissance R-230 with expanded four-channel audio and MIDI-DIVISION-II
    Shop: Bunch of organs in varying conditions, some good, some not...
    Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

    #2

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      #3
      Re: What makes pipes superior?



      Good thoughts, Nate. Yes, pipe sound "fills the room" even without being "loud" -- you can power up any digital with enough amps and speakers, but somehow there's a difference in the waya pipe organinteracts with or integrates into the room.</P>


      We noticed that this little Estey (which seemed to have 23 ranks) was not a "loud" organ at all, but seemed to be "just right" for the room.</P>


      John</P>
      John
      ----------
      Church: Allen MDS-45 with Allen MIDI-DIVISION-II expander
      Home: Allen Renaissance R-230 with expanded four-channel audio and MIDI-DIVISION-II
      Shop: Bunch of organs in varying conditions, some good, some not...
      Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches
      https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

      Comment


        #4
        Re: What makes pipes superior?



        Elaborating on what KleinErzahler said: Individual pipes move the air in a way that even the best digital, even one possessing excellent truth of timbre, just does not. And then these individual sound waves interact with each other and the room in a manner that even the best sound emanating from speakers just does not do.This maybe part of the reason why the right space can make a digital sound more pipe-like. (And, of course, this is why a digital with many channels properly implemented will sound more pipe-like.)</P>


        [*-)]</P>

        Comment


          #5
          Re: What makes pipes superior?



          I agree, Menchen. What you say also dovetails nicely with the observation that the larger and more reverberant the room the better a digital sounds, and the harder it may be to distinguish it from pipes.</P>


          Yes, there is a difference in the mechanics of a pipe as a transducer as opposed to a speaker -- the dispersion pattern, and of course the hundreds or thousands of separate tone sources, offset in space by ever so little, but all so detectable by the remarkable human ear!</P>


          John</P>
          John
          ----------
          Church: Allen MDS-45 with Allen MIDI-DIVISION-II expander
          Home: Allen Renaissance R-230 with expanded four-channel audio and MIDI-DIVISION-II
          Shop: Bunch of organs in varying conditions, some good, some not...
          Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches
          https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

          Comment


            #6
            Re: What makes pipes superior?



            One thing that often jumps out at me when hearing pipesis the imprecision and randomness of tuning. Not to say that pipes are not "well-tuned" but that the natural changes over time,and ever so slight variations from rank to rank are audible, often very much so.</P>


            As we were listening to the little Estey yesterday, and had just finished tuning the piano --so my ears were very "attuned" to tuning --I was struck by the degree of out-of-tuneness, but also struck by the fact that it didn't actually bother me!</P>


            Matt thinks that is part of the charm of pipes. I wonder if that is one characteristic that often makes a pipe organ obvious to the alert listener, even when the acoustical setting might otherwise disguise an organ as digital? Do you consider it a good thing or a bad thing? Would you rather hear a pipe organ in perfect tune, or one that is a bit less than fresh?</P>


            John</P>
            John
            ----------
            Church: Allen MDS-45 with Allen MIDI-DIVISION-II expander
            Home: Allen Renaissance R-230 with expanded four-channel audio and MIDI-DIVISION-II
            Shop: Bunch of organs in varying conditions, some good, some not...
            Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches
            https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

            Comment


              #7
              Re: What makes pipes superior?



              I prefera pipe organ to be as perfectly in tune as is physically possible. But since an organ pipe has natural variations that occur as the note is held, there will still be that imprecise charm. This is why top-of-the-line digitals with long samples and many channels are able to more closely approximate the real thing.</P>


              Moreover, while it is theoretically possible for a pipe organ to be perfectly in tune; I believe that this is rarely literally the case in fact. And thus some minimal level of acceptable "out of tuneness" becomes part of the charm as well as the authenticity.</P>


              Fascinating . . .</P>

              Comment


                #8
                Re: What makes pipes superior?

