Ebay Classic organs

Collapse

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Thinking outside the box.... A crazy, expensive idea

Collapse
This topic is closed.
X
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Thinking outside the box.... A crazy, expensive idea

    Let me preface this by saying I'm convinced that digital sampling continues to improve. Assuming you have good samples of good organ pipes, the potential is there to create an organ that closely rivals a real pipe organ. All the electronic manufacturers have been working to achieve this. Some have come very close, while others still are perceived as only a vague approximation of a real pipe organ.

    I think the individual voices on many brands of digital organs sound excellent, and only a few people can hear the difference between the original pipes and the digital versions. But the weakness of many digital organs is full ensemble or tutti playing. For many organs this is where things still go bad.

    The pipe organ purists correctly point out that on a pipe organ each individual pipe produces one individual sound. And when good voicing has been performed, all these sounds can combine so each pipe and each voice can be heard clearly. The problem for electronics seems to be too many sounds trying to be reproduced by speakers. And at least in some cases, the result is often - if not always - muddy and less than the ideal everyone wants.

    Digital brands have tried many tricks to overcome this problem. I remember some organs where all reeds, all diapasons, flutes, etc. went to a separate set of speakers. Lower pedals went to their own speakers, etc. Other brands and/or models use separate speakers for specific frequency ranges. And some use a combination of these techniques.

    So here is the crazy, expensive idea....

    What if every note of every stop was played through a separate speaker? Each note would need it's own small amp and a speaker tailored for the sound to be produced. Each pipe would have it's own sample, not the pattern of one sample for each octave some better digital organs have used. The cost of suitable amps and speakers for many "pipes" could be rather modest. Those for others would be more costly.

    I think modern computers and faster memory channels can do the processing required for this. Fiber optic systems can transfer the signals and split them into hundreds or perhaps thousands of distinct channels required. Many modern pipe organs now use fiber optics to transfer the signals to the pipes.

    Absolutely. This would be a technical challenge of immense proportions. Voicing adjustments would still be needed, just as it is with pipes. But I'm wondering if it could result in an organ that would have the kind of sonic clarity that pipes have had for many years. Like pipes - one speaker would produce one individual sound. Arrays of many speakers in a cabinet could keep the arrangement manageable.

    I know the cost would be very high. And compromise might be required. But I wonder if the result COULD BE an organ that truly rivaled the pipe organ.

    There you have it. I'll take the slings and arrows I'm confident this crazy idea might deserve. :-B

    Bach-On
    Make being happy a way of traveling, not just a destination.

    Church organ - 2 manual 12 rank Estey Pipe Organ with 12 Artisan Digital Stops
    Home organ - Allen R-230 organ (We also have 48 pipes in a facade)
    We have a Yamaha 6' 8" Grand
    Have used an older Korg T3 keyboard and MIDI for doing musical arrangements.
    I'm a Methodist organist.
    I taught high school chorus, elementary music and middle school music.
    Became a Technology Specialist.
    Retired from Education after 32 years.

  • #2
    I don't know why there would be slings and arrows thrown. I suspect that, if well done, the effect would be absolutely transcendent. OTOH, I believe that it would be very expensive, and, although an amplifier and speaker would not take up as much space as a large pipe, the opposite would be true for the very small pipes. Tuning and balancing could be a real pain, even though the pitches would presumably be handled by the sampling process.

    I'd think perhaps the concept should be tried first with a modest-sized instrument--maybe one with about 20 stops and nothing larger than 16'. Even that would require about 1200 amplifiers and speakers.

    David

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by davidecasteel View Post
      I don't know why there would be slings and arrows thrown. I suspect that, if well done, the effect would be absolutely transcendent. OTOH, I believe that it would be very expensive, and, although an amplifier and speaker would not take up as much space as a large pipe, the opposite would be true for the very small pipes. Tuning and balancing could be a real pain, even though the pitches would presumably be handled by the sampling process.

      I'd think perhaps the concept should be tried first with a modest-sized instrument--maybe one with about 20 stops and nothing larger than 16'. Even that would require about 1200 amplifiers and speakers.

