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Speaker Screen Pipe Facade Design Opinions Sought

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  • Speaker Screen Pipe Facade Design Opinions Sought

    Hi all, here is a project I am currently working on in my shop ( I’m being good and staying at home – shop is my backyard ). Last year I sold this church a set of four FR1.7 speakers and two SW7.5 subs. They had new stained glass windows installed in the back wall, and had to rebuild and raise the shelf that the speakers were on. They don’t like the looks of the speakers just sitting there ( neither do I really ), but as we all know, that is where they need to be. I showed them some examples of past pipe facades that I had created, and they were taken with the idea enough to commission me to build them one to hide the great sounding, but kinda ugly speakers.




    I had acquired the complete facade you see in the first few photos some years ago, so it was “in stock” here. I told them that I could give them a deal on it / them / as many pipes as are required, if they liked the design of the pipes. I don’t actually like them for this job, as the feet are way too long for this particular space in my opinion. But, the money man who is paying for the whole job thinks they are “perfect” ( he especially likes the lower lip design ! ). And he likes the sweet deal I am giving him on them, mainly just to get them out of my storage spaces. So it is that I find myself designing a facade layout with less than ideal raw materials, for a space that is a bit too small for the pipe sizes, and still trying to make it look good. I think I have a workable plan, but I am seeking opinions from my organ friends here.




    Here are some of the details of the space where the facade has to fit into : The ceiling angle is 45 degrees. The tallest center pipes can be no more than 7’-4” including the feet. The shortest end pipes ( or second from each end ) must be no more than 38” high, to miss the longitudinal roof beam. The first 4 center pipes on both sides are the same diameter and foot length.




    The front of the eventual layout will be on the approximate 15 degree outward angle as shown in the photo of the original facade standing in the racks that way. There will be no rackboards for the pipes to stand in; there will be a support structure behind them that the pipes hook into.




    You can see in the photos of the test layout that I have the left side laid out as they are now. I did not use the 2 center pipes from the original facade, as those feet are way, way too long for this job. On the right hand side I laid them out so the mouth height graduates from the center down.




    Obviously, all of the pipe tops will be cut off to fit the ceiling height as needed, so disregard the tops for the moment. The wood strip outline of the ceiling on the shop floor is full size.




    Here are some of the design questions I am thinking through :




    1, Is the graduated mouth height design the one to use ? One consideration is that the toe of each pipe will vary in diameter from about 1 & 7/8 “ down to about 1 & 1/4” , ( as shown in the photo where they are laid out that way – the wood chest edge is the cut line ) but not following the pipe diameters in order of large to small. Will that look too odd ? Or will no one notice from the floor of the nave ? The foot taper angles will not be exactly proportionate, and that might or might not be noticeable ?




    2, Even if I use the graduated mouth height design, are these pipes still to large for this space ? The largest diameter is 4 & 7/8” and the smallest is 2 & 7/8”. The shortest pipe will have an upper lip height ( at the top angle tip ) of 21 & 1/4” ( but that does not consider the 4” or so I might cut off the bottom ) on a pipe that is overall only 40” tall. Will that look too out of proportion ?




    3, Considering the 15 degree angle that the front will project out on, should the center line of the facade be a space ? Or should a pipe be the center line ?




    4, Related to #3 is this : Considering the 45 degree angle of the ceiling, should the facade pipes be cut to lengths even with each other for each pair, working out from the center ? Or should they be cut in chromatic ( pseudo chromatic in this case, because they are not speaking pipes anyhow ), lengths, alternating in C / C# sides ? If cut in chromatic lengths, does that mean that the longest pipe must be the center line of the layout ? Or not ?




    5, Because the pipes will need to be cut considerably shorter, should the tuning slides also be cut a proportionate amount ? Or will that not matter, because it is more of an artistic display of pipes rather than an actual rank of speaking pipes ? These pipes will be painted Antique Gold Metallic, and the mouth parts will be left the color they currently are, as will the slides. Maybe leaving them the length they are will provide more visual interest / contrast ?




