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DaveHarries
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Hi.

 

I found this entry on eBay.....

 

".....The organ was in the care of Hill, Norman & Beard before they ceased trading; after that date HNB’s local tuner, Mr C. Divall, continued to look after it."

 

I thought H,N&B were still going? If not, when (and why) did they pack up?

 

Dave

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Guest Geoff McMahon

The firm of H,N&B was owned by the Christie family and some years ago they decided to close it down. They sold the name however and that continues.

 

John Pike Mander

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  • 1 month later...
The firm of H,N&B was owned by the Christie family and some years ago they decided to close it down. They sold the name however and that continues.

 

John Pike Mander

 

Hi

 

HN&B ceased trading in 1999. Many of the local tuners bought out the goodwill in their areas. I'm not sure what happened to the name - and if whoever bought it is using it as a trading name.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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HNB ceased trading in June 1998. The tuners that were left - Myself, Reg Lane and Colin Jilks were given (not sold) our tunings so that we could continue under our own steam. The other tuner who continued until that point was Neville Newby who retired.

 

A little while after the closure, Bernard Whitmill of Heritage Organs purchased the name but doesnt seem to have done anything with it.

 

Peter

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  • 1 year later...
HNB ceased trading in June 1998. The tuners that were left - Myself, Reg Lane and Colin Jilks were given (not sold) our tunings so that we could continue under our own steam. The other tuner who continued until that point was Neville Newby who retired.

 

A little while after the closure, Bernard Whitmill of Heritage Organs purchased the name but doesnt seem to have done anything with it.

 

Peter

 

The Royal Warrant was awarded to William Hill in 1835 and the company, in its various guises held it continously until closed in 1998. It was one of the longest Warrant holding companys. I brought this to the attention of those concerned and received the reply that translated into "So what". I was glad that I was well retired by then.

 

The Royal Warrant did not transfer with the sale of the Company name.

 

Frank Fowler

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The Royal Warrant was awarded to William Hill in 1835 and the company, in its various guises held it continously until closed in 1998. It was one of the longest Warrant holding companys. I brought this to the attention of those concerned and received the reply that translated into "So what". I was glad that I was well retired by then.

 

The Royal Warrant did not transfer with the sale of the Company name.

 

Frank Fowler

 

=======================

 

When even I look back in my own lifetime, the big names in organ-building which have disappeared is really quite a fearful list; not only at home, but abroad as well.

 

The opus-lists of companies like Compton, H.N&B, R&D, Willis, H&H, Walker and less well-known ones, was absolutely enormous even by the standards of "medium-size" industry.

 

Frank, I know, enjoys theatre-organs, and I suppose the obvious similarity has to be the demise of the Wurlitzer company and everything it stood for.

 

Even though I worked in finance and insolvency for many years, I can't even begin to imagine the problems faced by the larger concerns when the market started to shrink at such an alarming rate, but it did, and with the shrinkage came a lot of unfortunate casualties.

 

Without well-intentioned backers and benefactors, many organ-building companies would have failed much sooner than they did, but the loss of H,N & B as a going-concern was particularly sad in view of the pedigree and history of the company, which many of us admire enormously to this day.

 

The fact that I can trot across a hill and play a wonderful big Hill, rebuilt by H,N & B with the familiar rumble and roar associated with an organ such as Peterborough Cathedral, reminds me just how good those organs were; if perhaps a little "incorrect" these days.

 

MM

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Has the Willis firm completely disappeared? It still has a web site. Admittedly, it hasn't been updated since June 2004, but the fact that it still exists means somebody is paying for the hosting. Didn't David Wylde buy the firm around 1998?

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Has the Willis firm completely disappeared?  It still has a web site.  Admittedly, it hasn't been updated since June 2004, but the fact that it still exists means somebody is paying for the hosting.  Didn't David Wylde buy the firm around 1998?

 

Yes; and they subsequently moved form the old Willis factory near Petersfield and took over the old R&D Factory in Liverpool.

 

The reconstructed four-clavier Wadsworth instrument in Ruthin is by the 'new' Willis firm.

 

I visited the old factory and met David Wyld a few years ago. I do know that there have been one or two advertisements in various periodicals over the last few months. These usually concern rebuilt organs, so I assume that they are still trading.

