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  • Viscount Physis physical modelling

    I apologise if this has already been discussed here, but I recently came across Viscount's video series on YouTube which explains and demonstrates the capabilities of their Physis system. Very interesting! Regarding the physical modelling, it's neat to hear the pipe sound change in realtime as the computer models the pipe characteristics differently.

    Here's a link to the introductory video. The other videos go into more detail.

    https://youtu.be/Fq9vpeahQlw

    Has anyone heard one in person? I like the look of the Ouverture console and the price is relatively reasonable.
    Viscount C400 3-manual
    8 channels + 2 reverb channels (w/ Lexicon MX200)
    Klipsch RSX-3 speakers and Klipsch Ultra 5.1 subwoofers

  • #2
    Josh Dove is the head of North American sales for Viscount. I've had a few discussions with him over the past few years. Interesting stuff.

    He's on here periodically.
    Allen MOS 1105 (1982)
    Allen ADC 5000 (1985) w/ MDS Expander II (drawer unit)
    Henry Reinich Pipe 2m/29ranks (1908)

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by rjsilva View Post
      I apologise if this has already been discussed here, but I recently came across Viscount's video series on YouTube which explains and demonstrates the capabilities of their Physis system. Very interesting! Regarding the physical modelling, it's neat to hear the pipe sound change in realtime as the computer models the pipe characteristics differently.

      Here's a link to the introductory video. The other videos go into more detail.

      https://youtu.be/Fq9vpeahQlw

      Has anyone heard one in person? I like the look of the Ouverture console and the price is relatively reasonable.
      I service and sell Viscount organs and yes, I have heard a couple of the newer Physis models. My impression is that this technology lends a more lively and interesting sound that is being created fresh, in real time, rather than being played back from a set of recordings. Viscount is convinced (and I share their conviction) that the future lies in this direction rather than sampling--not just for sound quality but for flexibilty. Rather than contenting himself with playing someone else's organ (however wonderful and historic it may be), the organist can truly design and play a unique instrument of his own through use of the Viscount voicing software. And of course Physis technology would allow for the recreation of historic, existing organs as well without the tedium and irregularities of trying to record thousands of samples in noisy, uncomfortable conditions.

      Comment


      • #4
        I would agree with you (and Viscount) that physical modelling is the way to go. Interesting idea how a more personalised instrument has appeal.

        I wondered how the Physis sound currently compares in person with top quality sampling and reproduction such as Walker or M&O? Videos can be unhelpful since room acoustics seem exaggerated in a recording and can make it difficult to assess how an organ actually sounds.

        When I listen to the Physis piano here:

        https://youtu.be/XUWI9q0GXo4

        That first Chopin Nocturne is not convincing to me as a real piano, besides that the guy is not at all a classical pianist. Granted, the way a piano's sound interacts with itself (soundboard, string sympathetic vibrations, etc.) is more complex than how an organ's sound interacts with itself so it's not a fair comparison.

        So I'm thinking toward the (distant) future, when I may not be so poor and could afford to spend on a new organ :) I had thought I'd go with Walker since I like their sound, but Physis has me intrigued.
        Viscount C400 3-manual
        8 channels + 2 reverb channels (w/ Lexicon MX200)
        Klipsch RSX-3 speakers and Klipsch Ultra 5.1 subwoofers

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by don60 View Post
          I service and sell Viscount organs
          I didn't know (or maybe just forgot) that you deal with Viscount. I'm curious about some differences in the new sampling models.
          Allen MOS 1105 (1982)
          Allen ADC 5000 (1985) w/ MDS Expander II (drawer unit)
          Henry Reinich Pipe 2m/29ranks (1908)

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by organman95 View Post
            I didn't know (or maybe just forgot) that you deal with Viscount. I'm curious about some differences in the new sampling models.
            PM me if you wish, and I will share what I know.

            - - - Updated - - -

            Originally posted by rjsilva View Post
            I would agree with you (and Viscount) that physical modelling is the way to go. Interesting idea how a more personalised instrument has appeal.

            I wondered how the Physis sound currently compares in person with top quality sampling and reproduction such as Walker or M&O? Videos can be unhelpful since room acoustics seem exaggerated in a recording and can make it difficult to assess how an organ actually sounds.

            When I listen to the Physis piano here:

            https://youtu.be/XUWI9q0GXo4

            That first Chopin Nocturne is not convincing to me as a real piano, besides that the guy is not at all a classical pianist. Granted, the way a piano's sound interacts with itself (soundboard, string sympathetic vibrations, etc.) is more complex than how an organ's sound interacts with itself so it's not a fair comparison.

            So I'm thinking toward the (distant) future, when I may not be so poor and could afford to spend on a new organ :) I had thought I'd go with Walker since I like their sound, but Physis has me intrigued.
            Walker makes good products, but their price point is definitely higher than Viscount's.

            Our company has several new Viscount installations in eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania. Where are you located? The new Physis models are coming from the factory with American voicing that should be the equal of anything on the market in appealing to American ears.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by don60 View Post
              PM me if you wish, and I will share what I know.

              ...

              Walker makes good products, but their price point is definitely higher than Viscount's.

              Our company has several new Viscount installations in eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania. Where are you located? The new Physis models are coming from the factory with American voicing that should be the equal of anything on the market in appealing to American ears.
              You're welcome to share what you know in this thread. I'm interested too.

              I'm in eastern PA. Where in western PA? I do sometimes travel out to MI and might stop in Williamsport on the way. Not western PA but maybe close enough.
              Viscount C400 3-manual
              8 channels + 2 reverb channels (w/ Lexicon MX200)
              Klipsch RSX-3 speakers and Klipsch Ultra 5.1 subwoofers

              Comment


              • #8
                Is this similar to the Bradford system?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Horseshoe_or View Post
                  Is this similar to the Bradford system?
                  Yes, in much the same way that a Ferrari is similar to a Model T.