    6, In some of these questions I am trying to think of how it will look to the average church member, from the floor of the nave, and not how it will look to someone who works with organs regularly. I’m thinking that in this situation, as long as all the various proportions of the parts look pleasing to the eye, that it won’t matter if a real rank of speaking pipes would not be proportioned that way. Things like length to diameter ratio, diameter of toe holes, tapers of the feet, and so on. Does that seem right ? I have to say that it is kinda hard for me to look at it that way, but is that because I know what I should be seeing when I see a rank of pipes, and this does not follow the pattern precisely enough ?




    The actual building of the facade is not the big deal here – once the plan is decided, it is just a matter of doing the various processes to the pipes, and building the structure. Getting the thinking out of it, and settling on the final plan before doing anything - that is the part that is waking me up some nights lately !




    Any insight and opinions you may wish to offer are appreciated. Thanks in advance.






    Attached Files
    Regards, Larry

    At Home : Yamaha Electones : EX-42 ( X 3 !!! ), E-5AR, FX-1 ( X 2 !! ), FX-20, EL-25 ( X 2, 1 chopped, 1 not ). Allen 601D, ADC 6000D. Baldwin 626. Lowrey CH32-1. At Churches I play for : Allen Q325 ( with Vista ), Allen L123 ( with Navigator ). Rodgers 755.

  • #2
    Here are the rest of the photos :
    Attached Files
    Regards, Larry

    At Home : Yamaha Electones : EX-42 ( X 3 !!! ), E-5AR, FX-1 ( X 2 !! ), FX-20, EL-25 ( X 2, 1 chopped, 1 not ). Allen 601D, ADC 6000D. Baldwin 626. Lowrey CH32-1. At Churches I play for : Allen Q325 ( with Vista ), Allen L123 ( with Navigator ). Rodgers 755.

    Comment


    • #3
      I personally don't think that platform can bear the weight of the speakers and pipe facade together. This probably isn't what you want to hear but modifying that facade to fit that space would IMO destroy it beyond redemtion. Push the speakers together so that there isn't any space between them and have the church completely finish the platform with a 'bottom' to hide the understructure and call it good.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thank you for the input Leisestrum . I've already told them that their space is wrong for that particular set of facade pipes. They still want to proceed. Obviously the platform is unfinished at this time; that will be done as part of, or after, whatever sort of facade or screen they put up there. I have no concern about the weight capacity of the platform, as I know how it is built and attached, and know and trust the contractor who did the job.

        However, they Really want a facade in that space. So the question is not : "should they or shouldn't they " , it is : "can this set of pipes be made to work here, and if so, how ? ".

        About destroying this facade to make it fit : It is indeed a facade, and was built for that specific purpose. - these are not an actual rank of organ pipes, as there are no speaking parts in them. It was salvaged from a certain dumpster fate when another church was remodeling. With that in mind, I have no qualms about cutting them to fit wherever they need to be cut to make them fit a new purpose. The question remains though " will it look good ? "

        FWIW, I actually think the original facade display layout is butt #$s UGLY ! But then we all have our opinions in matters of artistic taste, no one right or wrong - just different.
        Regards, Larry

        At Home : Yamaha Electones : EX-42 ( X 3 !!! ), E-5AR, FX-1 ( X 2 !! ), FX-20, EL-25 ( X 2, 1 chopped, 1 not ). Allen 601D, ADC 6000D. Baldwin 626. Lowrey CH32-1. At Churches I play for : Allen Q325 ( with Vista ), Allen L123 ( with Navigator ). Rodgers 755.

        Comment


        • #5
          Larry,

          The way you have the pipes laid out appears to work, as you have taken the consideration of the diameter of the pipes into consideration. Personally, for a C/C# application, I'd have the tallest pipe in the center, and step down from there as if you were actually building a rank of speaking pipes. It'll be more believable that way. The only other qualm I have is if you raise the toe to get the mouths to line up in a pattern, then the diameter where the toe meets the bottom would not be plausible. Is there a way to split the difference between the sides? That may be more believable, and at the least, symetrical.

          The only other thing I might mention is that you will still be able to see the speakers behind the pipes. What about hanging a piece of acoustically transparent cloth behind the façade? That way the speakers can be heard but not seen.