      David
      David, thanks for your reasoned response. I imagine a wall for each organ stop much like a rank of organ pipes. The size for the higher pipes is small, though the windchests and support structure do increase the space needed. I can imagine a speaker cabinet for each rank of smaller pipes. A cabinet could house the amps for each corresponding speaker. Screwed or knobbed pots could be used to control voicing. I do think the tuning would be in the computer processing area.

      The speakers used would probably (could probably) need to be unique. For very high pipes, perhaps electrostatic elements or some other form of transducer/speaker could provide sufficient narrowly focused tonal reproduction at sufficient volume in a relatively modest size. Remember - only one narrow range of frequency would need to be reproduced by each "speaker" element. And the amp only has to reproduce a narrow frequency range for each channel. I can imagine an amp with several hundred low power amp modules.

      It would be in the mid-range frequencies that the costs and size would go up exponentially. But look at some of the Bose cube speakers. They are small, yet most can produce very good sound at more than adequate volume. Amps would need to be stronger in this range. The space (linear and cubic) for thousands would be substantial, perhaps similar or even larger than a rank of mid-frequency pipes. But I think speakers could be mounted on more than one face of the cabinet to keep the footprint a bit smaller.

      As for the low pipes (16' and 32'): I'm thinking of pedals. Seldom does most organ literature require more than four or five pedal notes to be played at any one time. Am I correct? So here is where "some compromise may be required" comes in. Imagine a 16' Principal. Four to six speaker cabinets capable of producing each of the notes in the frequency range for the 32 pedal notes for that rank. The computer would send the sounds to whichever of the four amps and speakers that was "available" at that particular moment. The speakers would play more than a single individual note - but not at the same time.

      As an extension of this last idea, organist seldom play over 10 notes at a time with their hands. Right? So the same idea of sending sounds to a speaker circuit not currently in use could be used to reduce the number of circuits and speakers in the range of the manuals. Adding notes for stops coupled to the pedals, I'm thinking that 14 or 15 speakers might be adequate for, say, an 8' Bourdon stop. Determining which speaker gets the data would be handled in the computer processing area. It could probably be software programed.

      After touch is a concern, as are spacial effects. But they might not be needed as much with this kind of instrument. I dunno.

      I completely agree that the concept would need to be tried on a modest size organ first. Though I'm certain it would cost as much or more than a piped organ. Suggestion - don't automatically jump on your "why not just buy a pipe organ" bandwagon. Think of the concept being sought. MY question is, would it be possible? Would you want one is a whole 'nuther question.

      I remember many years ago when Virgil Fox was touring with his Rodgers Touring Organ. I think is was knicknamed Black Beauty. He came to our city and I went out to help unload it from the truck and help the technician set it up. I'm certain that organ had 40 or 50 speakers which were spread across the stage. BTW, I got to play that organ for about 15 minutes while the Tech went around the auditorium listening. That was my 15 minutes of fame.

      Cameron Carpenter's new M&O touring organ has 10 arrays of speakers in individual road cases. Each road case contains 4 speaker cabinets, for a total of 40 speaker cabinets (I'm not certain if any of these 40 speaker cabinets contains more than one speaker). Two of the road cases have brass horns that screw into the 8 speaker cabinets that reproduce the reed sounds. Then the organ has 12 woofers and sub-woofers that are spread behind and around these road case cabinets. I saw a clip of him on a TV show promoting his "enterprise". He said the cost was right at a million dollars for the instrument. I have no idea of how all the circuitry works on his new toy. And it is, no doubt, beyond what most church or theater instruments will do. Having - so far - only heard it on YouTube clips, I can't speak to the quality of the sound.

      I am just speculating on a potential method to overcome the tutti muddiness I hear in most (though not all) digital organs. I'm not tied to a single concept. Compromise isn't always a dirty word.

      Waste of time? Perhaps. But I enjoy thinking about things like this. And if some of the folks here didn't, they wouldn't peruse the many forums on this great site (OK! OK! The many "fora" on this great site).

