Author Topic: Lancaster Priory 4 manual Makin available to good home  (Read 35176 times)

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David Pinnegar

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Lancaster Priory 4 manual Makin available to good home
« on: August 05, 2011, 04:15:17 PM »
Hi!

I have been in touch with Lancaster Priory about their now redundant 4 manual analogue Makin of 1982. This was no doubt of the nature that John Pilling conceived for Charterhouse Chapel as a replacement of the noble Harrison and Harrison there . . . but which the school authorities then had the wisdom to retain. However, the very fact that Pilling considered such an option is testament to his faith in the quality of his electronic organ synthesis and is good reason for the Lancaster Priory instrument from this time to be preserved.

In doing so, the instrument might do a turn somewhere, keeping the spirit of organ music alive, possibly providing educational opportunities.

The Makin comprises the following:-
1) a large amount of big speakers attached to the West Wall over the gallery (these will have to be removed from the wall in about 2 or 3 weeks time so that the pipe organ builers can start to erect things there).

2) keyboards, stop jambs, etc housed inside the historic Paley & Austin Victorian casework in the North Choir Aisle; plus speakers and chips, electric circuits, wires, etc behind the casework. (In Dec 2011/Jan 2012 this will all be emptied, and the East division of the pipe organ will be erected inside the current casework).

A new console would have to be made to incorporate perhaps the current stop jambs and keyboards.

"As an instrument, the Makin has some nice quiet stops (flutes, oboe, cromorne, corno di bassetto), but has mixtures that are plastic-sounding, and the weakness is that there is no clarity of texture in the lower half of each manual (it sounds like a muddy swamp and you can't hear what notes are being played in the left-hand part of a chord. Also, as an accompaniment or ensemble instrument working with solo instruments/voices or a choir, it is difficult to get good ensemble and ,in the case of singers listening out for their notes from the organ accompaniment, pitching, because the tone of the organ is very indistinct."

I am happy to provide temporary storage for the instrument to enable it to give service somewhere else.

Is anyone interested?

Best wishes

David P

PEDAL

UNENCLOSED
Double Open Wood 32'
Open Wood 16'
Principal 16'
Violone 16'
Sub Bass 16'
Dulciana 16'
Octave 8'
Cello 8'
Spitz Flute 8'
Fifteenth 4'
Octave Spitz Flute 4'
Septieme 2, 2/7
Super Octave 2'
Hohl Flute 2'
Mixture IV
Sharp Mixture III
ENCLOSED
Contra Bombarde 32'
Ophiclelde 16'
Bassoon 16'
Trumpet 8'
Oboe 8'
Clarion 4'
Schalmel 4'
Kornet 2'
(Solo expression pedal)
GREAT
UNENCLOSED
Double Diapason 16'
Bourdon 16'
Large Diapason 8'
Small Diapason 8'
Rohr Gedekt 8'
Quint 5,1/3
Octave 4'
Principal 4'
Gedeckt 4'
Twelfth 2, 2/3
Principal 2'
Super Octave 2'
Blockflote 2'
Tierce 1, 3/5
Cymbale III
Foumiture IV
Plein Jeu VII
Double Trumpet 16'
Trumpet 8'
Octave Trumpet 4'
SWELL
ENCLOSED
Quintadena 16'
Open Diapason 8'
Gedeckt 8'
Salicional 8'
Vox Angelica 8'
Principal 4'
Flute 4'
Super Octave 2'
Larigot 1, 1/3
Sesquialtera II
Mixture III
Mixture V
Double Trumpet 16'
Trumpet 8'
Trompette 8'
Oboe 8'
Vox Humana 8'
Clarion 4'
CHOIR
ENCLOSED
Quintaton 16'
Stopped Diapason 8'
Quintaton 8'
Zauber Flote 8'
Unda Maris 8'
Viole 8'
Principal 4'
Koppel Flute 4'
Nazard 2, 2/3
Fifteenth 2'
Spitz Flute 2'
Tierce 1, 3/5
Larigot 1,1/3
Sifflote 1'
None 8/9
Mixture III
Cymbale III
Scharf IV
SOLO
ENCLOSED
Contra Viole 16'
Hohl Flute 8'
Viole 8'
Viole Celestes 8'
Hohl Flute 4'
Octave Viole 4'
Hohl Flute 2'
Cornet des Violes III
Dulcian 16'
Post Horn 8'
Orchestral Trumpet 8'
French Horn 8'
Cor Anglais 8'
Corno di Bassetto 8'
Cromorne 8'
UNENCLOSED
Tromba Real 8'
Tuba Magna 8'
Grand Chorus Bass 16'
Grand Chorus VII
« Last Edit: August 05, 2011, 04:37:17 PM by David Pinnegar »

