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  • Johannus, Viscount, or VPO? Advice?

    I am looking at Johannus and Viscount organs. Does anyone have any information or opinions on the pros and cons of each?

    Does it make more sense to buy a completely constructed VPO (console and everything else), just to have the option of playing sounds from various famous organs? Or does one have to spend much time learning yet another piece of complex software?

    Will the absence of tabs or drawbars be an annoyance to a person who has played numerous large pipe organs and doesn't want to lose the "feel" of a standard organ console?

    Thanks for any replies.

  • #2
    I'm not sure that for a serious or experienced musician that being able to play 'famous' organs has much benefit beyond educational. For practise I don't see that it matters at all where the sampleset comes from. It just needs to sound decent enough and meet your needs.

    I like the Viscount organs which use Physis, but I'm sure Johannus makes good organs. If I had enough money but not enough for a Walker Technical, I'd buy a Viscount Ouverture.

    If you go the VPO route, I'd firstly suggest you decide what an organ you'd like to practise on would generally look like—i.e. number of manuals, number of stops, type of sound, etc. Then look around for sample sets that fit your desires along with used organ consoles. You can integrate a VPO into a MIDI-enabled console, including the drawknobs/tabs, and never have to interact with the computer. You can use all of the existing controls on the console. It takes a bit of time and tech knowledge to setup, but once it's setup you never really need to interact with it any further.

    Hope this helps.
    Viscount C400 3-manual
    8 channels + 2 reverb channels (w/ Lexicon MX200)
    Klipsch RSX-3 speakers and Klipsch Ultra 5.1 subwoofers

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by meb View Post
      I am looking at Johannus and Viscount organs. Does anyone have any information or opinions on the pros and cons of each?

      Does it make more sense to buy a completely constructed VPO (console and everything else), just to have the option of playing sounds from various famous organs? Or does one have to spend much time learning yet another piece of complex software?

      Will the absence of tabs or drawbars be an annoyance to a person who has played numerous large pipe organs and doesn't want to lose the "feel" of a standard organ console?

      Thanks for any replies.
      Drawbars on a pipe organ? Some VPO consoles use drawKNOBS or tabs.

      Comment


      • #4
        Yes, of course. I type faster than I think.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by meb View Post
          Yes, of course. I type faster than I think.
          You know it might be possible to have drawbars on a pipe organ. It would have to have nine ranks of very pure sounding Flute pipes, per manual, with each rank in its own chamber with shades. Lol.

          Comment


          • #6
            physical modeling vs. sampling

            In reply to rjsilva.
            Thank you so much for your reply.
            Do you have any thoughts on physical modeling like Physis vs. sampling?

            Perhaps I should have avoided the term "famous." Anyway, I've played pipe organs in England, France, Holland, and Lebanon. They were all vastly different in style, touch, registration capabilities (via pistons), layout, and of course ranks. While it might be merely "educational" to play on a virtual Schnitger or Silbermann, if I found one of those in my virtual Christmas stocking, I'd love Santa for my new "toy."

            However, after talking to a dealer, I've learned that such samples can be downloaded to the Viscount (and probably every newer digital organ), so a new organ that is just Hauptwerk-capable wouldn't be useful for me. But I do appreciate your kind comments.
            Thanks.

            - - - Updated - - -

            I meant to say drawknobs. Obviously.

            - - - Updated - - -

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by meb View Post
              In reply to rjsilva.
              Thank you so much for your reply.
              Do you have any thoughts on physical modeling like Physis vs. sampling?
              I think sample playback has reached maturity and it sounds fantastic. But certain things which can add to realism are difficult or cumbersome or impossible with sampling, and in fact you can see an aspect of physical modelling in an application like Hauptwerk (the wind system I presume is some sort of physical modelling). I've been fortunate to have access to the Walker Technical organ at my church which also has some elements of physical modelling, and I've examined their tone production in detail and observed voicing benefits that can't be achieved simply with typical sample playback.

              That's not to say that pure physical modelling like Physis sounds as good as the best sample playback. I don't know actually, I've never heard a Physis organ except on recording. But I'm confident Physis sounds very good and I like the extent of which you can voice the organs—really impressive.

              That's why I'd choose a Physis organ if I couldn't afford a Walker. It turns out I can't afford either right now :)

              Another option is the Artisan Sound Engine. I recommend you check it out. Although it is a Linux computer, on a practical level it's a computer like any organ console is a computer. You'd never see the operating system or interact with it (beyond voicing) and it's basically 'instant' boot unlike a VPO on Mac or Windows. It integrates with the organ console without any fuss. It uses sample playback and sounds very good. You can listen to demos on their website. I might actually go for it in the future...
              Viscount C400 3-manual
              8 channels + 2 reverb channels (w/ Lexicon MX200)
              Klipsch RSX-3 speakers and Klipsch Ultra 5.1 subwoofers

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by radagast View Post
                You know it might be possible to have drawbars on a pipe organ. It would have to have nine ranks of very pure sounding Flute pipes, per manual, with each rank in its own chamber with shades. Lol.
                That would be interesting to see/hear. Maybe one could talk a builder into trying it? LOL
                Allen MOS 1105 (1982)
                Allen ADC 5000 (1985) w/ MDS Expander II (drawer unit)
                Henry Reinich Pipe 2m/29ranks (1908)

                Comment


                • #9
                  You can download encrypted Hauptwerk sample sets into a Viscount organ?

