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Topic: Fundamental controls

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  1. #1

    Question Fundamental controls

    What EXACTLY does the fundamental control do?
    Does it adjust the EQ curve? If so, what value is flat?

    I just recently went to an excelent performance of the St. Cecillia mass and the organ's petal tones were REALLY deep. Like deeper than fundamental set to 100%. I'm just wondering if fund 100% is flat. Or maybe 50%? What about the bass drum fundamental? In Telarc recordings, in particular, the bass drum is very deep and boomie, like 100% fund. In Phillips recordings the bass drums are more like the fund set to 5% or something.

    So what's flat?

    -Chris

  2. #2

    Re: Fundamental controls

    Quote Originally Posted by cptexas
    What EXACTLY does the fundamental control do?
    Does it adjust the EQ curve? If so, what value is flat?

    I just recently went to an excelent performance of the St. Cecillia mass and the organ's petal tones were REALLY deep. Like deeper than fundamental set to 100%. I'm just wondering if fund 100% is flat. Or maybe 50%? What about the bass drum fundamental? In Telarc recordings, in particular, the bass drum is very deep and boomie, like 100% fund. In Phillips recordings the bass drums are more like the fund set to 5% or something.

    So what's flat?

    -Chris
    Chris,

    Forgive me if I've completely misunderstood this but I think I have a similar sort of question. When I listen to an orchestral or organ CD over my 'phones, I can 'feel' those really low frequencies coming from the organ 32ft pedal or double bass in the string section - but the notes are not actually loud. When I set the GPO string bass to ppppp, I still hear a loud note rather feel it. The GPO instruments are fantastic and I'm quibbling over a very minor detail. I figured it might be something to do with equalisation but I wasn't aware that tampering with the fundamental had a role to play. I would like to know more.

    Graham

  3. #3

    Re: Fundamental controls

    The term "fundamental" is used to indicate the center frequency of the note in question. This would be the actual note's pitch as opposed to it's pitch with harmonics.

    The fund (fundamental) knob in the GPO player increases the depth or apparent richness of tone to the notes being played. For instance, if you were to play a low C with a Baroque Plenum Reed pedal, the Kontakt player's fund knob would access a predetermined frequency (programmed byTom Hopkins) that would boost EQ for that specific note. As you play different notes, a different specific frequency is called upon by Tom's programming to accomodate the note being played. In short, this fund setting has to be programmed to boost at each note's fundamental. It is most like a simple form of equalization being boosted with an extremely narrow bandwidth, so as to not affect the adjacent harmonics. Nobody but Tom Hopkins can answer this for sure, but I believe "flat response" is when the knob is set to it's lowest position, not center. Just a guess on my part as all this is, because you would have to have the same samples in the older GPO folder before the October 2004 update to compare to.

    The dfference in tone quality of these bass instruments on Telarc verses Philips, are not unique to the label, but more to the actual instrument used, it's tuning, and the micrphones used in the recording. Of course the placement of the microhones as well as EQ if any will make a huge difference in the tone heard/fealt.

    Many times a bass drum will sound much nicer and fatter (deeper) with microphones farther away from it, as opposed to close micing because the room acoustics are enhancing it, but again, that would depend on the resonant frequency of the room, and the tuning of the drum.

    A note on the other two controls that are present with these instruments that have a fund control....

    The filtlv is (filter level), while the second knob is labeled filtfq (filter frequency)

    Many engineers from the "old school" use a practice that involves the use of a filter to "cut" or "remove" frequencies that are too loud, in order to allow a different frequency range to have a better chance at being heard or fealt in this case. If you were directing an orchestra, and suddently the trombones started playing too loud, you would not direct everyone else to play louder, you would go to the problem and hush it, same principal, it's all about balance that is pleasing to the ear. Common sense

    These last two knobs fall directly into that "cut" category. If your bass pedals on the organ don't sound beafy enough, the easiest most logical thing to do is to boost or turn up the bass EQ, well, an equalizer regardless of it's design, will boost a set frequecy range, and may not yield the results that are desired. Equalizers that are of any real value, must have the ability to adjust the actual center frequency and the bandwidth. This allows the engineer to "hone in" on a specific frequency, and cut or boost. All too often, an engineer boosts the frequency that is laking, and ends up covering all the nice harmonics of that sound that give it it's character. What is often a better choice, is to find the frequency that is too loud, and lower it, as opposed to boosting the weak fundamental. Tom Hopkins has designed these instruments to allow you to control both their fundamental, as well as a filter that you can adjust to cut certain frequencies. The only way to understand fully how these controls work is to load a sound and play with the settings. With this information, you should be able to recognize exactly what is happening with the sound as you move the knobs to different values.

