17. Other Organs. Around the time I became hopelessly infatuated with the Nord C2 (late 2011), Hammond/Suzuki was concocting the SK2 @ $2,900 ($3K “SKX” @ 5/20?). And searching the “musical instrument” category at Amazon for “Hammond pedal” brought-up ’midst the fuzz and reverb a few Hammond pedal boards. But the category does not look prosperous today....

Hammond’s previous offering XK3C never excited my primitive organ lust because it did nothing but tone wheel; the SK2, however, not only has a selection of pianos and marimbas and what-not along with the Hammond sounds, but pipe organ stuff! ... I have only a vague idea what the SK2 pipe organ sounds like, but it’s probably not the highbrow sampled baroque organ of my beloved Nord; which competitive situation explains that a little. ... But all is dust and ashes today 5/20, or nearly. But I was heartened by Hammond/Suzuki’s desperate attempt to gather filthy lucre, which obviously inspires Nord....

18. 6/23/13:The Nord Regroups — or so I sincerely hoped. It migrated to a better land, but in the meantime it felt poorly. ... @ Monday, November 18, 2013, the resurrection began; I incorporated a nice piece of aluminum from sliding door wreckage into the Nord 3rd keyboard positioning mechanism — a shining moment.

... And the agonizing struggle at last was done, the Nord Imperium lives again, and The Great Move is truly over, Fri 12/6/13, in time of course for Christmas....

Sun 3/2/14. HP SUX

But the fun never stops, and my not-so-beloved HP mid-level laptop, the digital mastermind of the virtual organs, got balky about its ventilating fan, complained and refused to start, shutting down within 10 seconds, and indeed the fan on the bottom whirred not and turned no more. But not forever when I poked it a little with a resistor lead. But after this happened twice I knew its time, if not up, was definitely not a betting proposition. ... Although now that I’ve replaced it with a cheaper laptop — more memory, better CPU, smaller screen, since I got my beloved 21’’ touch screen — the limping fan will doubtless stagger on for years. ... Fri 8/8/14. Well, months anyway, as long as I have a resistor at hand to poke at the fan; I have become the fan whisperer, and every morning coax the pitiful thing to life like Orpheus, with occult manipulations. ... Inspiring HP quality. ... 1/2/17. In the end times, I just let the thing roast; it still provides my precious renaissance acapella muzak in the music room, and I connected a USB keyboard, since it roasted the built-in to oblivion. But it still works, kind-of. That good ol’ HP quality. ... (2/27/17. At last it keeled-over for good.)

... Astonishingly, my laptopectomy only took a few hours of a beautiful Florida afternoon. ... I could even restore my Hauptwerk combination settings from a backup (!) although I had to redo a lot of MIDI/audio stuff. Which the Miditzer 260sp also required, but otherwise just copied over, no backup restore necessary; even the last registration I used on the tottering-fan laptop reappeared! ... Well, after the treacherous elevated UAC registration. ... And I lie: my “idyllic afternoon” didn’t include the typical arduous configuration / software install/uninstall for the new machine, in this case with a few music things including the monstrous and endless Hauptwerk ordeal — which, however, did work; recognized its copy protection dongle without fuss and everything, and that with my dangerous “alternate drive” special secret sauce....

... I did cheat with the laptop purchase and forgo the brave new Windows 8 for the actually-functional 7 which for some reason was still readily available in the computer emporiums. ... Whatever, I’m back in business with revivified virtual organs + a functioning laptop fan, and all is well in the computer & musical duck reserve....

12/9/19. Dust & Morality & Acer Sux?

But all is dust and mortality, and the acer checked-out in its turn. ... So I will spelunk my way through another computer catastrophe — and play mournful ditties on the yamaha piano in the meanwhile. ... I’ve hung a memorial picture of a Miditzer screen on the silent dark LCD =>.

... I was so grief-stricken I forgot I still had the beautiful Nord, with its B3 and baroque organ! ... But even ’though I could play joyous xmas music on the Nord, I still missed my mitz! ... For that matter, I also missed the metastasized baroque organ I concocted with the hwerk St. Anne’s organ and the Nord’s baroque stops. And the Nord’s B3 sounded strange — what turned-out to be at least partly because I was playing a vox or the farfisa, one of the talented nord’s auxiliary accomplishments. ... Of course, the B3 still sounds like a B3. But it still wasn’t right, even when I played the right organ, although I wasn’t sure, what with the keening sorrow of my missing Mitz contaminating the springs of joy. ... So it turned-out the Nord was cranky, or at least I made it loud for something and there was a “click” and it was loud and better — you understand, I am whinig about the audio directly from the Nord, not the beloved mitz sound produced by the miditzer computer, so pitifully fallen into dust?

Serenity?

So I doxited the phone plugs that connect the Nord to the ridiculous imperium and will pursue any more of those connections if they defy me. And bought another laptop, and tried to remake my music. ... Then, the unbeloved “Fast Track” maudio usb/audio/midi interface made Miditzer sound like it was underwater, so I updated with an Avid driver which all but promised it wouldn’t work in windows 10, and it didn’t: audio got better, midi all gone! And the Avid site (https://www.avid.com/) perfects its reputation by stealing firefox’s focus and not letting me back-arrow! They are so sharp....

So, on to a Behringer UMC204hd, which works great (?), and I am back & happy with my low-rent electronic organs again. ... And many new backup procedures — which of course I managed to screw-up repeatedly. ... But the storm has passed, thank goodness, the sky is clearing, and now when this laptop quits next year, the recovery’ll be much faster, he opines in foolish optimism....

Pitiful Optimism

I indulge in pitiful optimistic exaggeration. The imperium’s audio levels are new and strange and erratically distorted, and every time I sit down to the mighty Miditzer — or even look at it cross-eyed — it seems to suddenly distort excessively in new & different ways. I’m assuming/hoping this is pitiful observational error and will all settle-down once I give it a little quiet time, after engaging in relentless necromancy with the mitz’s master gain and random levels, as the distortion waxes & wanes. ... And I haven’t even gotten to hwerk — which actually requires the USB audio, as opposed to the mitz which I could play through the headphone jacks! ... And I discovered at least some mysterious volume hysterics were the ol’ miditzer resetting-the-expression-pedals-after-settings thingey.

Another Day, Another Broken Thing

Left channel disappeared this morning — presumably from my feckless tinkering the day before or week or who knows? ... And I realized with horror — my beautiful computer home electronic organ imperium was becoming like my Long Island attic organ! — always wrong, every morning. Horrible confused thrashing with wires and gadgets to make it right. ... Must this be? I cried to the empty ceiling. ... Pitifully. ... So I got the stupid channel back — with magical hand movements? — I touched the left speaker somehow — but at least I played a heart-rending rendition of the seraphic Toyland ... with tinkly bells....

Transcendent Rebirth

Then in complete desperation, I finally fixed something, my beloved volume pedal which has languished practically from the beginning with a flimsy falling-off stupid surface, and dangerous pointy wallboard screws that cause pain during pitiful organist manipulations and don’t work. I screwed holes into wood and metal and wound up with a threaded #10 hole and a bolt holding the thing down, and it is beautiful beyond the ken of mortal organist....

