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Why I'm Fence Sitting the Hauptwerk 5 Upgrade

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  • Why I'm Fence Sitting the Hauptwerk 5 Upgrade

    After three years or so with no updates whatsoever, a major upgrade in the form of Hauptwerk 5 became available a couple of weeks ago. I've been following the Hauptwerk upgrade debate from the start and you'll find plenty of passionate opinions, pro and con, on the Hauptwerk Forum and Facebook. As I write this, I'm currently on the fence as to whether I'm going to bother or not. Here's why.

    The most impactful change is the replacement of the old copy protection method, which had been hacked and no longer effective, with a new one. Although this change is important and beneficial to Milan Digital Audio and sample set producers, it provides no direct value to me. Upgrading to Version 5 involves not only upgrading the program, but acquiring and installing new licenses for the copy protected sets. This is a problem for copy protected sets produced by vendors no longer in business, and reported technical glitches in the process have frustrated some early adopter's efforts in migrating their sample sets to the new version.

    One can make a valid argument that piracy is a disincentive to sample set producers and that a more robust system will indirectly benefit end users; however, personally I'm not interested in collecting organs. The free and paid for sets that I currently have suit my wildest expectations and needs, so even if all sample producers opt in to the Version 5 protection scheme and no longer produce Version 4 compatible sets going forward, it's not going to cause me any concern. Given the size of the market and the fact that the installed base of Version 4 will exceed that of Version 5 for quite some time, I don't foresee the complete disappearance of version 4 sample sets anytime soon.

    Version 5's convolution reverb would be a prime motivator for me to upgrade if it wasn't for the fact that I'm happy with the external reverb system I currently have, but even more to the point, considering that the large majority of sample sets available are way too wet for my taste in the first place, additional reverb is the last thing I want. Perhaps, native reverb capability in the program will encourage the production of drier sample sets, but, as a practical matter, it's far easier to make wet sample recordings than dry ones, so I don't have any expectations of this happening soon.

    The other major feature being touted is the new audio routing and configuration options. I will confess that I've not explored these options in any detail, but I gather the main advantage is the ability to customize audio configurations on a sample set by sample set basis. In version 4 audio configuration options were at the program level, and you had load one of the alternately configured versions of the program in order to change the audio setup. While the new method is a clear usability improvement over the old, in the nearly ten years I've been using Hauptwerk, I've yet to find a compelling need to set up an alternate configuration.

    Hauptwerk 5 has other audio configuration improvements for configuring surround sound and a built-in six channel mixer with the ability to pan individual ranks to various positions in the sound field, but again, I see these improvements more as a benefit for the less common dry sample sets than the more common wet ones.

    It's also now possible to apply different channel routing algorithms on a rank by rank basis. In version 4, channel routing is at the audio group level so routing per rank is possible by setting up multiple groups with different routing algorithms and assigning the rank to the appropriate group. The disadvantage to this is that audio channels map to a single group so you have to utilize extra channels to accomplish this. Either way, the potential benefit in the ability to use different routing algorithms for different ranks directly increases with the number of channels available. I don't think I'd benefit much from this increased flexibility with my six channel setup.

    There are also some improvements to the audio engine in the area of processing wind and tremulant models, but from user reports I've seen any audio improvement in this regard is subtle and only noticeable in a side-by-side comparison. As one user on the Hauptwerk Forum commented in effect, if it's that subtle, it's not something to upgrade over.

    A possible potential downside of all these improvements is that Hauptwerk now typically requires an additional 1 GB of RAM to run.

    The problem for me is that Hauptwerk 4 is so good that I find nothing lacking for my needs. The enhancements in 5 seem like icing on an already frosted cake. On the other hand I do feel some obligation to support the developer and publisher of Hauptwerk by upgrading, and I may eventually choose to do so, but for now, I'm content to let the early adopters work out the kinks and bugs (and they do exist) before taking the plunge. There is an upgrade discount in effect until January 6th after which the price increases by $90. I can happily wait on the sidelines and pay the difference once the dust settles.
    Last edited by Admin; 08-06-2022, 10:14 AM. Reason: fixed diacritical
    -Admin

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

  • #2
    Im slightly regretting not buying 4 for the rwleasons above. I waited because I could not update my OS and still run 4 but now it is too late to get it.

