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Hauptwerk version 2's key features


Load many different organs. Many superb third-party sample sets are available in Hauptwerk format, covering a great diversity of types of pipe organs, many famous and of historical significance, from the smallest chamber organs to the greatest cathedral organs, theatre organs, harmoniums and even harpsichords. Have a look at the sample sets page for an idea of what's available.

Sample set of a 30-stop English organ included. A sample set of the 1907 Brindley and Foster organ of St. Anne's, Moseley, Birmingham, England is included, comprising about 600 MB of high-quality samples recorded separately from every note on every stop on the organ. It also includes blower noise, stop action noise and other details, a photo-realistic console display, numerous playing aids (divisional and general pistons, crescendo pedal, FF and PP pistons, combination programmer panels and more) and a superbly realistic tremulant, swell box and wind supply model. More details.

Stops can be selected individually or in any combination. Because the majority of Hauptwerk sample sets include at least one sample per note per stop, you are not restricted to pre-recorded registrations, as with many organ libraries for generic samplers..

Very large sample sets. Hauptwerk is built around the philosophy of one sample per pipe (or, at least, one per note per stop), and long samples, each of 5 seconds or more. This allows for for incredibly realistic virtual organ models, with the size of the sample set being limited only by the memory available on the computer.

'Wet' and 'dry' sample sets. 'Wet' sample sets include the natural ambience of the room from which the original organ was recorded, and reproduce the real acoustic of the building, which is an integral part of an organ's sound, whereas 'dry' samples contain no room ambience. Wet sample sets are suitable for use at home, on headphones, or in acoustically-dry rooms, whereas dry sample sets can be used in reverberant spaces. Both types of sample sets are available in Hauptwerk format.

Release samples. The stopping transients (decay) of a pipe contribute a great deal to its character. For example, reed pipes often have a characteristic 'parp' when they stop speaking. Hauptwerk uses release samples recorded from the organ pipes, playing them whenever the virtual pipes cease to speak. Very importantly, release samples can also record the natural decay of the pipe within the original room ambience, making it possible to capture that room ambience naturally within the sample set; a crucial part of the sound of an organ. In particular, historical organs can be captured and played virtually in the full majesty of their original acoustic environment.

Enormous polyphony. Unlike generic samplers, Hauptwerk is designed and optimised very carefully to achieve a staggering polyphony, necessary to model pipe organs effectively, where hundreds of pipes may sound at once, and to play long 'wet' release samples. A single-core 2.2 GHz AMD Athlon 64 processor can typically manage 700-1000 simultaneous pipes, and appropriate multi-core systems can play the largest of cathedral organs. A dual-Opteron 275 computer (four cores) can manage a polyphony of about 3300 simultaneous pipes. All samples are kept in memory to give the highest possible polyphony. Memory is now very cheap, and this enables the best performance to be achieved for a given computer hardware cost.

Advanced polyphony management. Once you have tested the polyphony that can reliably be achieved on your computer system, you set a polyphony limit in Hauptwerk. When Hauptwerk reaches that limit, no more pipes are allowed to sound, preventing the system becoming overloaded and the audio breaking up (very important for live recitals!). A little before the limit is reached, Hauptwerk attempts to fade out some of the most inconspicuous release samples, so that even reaching the polyphony limit is extremely rare. In practice this means that the audio should never break up, and you are very unlikely to be able to hear any loss of realism even if very large sample sets are played with modest computer hardware.

Advanced release sample handling. The release samples are automatically phase-aligned with the main pipe samples so that no dip in volume should occur when Hauptwerk joins the main samples to the release samples when keys are released. The level of a release sample is also automatically adjusted so that it matches that of the main sample at the point that the key is released, giving a natural decay when playing short notes.

Other advanced sampler features. Virtual pipes can be composed of several layered samples. Attack/sustain and release samples can be chosen randomly or according to complex criteria within each layer. Thus, for example, a sample set can optionally separate the 'chiff' of a pipe from the main body of the sound, and allow its level to be controlled separately.

Photo-realistic organ console display. Each sample set can display a fully customised, multi-tabbed display of the organ console and other functional parts using high-resolution graphics. The controls on the display can move and be interacted with. It feels like you are actually sitting at the console of the pipe organ in question! Have a look at the screenshots pages for some examples.