... seek once more
its phantom shore,
the land your childhood knew
————
mystic merry Toyland ...
once you pass its borders, you can never return again....

Hauptwerk 4.0.0.724 + Behringer UMC204hd — or, The Two UMC Control Panels....

Depressingly, after subduing the miditzer, and a new non-falling-apart volume control, I discovered Hauptwerk made no sound. I had apparently got the keyboards working, and just assumed the sound would follow EZ. It didn’t. And after days I still didn’t know how to make the beautiful hwerk wake up in the morning and sing — without annoying manual mousing around.

There are indeed several ways to pester the Bheringer UMC204hd + Hauptwerk about making noise when I turn it on in the morning:

  • The best way so far is the obvious stupid way what I did last of course.
  • There’s a UMC control panel in hwerk, and
  • one in the taskbar.
  • And yet another even stupider reason. Although I probably had to do #3 first....

The thing is, even after doing it the obvious stupid way, it’s entirely possible the control panel’ll be necessary also. ... Although I’ve avoided it for days....

1. UMC Control Panel in Hwerk

From the top menu of the hwerk program, “General Settings / Audio Outputs”, I set the “Audio output devices:” to “ASIO UMC ASIO Driver”. (So far I haven’t had to repeat this step.) Then, still at the “General Settings / Audio Outputs” in hwerk, on the bottom “Advanced settings” panel I clicked “Show device control panel” to produce the “UMC Control Panel” window, clicked the “Volume tab”, clicked the “Output ...” button, and moused the middle “Out 1 Out2” control from -127 to 0. Note that I had to do this again on a different hwerk organ (for which I exited hauptwerk and started it again).

2. UMC Control Panel in Win10 Taskbar

I guessified that the UMC204hd/ASIO4ALL driver would have some kind of taskbar annoyance, and indeed I right-clicked the Win10 taskbar, clicked “taskbar settings”, scrolled-around to “Select which icons appear on the task bar”, found the “USB Audio Class Driver Control Panel / UMC Control Panel” and instructed the feckless win10 to show it on the task bar. Then I clicked it and got the same exact “UMC Control Panel” window I got in hwerk, and then, just like hwerk, “Volume tab”, click “Output ...” button, and moused middle “Out 1 Out2” control from -127 to 0.

The Failure of Persistence

Despite several erroneous convulsions of towering technical triumph on my part, I still can’t get hwerk+umc to reliably make noise without doing 1. or 2. or both. This morning, 1. was OK, but 2. had sickeningly reset itself to silence — which was, at least, a first; perhaps if I do it for long-enough in the amusing different convolutions it comes-up with, it’ll somehow get right....

3. Use Main Out, and Turn the Main Out and Mix Controls Fully Clockwise

Which of course, made hwerk play gloriously today — everything has, so far, once. But not tomorrow? ... This solution has the appeal of stupidity — mine, that is — since it’s obviously what I should’ve done in the first place regardless of whether it actually worked. ... “Main Out” refers to the two phone jacks on the back of the UMC204hd, as opposed to the four RCA fixtures, two of which I idiotically selected before, and which convey, or not, four channels 1 through 4. And my “Main Out” and “Mix” controls were for some perverse reason both set to off, and could be why the stupid UMC Control Panel was always waking-up @ -127. ... I’ve left the “Monitor” switch set to “A”, although it appears to work in either position. ... And of course the whole thing will be silent & still tomorrow, or the day after, or St. Swithin’s day, whenever, whatever....

Towering Triumphant Premature Victory Anouncement

Sun 1/12/20 9:09 am. Today, about half an hour ago, a Hauptwerk organ played in the bright morning without any ridiculous mousing around! ... I just turned the machinery on, pressed a key, and made noise! ... Two hwerk organs! ... In solemn commemoration, I’m going to leave the blower noise on. And I will declare towering victory, before it falls over.

... It worked again! ... And victory proclamations are never final. ... And hear my whine, of this organ-despairing period: the global-whatever-it-is-this-week in paradisiacal Florida was hideous — dark, gloomy, wet, cold days & nights — and my beloved 2011 Leonovo “music” desktop PC, same vintage as the Nord, was failing, pitifully, doesn’t start in the morning without extra tries. ... I’ve done my best, in a helter-skelter emergency fashion, to prepare its replacement, even while I was struggling with my not-backed-up-enough organ laptop — but it’s all been pretty bleak I’ll tell you. ... I was so wracked with despair I bought a silly guitar....

There Must Only be 1?

And I thought things had quieted-down by 1/14/20 which, as all men know, was Windows 7 Sunset day. ... But then a few days later I tried something really dangerous — playing hauptwerk after I played the beloved mitz — and this frightening novelty sent the UMC control back to -127. ... Well in careful laboratory tests, often conducted accompanied with muffled screams & whimpers, apparently it’s a thing — after playing the beloved mitz, hwerk will be silent. For all I know it was like that in its previous incarnations, but at least now I can adjust it on the taskbar, which is easier than hwerk, and doesn’t reset the stop settings! And hwerk probably still starts-up with sound; probably; maybe....

4. Our Stars & Missing Sound

At last the missing hwerk sound was found, not in our stars or eviiil hwerk meddling — but in a lovely batch file the pitiful organist/programmer wrote — perhaps on Long Island so long ago & far away — called, amazingly, “miditzquiet.bat”, what’d execute after the mitz was done. And it probably worked ante-catastrophe because the FastTrack/maudio USB level wasn’t affected by the “DOS” volume control what miditzquiet so recklessly diddled, but the behringer UMC204 is. ... Case closed, and all at last is serene & perfect now....


19. Among the Hauptwerk St. Anne’s demo organ’s lovable eccentricities are the three unknown couplers underneath the right side of the swell manual, all of which are “lit” indicating the on state. As is explained in a manual somewhere, these are the “crescendo” couplers, indicating that the swell, great, and pedal will be affected by the crescendo pedal (“CR TO SW” etc.). Which I didn’t know for years, and of course didn’t care.




Virus?

Into each life some tears must fall and my beloved virtual organ acer laptop would’t install malwarebytes, and it was my paranoid conviction one of the lovely programs described below was at fault, as I was younger & foolish in those distant days of 2014 and I might’ve installed a music software I shouldn’t’ve.... (But I didn’t. And the whole thing’s moot, since the acer itself fell-over a month or so later.)

Presumably any DDoS zombie net it was deployed-for disappeared into the mists of criminality by now, but something stopped Malwarebytes from installing @ Halloween 2019, as I prepared diligently for the Windows 7 Sunset ... you understand, I was trying to install malwarebytes so my brave little laptop could wander the web in imaginary safety after the Sunset and the end of MSE....

I could always reinstall mitz + hwerk on an up-to-date windows 10 machine with endless upf--ks, but my beloved pitifully-infected unit still plays beautifully, Miditzer & Hauptwerk, virii or no. ... Or I suppose I could’ve just wiped the machine and started again — with a modern virus checker to ward-off reinstalling evil. Although as it turned-out I had cut-off that escape route by offing the restore partition in an effort to make hwerk system-restore safe.