                  I see a Hymmersive model which is equipped with a computer, on which Hauptwerk and a sample set is loaded. Neither the software nor the sample set is included in the price of the console.

                  I don't think that is the same concept as downloading a sample set into a Viscount, or any "newer digital organ."

                  Make sure you have done your research before you make a decision.

                  Tom

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Sampling, physical modeling, and Artisan

                    Originally posted by rjsilva View Post
                    I think sample playback has reached maturity and it sounds fantastic. But certain things which can add to realism are difficult or cumbersome or impossible with sampling, and in fact you can see an aspect of physical modelling in an application like Hauptwerk (the wind system I presume is some sort of physical modelling). ....
                    That's not to say that pure physical modelling like Physis sounds as good as the best sample playback. I don't know actually, I've never heard a Physis organ except on recording. But I'm confident Physis sounds very good and I like the extent of which you can voice the organs—really impressive.

                    That's why I'd choose a Physis organ if I couldn't afford a Walker. It turns out I can't afford either right now :)

                    Another option is the Artisan Sound Engine. I recommend you check it out. Although it is a Linux computer, on a practical level it's a computer like any organ console is a computer. . . . It uses sample playback and sounds very good. . . ..
                    Once again I thank you for spending the time to give me your thoughts.

                    My "experience" with "sample sets" comes from composing (Finale, Sibelius, Garritan, Native Instruments). I have no idea whether there's even any relationship between, say, a Garritan organ sample and one from Hauptwerk (i.e. in terms of tonal production). Do you know?

                    At any rate, Johannus uses (for the Opus, which I'm going to play tomorrow) "Real Time Sampling technology," of which I know nothing.

                    I checked with Artisan. They have a different system from other VPO builders. But I'm not interested in the steep learning curve for putting together a system from parts, I'd want to buy a turnkey system complete with console. Since I'm accustomed to a 4-manual pipe organ, and a very old residence organ by Allen, the appearance of the standard VPO console is, well, not what I love. Also, I live in the Heartland. The closest Artisan rep is on the east coast. For a computer user who grew up on DOS (dates me, eh?), I'm not too worried about Linux, but still, the less time I spend with a tech manual and the more time with Bach, Buxtehude, and Franck, the happier I'll be.

                    Many thanks for your ideas.

                    - - - Updated - - -

                    - - - Updated - - -

                    Originally posted by tbeck View Post
                    You can download encrypted Hauptwerk sample sets into a Viscount organ?

                    I see a Hymmersive model which is equipped with a computer, on which Hauptwerk and a sample set is loaded. Neither the software nor the sample set is included in the price of the console.

                    I don't think that is the same concept as downloading a sample set into a Viscount, or any "newer digital organ."

                    Make sure you have done your research before you make a decision.

                    Tom

                    As I stated, the Viscount rep told me you can download Hauptwerk sample sets into a Viscount organ. He didn't specify "encrypted." My understanding is that there is a digital key that must be on a flashdrive, and that Hauptwerk checks every 10 minutes to see if the sample is "legit." How one would do that on a Viscount is not clear to me. One might have to buy a separate computer, for all I know, in order to drive the Hauptwerk application.

                    The Hymmersive is not available in the USA, and when it becomes available, it will be more expensive than my funds permit.

                    I am quoting the rep. I have no direct experience.

                    Thanks for your reply, and if you have expertise on sampling, I'd appreciate your comments on sample set for composition in my reply to rjsilva.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by organman95 View Post
                      That would be interesting to see/hear. Maybe one could talk a builder into trying it? LOL
                      Years ago there was an organ featured in the "American Organist" or its predecessor which had pipework (presumably bland flutes) at the pitches of the harmonic series, as some sort of pipe organ form of Hammond. Each rank was not in its own swell enclosure, however. I believe it was at a church in Florida.

                      I shudder to think of the cost for such a poor result.

                      According to Lawrence Phelps, the folks at Allen experimented with an analog generation system in which there were sixteen sets of sine waves oscillators tuned to the first sixteen partials. This allowed them to control each harmonic separately on a note-by-note basis. Also, don't forget the Compton Electrone model 347, with four different waveforms per note.