Ultra-realistic swell boxes. Hauptwerk use specially-designed high-speed filters to shape the sound of each enclosed virtual pipe separately in real-time. This allows the effect of a swell box to vary from pipe to pipe, and for natural ambience recorded into a pipe release sample to be unaffected by sudden movements of the swell shutters during playback of the release. The inertia of the shutters themselves can also be modelled, so that some flexibility is present in the virtual linkage from the pedal to the shutters. Even the very slight rise in air pressure inside a closed swell box can be modelled, with its subtle acoustic effects on the pipes.

Ultra-realistic tremulants. Using special waveform samples extracted by analysis of the effects of the real tremulant on the recorded pipes, the sound of each virtual pipe is shaped individually in real-time by modulating its pitch, amplitude and harmonic content with separate waveforms. Allowing unique modulating waveforms to be applied to every pipe allows the effect of a tremulant to vary naturally across the compass of a rank, whilst perfect synchronisation is maintained for all pipes.

Couplers. All types of couplers are accurately modelled: inter-manual, intra-manual, octave, sub-octave, unison-off couplers, combination couplers, etc.

Pipe borrowing and unification. Some organs derive several stops from a single rank of pipes, or 'borrow' some pipes from other ranks. In particular, theatre organs are built around this principle. Borrowing and unification are modelled accurately.

Crescendo pedals. Fully programmable crescendo pedals can be modelled, optionally with a different sequence of stop changes in each direction.

Bass and melody couplers. The bass coupler allows the Pedal division to be played without the use of a MIDI pedalboard, playing only the lowest note played on the manual. Bass couplers are very useful if you don't have a MIDI pedalboard. A melody coupler couples only the highest note played.

Noises and effects for added realism. Any types of creaks, clunks, squeaks, and other noises can be modelled. For example, the St. Anne's, Moseley organ sample set included with Hauptwerk models key action noise, stop action noise, blower noise, the noise of the tremulant pneumatic motor and the creaking of the swell box shutters. Of course, you can disable such noises if you prefer.

Theatre organ modelling. As well as unification, most, if not all, eccentricities of the theatre organ are available to sample sets, such as second touch, 'toy counter' effects, drums pedals, sustainers. Hauptwerk's superbly realistic tremulant and swell box models make for one of the most life-like sonic and functional models of a theatre organ yet.

Fully-programmable combination system and registration sequencer. Divisional and general combinations are available in sample sets that support them. Complete sets of combinations can be saved to files and recalled quickly and simply. The registration sequencer has 512 general combination frames divided into eight banks.

All virtual organ controls controllable by MIDI. When enabled within the sample set, a virtual organ control can be controlled fully by MIDI. Thus you can use external MIDI buttons to trigger Hauptwerk's virtual combination pistons, MIDI draw-knobs to control its virtual draw-knobs, or MIDI expression pedals to control its virtual swell or crescendo pedals, for example.

All virtual organ controls controllable by the mouse. When enabled within the sample set, a virtual organ control can also be controlled fully with the computer's mouse; even keys and expression pedals. This is particularly useful when first exploring a new organ sample set, or when trying out Hauptwerk initially.

Very powerful and flexible input system. Virtual organ switches (stops, couplers, pistons, etc.) can be turned on and off by many different types of event: MIDI note-on/off, MIDI program change, MIDI control change, MIDI system exclusive, MIDI after-touch and computer keyboard keys, and can be configured to work directly with almost all types of MIDI organ console. There are almost no restrictions on MIDI port, channel, note number etc. Similarly, expression pedals can use any combination of MIDI port, channel and controller. All MIDI configurations previously used with Hauptwerk version 1 can be used with version 2.

Support for Steinberg ASIO audio drivers. ASIO drivers are available for most professional audio cards, usually giving superior performance, better resilience to audio glitches and lower latency.

Support for Microsoft DirectSound audio drivers. DirectSound drivers are available for almost all sound and audio cards on Windows platforms.