 

Perhaps Paul Derrett may have further information regarding their current situation.

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Has the Willis firm completely disappeared?  It still has a web site.  Admittedly, it hasn't been updated since June 2004, but the fact that it still exists means somebody is paying for the hosting.  Didn't David Wylde buy the firm around 1998?

 

Yes, they're still going, and David Wyld is still in charge. I believe they're in the process of completing restorations in Port Sunlight and Lee-on-Solent ...

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
Yes; and they subsequently moved form the old Willis factory near Petersfield and took over the old R&D Factory in Liverpool.

 

The reconstructed four-clavier Wadsworth instrument in Ruthin is by the 'new' Willis firm.

 

I visited the old factory and met David Wyld a few years ago. I do know that there have been one or two advertisements in various periodicals over the last few months. These usually concern rebuilt organs, so I assume that they are still trading.

 

Perhaps Paul Derrett may have further information regarding their current situation.

 

 

I am (as usual) thrilled to see my name in print........ but...

just why do you expect me to know anything about them?

 

Actually I do, just a very little bit. Indeed, I got a personal e-mail from Dr.Wyld himself not a long while ago*. This was surprise since I had previously only met him briefly when he was wearing another large hat - that of owner/director/recording expert from Mirabilis - explaining to our merry band of organists why organs are always best recorded with microphones placed directly on the floor [iMHO this is total rubbish, by the way!] He has (I believe) a degree in acoustics.

 

*I treasure such brushes with greatness. I once tuned a hired piano at extremely short notice for Little and Large. (It's a good story, too). I just included that here because I thought you'd all be impressed!

 

I also met HW4 once and was given the run of the Willis archive; he was really very good fun! What's more, he shared my opinion of self-appointed organ experts which species unfortunately did not die out with Lt.Col Dixon and Cecil Clutton. Most of his profanities were disguised by being in Latin. I also have some (very attractive) ranks voiced by him for a drinking buddy from the old Liverpool days (HW4 was the Liverpool manager while HW3 was still around).

 

Certainly to judge from the write-up that the Ruthin job has got, the Willis flag is once again flying pretty high which is something to be grateful for. At least, even at their lowest ebb they always boasted an experienced voicer on the full-time staff. Another firm recently named did not have a staff voicer employed for literally years - how they ever expected their instruments to pass muster is beyond me!

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I am (as usual) thrilled to see my name in print........ but...

 

when he was wearing another large hat - that of owner/director/recording expert from Mirabilis - explaining to our merry band of organists why organs are always best recorded with microphones placed directly on the floor [iMHO this is total rubbish, by the way!]  He has (I believe) a degree in acoustics.

 

*I

 

 

Is there any significance in the hat being large ? Did it perhaps have a large brim to keep off the sun ? What happened to Mirabilis records ? I have the recordings they made of Liverpool with Ian Tracey, Francis Jackson playing Bairstow at York and Andrew Fletcher - there was one promised from Riverside Church , NY but it never materialised, and they just faded away. Despite what seems an idiosyncratic approach to microphone placement I did not think what they produced was that bad.

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My understanding is that Mr Wyld bought the Willis firm with financial assistance from someone in the Channel Islands, and at that time he was the secretary of the APOA.

The Willis premises are in Liverpool and the Company is still trading.

Mirabilis Records seem to have disappeared unless someone else took over the Company.

Henry Willis V1 was a real character, and it was a great pleasure to meet him at Ally Pally.

Colin Richell.

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I am (as usual) thrilled to see my name in print........ but...

just why do you expect me to know anything about them?

 

 

My apologies, Paul! I thought that, given you are fairly well-connected in the organ world, you may know more, as indeed proved to be the case!

 

I had heard from a friend that HWIV could be amusing; it is good to read your anecdotes.

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
What happened to Mirabilis records ? I have the recordings they made of Liverpool with Ian Tracey, Francis Jackson playing Bairstow at York and Andrew Fletcher - there was one promised from Riverside Church , NY but it never materialised, and they just faded away. Despite what seems an idiosyncratic approach to microphone placement I did not think what they produced was that bad.