jwillans

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Re: Lancaster Priory 4 manual Makin available to good home
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2011, 07:42:44 PM »
Hi David,

I'm interested (although my Wife may say differently) although it would need to be at low/no cost given my budget constraints.

Thanks,

James

David Pinnegar

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Re: Lancaster Priory 4 manual Makin available to good home
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2011, 11:37:25 PM »
Hi James!

Welcome to the forum!

It's certainly possible for the instrument to be a home instrument but it's probably going to end up being quite big, especially as it's analogue electronics and electronics of 30 years ago at that - we're used to much smaller things these days - and it's clearly capable of filling a very large space . . .

Unless you're happy to go up there and supervise dismantling, someone is likely to have to be paid to assist or supervise so that wires and cables and joints are labelled and, for instance, sequences of wires are disconnected and taped in sequence . . .

Were an enthusiastic school or church currently without an instrument and no hope of getting a pipe organ at present to be interested, then I have more than half an idea as to why left hand foundations sound muddy and mixtures sound plastic. . . . I suspect that if speakers are given proper attention and possibly a certain trick used on the mixtures in addition, the whole instrument could be transformed.

Pilling emerged from Comptons and knew well what he was doing . . . so the concepts he used are likely to be fundamentally sound . . . but speakers for electronic organs have always been the bugbear. I was put in touch recently with a major researcher into electronic instruments at one of the universities who has been working on organs for a major part of his career. He sent to me very kindly a paper that he wrote for an Acoustics institution . . . on apparently state of the art reproduction and I know from the designs that better can be achieved . . .

I hope that this will be an encouragement for anyone to take it on and whereever it goes I'm happy to advise or help so that the instrument achieves top results.

I'm not personally familiar with whatever particular technology the instrument uses but instruments of this scale may well have used free phase oscillators rather than coupled frequency dividers. Such solutions can often achieve a more lifelike effect than modern digital electronics. What is also quite insteresting is that most of the ICs of the early 1980s were generic rather than specialised and as such there are likely to be no irreplaceable or obselete components. As an electronic instrument it may have a much greater longevity than subsequent digital electronics using specialised proprietry components.

I'm no great fan of electronic instruments but simply acknowledge that they can serve a purpose - at Lancaster in keeping the flame of the spirit of organ music alive and at Hammerwood in putting the repertoire of the King of Instruments onto the concert platform.

However, I have a healthy respect for the obstinate arrogance that some people have had in attempting to put together musical organ sounds using ingenious application of thousands of tiny electronic components http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOAQ0DlhXKM however successful http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vph8tZ1uOZ4 or otherwise it might be http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZ0CQvIJRoY . Tomorrow, members of the EOCS are visiting a member's instrument in Guildford of over 40 stops spread over 4 manuals that took him over 20 years to build.

The sheer scale of the Lancaster instrument certainly puts it into the realm of one of the largest electronic specifications put together and is worthy of preservation for that reason alone, it being clearly satisfactory enough to have served the needs of the Priory for nearly three decades.

As a matter of interest, if anyone would like the Mini Metro Movable organ, which is certainly small enough to rate highly on the WAF scale, I don't really need it.  . . . Contacts need cleaning and a couple of internal wires need reconnecting. With such TLC, it could usefully suffice as a home practice instrument.

