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Dulciana

Digital Organ For Practice

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I'd have to say it's not ideal for the technophobe as there are several different elements to integrate and as yet an 'off the shelf' all-in-one solution is not available.

Could you expand on this a bit, please? Do you mean that the set-up needs a bit of tweaking before it all works smoothly? If so, in what ways?

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...there is a smaller Cavaille Coll at Mainz which would fit a smaller computer- although prepared for the first release of Hauptwerk...

All of Helmut Maier's sets will be converted to HW2 - but he doesn't say by when.

 

...as yet an ‘off the shelf’ all-in-one solution is not available.

Actually, there are some.

Helmut Maier has done one with pipe-organ builder Harald Rapp - but it costs upwards of €40,000.

There are other possibilities in Canada, in the range CDN$10k-15k plus shipping.

These may be more readily available in Europe before the end of the year.

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Could you expand on this a bit, please? Do you mean that the set-up needs a bit of tweaking before it all works smoothly? If so, in what ways?

 

Part of the setup is computer hardware related, part software, and part midi hardware ('console').

 

1. Computer hardware and accessories such as MIDI and Audio connections, headphones, etc. There is an excellent section on the Hauptwerk website at http://www.crumhorn-labs.com/Hauptwerk-Specs.shtml which explains the hardware choices. Whilst the computer choice was straightforward for me (I use Windows and Mac regularly for work and pleasure, but Hauptwerk on Mac won hands down!), I had to make choices about MIDI/audio interface, headphones, headphone amplifier, and touch-screen monitor, as well as the cables to connect them all. (If you want speakers- which I didn't- add these to the list as well.) Plenty of online research was involved, which I enjoyed, but I'm aware others might not be quite so keen on this.

 

2. Software- Hauptwerk is easy to install in itsself- as well as the CD, there is an anti-piracy dongle that needs to be plugged into USB. There are two versions, Studio and Concert, the latter having more features and a bigger price tag. Installing other sample sets is not always as straightforward as it might be as there are often multiple files to install and some choices that aren't always evident- it does depend on the way the install has been authored. Some sets (such as the excellent OrganArt Media samples) require the dongle to be updated by e-mail, but this isn't difficult. Once samples are installed, they need to be set up for your computer, and if you are not blessed with lots of RAM, you will need to make choices about 'single or multiple samples', 'stereo or mono', lossless compression and other options, all of which affect the memory used (and the sound quality); after a while it becomes easier, but it can take a lot of experimentation at first to get the right balance. Then there is the mapping of real keyboards, pedalboard, expression pedals to the sample set equivalent, easy the second time! It must be said that the software developer, Martin Dyde, provides excellent, fast and patient technical support, not to mention the active and knowledgeable userbase on the Hauptwerk forum.

 

3. Choosing a console and connecting it.

The easy part is connecting it! Whether you choose an existing digital MIDI console, new or second-hand, a DIY console from companies such as those Douglas mentions (and he is right that all-in-one Hauptwerk solutions exist, though sadly not in this country at present), there are plenty of factors to be considered, as the MIDI implementation of every make is slightly different. The hardware does need to be setup in Hauptwerk so that it recognises the pistons, stops as well as keyboards, expression pedals, and this can be tricky- I have had to do lots of fiddling and translation of MIDI codes for stop mapping, for instance.

 

Many of the processes explained aren't particularly difficult and only need to be done once, but these are the differences between opting for Hauptwerk as opposed to handing over a wad of cash to Wyvern/Makin/Phoenix etc, having the organ installed and voiced, and away you go. If you treat it as a small project, and can give it a little time at the start, then I think you will find it very rewarding. I also agree with Douglas that the cost will be no more than an equivalent toaster and most likely rather less.

 

D.

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I know of two organists - neither of whom is easy to please in such matters - who both settled for an Eminent DCS organ from Cathedral Organs Ltd. Jeremy Filsell, on the other hand, has a 3-manual Viscount Prestige.

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I should add that I flew over to Holland for the day on a cheap flight to check out the instument before I bought it. The dealer was a few minutes' out of Amsterdam airport.

 

The cost of shipping it over to the UK was almost negligible, but on the morning of the Great Day when the lorry pulled up outside my house, the driver looked on in dismay and disbelief to my answer to his question "Where's the forklift?" The organ had come in an enormous cardbox box containing console, pedals and bench, and was on a wooden palatte. It had been loaded onto the lorry at the local depot by forklift, and it wasn't coming out any other way.

