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Small hybrid organ for my home.

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  • Small hybrid organ for my home.

    This is my first post, so hello everybody. I am not sure if this should be posted under, home, digital or pipe organs, but since my project will probably be based around a Johannus Vivaldi 250 (270 in America) I chose this venue.

    A lifelong classical music lover and concert goer, I have taken up piano on retirement and been progressing steadily. To the point where I decided to add a small organ to my music room. I always wanted a top quality but small-sized electronic instrument for the endless possibilities, but still yearned for those real pipes sounds (not to forget the huge impact of a speaking front row).

    My idea is to combine a Johannus or similar instrument to a narrow chest above it with around 143 "unit" pipes. With two sets, Bourdon 8 (wood) and Principal 4 extended to 2 (metal), I hope to obtain the following 5 stops :

    - Bourdon 16 (1st octave digital provided by the Johannus)
    - Principal 8 (1st octave common with Bourdon 8)
    - Bourdon 8
    - Montre 4
    - Doublette 2

    The inspiration came from the Italian pipe manufacturer Consoli see: https://www.consolipipeorgans.it/por...000-3/?lang=en
    , who already builds such an add-on called the Jubile 2000, which has been matched with Roland and Johannus consoles. The showroom of Bauer, one of the big home organ sellers in Germany, features such combinations.

    However having discussed with a major Organ retailer in Paris, I incline to have the pipe buffet custom-made, to fit my exact requirements and the style of my home. The budget should be reasonable since that part of the combined instrument needs no keyboard, console, etc.. The Johannus (or Viscount), however, will need some modifications, as I intend the wind pipes to be directly selected from the console stops. This will be through MIDI, of course, but clever programming is needed particularly for the Bourdon 16 stop where the first octave on the keyboard will be provided by the electronic part, and the rest by acting on the pipes (plus the obvious voicing challenge).


    I would love to hear from anyone who may have views or experience.

    Vincent
    Last edited by Vincent; 09-02-2018, 12:41 PM.
    Vincent
    __________________________________________________ ________________________
    Hybrid Home Organ : Viscount Sonus 45 with additional 154 real pipes. Steinway A 188. Roland LX 706. Pianoforte : Walter 1805 Copy by Benjamin Renoux. Harpsichords : Franco-German by Marc Fontaine, Jacob Kirkmann single (1752).

  • #2
    My personal feeling is that augmenting a pipe organ with digital stops makes more sense than augmenting a digital organ with pipe stops. I don’t know what your budget is, but I wonder if you could use the money you’d otherwise spend on adding real pipes as you described instead on a better console and audio system (with as many channels as possible) and end up with a better overall sound than trying to add in some authentic pipe stops.

    I’m not trying to criticise your dreams of having real pipes, just thinking about what might be more satisfying to you overall.
    Viscount C400 3-manual
    8 channels + 2 reverb channels (w/ Lexicon MX200)
    Klipsch RSX-3 speakers and Klipsch Ultra 5.1 subwoofers

    Comment


    • #3
      Sounds like a wonderful project. And you're welcome to use this section of the forum, since we don't have a specific "hybrid" forum, and no other section that really covers this topic. Some of us here may be like me, inclined to actually prefer digital organs, but we'll try to give you balanced and well-reasoned advice ;-)

      As you say, there will be some custom programming involved, though I think almost every digital organ sold today can be set up to allow any portion of any stop to be played with real pipes. What you want to do is possible using only the standard voicing software that goes with the organ. For Johannus, the "Intonat" program easily allows the silencing of any range of notes of a digital stop so the notes can come from real pipes. And other builders have similar software that works in a similar manner to do the same thing.

      The hard part will be the decoder software and hardware necessary to activate and play the pipe ranks from the digital console, though of course all the major builders today offer hybrid organs and should be able to sell you what you need to make it happen. In fact, you may find that the organ company has a ready-made adapter that simply plugs into something inside the console. A computer configuration program of some kind probably comes with it to help you interface the pipes with your organ.

      Before you plunge into that though, I'd suggest that you give the digital stops a good trial run. Keep in mind that pipe stops are generally quite expensive, regardless of the source. Just the two ranks you want, along with the necessary decoder, drivers, chests, blower, and other hardware, may cost $25,000 or more. And that is without putting them inside an expression box.

      And while the promise and unmatched beauty of real pipe sound is incredibly alluring, don't fail to consider the well-known downsides to mixing pipes with electronics -- on-going tuning issues in particular. And unless you do put the pipes into an expression box, they will always play at full volume, and that may limit the amount of playing you will actually do with them.

      One other consideration is that pipe organs are usually heard in large reverberant rooms such as churches and cathedrals, where the sound can get reflected multiple times, bounce around and "bloom" and blend and sweeten. You may find that the sound of pipes, no matter how well voiced, is not nearly as pretty in a typical home setting. But if you have a large enough space with suitable acoustics, that could be of no concern to you at all. Just wanted to mention it.

