HOW has Meta Organworks solved the two big problems of digital organ building: Realism and Longevity
A Meta Organ’s touchscreen console opens up a whole new world of pipe organ possibilities, in the same way the smartphone has for your life in general.
What Meta Organworks does differently is to take the best technologies of our age, and wrap them in old school pipe organ building craftsmanship, artistry, and values.
Explore HOW Meta Organworks is leading a virtual pipe organ renaissance by focusing on both Realism and Longevity....
First of all, the foundation of a Meta Organ is the best pipe organ sampling software sound engine ever invented, Hauptwerk. Over the last 15 years, this program has continued to be refined and perfected. Hauptwerk delivers the most convincing pipe organ sound replication possible. The computers we build have been designed solely for the purpose of optimizing the Hauptwerk software sound engine’s potential and utilizes large amounts of memory (RAM) in order to deliver high definition pipe samples.
We select only the best sample sets available, and favor the newest ones that have benefited from the producers’ own R&D. Realism starts with great pipe samples! All Meta Organs contain a collection of sample sets that reflect all the major schools of organ building throughout history and the world. We believe the works of the great master organ builders should be respected and curated into a new space while maintaining the original vision of the builder.
Meta picks up where Hauptwerk and sample set producers leave off. You still have to make the raw pipe samples sound realistic and beautiful in a new room, which is not an easy straightforward task.….
Over the past five years, and based on our 20 years of experience in acoustic pipe organ work, we’ve learned the best ways to utilize multiple pipe samples by voicing to suit a new performance space.
The key is to let the original builder’s vision remain intact, while at the same time making the pipework sound naturally beautiful and psycho-acoustically believable in the new space.
The truth is, if it wasn’t for the huge improvements in speakers, amplifiers, and audio interfaces that have happened over the last ten years, we would not be building speaker-based organs. We have developed a state of the art, cut no corners, professional quality live sound system in order to ensure that pipe samples sound as realistic as possible. We customize this system to each sanctuary space.
As a traditional pipe organ builder, I have never been satisfied with the way older style digital organs have sounded. One big mistake that all the large digital organ companies make is a lackluster audio back end, with most being basically the equivalent of two channel 1980s home stereo systems with 75 Watt speakers. In contrast, our standard model uses 16 channels with 350-400 watts per channel of high definition brand name speakers and amplifiers. And no matter how many pipes are played, the computer algorithm distributes the pipe “load” evenly across all the channels, which makes the Meta Organ sound way more realistic. I can only assume other digital organ companies are too concerned with profit margins. But the bottom line is I demand that what comes out of the speakers sounds exactly like what I’ve grown accustomed to hearing in the pipe organ chambers over the last 20 years of my career.
We designed this one of a kind speaker carriage, with a cam mechanism, that allows us to position speakers 0 to 90 degrees. This allows us the flexibility to easily experiment with speaker placement in an organ chamber, achieving the most realistic results from our audio system. This is just one of the many virtual organ innovations Meta Organworks has pioneered.
A Meta organ is the last organ you'll ever buy!
That’s a bold statement but that doesn’t mean that it will never need repairs or that parts won’t wear out.
What it does mean, is that the technologies we use are universal and therefore readily available, interchangeable, and affordable.
A meta organ uses a Windows based PC, a professional quality sound system that utilizes brand name audio components, and two commercial grade touch screens. All these elements were created by multinational corporations that have invested millions into the research and development of their products. Contrast this with the tiny industry of pipe organ switching systems (which are all specialty computers) and the proprietary world of digital organs. If any element fails on an older proprietary digital organ, chances are that particular model has become obsolete, parts are no longer available, and it can’t be repaired. Meta is leading the way in the paradigm shift from proprietary to universality in the organ industry. We believe this shift is in the best interest of the church and will help keep the pipe organ alive and vital as an artistic medium for sacred music.
People have this notion that a personal computer is problematic, but the reality is that you’re asking it to do a million different things and it’s online getting all sorts of evasive elements from the internet. If you make a PC be a unitasker and never put it on line, the truth is that a PC is extraordinarily reliable. A Meta Organ’s computer is serviceable like any other PC. It has been designed, built, and programmed by us to serve as the “brain” of your organ and is never put online. This singular purpose considerably extends the life of the computer. And rest assured, should you experience difficulties with your organ’s computer, all your software and sample sets’ customized settings that we have created for your church are backed up and easily restored by either Meta’s comprehensive tech support or a third-party computer technician.
All our organs come with lifetime tech support.
We recently came across this post on the Hauptwerk user's Facebook group that illustrates this idea:
The actual organ hardware is the only specialty element in a Meta organ but if the organ hardware were to wear out, they are all built on standard, universal MIDI technology and can be replaced in the future by any MIDI hardware. MIDI circuit boards, keyboards, pedalboard, pistons, and swell shoes are available from several suppliers and are so simple and easily copied that they are generally not patented by the companies that make them. So even if an original manufacturer were to go out of business, another MIDI supplier’s equipment could be used.
We’ve spent a lot of time and money on designing and executing prototypes that have come to be the Meta Organ’s console. Our goal was to create a beautiful piece of traditional cabinetry influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement (Mission style), Danish Modern, and Japanese ascetics. We build both fully hardwood consoles and high-quality oak veneered plywood consoles for environments that may see more extremes in humidity conditions. Either style is a well-made piece of furniture built with traditional craftsman methods and precision CNC manufacturing technologies. It is built to last for generations, is easily moved, and can also be refinished.