      Bach-On
      Last edited by Bach-On; 11-18-2014, 07:19 AM. Reason: added comment
      Make being happy a way of traveling, not just a destination.

      Church organ - 2 manual 12 rank Estey Pipe Organ with 12 Artisan Digital Stops
      Home organ - Allen R-230 organ (We also have 48 pipes in a facade)
      We have a Yamaha 6' 8" Grand
      Have used an older Korg T3 keyboard and MIDI for doing musical arrangements.
      I'm a Methodist organist.
      I taught high school chorus, elementary music and middle school music.
      Became a Technology Specialist.
      Retired from Education after 32 years.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Bach-On View Post
        What if every note of every stop was played through a separate speaker? Each note would need it's own small amp and a speaker tailored for the sound to be produced. Each pipe would have it's own sample, not the pattern of one sample for each octave some better digital organs have used.
        Therein lies the problem. If a digital organ followed your premise, then (just as in a pipe organ) there would be some amps/speakers that would never or hardly ever be used. So, what do we do about that? Well, have an amp/speaker combination play 2 or more notes that would never be played together (i.e. the bottom C & C# on the manuals), etc. Then the question becomes, how far could that be pushed before tone quality is sacrificed at the altar of expense?

        Another devil's advocate position may be, what about the interaction of the air within the resonator of two pipes and how they interact with each other? Speakers could never do that (maybe porting?).

        Also, in your premise, you state that each would have a dedicated speaker. What about combining stops/notes/ranges that would never overlap in the same speaker cabinet? For example, a 32' Bourdon lower note probably wouldn't have much in common with a 1' Fife in its upper register, so why not combine that tweeter and woofer in the same enclosure to save money?

        Of course you get the idea. Some digital "builders" have attempted what you suggest to a limited extent, and even their best efforts fall short--even though they may be far superior than the average organ consumer can afford. I wonder if this is what Cameron Carpenter tried on his organ?

        Great idea, but you can see where the possibilities break down when put in practical use. Good idea for an academic research project, though.

        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)
        • 11 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 7 Pianos

        Comment


        • #5
          I LOVE DEVIL's ADVOCATE STUFF!!! Thanks, Michael.

          1. Pipe organs are modular. You don't stick 2' flute pipes in with the 8' oboe pipes. Each gets it's own wind chest (or resonator). Wanna add a rank? Buy the pipes and supporting chambers. I'm trying to keep this modular in the same way. I don't reject sticking several tweeters (which probably don't need extensive tone cabinet resonators) in a big 12 inch woofer cabinet. But it wouldn't be quite as modular. But, you've addressed a "size of it all" question with a potential solution.

          2. I modified my second post to address some of what you stated about not all pipes being played at the same time. This could reduce the required number of amps and speakers. Using that premise, 14 or 15 circuits and speakers could probably suffice for an individual rank of pipe sounds (including couplers to pedals).

          3. You stated: "what about the interaction of the air within the resonator of two pipes and how they interact with each other? Speakers could never do that (maybe porting?)." I'm not certain I quite agree with this statement. I do think the interaction between and among the speakers could be significant. (Sniff. Sniff. Is that the odor of a Pipe purist I smell?) :-)

          This speculation on my part may be like college dorm FRESHMAN BS. But I'm not ready to just dismiss the concept because it would be difficult. If the many fine traditional pipe organs of the past could be made to work in a day when there was no practical use of electricity, it shows us that ingenuity can be brought into problem solving. Somebody thought outside the box. Otherwise, Bach might be known primarily as a good harpsichord player.

          I'm not going for an academic paper. I'm just speculating. Thanks for your observations. As I said, I'm trying to speculate outside the box.

          Bach-On
          Make being happy a way of traveling, not just a destination.

          Church organ - 2 manual 12 rank Estey Pipe Organ with 12 Artisan Digital Stops
          Home organ - Allen R-230 organ (We also have 48 pipes in a facade)
          We have a Yamaha 6' 8" Grand
          Have used an older Korg T3 keyboard and MIDI for doing musical arrangements.
          I'm a Methodist organist.
          I taught high school chorus, elementary music and middle school music.
          Became a Technology Specialist.
          Retired from Education after 32 years.