... But a better Plan B is obviously simpler — turn-off the wireless on the thing. Actually the idea is kind of charming, crusading into the future on its own little gilligans island, playing my beautiful music incompetently in the gray despairing future dawns. And it would fit-in with strange antique dreams of rabid VTPOers who claimed their organ computers would explode in fiery flames if ever connected to the vicious internet....

But it was all a false alarm & it was my own stupid fault

But no, the real culprit was my Windows7FirewallControl. ... And malwarebytes itself, for not noticing there was a firewall and wondering/complaining about it to me, the stupid user! ... When I deleted my firewall’s entries for “Malwarebytes” and the “Malwarebytes Service” and tried to license malwarebytes, the firewall’d just start the entries up again without asking, and with the same blocks. ... After a week of whining to malwarebytes, I then slapped my forehead cartoon-fashion and edited the entries to “enable”, everything of course worked perfectly, and I apologized profusely to the malwarebytes guys — although the silly thing should’ve said when a firewall was messing with it — I mean I was trying to license i.e. buy the product. ... But now I’ve upgraded to Windows10Firewall, which of course will never do such an annoying thing again, or at least it’s my recollection it didn’t work that way, and at last my ridiculously-antique 2014 mitz/hwerk laptop is prepared as much as it ever will be for the dark night of the Win7 Sunset. And the pitiful software below is acquitted of at least one sin.

Reassuring Conlusion

And, really, it’s all just a little obligato to the main motif of my glorious story: the virtual organs’ legendary ease-of-use.

Dust & Mortality Obligato Continues ...

12/19. And then the stupid miditzer laptop fell-over. I’ve tried to concoct an excuse for this endless laptop failure parade, and I suppose a plausible one is, that the Miditzer laptop gets the most actual use amongst my mostly-idle bunch, driving herds of USB junk all the time while I whiled away the happy hours in Miditzer land. I’ve reinstalled everything on a new laptop, even Hauptwerk, but the mitz 260sp just sits on the screen, doing nothing. ... So now I am condemned to read my own documentation of how to make it go again, in the wondrous new win10, just as I’ve always dreamed. ... In my previous go-round, I chortled how easy it was — but that was when the previous laptop still lived among us, with its cranky fan, so I could just keep updating stuff from the HP until it worked. ... No such luck this time: I reinstalled everything, but I still have to configure the assortment, and my only clue is my dangerous confusing documentation below.

... So spare a prayer for me, oh passing computerist....


20. The Awful Bome MIDI translator (and the beautiful $0 replacements). On the topic of wasting time & money, Bome’s Midi Translator ~$82 or so got my Nord buttons pushing the Miditzer combination pistons, which I found quite satisfying and strangely amusing — and essential for button hegemony. ... But be sure to see the new new new $zero MIDIox + LoopBe1/LoopMIDI solution below, and ignore the following tale of travail.

... The towering Bome-versus-Miditzer struggle was ridiculously technical even for me — the exact opposite of Hauptwerk’s EZ “learn” mechanism. ... Eventually I also tried to fix the shoddy MIDI output of the Nord volume pedal, the softest bytes of which are 0, 9, 18, 22 (as per MIDIox) — i.e. a little non-linear. ... Further spelunking revealed only 86 unique volume levels for the supposed range of 128! ... Miditzer helps, too, with jumpy volume below about 5 or six. But I can “tune” the thing however I want with Bome + endless drudgery; although not, as it turned-out, enough. ... But my grand triumph was accessing the “toy counter” — gong, ooh-gah horn, bird tweet, etc. — with the upper pedals. ... Sadly, I can’t report that Bome was ever really ready for prime time despite endless update teases/promises.

Personally I will avoid Bome in the future, certainly with the free and infinitely-preferable $0 solution below available. ... One of the most infuriating Bome things I had to spelunk: when it started-up and said "Failed to open MIDI IN device "3- Fast Track Pro MIDI In" or some such drivel, that was probably because Windows had playfully changed the name of my MIDI device after I moved the machine, rebooted, sneezed, or just every 15 minutes whether it needs it or not, and Bome of course remembered the wrong name until the end of eternity and failed trying to open it unless I eradicated it from the Windows registry. Like the “3- Fast Track” in the following beautiful example. ... Windows had already gotten-up to “5- Fast Track Pro” as it attempted to destroy all human life & works in the endless dance of Shiva....

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Bome Software\Bome’s Midi Translator Pro\MidiTranslator\MIDI.in]
"Options0"="FTF"
"Name0"="5- Fast Track Pro MIDI In"
"Name1"="3- Fast Track Pro MIDI In"
"Options1"="FFF"

Note that the space after the hyphen in “5-” and “3-” — that’s just Windows’ way of making it a little harder to find it in the registry.

... Note also that I exchanged emails with “Mr. Bome” a few years ago where he explained that fixing this

is as easy as unchecking (Windows) or double-clicking (OS X) the port in the MIDI port list so that it’s not “open” or “pending” anymore. Then MT will not try to open it upon next restart.
— “Florian” in Bome email, Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:14 am

Which was untrue; but I believed him, so desperate and sad was I, and I had already expurgated it with regedit, but when it happened again I checked and there was no “3 -Fast Track” anything in any of his MIDI menus, lists, conjurations I could find anywhere in his program, and I assume it’s just one of those things that’s might be true, at least sometimes, and maybe once, long ago, and perhaps in the next updated release, and what more could I want!?!? ... So Bome wasn’t really a working MIDI translation program.

... And all my Bome angst was with version 1.72. At 6/23/15 — long after I departed the Dark Vales of Bomery and switched to the $0 solution — I received the glorious news of a version 1.8, which I’m sure will right the wrongs and protect the weak. ... I mean really, the Bome guy doubtless means well. ... In his way....


THE GLORIOUS $0 ALTERNATIVES: MIDIOX + LOOPBE1 or LOOPMIDI

I discuss at hopeless length the dismal Miditzer MIDI translation problem, and above I refer to my first paid-for solution “Bome”, which certainly had its share of disappointments.

The jungle telegraph — actually a “grumpygary” at the VTPO forum — says a free working replacement for bome might be loopbe1 + TransMIDIfier. But actually it turns-out loopbe1 + the old reliable MIDIox is probably better, as per below. ... I read about two minutes of the TransMIDIfier manual — and it’s not clear how it’d do what I did with Bome, which is translate my Nord’s MIDI messages to Miditzer’s desired program changes. ... When I inquired, the TransMIDIfier guy says I can do what I desire, which is probably good-enough since you can get TransMIDIfier without cost and try it out — after all, nothing is simple. ... Oh and look, TransMIDIfier recommends another loop product the free loopMIDI....

NORD C2

I should note that all this appalling complexity takes place in my Nord C2 system, where I set the Nord’s “mode” to baroque organ. ... And the the age of the $0 alternative is indeed the golden age of MIDI translation, for me anyway, but the process is still appalling for the average techno-peasant....