                      Another anomaly: Ahlborn-Galanti claims that their Drake system can generate using sampling AND physical modeling.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by rjsilva View Post
                        I've been fortunate to have access to the Walker Technical organ at my church which also has some elements of physical modelling, and I've examined their tone production in detail and observed voicing benefits that can't be achieved simply with typical sample playback.
                        Originally posted by MarkS View Post
                        Another anomaly: Ahlborn-Galanti claims that their Drake system can generate using sampling AND physical modeling.
                        Before the term "physical modeling" becomes a meaningless hyperbolic advertising buzz word, lets be careful to distinguish physical modeling from signal processing. For physical modeling there should exist mathematical formulas modeling a physical device whose parameter inputs affect the model in specific ways. Voicing software that controls pitch, attack, decay, chiff, harmonic content, etc. does not fit this definition unless it is actually poking settings into such a mathematical model.

                        Hauptwerk does use physical modeling for it's wind system. You can look in their CODM manual to see the various inputs, such as wind pressure, chest size, etc. the model takes and their effects on the model. Likewise, I believe Hauptwerk also has physical model for trems. However, one could provide both of these attributes without the benefit of a physical model with empirically derived signal processing.

                        There is no question in my mind that the Physis system is based on physical modeling, not on sampling, and as far I'm concerned Viscount is the only organ builder that can make this claim.
                        Last edited by Admin; 09-14-2017, 02:13 PM.
                        -Admin

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

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MarkS View Post
                          Years ago there was an organ featured in the "American Organist" or its predecessor which had pipework (presumably bland flutes) at the pitches of the harmonic series, as some sort of pipe organ form of Hammond.
                          This is a photo of the Atlantic City HS Midmer-Losch console, showing the "Harmonics" division. The organ was restored and installed in the Adrian Phillip residence in the Phoenix, Arizona area. This organ was designed by Sen. Richards and is considered the prototype for the Altantic City Boardwalk Hall instrument.

                          Click image for larger version

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                          -Admin

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

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by meb View Post
                            My "experience" with "sample sets" comes from composing (Finale, Sibelius, Garritan, Native Instruments). I have no idea whether there's even any relationship between, say, a Garritan organ sample and one from Hauptwerk (i.e. in terms of tonal production). Do you know?
                            ...
                            I checked with Artisan. They have a different system from other VPO builders. But I'm not interested in the steep learning curve for putting together a system from parts, I'd want to buy a turnkey system complete with console.
                            The sample sets for a VPO are basically the same idea as something like Garritan, except the VPO sample sets are only of a pipe organ. Obviously :) They aren't interchangeable though, nor are sample sets transferable between VPO applications without some work (and encrypted sets aren't transferable at all, well at least until someone decides they have motivation to crack the encryption...).

                            Edit: I just noticed the 'Garritan Pipe Organs Sound Library' and had a quick listen, and I'd say it's less realistic and lower quality than any VPO sample set I've heard. A useful addition for composers who need to hear their compositions played on the correct instruments but not really convincing compared to VPO technology nowadays.


                            Artisan sells many products, did you see this?

                            http://artisanorgans.intartists.com/...nd_Engine.html

                            This unit will interface with a MIDI-capable console and it provides either 8 or 16 channel audio outputs. Artisan can configure it beforehand so you'd have very little to do to get it working. Certainly less work than any other VPO solution (except consoles that come with VPO software).

                            If you looked around for a used console with MIDI capabilities I bet you'd eventually find a good deal on one. There really isn't a steep learning curve if the console is fully setup for MIDI, and especially so if you used an Artisan system. It is more complicated with VPO software however.
                            Last edited by rjsilva; 09-14-2017, 04:00 PM.
                            Viscount C400 3-manual
                            8 channels + 2 reverb channels (w/ Lexicon MX200)
                            Klipsch RSX-3 speakers and Klipsch Ultra 5.1 subwoofers

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Admin View Post
                              Before the term "physical modeling" becomes a meaningless hyperbolic advertising buzz word, lets be careful to distinguish physical modeling from signal processing ...
                              I feel pretty comfortable saying Walker uses some physical modelling. I've been involved in audio programming for over 15 years and am quite familiar with signal processing ;) Walker references it on their website and they aren't the kind of company to use hyperbolic advertising—whatever they say I'm sure they truly believe it. And in my conversations with Bob Walker I also feel confident they are far beyond the level of competency needed to understand the difference between signal processing and physical modelling, as I suspect technicians from other organ builders are as well.

                              I was suggesting Walker may use physical modelling to some degree even before seeing it mentioned on their website. You'd probably change your tune a bit if you heard what I heard... :)
                              Viscount C400 3-manual
                              8 channels + 2 reverb channels (w/ Lexicon MX200)
                              Klipsch RSX-3 speakers and Klipsch Ultra 5.1 subwoofers

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