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Viscount Pysis Sound Quality vs. Sampled Organs

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  • Viscount Pysis Sound Quality vs. Sampled Organs

    I'm hunting for a new home organ and am considering the Viscount Unico CLV 6. I'm wondering if there are any strong opinions out there about the sound quality of the Physis system vs. sample based organs from Johannus (like the opus 27) and Hauptwork MIDI sounds (which either organ could drive as well).

    Thanks for any help,

    M

  • #2
    I really don't like the sound of Physis organs. I think their sampled organs sound a *lot* better.

    To my ears, the Physis has a thin, artificial, sterile, electronic sound; and it's not only the voicing, but the tuning as well. The tuning sounds a lot more like those aweful frequency divider organs of forty years ago. I don't know how they tune the organ, but it certainly doesn't sound like a high quality digital, where each and every note of every stop, some 4,000 individual voices, are individually tuned note-by-note; and that's what gives a good digital organ it's big sound. Even the low end Roland organs sound better than the CLV 6. :-P

    Physis technology isn't something new. It's basically just a rehash of the old Bradford System, which almost all organ manufacturers abandoned over a decade ago in favour of sampled voices.
    2008: Phoenix III/44

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    • #3
      Colin Pykett wrote an article comparing sampled and physical modeling technologies. See what he has to say.

      Just an opinion: The demos on the Viscount website don't sell the instrument. However, there are some on YouTube (christchurchdidsbury) that make a much better impression.

      Wasn't physical modeling developed by Yamaha and Stanford University?

      Comment


      • #4
        The Bradford system was developed about 30 years ago by Bradford University in England. Veritas Organ still uses it for their organs; and sound pretty good. They have some good sound samples on their website.

        http://www.veritasorgans.com/technology.htm

        http://www.veritasorgans.com/sounds_cd_1.htm
        2008: Phoenix III/44

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        • #5
          The Musicom system was based on the Bradford system although they claimed to have improved the technology. Musicom was used by Copeman-Hart.

          I think that technically there is a difference between Bradford/Musicom and what today is referred to as physical modeling which has to more with the difference with how the sound is conceptualized for the voicer.
          -Admin

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

          Comment


          • #6
            Copeman Hart was quite involved with Bradford University in the development of the Bradford system; and Makin Organ who recently bought Copeman Hart, used the Bradford system for many years. When Makin went to sound samples, on their website, they dumped on the ancient Bradford system:

            "Prior to the advent of sampling, the technology now used by most manufacturers of digital organs, tone generation was by way of artificially synthesised sounds, with the technology of choice usually being the ‘Bradford System’ developed in the late 1970s. There are still a few companies who use this technology today which is, to say the least,interesting, since it is now more than 30 years old and hasn’t really been developed nor has kept up with software and computer enhancements in general. Whilst there remain a few die-hard supporters of this system, who simply do not believe that sampled sound is better than artificially generated sound, they are very much a dying breed."

            Then after buying Copeman Hart, they deleted this revealing morsel from their website. :-&

            No doubt the new physical modeling has improved significantly; and that probably has a lot to do with vastly increased speed and memory available to work with. It wasn't all that long ago that an important spec for an organ was how many polyphonic notes could be played at once without one or more of them dropping out. :-P

            While I believe physical models can be made to sound VERY good, the Viscount just doesn't cut it for me. Something is missing, but I am not sure what it is. It might have to do with sterile tuning and a cost cutting unified design.

            All I know, is that when that something isn't missing: I know it when I hear it!
            Last edited by Clarion; 01-16-2013, 09:31 PM.
            2008: Phoenix III/44

            Comment


            • #7
              Physical modeling synthesis became a popular "emerging" technology in the 1990's when sampling was more primitive, and much more importantly, when the cost and technological limitations of physical memory size and access realistically limited what sampling would be capable of. Modeling requires far less in terms of memory and storage, and so, at the time, it looked to be a way around those limitations.

