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Thread: Recording various organ sounds for archival and comparison purposes

  1. #1
    Moderator jbird604's Avatar
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    Recording various organ sounds for archival and comparison purposes

    Let's say a guy wanted to start archiving the sounds of various digital (or even analog) organs, just as a hobby. Sort of like collecting paper clips or something. Nerd thing, you know, that some people wouldn't understand. Certainly an ambitious sort of project, and one that would never be complete even if he had years to work on it.

    Such a collection is unlikely to get started, much less expanded, but wouldn't it be fun to have something like that to enjoy in one's free time and to share with one's organ friends? I'm thinking a well-organized collection of this type might include simple and brief identical snippets recorded on all the organs, snippets to include, for example:

    (1) The 8' principal stop on the great division. Individual notes, some played staccato to reveal nuances of attack and decay. Some scales, some chords, a few measures of something musical that shows what the stop sounds like in use.

    (2) The great principal chorus build-up. Holding a chord, starting with the 8', adding the 4', then then 2', then the mixtures. Then a few seconds of music to demonstrate the ensemble and tone.

    (3) The 8' primary flute stop on the great, demoed as per the 8' principal.

    (4) The great flute chorus, demoed as per the principal chorus.

    (5) The 4' principal stop on the swell, ditto.

    (6) The 4' flute stop on the swell, ditto.

    (7) The string celeste pair on the swell.

    (8) The great solo reed, if present.

    (9) The great trumpet, if present.

    (10) The swell solo reed, if present.

    (11) The swell chorus reeds, 16/8/4 if possible, playing a brief fanfare.

    (12) A hymn played on the great, with swell coupled, gradually building up from 8' foundations to full flues to tutti. Pedals included, with solid 16' stops, 32' if present, swell and/or great coupled to pedals.

    (13) A few seconds of quiet music using the strings and celestes of both manuals, soft pedals, and one or more solo reeds, and a few notes on the chimes.
    John
    ----------
    Church: Allen MDS-45 with Allen MIDI-DIVISION-II expander
    Home: Rodgers 580 "Cheetah" organ with custom 6-channel speaker system
    Shop: Bunch of organs in varying conditions, some good, some not...
    Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

  2. #2
    mf Mezzo-Forte Nutball's Avatar
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    Many other forums of the right kind have their reviews or more like you are looking for collection threads. For example a chainsaw forum could have an archive thread where people post pictures, model info and serial numbers of their chainsaws. I think it is a great idea kind of like the encyclopedia of stops for digitals. To keep samples consistent I think there would have to be a preferred standard sampling method, basically a short easy to play sheet of music or single tones to play for demonstration purposes ideally all in very similar small file formats. There could be a few samples per organ, a collection possibly broken up into each stop one at a time with a short standard playing method, then maybe someone's own choice of demo music.

  3. #3
    Moderator jbird604's Avatar
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    Exactly what I'm talking about. Maybe it's not as nerdy as I thought!
    John
    ----------
    Church: Allen MDS-45 with Allen MIDI-DIVISION-II expander
    Home: Rodgers 580 "Cheetah" organ with custom 6-channel speaker system
    Shop: Bunch of organs in varying conditions, some good, some not...
    Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

  4. #4
    mf Mezzo-Forte musikfan's Avatar
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    cool idea, John. Go for it!
    Craig

    Hammond L143 with Leslie 760
    Allen MOS 300-C

  5. #5
    Moderator myorgan's Avatar
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    John,

    la the website organstops.org? Great idea, however, wouldn't one need to re-record all the above when they end up re-voicing their instrument? Also, are some of the stops' waveforms copywritten? Just a few random thoughts.

    What about the recordings I've put into the gallery: http://www.organforum.com/gallery/picmgr.php?aid=171 ? Someone want to host a domain? Could it be hosted here without using too much bandwidth?

    Michael
    Way too many organs to list, but I do have 4 Allens:
    • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony)
    • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
    • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 4 Pianos

  6. #6
    Administrator Admin's Avatar
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    Great idea, but far from practical. If the idea is to compare various digital organs, how do you factor out the acoustics of the environment? If you don't do that, you're not comparing organs, but organ installations. I guess what I'm saying is that due to the tremendous number of variables involved in the sound and recording of any instrument, while the comparisons might be fun, they would not be meaningful unless they were all recorded in the same environment and in the same way.

