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  • Pipe Attack Transients "Chiff"

    I just received a new CD of organ music. The pipe work has noticeable starting transients when each note is struck. One piece has a reed added part way through in which the reed starts when the note is played. The effect is make it obvious that the starting transient makes the note sound with a delay after the key is struck. One effect is to cause a gap between the notes when played legato thus giving a little spacing between notes.

    When the reed was added, it was a kind of relief to have the rhythm become clearly defined. My organ teacher achieves a somewhat similar effect by shortening the previous note slightly to give a clear attack to the note coming next which is then right on time. Is the "chiff" effect intentional to give this spacing? Is the "chiff" effect just an organ building style? Possibly it is not possible to get a clean attack on low pressure pipe work? European organs in large stone buildings do not seem to have a noticeable attack transient, but possibly it is because the listener is much farther away.

    Mt preference is for a clean attack without noticeable transients. What do others think?

  • #2
    Re: Pipe Attack Transients "Chiff"



    The overly-chiffy organ was a product of the neo-baroque - almost every builder rushed to outdo their competitors in this regard. Builders revised history to suit their suppositions; empirical research was lacking.




    Upon close examination ancientorgans have proven to be warmer than one might think - higher cutups, nicking, and closed toes were not uncommon. This incontrast to the thin, spitting, wheezing instruments of the latter half of the 20th century.




    A slight bit of articulation can be pleasant, especially in a reverberant space in which the organ is located some distance from the listener (who would not necessarily notice this feature).




    I prefer a pipe to have what is today referred to as a "vocal" quality:generously scaled, substantial pipes on moderate wind, with low-to-normal cutup andjust enoughnicking.




    The effect you mentioned - flues speaking at different times from the reeds, is an artifact of poor voicing. This is something that can and shouldbe adjusted; a good windchest is also very helpful in achieving results. The best windchests for cohesive speech - in my opinion - are slider chests.

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    • #3
      Re: Pipe Attack Transients "Chiff"




      A slight bit of articulation can be pleasant, especially in a reverberant space in which the organ is located some distance from the listener (who would not necessarily notice this feature).




      I prefer a pipe to have what is today referred to as a "vocal" quality:generously scaled, substantial pipes on moderate wind, with low-to-normal cutup andjust enoughnicking.





      [pi][:P] When do we eat??

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Pipe Attack Transients "Chiff"



        [:S]?




        Buzzy, what are you smoking?




        On second thought, don't answer that! [:)]

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Pipe Attack Transients "Chiff"



          J Bethards on his site debunks the supposed greatness of slider chests. I have worked with some invented by EH Holloway and now used by a successor firm Goulding and Wood. Very dissapointing. Unsteady wind plus sagging reeds that go flat.




          The best chests are universal-Austin--all pipes of ALL stops fed from a single wind source--NOT like the slider chest that has a separate channel for each note that feeds each pipe of that note from every stop in that division minus single supply for mixtures. Universal chests are rock solid in stability of wind no matter how many notes or stops are drawn because all of the pipes of EVERY stop on that chest is fed wind from one source.

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          • #6
            Re: Pipe Attack Transients "Chiff"

            Latter years at A-S the principals were 1/4m and 1/4 cut-up. GDH experimented with lower cut-ups prior to that time.. What are the advantages of lower-than-normal say-lower than 1/4 c.u. for a 1/4 m principal?

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            • #7
              Re: Pipe Attack Transients "Chiff"



              Of course you can read anything on the internet. Go to the Wicks organ website and read all about the unparalleled superiority of the direct electric action!




              John




              Sorry, off topic. Back to "chiff" -- I like it, count that as one vote for it. Seriously, I know I'm just an electronic organ tech, and a pipe dummy, but those cool attack transients just sweeten the sound no end for me. When I voiced the old Rodgers 890 that was given to my church last winter, I gave the choir flutes so much chiff they almost sound like a xylophone. But I love it, and other people do too.




              Yes, I know people love Kool-Ade and cotton candy too. But give me that CHIFF! And lots of it!




              John

              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

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              • #8
                Re: Pipe Attack Transients "Chiff"

                You post just sounded like a recipie to me. "Take one lightly roasted diapason, add just enough butter until it's golden brown. Cover the pipe with a light saeasoning of freshly ground oregeno, stir until well blended...." droool.. droool..

                Must get to bed now...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Pipe Attack Transients "Chiff"



                  Glad to be able to 'cook' for you Buzzy! [pi][:)] Maybe you'll be dreaming of eating those pipes?




                  I'll take a slider chest over an Austinor Schoenstein chest, thank you very much. (though I'm content to play these organs - I'm just saying if I had a blank slate...)




                  Goodslider chestsdo not create pitch sagand areas steady as you please (but not unyielding, which is a big difference).




                  A very slight give makes the music come alive, in my opinion. I am very pleased with these chests!