 

 

A number of Mirabilis titles were adopted by Martin Monkman and Amphion. The effect of placing microphones on the floor is to markedly increase the bass response. This is helpful if what you want to do is swim in the resulting sound. I have (and treasure) the Mirabilis CD of Francis Jackson playing complete Bairstow at York Minster*. Everything is right about this recording except the microphone placement. In fact, this so severely muddles the sound that you cannot hear detail in fast passages at all. Since this project is highly unlikely ever to be done again, I feel particularly cheated that the resulting effect was not noticed at an early stage in the recording session and placements changed!

 

*The music is wonderful, the playing so full of subtle expression and communicative power, uniquely interesting and still....... I still feel: what a shame! I've practically worn out the copy I have, but it's like an aural examination to pick things out when the volume or speed get up- even with one's ears pressed close to the speaker cabinets.

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A number of Mirabilis titles were adopted by Martin Monkman and Amphion. The effect of placing microphones on the floor is to markedly increase the bass response.  This is helpful if what you want to do is swim in the resulting sound. I have (and treasure) the Mirabilis CD of Francis Jackson playing complete Bairstow at York Minster*.  Everything is right about this recording except the microphone placement. In fact, this so severely muddles the sound that you cannot hear detail in fast passages at all.  Since this project is highly unlikely ever to be done again, I feel particularly cheated that the resulting effect was not noticed at an early stage in the recording session and placements changed!

 

*The music is wonderful,  the playing so full of subtle expression and communicative power, uniquely interesting and still....... I still feel: what a shame!  I've practically worn out the copy I have, but it's like an aural examination to pick things out when the volume or speed get up- even with one's ears pressed close to the speaker cabinets.

 

Well, I must say it's always nice to be remembered - Large Hat or not!

 

Actually, on the Willis information side of things first, to prevent any possible misconception or, perish the thought, disinformation or misinformation from the usual sources: I took over as Managing Director on the 7th October 1997 when I was 'put in' by HW4 (who had retired earlier that year but who still held the majority shareholding) and when the two Joint Managing Directors, both Family Members, were removed - the reasons for this are not important.

 

Following this I and a so-called friend (of eleven years), a VERY rich man, purchased the shareholding in its entirety - this involved a very long and complex legal settlement to all of the family members and Trusts which were individual share holders. The point of this was that, over the next 12-24 months, I and my partner were to buy out the full shareholding from my 'friend'.

 

Unfortunately, as is often the case with very rich men, he discovered the value of property and chattels in the company and rather clumsily set about trying to sell it all out from under me - asset stripping is the common terminology. So I fought him. We eventually bought him off.

 

Petersfield had for a long time been thought to be much too far south for the purposes of the daily running of a firm whose interests were nationwide and so the move northwards was decided upon - we first planned to go to Sheffield but then it was suggested to me that Liverpool would be a better option. We have had a Branch of one size or another in Liverpool since 1854 and our present address is less-than-100 yards from the registered address in 1860.

 

So that there is NO confusion: Henry Willis & Sons Ltd is the same Company as that registered under the old Lewis Reg. No. (70718) in 1901 and which transfered to HW&S following the Willis family' Partners' buying the shareholding in Lewis & Co in 1919. There is no 'New' firm, merely a change of Directors and Shareholders as takes place in all Limited Companies over a long period. The Company never ceased trading and never had the financial difficulties alluded to by some in the past.

We purchased, outright, the freehold, land, buildings and contents of the former Rushworth & Dreaper company in 2003 - the only thing we didn't get, which we had actually made sure was included in the sale, was all of the paper records of R&D - unfortunately these were all removed and shredded before we could prevent it. A great and very important loss as far as I'm concerned.

 

Paul is very gracious in referring to our latest minor triumph in the job at Ruthin. We actually don't feel the need for constant rounds of advertising as our workload is constant and very high - there are some contributors to this list who come here to the Works at intervals and who see what is happening here and will, I am sure, let me know if they think I overstate the case! However, there is a recent item of news which I think that we shall be making a little noise about and that is that we recently signed contracts for a new organ for a church in Florence - 24 stops, mechanical, with Willis 'Floating Lever' action.

