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Thread: Unusual Speaker Designs

  1. #1
    mf Mezzo-Forte Nutball's Avatar
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    Unusual Speaker Designs

    This can be a thread where we talk about different speaker designs that are anywhere from slightly unusual to very unusual.

    If someone wanted to add stops to their organ, one possible way of doing it might be by building unusual speakers. It wouldn't be the best and easiest way of doing things. You'd either have to have all other stops on that channel not play, or have the original play through both normal and altered speakers.

    Designs might look a little like organ pipes, including flared horns, long narrowing tubes, and even a box shaped to imitate a vox humana pipe giving each stop played through these designs characteristics related to the pipes the speakers were designed after. 5 very different effective speakers times 10 stops = 50 new stops. Such speakers could of course be made as 3 to 5 way speakers.

    I don't know how different Conn speaker pipes sounded compared to normal speakers. I'm sure someone could tell me.

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    Moderator jbird604's Avatar
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    The first time it occurred to me that something like this might work, I was tinkering with the installation of an Allen ADC5000. The organist was at the console, and I was toying with the idea of adding on a secondary small speaker (an 8" driver in a box by itself, I think) to the HC-12s that were installed as an antiphonal on the swell, as the sound from the HC-12s was a little weak for my liking.

    While he played, I would alternately connected and disconnect the small speaker in parallel with the HC-12. He remarked that when the speaker was connected it sounded like an extra 8' stop was being turned on. And indeed it did. I thought, hmmm... you could have an organ with a relatively neutral broad-band tone being generated on each key, and then have "stop" switches that would add or remove individual speakers from the audio. Large cones would sound like an 8' stop being added, smaller ones like a 4', tweeters like a mixture getting turned on. Never experimented with the idea, but it seems like it might work, though you wouldn't of course have the authentic sounds of individual pipe stops that we are used to getting from an organ.

    Another trick, and this one is actually used by Allen and possibly other builders -- instead of having an actual "Festival Trumpet" sample, you have a relay that directs whatever channel carries the major trumpet stop into a very high-efficiency and peaky-sounding speaker whenever the Festival Trumpet tab is engaged.

    On some larger MOS organs that had a dedicated computer just for the choir manual, the Main channel of that computer would normally speak through a regular HC cabinet, but activating a tab labeled "En Chamade" would trip a relay and send that channel into a louder speaker or even into a special horn-type speaker. Certain old Baldwin analogs used a similar arrangement to get a big Festival Trumpet stop.

    Speakers that produce these loud reedy effects are generally a little less like "hi-fi" speakers and more like "PA" speakers, or even in some cases like horns intended to be used outdoors or as paging horns in arenas, etc.
    John
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    mf Mezzo-Forte rjsilva's Avatar
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    This sounds interesting. Wouldn't you still need some high frequency speaker not in the proposed enclosure? I'm wondering if high frequency detail might get lost depending on the enclosure design.

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    mf Mezzo-Forte Nutball's Avatar
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    I don't think you would notice high frequencies timbre as much, but still I think it best to feed them through the modified system. I know the two different midranges I used sounded different enough, that it would sound like adding a different stop.

    You should be able to use extra normal speakers as a crescendo. Unusual designs might help the crescendo effect. I'd really like some vox humanas especially down to 16'. With a vox humanizer I could get quite a variety by mixing various stops into it.
    Allen 530A

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    mf Mezzo-Forte rjsilva's Avatar
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    I was thinking from the perspective of something like wind sound. That of course depends on the organ producing the sound, but if one of these boxes reduces the higher frequency content that could affect the realism. So that's why I was wondering about a speaker not inside the special box (but part of the speaker) just for high frequency content?

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    mf Mezzo-Forte Nutball's Avatar
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    Some wind noise is affected by the design of a real pipe such that it might be best to run the HF through the different speakers. I have also thought of speaker designs that generate their own wind noise such as from sharp edges around a port. You could have the speaker mounted to a pipe, and a tiny port on the back side of the speaker with sharp edges.

    Extra tweeters and/or extra loud tweeters filtered to very high frequencies might be a good idea in general to enhance quiet wind noise from an organ like mine, where your Walker seems to have plenty of good wind noise already.
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    mf Mezzo-Forte rjsilva's Avatar
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    That's an interesting thought about the design making its own wind noise. Wouldn't it need a reasonable amount of cone movement?

    My organ at home has no meaningful wind noise except for the attack of some stops. Yes the Walker at church has fabulous wind noise.

    I'll be switching my sound system at home once my replacement is repaired (hopefully this week). I wonder how effective enclosing existing complete speakers (such as small satellites) in a shaped box could be?

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    mf Mezzo-Forte Nutball's Avatar
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    It would be hard to get good wind noise out of anything mid to high range. The hole required would have to be so small that you probably couldn't hear the wind noise.

    It wouldn't be nearly as good to put built satellites into a shaped box I would think. Certain designs might work well though. I'd say a shaped box is only 2/3 of it. A greater effect could be produced by pairing the right speakers with the right box. You might end up wanting to run normal or abnormal frequencies through different speakers like a big HF tweeter, or use a 4" subwoofer, or 6" sealed back HF midrange, or a 15" for 2-6kHz...
    Last edited by Nutball; 07-17-2017 at 02:46 PM.
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    pp Pianissimo KOC62's Avatar
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    Forgive me for my lack of a good music/organ knowledge base since I come from an electronic background. I would prefer a good wide band loudspeaker system - perhaps a 4-way or 5-way to reproduce the entire audio range with sufficient power. Then I would use electronic filters to tailor the sound, selected by "stops", rather than make a specific loudspeaker box for a particular sonic signature.

    I'm not fully versed with organ voicing so my approach may have some flaws. If you press a "trumpet" stop doesn't that sound apply to all the 61-keys of the manual? So the lower keys produce a lower trumpet sound (in frequency), or almost a tuba sound? A real trumpet wouldn't go that low in frequency. So building a specific loudspeaker to enhance a trumpet sound would only work for the upper keys of a manual - no?

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    ff Fortissimo toodles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KOC62 View Post
    Forgive me for my lack of a good music/organ knowledge base since I come from an electronic background. I would prefer a good wide band loudspeaker system - perhaps a 4-way or 5-way to reproduce the entire audio range with sufficient power. Then I would use electronic filters to tailor the sound, selected by "stops", rather than make a specific loudspeaker box for a particular sonic signature.

    I'm not fully versed with organ voicing so my approach may have some flaws. If you press a "trumpet" stop doesn't that sound apply to all the 61-keys of the manual? So the lower keys produce a lower trumpet sound (in frequency), or almost a tuba sound? A real trumpet wouldn't go that low in frequency. So building a specific loudspeaker to enhance a trumpet sound would only work for the upper keys of a manual - no?
    You have essentially describe how formant filters are used in analog organs using frequency divider organs and to a more limited extent iwith individual oscillators. But usually a 3-way system is sufficient. Speaker crossover filters interact with the drivers and with the other branches of the filter (i.e., low-pass with mid-pass, etc.) so that going past 3-way tends to get very complicated and expensive.

    Yes, the issues are exactly as you described. You almost need a separate channel for the voice with the filtering built into the speaker.

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