          My 2¢ worth.

          Michael
          Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
          • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
          • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
          • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 6 Pianos

          Comment


          • #6
            Michael, those are EXACTLY the concerns I'm having. The area behind the facade will be black, be it acoustic cloth, or just removing the white speaker grilles, since the interior face of the speakers is black. I do not have my scale drawing completed yet, as I am still in the design phase here, so I can't show it. My thought is that whatever structure I create to accept the pipe hooks or loops can also be used for a black acoustic cloth support. That way the entire facade would be standing in front of the cloth backing panel / curtain / whatever. The rest of the back wall could also be made black ( or brown, and then use brown cloth behind the pipes ) down to the level of the platform deck.

            The diameters of the pipes ( the way they are laid out now ) are a mirror image of each other, right and left. And the first 4 from the center out on each side are the same diameter. So when the tops are cut to fit the ceiling angle, you land up with pipes that are too fat for the length. At least if they were speaking pipes. But will that look OK from the floor level ? Obviously it won't to us organ folks, but will the average person perceive that ?

            Part of the reason for thinking about cutting the feet down is the make the whole foot of each pipe shorter. And cutting them is about the only way to make the mouth heights graduate down in any semblance of a real rank. So the toe holes land up being too big, and not graduated. And that changes the taper of the foot angle as well. Again, not real enough looking for us organ folk, but will it look OK from the floor level ? IE, the inconsistencies not noticed by people who are not organ aficionados ?

            The C / C# layout with C dead center, is the one I am thinking to use, and have been all along. But I had to ask what others thought, ya know.

            Another thought I am having is to make the facade narrower overall. There is no need to make it as wide as it is to cover the 4 speakers. Right now it is a little over 10' wide. Even figuring for 4 Allen HC speakers ( which I will sell to them someday - perhaps ? ) at 18" wide each, the facade only needs to be a minimum of 7' wide. If it was not as wide, I would not need to use the huge diameter center pipes, and all the rest of the pipes would look more in proportion. Look at the photo and figure the 4 ( or 6 ? ) center pipes are not there, and the rest moved to the center. That might look better as a pipe display, since the length to diameter would be more normal. The mouth height graduation issue would not be a problem either, or way less.


            That is why I posted this topic - I'm really undecided about all these variables, so all your opinions are sought.


            Guess I gotta go move pipes around some more, to see what might work.
            Regards, Larry

            At Home : Yamaha Electones : EX-42 ( X 3 !!! ), E-5AR, FX-1 ( X 2 !! ), FX-20, EL-25 ( X 2, 1 chopped, 1 not ). Allen 601D, ADC 6000D. Baldwin 626. Lowrey CH32-1. At Churches I play for : Allen Q325 ( with Vista ), Allen L123 ( with Navigator ). Rodgers 755.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Larrytow View Post
              But will that look OK from the floor level ? Obviously it won't to us organ folks, but will the average person perceive that ?
              [snip]
              Again, not real enough looking for us organ folk, but will it look OK from the floor level ? IE, the inconsistencies not noticed by people who are not organ aficionados?
              Larry,

              You've been around long enough to know the average church person would walk in and ask what type of pipe organ you have in the balcony. That said so you realize you're only talking about less than a handful of people. I realize you're a perfectionist and want a perfect outcome. In reality, you probably need to be asking the church. Maybe you are on the right track when you mention that rather than going from the largest pipe in the middle, you could begin the design from the small pipes on each end.

              BTW, I'd make it a bit wider than the 7' you mentioned (actually go the length of the shelf) because someone looking from an angle may sight the speakers.

              Hope that helps.

              Michael
              Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
              • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
              • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
              • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 6 Pianos

              Comment


              • #8
                Of course I will be running any modifications / redesign ideas though the church folk. More accurately I guess, it would be subject to approval by the one "well to do" person who is the source of the funds for the project. A "rich" donor ( and Elder, etc. ) is paying for the entire project. But that still does not mean that he wants to pay more than required to make it happen, and still look reasonably good. It is not a "price is no object" sort of job. If it were, things would be much easier, since I could draw up what is needed and order pipes, framework, pretty much everything from any number of suppliers.

