Alexander Schuke says:

The restoration of the Stertzing organ 1702 honored a master absolutely equal to
Arp Schnitger
No organ builder shows such a connection with
Johann Sebastian Bach
Sample Set from the Stertzing organ

Sample sets are made to play in the living room with the pipe sounds of a church organ. The most beautiful organ sounds come from historic organs from the baroque era with their vocal sounds. Organs with 20 to 30 registers built around 1600 – 1790 in the golden age of organ art. At the end of the last century, the organ builders were able to restore it to its original baroque style.

My traditional knowledge of organ building I have also applied to designing house pipe organs. Organs for the living room are not miniaturized church organs, but are specially designed for the living room. Church organ pipes cannot be used in a house organ. The wind pressure of the house organ is low and the pipes have a low upper labium. This creates a tone with a clear blowing sound (chiff) that change into a fluctuating development of the tone; a very musical effect that inspires to play. Please switch off the unnatural wind model.
The organist sits a short distance away and can hear every nuance of the tone.

Sample sets are made from church organs and sound like miniaturized church organs in the living room. With the voicing I try to approach the sounds of my house pipe organ, but I only succeed to a limited extent. I achieve the best result with samples of baroque organs in small churches, preferably in southern European places. The wind pressure is lower and the acoustics are better than with the Northern organs.

A striking example is the sample set of the Stertzing organ from Büßleben. Stertzing's workshop was in Eisenach, where Johann Sebastian Bach was born. The organ from Büßleben was built in 1702 and is still in its original state. The sounds hardly differ from those of a house pipe organ.

Piotr Grabowski chose this organ to store the sounds in a sample set and voiced the samples so perfectly that the sounds I hear correspond to my house pipe organ. The sample set of the Stertzing organ is the most successful set for a Hauptwerk organ and Piotr Grabowski delivered a top result. I play this organ every day.

                                                                             Stertzing organ ----->

Realistic pipe sounds in the living room

Building pipe organs has been my profession for decades. I have visited hundreds of churches in most European countries to assess the sounds of the organ and correct the intonation where necessary. In the church you can clearly hear that shortly after the sound of a pipe the first reflections in the acoustics begin. These build up the tone of the pipe until it fills the whole church with a wide, full sound.

I have also built pipe organs for the living room, but without acoustics the tones cannot develop and no sound beauty is created. The Hauptwerk organ does have good acoustics and, provided that samples of impeccable quality are used, the sounds are equal to those in the church. The organ in the church is housed in a cabinet that mixes the tones of the pipes and produces them as one source of sounds.

My organ was built by Wim de Borst from Sonarte in Capelle aan den IJssel. In addition to being an organ builder, he is a church organist with an excellent hearing, which enables him to make the sounds he hears in the church sound exactly the same in his Hauptwerk organs.

After having experienced the disappointing quality of the loudspeakers with which Noorlander supplies his organs, Wim de Borst and I searched for loudspeakers of the highest quality. Reference class loudspeakers, which are used by the best sample makers to compare sounds from the samples with the sounds from the pipes. These loudspeakers should never be placed in the organ case; nothing should hinder the free appearance.

In addition to the speakers, the Digital-Analog Converter is also of the highest quality. The result of the precious audio can be heard in sounds that are no different from my pipe organ. Loudspeakers are the most important parts of the organ! The organ has a supporting bass with a very deep gravity as the foundation for the clear and transparent plenum sound. Even 32 feet is shown realistically deep (felt).

Two channels (stereo) with DRY samples give a realistic representation of the sounds in the church, where the organ case is also the only sound source. Those who use more loudspeakers with sounds from WET samples and call them Surround, do not know how an organist hears the sounds in the church. The direction can be heard from each loudspeaker. I have played in churches with good acoustics where several organs are spread over the church. It was nowhere to be heard from which direction the sounds were coming. Due to the acoustics, the sounds merge completely.

Realistic Acoustics
The acoustics are a convolutional reverberation obtained from an IR recording. When a key is pressed, the tone starts and the reverberation is created in which the sound becomes wider and fuller. The audible origin of the reverberation corresponds to the operation of the acoustics in the church. The reverberation is fully adjustable, in the minimum setting the organ sounds at short distance, like a pipe sounds on my voicing keyboard. This is the characteristic effect of the acoustics in the church that cannot be replaced by
Acoustics are important, but should not dominate. I sometimes read that someone wants to immerse themselves in acoustics. That cannot be an organist, because whoever plays the organ has something to say. His or her precisely nuanced phrasing would be lost due to excessive reverberation.

A good pipe tone starts with the precursor tone, it's an accent on the beginning. That is audible in the DRY sample, at least with organs in the baroque style. Not with organs built between 1830 and 1970. These organs operate at high wind pressure and have deep languid stitches, which makes the development of precursor tones impossible. The organ builders at that time strived for powerful sounds, although at the expense of sound beauty. In that time, the craft has been lost.

The vocal sounds of the Renaissance, Baroque or Rococo were much more musical. The craftsmanship of the organ builders was also considerably greater at that time. This can be clearly heard in the sample sets of organs from the early period. Nowadays, the baroque style is being built again and the art of organ making can be heard again.

When I play the Hauptwerk organ at home, I want to hear sounds that are no different from the sounds in the church. The DRY samples contain the pipe tones, but the acoustics of the church are already stored in the Hauptwerk organ. Then the tones of the pipes sound just like in the church and the acoustics also start working in the same way. After the first reflection, the reverberation increases and the sound characteristics flourish. Yet the melody lines do not intertwine; it doesn't become a mess of echoing sounds.

It is necessary to voice the samples
The samples contain the tones of the pipes, but each Hauptwerk organ has a different audio system with major differences between the speakers. By voicing the differences are corrected. Hauptwerk is a complete system where all properties of a tone can be voiced separately. With a good explanation, every organist can do it himself. I have described my way of voicing in books and I make these books available free of charge.

Warning to users of a simple system
More and more users of a simple system (which can be loaded in a few seconds) want to improve the sounds and ask me about my voicing books, which I always provide free of charge. However, only with samples from Hauptwerk is voicing possible and the characteristic properties of the pipes become audible. Quality has its price; those who have opted for a simple and cheap system must accept the disadvantages. A simple system is limited and cannot reproduce the sounds of organ pipes as Hauptwerk can. Everyone is welcome to determine it for themselves here.                                                             see: Hauptwerk books