    I have no incentive to rush out and get 5 as the permanent license is not discounted, so i might as well wait till I’m darn well ready. Meanwhile Im busy building my console and playing with organteq and grand orgue, which are good enough at the skill level I’m at now.
    Home Organ: VPO Home-Brewed from a former Klann pipe organ console

    Comment


    • #3
      I hope MDA aren't shooting themselves in the foot with this, but it could turn out to be a mis-step. We may see a retreat or a quick revision, if other users are as skeptical and on-the-fence as you are. I'm just a lurker and wannabe in the Hauptwerk community, but even I feel a bit slighted with this new version, though I have no actual right to feel that way ;-)

      All your points are worthy of consideration by MDA, and I hope they are taking note of other users' reluctance to upgrade. For me, the change to making it a "rented" product rather than one you can buy outright (except for the Advanced Edition) is disconcerting. I suppose in the long run, one will get value for the money, but it seems a little scary having to sign up for a lifetime of monthly payments for anything.

      We can all probably think of several times that a tech company came out with a whiz-bang new product or concept or way of marketing something, only to meet with a lot of public objection, forcing them to take a step back. Microsoft's Windows 8 was widely panned by the computer public, and forced them to issue 8.1 almost immediately, followed quickly by 10, in order to ameliorate the bad feelings they engendered with 8.0.

      No doubt Hauptwerk has a healthy future, being as it is, one of the most ground-breaking programs in organ history. But if I were a paying user at this point, I'd be inclined to sit it out for a while and see how the dust settles on this latest thing
      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
        I upgraded from 4 Advanced, having a quite simple setup (stereo output, just a couple of sample sets). I guess I think the more elaborate your current installation, the more waiting makes some sense — there are bugs being found (soon to be fixed). Deriving upgrade instructions from forum messages is also important, esp for Mac users. I myself want to support the company; and I’d say it does sound (slightly) better. I’m very happy with the result.

        Comment


        • #5
          I have lost all respect for MDA. I have the advanced version of Hauptwerk 4.1 and Paramount 3/32 theatre organ. I had read everything I could read on their forum about tuning issues and did not find the information I needed. Then I wrote the company three separate times asking for help. Their automatic response said they would be in touch with me within 24 hours, but they never answered my request for information. Fortunately, I was able to come here to Organ Forum with my problem, and a couple of members responded within a day after my posting, and explained exactly what was going on, and how to fix the tuning problem.

          If MDA treats all their customers this way.....well, I'm just saying, I'm not happy with their 'after the sale' attitude.

          Comment


          • #6
            I've never had a problem with Milan Digital Audio or the sample set providers I use. I think the guys at Silver Octopus Studiosand Paramount Organ Works are great.

            I took the current deal on offer and upgraded my Hauptwerk advanced edition perpetual license for $199.

            Took me all of 3 minutes to get an ilok account.

            No issues for me - I want MDA to stay in business

            Comment


            • #7
              The subscription model obviously is an attempt to convert many users of the free edition to be paying customers. There is no way getting around since they killed off the free edition. That being said, the new Lite is a better product than the old Basic edition with not limits on memory, just polyphony, wind model, and audio outputs, oh, and the new reverb. Customers will have to vote with their wallets. If their subscription model is not successful the way it needs to be/they envisioned, perhaps they fill the gap with a perpetual Lite package.

              The new iLok, either cloud or key, seems to be more convenient for license upkeep.

              I also have sent mails that for one or the other reason never got answered and beyond the polished software and webpage their approach to customer service, while perhaps well intended, seems at times amateurish.