Stand-alone and Steinberg VSTi plug-in versions. The VSTi plug-in version allows for easy integration with audio sequencers and other software effects and audio programs, with Hauptwerk running within the VST host program, to which its audio and MIDI output is sent and from which it receives MIDI input. Host programs such as Steinberg V-STack and Cubase SX allow for additional real-time equalisation and effects to be applied to Hauptwerk's audio output. 32 stereo outputs are provided from the VSTi version of Hauptwerk to enable complex audio routing. Click here for a screenshot of the VSTi version of Hauptwerk running within Steinberg V-STack. Both the stand-alone and VSTi versions of Hauptwerk are included with a licence for Hauptwerk.

32-bit audio signal path and high-resolution output. All audio processing and mixing happens in the 32-bit floating point format. Final audio output is always provided in the highest resolution that the audio or sound card and its drivers can support - usually 24 or 32-bit for professional audio interfaces. Because of this high internal resolution, even if 16-bit pipe samples are used, the effective overall resolution can be much higher, still giving crystal-clear high-definition audio.

Output sample rates up to 96 kHz. Hauptwerk supports output sample rates of 44.1, 48 and 96 kHz depending on the sample set and the audio hardware and its drivers.

Built-in audio recording system. The audio output stream from Hauptwerk can be captured natively to sample files with no loss of quality.

Fully optimised for multi-processor and multi-core computers, full native 64-bit and NUMA processor optimisation. Separately-optimised versions of Hauptwerk are installed for different types of processors. All PC processors since the Intel Pentium II are supported, but the multi-core AMD Opteron and AMD Athlon 64 are recommended for best performance. Please see the computer specs and prerequisites pages for more details.

Choose ranks to load. When you load an organ sample set, you can optionally choose to disable some of its ranks, allowing a sample set to be used in part which would not otherwise fit into memory. The disabled ranks still behave normally except that they produce no sound and their samples are not loaded into memory.

Multi-channel audio output. If an appropriate multi-output audio card and amplification is available, ranks of pipes, or parts of ranks, can be amplified separately, and even pipes within a rank can be distributed across many audio channels, providing a three-dimensional sound field and minimising distortions within the amplification system. The stand-alone version of Hauptwerk can drive up to 256 stereo or 512 mono audio channels, and the VSTi version provides 32 stereo audio output channels.

Audio output mixing and routing. Hauptwerk has its own virtual mixing desk, allowing the sound from its audio outputs to be mixed down to other output channels via auxiliary buses. Thus it is possible, for example, to provide 'dry' output to the main sets of pipe amplifiers, whilst also mixing all of the pipework down to one or more further amplifiers to which external reverberation is applied, thus providing separate reverberation outputs. Similarly, mixed-down headphones, recording and monitor speaker outputs can be provided alongside the main amplification channels.

Wind supply model. A complex physical model, using fluid dynamics principles, is used to model the air pressures and air flows within the parts of the wind supply system of an organ, and the movements of mechanical parts which interact with it. The resulting air flow rates, calculated separately for each organ pipe, modulate their pitch, amplitude and harmonic content in real-time. Thus every pipe on the organ interacts with every other pipe, and effects such as 'wind sag', wind instability and regulator table oscillation are modelled very accurately. If you regard such aspects of an organ's sound as imperfections that you would prefer not to hear, you can easily disable the wind supply model for any sample set. [Please note: the wind supply mode is not currently available to customers in the U.S.A.]

Modelling of harmoniums and other manually-pumped instruments. The wind supply model allows air to be 'pumped' manually through the parts of the virtual wind supply system, with the wind supply model controlling the speech of the pipes or reeds accordingly, allowing for realistic, fully functional models of harmoniums, bagpipes and similar manually-blown instruments. [Please note: this feature is not currently available to customers in the U.S.A.]

Air flow turbulence model. The turbulence model allows any air flow through a virtual organ pipe or part of the wind supply system to be randomised using a physical model, simulating the effects of turbulence within flow through a tube. In the case of flow through organ pipes, this causes the speech of each pipe to vary subtly and constantly, imparting movement and life to the sound of the organ. The model can be disabled if you prefer perfectly stable pipe speech.

Random pipe tuning errors. No pipe organ is ever perfectly in tune, and small imperfections in tuning between the pipes give liveliness to the sound. Each time that a virtual organ is loaded into Hauptwerk, a small randomised detuning can be calculated separately for each pipe, using parameters defined within the virtual organ model which specify how likely each given pipe is to be detuned by a specific amount. Hence reeds can be made to be more likely to be more detuned than flue pipes, for example, and the shape of the probability function can be adjusted. You can disable such tuning errors if you prefer.