                Then there is the sentimental / history aspect of the facade pipes that I am trying to make work here. They came from another church of the same denomination, when it was basically torn down for a rebuild some years ago. The donor likes the idea of the pipes being put back into service in the same denomination, for essentially the same purpose. If not for that little issue, I would be looking for a regular 8' Diapason rank with the normal 17 zinc bass pipes, with all parts in proper proportion, to use as the raw materials.

                My current thinking is that I will try laying them out with the smallest diameter pipes just inside of a vertical line down from each of the longitudinal roof beams. With those extended feet, it is really almost impossible to cut the shortest ones to fit under them, and still look anywhere near like a semi correct foot to body ratio. It will land up being a tall, but not as wide as the shelf display, but much more proportional.

                The outside ends of the shelf are sorta reserved for additional speakers ( perhaps ? ) in the future anyhow, for the PA, Electric Piano, and so on. Since I need to build a structure to go behind the pipes at about 3' up from the shelf level for the upper pipe retainers, that could be made as wide as the shelf is, and then have decorative panels put in those outside spaces where the pipes end. The platform is 10&1/2' wide. The inside distance between the two longitudinal roof beams is 7' -7". So a display layout of just over 7 feet wide will cover the central area nicely. And it will have plenty of room for 4 larger speakers some day.

                The balcony there is pretty deep actually. It may not show in the photos well, but it is somewhere between 15' and 18' deep from the rail to the back wall. The only way to see what is behind the facade would be when coming up the stairs to the loft.

                I really need to dig out the drafting stuff and start drawing this all out to scale. I'm just going by notes and rough sketches yet. At least I know that I have all the pertinent building dimensions correct, so a scale drawing will tell what will fit where, and how it will look in proportion to everything else.

                In the next few days I will be picking up and putting down lots of pipes to try out this new idea. I've not got a whole lot going on anyhow with the shutdown in effect, and it's good exercise I suppose.

                Thank you very much for your input on this ! No matter how it lands up being laid out, discussing it in this way is really making me "get the thinking out of it" BEFORE cutting any pipes.
                Last edited by Larrytow; 03-26-2020, 10:03 PM.
                Regards, Larry

                At Home : Yamaha Electones : EX-42 ( X 3 !!! ), E-5AR, FX-1 ( X 2 !! ), FX-20, EL-25 ( X 2, 1 chopped, 1 not ). Allen 601D, ADC 6000D. Baldwin 626. Lowrey CH32-1. At Churches I play for : Allen Q325 ( with Vista ), Allen L123 ( with Navigator ). Rodgers 755.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Just looking at the pipes and your pattern on the floor, you will be chopping them down a lot to fit. I think the diameter of pipes and location on the mouths, in relation to their new heights will look out of proportion, even to the average parishioner.

                  Over all the concept is good, but if you had some smaller diameter pipes I think it would look better. My $0.02.
                  Hammond RT-3, Estey circa 1903, Baldwin Acrosonic spinet piano, Fender Rhodes Mark I 73 stage piano.

                  Comment


                  • Larrytow
                    Larrytow commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Yes, you have summarized the issue very succinctly ! Pipes are too fat, and the feet are too long. Still gotta lay it out with the middle fat ones out to see if that can work visually. I'll report back here after I try that. I may indeed need to go pipe shopping.

                • #10
                  Stupid question, but what about two rows? Do you have enough pipes for that? The ones in the front could be set up as a W, and in back as an inverted V (think Conn Speaker Pipes center unit). That may allow you to hide some of the potential issues. Just a thought.

                  Michael
                  Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
                  • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
                  • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
                  • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 6 Pianos

                  Comment


                  • Larrytow
                    Larrytow commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Michael, I have not considered that option actually. The main problem with this salvage facade is that it has too many large pipes. Smaller diameters are in short supply on it. Making lots of phone calls today; starting a hunt for more suitable pipes. Wanting to use something for sentimental reasons is fine - - until it is obvious that they just won't work. That perfectionist thing you mentioned earlier can be problematic sometimes !

