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Hauptwerk Again


ajt
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The last time Hauptwerk came up on here, I was very rude about its practicality in a church, and several people defended it...

 

I understand how it works, in terms of how it makes a noise, and I understand computers pretty well.

 

But, in my poor little brain, all I can visualize for a Hauptwerk installation is an organ with a computer attached, which to me means that the potential for it going wrong just when poor blind Fred is playing for a big funeral is vastly increased, and that poor blind Fred is unlikely to have a clue how to recover the situation...

 

Is Hauptwerk really practical in a church situation?

 

Say, for example, I wanted to take an existing and rather good Copeman Hart console, and turn it into a Hauptwerk system, how would that work? Could I just plug it into a PC and use the existing stops to control stops in Hauptwerk? How much interaction with the PC would I need to have?

 

Too many questions!

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Is Hauptwerk really practical in a church situation?

You could see where this thread goes on the Hauptwerk discussion forum.

 

Could I just plug it into a PC and use the existing stops to control stops in Hauptwerk? How much interaction with the PC would I need to have?

Lots of discussion of interfacing different types of organ on the Hauptwerk discussion board; essentially, HW is infinitely adaptable, so as long as you can identify the midi signals you get from the console controls, you can link them to the chosen HW organs however you like. HW can be configured to start and load a given organ on power up, and to shut down the computer again on a chosen MIDI message.

 

Paul

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Everything is possible and there is no reason why you couldn't get excellent results, but I have a few concerns. If it does go wrong, and you are away on holiday, who is going to support it? With proprietary instruments there is generally backup available. Second, I suggest you look at the licence conditions on the OrganART Media website. It may be that others are less restrictive, but it is not clear what the cost might be if you are to be permitted freedom for public performance or publishing recordings. Finally, it is worth adding up the overall cost of very high specification computer/s, software and interface development as well as the cost of installation, amplification, loudspeakers and console adaptation. It may not prove to be a significantly cheaper option.

 

JC

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Everything is possible and there is no reason why you couldn't get excellent results, but I have a few concerns.  If it does go wrong, and you are away on holiday, who is going to support it?  With proprietary instruments there is generally backup available.

Maybe no-one yet - but commercial options using HW are being developed.

 

Second, I suggest you look at the licence conditions on the OrganART Media website.  It may be that others are less restrictive, but it is not clear what the cost might be if you are to be permitted freedom for public performance or publishing recordings.

Some sample sets are designed as archival and documentary (generally the "wet" ones") rather than for use in existing spaces; and the prices and licence conditions do vary hugely. If they are not clear, you just need to ask.

 

Finally, it is worth adding up the overall cost of very high specification computer/s, software and interface development as well as the cost of installation, amplification, loudspeakers and console adaptation.  It may not prove to be a significantly cheaper option.

True, but it's probably very competitive on quality to price ratio.

 

Paul

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True, but it's probably very competitive on quality to price ratio.

 

That was my thought - from the looks of it, I can get a very good, wood keys, etc, 3m console for about 4k. Budget in 2k for a Mac to run it on - yes, a Mac, a) because I'd hate to have to deal with Windows again, B) because HW now recommend a Mac as their platform of choice.

 

That's 6k for console and samples, then you need amplification kit on top. I have no idea how much that costs.

 

I have no idea how HW and conventional digital organs compare audio-wise in a church situation, but from the samples I've heard, HW sounds very good indeed. Still not up to the real thing, though.

 

In my possibly deluded opinion, by getting a decent console and HW setup, you have the following advantages, aside from any possible audio benefits:

1. not tied into any manufacturers kit

2. instantly reconfigurable and upgradable/revoicable

3. provided the console is of good quality, you're not in the "replace the whole thing every 10-15 years" game. Yes, you might need to replace the computer driving it, and the odd component in the console, but you're always able to keep abreast of the latest advances just by upgrading Hauptwerk or your sample set.