      Today's digital organs are so good, so realistic, so capable of reproducing the nuances of pipes, you should be sure to put plenty of money into doing the digital organ up right and getting everything out of it you can before you start investing in pipe work. Many people have bad impressions of digital organs because so many of them have been poorly installed and voiced, or the setup has been short on audio equipment or it has been placed artlessly.

      For example, even a smallish organ will sound better with plenty of external speaker cabinets of high quality placed to take best advantage of the room's shape and acoustics. And there are myriads of ways in which the distribution of the sound can be configured these days. You can set up many organs with a C-C# split on some or all the ranks, direct the stops into more and more channels, use elaborate setups to simulate the acoustics of many wonderful halls, churches, cathedrals, and other organ venues.

      Another nicety of today's digitals is that most come with a variety of built-in "styles" or "suites" or "types" so you can switch among English, French, German, American, Symphonic, and other voicing schools at the touch of a button. That may or may not be interesting to you, but for some people it's a plus.

      So, don't discount the possibility of doing the job with a superb digital setup. But if you are set on a hybrid, then be confident that it can be done, given enough space, money, and time.
      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

      Comment


      • #4
        @rjsilva
        Thanks for your reaction. My budget is ok, but the problem is I cannot fit a decent pipe organ in my city appartment. Yes there are some smaller study pipe organs or chest-like "positivs" available, with good deals second hand, but these are exclusively mechanical with very few stops. Also they cannot be played into headphones, of course, and that would be a problem for my neighbours during my learning curve…

        Vincent
        Last edited by Vincent; 09-02-2018, 01:40 PM.
        Vincent
        __________________________________________________ ________________________
        Hybrid Home Organ : Viscount Sonus 45 with additional 154 real pipes. Steinway A 188. Roland LX 706. Pianoforte : Walter 1805 Copy by Benjamin Renoux. Harpsichords : Franco-German by Marc Fontaine, Jacob Kirkmann single (1752).

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks a lot for the advice. I do agree that the best possible digital set-up will be the foundation of my "rig". I am discarding Hauptwerk because I am not a software freak and hate touchscreens. I finally decided against a pure modeling system like Viscount's Physis, prefering the flexibility of samples.


          I am restricted by size, since the system will need to occupy a corner of a library cum music-room, with a window to the left. It will actually be fitted into existing wood-panneling, as you can see in the attached sketch.

          Click image for larger version

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          So the question becomes : what is the best Digital Organ under 145 cm wide ? I tend to go for the Vivaldi 250. Any better ideas ?

          Thank you so much for the reference to the "Intonat" program.


          Vincent
          Last edited by Vincent; 09-03-2018, 02:03 AM.
          Vincent
          __________________________________________________ ________________________
          Hybrid Home Organ : Viscount Sonus 45 with additional 154 real pipes. Steinway A 188. Roland LX 706. Pianoforte : Walter 1805 Copy by Benjamin Renoux. Harpsichords : Franco-German by Marc Fontaine, Jacob Kirkmann single (1752).

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Vincent View Post
            @rjsilva
            Thanks for your reaction. My budget is ok, but the problem is I cannot fit a decent pipe organ in my city appartment. Yes there are some smaller study pipe organs or chest-like "positivs" available, with good deals second hand, but these are exclusively mechanical with very few stops. Also they cannot be played into headphones, of course, and that would be a problem for my neighbours during my learning curve…

            Vincent
            Yes, I was suggesting you consider spending the money you have on a capable digital, like jbird also suggested. A modern digital with many audio output options could sound really terrific.
            Viscount C400 3-manual
            8 channels + 2 reverb channels (w/ Lexicon MX200)
            Klipsch RSX-3 speakers and Klipsch Ultra 5.1 subwoofers

            Comment


            • #7
              145 cm (almost exactly 57 inches in US measure) is about the typical size for a standard small to medium AGO console. As you know, the Vivaldi models are just that size, so would certainly fit, as long as you have enough room for pedals and bench, etc. And I think those are excellent models, if they are as good as similar models I have played.

              There are forum members who own Johannus and Viscount models similar to that, and I'm sure if you look around here you'll find some posts that might give their opinions of the sound and quality. Best I recall, one of our members recently got a Johannus Opus 370 and is very happy with it.

              I believe these latest organs from Johannus have a very good built-in sound system including a highly-advanced "convolution" type reverb that ought to do a fine job of simulating the acoustic environments of many wonderful churches and cathedrals. They claim that you don't even need external speakers, and it looks like on the website that they have speakers on the sides of the console, possibly even on the back, that serve to spread the sound all about the room and create the sonic illusion of being in a large space.

              My guess though is that properly placed external speakers would be a positive addition, no matter how fine the internal system is. But they would need to be placed properly so as to preserve the ambiance field generated by the convolution reverb. Johannus probably has detailed instructions on how this is done, and a competent dealer should be able to set it up correctly for you or tell you how.
              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

              Comment


              • #8
                Just found out how to include a picture in my last post, and edited it.
                To address the volume problem of the pipes, they would be enclosed in a case as shown on the sketch, with a removable/opening front double-glazed pannel.
                As for the tuning issue, an automatic tuner based on temperature and pitch of a reference pipe should feed into the digital unit's MIDI inlet.