  7. #7
    Moderator myorgan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Admin View Post
    Great idea, but far from practical. If the idea is to compare various digital organs, how do you factor out the acoustics of the environment? If you don't do that, you're not comparing organs, but organ installations. I guess what I'm saying is that due to the tremendous number of variables involved in the sound and recording of any instrument, while the comparisons might be fun, they would not be meaningful unless they were all recorded in the same environment and in the same way.
    Great points, Admin. Of course, the same is true of the pipe organ samples on the site I referenced. That said, I use recordings from those posts to voice my Allens. I just chose the best recordings of the best.

    You bring up some good points, though.

    Michael
    Way too many organs to list, but I do have 4 Allens:
    • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony)
    • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
    • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 4 Pianos

  8. #8
    ff Fortissimo Havoc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Admin View Post
    Great idea, but far from practical. If the idea is to compare various digital organs, how do you factor out the acoustics of the environment? If you don't do that, you're not comparing organs, but organ installations. I guess what I'm saying is that due to the tremendous number of variables involved in the sound and recording of any instrument, while the comparisons might be fun, they would not be meaningful unless they were all recorded in the same environment and in the same way.
    You'll have to record within the direct field, well out of the reverberant field. Not like 99% of the YouTube videos.

  9. #9
    Moderator jbird604's Avatar
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    I have about a half dozen working organs of different types on hand at the moment, and it would be relatively easy to set up each with with speakers in the floor and miked fairly close. No room ambiance to speak of at the shop or in my organ room at home, so I could make some dry recordings that way.

    We'll see what happens in the coming weeks, once Easter is past. Right now I'm spending a lot of time getting ready for Holy Week and Easter Sunday, on top of trying to handle the volume of service calls coming in all of a sudden!
    John
    ----------
    Church: Allen MDS-45 with Allen MIDI-DIVISION-II expander
    Home: Rodgers 580 "Cheetah" organ with custom 6-channel speaker system
    Shop: Bunch of organs in varying conditions, some good, some not...
    Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

  10. #10
    pp Pianissimo eaaron's Avatar
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    I know this may open a can of worms, but....

    Creating a library of samples for installed organs would, I think, be a interesting and useful idea. Especially if there are notes with mic placement and details of chambers, speakers, locations etc. Trying to create a sterile sample would be a bit silly IMHO.

    When installed well organs become part of the space they are installed in as does the space become part of the instrument. If you take away the structure it is like a trumpet without it's bell, or a vocalist without their mouth, while you may have a sound, perhaps even a decent sound, it will not be the full instrument. The art of pipe organ building is to merge and balance the instrument in the room, and digital or analog organs are trying to imitate that grandeur on a much smaller scale. The best digital organ installs I have heard and/or played were where the speaker installation was thought of as electronic pipes and installed in a similar fashion. I have seen so many digitals installed with a PA mindset of all cabinets pointing directly at the congregation, some of these sounded ok, but lacked that acoustical blend that chambers, ceilings, walls, trusses etc. all add (and yes sometimes detract) to the sound. I had a tech once say to me if I ever found an entire pipe organ mounted en chamade that he would want to see and hear it.

    This is also why organs are "voice-able" because every environment will be different, some drastically, and we try and contour the instrument to the room. Part of the reason that manufacturers are pushing more and more to stop-by-stop note-by-note voicing in the digital realm. It is hard to compete with having a physical sound making device for each note.

    If you are just looking at comparing samples to samples you could just record direct from the outputs. Most of the best pipe samples are recorded in highly controlled, very low reverberant spaces (sometimes almost anechoic) with the thought that you want to reproduce the "at the source" sound so the sound blooms in the room just like the real thing. Recording from a direct on cabinet is still not going to give a good example of how the ranks would sound and breathe in an open space.

    This is a similar reason modern higher end digital pianos have a reverb path special for the headphone output. The samples are so close the notes don't sound anything like you would want to listen to but are designed to be modified based on the speakers and casing and have to have some extra time and space added to the headphones be pleasing.

    Erik
    Keeping the world together with some string, a paper clip, and of course gaff(duct) tape.

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