    The knob labeled "filtlv" is not active in it's lowest setting, but as you begin to turn the knob clockwise, you will begin to gradually increase the amount of filtering of the offending frequency range that you have set on the second knob, "filtfq". Don't be confused about the filterlevel knob working backwards, because it is working properly, you are increasing filtering (resistance) on the sound.

    Hope this clarifies these little boogers

    dpDan

  4. #4

    Re: Fundamental controls

    But WHAT'S FLAT????

    I want a realistic pipe organ, and all live pipe organs I've ever heard have been like 100% fundamental control. (on my system, which is also flat) I would just listen to my ear, but I honestly don't know exactly what a pipe organ sounds like. All I remember is that it had REALLY deep pedal tones.

    Tom?
    Earth calling Tom!

    I need your help!


    -Chris

    EDIT: Sorry if I'm being too picky here, but it just seems to me that GPO doesn't have enogh "umph" in the bass frequencies. I'm comparing all this to Telarc recordings, which I like the best, which I beleive are flat, which I compare to GPO. Am I missing something?

  5. #5

    Re: Fundamental controls

    Quote Originally Posted by cptexas
    But WHAT'S FLAT????

    I want a realistic pipe organ, and all live pipe organs I've ever heard have been like 100% fundamental control. (on my system, which is also flat) I would just listen to my ear, but I honestly don't know exactly what a pipe organ sounds like. All I remember is that it had REALLY deep pedal tones.

    Tom?
    Earth calling Tom!

    I need your help!


    -Chris

    EDIT: Sorry if I'm being too picky here, but it just seems to me that GPO doesn't have enogh "umph" in the bass frequencies. I'm comparing all this to Telarc recordings, which I like the best, which I beleive are flat, which I compare to GPO. Am I missing something?
    Telarc recordings are some of the best I have ever heard, but also, there is some serious horrible wind rumble below 20 hz that is really bad on alot of their recordings. The engineers don't filter that crap out like they should.

    Forgive me CP if you didn't want me to answer your second post, but FLAT means no eq whatsoever. It can also be a term used to describe how smooth the frequency response is of a particular recording, a speaker, microphone, a piece of gear whatever.

    You are right about the low frequency content in GPO compared to Telarc recordings. If you want that type of sound using GPO instruments, all you have to do is use the fundamental control wide open,,,,, use this setting on the bass pedals of the pipe organ and bass drum, or in addition to this, you cold always EQ the livin' snot out of these sounds to match Telarc, you can do anything you want with these tools. The low frequency content is there in GPO.

    dpDan

  6. #6

    Re: Fundamental controls

    Telarc recordings are some of the best I have ever heard, but also, there is some serious horrible wind rumble below 20 hz that is really bad on alot of their recordings. The engineers don't filter that crap out like they should.
    There are a lot of purists who feel that they should NOT filter that noise out, "It's part of the sound of the instrument."

    Like 60-cycle hum from a guitar amp. Don't filter it or dampen it, it's part of the sound...
    Dasher
    -------
    It's all about the music - really. I keep telling myself that...

  7. #7

    Re: Fundamental controls

    Quote Originally Posted by cptexas
    But WHAT'S FLAT????

    I want a realistic pipe organ, and all live pipe organs I've ever heard have been like 100% fundamental control. (on my system, which is also flat) I would just listen to my ear, but I honestly don't know exactly what a pipe organ sounds like. All I remember is that it had REALLY deep pedal tones.

    Tom?

    Earth calling Tom!

