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.
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.
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.
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.
Our rental continuo organ being used at St Michael’s Bassett whilst the church is renovated. Colin Davey at the helm.
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.
BDO console in the workshop.
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.
Following a couple of serious sales enquires and many rental requests, we have started work on a prototype digital continuo organ. The design brief was simple.
- 30″ keyboard height so it can be played whilst seated on a piano stool
- Castors to facilitate mobility
- Capacity for 2 X 8″ powered studio monitors
- Minimal overall dimensions
- Support for Fatar TP/60, 62, 63 etc and UHT keyboards – all velocity sensitive
- Adjustable angle music desk
- Draw stops with changeable nomenclature
There are many excellent sample sets available, notably the Prib and Claviorganum from Sonus Paradisi. Changing pitch, temperament and samples is simple using Hauptwerk.
We are also working on some simple draw stops that will sit each side of the music desk. Obviously, they won’t be motorised and purists may chose not to fit thumb pistons.
Please note, the desk in the pictures is our standard non-adjustable desk. For pictures of the adjustable desk, see an earlier posting.
2 M-Audio BX-8 D2 studio monitors have been temporarily fitted, there is plenty of room for a laptop, Mac Mini or Intel NUC etc.
Access doors will be fitted to the kneeboard and oak-faced MDF lattice panels will be fitted front and back. However, any tracery design can be cut on our CNC router. The prototype has Birch ply top, bottom and sides, customer instruments will be made of oak.
The instrument in the pictures is fitted with a 61 note compass Fatar TP/60LF keyboard. Customers will also have the choice of fitting a 54 note, velocity sensitive UHT keyboard with exotic wood sharps and naturals.
The keyboard will retract for ease of storage and transport.
A taller design will be offered for organists who prefer to stand whilst playing.
Our minimalist Charterhouse Console is proving to be very popular; it appeals to organists who want a price of elegant furniture rather a traditional box.
Touch screens are attached using concealed adjustable mountings. On this instrument, the customer specified 20 Taylor brass toe pistons and 3 expression pedals.
Cabling is routed through the rear legs eliminating clutter. A bench can be supplied with a leg profile that matches the console legs.
The customer used a a Mac Mini was used with 2 M-Audio BX8 Carbon speakers connected directly to the headphone jack. This configuration works really well on a Mac.
One issue we had during installation was with the USB hub that was connected to the 2 Iiyama touch screens. The Mac Mini has USB 3 ports and connecting them to an non-powered USB 2 hub can yield some very strange behaviour and also generated significant audio interference.