 

One thing that has always amazed me is the attitude to, and received opinion of, the firm, certainly during the period before my coming in - on a pretty much daily basis we see stuff (some of it recent) which is beyond belief and so much worse than anything Willis's ever did and yet these perpetrators, who are still very much around, appear to walk away from their doings apparently unscathed and with the blessing of their local 'Experts'! Perhaps its just that HW4 presented a full-on and rather easy target?

 

Now, as to the Mirabilis Records side of things: I started Mirabilis in 1989 because I was completely sick and tired of listening to recordings of music which I knew, possibly all-too-well, on organs which I knew didn't sound like that! I didn't need to hear any undue amount of detail - in fact, I didn't want to hear any more detail in a recording than I would have heard had I been there in the building. So I'm sorry to Paul that his reasons for not liking what I did are my reasons for doing it!

 

As to microphone placement, well, where do we begin? Certainly NOT by placing microphones of any size, description or type, on the ground - where did that one come from? Head height in the building was only ever what we did - the only part to stand on the ground, was the stand.

 

However, I do think that I know how Paul has picked up on the 'ground' point: Bass frequencies like flat surfaces and long, smooth, flat surfaces at that, in order properly to propagate the wave and a part of my explanatory talk to various groups (who were kind enough and generally interested enough to invite me to speak to them with my views on the subject) attempted to demonstrate this point. The fact that one's microphone was placed closer to the ground at head height than it would be at, say, 25ft on a montrous stand, within 10 feet of the front of the organ case will, I am sure all will see, result in a higher (and dare I say correctly-balanced) bass response.

 

All of my recordings were also produced in (full) UHJ format, including height information where anyone reproducing the sound might have the correct decoding equipment properly to realise it. On normal, simple, two-channel Stereo equipment this will tend to increase middle to bass response too. I only ever listened to these on UHJ surroundsound equipment, so I make no apology - I still think that these are real performances in a real acoustic and not what I would prefer to hear.

 

Martin Monkman only took on the Bairstow recording and I was happy to let him have it, as my respect for what he was doing and how he was doing it allowed me to think that he wouldn't try to 'improve' it.

 

Other unpublished recordings of my friend Richard Marlow at Trinity College Cambridge, have since been issued on other labels (ASV and Conifer).

 

It wouldn't do for us all to like to same things and Paul's requirement for detail is understood while not being agreed with by me - there is plenty of stuff available which provides exactly what is required there. All I would say, possibly in my own defence (if that is required) is that in 16 titles we never had anything other than first-class reviews.

 

A final point: in 1990 when I approached a fairly well-known organisation to arrange distribution I was fairly giggled at for my views on single microphone technique and the 'don't fiddle with it' approach to recording. I was more-than-slightly amused to see that, within a short period they had adopted more-or-less the same technique and had even plagiarised our description of it in their own advertising materials. C'est la vie, n'est ce pas?!

 

Big Hat number 1 off- Biig Hat number 2 on:

If anyone would like to come to the works, just let me know;

If anyone would like a copy of a short brochure (21 pages) we produced last year (to give out to members of visiting Organists' Association's etc.) please send me address details and we'll post them out;

The out-of-date website has been mentioned - sorry for this, we have simply been too busy to deal with updating it! However, there will be changes very soon so keep looking.

 

Sorry, this has gone on a bit - but better to have it all out at once I suppose, to prevent any degeneration. :)

 

David Wyld

HENRY WILLIS & SONS LTD.

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"We actually don't feel the need for constant rounds of advertising as our workload is constant and very high - there are some contributors to this list who come here to the Works at intervals and who see what is happening here and will, I am sure, let me know if they think I overstate the case! However, there is a recent item of news which I think that we shall be making a little noise about and that is that we recently signed contracts for a new organ for a church in Florence - 24 stops, mechanical, with Willis 'Floating Lever' action."

(Quote)

 

This is good news indeed, and be sure we are some on the continent

to wish such an important name to go on.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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explaining to our merry band of organists why organs are always best recorded with microphones placed directly on the floor [iMHO this is total rubbish, by the way!]  He has (I believe) a degree in acoustics.

