Historically, only large churches and public facilities were able to accommodate the massive size and high cost of a fine pipe organ. The dream of having a really great sounding organ was out of reach for smaller churches and for the most people's homes.
Electronic organs filled the gap for many years. Various technologies were used, and some were more successful than others. Organ builders used electronic oscillator circuits to create analog organs that made amazingly good sound for their time. More recently, digital technology has been used to provide ever-improving sound.
Today, virtual organ software provides a way of very closely reproducing the sound of a fine pipe organ using a standard computer. High quality recordings are made of each individual organ pipe, and these are stored digitally on the computer. The virtual organ software manages playback of these recordings, so that when the organist selects stops and presses keys, the appropriate sounds are played back, accurately reproducing the sound of the original organ.
While it is possible to produce these sounds using a simple, portable keyboard connected to the computer, a "serious" organist needs the proper "user interface" with the computer. That's where our midi consoles come in.
Rather than producing sound on their own, our organ consoles send information to the computer, telling it which keys are being pressed and which other controls are being operated as the organist plays. The computer responds by playing back the appropriate recordings. Depending on the settings selected, anywhere from one to dozens of pipes may sound when the organist presses a single key.
The picture above shows how it works. Notice that the controls of the original organ are displayed on the two touch screens. The organist can operate the stops (controls that activate different sets of pipes, which make different sounds) by touching the control on the touch screen. But many organists prefer the tactile experience of using physical controls on the console. On this organ, the physical stop drawknobs are "mapped" to the controls on the virtual organ (shown on the screens), so when the organist pulls the drawknob, the corresponding stop is activated. It is possible to build a virtual organ console that doesn't require the use of a computer screen at all, but having the screens provides flexibility to use the console with many different virtual organs. Alternatively, consoles can be built with no physical controls other than the keys and pedals, and touch screens can be used to control everything.
Our consoles are built using the shell of older organs that no longer function properly, or that were built using technology that is now obsolete. We re-wire the keys, pedals, and controls to send midi signals to the computer. The cabinets are touched up or refinished as needed. If the keyboards are in poor condition or not of good quality, they are replaced. Additional manuals (keyboards) can be added. This particular console originally had two manuals, but we added a third and re-worked the console to accommodate it.
Each console is tailored to meet the needs of the customer. Some customers choose to connect the console to their existing computer and sound system. Others opt for a complete installation that includes the computer, monitor(s), amplifiers, speakers and a full installation in their home or church.
We welcome your questions. Additional information about virtual organ software is available at www.hauptwerk.com. You can see and hear many wonderful performances on Hauptwerk systems at www.contrebombarde.com.
A Virtual Pipe Organ system allows you the experience of playing some of the finest pipe organs in the world.
Encore Organ Technology can make your Virtual Pipe Organ dreams come true.