Pipes have characteristic properties

The recordings stored in the samples are tones of well-voiced. In order to store the characteristic sound properties, microphones must be close to the pipes. Due to the short distance, the tones can be heard well and without reverberation. It's a DRY sample.

With microphones at a greater distance, it's not about the sounds, but about transferring the acoustics of the church with a WET sample. Since Hauptwerk replaced this with Impulse Response recordings that do that perfectly, WET samples no longer make sense.

Sometimes the acoustics are so good that, despite a microphone at a short distance, some reverberation can still be heard. This sample is called semi-DRY, but the character of the tone is present in the sample and can be brought out more during voicing by using the Boost control.

Voicing the samples is absolutely necessary!

DRY-samples are recordings of pipes of the organ in the church. The microphones must be placed at short distance from the pipes to record the tone of each pipe with all the characteristics characteristic of this 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, that volume should be lowered to the level of the living room, but since a reduction works more strongly on the high than on the bass, the tone sounds different from the church. An organ builder also experiences it when he disassembles the organ and rebuilds it in another church. The pipes must be re-voiced to make the same sounds heard in another room.

The tones from the samples also need to be adjusted to hear the sounds in the living room, as they have sounded in the church. For me as a voicer of pipe organs, that's a well-known method. Voicing of pipes requires a great deal of professional knowledge, but although adjusting the samples is also called voicing, it is much easier. After all, the pipes in the church were already perfect voiced and the Hauptwerk organ must represent those sounds at a lower volume with the same intensity. Hauptwerk has ample possibilities for adapting to the living room.

Control sliders
I photographed the positions of the control sliders and they can literally be taken over by each organist on his own organ. The differences between the reproduction of my speakers and the loudspeakers of another organ can be heard as an irregular course of the volumes per key. It is easy to level per key and has not caused any problems for participants in the test period.


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.

Sample Sets with the best representation of the original organ

Martini Church in Groningen
For baroque organs, my preference is first and foremost for the sample set that Jiri Zurek of Sonus Paradisi made of the organ of the Martini Church in my birthplace Groningen. It is the best sample set ever made,

Schnitger organ in Lüdingworth
The sounds are well captured in the samples here, but the living room needs adjustment. In my book on the organ in Lüdingworth the required actions are described.

Prytanée organ
A particularly good representation of the church sounds can be heard in this sample set. Without voicing the samples, the reproduction in the living room is already good. The wind pressure is therefore equal to the wind pressure that pipes get in a house organ.
Still, by voicing, I have obtained considerably better sounds.

Rudolf Janke built an organ according to historical baroque principles. It is a reconstruction of the Esaias Compenius organ from 1617 for the city church of Bückeburg. Today's organ builders have learned how to reapply the specific properties of the old craft. The organ in Bückeburg shows the baroque sound atmosphere as we know it from restored historic organs. The sample set that Jiri Zurek has made of this reproduces the sounds as I heard them in Bückeburg with my own playing.
Good voicing is required for reproduction in the living room. The organ in the church was built according to the Werkenprinzip with the accompanying major differences between the three works. These differences must be corrected for the living room.

About the voicing I refer to my book Sounds in the Living Room, which will be sent free of charge if the full address is requested. Also mention that it is used for the Bückeburg organ.

This are the most useful voicings for samples:

Nr 2 All perspectives: overall: amplitude (dB).
Nr 4 All perspectives: overall: overall: brightness (dB).

Nr 5 All perspectives: overall: tremulant mod: pitch (pct).

Nr 6 All perspectives: overall: tremulant mod: amplitude (pct).

Nr 40 Output persp 1 (front 1/main): lo/hi EQ: transition freq (kHz; retrigger).
Nr 42 Output persp 1 (front 1/main): lo/hi EQ: high freq boost (dB; retrigger).
Use always DRY Samples

My voicings are always meant for DRY samples. Only these samples represent what an organist hears in the church. He (she) plays a short distance from the organ and from there the reverberation starts until the full sound can be heard all over the church and then dies out.
This gives fullness to the sound without the melody lines intertwining. The organist has something to say with the music and, just like with the spoken word, it must remain intelligible.

The sample sets of Helmut Maier (Organ Art Media) are recorded with microphones in an artificial head, a technique from 60 years ago. With its method, a huge acoustic is stored in the samples, to the disadvantage of the sound beauty of the organ. For this reason I have not installed sample sets of Helmut Maier.

For the same reason sample sets of Piotr Grabowski are not usable. Both sample makers I have made my arguments known, but they consider their products to be above all criticism and are not willing to discuss them.

Both don't make Impulse Response recordings in the churches of their sample sets, so convolution reverb is not available.