              These days, memory and storage is cheap and virtually unlimited in size, at least for the needs of sample storage. It simply is easier to store countless variations of long samples and use sophisticated algorithms for manipulation, switching/layering, and access than it is to produce physical models in synthesis that even get close to the same levels of realism and detail. This, along with cheap powerful computers and high-qulity generic audio hardware, is what makes Hauptwerk function so well and so realistically.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by michaelhoddy View Post
                These days, memory and storage is cheap and virtually unlimited in size, at least for the needs of sample storage. It is simply is easier to store countless variations of long samples and use sophisticated algorithms for manipulation, switching/layering, and access than it is to produce physical models in synthesis that even get close to the same levels of realism and detail. This, along with cheap powerful computers and high-quality generic audio hardware, is what makes Hauptwerk function so well and so realistically.
                Absolutely!! ;-)
                2008: Phoenix III/44

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Admin View Post
                  The Musicom system was based on the Bradford system although they claimed to have improved the technology. Musicom was used by Copeman-Hart.

                  I think that technically there is a difference between Bradford/Musicom and what today is referred to as physical modeling which has to more with the difference with how the sound is conceptualized for the voicer.
                  I'm pretty sure that the Musicom system uses additive synthesis. They analyze pipe samples to figure out the harmonic profile and then program the sounds using additive synthesis.

                  - - - Updated - - -

                  Originally posted by MarkS View Post
                  Colin Pykett wrote an article comparing sampled and physical modeling technologies. See what he has to say.

                  Just an opinion: The demos on the Viscount website don't sell the instrument. However, there are some on YouTube (christchurchdidsbury) that make a much better impression.

                  Wasn't physical modeling developed by Yamaha and Stanford University?
                  There are different techniques to do PM, based on what kind of instrument is being modeled. I think Yamaha worked on brass and sax models.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by radagast View Post
                    I'm pretty sure that the Musicom system uses additive synthesis. They analyze pipe samples to figure out the harmonic profile and then program the sounds using additive synthesis.
                    Both Bradford and Musicom are additive synthesis.
                    -Admin

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

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Clarification...

                      Originally posted by Clarion View Post
                      I really don't like the sound of Physis organs. I think their sampled organs sound a *lot* better.

                      To my ears, the Physis has a thin, artificial, sterile, electronic sound; and it's not only the voicing, but the tuning as well. The tuning sounds a lot more like those aweful frequency divider organs of forty years ago. I don't know how they tune the organ, but it certainly doesn't sound like a high quality digital, where each and every note of every stop, some 4,000 individual voices, are individually tuned note-by-note; and that's what gives a good digital organ it's big sound. Even the low end Roland organs sound better than the CLV 6. :-P

                      Physis technology isn't something new. It's basically just a rehash of the old Bradford System, which almost all organ manufacturers abandoned over a decade ago in favour of sampled voices.
                      I can appreciate and understand your opinion of the organ you played. But from personal experience and voicing the entire Viscount UNICO Line with Physis Technology, I can say as a matter of fact your experience on that organ was due to it not being properly voiced. I'm very sorry your chance to play the Viscount UNICO Organ was muddled by it not being set to your liking. This really saddens me to know because I know what the Physis Technology Platform is capable of.

                      The Physis Technology Platform is in no way like the Bradford System. A customer told me a few years ago that a competitor said this exact same thing, and wanted to know if it was true. I asked Viscount if Physis Technology was based off of Bradford, and the individual in the company I asked actually had to google it to even find out what it was. Think about this for a moment...If a company was investing so much in a new technology, why in the world would they mimic or base it off a failed system such as Bradford? The answer is, they wouldn't. It's simply untrue and not based on reality. I am very sorry if someone told you that. They were wrong on every level. The fact is that Viscount has had the dream of developing this technology for over 2 decades, but had to wait until the processing speeds would allow them to do everything they wanted to. That time is now. A couple of points...

