Work Starts on a Hauptwerk Continuo Organ

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.
IMG_3734

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.
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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.
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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.
IMG_3737

 

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.

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The keyboard will retract for ease of storage and transport.

A taller design will be offered for organists who prefer to stand whilst playing.

Charterhouse Console

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.

melling-4

Touch screens are attached using concealed adjustable mountings. On this instrument, the customer specified 20 Taylor brass toe pistons and 3 expression pedals.
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Cabling is routed through the rear legs eliminating clutter. A bench can be supplied with a leg profile that matches the console legs.
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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.

Single Manual Continuo Keyboard

1M Continuo Keyboard

1M Continuo Keyboard

We have just complete a single manual keyboard for a customer who wanted a portable Hauptwerk-ready keyboard that can be used whilst seated or standing up.  A neat music desk has been designed that can be set at 3 angles and folds flat for ease of transportation.

continuo-desk

A Fatar TP/60LF keyboard and 11 thumb pistons were specified. Our velocity sensitive USB bus-powerd MIDI encoder was fitted which supports MIDI in and out (with merge) and the connection of up to 2 expression pedals.

Other keyboards could be specified such as Fatar TP64/LF with wood cores, Ebony naturals and Cherry sharps or keyboards from UHT for those who want the ultimate feel or maybe a shorter compass.

We are also planning to build mobile console to enclose a computer and 2 x 8″ studio monitors. Watch this space!

So if you conduct a choir, this could be a very useful continuo organ solution when used with a sample set such as the Prib Chamber Organ from Sonus Paradisi.

4 Manual Clayesmore Console

Our orders seem to be split about 50 / 50 between the minimalist Charterhouse and the more traditional Clayesmore consoles.

Below is a rather nice 4 manual Clayesmore Console that we have just installed. Of note is the adjustable music desk, the customer wanted the ability to adjust the desk fore and aft and up and down. 61 engraved thumb pistons, 20 Taylor brass toe pistons and 3 expressions were also specified.

A secondhand 2009 Mac Pro with 32Gb of RAM was used with an Echo Audiofire 12 and 2 Iiyama 2253MTS touchscreens and Touch Base drivers.

 

4M Clayesmore Console

4M Clayesmore Console

4M Clayesmore Console

4M Clayesmore Console

4M Clayesmore Console

4M Clayesmore Console

Salisbury Cathedral Replica

4M Modular

4M Modular

Our latest installation is a 4 manual modular console – now known as “The Charterhouse”. The customer, a former employee of Salisbury Cathedral, wanted a replica console to use with the Milan Salisbury sample set. We retained an existing Osmond 30 note pedalboard and bench. 2 x 22″ Iiyama touchscreen monitors were used to accurately replicate the organs stop jambs. A Mac Mini was internally mounted reducing the external wiring to just a power and firewire cable. The audio interface is an Echo Audiofire 12 which is connected to 6 x Mackie HR824 powered studio monitors and a KRK sub.

There were some teething troubles with the Mac (2Ghz quad core i7 Mac Mini Server with Intel HD3000 graphics not supporting 2 rotated monitors). After replacing the Mac with a later 2.6Ghz machine with HD4000 graphics, all is well. Again we used Touch-Base drivers for the touchscreens.

This minimalist console looks fantastic in the newly decorated music room. A very satisfactory installation.

2 Manual Key Stack

P1090901

We have just delivered a 2 manual key stack that has turned out particularly nicely. Specification below. The customer already had a MIDI pedal board, expression pedal and Viscount and Content expanders, sadly no Hauptwerk (yet). Total ex works cost was approx. £1880 + VAT.

      • 2 Fatar TP/60 keyboards
      • 6 divisional pistons per manual
      • 10 generals
      • 3 reversibles and combination setter and general cancel
      • Removable oak music desk
      • MIDI in and out supporting MIDI merge
      • 2 continuous controllers for expression pedals
      • USB (can be bus powered if required)
      • Toe piston connectors (up to 28)
      • Renatus serial pedalboard connector

P1090910

 

Piston Layout

pistons

When designing an organ, one of the variables needing consideration is piston layout. Annoyingly, there is no definitive specification.