                  I really like slider chests with electric pull-downs: you get many of the benefits of tracker action, without the strings attached! [:P]




                  Re: cutups, a moderate cutup is good (depending on the stop). Too high and you have a train whistle; a lower cutup gives a bit of color. But not a low cutup - which I don't like! Sorry if I was unclear.




                  Regarding exact measurements ... [:^)] please don't make me get out my proportional dividers! [:D]

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Pipe Attack Transients "Chiff"




                    Bethards is a nice guy. He has always been gracious and helpful to me in my scant email correspondence on some particulars as recently as today. However after reading his philosophy and his debunking tracker, slider, and wind that ''lives'' etcI was bored and realized that his concepts are 100% at odds with acepted standards such as those that you espouse. Be it as it may there are people that have paid a bundle to buy an organ of his. The recordingsI have are ok especially the ethereal efffects. The recorded sound may be inaccurate but the upperwork was shrill and non-blending on the K Street job. Overall though quite nice.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Pipe Attack Transients "Chiff"



                      I've played K-street.




                      There aremany beautiful solovoices.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Pipe Attack Transients "Chiff"

                        My organ teacher achieves a somewhat similar effect by shortening the previous note slightly to give a clear attack to the note coming next which is then right on time.
                        Yes, but this requires a promptly speaking pipe otherwise it doesn't work.

                        Is the "chiff" effect intentional to give this spacing?
                        No, as sb32 said if exaggerated it becomes a fault of the voicing.

                        Possibly it is not possible to get a clean attack on low pressure pipe work?
                        It is perfectly possible to achieve clean and prompt attack on low pressure by correct voicing and contruscion. Just like it is posible to have badly speaking pipes on high pressure and need all kind of appendages at the mouth to correct it.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Pipe Attack Transients "Chiff"



                          There is regrettable stigma associated with slider windchests. Just say the word "slider" to some people and you can witness uninformed opinions on display. Consider briefly that slider chests in varying forms have been used successfully with pipe organs for hundreds of years.



                          In a properly designed slider chest there is no reason for pipework to be starved for wind. Generally, onset of pipe speech will be slightly slower, but more uniform as opposed to other types (EP - pitman or electromechanical) where there are individual pipe valves. There is an advantage to this, especially for chorus work. In voicing for slider chests one typically prepares the pipework mindful of what action type will be employed.



                          Poorly designed slider chests can create all sorts of difficulties; toe hole or pallet borings that are too small will starve pipes for wind. Reed stops need to be closer to the pallet openings than flues. Slider grids must be sufficiently sized. Pallet openings and pallets must also properly sized. On piporg-l Pieter Visser is fond of pointing out the simple 1.4 ratio: a given pallet opening must be 1.4 times the total area of all the pipe toes on a given channel.  Some builders have ignored these ideas at their own peril.  As in all things, good design requires careful consideration.



                          The Austin "Universal" windchest, while servicable, has many inherent flaws. The mass of the action system makes repetition slow, particularly in the bass. When I worked in Hartford we tested on this extensively and we were aware that EP pitman system outperformed the Austin mechanism in this respect. The design of the Austin system  requires careful adjustment to insure good synchronization of pipe valves. This is sometimes lost when the chest is "re-actioned" by technicians unaware of the subtleties of the mechanism.
                           
                          The steadiness of the wind in an Austin chest can sometimes be a drawback in that it is too steady; large airboxes often lack the ability to iron out blower turbulence. This makes the tuning and regulation of compound stops (mixtures)  frustrating.  The volume of the wind reserve in a typical airbox makes the application of a traditional tremulant difficult, if not impossible. The inflexibility of wind management in the Universal Windchest system is why the Austin fan tremulant was invented.



                          Attack transients in pipe speech require careful handling and favorable acoustics to work well. Pipework on low pressure, with open toes and minimal nicking requires exacting voicing technique to be consistent within choruses and throughout a compass. In flutes it can be downright distracting. Put this in a typical carpeted American church and you have a formula destined to fail. 



                           

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                          • #14
                            Re: Pipe Attack Transients "Chiff"



                            Schoenstein uses expansion chambers in their windchests. These are tubular and seem to actually simplify the chest design. Wurlitzer did a similar thing, except that pallets were used exactly the same as in slider chests and the expansion chamber is rectangular. The advertised benefit is a smoother, quicker speech due to the smoother build up of pressure in the pipe feet, i.e. reducing the wind eddies near the languid makes the speech steady faster.



                            A pittman chest is very quick and usually does not have expansion chambers. I wonder if some of the slider chest debate comes from the difference in voicing required to get good attack from the different ways that air is admitted to the pipe feet?



                            How does using expansion chambers compare to using slider chests which seems to give a similar benefit?



                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Pipe Attack Transients "Chiff"

                              Interesting that you should point this out; all things being equal the intended effect of the two systems is the same.  By having a long channel between the pipe valve (or slider pallet) and the pipe toe, the wind is stabilized before reaching the languid.  We incorporate similar elements in our electromechanical chests by building them with expansion chambers and 1.5" thick toeboards.

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