              Comment


              • #8
                I too have concerns. But mostly because I'm not computer savvy. If I do the change and it won't run, I'm in trouble with V5. And if you do run V5, you can't go back. It destroys your ability to run the old version. I have the fear of not having an instrument to play while I struggle to get it working. If this belonged to a church, I'd be terrified to think we might be without an instrument

                Comment


                • #9
                  Well, there is truth to the saying "never change a working system". You will need to decide based on your needs or aspirations: are you planning to buy sample sets that are only usable in HW 5? Do you need or want the new features? A complete PC backup could help you go back to 4.2 if you decided to try out HW 5. If one wanted to keep at HW 4, one could do so, probably, for many many years to come. In case of hardware failure, on the PC side it's easy to keep old systems and operating systems alive, and I'm planning to keep Windows 7 alive and kicking for many years to come. I don't buy into the fear that users feel the need to upgrade in case something happens to their HW 4 hardware. Yes, true, if the old dongle dies I don't know what the workaround for that could be, but the likeliness of that happening is probably neglect able for many years to come. I wouldn't upgrade a functioning HW 4 setup in a heartbeat.

                  Comment


                  • Antoni Scott
                    Antoni Scott commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I'm not sure why I keep having that nagging feeling about upgrading to Version VI ( now VII). I guess I might think I am missing something. That being said, I still feel insecure about having an old computer system, evenalthough it is working flawlessly. The biggest insecurity is the fact that I have one dongle that I share between my working computer and a back-up, should the working one go down. Milan's really bad business practice of not having replacement dongles, regardless of the reasons, is rather pathetic. One light at the end of the tunnel ( if true) was that the Ilock dongle, now used to replace the HASP can be replaced if the original is lost, damaged or failed. Not sure how that factors into Milan's tight control or profit. Endless questions and research on my part is confounded by lack of support or inability to get real help. Mac technicians are few and far between, Hauptwerk savvy Mac technicians, even more so.

                    My recent attempt to move up to the 21st century technology ( i.e. Hauptwerk VII) resulted in even more confusion and frustration. Selective misinformation along with my lack of knowledge make decisions even more problematic. Every time I think I understand what I need and what to do, something new pops up.

                    I did find a Mac technician with 20 years of experiencee in the industry willing to take on my project, but at $160/hr and endless psychbabble on his part I was suspect that upgrading would be anything more than just an attempt to make a ton of money at my expense and with no successful outcome. The next logical step was to purchase a complete Hauptwerk-ready computer with Version VII already installed with the new ILock dongle. But then I heard I will lose my sample sets once migrated, that my touch-screen monitors would be incompatable and that my sound card has to be replaced.

                    I even investigated the possibiity of purchasing an entirely new license and a new Hauptwerk ready computer. That way I could retain my old dongle and use my old system (Version IV) should something go wrong ( and something always goes wrong). But then I heard that I would lose my sample sets during the "migration" process. I'm not sure if I believe that since I have the original unelcrypted discs and a backup hard-drive. It gets very complicated.

                    Last disappointment I experienced was that my touch screen monitors may not be compatable with the newest version should I decide to upgrade. I found this out at the last moment. I'm wondering what else is lurking out there to give me an error message. The same for my Pre-Sonus sound card. The sound card replacement was not that expenseve to replace but my two monitors were expensive.

                    With all the Hauptwerk/computer savvy enthusiasts out there that say the upgrade is easy, why can't I find a Mac technician willing to take it on ?
                    Last edited by myorgan; 01-27-2022, 12:45 PM. Reason: Remove extra spacing.

                • #10
                  Originally posted by musicmaker84 View Post
                  I don't buy into the fear that users feel the need to upgrade in case something happens to their HW 4 hardware. Yes, true, if the old dongle dies I don't know what the workaround for that could be, but the likeliness of that happening is probably neglect able for many years to come.
                  The obvious problem in purchasing copy protected or cloud based software, is that you really don't own it outright and your investment is dependent upon at least one third party. With Hauptwerk 4 you were dependent upon the HASP dongle and MDA for Hauptwerk and sample set licenses. Sample set producers relied on MDA to install their licenses on the dongle and to transfer those licenses in the event the original owner wished to sell them. Hackers have found a way to bypass the HASP hardware dongle with software emulation programs rendering it less effective. For this reason, MDA moved to the iLok protection method in Hauptwerk 5. You can either buy an iLok dongle for your licenses, store them in iLok's cloud ( for a fee), or do both. Regardless of which iLok method you choose, your investment depends upon iLok staying business because whether you're using the dongle or the cloud, you maintain your licenses through a web-based iLok account. Supposedly, iLok is more secure (at least for now) than the old HASP system, but more importantly, it allows MDA to shift the burden of managing sample set licenses to their publisher. That's probably a good thing, but it does mean your installation has more dependencies.

