PC and Organ Simulation Program

There are a number of what might be called "virtual organ" programs available on the Web. Some are free, others are for sale. Here is a brief rundown:

There are some major differences between the programs -- not just in the way they sound, but also how they work and what hardware they require. The following comments are based on AFAIK -- As Far As I Know -- and you should carefully read the descriptions in each program's web pages before making a decision, as some of these are not compatible with others. These are just some of the areas of difference:

1. Reverb. Some of these programs require external reverb devices, some do not.

2. Stops and pistons. Stops and combinations on some of these programs must be selected with a mouse from a screen, others require input via a MIDI signal, and some (such as Hauptwerk) allow both. In other words, some of these require a monitor and mouse at the organ, while on others the computer can be hidden and all operation done from the organ console controls.

3. Swell shoes. Some of these programs use digital swell shoe inputs, while others are analog. For example, ProgOrgan uses only an analog swell shoe volume control. While my MD-2 boards provide analog control, I haven't yet written the software for that part.

4. Some of these programs use non-standard hardware. For example, the ProgOrgan manual contains diagrams for its own interfacing circuitry -- if you go that route, you will be incompatible with the rest of the world. While ProgOrgan will also work with standard MIDI inputs for the keyboards and pedals, it uses a rather unusual message format for stops and pistons which is not compatible with standard MIDI. Some software changes would be needed to allow my MD-1 board to control the stops and pistons, although it is possible to set up the software so it will work with ProgOrgan as well as other systems.