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Palace of Arts Budapest Pipe Organ Samples

Key features

  • The real pipe organ
    • the 2006 Pécsi-Mühleisen pipe organ of the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall, Palace of Arts - Budapest, Hungary; entirely virtualized
    • 92 stops, 5 manuals (with 61 keys) and pedal (with 32 keys)
    • 2 sweller pedals, 2 tremulants (tremolos), 61-stage programmable crescendo with different independent program slots
    • 2 consoles (electrical Stage and mechanical Upper)
    • Equal tuning at concert pitch (a=442 Hz)
    • a symphonic organ to perform any piece of the entire pipe organ and symphonic literature without any compromise
  • The recording
    • High Definition Sampling (HDS) — all stops were sampled chromatically at 192 kHz / 24-bit
    • Advanced Pipe Organ Measurements (APM)
    • Synchronized Sampling Technology (SST)
  • The sample set
    • 48 kHz / 24-bit format, 2-channel stereo samples
    • Natural sound image — the samples contain all spatial information as they are heard
    • 12-second notes sampled, multiple loops per sample
    • 2 original independent swellboxes and 2 original tremulants
    • 6 swellboxes and 3 tremulants (exclusive to Gravissimo Edition)
    • One-click assignable manuals, 3 swellbox pedals with adjustable range and curve (exclusive to Gravissimo Edition)
    • All combination of couplers, bass and melody switches (exclusive to Gravissimo Edition)
    • Extended compass for sub and super couplers, 149 virtual stops (exclusive to Gravissimo Edition)
    • Optional organ engine sounds and noises
    • 'Semi-dry' sample set with multiple release samples for providing natural concert hall reverberation and tracker action sound
      • Cathedral acoustics in Medium and Extended Editions also available out-of-the-box
    • Programmable crescendo wheel with enable/disable option
    • Ability to disable reeds, mixtures or couplers from all Crescendo wheel programs
    • Touchscreen-optimized for 4:3 displays of 1280x1024 native resolution
  • The User Manual
    • contains a detailed guide to pipe organs, its mechanism and sound
    • provides you insight to the 2006 Pécsi-Mühleisen pipe organ
    • guides you to the Palace of Arts - Budapest and the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall
    • gives explanations of all stops of the organ
    • provides information on more than 80 different historical tunings (Professional Editions and above)
    • contains a Guide to Room Acoustics focusing on pipe organs written exclusively for PAB Pipe Organ Samples (Professional Editions and above)
    • and more
  • Shipping
    • download
    • retail box with external USB hard disk drive for an ultra-fast installation


PAB Pipe Organ Samples is published in six different editions: the Small, Essential and Medium Edition, featuring a selection of stops and features, the Professional Edition and Extended Edition with all 92 stops, and the exclusive 149-stop Gravissimo Edition with unique features plus the world's first virtual 64' stops. A freely downloadable Trial Edition, equivalent to the Small Edition with a time restriction is is also available. For a more detailed comparison of the Editions, please click on the Editions icon above.

Licenses for professional use

PAB Pipe Organ Samples, besides for end-users, was specifically designed to be used by professionals and on-site installations. Separate and multiple licensing for Institutional, Classroom, Worship and Commercial use are also available. If you are interested in such use, please visit the dedicated commercial license page and do not hesitate to contact us.


Palace of Arts Budapest (PAB) Pipe Organ Samples is a fully playable, freely configurable, intuitively manageable and MIDI-controllable virtual pipe organ, delivering the authentic sound of the 92-stop Pécsi-Mühleisen pipe organ of the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall of the Palace of Arts, Budapest, Hungary, to your computer.

Designed for operation within Hauptwerk™ software, on both PC and Macintosh computers, Palace of Arts Budapest Pipe Organ Samples sets a new standard in virtual pipe organs used by leading organists, professional musicians, professors and tutors, educational, worship and culture institutions, recording professionals and enthusiasts.

Despite its immense size and capabilities, it is a pipe organ you can play and take with you wherever you go, offering unprecedented flexibility and sound quality never heard before in a virtual instrument.