KINDER GENTLER

Perhaps I’ve been overly harsh about Bome, but I still got rid of it and salted the earth where it was in favor of the obviously superior talents of MIDIox + LoopBe1 — even ’though I could’ve fixed that stupid registry thing but scorned to try because it was so annoying, but probably some little BomeFixIt.Reg file would’ve done the trick. And the hostile syntax of the translation language could’ve been fought with text manipulation; indeed I already made a renumberering program for it (its text syntax was like Basic, with required line numbers). ... But Bome is now receding in the rear view mirror of owenlabs’ MIDI technology, thank goodness, as I’ve switched to the $zero option. and the MIDIox monitor windows decorate my Miditzer laptop screen, spewing beautiful MIDI data & translations as I challenge the heavens & good taste with theater organ magic & mystery & incompetence....

GUI-ING IT UP

I hasten to add that both Bome and TransMIDIfier — and of course the beloved MIDIox — provide lovely GUIs with which to mutilate your translations. Although I routinely abused Bome with an ASCII text editor, all the GUI programs make an effort to persuade me to do otherwise (except the decent kindly MIDIox). But I must point-out that if you’re planning on translating 18 or thirty-six buttons as I did with my beloved Nord, it gets real tedious real fast (aka error-prone), and I at any rate find it so much easier to use copy/paste etc. in my real programmer’s text editor.

& IT’S ALL STILL APPALLING

... And also do please note that the beautiful MIDIox alternative is still a technical nightmare for normal people. ... So following is the horror & the glory in endless tedious detail....


MIDIOX + LOOPBE1 (& LoopMIDI) == $0 MIDI TRANSLATION FOR THE MASSES!

One glad day I verified that the revered MIDIox works with looopbe1 on a 64 bit Windows 7 test system: I got a keyboard playing into MIDIox, out to loopbe1, and then to Miditzer 216 with “loopbe1” selected as its input device. However, just like TransMIDIfier I had no idea how to do anything, although the cute MIDIox “translation map” icon seemed to be a likely suspect. ... And so it was, and I finally concocted TEST.TXM which in its entirety contains:

MOXMAP Version 5

[Map]
1,NoteOn,0,0,*,127,N,0,*,ProgChg,0,0,0,*
3,NoteOn,48,48,*,127,N,0,1,ProgChg,1,1,0,*

[Options]
WaitForFullNRPN=0
MapNRPNDataIncr=0
SendFullNRPN=0
ReverseDataEntry=0

which within MIDIox looks like the beautiful illustration over there =>, after loading into MIDIox using the “Load...” button — which of course was where I originally created it by using this dialog and saving with the “Save” button, but FIRST specifying the “Save as type” as “MIDI-OX ASCII Map”. ... Oh and note the checked “Turn Map On (after OK)” at the top right; if you don’t check it, the translation won’t happen....

So TEST.TXM translates two buttons on an Akai “MPKmini” keyboard at a Win 7 PC to two Miditzer 216 combo codes — which you will no doubt recognize from having memorized the appropriate Miditzer “settings” screen as designating the Solo P and MF buttons. ... And in fact those combo buttons did appear to change when I poked the MPK key or button, their registrations bravely taking effect....

LOADING MIDIOX OXM FILE

And note that I didn’t have to load this stuff again; MIDIox remembers and starts-up with the last-loaded translation in place the next time. But us geeky experts would probably want to do more than a single translation, so

  • One would compose one’s map in the MIDIox “Translation Map” feature, saving it for further ASCII-editing as a TXM file, if desired.
  • Eventually one would have a perfected TXM file, which one would save as a binary OXM file.
  • Then in some intricate spaghetti-like batch file, one would invoke MIDIox like “midiox c:\a\Music\Organs\Nord_C2\midiox\oxm\269gong.oxm”. Although I expect a TXM file’d do just as well on our latter-day superfast computers, although the OXM is what I load on my pitiful installation.

Here <= we see (in a special owenlabs grotesqocolor® rendition) the two test events being flawlessly-translated in MIDIox’s beautiful monitor windows. You might want to right-click on the window and select “Display Decimal” (the option changes to “Display Hex” after you’ve done that).

The top is the input, with two different MIDI “Note On”s, the first created by one of the MPK’s big square buttons, and the 2nd by the lowest key on the keyboard. Also the accompanying “Note Off”s appear. (Which information I of course determined by using MIDIox.)

The bottom window shows the translated output, with two “Program Change” events — Miditzer’s desired combo button code appearing in place of the Note Ons.

... The Note-Offs are passed through without change, which probably won’t hurt anything but is left as an exercise for the presumably by-now infuriated reader, if he’s trying to get something like this working.


And here => is the beautiful “MIDI Devices” setup screen (MIDIox menu “Options” “MIDI Devices” or the icon). This is an updated (12/19) screen shot, obtained after my classic entropic catastrophe, hopefully making a little more sense than the previous rendition — which was quite frustrating as I was attempting to use it.

NOT ENOUGH MEMORY?

Anyway, the only thing I want to get translated is my beautiful & dubious Fast Track Pro Midi, so it is the only thing highlighted in the “Midi Inputs” list (changed of course — within minutes — to the behringer when the Fast Track went kablooie). The “USB Keystation 61es” is the third manual of the beloved Nord Imperium, and I don’t want it in the MIDIox inputs. Because I’m going to use it as “naked” input for the third manual in the Miditzer input screen. When I select “USB Keystation 61es” as an input in MIDIox and Miditzer, Miditzer whines vociferously, claiming “not enough memory” or some ridiculously-bogus complaint.

I’m still kind-of vague about what these four boxes are supposed to mean, even after reading the MIDIox help. The “MIDI Outputs” shows various gadgets that, I presume, have input capability — that is, which MIDIox can output to — but all I want is the “LoopBe Internal Midi”, whose output gets selected in the Mitz input screen, for all the manual except, like I said, the “USB Keystation 61es”. And “Port Mapping” just gets the beautiful “LoopBe Internal Midi” which sounds right, but who knows why. The “Port Map Objects” box is further mystery, but the grand Miditzer nonsense works with nothing selected, so there we are...

MY FUTURE IS MIDIOX

I’ve abandoned long ago the infuriating Bome for the obviously superior MIDIox + Loopbe1, even ’though it required work which of all things I most dread — unlike the higher virtual organistas, I want to play my home organ, not worship it. ... And despite the apparent magic & mystery of MIDIox, it is still far more straightforward than the frightening Bome. ... And I was vaguely yearning for some translation modification anyway, and while I was experimenting it was really so much easier to just type this stuff into a Midiox TXM file, as compared to the awful Bome — it’s a little secret of us software developers: we make the GUI thing so EZ-fun and the file-based stuff so awful so that you’re stuck with us and can’t leave — but presumably the MIDIox guy gave that up long ago, and his text files are eminently composable, the general procedure being (1.) use the GUI to do an example thing, like one of my Nord buttons to a Mitz combo, and (2.) edit a saved TXM file where I can just copy the example repeatedly, changing some of the numbers to get the rest of the things. ... And in my real programmer editor, I have things like column move/copy which greatly facilitate such arcane manipulations....