 

After frantic phone calls to the depot, we decided it would go back (the Midlands warehouse for this particular shipping company was only a couple of miles away from my house). I went to the depot to take all the bits out the big box and arranged for a piano removal firm who had experience of moving organs, to pick up the three pieces and drive them to my house.

 

It was when we got stuck trying to get the console through the door that I wondered whether there was any point to life...

 

Happily we did get it through.

 

Only to then realise that the radiator on the wall closest to the door was too close to the door to let the organ through.

 

At which point I knew there was no point to life.

 

Happily, by this time a couple of friends had arrived as well as the two guys driving the piano van, and the five of us managed to lift the console over the radiator and into position.

 

But I reinforce the lesson: measure every possible corner. Make a paper cutout of the maximum area and try manoevering it around your doorways. Once you get a 3-manual into the house it scores so many points over a 2-manual for purposes of practice and overall playing satisfaction. But for goodness sake, make sure it will fit! I think that the Viscount 3-manuals are narrower (70cm) than Johannus Opus (74cm) which are narrower than Johannus Sweelinck/Rembrandt (75cm). A British doorframe is typically 75cm.

 

Incidentally, coming back to importation costs, it cost me substantially more to have it driven 2 miles from the importer's warehouse to my house, than the several hundred miles from Holland to Birmingham...

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Has anyone had any experience with Rodgers Instruments. They have some all right organs, but last time I got a quoted price they were pretty horrendous prices in New Zealand.

Does anyone know if Wyvern ship organs to other parts of the world?

 

JA

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Guest Barry Oakley
I should add that I flew over to Holland for the day on a cheap flight to check out the instument before I bought it. The dealer was a few minutes' out of Amsterdam airport.

 

The cost of shipping it over to the UK was almost negligible, but on the morning of the Great Day when the lorry pulled up outside my house, the driver looked on in dismay and disbelief to my answer to his question "Where's the forklift?" The organ had come in an enormous cardbox box containing console, pedals and bench, and was on a wooden palatte. It had been loaded onto the lorry at the local depot by forklift, and it wasn't coming out any other way.

 

After frantic phone calls to the depot, we decided it would go back (the Midlands warehouse for this particular shipping company was only a couple of miles away from my house). I went to the depot to take all the bits out the big box and arranged for a piano removal firm who had experience of moving organs, to pick up the three pieces and drive them to my house.

 

It was when we got stuck trying to get the console through the door that I wondered whether there was any point to life...

 

Happily we did get it through.

 

Only to then realise that the radiator on the wall closest to the door was too close to the door to let the organ through.

 

At which point I knew there was no point to life.

 

Happily, by this time a couple of friends had arrived as well as the two guys driving the piano van, and the five of us managed to lift the console over the radiator and into position.

 

But I reinforce the lesson: measure every possible corner. Make a paper cutout of the maximum area and try manoevering it around your doorways. Once you get a 3-manual into the house it scores so many points over a 2-manual for purposes of practice and overall playing satisfaction. But for goodness sake, make sure it will fit! I think that the Viscount 3-manuals are narrower (70cm) than Johannus Opus (74cm) which are narrower than Johannus Sweelinck/Rembrandt (75cm). A British doorframe is typically 75cm.

 

Incidentally, coming back to importation costs, it cost me substantially more to have it driven 2 miles from the importer's warehouse to my house, than the several hundred miles from Holland to Birmingham...

 

This is not the first time I've heard of this doorway problem. A friend had this happen when he a custom-built Phoenix he had ordered was found to be a shade too big for the doorway. I'm not sure how he overcame the problem.

 

And as to your last point, I have been saying for many years that the UK is the ripp-off capital of the world and few of us do little about it. We are largely a nation of back-pedlers.

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Guest Lee Blick
UK is the ripp-off capital of the world

 

Totally agree with you. Go on the continent and you can buy things and get services for much lower. The people are being ripped off in this country, yet as a nation we are too thick to realise this.

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I have a Wyvern Toccata III organ with 16 external speaker channels for practice, which lives in a local church. They are very happy to house it (they have no other instrument) and I am very happy for them to look after it. It presents a far more inspiring place to practice in than your front room!

 

As a professional organist, the last thing I want to see in my front room is a bloody organ!