Multiple sample loops. When multiple loops are defined in a sample, they are played back in a specially-designed sequence so that the overall repetition time of the sample is very much longer than for any single loop. This, together with the turbulence and wind models, almost eliminate the predictable, repetitive character often associated with sampled sounds.

Tremulant modulation randomisation. A further randomisation model allows the depth of modulations applied by each tremulant to each pipe to vary constantly and subtly, so that the sound of the tremulant is always evolving, whilst synchronisation remains perfect. Again, the randomisation can be disabled if you wish.

Select-able temperaments and original organ tuning. Many historical tunings and temperaments are available for use with Hauptwerk, and can be recalled instantly from the organ console or via the menus. An option is also provided to play an organ with its original recorded tuning, complete with any imperfections.

Master tuning adjustment. The overall pitch of the organ can be adjusted from the menus or from MIDI pistons on the organ console, allowing the organ to be tuned to other acoustic instruments, or adjusted to match that of any real organ pipes driven by Hauptwerk as the temperature changes.

Transposer. The keyboards can be transposed up or down in increments of a semitone, controlled from the menus or MIDI pistons, allowing easy accompaniment in keys other than that in which a score is written. Because the tranposer is applied at the incoming MIDI level, it automatically applies to any external voice modules or real pipework controlled by Hauptwerk.

Velocity sensitivity and tracker-action organ modelling. For sample sets which support it, the velocity with which a key is pressed can determine which of a set of samples is triggered when a pipe speaks, allowing for the pipe response of tracker-action organs to be recorded and simulated. An additional dedicated model allows the speech of the pipe sample to be modified during the attack phase to model the differences in harmonic content, pitch and amplitude changes that occur when a tracker-action pipe is played with varying key velocities.

The Custom Organ Design Module. The module makes it quick and easy for users to create their own custom organ specifications from ranks of samples provided by third-parties. Most of the complexities of the organ model, such as the wind supply model, screen display and internal 'wiring', are handled automatically. It is possible to create a large fully functioning virtual organ model in only an hour or so, and requires almost no understanding of the organ-building or physics principles involved.

Control of MIDI solenoid-actuated or illuminated draw-knobs, tabs or lamps. Just as MIDI draw-knobs, tabs, buttons or other console switches can be used to control Hauptwerk's stops, couplers, tremulants, pistons and other virtual switches, so Hauptwerk's virtual switches can control the states of appropriate MIDI draw-knobs, tabs and lamps, so that, in response to changes from Hauptwerk's combination system and other circumstances, the states of external MIDI switches remain perfectly synchronised to the virtual switches to which they are connected.

Full 'headless' operation. Once Hauptwerk has been installed, given suitable MIDI controls on the organ console, there is no need for a computer monitor, mouse or keyboard for day-to-day operation. All of the core menu functions can be controlled fully by MIDI, and Hauptwerk can produce MIDI output to show its status using lamps or LEDs or on a special status LCD panel. Specific organ sample sets, temperaments, sets of combinations, registration sequencer banks and other menu functions can all be recalled from MIDI pistons, and Hauptwerk can be configured to load automatically when the computer is turned on, optionally loading a default organ sample set, temperament and set of combinations. The computer can even be shut down safely from a MIDI piston.

Native control of external voice modules and real pipework. Via the Custom Organ Design Module, you can define external MIDI voice modules and pipe ranks, and integrate them fully into Hauptwerk's virtual console, so that they are controlled natively alongside its internal virtual ranks. Thus coupling, stop control, combination memory, transposition and so forth, all apply correctly to the external ranks.

LCD panel display system for labelling draw-knobs and other console controls. Hauptwerk has a fully-integrated LCD panel control system, using custom MIDI system-exclusive messages, to allow draw-knobs, tabs, pistons and any other console apparatus to be be labelled appropriately for the virtual organ which is currently loaded. LCD panels with up to 32-characters can be controlled, and, hardware allowing, they can be illuminated in up to four colours to show logical groupings of the console controls at a glance.

Custom MIDI hardware configuration messages. You can specify a set of custom MIDI messages for Hauptwerk to send when a given organ is loaded or reset to configure your external hardware appropriately.

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