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How to Build PC to run Hauptwerk

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  • How to Build PC to run Hauptwerk

    I'm looking into assembling a WIN 10 Pro PC to run Hauptwerk virtual pipe organ on my re-re-built classical AGO spec home organ. I've looked into 32GB RAM, i7, touchscreen laptops, but am doubtful that any laptop (my preferred platform) will be adequate and I'd like to keep the expense under $1,300 if reasonable. I'm now looking into 64GB RAM, i7, touchscreen, desktop platform and want to be able to use some fat, wet, stereo or surround sounds pipe samples on it. I have integrated into this organ system my old Ensoniq VFX-SD, a new GSI DMC-122 (Dual-manual MIDI Controller), and soon to integrate an Ensoniq TS-10 for a total of 4 keyboards with the 32 pedal board and 2 Yamaha TX81Z synthesizers. I'm looking for advice on the PC components I need to get, e.g. motherboard, RAM, audio boards, MIDI I/O and other I/O, cooling system (fan vs liquid), and the many other items I probably don't know that will be needed or nice to have.
    Thanks in advance for any help and advice, or what forum is better to ask for this kind of advice and help.

  • #2
    don't know enough about Hauptwerk but I can't stand windows 10 can't it be run on a Macintosh or Linux?


    • #3
      My Hauptwerk Advanced-on-Windows 10 project did not turn out well. I have a latency problem that I cannot track down. The software works like a champ on Windows 7, even using the built in sound card. Others here on the Forum have reported good results with Win 10, however, so it must be possible.


      • #4
        Hauptwerk runs very well on a Mac. I have several friends who use Mac Minis inside their consoles with USB audio.
        Rodgers 660 with additional analog rack sets (practice), 36D/C in digital conversion, Yamaha CVP-107


        • #5
          I'm using Windows 7 on my custom built computer. Not having any problems. This computer is not hooked up to the internet, so I have no worries about security issues, or Windows barging in and installing their automatic updates.. My computer "guru specialist" comes by about once a year to clean the machine and do a
          general look-see over the connections. The computer has been running for about 6 years without any problems.


          • #6
            I started with Hauptwerk using a Windows Vista laptop. I built my current Hauptwerk system back in 2012 and it is still going strong
            CPU Intel i7 3930K (Sandy Bridge Generation)
            Motherboard Asus P9X79
            RAM 16GB (4xGB) Corsair Vengeance DDRS 1600 MHz
            Video EVGA GeForce 8400 GS 1 GB
            Case Fractal Design Define R4
            Cooler Intel Thermal Solution Liquid
            Optical Drive Asus 24xDVD-RW
            PSU Seasonic 560W 80 Plus Gold
            X-560 SS-560KM
            HD Western Digital WD1002FAEX 1TB
            MIDI Merger MOTO micro lite
            Audio Interface M-Audio Pro-Fire 610
            Reverb Lexicon MX400
            MIDI Pad Behringher Command Touch TC-64

            Originally the system was running Windows 7 Pro but has been continuously updated and is now running the latest version of Windows 10 Pro. I've never had any issues running Hauptwerk on Windows and haven't had to do any of the commonly recommended tweaks to the OS settings to have glitch free audio, even when the file indexer or virus scanner is running when I'm playing. I'm not saying that's typical, but that's been my fortunate experience.

            The controller is my Allen 965 TO which I've converted to MIDI using my Zuma boards. The audio consists of 8 channels, 3 stereo pairs for the organ, and a stereo pair for reverb.

            The consensus among Hauptwerk users is that MAC's are less fiddly to get running, but that Windows systems are a better value. Take your choice.

            I think the key to good performance lies not so much in the OS as it does the hardware and the drivers. I'd prioritize the choice of the motherboard and the audio interface.

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


            • #7
              Wet samples are cheaper to buy and cheaper to use because you won't need any computer based software reverb which is very resources intensive. A Desktop is a much more practical platform when you want to go crazy with RAM (and IMO 32G of RAM is getting crazy, 64G is simply insane). There is a lot of Win10 hate out there, but clinging to Win7 is a losing proposition going forward. Does anyone still use Win98? Win10 can be brought to heel and HW expects that you will be using it in any case. Only gamers need, or use, liquid cooling of the CPU. And only gamers need to source discrete motherboards, RAM, and other essentials of a complete HW rig. In a laptop configuration $1300 is an unreasonably low price point to expect the kind of CPU/RAM/Performance that the o.p. is seeking. In a Desktop it might be just possible. Not mentioned is a SSD (solid state hard drive) which is de rigeur in the 21st Century. It need not be complicated to put this all together, however. Dell, HP and Lenovo all make turn-key desktop (recommended) systems that will have everything necessary to run HW in fine fashion. Small four channel DAP interfaces seem to be going away. The good stuff anyway. The 8 in 8 out interfaces are overkill IMO but YMMV. For a surround system 8 channels are probably the minimum you'd want to consider. Personally I would use 'normal' samples and a surround capable reverb processor. The Lexicon MX400 is the most affordable example of this kind of technology that I know of.