Clive Sidney has come to the rescue by providing a suggested British piston layout . Click on the link below.

brit_console_piston_layout

Bear in mind that  we use a piston spacing of 28.5mm instead of the suggested 32mm which yields a greater piston density, particularly useful when using touchscreens. This gives 29 piston positions across the keyslip, combination setter at position 0, the first divisional at position 12 and general cancel at 29.

Romsey OrganWorks can create any piston layout including user defined nomenclature.

Touchscreens on a Mac

monitors

Without question, a Mac is the superior choice when it comes to a computing platform on which to base a Hauptwerk organ. However unlike Windows 7 and 8, OS X has no touchscreen support, a Steve Jobs legacy, iOS devices have touchscreens, OS X devices don’t.

When 2 touchscreens are connected to a Mac, it “sees” 2 displays and 2 USB HID controllers it has no idea that these 4 devices are actually 2 physical touchscreens.

A custom driver is required to map the USB HID controllers to display areas and calibrate the touch coordinates with monitor.

Touch-Base are market leaders in this area. Their drivers are commercial, but the expense is well worth it.

The first thing to do is to work out what USB HID controllers are installed in your touch monitors. To do this, connect the touchscreen USB connections to your Mac. Then click on the Apple logo in the top left of the screen and select About This Mac, More Info…, System Report… Then click on USB in the Hardware section. Navigate the USB tree until you find the HID controller(s). Make a note of the Manufacturer and product ID (PID). usb-config

Then go to the Touch-base download page. Add your contact information and find the controller. You may find that there are multiple drivers for a given manufacturer. In that case, select one and you’ll see the PID for the selected driver. Compare it to the PID in the system report. Below is the driver that matches the system report above, 3023.touch-base

Then click Request Download. You’ll be emailed a link to the driver.

If you have difficulty locating your driver, Touch-Base will help identify the touch screen if you email support@touch-base.com the USB vendor and product id.

Please note, that the driver from the download site is a trial driver with functional restrictions (100 touches) and supplied to test out the hardware.

Install the driver. Then run UPDD Console.

The primary job of UPDD Console is to associate the HID controllers with their respective displays. The mapping between display and HID controller is static. See the Driver/Device settings – the UPDD Console in http://touch-base.com/documentation/MacOSXPlatformNotesV5.htm Note, changing configuration requires a re-boot.

To complicate matters, display configuration is dynamic, OS X will automatically configure the displays. This default configuration can be changed in System Preferences, Displays.

monitors

Whenever monitor configuration is changed, the mapping must be reestablished with associated HID controllers. So once a working configuration has been achieved, monitor and USB configuration should not be be changed.

Once configuration is complete and the Mac has been re-booted, run UPDD-Calibration. This is a simple affair,  just follow the on-screen instructions.

Below is suggested installation sequence.

  1. Check USB Configuration in USB tree (Manufacturer and PID)
  2. Download driver and install
  3. Configure Monitors in System Preferences, Displays
  4. Run UPDD Console and associate each HID controller with each display
  5. Re-boot
  6. Run UPDD Calibration
  7. If all functions as expected, purchase the driver
  8. Play!

 

 

 

Charterhouse Console

Announcing our Charterhouse Console for organists that require a minimalist piece of furniture.

4 Manual Modular

4 Charterhouse Modular

The curved legs support 2 to 4 Fatar or UHT manuals. Curved toe sweeps incorporate toe pistons and up to three expression pedals. Cables are neatly concealed in the legs.

Touch screen mounts are supplied with adjustable VESA mounting plates.

An internal power supply feeds the manuals, pedalboard and pedalboard light and also switches the power to the monitors. Alternatively, the console can be USB bus-powered.

The music desk can either be of oak or toughened glass.

A bench with legs that match the curved legs of the console is also available.

Please contact us for more information.

Modular Console

Charterhouse Console