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:
Hauptwerk -- This is probably the most elaborate
(and most expensive). It features software samples of every pipe in an
organ, and plays these samples directly from RAM. Thus it needs the most
powerful hardware of the group. Version 2 of the program can be used for
either classical/church organs, or for a theatre organ. Sample organ sets
are available from a number of other suppliers. I am planning to use this
program, but I also intend to try out some of the others below. Details
are at http://www.crumhorn-labs.com/.
MyOrgan -- Like Hauptwerk, MyOrgan also plays samples
directly from RAM, but this is a free program. The company claims that
it will use the same organ pipe files as Hauptwerk version 1, but that
it will run on a smaller and slower computer. Details are at http://www.kloria.com/software/
Toccata -- Another program that uses Hauptwerk version
1 files, and seems to require a less ambitious computer system. Finally
released after a long delay, details are at http://www.vlabs-online.com/
Prog Organ -- uses sound fonts in the sound card.
Some of the sample mp3 files are rather nice. Details can be found at http://www.pykett.org.uk/prog_organ.htm
JOrgan -- This is more of a control program than
a sound generator. It relies on sound card or external MIDI modules for
its sounds. Details are at http://jorgan.sourceforge.net/
MidiTzer -- A theatre organ simulator that uses sound
fonts loaded into the sound card. Details are at http://www.theatreorgans.com/jimhenry/
GENPO -- A Linux organ program that uses sound fonts
in the sound card. Details are at http://genpo.sourceforge.net/
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.