4. YOU are back in control of the organ setup, as opposed to having to pay Wyvern or whoever to come out and tinker

 

However, here are, I think, the downsides:

1. Lots of knowledge required to set the thing up

2. Ease of use for non-technical organists

3. What of future organists - i.e. if you, who set the thing up, move on, what does the poor sod who follows you do with it - will they know enough to keep the thing running?

4. No "professional" support agreement - who do you call on if it goes wrong?

5. Potential for major screwups ; the computer hardware is not solid state, unlike in a proper digital organ.

 

Can anyone think of any other pros/cons?

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1. Lots of knowledge required to set the thing up

2. Ease of use for non-technical organists

3. What of future organists - i.e. if you, who set the thing up, move on, what does the poor sod who follows you do with it - will they know enough to keep the thing running?

4. No "professional" support agreement - who do you call on if it goes wrong?

5. Potential for major screwups ; the computer hardware is not solid state, unlike in a proper digital organ.

 

 

I'd have thought that the computer technologies involved are pretty much "main stream" for computer audio folk. Finding freelance support on an ad hoc basis would be fairly easy, particularly near big cities.

 

The chances of a Blue Screen of Death or the Beachball of Death (on a Mac) are, of course, real. I've seen BSODs on train information screens on station platforms. On the other hand, computer audio is used in mission-critical recording and live events these days with almost no second thoughts.

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But, in my poor little brain, all I can visualize for a Hauptwerk installation is an organ with a computer attached, which to me means that the potential for it going wrong just when poor blind Fred is playing for a big funeral is vastly increased, and that poor blind Fred is unlikely to have a clue how to recover the situation...

 

Is Hauptwerk really practical in a church situation?

The thing is, though, that's true of any digital organ - their brains are computers too.

 

As Innate says, the Hauptwerk "electronics" - hard disc, sound card, display etc. etc. - are entirely industry standard. There are 100-plus people, including both of our churchwardens, in our town who could have a good go at fixing the most likely problems, and know who to call if it proves too difficult.

 

With the Makin we currently have at St Mary's, though, I'm guessing there are only five or so people in the whole of Britain who can fix it. Three of them are in Rochdale and two of them somewhere in Northamptonshire. Even they'll have to spend their time umming and aahing because our organ was one of only seven of its type ever installed, so they don't get to service them too often.

 

In theory, at least, I know which I'd rather be playing when it all goes pear-shaped!

 

(But I've just ordered the Hauptwerk evaluation CD for Mac, so will be interested to see how it works in practice...)

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I'd have thought that the computer technologies involved are pretty much "main stream" for computer audio folk. Finding freelance support on an ad hoc basis would be fairly easy, particularly near big cities.

 

 

Hi

 

I wouldn't be so confident - finding computer techs who really understand audio issues seems to be somewhat problematical. I know a couple of very good computer-industry professionals - but I know more about computer audio and A/V than either of them.

 

Yes, computers are widely used these days in recording and video facilities - but there are still potential problems - I certainly wouldn't want to rely totally on my laptop for serious live recording for example - I also use another recorder as a back-up.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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I wouldn't be so confident - finding computer techs who really understand audio issues seems to be somewhat problematical.  I know a couple of very good computer-industry professionals - but I know more about computer audio and A/V than either of them.

 

 

Quite. Without wishing to sound too big headed, I'm probably one of the more technically competent computer folks around, but I don't have a bloody clue when it comes to MIDI or audio. I can plug wires together, but that's about it.

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QUOTE(Richard Fairhurst @ Nov 13 2006, 02:50 PM)

 

With the Makin we currently have at St Mary's, though, I'm guessing there are only five or so people in the whole of Britain who can fix it. Three of them are in Rochdale and two of them somewhere in Northamptonshire. Even they'll have to spend their time umming and aahing because our organ was one of only seven of its type ever installed, so they don't get to service them too often.

 

****************

 

That's a really great selling point for Makin - wonder why more don't go for it?

 

:P

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