                Cheers…
                Last edited by Vincent; 09-03-2018, 02:29 AM.
                Vincent
                __________________________________________________ ________________________
                Hybrid Home Organ : Viscount Sonus 45 with additional 154 real pipes. Steinway A 188. Roland LX 706. Pianoforte : Walter 1805 Copy by Benjamin Renoux. Harpsichords : Franco-German by Marc Fontaine, Jacob Kirkmann single (1752).

                Comment


                • #9
                  Johannus can supply the MIDI/pipe interface built into the Organ at the factory and program it to your specific needs. It may cost more up front, but save you the hassle of dealing with a third party pipe interface...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jbird604 View Post
                    Best I recall, one of our members recently got a Johannus Opus 370 and is very happy with it. My guess though is that properly placed external speakers would be a positive addition, no matter how fine the internal system is. But they would need to be placed properly so as to preserve the ambiance field generated by the convolution reverb. Johannus probably has detailed instructions on how this is done, and a competent dealer should be able to set it up correctly for you or tell you how.
                    I am that member, and I continue to be amazed and delighted with my instrument. Your thoughts about the Vivaldi 250 are well-placed. That is the instrument I originally wanted, but the price tag stopped me short. Besides, having now gotten used to having a three-manual instrument, I would feel "handcuffed" to go back to a two-manual. The sound through headphones is magnificent - virtually indistinguishable from pipes. Through the organ's speakers, it is very good, but the room restrictions cramp it. More channels and more speakers would help, but that's old news with digital organ installations. I hope your final choice is pleasing to you, Vincent, and do keep posting to tell us of the journey!

                    Tony
                    Home: Johannus Opus 370

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Evcharisto, Tony. I am meeting next week with a young artisan pipe organ builder with excellent references.
                      Vincent
                      __________________________________________________ ________________________
                      Hybrid Home Organ : Viscount Sonus 45 with additional 154 real pipes. Steinway A 188. Roland LX 706. Pianoforte : Walter 1805 Copy by Benjamin Renoux. Harpsichords : Franco-German by Marc Fontaine, Jacob Kirkmann single (1752).

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        interfacing two ranks of pipes is pretty easily do-able (from my perspective) without getting into expensive, proprietary boards from Johannus. Using an Opus-Two system to drive the pipes, you can use MIDI to send signals to the processor/output (pipe driver) cards. The challenge will probably be programming the Johannus electronics to play just one octave for unit extensions (Bourdon and Principal). Of course you will need a small blower and regulator (reservoir) for the pipes, which also has to be factored into the cost.

                        I have done several hybrid organs, and they can work usually. The pipes will not have the ability to express unless you are going to enclose them (which adds to the expense of having casework and swell shades and a controller for the shades). ALSO, if you use headphones to practice, your pipe voices will not be audible if they are shut down from the internal voicing of the johannus stops.

                        If you have the funds available, I say go for it...you might decide that for note-pushing you would get less tired of the pipes over a long period of practice that from the digital voices.

                        Rick in VA

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Regarding Viscount's Physis, I stated earlier that I tended to prefer tried and true sample systems, and therefore such instruments as the Johannus Vivaldi.

                          However there is some respected opinion in France among pipe organ builders involved with small hybrid machines that Viscount's Physis, which models organ sounds independently of any recorded samples, is much more flexible in terms of voicing (in effect creating) sound to match given real pipes when you mix both in registration.

                          So I am keeping an open mind, and have yet to make a decision between a Vivaldi 250 or Sonus 245.


                          Vincent
                          Vincent
                          __________________________________________________ ________________________
                          Hybrid Home Organ : Viscount Sonus 45 with additional 154 real pipes. Steinway A 188. Roland LX 706. Pianoforte : Walter 1805 Copy by Benjamin Renoux. Harpsichords : Franco-German by Marc Fontaine, Jacob Kirkmann single (1752).

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I’d personally recommend Viscount’s physical modelling over sample playback. I think Physis sounds very good and as you noted you would have more voicing flexibility. I can’t say about console build quality though.
                            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 rjsilva View Post
                              I’d personally recommend Viscount’s physical modelling over sample playback. I think Physis sounds very good and as you noted you would have more voicing flexibility. I can’t say about console build quality though.
                              Fully agree about Physis. I myself am fully satisfied with a P235. The console build quality is good enough for home use.
                              Although the Johannus can be voiced with a laptop and the program 'Intonat', the voicing possibilities of Viscount are much more IMHO. And you don't necessarily need a laptop, the 'on board' display is sufficient.
                              Remember also, if you go to a dealer and play a digital, you hear only a little % of the sounds the organ is capable to produce, because the voicing of the digital in the showroom is not necessary optimalized for your taste. Nowadays this apply for every brand.

                              Succes with your inquiry and please keep us informed.

                              Regards, D

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