THE TOWERING INFERNO: NORD C2 → MIDIOX → LOOPBE1 → MIDITZER

And here is 260GONG.TXM which is a Midiox MIDI translation file which I am actually using to make my Nord C2 talk to my Miditzer 260SP running on my silly laptop within the Grand Nord Imperium. ... The “TOWERING INFERNO” title is supposed to frighten you: USING 260GONG.TXM with or without Midiox will surely cause your entire world to become dead and dust and dark and empty; IT WON’T WORK and it WILL BE DANGEROUS! And I am innocent....

Actually, it really won’t work, unless you happen to have a Nord C2 hooked-up to your Miditzer exactly like mine is.

+ LOOPMIDI WORKS GOOD!

Apparently they know all about this stuff over at the Miditzer forum, although not with my beautiful pictures and staggeringly clueless insights, and maybe without an example translation file. Although who knows? With such rigorous disorganization, anything could be in there. ... Hint: search the forum for “loopbe1”; for that matter, “loopmidi”, which someone says works good.

... And so I checked it out, and indeed the also-free loopMIDI worked here, too, after tinkering-up both MIDIox and the Miditzer input screens appropriately. I thought for a while loopMIDI and loopbe1 wouldn’t work simultaneously, but actually they did both seem to work at the same time, at least they did just now, and there’s an excellent chance for cockpit error in these ridiculously intricate set-ups. ... But even if only one’d work at a time, it wouldn’t be a problem since you only need one of ’em. ... And another free working virtual MIDI cable is another vital blow for Miditzer freedom. ... And in the long virtual days, I switched to loopMIDI, mostly because LoopBe1 had a harmless disagreement with the Miditzer-hosting PC, and would always start-up with a TBIA (“Task Bar Icon Application”) error window.

Miditzer + Midox in action.
EXAMPLE 260GONG.TXM FILE

To maunder on relentlessly, 260GONG.TXM is a MIDIox text file I wrote with some comments of its own within, and if you can’t read them you are truly doomed. It really won’t work on your crate; the idea is it’s an example which, if you believe my unimpeachable testimony, has actually worked on at least one system, mine — so you’d edit it with Notepad or Wordpad or whatever it is this week and make it work perfectly on yours. Using the beautiful MIDIox monitor screens to see what your keyboards are actually sending. ... And 260GONG.TXM probably has errors which I might fix someday if I feel like it.

The “gong” incidentally refers to the Miditzer 260SP “toy” beautiful T8 gong. ... And actually the same MIDIox file with minimal tinkering seems to work OK with my average workaday Miditzer 216 and the other little Mitzsif, as I never do, at least the first time, I remember to specify the “input device” on the Miditzer input screen as “LoopBe Internal MIDI” (or “LoopMIDI” of course, depending on which is being used)....

ARCHIVE!!!

I will now emphasize that if you will travel this perilous but thrilling path, you must save everything! ... Save your MIDIox and LoopBe1/LoopMIDI installation files, on several SDs or whatever. Because this kind of software isn’t from the hugely-reliable organizations we virtual organists are so used to, like Miditzer and Hauptwerk/Paramount, which won’t ever evaporate without warning. ... So archive the Miditzers and Hauptwerk/Paramounts too, although the paramounts are a challenge because they’re so huge. But it’s pretty easy to archive the entire Mitz + MIDIox + LoopBe1/LoopMIDI gang — and for that matter, any MIDIox TXM file you manage to concoct. The SDs have gotten so big it’s cheap-enough to fit hwerk and paramount — it just takes forever!

... And under the likely-viability heading, I must note that LoopBe1 at least has an unedifying scammy apparently-broken optional/actually-mandatory “backup” CD in the $34 pay-for LoopBe30 product. Which I bought anyway ’cause of pitiful virtue. ... But that’s nothing like our high-minded VTPO firms. ... So backup those softwares, kids!

PAY THEM!!

Finally, while I know all the virtual organists are poverty-stricken wretches, forced to use electronic imitations so they can get food on the table, nevertheless one should spare a pittance from the endless speaker-buying and hauptwerk upgrades for the diligent toilers who produce MidiOX, LoopBe1, and LoopMIDI. I certainly did, at least out of heartfelt gratitude for my liberation from the costly & ghastly annoying Bome alternative...

WINDOWS 8™?

To my considerable surprise, both loopbe1 and loopMIDI worked in Windows 8. They both were “recognized” developers (i.e. by Microsoft code enforcement). ... Well, both programs installed and appeared to work: Microsoft didn’t get all snitty. And MidiOX runs! And Miditzer and Mitz260SP! — which I just copied over. I even registered the latter in temporary administrative mode! And they both saw loopbe1 as the available MIDI input. So everything should work perfectly. ... I don’t have an extra day or two so I didn’t try installing Hauptwerk; I’d guesstimate an 80% chance?

And now, after the usual unspeakble torment, everything’s working great in Windows 10!

PC KEYBOARD => MITZ MIDI: NOT LIKELY

I thought the $0 glorious alternatives wouldn’t take a PC keypress and translate it to MIDI; and Bome of course will. ... But nonsense! Just check MidiOX’s “Actions / keyboard” or click the icon and MidiOX does emit a fixed set of MIDI notes for an assortment of PC keyboard keys! And the keypad’s +/- change the channel! Which probably wouldn’t be translatable by MidiOX. ... But of course neither Bome nor MidiOX’d work real good unless one could somehow persuade Miditzer not to “see” the PC keys, which it has “wired” into various functions, including a useful assortment of combination buttons. ... So I’ll stick to my adorable Korg nanoKontrols for the odd extra button/control. ... And of course the Nord C2 buttons....

21. Paramount Organ Works’ warts + pipe organ voicing. I innocently wondered, after my horrible wolf note experiences, what the organ samplists do about such things. I’m reasonably certain at least some actual organs get “voiced”, as part of the original installation, to correct particular pipes that sound too loud or too soft, along with all the other characteristics that, when voiced properly, will produce a uniform effect from a rank of pipes, as different notes are played. Does the virtual organ samplist, as part of his holy calling, preserve these relative volume/tone discrepancies? The only way I can imagine fixing that is to follow a crude procedure and adjust every sample in a rank to a uniform volume — which even then, in a well-voiced instrument and/or a particularly troublesome hall, is likely to preserve unmusical artifacts, at least when, as if often the case, the pipes are closely-miked.

For instance, if a note is too soft (i.e. from a room effect), the original organ voicer might somehow increase the relative volume, but also at the same time adjust the tone of the pipe, perhaps decreasing the upper harmonics (aka “treble”) somehow, so it’ll sound “good” played in company with the other, non-room-effected pipes. The pipe organ manufacturers insist they spend ages doing these things; so how does the samplist compensate? Some percentage of pipe organ voicing is doubtless correcting manufacturing inconsistencies, I believe what is called “pre-installation” voicing. But in the pipe organ’s final installation setting, the voicing is bound to the room, so that the sampler’s microphones, when placed close to the pipes, will hear the voicing adjustments, rather than the effect of the voicing adjustments plus room effects. Which is, I suspect, one reason why some samples are deliberately taken from further away, getting room reverberation and room effects. ... This kind of thing is why I am skeptical of sampling the pipes “just as they are”, “warts and all”, with minimum subsequent audio trickery — it just seems like a defective plan, like a pipe organ manufacturer insisting that his special super pipes should not be voiced, because they sound so good originally.