                  From my perspective then, the risk of having a crippled system due copy protection is less about hardware failure and more about the potential failure of the business infrastructure supporting it.
                  Last edited by Admin; 12-21-2019, 06:10 AM. Reason: fixed typo
                  -Admin

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

                  Comment


                  • musicmaker84
                    musicmaker84 commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I believe iLok cloud is for free unless you want to insure your licenses for $30 annually. Then, if used with an iLok key, my understanding is that no internet connection is needed once you transferred licenses to the key (only once every three months or so if you purchased PACE insurance to validate); so, your investment can still be made use of even if iLok vanished over night and you did not buy insurance. At least that is how I understand it.

                    I think any kind of copy protection is a nuisance. I would expect, in the case that HW went out of business, some unlock would be employed for users to run the software without iLok for the rest of their lives.

                    And in a way this might be a valid comparison: have we bought electronic organs based on the assumption which make and model will sport spares for the lifetime of the instrument or rather because a certain model suited our taste and probably budget?

                  • Antoni Scott
                    Antoni Scott commented
                    Editing a comment
                    if the old dongle dies I don't know what the workaround for that could be
                    To Musicmaker84:

                    Clearly, you are not familiar with the policy of Milan. If a dongle is lost, damaged or fails, you are "up the creek". You have to purchase an entirely new license. That is their "workaround" policy.

                • #11
                  Hauptwerk V offers a lot more than a reliable (for now?) protection scheme. HW and their sample set producers may actually be able to stay in business without having their products hacked and stolen. That's a good thing for those of us who don't mind paying a small price for phenomenal technology. I already owned an iLok device which will be the case for many who do other audio or video projects. That's an extra expense or about $40.

                  The added convolution reverb is true stereo and is provided with a large selection of IRs from Jiri at Sonus Paradisi. His sample sets are among the finest available and the IRs sound natural to my ears. I've used the LiquidSonics products, Reverberate, Seventh Heaven, and Illusion previously but can see getting by without them for organ samples.

                  The added polyphony available with HW V will help users stick with older i7 machines for even the larger sample sets. I've been using a polyphony of about 6000 lately and with HW 4 it was easy enough to overwhelm my previous i7 when playing large registrations using sample sets that required more than 64Gb of RAM. Now the same hardware can handle a polyphony larger than 10000.

                  Multichannel configurations have a daunting learning curve unfortunately. The new mixer is powerful and a great addition to HW but it is not intuitive by any means. Once a multichannel configuration is set up it is then easy to load additional organs just by doing some ordinary rank routing, but the initial setup is hard. There's an added feature to allow complex rank offsets for extra control of which pipes sound via which speakers. I've found that to be valuable but I'm not sure it's full potential has yet dawned on the HW community.

                  So I'm pleased with Hauptwerk V. It sets a high standard for the Virtual Pipe Organ world.
                  http://www.nwmidi.com

                  Comment


                  • #12
                    Thank you for this thread, Admin.

                    I purchased Hauptwerk IV this year and enjoy using it with the 5 sample sets I own. When I finally decided to take the plunge, I got assistance from François Ratte at Hauptwerk Consultant. I did not want to go through the considerable learning curve that would have been required for me to attempt this on my own.

                    With the advent of Hauptwerk V, I too have been reading the posts on their forum. There is often more heat than light on display there. My impression is that Milan would like to give better customer service than they are capable of delivering. To their credit, they did hire someone to help address customer concerns, but there are still claims of non-response to customer inquiries.