                  • myorgan
                    myorgan commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Well...they'll just look like a theatre rank of pipes rather than a classical rank of pipes.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

                    Michael

                • #11
                  What I would like to see is a photo of how the rear balcony looks from the POV of someone seated in the main Sanctuary. Preferably multiple views from 1st Row; Mid Sanctuary and finally rear Sanctuary. If my guess is correct, the only good view of those stained glass windows is from someone at the Pulpit looking out towards the pews. I would also like to see what the Altar area looks like from the POV of a congregant seated in a pew. We all agree that those pipes are just too large scaled to be cut down to what would fit under that eave and still look remotely authentic. Absolutely, much thinner pipes need to be located. Or ... the current facade pipes could be hung at the balcony rail, Ruckpositiv style. Bring the speakers along too of course. That balcony rail is no stranger to having speakers reside there. Or ... the pipes can occupy the left hand (from Altar POV) corner of the Balcony at 'floor level'. Bent 90* at the point where they bend already.

                  Comment


                  • Larrytow
                    Larrytow commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Yup, of course I have more photos. I'll post them later today or late tonight.

                • #12
                  Have you considered just getting some appropriate-sized PVC pipe, fabricate some thin plastic cones for the feet, and paint them all with aluminum paint? the mouths could simply be painted in place--they only have to look "real" from a distance. This would also solve the weight problem.

                  Comment


                  • myorgan
                    myorgan commented
                    Editing a comment
                    David,

                    I think the church is (unreasonably, IMHO) tied to this façade Larry is trying to make work for them. Evidently, there's an emotional tie there somewhere.

                    Michael

                • #13
                  Have you considered dividing the pipes on each side of the windows? That way you could use the full length of the pipes. It would, of course, require that you divide the speakers as well and build two smaller platforms.
                  Bill

                  My home organ: Content M5800 as a midi controller for Hauptwerk

                  Comment


                  • #14
                    Originally posted by voet View Post
                    Have you considered dividing the pipes on each side of the windows? That way you could use the full length of the pipes. It would, of course, require that you divide the speakers as well and build two smaller platforms.
                    I like it. There is a funky bit of architecture ruining the plane of the left wall, but the speakers could be mounted inboard of that. TBH I would not have those windows there at all! A single round "Rose Window" mounted high on that back wall is what should have been designed. Then the full run of facade pipes could be centered under it. The center pipes shortened to follow the diameter of the RW. Maybe those (new?) windows can be sold? Can they even be seen? Anyway, as I read the o.p. the church are not so much attached to THIS facade as they are attached to the idea of A facade. A screen made of acoustically transparent grille cloth could cover the speakers where they are. Or your idea of divided banks of pipes (and speakers) on either side of the windows. IMO anything else violates the "first, do no harm" maxim.

                    Comment


                    • #15
                      Hi all, thanks for the interest and ideas so far. Just thought I would post a fast update. I spent last night / this morning ( till 5am - I really do like to work at night ! ) in the shop, staring at, picking up and putting down facade pipes, and pondering how I could possibly make something I would be satisfied enough with out of the existing set I am trying to adapt. I think I may have a decent workable plan now. More info, questions, and of course Photos !, will follow later tonight or tomorrow.

                      I also found a rank of Reuter ( pretty sure that's the builder ) Open Diapason pipes near(ish) to me that will be available in the future. But when in the future is unknown at this time, because of the COVID shutdown. They are still installed in the church, and there is no access for the guy who is replacing them until things get back going. They are however scale 43, and that is actually larger than the pipes I am trying to adapt now. They do have "normal" size feet though.
                      Regards, Larry

                      At Home : Yamaha Electones : EX-42 ( X 3 !!! ), E-5AR, FX-1 ( X 2 !! ), FX-20, EL-25 ( X 2, 1 chopped, 1 not ). Allen 601D, ADC 6000D. Baldwin 626. Lowrey CH32-1. At Churches I play for : Allen Q325 ( with Vista ), Allen L123 ( with Navigator ). Rodgers 755.

                      Comment


                      • davidecasteel
                        davidecasteel commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Are those O.D. pipes a full rank? I doubt that you will need to use a full set and you could possibly just select the upper octaves for the screen.
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