          Comment


          • #6
            If you're going to go to all that complexity and expense there ceases to be a reason not to build a pipe organ in the first place. More importantly, it's unnecessary. At this year's ATOS convention there was a pipe organ and an Allen configured with the samples of that pipe organ on the same stage. It was not possible to tell the difference between them. Now I know that Allen used many channels and speakers for this, but they used far less than a speaker per note per rank.
            Last edited by Admin; 11-18-2014, 11:55 AM.
            -Admin

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

            Comment


            • #7
              Fair observation, Admin. And you will note (ahem) that I've modified and suggested compromises for the one speaker per note of each rank in the second verbage I posted. I wonder how many channels and speakers was enough to fool the ears? I have played and heard some excellent digital organs that sounded great - even when a full ensemble sound was used. Sadly, I'm sorry to say they have been the exceptions. I'd like to see a cost effective way to make those organs more of a reliable standard. Good installation and an organ suitable for the site is key. And not every technician has golden ears and the taste to match.

              I may be barking up the wrong tree. But nice trees interest me. I'll stop if you think it is a waste of bandwidth.

              Bach-On
              Make being happy a way of traveling, not just a destination.

              Church organ - 2 manual 12 rank Estey Pipe Organ with 12 Artisan Digital Stops
              Home organ - Allen R-230 organ (We also have 48 pipes in a facade)
              We have a Yamaha 6' 8" Grand
              Have used an older Korg T3 keyboard and MIDI for doing musical arrangements.
              I'm a Methodist organist.
              I taught high school chorus, elementary music and middle school music.
              Became a Technology Specialist.
              Retired from Education after 32 years.

              Comment


              • #8
                Reading this post is a treat for me. I have often wondered the same thing - having gazillions of speakers to simulate the individual pipes. Rock on!
                Home organ, same as church's organ - Rodgers 940

                Sign on my work toolbox that effectively keeps people away:

                DANGER!!! 1,000,000 OHMS!!!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Bach-On View Post
                  I may be barking up the wrong tree. But nice trees interest me. I'll stop if you think it is a waste of bandwidth.Bach-On
                  You're not wasting bandwith with this sort of thread. And definitely not Bach-ing up the wrong tree! Sorry, couldn't resist. :)
                  It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

                  New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com

                  Current instruments: Roland Atelier AT900 Platinum Edition, Yamaha PSR-S970, Kawai K1m
                  Retired Organs: Lots! Kawai SR6 x 2, Hammond L122, T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2102 Pacemaker. Kimball Temptation.
                  Retired Leslies, 147, 145 x 2, 760 x 2, 710, 415 x 2.
                  Retired synths: Korg 700, Roland SH1000, Jen Superstringer, Kawai S100F, Kawai S100P, Kawai K1

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hi,

                    Well it isn't crazy to think this, but I would think it is not a viable commercial venture at this stage. Most organ manufacturers are struggling to stay afloat, building "regular" organs.

                    I agree more discrete audio channels would be a major step forward in realism for digital instruments. But the fact is, most of the buyers of digital organs, are more impressed by other aspects of the product, such as number of keyboards, stop action, toe pistons, number of stops etc. The number of digital organs sold in North America that installed with more than 12 discrete audio channels is relatively few - likely less than 50 per year.

                    Another aspect of realism is digital organs that should be addressed is behaviour of pipes as relates to winding, interaction with other pipes, and the way that pipes actually disperse tone. Different methods and routines have been used, but only with varying success.

                    Actually, I am doubtful that we will see huge improvements in digital organs. Most will not sound like a pipe organ or fool people like me, but there is no denying that the tone is close, and that when well setup, digital organs can convey music successfully.