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I know of two organists - neither of whom is easy to please in such matters - who both settled for an Eminent DCS organ from Cathedral Organs Ltd. Jeremy Filsell, on the other hand, has a 3-manual Viscount Prestige.

I think Jane Parker-Smith has a 3 decker Viscount Prestige too.

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There's yet more to my tale...as I have recently accepted a job in Africa for a couple of years and the pile of wood and metal at my local church died last Easter Sunday (the blower was disconnected during Holy Week during church building works and the first I knew of it was the prolonged silence that followed the vicar's Easter greeting and announcement "The organ will now Humn XX"!!!).

 

Faced with renting my house out to a non-organist I have decided to lend the church my organ whilst I am away. I'm dreading getting it out the door, but at least I took the precaution of planing the doorframe down a full cm after I installed the organ for such time as I might part company with it...And it's a chance for the church to decide whether to get the pipe organ fixed or invest in a decent electronic. I guess the latter is more appropriate for a church with very limited funds that uses the organ only for the early Sunday service and major events like weddings and funerals. The only thing is, I suspect we will end up playing mine through the church PA system (though it is pretty hefty and does a good job with the worship band).

 

Contrabombarde

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I have the Wyvern Sonata model, two manual. I bought it nearly nine years ago, and at the time had to have the two manual for reasons of money and space. At the time Anthony Bogdan was the Northern Manager, he came with his box of tricks and fine tuned the stops as I wanted them. The touch is just right, not too light so that transferrring to mechanical actions is OK. He tightened the pedals a little as I thought they were too light...

I use it most days, the wear on the pedalboard shows this, and, touch-wood, it has never let me down in any way. It's stood a house move too, and in both houses it lives upstairs, easy as the console furniture is not too bulky. I exclusively use headphones, originally because we had neighbours to consider, but now because I prefer the sound/experience.

Hello Dulciana - I have a Wyvern Sonata two manual which I bought in December - although I may not be the best advisor as I'm a beginner. Being rather ancient, I felt I'd absolutely have to have a home practice instrument in order to make any decent progress. However, I'm so delighted with the Sonata. I was a little worried about the size of the pedalboard at first, which is half size, but it's fine and I have little problem transferring to the pipe organ for lessons - the ideal instrument if there are contraints of cost and space...

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I should add that I flew over to Holland for the day on a cheap flight to check out the instument before I bought it. The dealer was a few minutes' out of Amsterdam airport.

 

The cost of shipping it over to the UK was almost negligible, but on the morning of the Great Day when the lorry pulled up outside my house, the driver looked on in dismay and disbelief to my answer to his question "Where's the forklift?" The organ had come in an enormous cardbox box containing console, pedals and bench, and was on a wooden palatte. It had been loaded onto the lorry at the local depot by forklift, and it wasn't coming out any other way.

 

After frantic phone calls to the depot, we decided it would go back (the Midlands warehouse for this particular shipping company was only a couple of miles away from my house). I went to the depot to take all the bits out the big box and arranged for a piano removal firm who had experience of moving organs, to pick up the three pieces and drive them to my house.

 

It was when we got stuck trying to get the console through the door that I wondered whether there was any point to life...

 

Happily we did get it through.

 

Only to then realise that the radiator on the wall closest to the door was too close to the door to let the organ through.

 

At which point I knew there was no point to life.

 

Happily, by this time a couple of friends had arrived as well as the two guys driving the piano van, and the five of us managed to lift the console over the radiator and into position.

 

But I reinforce the lesson: measure every possible corner. Make a paper cutout of the maximum area and try manoevering it around your doorways. Once you get a 3-manual into the house it scores so many points over a 2-manual for purposes of practice and overall playing satisfaction. But for goodness sake, make sure it will fit! I think that the Viscount 3-manuals are narrower (70cm) than Johannus Opus (74cm) which are narrower than Johannus Sweelinck/Rembrandt (75cm). A British doorframe is typically 75cm.

 

Incidentally, coming back to importation costs, it cost me substantially more to have it driven 2 miles from the importer's warehouse to my house, than the several hundred miles from Holland to Birmingham...