    EDIT: Sorry if I'm being too picky here, but it just seems to me that GPO doesn't have enogh "umph" in the bass frequencies. I'm comparing all this to Telarc recordings, which I like the best, which I beleive are flat, which I compare to GPO. Am I missing something?
    With the pipe organ, "flat" for the fundamental control is the default load setting (cc20=0). The other pipe organ controls also default to "flat" upon load. That represents what this particular organ sounded like when it was recorded, in that particular room, with the mics that were used. The actual fundamental frequency of the pipes depends upon the size of the pipes. Some extremely large organs (no jokes now) have pipes that resonate as low as 16hz, a full octave below the 32hz pipe. I have many pipe organ recordings that have pedal notes down to 16hz. The organ used for the GPO recordings didn't have pipes that were that large. If you want that kind of fundamental extension then you will need to use something like a sub-sonic generator plugin that artificially adds frequencies an octave below what is present in the original audio signal. By the way, the controls for the pipe organ are described in my tutorial here: http://www.northernsounds.com/forum...ead.php?t=33671

    The bass drum is another case entirely. There is no "flat" setting for the bass drum. The fundamental control is set at a relatively conservative level for safety purposes. When the fundamental control is advanced far enough it can create enough low frequency energy to actual destroy woofers and subwoofers if things are turned up too loud, so the default level is set conservatively to avoid damage. Once the user has loaded the instrument then the fundamental control can be advanced until it has the amount of "beef" required for a particular situation. The only reference with the bass drum is your ears. Actually, that's the only reference you should ever care about.

    I'm getting the impression from some of these posts that there is the expectation that there should be a "correct" setting of the fundamental control. The correct setting is the one that sounds like you want it to sound. There is no other correct setting. This is not a purist activity. It's a "use every trick and every tool at your disposal to get the results you want" kind of activity. If you turn up the bass drum fundamental control to its maximum and still don't have enough energy in the bottom octave to suit your needs then grab a parametric EQ in your sequencer and boost the bottom some more, cut the upper mids, slather peanut butter on it, or kick the neighborhood dog. Do whatever it takes to get the sound you want. Everything in GPO plays fast and loose with the original recordings. I use every last programming tool at my disposal to bend things to my purposes so there is no reason you shouldn't do the same when it comes to using the library.

    Tom

  8. #8

    Re: Fundamental controls

    Thank you, Tom!
    That was very helpful!

    Just curious: if you know, what was the lowest frequency of the low C on the Baroque Plenum Reeds Pedal? Was that the 32 htz. you were refering to?

    -Chris

  9. #9

    Re: Fundamental controls

    A 32-foot organ stop refers not to Hz but to the length of the pipe -- the lowest of which (contrabass C) is or was 32 feet when originally developed. The next-lowest octave was the 16-foot pipe(s), then the 8-foot which was the middle octave, and above it the 4-foot. And so on. Notice that harpsichord stops have the same nomenclature though the lengths don't apply literally.

    In a proper setting the lowest octave pipes will rattle the hall because of the slow (low) vibrations, and not just the organ does this. I hear it vividly in the tuba at San Francisco Opera. I wonder if the user's sound system and room would have an effect with GPO sounds. Any comments from GPO users? (I am still anxiously hurrying to the post office daily hoping to see my new copy).

    After spending $400 for Sibelius and $139 for GPO do I need a $500 upgrade on speakers and who knows how much for other gear to hear the sounds most realistically? For some teaching and preaching on loudspeakers see: http://www.pykett.org.uk/vlf_repro.htm

    For a quick overview of organ pipes see a page from an organ-building website:
    http://www.lawrencephelps.com/Docume...organs101.html

  10. #10

    Re: Fundamental controls

    Doug brings up an interesting point and I see I could have been clearer in my statement. I was discussing the subject in terms of frequency content of pedal notes not the related pipe length. It was more germane to the question to speak in terms of frequency content. To clarify: The low "C" (16ft pipe) has a fundamental frequency of approximately 32hz (more precisely, low C=32.70hz). The octave lower is 16hz (more precisely, C=16.35hz) for the 32ft pipe. I have many recordings of organs with a 16hz fundamental on the lowest C - room shaking stuff with the right speakers. The largest pipes in the GPO organ were 16foot or 32hz. That's still a very low note but not amazingly low as in "I can feel it testing the structural integrity of my house at 16hz."

    Tom

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