Boundary-layer microphones (which is what this technique gives you) are perfectly respectable, and have advantages in in some situations. Unexpectedly, they can reduce the level of ambient relative to direct sound while retaining (but not increasing, as stated in another post) the low-frequency response of an omni (directional mics have an inherent tendency to be bass-light), a combination that is advantageous for recording organs. However, they also limit your options for positioning, and I would only turn to them if other techniques failed to produce the desired result.

 

Paul

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Well, I must say it's always nice to be remembered - Large Hat or not!.

 

.

 

 

 

As to microphone placement, well, where do we begin? Certainly NOT by placing microphones of any size, description or type, on the ground - where did that one come from?  Head height in the building was only ever what we did - the only part to stand on the ground, was the stand.

 

I thought this was probably more likely to be the case, but glad to have it confirmed.

It wouldn't do for us all to like to same things and Paul's requirement for detail is understood while not being agreed with by me - there is plenty of stuff available which provides exactly what is required there. All I would say, possibly in my own defence (if that is required) is that in 16 titles we never had anything other than first-class reviews.

 

A final point: in 1990 when I approached a fairly well-known organisation to arrange distribution I was fairly giggled at for my views on single microphone technique and the 'don't fiddle with it' approach to recording. I was more-than-slightly amused to see that, within a short period they had adopted more-or-less the same technique and had even plagiarised our description of it in their own advertising materials. C'est la vie, n'est ce pas?!

 

Big Hat number 1 off- Biig Hat number 2 on:

If anyone would like to come to the works, just let me know;

If anyone would like a copy of a short brochure (21 pages) we produced last year (to give out to members of visiting Organists' Association's etc.) please send me address details and we'll post them out;

The out-of-date website has been mentioned - sorry for this, we have simply been too busy to deal with updating it! However, there will be changes very soon so keep looking.

 

Sorry, this has gone on a bit - but better to have it all out at once I suppose, to prevent any degeneration.  :)

 

David Wyld

HENRY WILLIS & SONS LTD.

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All of my recordings were also produced in (full) UHJ format
I'm delighted to hear that, and may seek out copies for that reason.
including height information where anyone reproducing the sound might have the correct decoding equipment properly to realise it.
Well, 2-channel UHJ doesn't include height information, just full horizontal surround. Are you saying that you have these recordings in three or four channel UHJ (as opposed to the original B-format), because, if so, you may be the only person in the world who has ever done this!

 

Paul

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Well, I must say it's always nice to be remembered - Large Hat or not!

 

Actually, on the Willis information side of things first, to prevent any possible misconception or, perish the thought, disinformation or misinformation from the usual sources: I took over as Managing Director on the 7th October 1997 when I was 'put in' by HW4 (who had retired earlier that year but who still held the majority shareholding) and when the two Joint Managing Directors, both Family Members, were removed - the reasons for this are not important.

 

Following this I and a so-called friend (of eleven years), a VERY rich man, purchased the shareholding in its entirety - this involved a very long and complex legal settlement to all of the family members and Trusts which were individual share holders. The point of this was that, over the next 12-24 months, I and my partner were to buy out the full shareholding from my 'friend'.

 

Unfortunately, as is often the case with very rich men, he discovered the value of property and chattels in the company and rather clumsily set about trying to sell it all out from under me - asset stripping is the common terminology. So I fought him. We eventually bought him off.

 

Petersfield had for a long time been thought to be much too far south for the purposes of the daily running of a firm whose interests were nationwide and so the move northwards was decided upon - we first planned to go to Sheffield but then it was suggested to me that Liverpool would be a better option. We have had a Branch of one size or another in Liverpool since 1854 and our present address is less-than-100 yards from the registered address in 1860.

 

So that there is NO confusion: Henry Willis & Sons Ltd is the same Company as that registered under the old Lewis Reg. No. (70718) in 1901 and which transfered to HW&S following the Willis family' Partners' buying the shareholding in Lewis & Co in 1919. There is no 'New' firm, merely a change of Directors and Shareholders as takes place in all Limited Companies over a long period. The Company never ceased trading and never had the financial difficulties alluded to by some in the past.