Best wishes,

David P
« Last Edit: August 06, 2011, 10:36:10 AM by organforumadmin »

Barry Williams

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Re: Lancaster Priory 4 manual Makin available to good home
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2011, 08:35:43 AM »
"I'm not personally familiar with whatever particular technology the instrument uses but instruments of this scale may well have used free phase oscillators rather than coupled frequency dividers. Such solutions can often achieve a more lifelike effect than modern digital electronics"

At that date the instrument would almost certainly have been a Fourier type system, a method of tone production that is almost as primitive as the totally outmoded 'Bradford' that Makin used subsequently, albeit for a very short time.  (One of their very able representatives and a member of this Board referred to Makin Bradford instruments as "Bradkins".)

"...speakers for electronic organs have always been the bugbear."  Yes and Makin always refused point blank to let anyone hear any of their instruments without the Rotofon being on.  The Rotofon was a device that rotated the speakers or caused a paddle to rotate in front of the speaker.  It was intended to re-create the so-called 'chorus' effect but, of course, did nothing of the sort.  Later, when Makin went digital they introduced the detuning blip, much in the same way as the 'Bradford' system.  All of this is quite unnecessary with competent voicing and adequate speakers, properly situated.  For many years the electronic organ industry has struggled with concepts of music and physics that were known and discussed in the 1930s, yet they simply do not do the basic research.  That, coupled with the desire to cut financial corners (especially over speakers) has led to the unhappy results that we hear all over the place.

Barry Williams
« Last Edit: August 06, 2011, 03:57:45 PM by Barry Williams »

jwillans

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Re: Lancaster Priory 4 manual Makin available to good home
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2011, 10:53:38 AM »
Hi David,

I must admit I have been lurking for a while and have certainly enjoyed many of the threads.

To be frank my intention would have been to use the console components and the speakers as a basis for a Hauptwerk system.  I can't imagine that the Makin is very satisfactory to play and, although I appreciate your wish see it used wholesale, it could be used as a basis for a much better instrument. 

James

David Pinnegar

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Re: Lancaster Priory 4 manual Makin available to good home
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2011, 11:23:24 AM »
Dear Barry

Interesting points indeed as of course Comptons from where Pilling derived his background were using fourier addition.

I'm looking forward to hearing a CD of the instrument. Of course the mixtures may sound "plastic" on account of missing upper harmonics in a Fourier derived system - although actually that can now be remedied very easily. 8 bit digital instruments lose harmonics in the top octave or two and there is a very easy and effective trick that one can employ to recreate them and wholly enliven what would be considered a dull and dated instrument.

The bottom line, however, is that having survived for so long it must have been satisfactory _enough_ for it to continue to be equally satisfactory elsewhere, either for a home practice instrument (although I think it might turn out to be big for that purpose) or for a more public setting.

Best wishes

David P

I must admit I have been lurking for a while and have certainly enjoyed many of the threads.

To be frank my intention would have been to use the console components and the speakers as a basis for a Hauptwerk system.  I can't imagine that the Makin is very satisfactory to play and, although I appreciate your wish see it used wholesale, it could be used as a basis for a much better instrument. 

Dear James

I suspect that because the console is part of a historic organ front, there is quite a lot of work to do to convert the manuals and stop jambs etc coming out of Lancaster into a new console and for home use you might do better to buy the midified keyboard stack and stop controls that member Eric Daleste on this forum sells - I think there are some on ebay.

For speakers, I'll be interested to see what these are but the tonal inadequacies mentioned may well arise from the use of inappropriate speakers which means that the Lancaster ones may be wasted bother. But in a larger reinstallation they might well be useful elsewhere in moving a lot of air.

For home use for many areas of the organ I'd use Tannoy DC2000 or Tannoy 611 which are incomparably good value at around 100 ish + 25 postage per pair and I have other solutions for where those speakers are deficient. The Tannoys are against my "religion" of speaker design for reasons that I won't discuss publicly, but work well, effectively and indeed excitingly for many things. Importantly however, the concentric design means that the split frequency wave emerges as one wave by the time it exits and this represents an echelon of difference in comparison to other designs.