... And then after all my blathering, it seems theater organs at least maybe weren’t routinely voiced on-site! So says The Tracker (Journal of the Organ Historical Society) volume 62, number 2, 4/18 on page 19, in a startlingly theater-organ specific article starting at page 16 “The Unit Orchestra Incarnatus EstRochester’s Hope-Jones Legacy” (puffing the OHS’s annual meeting @ Rochester NY): “Wurlitzer sent a pair of voicers to Rochester to finish the organ at the Palace, a luxury afforded to precious few theater organs” — my underline. ... But actually that’s not real conclusive, since they’re describing a theater organ voicing incident, and if the average 5 or eight rank theater-organ-in-the-street might not be voiced, the ones of interest, the giant ones likely to be sampled in our era, might well be, anyway. ... And the bottom line was likely that if one paid Wurlitzer, they’d voice it — they’d hardly do any of this stuff for charity — and probably the more splendiferous installations would be voiced, as part of the majestic expense....

HORRIBLE SAMPLING FAKERY

One terrible unholy thing a pipe-organ sampler could do would be to discard a pipe sample which is bad for whatever reason — the pipe is actually bad in the antique organ, and/or room effects make it bad — and substitute an adjacent note, after carefully adjusting pitch and tone. You can do that with modern digital trickery, and I doubt anyone could tell the difference. Indeed I suspect even the POW samplers do do it now and then, even if they pretend otherwise, ’cause it’s so much easier than, for instance, throwing away all the samples ... or fabricating a new pipe....

The Sound On Sound magazine review of my beloved Nord baroque sampled organ apparently had reservations about some notes, but I’ve never been able to figure-out which ones — to my ears, the instrument sounds clean and pure, although it’s true I haven’t made an exhaustive search for “clunkers”. But it sounds so clean and pure, I assume Nord exerted some effort in editing the samples to make it that way. ... And that’s the way I think it should be. ... And indeed, I will ruthlessly assume the “warts and all” excuses are about the cost of fixing the samples, rather than some heroic devotion to an obscure “true sound”....

LOOPING + TREMOLO

But there’s more! ... All “continuous” samples — samples of things like pipe organs or other wind instruments that are intended to sound as long as a key is held down (as opposed to piano notes or other percussive or plucked sounds) — must be edited to pick a loop point (see here?) which point can have a drastic effect on the sound and always requires careful work, and is yet another inevitable interference in the supposedly noli tangere approach....

The Paramounts and other modern theater organs are, it is said, sampled twice, two samples for each pipe, “straight” and “tremoloed”. I’ve already whined about how this inherently produces an aggregate tremolo effect quite different from that of an actual theater organ, but it also complicates this loop thing immensely, since the loop point’s got to be a spot where both the sound waveform and the tremolo — essentially a different, slower waveform — match! ... My goodness, what tangled web! ... But I don’t hear anything, listening carefully with headphones; I suppose they just stare/listen at the waveform until they find a spot. ... But after that, no wonder they leave in the odd wart! ... Of course there’s probably some trick I don’t know. Googling for “loop point finding software” it wasn’t until the second page that I discovered the free Audacity has a “Z” command somewhere which’ll at least find the zero-crossing point for you — often an appropriate loop point, at least ignoring the tremolo. Other sound software apparently has comparable built-ins....

TREMOLO ATTACK

Sampled tremolo has at least one additional accompanying puzzle, comparable to the looping problem: the attack of the pipe, which is supposed to be a major feature of sampled instruments. In my Nord sampled baroque organ, for instance, I can hear my beloved “chiff” at the beginning of notes in some ranks. ... For classical organs, tremolo tends to be subtle and, until recently, despised by many organists anyway, and for whatever reason Nord appears to have adopted route #2 for their selection of baroque tremolo effects.

But if one is sampling theater organ tremolo, which isn’t subtle, the pipe attack will sound different at different parts of the tremolo: at the loud/sharp peak, or the soft/flat trough, and everywhere in-between. ... I mean, does the theater organ samplist contrive to get the attack at the same point in the tremolo for all pipes in a rank? — which would be annoyingly difficult in itself? Or what? ... Inquiring organists want to know.

When I listen to some of Miles’ Miditzer reeds, there’s definitely a “bite” at the start of the note; and if I listen harder, there’s also something in the Paramounts’. I suppose Paramount could “graft” an attack from the non-tremolo note onto the front of the tremoloed sample, which wouldn’t be easy but still not as hard as “catching” the tremoloed note at the right moment; but would go against the sacred cinéma vérité warts-and-all principles of the P.O.W....

TREMOLO: MIDITZER’S CHOICE

Anyway, Miditzer uses tremolo strategy #1. ... Miles apparently concocted two sound fonts for every stop, one tremoloed and one not, and so presumably he could deal any way he wanted with the tremolo attack/loop problems. Miditzer appears to offer #2 as an option but when I tried it, there was no tremolo, and it’s apparently something to do with Soundblaster cards of yore which responded to MIDI vibrato messages. ... The Hauptwerk Paramount 310 also uses #1, and doesn’t offer #2, which I think was used by some non-POW previous Hauptwerk theater organs in the dim mists of antiquity.

HISTORY

I’m loathe to google any of these virtual organ topics, because infallibly not only do I encounter endless streams of postings stretching back into the distant past, but many of the players are suspects on the current stage who obviously have been pondering these deep issues for years, instead of singing in the sunshine like moi. One obviosity I missed is that the better samples are longer — “typically ten seconds” says Joe Hardy (POW principal and VTPO forum administrator at least until ~2017?) in an interesting “Aug 06, 2009; 12:29pm” post covering many sampling issues — although not tremolo — and which generally seems out of consonance with the dubious latter-day “warts and all” theory. ... But no wonder I don’t hear anything! I probably don’t listen long-enough....

BAKER WALKS BACK WARTS

This just in! @ 11/10/15 Alan Baker, noted warts enthusiast & POW rep, wrote in a forum response to a pilgrim seeking to “voice” his Paramount that the “Paramount 341 notes across the manuals are not generally very different in level”, but that misuse of “the Ranks/Octaves Cycled algorithm” might create that effect. ... So now, only the cheap seats are uneven, in the way Baker explained in his original warts comment? Since I don’t plan any additional Paramount purchases, I’ll probably never know, but after all it’s not unlikely — $$ => less warts? ... Although it is contradicted by his original dubious assertion, that “realistic” warts occurred in “all of the [Paramount Organ Works] VTPO iterations” (my emphasis).


22. Hauptwerk 4.1 Free Version Annoyanceware. On Sat 9/27/14 the evil described herein may have been excised with version 4.1.1 — actually it is definitely rescinded, since the free version is officially defunct — but I will heroically preserve this historic info, and continue to inform the virtual organ-consuming public that a VTPO forum post dated 8/12/14 from “Joe Hardy / VTPO Administrator” announced “Hauptwerk has officially released version 4.1. This is a free upgrade and includes numerous improvements” — which is all that was said about the new annoyanceware feature for the free version, but did include a link which eventually led me to the HauptwerkReleaseNotice.pdf (since replaced with the non-annoyanceware 4.1.1 release note) where I read about the then-new 4.1 free version. So I conscientiously posted a short addendum:

Note that users of the Paramount 310 free edition probably should *not* upgrade, at least according to “Evaluation/Free Edition” at http://www.hauptwerk.com/clientuploads/documentation/ReleaseNotices/Current/HauptwerkReleaseNotice.pdf. It appears to add a 90-day renewal annoyance feature to the software.