We purchased, outright, the freehold, land, buildings and contents of the former Rushworth & Dreaper company in 2003 - the only thing we didn't get, which we had actually made sure was included in the sale, was all of the paper records of R&D - unfortunately these were all removed and shredded before we could prevent it. A great and very important loss as far as I'm concerned.

 

Paul is very gracious in referring to our latest minor triumph in the job at Ruthin. We actually don't feel the need for constant rounds of advertising as our workload is constant and very high - there are some contributors to this list who come here to the Works at intervals and who see what is happening here and will, I am sure, let me know if they think I overstate the case!  However, there is a recent item of news which I think that we shall be making a little noise about and that is that we recently signed contracts for a new organ for a church in Florence - 24 stops, mechanical, with Willis 'Floating Lever' action. 

 

One thing that has always amazed me is the attitude  to, and received opinion of, the firm, certainly during the period before my coming in - on a pretty much daily basis we see stuff (some of it recent) which is beyond belief and so much worse than anything Willis's ever did and yet these perpetrators, who are still very much around, appear to walk away from their doings apparently unscathed and with the blessing of their local 'Experts'! Perhaps its just that HW4 presented a full-on and rather easy target?

 

Now, as to the Mirabilis Records side of things: I started Mirabilis in 1989 because I was completely sick and tired of listening to recordings of music which I knew, possibly all-too-well, on organs which I knew didn't sound like that! I didn't need to hear any undue amount of detail - in fact, I didn't want to hear any more detail in a recording than I would have heard had I been there in the building. So I'm sorry to Paul that his reasons for not liking what I did are my reasons for doing it!

 

As to microphone placement, well, where do we begin? Certainly NOT by placing microphones of any size, description or type, on the ground - where did that one come from?  Head height in the building was only ever what we did - the only part to stand on the ground, was the stand.

 

However, I do think that I know how Paul has picked up on the 'ground' point: Bass frequencies like flat surfaces and long, smooth, flat surfaces at that, in order properly to propagate the wave and a part of my explanatory talk to various groups (who were kind enough and generally interested enough to invite me to speak to them with my views on the subject) attempted to demonstrate this point. The fact that one's microphone was placed closer to the ground at head height than it would be at, say, 25ft on a montrous stand, within 10 feet of the front of the organ case will, I am sure all will see, result in a higher (and dare I say correctly-balanced) bass response.

 

All of my recordings were also produced in (full) UHJ format, including height information where anyone reproducing the sound might have the correct decoding equipment properly to realise it. On normal, simple, two-channel Stereo equipment this will tend to increase middle to bass response too. I only ever listened to these on UHJ surroundsound equipment, so I make no apology - I still think that these are real performances in a real acoustic and not what I would prefer to hear.

 

Martin Monkman only took on the Bairstow recording and I was happy to let him have it, as my respect for what he was doing and how he was doing it allowed me to think that he wouldn't try to 'improve' it.

 

Other unpublished recordings  of my friend Richard Marlow at Trinity College Cambridge, have since been issued on other labels (ASV and Conifer).

 

It wouldn't do for us all to like to same things and Paul's requirement for detail is understood while not being agreed with by me - there is plenty of stuff available which provides exactly what is required there. All I would say, possibly in my own defence (if that is required) is that in 16 titles we never had anything other than first-class reviews.

 

A final point: in 1990 when I approached a fairly well-known organisation to arrange distribution I was fairly giggled at for my views on single microphone technique and the 'don't fiddle with it' approach to recording. I was more-than-slightly amused to see that, within a short period they had adopted more-or-less the same technique and had even plagiarised our description of it in their own advertising materials. C'est la vie, n'est ce pas?!

 

Big Hat number 1 off- Biig Hat number 2 on:

If anyone would like to come to the works, just let me know;

If anyone would like a copy of a short brochure (21 pages) we produced last year (to give out to members of visiting Organists' Association's etc.) please send me address details and we'll post them out;

The out-of-date website has been mentioned - sorry for this, we have simply been too busy to deal with updating it! However, there will be changes very soon so keep looking.

 

Sorry, this has gone on a bit - but better to have it all out at once I suppose, to prevent any degeneration.  :)

 

David Wyld

HENRY WILLIS & SONS LTD.

