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  • Designing a home for the organ (almost)

    Hello,

    I am new to this forum and already have found a lot of interesting info about classic electronic organs.

    I am looking for an advice for my architect who showed me first preliminary plan of our new home for my family.
    I mentioned to him that I would like to have (in the future) an electronic organ there and he came up with following disposition plan

    He placed the proposed organ into the "music room" of ca. 15x18ft size. Alternative option would be the much bigger (30x25ft) great room (which however communicates with the kitchen, a plus for a daily life, a minus for the organ placement, unless I will need frequent refreshment during practice).
    Also please note a large window area in the great room and the communication of both rooms with the central axial home corridor.

    I am trying to envision potential acoustic and logistic=practical problems of the current solution, e.g. would the 15x18ft size be enough, i.e. can the modern instrument adapt to such (small?) room ? Shall I close completely the wall against the corridor (to "seal" the room from other areas of the home) ? - however, it was the architect's intention to preserve the (mountains) view from the music room via the grat room..
    Will the window panes reverberate or even crack ;-) with Bombarde ?

    If you encountered similar concerns, I would appreciate your opinion.

    David

  • #2
    Re: Designing a home for the organ (almost)

    I've installed 2 organs in homes over the summer.

    The pipe organ probably does not apply.

    The Rodgers 550 I put in definately does help offer some advice:

    If the house is fairly open you can put the speakers for the organ in many rooms. That is what we have done with the Rodgers 550. >copy and paste: http://www.rodgers550.com

    1. Install it on wood floors if possible...will help on reverberation....I think most organs come with Reverberation, which is a personal preference. Also wood floors are just more permenant than carpeting. I made the mistake of installing a pipe organ in my own home on carpeting. At some point I will have to dissasemble the entire windchest and pipes to put in a wood floor, but that is about 15 years down the road when I intend to do a full rebuild of the organ anyhow.

    2. Place the organ on upside down carpet squares (6" squares of pieces of carpet soft side facing the floor) to facilitate moving it in and out from the wall...or even a large platform that is on wheels if the console is especially large).

    We put the 550 in a small room appox 15x15 feet. It opens into a entrance hallway that is 30x30 and about 25 feet high. We put the MAIN speaker cabinets in the entrance hall way, so when you play the organ at the console you hear many of the stops from the other room which I personally like..maybe some would strongly dislike but its a nice touch I think.

    3. Make absolutely sure your doors from the outside to whatever room the organ will go in are at least as wide as the organ console is DEEP that you plan on getting. Moving in a console is extremely difficult, I would highly recommend double doors to which ever room the organ will be placed in.

    4. Avoid stairs. I just last week purchased a old Hammond CV electric tonewheel organ as a sort of hobby project. It went in the upstairs area of my garage...which was about 18 steps. Wow was that difficult getting that thing up there. (The Rodgers 550 console was over 800 lbs, the Hammond was much less but still VERY hard to maneuver).

    5. Speakers/volume... The Rodgers 550 has so far broken 3 collector type dinner plates that were hung on the walls in the home it is installed in (the bass notes literally shake the house...interestingly the bass speaker is in the same room as the console, but the soundwaves from the bass are actually more evident in rooms adjoining the "organ" room, than in the organ room itself.

    Don't know if any of that helps.

    Good luck!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Designing a home for the organ (almost)

      You may want to read up on some basic acoutics. You will want to make sure the room is deep enough for the lower frequencies of the pedals. You will want to try to cut down on parallel surfaces (ceiling to floor, one wall to another). A vaulted ceiling would go a long way and making the room something other than a rectangle will help.

      Do a search for acoustics or recording studios and acoustics and you may find an article that lays it out very simply.
      Finally self-published some of my compositions! https://www.createspace.com/3734555
      Piano and organ videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/CurtisBooksMusic

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Designing a home for the organ (almost)

        Hmmm... You mentioned that you would like to have an electronic organ in the future. If you havn't purchased an electronic organ, I would look into something like the Allen in which *I think* you can voice each particular pipe. I think you can voice each pipe, but I don't think it's recommended. If you purchase something like this you may be able to "voice" it to be quieter. Or, if this is possible, you could have a different speaker for the pedals and if possible turn this down slightly.

        Otherwise, I would also agree with "tutti". I don't suggest parallel walls and floors!!

        sbd

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Designing a home for the organ (almost)

          Thank you all for your ideas.

          >> Install it on wood floors if possible...will help on reverberation

          Albeit I need to cut many corners on the design, I presumed that at least those two mentioned rooms will have laminate wood/hardwood flooring.

          >>We put the 550 in a small room appox 15x15 feet

          Initially I am eyeing an instrument like the Rodgers 530 to test how much strong is my desire to return to my past organ skills and to see how many of my kids can I “infect”... Good to know that it worked for you.

          >>Make absolutely sure your doors from the outside to whatever room the organ will go in are at least as wide as the organ console is DEEP that you plan on getting

          The organ would possible enter the house through the wide patio door to either of the two rooms, this should be no problem. Also no steps.

          >>.. the soundwaves from the bass are actually more evident in rooms adjoining the "organ" room, than in the organ room itself.

          This is concerning. I already asked the architect to remove the windows/skylights between the music room and adjoining bedrooms. Maybe I shall think about some added insulation or even replacing framing in those two walls with e.g. brick.

          ...

          >>You will want to make sure the room is deep enough for the lower frequencies of the pedals.

          Any idea how much this should be ?

          >>You will want to try to cut down on parallel surfaces (ceiling to floor, one wall to another). A vaulted ceiling would go a long way and making the room something other than a rectangle will help.