Best wishes

David P
« Last Edit: August 06, 2011, 12:35:58 PM by organforumadmin »

jwillans

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Re: Lancaster Priory 4 manual Makin available to good home
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2011, 11:46:37 AM »
I suspect that because the console is part of a historic organ front, there is quite a lot of work to do to convert the manuals and stop jambs etc coming out of Lancaster into a new console and for home use you might do better to buy the midified keyboard stack and stop controls that member Eric Daleste on this forum sells - I think there are some on ebay.

I don't think that would be the case.  I have built midi-decoding hardware many times over and expect the Makin to be KA components or similiar (in any case - we are only talking switches).  I am currently in the process of building a 4 manual instrument around HW, it struck me that the Makin might be a quicker way to the same end.

James

David Pinnegar

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Re: Lancaster Priory 4 manual Makin available to good home
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2011, 12:57:45 PM »
I don't think that would be the case.  I have built midi-decoding hardware many times over and expect the Makin to be KA components or similiar (in any case - we are only talking switches).  I am currently in the process of building a 4 manual instrument around HW, it struck me that the Makin might be a quicker way to the same end.

Dear James

Perhaps it may be . . . and if no-one else is interested in taking on the whole instrument . . . a good use for the keyboards . . .  but I hope that even with the limitations that the 1980s electronics had, it might be an opportunity for it to sow seeds of enthusiasm on a wider scale than merely a home instrument.

If useful I have around 30 KA drawstops together with stop heads to which you'd be welcome and have successfully erased stop names and applied new names on my own console.

Perhaps you might possibly detail keyboard midification on another thread as I'm sure other members might be interested and inspired . . .

Best wishes

David P

jwillans

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Re: Lancaster Priory 4 manual Makin available to good home
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2011, 01:22:42 PM »
Hi David,

I agree - I see my use as a last resort prior to the instrument getting scrapped.  Ideally I would like to see it go to a school where it will encorage the next generation of organists.  Lancaster isn't that far from me and I may be able to help out with relocating the instrument if this was the intent.

With regard midifcation although designing and realising custom encodes/decodes isn't a particularly big job, I use http://www.midibox.org since there are a few suppliers of the PCBs (and component kits) and it has proven a robust and scalable solution.  Many people have used midibox for organs and there are plenty of threads on the midibox forum.

Many thanks for the kind offer of the KA drawstops.  I would be very interest in these, do you have a figure in mind?

James

revtonynewnham

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Re: Lancaster Priory 4 manual Makin available to good home
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2011, 05:06:17 PM »
Hi

In general I would support keeping a major instrument such as this intact - it's very much an example of its time.  But there seems to be little interest in preserving even a handful of old electronic organs (except perhaps Hammonds).  Failing that, the parts should be reused as far as practicable - it's called "recycling"!  If only I had space , time - and above all, cash!

Every Blessing

Tony

P.S. @jwillans - where are you (PM if you prefer) - I'm in Bradford - rather an organ wasteland, with a few notable exceptions.

David Pinnegar

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Re: Lancaster Priory 4 manual Makin available to good home
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2011, 06:09:35 PM »
I agree - I see my use as a last resort prior to the instrument getting scrapped.  Ideally I would like to see it go to a school where it will encorage the next generation of organists.  Lancaster isn't that far from me and I may be able to help out with relocating the instrument if this was the intent.
. . .
Many thanks for the kind offer of the KA drawstops.  I would be very interest in these, do you have a figure in mind?

Hi!

I probably paid around 15 each for them with the stopheads - they are the type with exposed silver wires rather than reed switches but the few I've used are reliable and I have a set of spare silver wires.

On ones that I have used, I have mounted the stophead in a drill and sanded out the stop-name using fine and then very fine sandpaper and then finished with a wipe of shellac. Transparent DYMO lettering works well for labelling and is the same size as many engraved typefaces.