              • Admin
                Admin commented
                Editing a comment
                I chose liquid cooling for my setup because it's quieter than a typical CPU fan. The fact that it's a more efficient cooler was secondary benefit.

            • #8
              The main problem with win 10 is the user not the machine, as people go on the web and see all these tweaks (Which are supposedly required) and start applying them, which in most cases just knackers up the system.
              Hauptwerk will supply all the changes you need to make to Win 10 work optimally with its software and thus no need to go further. (They will also tell you what specs and type of interface required for getting the best out of it)
              As mentioned 1300 is a bit low for a laptop but should be OK with a Desktop, (Assuming you have already got a monitor etc.) and may like to look at the many companies that will build a PC to your specification as well as give you a warrantee. (These days it is normally cheaper to get a PC pre-built for you rather than doing it yourself)


              • #9
                Just a couple of observations. An SSD for both the operating system and Hauptwerk is a huge help. For a desktop a 1 TB SSD seems like a starting point and 2 TB is probably a better choice. Newer releases of Windows 10 are working well, but disabling SysMain (formerly SuperFetch) is still essential. Whether to build from scratch of buy a prebuilt computer is simply a matter of comparing the costs. The Intel processors have been better for Hauptwerk than AMD according to HW's developer Martin Dyde.

                Look for a motherboard and CPU combination that is specified for greater than 64 GB of memory if you plan to do multichannel audio and run the finest of the large sample sets. Considering the cost of Hauptwerk it seems a shame to purchase it and not take advantage of multichannel audio. That's where HW truly comes into it's own as the best VPO solution at this time. I think $1300 is probably about the right price point for a computer without the monitor or any external components that may be needed.


                • #10
                  Suggest your starting point for this is the Hauptwerks site where they give recommendations for PC spec. I run a system from an Orla GT3000 which usefully has 2 x 61 + pedals. Problem with PC is the operating system even on W10 is so cumbersome sadly through legacy. The Mac is of the 2 better suited for Hauptwerks. Big problem I found was latency with either system. Its 2/10s of naff all but enough to cause upset when you try and play. If you are looking at one of these USB / MIDI cables you need to up your game. You now need to be looking at some form of Asio input. Some good stuff about such as the EMU and various others that utilise fire wire. Looking to system output on a limited budget I would suggest headphones. I tried a lovely set of Bose phones with the intention of going blue tooth between the computer and the phones. The latency on blue tooth is too great and once again you can't play it. My suggestion is concentrate on the latency issues - the PC spec doesn't need to be that great. Many of the good asio systems such as EMU are unsupported beyond W7. This causes issues if you want to go for touch screen. I have been told there are latency issues with real theatre organs. Realistically this has to be true because it does take a while to fill a 16ft pipe with air. My own experience playing a 3 x 19 Wurlitzer (some mother of an instrument by the way) is that there is no detectable latency anywhere. Good luck with your system.


                  • #11
                    I don't know, Silverfox. You say "concentrate on the latency issues". You as much as reveal that you have not solved them to your own satisfaction. I'm starting to wonder if it is actually possible. Most musicians only have to worry about the latency of the digital recording equipment they are using. The human voice has no latency issues. Electric and acoustic instruments: zero latency. Acoustic pianos: zero latency. Both acoustic and digital organs can have latency issues and this is compounded when digital to analog processing for recording or monitoring is in use. I am not sure why some organists are unable to tolerate moderate amounts of latency. I am personally not affected by it. Within minutes on a new instrument with high latency I can make music on it. And that may be the takeaway for all of us because it doesn't appear that solving latency with unaffordable high performance DAP equipment is feasible for VPO enthusiasts on a budget. Learning to love latency or at least lessen the loathing for large amounts of latency might be the lesser of two evils.


                    • #12
                      When I say concentrate on latency issues its just that. Yes the specification of PC matters but swapping from Mac to PC from XP thru to W7 pro has not made a noticeable difference for me so I would be directing my funds elsewhere.

