Clayesmore Going Down Hill

The installation of this Clayesmore Console was tricky; it had to go down a very steep windy path. However once in place, the rest of the installation went flawlessly.

The console was finished in a custom colour to match existing woodwork, something we can do free-of-charge.

Two Iiyama touchscreens were used with a Mac Pro, Touch Base drivers and a Focusrite audio interface, a great combination.
The nameboard contains two 2 X 16 character Hauptwerk-compatible LCD panels used to display loading status, combination set and stepper information. The thumb pistons on the nameboard replicate the functions on Hauptwerk’s Combination Stepper Mini Control Panel. The Clayesmore console is fitted with curved toe-sweeps and kneeboard. 3 expression pedals and 22 toe pistons were specified by the customer. Thumb and toe piston layout and nomenclature are to customer specifications, we can provide advice if required.

Tabs or Touchscreen?

Touchscreens are very convenient if you want to switch between multiple sample sets, but they are not ideal for installations. When a touchscreen is used, as well changing registration, the player can change any Hauptwerk or operating system settings as it is not possible to lock-down Hauptwerk; well-meaning tinkering can render an instrument unplayable. I hope this gets address in Hauptwerk 5….

We recently installed a 2 manual tab instrument into an Oxford church. As the church was very small it was decided not to use one of our standard tab consoles, but to use a Winchester console . The Winchester is our most compact console and is usually used with touchscreens.

A standard 2 manual key-set was used with a custom mounting for the tabs on top. The tab panel is detachable so the console could be used with touchscreens in the future. This is now a standard option.

The sample set used was St Eucaire, it sounds brilliant and is excellent value for money. You may notice that there are blank tabs on the instrument, it has been optimised for a larger, as yet unannounced British 2 manual sample set.

A Mac Mini was used to run Hauptwerk with our Power Controller doing on/off and audio switching.   The audio interface was Focusrite.

Another interesting feature is the pin-adjustable bench. Traditional adjustable benches are very expensive, using stainless steel pins provides a cost-effective alternative.

BDO Winchester Console

German specification (BDO) consoles seem to be all the rage! This BDO Winchester console turned out very nicely. The pedalboard frame had hand-cut dovetails and sharps were capped. The keyboards are detachable from the console table to ease transportation.

The Winchester Console is our simplest design with an open frame table ,cantilevered  keyboards and straight, angled toe sweeps. It is available in both RCO/AGO and BDO dimensions. As with all of our consoles, thumb and toe piston layouts are to the customers design.

The customer chose to use off-the-shelf VESA monitor mounts. There worked very well in conjunction with Dell touchscreens.

Heatwave Clayesmore

We are having a bit of a run on BDO specification instruments. Luckily both our Clayesmore and Winchester consoles can be built to either BDO or AGO/RCO specifications.

This BDO Clayesmore console had to be installed on the third floor of a Georgian townhouse on one of the hottest days of the year. We were forewarned, so the console was built so it could be easily dismantled.

Apart from being built to BDO specifications, the other noteworthy aspect of the console was the use of Iiyama T2252MSC monitors. They looked fantastic and worked well with Windows 10 and being capacitative, they have any problem with flies landing on them.


Below are pictures of the mobile studio organ we built for the BBC, its requirements were the most stringent we have ever worked to. Health a safety aside, the design brief yielded a very interesting design. This organ is in almost daily use.

Portability and weight were the primary design criteria, no single component could weigh more than 80Kg. This meant that the console had to be split in two. The keyboard part was relatively straightforward – an open-back 2 manual tab console on castors. The pedalboard and bench proved to be a greater challenge.  The solution was to mount the bench in channels attached to the pedalboard allowing it to move fore and aft. The bench is height adjustable via pins.

A Mac Mini was used in conjunction with a Focusrite Clarett 4 pre which was mounted under the key shelf so the headphone jack could be accessed.

A good view of the bench height-adjusting pins.

Done, a very long but ultimately satisfying installation.

Charterhouse in Blackpool

This was a tricky installation. a very tight staircase and landing meant the we had to remove the keyboards from the console before we could get it into position. 2 Acer T232HL touchscreens were used.

The audio system was comprised of 4 Yamaha studio monitors, an M-Audio sub and a Focusrite audio interface.

This was a Windows 10 installation so much time was spent updating, configuring and rebooting.

St Michael’s Southampton

Just before Christmas 2016, we installed a 4 manual drawstop Hauptwerk instrument into St Michael’s Southampton. Casework was by Renatus.
The sample set used was Hereford Cathedral and the console was optimised for its use.

A full compliment of Willis-style coupler-tabs were installed on the nambeboard. The inner-treble jamb has controls for the sequencer and channels (Combination Sets).  The stopheads are rosewood mounted on Taylor solenoids.

Hauptwerk runs on a remotely installed Mac, controlled by our Power Controller. Speakers fire both North and West giving an expansive soundstage.
Potential customer can sample the instrument, by appointment.

Beautiful BDO

Not all Hauptwerk instruments need to be 4 manual monsters! We have just installed a delightful 2 manual BDO spec instrument. The customer had very specific dimensional requirements that couldn’t easily be met by an RCO / AGO console.

The entire console was made of oak with the exception of the pedalboard sharps caps which are ebony. The custom bench matches the width and foot detail of the console legs.

Cables are concealed in oak conduit running inside each leg.

Contact us if you have specific dimensional requirements for your Hauptwerk instrument.

randall-1BDO console in the workshop.

St Michael’s Southampton

The wheels of bureaucracy turn very slowly in the CofE!


St Michael’s Church in Southampton has been using Hauptwerk for quite some time and whilst the sound has been acclaimed, the playing experience has not. A Johannus instrument was graciously donated by a parishioner,  however it’s basic MIDI implementation and near end-of-life electronics seriously compromised the playing experience.

We were contacted to provide a new console, which will have 4 manuals with a specification influenced by the console at Hereford Cathedral.

To tide the church over whilst the faculty gets approved, we installed our 2 manual BDO specification rental instrument.  As the church is in the French Quarter of Southampton, I decided to use the Cavaille-Coll St Eucaire sample set.

The church has magnificent acoustics and the instrument sounds excellent. If you are in the vicinity at 10:30 on a Sunday, pop in and listen to Eucharist sung by the fabulous Cantores Michaelis directed by Keith Davis.

Something of note, the instrument is powered by a Mac Mini and incorporates single switch startup and shutdown without and UPS or dirty shutdown. This technology won’t be made generally available, but will be incorporated into our future installations.