Whereupon “Alan Baker” responded by denying there were any re-registration requirements on the supposedly-free Paramount 310 now or forever, and repeating this ridiculous claim over the next day or so. ... I told him what for, a diatribe the thundering clarity of which was somewhat diminished by Yahoo Groups’ crushing every line-ending. ... Apparently I was guilty of lèse majesté in attacking the POW, a holy and revered force for good. Others quietly noted that of course it didn’t make any difference which software was imposing the annoyanceware requirement, since the Paramounts only work with Hauptwerk. ... So it was just a typical internet forum troll denunciation.

So pay no attention to these crazed forum posts and instead clarify your deep anxieties about 90-day free version Hauptwerk license renewals by reading the PDF (which has been silently replaced by a revised 4.1.1 version rescinding the annoyanceware; I of course have saved the original somewhere probably). Specifically @ page 1, it said “Hauptwerk 4.1.0 Release Notice” and then page 5 used to say

Important: If you are evaluating Hauptwerk, or using the Free Edition, and are upgrading from version 4.0.0 or earlier, then please see the Evaluation/Free Edition 90-day license key section of this release notice for important information on the expiring 90-day license keys, and the need to refresh them periodically (at no cost, and with no limit).

and finally on the offensive page 12:

Evaluation/Free Edition 90-day license key

In order for Hauptwerk v4.1.0 and later to be able to launch at all, some form of non-expired license key must be present on the computer. If you have purchased a license for the Advanced or Basic Edition, then the Hauptwerk USB key fulfills that role. Provided that the key is attached to the computer then Hauptwerk will be able to launch. However, if you haven’t purchased a license, and thus don’t have a Hauptwerk USB key, then you need to have a valid, non-expired ’90-day trial/Free Edition license key’ installed on the computer. When you install Hauptwerk v4.1.0 or later for the first time, such a key will be installed automatically. It allows Hauptwerk to be used in evaluation or Free Edition modes for a period of up to 90 days (starting from whenever Hauptwerk is launched without a Hauptwerk USB key attached).

And thus concludeth the lesson. ... And this is my carefully-preserved copy of the offending hauptwerk annoyanceware 4.1 pdf.

... And I lied; the lesson is never concluded, and indeed the PDF was entirely replaced by a wonderful new age of good will and amity version (below).

HAUPTWERK’S OK ANYWAY

I must conscientiously note that as far as I know Hauptwerk, in terms of general software practices, still offers an exemplary 30-day full version “try-out” feature. And even the annoyanceware free version crippling is hardly unusual. It is a change, and not welcome, but that’s show business....

Since I want to continue running the beautiful Paramount 310 without annoyanceware surprises on the far-flung machines strewn around my paradisiacal abode, I probably won’t be upgrading to Hauptwerk 4.1 — even ’though I bought the “basic” version + dongle, and the non-free ($100) Paramount 320. But aside from running Hauptwerk on random machines without tears, it is my experience that this kind of software mis-feature rarely goes without other mysteries and punishments; and as I keep reminding the minuscule audience of these pages, I’m an expert.

And after all, the Hauptwerk upgrade’d take a long time to download and install anyway, and any improvements are mostly for the insane millionaires — although I notice they’re picking up the probably-dubious-but-amusing “toggling combos” of Miditzer! — and finally, and most importantly, I have the 4.0 version including archived copies of the vast installation files; somewhere, probably. ... So I will be content & serene and quietly enjoy the sufferings of those who follow....

HAUPTWERK vs. MIDITZER, REDUX

If you didn’t already have Hauptwerk + the Paramount 310 and wanted it, the annoyanceware version is your only choice (until the reprieve), which changed the Miditzer/Hauptwerk balance, at least for the amateur organist in the street:

You pay no money, you takes your choice. ... But that too is really fiction....

MILAN DIGITAL AUDIO/HAUPTWERK vs. PARAMOUNT ORGAN WORKS

They’re two different organizations. The VTPO forum, flaky Yahoo group that it may be, is definitely POW-inclined, and administrator Joe Hardy is a POW principal. Neither POW or Hauptwerk have sinned egregiously in my omniscient judgment; the kerfuffle here, which has so alienated my VTPO forum affections and no doubt others’, is mostly the work of the irrationally-excitable Alan Baker, who is also responsible for the ridiculous “Warts and All” official (?) excuse, and should probably have his medication adjusted. However, a POW site lists “Alan Baker, Joseph Hardy, and Iain McGlinchey,” as “Partners”, to my poignant regret.

Milan Digital Audio, which is responsible for the Hauptwerk program, its maintenance, and upgrades, and who is (presumably) solely at fault for “annoyanceizeing” the free edition (and for the subsequent glorious retraction) has the problem common to many software companies: unlike air conditioners or automobiles, software doesn’t really wear-out, so usually, in their march to oblivion, they try to help it along. It’s called “planned obsolescence” and was a hideous sin when the American automobile companies did it back in the day, before having their lunch handed to them by the sneaky Japanese....

THE INCIVILITY OF THE INTERNET?

I realized my forum thrashing is what they call the “incivility of the internet” — usually as in “the problem of”, an occasional “thumb-sucker” over at slashdot.org. ... “Incivility” is a non-judgmental un-hurtful way of saying “stupid rude” and all it takes is one rude moron, and who wants to say nay? It’s like arguing with a lunatic on the street in a modern progressive city — like Nueva York, my natal stomping grounds, where it’s illegal to terrorize the bums instead of visa versa. I suppose it’s kind-of unusual that a principal in a sponsoring company is a forum troll, but hardly unique, and a variation of what the “incivility” problem really is: not good men doing nothing, but irresponsible authority neglecting appropriate restrictions. Who will no doubt later wonder why their project, in this case the VTPO and the POW, didn’t become more popular....

AFTER FORUM-WIDE UPROAR, HAUPTWERK RESCINDS ANNOYANCEWARE IN VERSION 4.1.1

Around 9/27/14, someone at the VTPO forum advised that all is forgiven and Hauptwerk 4.1.1 won’t do that no more; someone else, one of the POWians I believe, posted a link to a release notice which on page 7 indeed seemed to explicitly say that. ... Naturally I won’t trust ’em anymore, after so cruelly abusing me when the lunatic Baker denied everything. But I will forgive ’n’ forget and I graciously accept the effusive unstated apologies....

CREDULITY

I must admit, I never expected Milan Digital/Hauptwerk to “give-up”, and I’m pleasantly-surprised, but I will not bother to strain my credulity by trying to imagine a moral conversion. I assume the copy-protection gimmick was originally added-on because there were too many freeloaders, and this kind of gradual screw-tightening would help convert such to paying customers, always a desirable goal. In furtherance of this simple scheme, they hoped they could pull it off without much notice, not counting on the fervor of the free-software fanatics, not to mention genuine cranks like myself. ... Whatever; Hauptwerk is a small organization and apparently couldn’t afford the negative publicity and may even have detected a fall-off in free version downloads; or perhaps there were other forums where the information got more excitement — annoyingly, since I would’ve so enjoyed the spectacle if I could’ve! ... Whatever; the wrong is righted, the wound is healed. ... Until their next attempt.