                      Im not sure I agree with your comments on nothing has latency. You press a key on an acoustic piano. Very quickly that heaves the hammer towards the strings, the strings deflect and on releasing the hammer the strings will vibrate. Very short period but latency. The is extremely quick and not really noticeable but it is there - everything takes time. Some of the grand pianos were noticeably slower than the uprights.

                      The concept of Hauptwerks is that you emulate the real thing. I've got the Paramount and Compton Organs. Although both instruments are quick they are not as quick to respond as a real Wurlitzer or even the slower Compton based over at Ryhope where the Hauptwerks samples came from. I can play with latency and do so on the old tracker type church organs but I find this also influences the choice of music. More noticeable on the bass because it can take an age to fill a pipe with air. Unacceptable latency issues with the direct midi/usb lead and regular sticking. Blue tooth headphones were simply a joke they were that slow.

                      I've got latency to acceptable levels using an EMU asio input. Its not as fast as the real thing but as you say you learn to play with it. The speed of computers now and the relative size of the samples this should have been well nailed by now.

                      Some work is required on the PC. The PC constantly polls around the system. Do you really want your PC checking to make sure you printer needs paper or needs to update Windows in the middle of your music. All of this takes time.

                      Something to bear in mind I suppose is that you are unlikely to get a top quality VPO theatre organ in your living room for a small budget and that somewhere along the line you need to make an investment or accept compromise.

                      Totally agree with your last comment. If you can't tolerate or learn to live with some latency then budget VPOs are probably not the best way forward.


                      • #13
                        Enjoying this thread, as I have hopes for setting up a decent VPO at some point, though still constrained by the need to go to work every day. My experience is far less extensive, but I have made a few observations that a beginner might benefit from.

                        My simple experimentation with the free Hauptwerk and a handful of free or low-cost sample sets I've acquired has been done on a very basic and inexpensive laptop running Window 10. Using a $30 USB-MIDI interface to connect the laptop to my MIDI-equipped organ, I didn't have to do much to get nearly zero latency, though to be fair I have to say that I am making rather modest demands -- running small sample sets, avoiding huge registrations, using no add-ons, and the free Hauptwerk has a rather low polyphony (256?), while many serious setups require far higher figures.

                        The biggest improvement I got was when I downloaded ASIO4ALL. It was absolutely painless and very quick to install, had no side effects on any aspect of the computer's operation that I can detect. But it immediately cut the latency down to about 1/3 of what it was at first. Now it's so little as to be negligible, less noticeable than the time lag you get when playing a console that's a few feet from the speakers, which is to say undetectable.

                        Windows 10 must be a peculiar thing, as I do know people who cuss it every time they start up their computer. But for me it has been a godsend. Unlike the "bad old days" when I was running XP on everything, I never have lock-ups or "blue screen of death" or any data loss or corruption. The computers in my home office simply "work" as expected, and we do every day what we need to do with them without thinking about the OS in the least.

                        I do know that if I get around to setting up a permanent VPO, I'll have a computer that is NOT connected to the internet. Even though some folks have no issues with a connected computer running their VPO, I don't want the computer to even THINK about doing automatic updates, which will probably happen right when I need to play the thing. And if I'm unplugged from the internet, I have no worries about getting infected with something that's going around.
                        Church: Allen MDS-45 with Allen MIDI-DIVISION-II expander
                        Home: Allen Renaissance R-230 with expanded four-channel audio and MIDI-DIVISION-II
                        Shop: Bunch of organs in varying conditions, some good, some not...
                        Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches


                        • #14
                          Many problems people have running a VPO on Windows 10 can be solved by running GrandOrgue on Linux.


                          • #15
                            Thus far, the only time I have had trouble with latency is if I try to use my VPO (on my laptop with a basic sound card) to augment the stops on the MDS-5 at church. It is so obvious that the VPO lags behind the MDS that I haven't been able to use it for church yet. If I turn off the MDS stops and just use the VPO, the latency is there and I notice it but I can still play just fine. It's the comparison between the near instant response of the MDS that makes it stand out. I've been through my computer a couple of times disabling stuff and trying to get the latency down with minimal success. I'd like to try an external audio interface to see if that helps in a significant way but that's on a to do list for when I get 'roundtoit.

                            Home: Yamaha P22 and a modified Allen ADC-4500 ... for now.
                            Church: Allen MDS-5
                            Files: Allen Tone Card (TC) Database, TC Info, TC Converter, Chorus/Mixture TC Generator, ADC TC Soundfont, and MOS TC Soundfont