                    AV

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      There was a guy in Toronto in the seventies selling organs with about 30 speakers and amp channels - schoeder or somebody? Some people liked them, but they are showing up used for $100 remove it yourself. Consecutive notes on the keyboard were sent to different channels, I believe someone said. IM (intermodulation) distortion in those days was not fully eliminated from a lot of bargain amplifier designs, so reducing the number of frequencies going in each amp probably helped. Power transistors in those days were about an hours pay each, and PNP power transistors equivalent to the 2n3055 npn hadn't been developed yet. IMHO having an ultralinear amp, like an LM3886 IC amp, and low IM distortion speakers would probably do the same thing as separate channels of 70's technology amps and speakers.
                      Speakers are very rarely rated for HD distortion, much less even tested for the IM. I've got a pair that do have an HD rating, 25 db down 2nd and 3rd harmonic distortion at 1 w 1 m. That is pretty good, the speakers I own now are better than any I've ever heard, that include Klipshhorns, but not most high end stuff that has never been sold in places I lived. I've never heard a Magnaplane, for example. Maybe the Altec Lansing VOT's at Longpoint Cinema were better, maybe not. The only music I heard on them was Indonesian jangle music (Lord Jim). I listen to organ music on my SP2-XT speakers with media that used a two microphone pickup at recording. I am quite pleased with the result.
                      Compared to this setup I really don't get that much of a trill riding the bus over Louisville and hearing the best real pipe organ - mainly the repretoire is new, and the echoes of St Bartholomew are nice, particularly if the choir is singing in a side nave. The 32' rank will jiggle my belly, which is interesting once, and my home speakers will not go that low with flat response, but 32' rank not a key part of music to me.
                      city Hammond H-182 organ (2 ea),A100,10-82 TC, Wurlitzer 4500, Schober Recital Organ, Steinway 40" console , Sohmer 39" pianos, Ensoniq EPS, ; country Hammond H112

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Bach-On View Post
                        I modified my second post to address some of what you stated about not all pipes being played at the same time. This could reduce the required number of amps and speakers. Using that premise, 14 or 15 circuits and speakers could probably suffice for an individual rank of pipe sounds (including couplers to pedals).
                        If I'm understanding you correctly, in your second post you make the assumption that is likely that no more than ten notes for each rank will be sounding at once and based on that come up with the 14 or 15 speakers per rank figure. That is not a valid assumption if you wish to have a speaker per playing rank note because of couplers and unification.

                        That ten note chord becomes 30 notes with sub and octave couplers on. It becomes who-knows-how many on a highly unified theatre organ where a single rank can be drawn on multiple stops at multiple pitches.

                        Allen, Hauptwerk, and others already can dynamically allocate and route notes and ranks to multiple speakers, so the technology for what you propose is already out there on a smaller scale. Hauptwerk can currently support up to 512 channels. One user on the Hauptwerk forum is running a 64 channel setup.
                        -Admin

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

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I should be able to resist in my advancing years, but I can't!:devil:
                          Originally posted by Bach-On View Post
                          I may be barking up the wrong tree. But nice trees interest me. I'll stop if you think it is a waste of bandwidth.
                          Go ahead--pee on the tree and move on!O:-)

                          Michael

                          P.S. This thread is really intriguing. Nice concept.
                          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)
                          • 11 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 7 Pianos

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Admin View Post
                            Allen, Hauptwerk, and others already can dynamically allocate and route notes and ranks to multiple speakers, so the technology for what you propose is already out there on a smaller scale. Hauptwerk can currently support up to 512 channels. One user on the Hauptwerk forum is running a 64 channel setup.
                            What PC or laptop computer has 512 channals of analog output? Or is Hauptwerk selling main boards or PCI Interface boards now?
                            city Hammond H-182 organ (2 ea),A100,10-82 TC, Wurlitzer 4500, Schober Recital Organ, Steinway 40" console , Sohmer 39" pianos, Ensoniq EPS, ; country Hammond H112

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by indianajo View Post
                              What PC or laptop computer has 512 channals of analog output? Or is Hauptwerk selling main boards or PCI Interface boards now?
                              Hauptwerk is a software product. Multichannel PC audio solutions using Firewire, USB 3, or PCIe bus are available from third party hardware manufacturers.

                              Oh, and you don't need analog out of the computer. Digital out into external D/A convertors works fine.
                              -Admin

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

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X