The organ

The Hungarian symphonic concert hall organ of the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall in Budapest is one of Europe's newest and most prestigious instruments. It was jointly built in 2006 by two companies, the Hungarian Pécsi Orgonaépítõ Manufaktúra, and the German Werkstätte für Orgelbau Mühleisen. The building process was monitored by a team of international concert organists and organ experts: Professor István Baróti, titular organist of Hungary's largest cathedral, leading the design of the instrument's disposition (sonic characteristics), with internationally acclaimed organist László Fassang and Mühleisen providing advisory roles.

The hugely versatile instrument, with its wide range of stops, permits the authentic performance of music from the Renaissance to the Avant-garde without compromise, and is well-suited to symphonic repertoire of all eras. Uniquely, in a World-first, this instrumental masterpiece was built simultaneously with the concert hall itself. It has 5 manuals of 61 notes, 32-key pedalboard, 92 stops, 6804 pipes and 2 complete consoles, one mechanical, and one electrical that can be placed anywhere on the concert hall stage.

Editions and versions

There are five different editions of this virtual pipe organ ranging from a small instrument to the deluxe limited-release exclusive edition.

Gravissimo Edition

The flagship limited Gravissimo Edition of the PAB Pipe Organ Samples virtual organ product family is designed to provide maximum flexibility. It has an extended compass over almost all stops upwards one octave, and many downwards as well, providing 57 virtual stops in addition to the 92 original and making this organ to be the largest of its kind, with 149 virtual stops. It is also the world's first virtual organ for Hauptwerk to introduce 64' stops. Almost a hundred of new couplers help setting up any possible performance setup and the debuting feature of the PerformanceSequencer™ helps storing them and recalling with a single mouse-click, or touch. A 20-step programmable divisional combination is also included for each division, pre-programmed with a crescendo setting.

Extended Edition and Professional Edition

The Extended Edition of the PAB Pipe Organ Samples is designed to provide flexibility using the original stop configuration of the pipe organ. All 92 stops, sampled note-by-note chromatically are included and fully playable, along with unique features such as the graphical user-interface-controllable sequencer (combination action), the optional out-of-the box cathedral acoustics and advanced controls for improvisation such as the Sostenuto or the Pedal division (split). The Professional Edition also contains all 92 stops but ships with the original concert hall acoustics only and some of the advanced features are only available in the Extended Edition. A detailed comparison can be found at the Editions tab on this page. With the both of these editions you are free to explore the entire pipe organ literature, including solo and symphonic pieces, as well as improvisation, teaching and practice.

Small, Essential and Medium Editions

The Small, Essential and Medium Editions are smaller releases of the orginal pipe organ with a portion of stops professionally selected by leading organists. The Small Edition contains 15 stops allowing you to play organ pieces mainly of the baroque literature. It is a highly cost effective edition with minimum computer demand, it most likely runs smoothly even on your notebook compter. The Small Edition is recommended for anyone who is willing to play portions of a large symphonic organ without the investment in a performance computer. The Essential Edition contains 23 stops and allows you to play more pieces from the organ literature with a wider variety of stops. The Medium Edition contains 45 stops, almost the half of the full organ, and allows you to play romantic pieces as well but with only a moderate demand on computer power. The Medium Edition comes with optional out-of-the-box cathedral acoustics for the ultimate experience. All of these editions feature the same graphical interface as the Professional Edition, but with the convenience that the available stops are highlighted for easier operation.

Did you know? With the features equivalent to the Small Edition, a time-limited Trial Edition is also available as a free download, just click on the Try icon above.

The sample set

The real pipe organ has been entirely virtualized, including all sounds of all of its pipes, all functions including the original combination action, its unique features and the versatile crescendo wheel, with programmable functions for subtraction of reeds, mixtures or coupler during real-time play. All virtualized functions are matched to Hauptwerk for easy control.

