Pipes have characteristic properties

The recordings stored in the samples are the tones of properly intonated pipes. In order to store the characteristics of each pipe, the microphone(s) must be close to the pipe. Due to the short distance, a tone can be heard well and it is stored in a sample. The reverberation is not yet audible;
it is a DRY sample.

In the earlier Hauptwerk systems, the acoustics of the church were suggested by making a recording at a greater distance from the pipes. That is called a WET sample. Electronic organs already had an almost perfect system for recording the acoustics of a room. This is called convolutional reverberation and every musician knows it, because the acoustics of concert halls have been recorded all over the world. A singer can prepare his performance at home with these acoustics.

Brett Milan has long been urged to add that system to Hauptwerk as well, so that the false acoustics of WET samples become superfluous. This real acoustics is present from Hauptwerk 5. Unfortunately, there are many home users who believe that more channels better give a better representation of the church organ and because a sample maker is not an educator, but has to live from his work, he records more channels with WET samples. The sample set is offered as a Surround set.

In the living room there are then several speakers distributed over the room. From each speaker you can clearly hear where the sound is coming from. Completely different from the functioning of the acoustics in the church.
Acoustics are uniform throughout without coming from a particular direction

Voicing the samples is absolutely necessary!

DRY samples are recordings of pipes from the organ in the church. The microphones placed at a short distance from the pipes records the tone of each pipe with all the properties characteristic of that tone. The volume of the tone is high, matching the large space of the church and in this form the tone is stored in the sample.

Decrease volume

When the sample is used in the Hauptwerk organ, the volume must be reduced to the level of the living room, but because a reduction has a stronger effect on the treble than on the bass, the proportions shift and the tone sounds different than in the church. An organ builder knows that when moving from one church to another, he has to voice the pipes in order to hear the same sounds again.


The tones from the samples must also be adjusted in order to hear the sounds in the living room, as they sounded in the church. For me as a voicer of pipe organs, this is a well-known method. Voicing pipes requires a great deal of expertise, but although adjusting the samples is also called voicing, it is much simpler. After all, the pipes in the church were already perfect and the Hauptwerk organ must reproduce those sounds at a lower volume with the same intensity. Hauptwerk has ample options for adapting it to the living room.


The character of the sound depends on the way a pipe speaks. It is the articulation that the organist needs for his musical expression. The tone should begin somewhat aggressively, so that the beginning of the tone shows an accent.

The articulation differs according to the nature of the register; a Principal starts differently than a Stopped Pipe or a Flute. It is important to capture articulation and character well in the samples.

By voicing, the character that is displayed too weakly in the living room due to the lower volume can be brought forward again.

When the volume for loud sounds is greatly reduced, a register of soft sounds will no longer be audible. Therefore, the differences between loud and soft registers should be reduced. The dynamics of the church are adapted to the dynamics of the living room.