                  Seriously, though: My understanding is that the Bradford system was straight harmonic synthesis, building up waveforms by summing harmonically-related sinusoids. Even given the relative simplicity of the system, it struggled to keep up with real-time playing because computational power was so limited at the time.

                  The Viscount Physis technology uses high-speed real-time digital computation to model each pipe individually with non-linear mathematical equations. The pipe models are then excited computationally with mathematical inputs that represent air flow, temperature, pulling from adjacent pipes, and so on, and digital waveforms are computed in real time. Viscount's engineers have incorporated all significant non-ideal effects in a pipe organ including the randomness of attack and release transients, with the result being extremely realistic pipe waveforms that are created new and fresh with every note played. These waveforms are not playbacks of stored recordings nor approximations using harmonic synthesis.

                  The Viscount system has more in common with modern computer simulation software for modeling aircraft, complex electronic circuits, and such than it has with any previous types of organ tone generation. It is practical only because computing power is so cheap and physically compact nowadays.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by rjsilva View Post
                    You're welcome to share what you know in this thread. I'm interested too.

                    I'm in eastern PA. Where in western PA? I do sometimes travel out to MI and might stop in Williamsport on the way. Not western PA but maybe close enough.
                    I am north of Pittsburgh. If you are headed to Michigan, let me know and I will hook you up with the head of our company in the Cleveland area. He could show you multiple Viscount installations ranging from small sampled models to an enormous Unico using Physis technology.

                    As far as differences among the sample-based Viscounts, I would say that they center on the size and aesthetics of the console, the number of stops, and the presence or absence of convenience features more than they do the actual sound. I have heard models from the Vivace 20 through the Vivace 90, and they all sound wonderful when properly installed. Viscount seems to put the same good technology in all of their organs rather than deliberately hobbling the smaller models to try to sell bigger instruments. I like that approach.

                    Maybe Josh is lurking here and can jump in with more specific information on the current sampled models. As I mentioned, the Vivace instruments have been replaced with similarly-numbered Chorum models although the Web site has not been updated yet to reflect this fact.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by don60 View Post
                      Maybe Josh is lurking here and can jump in with more specific information on the current sampled models. As I mentioned, the Vivace instruments have been replaced with similarly-numbered Chorum models although the Web site has not been updated yet to reflect this fact.
                      Yes, the Chorum is what I'm curious about, sound-wise, as opposed to what is in Vivace.
                      Allen MOS 1105 (1982)
                      Allen ADC 5000 (1985) w/ MDS Expander II (drawer unit)
                      Henry Reinich Pipe 2m/29ranks (1908)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I have not heard a Chorum yet. I believe its sound is a small incremental improvement over the Vivace. If you want a substantial improvement in sound and convenience, consider the Sonus models with Physis technology. They are being shipped to the U.S. with American parameters that produce an Aeolian-Skinner sound. Other styles are also stored in memory, and all can be changed out or edited.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hi,

                          In Brazil viscount dominates the market, followed by Johannus and then by Rodgers.

                          One of the disadvantages of viscount here in Brazil is its amplification system, it is not very clear as Rodgers. Rodgers already set a set of speakers for each organ and viscount not.

                          I know that American viscount has taken steps forward. Samuel Metzger recently played in a viscount and told me that he was surprised and really liked the sound!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hi,

                            I have not heard a Choram organ, but from a friend of mine who is a dealer, the Choram is a substantial improvement over the Vivace model line. The Vivace line itself was changed/updated at least once, to improve the sound.

                            The Vivace organs I hesrd were no grest shakes, but they were really made and sold at a low price. Same goes for the Chorale models.

                            The Choram models do come with a substantial price increase over the Vivace models.

                            It is interesting to me that the new low level models from Viscount revert back to sampling technology. This after heavily advertising the superiority of physical modelling, and claiming that sampling is very much yesterday's technology.

                            I have heard the stop module, the CM-100, and put a number of them on oipe organs, and some stops sound good on it, but most just were not that great. That module though is now over 10 years old. The latest Unico platform is no doubt more capable, and the models have improved as well.

                            The music store where I used to work sold the Viscount Physis piano. For what it was, it was not bad, but the piano sounds were inferior to a Yamaha NU-1 sitting beside it. And the Viscount was much more expensive. That is maybe why the Viscount modelled piano sells so poorly. The classical organ stops on it, were no great shakes either.

                            I do think physical modelling is very interesting technology, and the fact it is mostly software driven, means it can be updated. And I understand that is what Viscount is doing. The new Unico organs, and other PM models sound better now than the early ones.

                            I do think that Viscount organs are better built and better sounding now than than the low end they used to put out, which is a good thing.

                            AV

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                            • #15
                              According to this detailed article which analyzes their patent

                              http://www.pykett.org.uk/physical-mo...gan-patent.htm

                              the Viscount system is not a complete implementation of physical modeling. It consists of a waveform generator feeding a linear filter (uh, where have we heard that before? Subtractive synthesis methinks). There is no coupling or feedback between the two as there is in any real organ pipe. Nor does the generator correspond to any physical feature(s) in the sound production process of real organ pipes. Just like any other electronic organ since the 1920s it simply models an intermediate generated signal, not the structure or physics within the instrument, therefore it is not a physical model. However the filter (the pipe resonator or pipe body) does use conventional acoustic waveguide techniques and is therefore based on a physical modeling approach. Apparently the patent justifies this method of implementation because it would be too computationally intensive to properly model the generator as well as the resonator.
                              Last edited by twanguitar; 11-30-2016, 04:06 AM.

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