Five Secrets to success for your Hauptwerk home set ups from the professionals at Meta Organworks
Your computer needs to start with at least 64GB of RAM and at least 1TB of storage, any less is going to frustrate you when it comes time to loading your sample sets (in terms of both quality and quantity).
Buy the best audio interface you can afford. We like RME (for USB) or LYNX AuroraN (for Dante). Focusrite is good if you need a more affordable option.
Use touchscreens! “Abandon all hardware, ye who enter here”
Traditional organ hardware is the antithesis to the entire concept of the virtual pipe organ! The magic of Hauptwerk is access to multiple historical and ethnic pipe organs from master builders from around the world. This includes interacting with the screen graphics of the original organ, which draws you into the world of the builder. Locking down generic knobs kills the magic. However, pistons are a different story. We advocate using Hauptwerk's master combination system in a standardized way for all the sample sets. At Meta, we have created the perfect set of pistons that work across all sample sets.
Touchscreens are so important that it takes up two of our tips!
This was a long journey and a substantial amount of R&D money spent to arrive at this conclusion but here it is:
Use 24”, 16:9 ratio monitors mounted in portrait orientation.
ViewSonic and Acer are the best for under $500 (each) for home set ups. However, we use commercial grade touchscreens and build our own frames mounted on angled “stop jamb” podiums that optimally positions the screen to the organist and keeps the console low-profile. Putting them straight up on each side of the keyboards using standard monitor mounts is fine for home use.
There is a converse relationship between quality and quantity of sound. You can get more power from a speaker but it usually comes at the expense of clarity and detail.
For home set ups, look to Definitive Technology or Klipsch. High-end, home theater speakers give the best high definition of pipe speech. We highly recommend keeping things simple, at least at first, by utilizing two channels for your audio set up.
For larger, live performance spaces (such as churches), multiple channels are a MUST. For smaller sanctuaries, our minimum is 8 channels but 16, 32 and beyond really clarifies and opens up the sound, for maximum realism.
When choosing sample sets, pay attention to recency (newer sets have benefited from the last 15 years of R&D regarding making sample sets of pipe organs). Also, stick with sample set producers that have a lot of sets and are still producing them. Here are five of our go-to sample sets: Rosales (Opus 11, Portland, OR), Aeolian Skinner (Opus 1301), Hereford Cathedral, Chico Yokota (A Silbermann replica), and Caen (St. Etienne).