 

Thank you Dr Wylde for taking the considerable time necessary to provide all this information. Sorry about the hat query, which I now realise is capable of being taken more than one way, and possibly in a way I did not intend.

 

I liked the Mirabilis records I acquired but I do not think I got up to 16. I was looking forward to the Riverside release on the basis of the Liverpool sound and am sorry it never appears to have been released , in this country at any rate.

 

I am in no position to comment on various different recording techniques but I do strongly hold the opinion that if the recorded sound has been obtained in a way which means that it is quite impossible for the ordinary listener to hear it "in the flesh" - I recall reading somewhere about only hearing the organ in this way "if I were suspended from the ceiling with my ears 18feet apart" - then this fact should be mentioned somewhere so that nobody actually goes to hear an instrument live on the basis of a false prospectus.

 

BAC

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A number of Mirabilis titles were adopted by Martin Monkman and Amphion. The effect of placing microphones on the floor is to markedly increase the bass response.  This is helpful if what you want to do is swim in the resulting sound. I have (and treasure) the Mirabilis CD of Francis Jackson playing complete Bairstow at York Minster*.  Everything is right about this recording except the microphone placement. In fact, this so severely muddles the sound that you cannot hear detail in fast passages at all.  Since this project is highly unlikely ever to be done again, I feel particularly cheated that the resulting effect was not noticed at an early stage in the recording session and placements changed!

 

 

Hi

 

Boundary microphones are a valid technique - in the right place! I've not knowlingly heard the recordings mentioned, so I can't comment on them - I would have thought that boundary mics on the floor of a large building with plenty of reverberation would be a waste of time - I've used them for other purposes.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Boundary-layer microphones (which is what this technique gives you) are perfectly respectable, and have advantages in in some situations.  Unexpectedly, they can reduce the level of ambient relative to direct sound while retaining (but not increasing, as stated in another post) the low-frequency response of an omni (directional mics have an inherent tendency to be bass-light), a combination that is advantageous for recording organs.  However, they also limit your options for positioning, and I would only turn to them if other techniques failed to produce the desired result.

 

Paul

 

===================

 

I seem to recall that I got terribly involved in the subject of acoustics in modern concert-halls, and the way that the brain processes sound selectively in what is called "cognitive hearing."

 

I suspect that there is no substitute for actually "listening" to what is in the can through a good set of headphones, after test recording something.

 

Personally, I always suspend microphones slightly above head-height, but I wouldn't dream of using a single-point technique for the simple reason that microphones don't have brains.....yet. As I'm slightly out of touch with "modern" recording techniques and equipment, I cannot help but smile when I read something like the above concerning Boundary Layer microphones which, and I quote, "can reduce the level of ambient relative to direct sound while retaining (but not increasing, as stated in another post) the low-frequency response of an omni (directional mics have an inherent tendency to be bass-light)."

 

I think I was all of 15 when I first used a bit of ingenuity with an old Ferrograph Series 6 stereo, with a couple of Reslo ribbons (all of which I still have in good working order). In a big acoustic, I just moved the microphones in a bit, but used the figure-8 response creatively, by turning the mics 45 degrees away from the dead-ahead position. Thus, I lost much of the immediate "edge" of direct sound, but had ample ambience in the end-result....worked like a treat!

 

So my figure-8 Reslos are bass light are they?

 

I don't think so, at least down to bottom C on a 16ft Open Wood, and the warmth of the sound is just gorgeous. I store them in wooden boxes and lots of plastic foam.

 

Then there's the Audio Technica ribbons....not bad....not bad at all, in fact.

 

The big leap in quality has been the DAT recorder, not the microphones.

 

Then there's the mixer....infinitely tweakable across the range, and I confess that I make "cognitive" adjustments purely on the basis of instinct and comparative listening.

 

I reckon I can come close to the professionals for audio-quality, at a fraction of the cost.....but then, I LISTEN, see.

 

MM

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===================

 

I seem to recall that I got terribly involved in the subject of acoustics in modern concert-halls, and the way that the brain processes sound selectively in what is called "cognitive hearing."

 

I suspect that there is no substitute for actually "listening" to what is in the can through a good set of headphones, after test recording something.