                      Fact 1- Viscount has invested close to 10 million dollars in the development and continued improvement of the Physis Technology Platform. In addition to the financial investment, there was a team of over 40 engineers involved with its development over a 5 year period, and many of those engineers continue now on its improvement. ALL Viscount Organs with Physis Technology benefit from improvements through software upgrades, which are available for FREE for life as a Viscount Organ Owner. I challenge you to call any of the other current organ manufacturers and ask how many engineers they have employed in their research and development department. Some of the manufacturers won't even have a number of people. They'll instead say, 'what research and development department?'

                      Fact 2- Physis Technology has the most advanced tuning parameters of any organ on the market. I have a feeling the organ tuning was not in any way set properly during your experience of playing one. You can tune every single note in the same way as any of the other organ manufacturers organs. But in addition to this, Viscount developed a feature through Physis Technology that recreates the minute and subtle variations in tuning as you play the organ. This gives it a warm and very pipe like feeling as you play and can be adjusted (it's not just on or off). PLUS, Viscount also developed an air pressure destabilization feature that recreates the dip in air pressure found in pipe organs when larger chords/registrations are played, which can also be adjusted. This again is totally physically modeled and both features depend on what precise stops you have selected, what chords you are playing, and the proximity of each rank of pipes to each other. It is all computed in real time and is different every time based on what the organist is doing at that exact moment. The number of air reservoirs are also considered in the technology.

                      Fact 3- The organ stop library on the CL6 is over 550 ranks (and growing due to continuous development). The experience of 32 of those voices, not set properly, not tuned properly, and possibly not even voices you would enjoy to play on anyway (even if you were sitting at a pipe organ), is not a true representation of Physis Technology and its capabilities.

                      Fact 4- Every note of every stop plays based on a series of 72 parameters (width of the bore of the pipe, available air in reservoir, size of opening on the front of the pipe, age of the metal or wood, condition of the top opening of the pipe, etc. etc. etc.). These parameters can be modified through the software to fit the users exacting specifications and requirements. As you all know, pipe organ sound is highly subjective, and without this voicing work to be done to fit the desire and demands of the organist sitting at the console, it's difficult to say you don't like the instrument. I can say that personally I do not like the voicing of the organ out of the box either. I can also say that I haven't heard a digital organ as good as the Viscount UNICO Organ with Physis Technology (AFTER being voiced by my company).

                      I hope some of this information helps! I'd be happy to answer any more of your specific questions about Physis Technology should you have any. Just understand there might be a delay, as I rarely have time to login here. We're pretty busy with our customers and new installations.

                      I must note that I am not saying other sampled sound organ companies may or may not have these type or variations of features, nor am I trying to get into a debate. Just wanted to give you a few facts, and you can quote me on them. What I am saying however is that Physis Technology is totally and completely proprietary, and it's continuously being developed, and it is protected under international patents. I'm president of a company that's the largest dealer of Viscount Organs in North America. Prior to changing to Viscount, we represented another well known organ manufacturer for only about half a century, so we know a few things about the digital (and analog) organ.

                      Again, I am very sorry the organ you played on was not set up to your liking. I'm confident if you and I met, and I had just about an hour with you on an organ my company had already voiced, you wouldn't feel the same way. Maybe that can happen someday! :-)
                      Joshua Dove
                      Managing Director
                      Viscount North America
                      www.viscount-organs.com

                      President/CEO
                      Whitesel Church Organs
                      www.whiteselorgans.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Interesting info, Josh. I hope I can try out one of these organs soon.
                        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
                          Originally posted by Admin View Post
                          The Musicom system was based on the Bradford system although they claimed to have improved the technology. Musicom was used by Copeman-Hart.

                          I think that technically there is a difference between Bradford/Musicom and what today is referred to as physical modeling which has to more with the difference with how the sound is conceptualized for the voicer.
                          You are correct. The Musicom system used (or uses) additive synthesis, which is totally different from physical modeling.

                          There are different methods of PM. Yamaha used the Stanford PM tech on their VL-1 synth.

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