As for Lancaster, your proximity sounds potentially very helpful. It might be an idea to do a visit in the next few weeks before the end speakers are disconnected to try to get a measure of its tonality. I wonder if anyone knows if it is a rotating disc or a solid state design?

A school . . . particularly if it's one where GCSE electronics is taught . . . but one has to be careful as as soon as an enthusiastic member of staff leaves, enthusiasm in something can evaporate . . . leaving dstruction only to be postponed rather than prevented . . . but hopefully a good home will come forward. I'm very much in the same mind as Tony on this in regard to its preservation.

However, it all depends on its usefulness . . .

Best wishes

David P

jwillans

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Re: Lancaster Priory 4 manual Makin available to good home
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2011, 09:42:34 PM »
Hi Tony,

P.S. @jwillans - where are you (PM if you prefer) - I'm in Bradford - rather an organ wasteland, with a few notable exceptions.

I'm based in Sheffield, but travel regularly to Wakefield and less so York.

James

jwillans

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Re: Lancaster Priory 4 manual Makin available to good home
« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2011, 09:47:42 PM »
Hi David,

I probably paid around 15 each for them with the stopheads - they are the type with exposed silver wires rather than reed switches but the few I've used are reliable and I have a set of spare silver wires.

Thanks for the offer but I'm going to pass on this occasion. I'm going down the path of having a couple of touch screens mounted in the drawstop jambs to allow for flexibility of switching HW organs.  I have tinkered with the idea of being able to slide in a couple of real drawstops in front of these for a single "favoured" organ, but this is very much a secondary background idea when I chanced upon a set of appropriate drawstops.

James

David Pinnegar

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Re: Lancaster Priory 4 manual Makin available to good home
« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2011, 12:46:01 AM »
Dear James

I'm happy to take a loss on them in the cause of helping a good project - but the reality is that unless one is creating a prestige console, more flexible arrangements such as touch screens or configurable lit buttons are particularly useful  . . .

Best wishes

David P

twanguitar

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Re: Lancaster Priory 4 manual Makin available to good home
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2011, 09:45:53 AM »
This is a response mainly to James' thread about home organ consoles, but please don't take it too unkindly as it's not meant that way.

Putting aside cost for the moment, I'm probably stating the obvious, but there's no contest in my view (as a player) between a conventional organ console with moving draw stops or stop keys and one with touch screens.  I've probably played as many home organs as anyone, thanks to the hospitality and kindness of their owners I might add who don't seem to mind when I ask if I can turn up for the purpose!  One of the finest to my mind is without doubt Colin Pykett's three manual affair with both draw stops (for the 'classical' voices) and stop keys (for the 'theatre' ones).  All are operated by a capture combination system which I enjoyed setting instantly at the console (he gave me a special memory all to myself!) and when they move in and out with that satisfying quiet thud, it really starts to make you feel you are that much nearer the real thing.  His has ivory keyboards as well as the woodwork including a lot of solid oak.  And from what he told me, I don't think it cost him all that much in money because he took his time casting around for exactly the right items second hand.  But it probably cost him a lot in time!

So when I play an organ with touch screens, the whole effect just shrieks "electronic" to me rather than shrieking "quality" and this detracts to an unfortunate degree from how it might sound.  Also I had to stop playing one of these when the sun came out because you couldn't see anything on the screens any more!

Going to the usual half way house which many commercial digital organs use, illuminated tabs, the same criticisms remain - they look and feel so cheap, and they also can be difficult to see in bright light.

The feel and general playing effect at the console is so very important, to my mind at least.

TG
« Last Edit: August 07, 2011, 09:54:06 AM by twanguitar »

David Pinnegar

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Re: Lancaster Priory 4 manual Makin available to good home
« Reply #15 on: August 07, 2011, 12:22:33 PM »
Putting aside cost for the moment, I'm probably stating the obvious, but there's no contest in my view (as a player) between a conventional organ console with moving draw stops or stop keys and one with touch screens. 