... And then I realized even as I typed these important historical notes that the lunatic Baker’s egregious attack (with, to be sure, my pitiful line-endless responses) was doubtless a key feature in alerting the tiny VTPO community to the free version perfidy which Hauptwerk/Paramount so obviously would’ve preferred to keep quiet! Conceivably my original polite note would’ve gone over without friction, if it weren’t for the idiot Baker attacking it with wacko hostility! ... See how the rhythms change?!?!

... @ 10/15, a VTPO posting revealed Baker’s a PC nerd — one of these guys who hot-rods motherboards with super solid state drives and fancy memory, or whatever it is they do. No wonder he’s so mendacious....



23. Three or More Virtual Organ Keyboards. The Hauptwerk/Paramount 310 is supplied with three virtual manuals, which seems to many innocents out there (including me) to be superior to the free Mitz 216’s two. Other ever-ascending releases of the Paramount organs have reached a keyboard maximum of four!

  1. If you actually have three or more physical keyboards, such virtual manuals are appropriately-functional and, hence, desirable.

  2. If, like the vast majority of virtual theater organists, you have two or fewer keyboards, it hardly makes a difference: just assign two or more of the virtual manuals to one of your physical MIDI keyboards, which usage both the Miditzer and Hauptwerk software support.

The reason #2 is more-or-less so is the “unified” nature of the theater organ: the stop tabs on all the different manuals are supposed to be all the same voices! That’s why the real theater organ was cheaper than the real classical pipe organ, and why your two manuals will happily access all the available stop tabs, by “doubling” them up. ... I actually caught a technical reassurance from the POW on the topic, to an anxious potential customer who had a three-manual console and was concerned about how the new improved Paramount super 4-manual software would play! Not only was he assured it’d play wonderfully, but also that the 4-manual software had been specially designed to play good on three-manual units!

24. Compared to the polyphone program, I know even less about the free soundfont editor Viena (single “n”), but it is recommended around and about and probably is better than the really obsolete, costly, and probably non-existent Cakewalk “Vienna” program. I had some ignorant objections to it, but one thing it can do that polyphone apparently can’t is copy things from one SF2 font to another....

25. I stold a jorgan Christie sound font and added some of the voices I liked to the Mitz260, without too-ridiculous delvings. ... You can only replace one of the existing 260SP sounds with something from the added font; I replaced the 260’s “Tuba” aka “Harmonic Tuba” on the output screen, with the Christie “Tuba”, because I was smitten with the smoother horn sound when I first played the Christie jOrgan. ... Some bullet points:

You unload the original soundfont first, I think, so it’ll be on the top of the fluidsynth “stack” when you load it back, where it gets searched first. When I did it the other way and just added the Christie font, the percussion, including my beloved Chinese gong, disappeared! Doing it in the way described seems to leave the 260SP in the out-of-box condition, until you right-click on one of the bank + patch1 + patch2 columns in the output screen and change them. One of the reasons to keep an original 260SP is so you can go back and see what the original is after you wreck something. ... I mutilated the Harmonic Tuba on the output screen so that it does the christie Tuba sound by altering the bank to 30, patch 1 to 59, and patch 2 to to 9.

You use a soundfont editor to see what’s in the christie_single_10.sf2 font and what the patch numbers are. Finding-out which soundfont “preset” is activated by which jOrgan stop tab, in this case “Tuba Horn”, is probably not possible in our limited mortal lives, and actually it’s not as if the stop tabs in the Miditzer 260SP are so rigorously related to the names on the output page. So I use polyphone to play notes on a preset and mutilate by ear....

jORGAN VS. MITZ

The results won’t sound just like jOrgan — when jOrgan isn’t crashing — because panning in jOrgan (as far as my non-telepathic perceptions have discovered) relies on the soundfont, and varies within each rank in the Christie soundfont, perhaps giving it a more “moving” sound. In the pedestrian Mitz it’s set in the output screen.

... Oops wait advanced research indicates some of the christie_single_10.sf2 soundfont pan settings do affect the mitz sound — a test rank panned to maximum-left in the soundfont wound-up showing-up as “centered” (on crude LED VU meters) when I set the rank in the mitz output to “R 4”. So who knows? It’s not a perfect translation, but I play with speakers close anyway, so a little extra centering probably won’t hurt....

And jOrgan has a more recent Fluidsynth which might well make it sound different/better. ... And it turns-out the generous work put into the voicing and stop complement of the Christie jOrgan, which is inspired by the “Christie Unit Orchestra” at Kelvin Grove State High, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia — is, gasp, not easily transferrable to a Mitz 260, presumably inspired by a Wurly 260, and might require work! ... And oh yeah the jOrgan Fluidsynth has a far superior reverb built-in — at least superior to the Mitz Fluidsynth version, although I use neither, preferring my dubious hardware. Finally, after all my ridiculous contrivances, some of the ranks in Miles’ christie_single_10.sf2 soundfont sound the same as Mitz’s rendition. ... So it’s not all beer and skittles....

Sadly, jOrgan’s not the most stable or featureful virtual instrument, if still charming after its own menacing fashion, but perhaps not enough for my humble tastes. ... So eventually I went forward with the Christie-to-Miditzer260 graft and had a wonderful time, using my elaborated-for-the-occasion Mitzhack to engage in ever-more-perilous musical/software experiments and, to be sure, failures.

26. Jim Henry and others in the endless forum postings allude to how virtual organ software is basically a “switch box” which translates incoming MIDI into outgoing MIDI. An incoming middle C MIDI note, for instance, if the user has selected tibia 8’ and flute 4’, might be translated into two outgoing notes, one an octave higher, to the two different voices. In the dark dreaded days of multiple MIDI sound cards, this translation would also take into account the specified “MIDI output device” but in our glorious latter-day software-only times, it’s always the Fluidsynth. ... Well, around 7/31/17 some lonely pilgrim @ the VTPO forum was trying to get five SoundBlaster cards working with Miditzer, but his crate apparently balked above four. But there was no clue why he would do that; perhaps I’ll grovel in the mitz forum someday, where he allegedly started — oh I could’ve just read it; apparently he wants to get lotsa speakers, like a hwerk insane millionaire installation, and the SoundBlaster cards got individual outputs....

But the point is, all the Miditzer graphics are window-dressing, so to speak, and indeed the ur-console tinkerers apparently worked with crude software and even hardware to accomplish the same task, no GUI need apply....

27. Subsequent investigations into noise involving various other music room incidents suggests that both the Behringer UCA222 and the Zoom R16 — and perhaps other innocents — may have been sensitive to a random USB hub’s power supply. Although such susceptibility is not a quality feature. And the FEX800 is still guilty, probably; it’s got its own wall wart....


Sunday 2/21/21 2:38 pm

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