                    I have decided to wait until the dust settles, before making a decision. At the present time, I see no compelling reason to make a change. If that changes in the future, I will again seek assistance from someone more knowledgeable than myself.
                    Bill

                    My home organ: Content M5800 as a midi controller for Hauptwerk

                    Comment


                    • Admin
                      Admin commented
                      Editing a comment
                      MDA posted a day or so ago that they hired François Ratte to do customer support. I think François is going to be very busy during this roll-out.

                  • #13
                    Originally posted by cham-ed View Post
                    I too have concerns. But mostly because I'm not computer savvy. If I do the change and it won't run, I'm in trouble with V5. And if you do run V5, you can't go back. It destroys your ability to run the old version. I have the fear of not having an instrument to play while I struggle to get it working. If this belonged to a church, I'd be terrified to think we might be without an instrument
                    Your last sentence echoes my concerns exactly. I do feel bad for those churches who have Hauptwerk-based organs, and/or the people who provided the organ for them.

                    While there is no immediate issue as long as the system remains stable, a church (or person) who is not tech-savvy or comfortable with the computer's platform (think Mac or Linux/Unix-based systems) is tied to a system few can support reliably. Even Microsoft went to a subscription-based system for enterprise software to make a profit, however, after a period of time they realized they needed to honor the older lifetime licenses already sold, and provide the same service in new licenses for certain markets (education, non-profit, etc.).

                    Hopefully, Hauptwerk will realize they need to continue with the level of services already offered. No doubt the subscription-based services now being offered are driven by the need to pay bills and/or profit from their software. It's a business move that may, or may not provide what they need. It's a gamble.

                    Michael
                    Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
                    • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
                    • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
                    • 11 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 7 Pianos

                    Comment


                    • #14
                      Originally posted by myorgan View Post
                      Even Microsoft went to a subscription-based system for enterprise software to make a profit, …
                      No doubt the subscription-based services now being offered are driven by the need to pay bills and/or profit from their software. It's a business move that may, or may not provide what they need. It's a gamble.
                      Hauptwerk is still available for purchase on a non-subscription basis. Perhaps a subscription model will work out for them, but honestly, considering the investment one must make apart from the Hauptwerk software in order to have a working system - computer, console, audio interface, speakers, amps, and sample sets, paying $275/year for an advanced subscription for a product which can be purchased outright for $599 doesn't seem to be a particularly attractive alternative, especially considering your system will require being connected to the Internet whenever you start it up.
                      Last edited by Admin; 12-20-2019, 01:11 PM.
                      -Admin

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

                      Comment


                      • Antoni Scott
                        Antoni Scott commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I agree that upgrading from Version 4.2 to V or VI may offer some Hauptwerk claimed benefits, real or imaginary. The upgrading process is almost mind-boggling to the individual that is not computer savvy. I've never installed or upgraded anything computer based that has gone 100% smoothly. With Hauptwerk there is no 800 helpline, or for that matter any telephone helpline at all. You're on your own.
                        Also, there is a huge amount of selective misinformation, or just opinion, about what will ,or will not, work on older systems. To be informed that this "probably will work" or that "may work" is not the reassuring language I want to hear considering the "one way, no going back" warning about upgrading. You could be stuck for months or lose everything. My paranoia or fear is based on personal past experience which rendered my Hauptwerk system totally inoperable for three months. The "fix" was infuriatingly simple when help was finally available from another source outside of the Hauptwerk community.

                    • #15
                      Admin, with an iLok dongle there is no need for internet once authorized.

                      Comment


                      • Admin
                        Admin commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I don't think that's the case for a subscription, which is what I was referring to. At a minimum, the dongle will require an update via internet with each subscription renewal, will it not?

                      • myorgan
                        myorgan commented
                        Editing a comment
                        That's what Microsoft did. Every 2-3 months it "phones home" to check the registration. No telling what else it's sending from your computer to them.

                        If you are not on an Internet connection, it will continue to work briefly but provides a nice nag message every time you start the computer, letting you know your license isn't valid. As the administrator of the licenses, it was quite a waste of my time.

                        Michael
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