          I can ask the ceiling in the music room to rise towards the small patio or to be vaulted. In the great room a 18ft “cathedral ceiling” (sic) is planned already.

          Room other than rectangle, however may be tough.. maybe one wall very lightly circular ...


          >> about voicing
          This depends what I will eventually get. For now, I am looking on ebay, classifieds, dealers’ sites. A Phoenix would be a dream..

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Designing a home for the organ (almost)

            <>>.. the soundwaves from the bass are actually more evident in rooms adjoining the "organ" room, than in the organ room itself.

            This is concerning. I already asked the architect to remove the windows/skylights between the music room and adjoining bedrooms. Maybe I shall think about some added insulation or even replacing framing in those two walls with e.g. brick. >

            I'm not sure that the first statement is actually true. The bass is not going to be louder in an adjoining room than in the organ room. But low frequencies are attenuated at a slower rate than high ones--so the bass will be the main thing you hear leaking, not the mixtures.

            <>>You will want to make sure the room is deep enough for the lower frequencies of the pedals.

            Any idea how much this should be ? >

            I believe there is a set in stone ratio. I would search on google for studio design acoustics.

            <I can ask the ceiling in the music room to rise towards the small patio or to be vaulted. In the great room a 18ft “cathedral ceiling” (sic) is planned already.

            Room other than rectangle, however may be tough.. maybe one wall very lightly circular ... >

            Anyway to "vault" the cathedral ceiling? Even if it's just a half inch difference it should be enough.

            Also, if you have double paned glass watch out--the air in between the panes can actually set up sympathetic vibrations. They make special windows where the two panes are offset--ie not parallel.

            If your room HAS to be rectangle, you can buy special studio treatments to put in it (especially wherever two walls come together--corners, floor to wall, wall to ceiling--as well as bass traps if it's too much and you can't solve it by voicing).

            Try some google searches or call up a local recording studio and ask them. The information is fairly easy to get. I used to know it all but you know how that goes!
            Finally self-published some of my compositions! https://www.createspace.com/3734555
            Piano and organ videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/CurtisBooksMusic

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Designing a home for the organ (almost)

              I have done some Google searches and found quite usable info which helped to make my mind (like here http://tinyurl.com/5badt or http://www.auralex.com/).

              I will try to discuss with the builder following wish list for the music room:

              - trapezoid shape (with the widest side at the window wall), avoid 1:1 or 1:2 side ratio, best in the 1:1.4-1.9 range,
              - room closed against the corridor with a glass wall with a French door, on the inside with heavy curtains which can be closed while playing,
              - high, vaulted ceiling or an uneven profile like this

              .....o
              ..o..... o
              o........... o


              with a free hanging, sagging (hyperbola!) heavy decorative cloth,

              double (not connected) walls,

              laminate wood or hardwood floor,

              potentially widows with non-parallel glas panes (if priced right)


              David





              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Designing a home for the organ (almost)

                Avoid a curved wall at all costs. Much worse than paralel walls because the curvature will focus the sound to a "hot" spot, the same effect as a parabolic dish. The Phoenix would be an excelent choice! Try to get lots of chanels of amps. and speakers. Most of them don't have to be huge, but they make a HUGE difference in the sound clarity. I would avoid the speakers all over the house, but rather in an arangement much the same that you would find pipes in a pipe instrument. Your local qualified dealer should be able to help with this.

                Good luck!

                Comment


                • #9
                  If you can I would recommend designing for an infinite baffle subwoofer system. Though it can be expensive it is probably the best way to get very low distortion fundamentals for the pedal tones. As for room size it will affect the standing waves that will need to be controlled. A small room (if well sealed) will provide room gain at a higher frequency than a larger one so would have a bearing on the EQ of the lowest octaves.

                  Best bet is probably to build a cathedral and live there. ;)

                  mike
                  If it is Caesar that you worship, then Caesar you shall serve.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Consider too, that some organs sound better at lower volumes than others. Who will be the primary listener? The player, or is everyone in the home okay with background organ sounds. Are you sure? Some people simply can't adjust to ambient sounds regardless of how faint. If you will have to play lower to satisfy all involved anyway then you might not need to overdo the sound barriers as much as finding that special organ that can sound beautiful at nearly any volume. There are so many factors. Consider whether you would give up a little floor space in trade for a double wall that could afford you more decibels. Any time you are able to push the sound in a room to high enough levels that the room reflections become more a part of the sound chamber, it is better than keeping the organ at subdued levels. There is that fine line between using a room to contain a sound and using a room to promote it. Acoustics are your friend. These guys have good advice, but there are excellent artificial reverbs...sorry I'm a guy who would think he died and went to heaven if I could design a house around an organ, the organ would be any 800 series vacuum tube Conn Classic and I'd have two Leslie's, 3 ranks of Conn pipes and an understanding wife. The room would be an open cathedral and the family room would be the one with the insulation. That and the bedrooms.
                    Wurlitzer '46' Model 31 Orgatron & 310 rotary cab, 56' 4410 , 65' 4300
                    Hammond '55' S6 Chord Organ,HR-40,ER-20, 1971 X66/& 12-77 tone cabinet w/ 122 kit & TREK Transposer- of which I've retrofitted a Wurlitzer/Lowrey 'PedAL gLIdE' awesome!
                    Gulbransen 61' 1132 '76' Rialto II & Leslie 705 + two 540
                    Conn '57' 406 Caprice '59' 815 Classic (the 29th 815)
                    PLEASE SAVE THE WURLITZER ELECTROSTATIC CONTINUOUS-FREE-REED ORGANS 1953'-1961' Hammond TW's ONLY TRUE COMPETITOR! (Ggl> NSHOS WURLI 4600)

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