 

Good advice. I have a friend who seems to get a new grand piano every 2 years (I'm currently buying his present piano as he's getting yet another one). He's finally just had the radiator in the hallway moved as it's necessary to remove the radiator every time to move the pianos in or out. I think the next job will be to put quick-release hinges on the living room/music studio door as that needs to come off as well. I've heard stories of door frames having to come off as well

 

I would advise getting professional movers to move an organ in and out of a house - I tried it once myself and they make it look incredibly easy. It's really hard work without the right tools and having the dark arts. If there's any doubt, measure every door or get them to survey on site. They make it look incredibly easy and controlled. However, I'm looking forward to the piano movers moving a 6'3'' 1890s Bluthner Grand into my 4th floor flat.

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I would say that you would go an awfully long way to beat a Wyvern Koralia - three manuals and at around £6500 it represents superb value for money. I had one and was so delighted with the results that I upgraded to a larger Wyvern Toccata III - which is just marvellous....

 

The Wyvern Koralia does indeed look excellent value for money. What about the pedalboards on the Koralia and Toccata models - are they "standard" size, if there is such a thing? Do you generally find the consoles of these comfortable?

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My 8 month old Wyvern Sonata is all I could have asked for - sound, cost and space wise etc. I was worried I would get fed up fairly fast wth the non pipe sounds but this has not happened yet. Above all my technique has improved which would not have happened even if I had spent more time at the church where I regularly play - the organ there is a nice little Victorian 1 man with 'odd' pedals whereas mine is a respectably endowed 2 man. I can also pop in and play whenever I want which I can't do at any local church. I spent a little bit more than the basic cost and bought one with the 'on board' voicing facility so that from the console the individual notes/stops can be adjusted fairly easily.

 

'Not sure about the half sized pedalboard in the previous but two posting though - mine is a 'standard' r & c.

 

AJJ

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I was a little worried about the size of the pedalboard at first, which is half size, but it's fine and I have little problem transferring to the pipe organ for lessons -

 

My pedalboard is 'standard' Well, whatever that means! It certainly isn't half size and transferring from it at home to the church I give regular recitals at, and to the Church I'm DoM at doesn't give me any grief at all...

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The Wyvern Koralia does indeed look excellent value for money. What about the pedalboards on the Koralia and Toccata models - are they "standard" size, if there is such a thing? Do you generally find the consoles of these comfortable?

Having played both on my 'organ tour' at the end of July I can confirm that they both have standard RCO radiating/concave pedal boards. No doubt straight ones are also availbale should you want one.

 

Steve

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Guest Lee Blick

I agree. Wyvern organs are very good, well made, nice sounding without too many gimmicks and gizmos. My next organ will probably be a Wyvern.

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My pedalboard is 'standard' Well, whatever that means! It certainly isn't half size and transferring from it at home to the church I give regular recitals at, and to the Church I'm DoM at doesn't give me any grief at all...

 

 

 

I'm not quite sure what "half size" means here... can someone elucidate?

 

Peter

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I agree. Wyvern organs are very good, well made, nice sounding without too many gimmicks and gizmos. My next organ will probably be a Wyvern.

 

...............one of the main reasons I got mine - it does very little that a 'real' organ doesn't. I even tried to get them to replace the 'Auto Bass' thing - where the Pedal plays on the lowest part of the Great - but they couldn't give me anything worthwhile in return!

 

AJJ

 

PS 'Anyone got a digital Cymbelstern or know whether they exist?

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I'm not quite sure what "half size" means here... can someone elucidate?

 

Peter

 

12 matchstick pedals as found in "home entertainment" types of organ along with split keyboards?

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12 matchstick pedals as found in "home entertainment" types of organ along with split keyboards?

 

But not on any Wyvern I suspect.

 

AJJ

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...............one of the main reasons I got mine - it does very little that a 'real' organ doesn't. I even tried to get them to replace the 'Auto Bass' thing - where the Pedal plays on the lowest part of the Great - but they couldn't give me anything worthwhile in return!

 

I'm trying to get a pipe organ back into my church - currently getting objections from one of my stand-in organists, because it won't have a pedal->great coupler like the copeman hart does. Grr!!!

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Guest Cynic
I'm trying to get a pipe organ back into my church - currently getting objections from one of my stand-in organists, because it won't have a pedal->great coupler like the copeman hart does. Grr!!!

 

 

Pedal to Great (or automatic bass) gadgets can be supplied by pipe organ builders. I've seen some.

This technology is not expensive either.

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Pedal to Great (or automatic bass) gadgets can be supplied by pipe organ builders. I've seen some.

This technology is not expensive either.

 

There's a fairly recent one here - Paul Hale was consultant I think.

 

AJJ

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