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What is Viscount ARTEM ?

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  • What is Viscount ARTEM ?

    Very few information is available about the ARTEM technology which can be found in the new "Chorum" line of Viscount. I want to share here what I've learned from it in the past weeks.
    Since I had to buy a new organ for myself and I also had to find a new one for our local church, I browsed the website of Viscount, and was convinced by the speech about the new Chorum 90, which targets the "discerning student" and provides "the latest sampled sound technology".
    I bought the Chorum 90 for myself in June 2017. Playing at low volume in my living room, the sound was ok (as good as in the organ shop...), but when increasing the volume or playing with headphones, there was too much of "wind noise" that made me unsatisfied, because that was not clean at all, and would never be OK for a church installation with external speakers.
    I contacted both my reseller and the marketing service of Viscount Italy, and they both told me that the technology inside the organ did not allow to reduce the amount of noise heard from the organ stops (especially the principal and flute stops).
    So, this is what I can understand from ARTEM:
    • it is a pure sample-based technology, very similar to the former Vivace / Chorale line
    • with a reduced set of samples which have been modified this way: a distinct sound of pipe attack has been added and merged into the first 250 milliseconds of each sample, and a bunch of wind noise has been added in the next part of the sample (for the principal and flute stops), directly inside the samples, that's why it can't be reduced nor adjusted by anyone. Viscount told me that if I wanted to reduce the amount of wind noise, I would have to jump to the "Physis" range of organs, which provide voicing features.

    That's all folks...

  • #2
    If there is any way to adjust the tone of each stop or channel, you might try reducing the treble a bit, as that is where the noise is concentrated. I haven't seen one of these organs though and can't tell you if that is possible. Also, when listening with headphones you may want to use a higher level of reverb, which will also tend to mask the excess air noise.

    Too bad they didn't make this adjustable, especially if it's just an artificial effect.

    The amount of air noise needed varies greatly on the size and natural reverb of the room. When I used to install a lot of Allen organs, we could use a LOT of air noise in a larger church with lots of hard surfaces, but we had to turn it nearly all off in a dead church.
    *** 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!


    • #3
      Originally posted by jbird604 View Post
      you might try reducing the treble a bit
      That's right, I did it using the equalizer from the aux1 and aux2 outputs. Reducing the 2K and 4K bands gives some results, although not fully satisfying: the noise is still there.
      The pain on this organ is that its noise does not have fixed frequencies: the noise frequencies are proportional to the frequency of the key (because the noise has been included directly in the samples...), that's why it's hard to remove with an equalizer or even with a noise reducer effect.
      Adjusting the reverb has also been done with good benefit on the overall sound, reducing a bit the perceived amount of noise.
      The only way I have found to reduce effectively the heard noise is to reduce the main volume as low as possible...
      Or to add mixtures and/or reeds...


      • #4
        If you haven't already, I'd suggest you explain the negative side of this wind sound to Viscount and ask that if possible they make a software update to your model organ with a change to that wind sound. I'm not saying they'll do it, but maybe it'll cause them to rethink their samples and maybe they will.
        Viscount C400 3-manual
        8 channels + 2 reverb channels (w/ Lexicon MX200)
        Klipsch RSX-3 speakers and Klipsch Ultra 5.1 subwoofers


        • #5

          Sounds like the Chorum organ line, is the kind of thing Viscount has done a number of times over the years. Basically building on an existing platform, improving a few things, have it go through the bean counter department, the marketing department, and bring to market a line of organs that will sell based on price. And it works, because Viscount sells quite a few of them. They are not the only company doing this. Competition is fierce at the entry level. But the these organs are meant to be used the way they come out of the box.

          I have come across several Vivace and Chorale instruments, and found them to be somewhat dull sounding, with short, low resolution samples. If they have improved things with the Choram line, thst is good. But don't expect Viscount to give everything away at the low end.

          You will find, limited adjustability, limited polyphony, some effects that are annoying.

          If as you say, wind or air sound is built in the tone, then there is no separate adjustability, so you have to live with that annoyance. Wonder why they couldn't have added some analog air sound, which would have a random activity to it. Building in air noise into a short sample, seems to me to be counterproductive.

          I would suggest, you make feelings known to the Viscount people, who knows they may come out with an update.

          Typically, Viscount comes out with a platform and revises it after 2 or 3 years. With some more recent lines, they do firmware updates.

          Hopefully you will find a way to enjoy the organ.


          PS. A friend of mine is a dealer, and quite likes the Choram line, thinks they are an improvement over the Prestige II and Vivace lines, but has the issue you mentioned, lack of adjustability. In addition to the noise being to much, he wishes that the samples could be moved around to different tonal suites, and also that it had more flexibility in terms of external audio, especially for church use. Obviously, Viscount would prefer churches get the more expensive physical modelled type of organ.
          Last edited by arie v; 07-31-2017, 10:58 AM. Reason: Additions


          • #6
            Thanks for your answers.
            Before buying my Chorum 90, I was owning a Viscount Chorale 3 (2-keyboard model). The new Chorum sounds better when you try it in a shop: it is brighter, with more dynamics, and the stops mix well. Problems arise when you listen to it with headphones or with external speakers, or with internal speakers at mid/high volume: the wind noise on the flute/principal stops becomes too much and cancels the positive feeling.
            My reseller will be in contact with Viscount again in September and I'll keep you informed...