 

Personally, I always suspend microphones slightly above head-height, but I wouldn't dream of using a single-point technique for the simple reason that microphones don't have brains.....yet. As I'm slightly out of touch with "modern" recording techniques and equipment, I cannot help but smile when I read something like the above concerning Boundary Layer microphones which, and I quote, "can reduce the level of ambient relative to direct sound while retaining (but not increasing, as stated in another post) the low-frequency response of an omni (directional mics have an inherent tendency to be bass-light)."

 

I think I was all of 15 when I first used a bit of ingenuity with an old Ferrograph Series 6 stereo, with a couple of Reslo ribbons (all of which I still have in good working order). In a big acoustic, I just moved the microphones in a bit, but used the figure-8 response creatively, by turning the mics 45 degrees away from the dead-ahead position. Thus, I lost much of  the immediate "edge" of direct sound, but had ample ambience in the end-result....worked like a treat!

 

So my figure-8 Reslos are bass light are they?

 

I don't think so, at least down to bottom C on a 16ft Open Wood, and the warmth of the sound is just gorgeous. I store them in wooden boxes and lots of plastic foam.

 

Then there's the Audio Technica ribbons....not bad....not bad at all, in fact.

 

The big leap in quality has been the DAT recorder, not the microphones.

 

Then there's the mixer....infinitely tweakable across the range, and I confess that I make "cognitive" adjustments purely on the basis of instinct and comparative listening.

 

I reckon I can come close to the professionals for audio-quality, at a fraction of the cost.....but then, I LISTEN, see.

 

MM

 

Hi

 

A couple of points:-

 

Boundary mics follow the laws of physics - their response is quite predictable - and their bass response is only limited by the size of the surface that they're placed on. The frequency response of all microphones is determined by the manufacturer to suit the intended application. The fallacy that directional mics are inherantly bass-light is just that - a falacy. It's true of many cardiod mics desingned for vocal use, because directional mics, by their very nature, have a bass lift on close sounds (which is how most vocalists use them these days) - a deliberate decision on the manufacturer's part to tailor the response to the application. Use these as distant mics, and the bass will sound lacking!

 

No time to write more now - I've got a doctor's appointment.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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It's very good news to hear that Henry Willis & Sons is flourishing, in spite of what seems to have been a difficult time, one way or another.

 

On the subject of recordings, the Mirabilis CD of Francis Jackson playing Bairstow at York is among the most satisfying recording on my shelves. It conveys the big picture perfectly.

 

I remember buying an LP of the organ at Kings, played by Philip Ledger, when I was living in Cambridge. It didn't sound at all like the instrument did in the building - it was bigger, brighter, and with the detail not obscured by the building's acoustic. A friend of mine could scarcely believe it was the same instrument he had heard live the previous Saturday evening. I don't believe a recording engineer should invent a sound that a listener in the building cannot experience. Perhaps you could argue that that sound could be heard by a listener perched 25 ft above the chapel floor, but that is not the position from which the organ was voiced to be heard. The same applies to orchestral music - close miking makes the sound much brighter than you would hear in the concert hall. This, on top of the fact that there are no fluffs on (most) CD's results in people being disappointed when they hear the real thing, and preferring to experience classical music on CD rather than live. This is not in the interests of either the performers or the music!

 

Many recordings sound much better (to my ears, anyway) if played loud, but listened to from three quarters of the way up the stairs with the swell box lounge door a quarter open. I suspect this undoes the effect of close miking.

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I remember buying an LP of the organ at Kings, played by Philip Ledger, when I was living in Cambridge.  It didn't sound at all like the instrument did in the building - it was bigger, brighter, and with the detail not obscured by the building's acoustic.  A friend of mine could scarcely believe it was the same instrument he had heard live the previous Saturday evening. 

I have the Ledger CD, not to mention many others of King's. I haven't been to King's since the ICO in 1987 so would be interested to know which recording Nick (or anyone else) considers to be the closest to what the organ sounds like in the building.

Many recordings sound much better (to my ears, anyway) if played loud, but listened to from three quarters of the way up the stairs with the swell box  lounge door a quarter open.  I suspect this undoes the effect of close miking.

Presumably Nick's neighbours (in the vestry!? :unsure: ) get quite a good effect too...

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