                I think the biggest differences are due to the natural resonances, overtones, and sounds that go along with hearing a real pipe organ that a digital can never reproduce. Most good digital organs have a lot of big speakers, but it is impossible to reproduce these real aspects exactly, and once you push the volume and add ranks, distortion is inevitable, because the speaker physically isn't moving the air a real pipe organ does. Speakers are a constant compromise to get the best response using crossovers, various materials, and different enclosures. Pipes produce the original pure tone without any hindrances. The positioning of the numerous pipes themselves and the interactions they have with their surroundings is also a huge part. For example, at my church, some of the pipes are turned/face a certain way, so each sounds different, and the chimes and other parts of the organ resonate slightly when certain notes are hit. Again, just more of those sounds that add to the realism of the organ. There's probably no real explanation any of us can give for why real pipes sound real, but I think we can all agree the difference is night and day. Digitals can add subwoofers and more speakers to sound loud and impressive, but they can never match that presence and bulk that a real wall of sound coming from a real pipe organ possesses, IMO.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Re: What makes pipes superior?



                  Pipe organs seem to sound exactly the same volume wherever you are in a building/room. That is why I always think that digital organs are so dam quiet. Also, the digital organs I have played on seem to have every single stop on the same wind pressure, and the swell boxes do very little.</P>


                  I feel digital organs are only useful when space and cost is a slight problem. I also don't think it is always possible to build large pipe organs in buildings that weren't designed to accomodate them.</P>


                  Jezza</P>

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Re: What makes pipes superior?



                    [quote user="jbird604"]What characteristics -- in your opinion -- truly and undeniably distinguish a pipe organ from eventhe best digitals?[/quote]</P>


                    A pipe organ isreal. That is enough for me.</P>

                    Comment


                      #11
                      [/quote]That is enough for me.</p>

                      [/quote]
                      ~1936 Hammond AV - Leslie 122 & PR40~ ~1954 Wurlitzer ElectroStatic 4602 - Leslie 125~

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Re: What makes pipes superior?

                        What SB and NW said. Real is real. Digital is not real.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Re: What makes pipes superior?



                          Don, Nathan, Souby,</P>


                          Thanks for joining in. You all are experts, in my opinion, and your input is most valued.</P>


                          I appreciate the sentiment, but can you elaborate? What reactionsdo you have to a "real" organ that cause you to know it's real?What are some of the elements of the "real" organ experience that set itapart, how can you quantify "realness?"(and have you EVER been fooled?)</P>


                          John</P>
                          John
                          ----------
                          Church: Allen MDS-45 with Allen MIDI-DIVISION-II expander
                          Home: Allen Renaissance R-230 with expanded four-channel audio and MIDI-DIVISION-II
                          Shop: Bunch of organs in varying conditions, some good, some not...
                          Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches
                          https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Re: What makes pipes superior?



                            John.</p>

                            I would be lying if I said that at one time or another I've have been wrong about individual stops in any given organ as to whether it was a digital or real pipe. That hasn't happened too many times but it has. I can almost always call-it-right with reeds and not always with flues.</p>

                            My experience with a total digital organ vs a pipe organ is what has been mentioned (I think) before. A digital organ just will NOT fill the room. It's just sound where as (at least to me) a properly voiced and regulated pipe organ seems to envelope the entire space, filling every nook and cranny through out the room. Have I heard some really bad digital organs?....YES, a bunch. Have I heard some really bad pipe organs?.....YES, a few. Truth is I've head many more pipe organs than digital organs.</p>

                            Gosh I'm just rambling.</p>

                            Comment


                              #15
                              [/quote]</p>

                              For me, the experience has no explanation. I have a passion for all things mechanical. I guess that when I play a pipe organ, I have more of a respect for not only what I'm hearing, but how
                              ~1936 Hammond AV - Leslie 122 & PR40~ ~1954 Wurlitzer ElectroStatic 4602 - Leslie 125~

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