Whilst suggesting above that touch screens or "configurable lit buttons" can be useful - that is in a context of experimentation rather than a desire to make music with a sound, solid, musical instrument. It's in the creation of the latter that I agree with you entirely. Not only this but in the creation of an instrument that is solid, with appropriate solid console furniture, one will expect solid sounds which are real whereas in the act of pushing virtual buttons on a plastic screen, one is capable of expecting plastic sounds through plastic speakers . . . that at best sound as a plastic CD inserted into the appropriate machine . . .

Best wishes

David P

jwillans

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Re: Lancaster Priory 4 manual Makin available to good home
« Reply #16 on: August 07, 2011, 01:24:24 PM »
TG and David - We're going a little off-topic but all interesting stuff. 

My preference too is drawstops particularly since I prefer hand register over other aids such as thumb/foot pistons.  I like the tactile interaction as part of the organ playing experience.  The use of touch screens does not necessarily mean that the rest of the organ is any different to a "conventional" console.  See the following HW console:

http://img824.imageshack.us/img824/8862/salisburyo.jpg
http://img225.imageshack.us/img225/8380/zwolle.jpg

and does (as indicated by the screenshot) give the flexibility for the console to be used for different instruments.  My console will be oak (solid in part) and built from recovered pipe organ components, with ivory keys over the 4 manuals.  To suggest that having a touch screen sets expectation of sound quality etc I think is a little harsh (and I suspect from what you say that you have not played a HW console).  Note also that there are touch screens and there are touch screens, modern IPS monitors with optical touch screens like I will be using, are very good even in bad light and have very reliable interaction.

James

David Pinnegar

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Re: Lancaster Priory 4 manual Makin available to good home
« Reply #17 on: August 07, 2011, 01:55:35 PM »
Dear James

:-) I have played two Hauptwerk systems, both of which provided a good hifi recording of an organ but neither had the feel nor the presence of being the instrument itself . . . but which were fine for home enjoyment. I'm looking at experiencing more than that from Hauptwerk in due course.

The reason for the redundancy of my drawstops is that a particular arrangement of lit buttons that I use has provided some stop group flexibility which is experimentally useful in configuring the instrument I use for different idioms and which I can't replicate with an arrangement of drawstops.

Back on topic, I suppose the next step might be an enquiry to Makins in terms of technology used. We have all experienced ugly electronic sounding analogue electronic organs - but the Lancaster instrument has clearly stood the test  of time.

Best wishes

David P

twanguitar

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Re: Lancaster Priory 4 manual Makin available to good home
« Reply #18 on: August 07, 2011, 04:16:30 PM »
"I suspect from what you say that you have not played a HW console"

Er, excuse me but, yes I have played several HW systems!

I doubtless have many inadequacies, but I do try never to criticise an organ (or organ system) that I have never played.  Unlike some on this board I might add ...  !!

TG

jwillans

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Re: Lancaster Priory 4 manual Makin available to good home
« Reply #19 on: August 07, 2011, 05:07:38 PM »
The comment was not intended as a criticism of either David, TG or other digital organs - I apologise if this was the perception.  I've had very satisfying experiences playing other digital organs, and I am aware that no two instruments are the same, given the varied nature of buildings and installations, to generalise across brands.

I agree with David in that HW sounds very fine in stereo, a live-CD if you like of a particularly organ.   That is using wet-sampled, however using dry-samples in appropriate acoustics and with appropriate audio system can give the presence of a real pipe-organ.  I have successfully conducted experiments for the latter system type using the drivers that David very kindly (and resonably) supplied!  I hope that David considers trying this type of system out with his Makin.

As you can see from my previous comment, we are all in agreement about the superior nature of drawstops.  I think a system that might incorporate drawstops with the flexibility of different instruments, is one where drawstops can be configured to display different stop names.  A primitive implementation might be to mount a small LCD panel in each stop head, but I can imagine that this can be done more neatly so that the appearance is closer to that of a fixed stop head.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2011, 09:05:45 PM by organforumadmin »

 


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