Sample format

The final sample set has been made available in 48 kHz / 24-bit 2-channel stereo format. Multiple, lengthy loops were carefully selected for each 12-second sample. The samples are in stereo, which means the image of the sound is preserved completely and accurately. This is very useful for those intending to create recordings, since the virtual instrument delivers the appropriate spatial sound image without need of any adjustment — no artificial panning or approximations were used in the creation of the library: what you hear is exactly the same as the reality. On the other hand it is also very easy to configure Hauptwerk to direct the sound output into a great number of loudspeakers, reducing the effects of loudspeaker intermodulation distortion.

Acoustics - the semi-dry advantage

Due to the fact that this instrument is located in a concert hall, the library is termed "semi-dry", meaning that it is perfectly applicable for both dry and reverberant places. Unlike other sample sets where church acoustics is fixed to the sound, the samples in PAB ideally works together with any type of reverberation whether it is natural, such as a real installation in a reverberant space, or artificial such as a reverberation software, and it is you who can choose whether to perform or compose using the original concert hall acoustics or apply reverberation.

Acoustics - out-of-the-box cathedral reverberation

The Gravissimo, Extended and Medium Editions of PAB are shipping with optionally selectable cathedral acoustics for playing convenience and instant cathedral organist experience. No further equipment or software is required, the provided 6-second tail release samples (holding samples with a reverberation time of about 4.5 seconds) comes out-of-the-box. The cathedral reverberation available in three independent release sample layers for each note and the reverb is made so that it spatially matches the original concert hall semi-dry pipe organ recording. Inspired Acoustics' proprietary CSA technique was used to allow this and the result corresponds to the impression what organists hear from the organ loft when playing: the clarity of the instrument is preserved while an impressive cathedral ambience accompanies the sound. The cathedral reverberation is achieved based on the measurement data of a real cathedral in Hungary so the cathedral reverberation is a natural sound, but it is completely noiseless in its full range of decay.

Acoustics - Multiple release samples

Multiple release samples provide realistic, note-off-triggered pre-recorded reverberation for different lengths of notes. For example, a short note, with sound not fully developed will produce a different reverberation than a long sustained note. This quality is preserved in the sample library by providing multiple release sample layers. Additionally, the Medium and the Extended Edition features out-of-the-box cathedral acoustics which were created by using Inspired Acoustics' proprietary CSA technique, also featuring independent release layers for different length of notes.

Multiple loops

Multiple loops are provided for each sample. Triggered by Hauptwerk to play back randomly, this elaborate looping results in sustained notes of unmatched realism. The loops were calculated in a well-planned way, yielding both shorter and longer loops for each sample. This provides the option for you of controlling the computer memory (RAM) consumption when loading the organ: by selecting only the first, shorter loops, you will be able to save a significant amount of RAM, thus permitting the loading of more samples (ranks). The short loops are constructed in such a way as does not impact the overall sound quality. 56% of the samples (in the Extended and Professional Editions) have three independent loops markers defined within them, 41% have two, while the remaining 3% have markers ranging from one to eight, according to the complexity of the notes. The PAB Gravissimo Edition has three loops per sample in almost all samples.

Advanced Graphical User Interface (GUI)

The graphical interface of this organ is unique in many ways. First of all, the consoles were completely modelled in 3D and the interface was implemented in a non-orthographical, perspective console view that is fully photo-realistic and operational at the same time. The keys move while you play, and every button responds appropriately to your actions. The 1280 x 1024 native resolution of the interface is optimized for today's common touchscreens. Both multiple- and single-screen operation is possible: the large number of stops can be operated conveniently from a wide choice of interface pages displayable on multiple touchscreens. Alternatively, convenient single screen operation is also provided.

Unique and special functions

Touch-controlled Combination Action

In a revolutionary first, PAB Pipe Organ Samples offers a completely independent combination action that can be controlled directly from the graphical interface by touchscreen or conventional mouse control. This feature, not yet directly supported by Hauptwerk 3, was developed using an independent combination action logic, greatly increasing playing convenience while facilitating its use in educational or live situations. The saving and loading of combination frames is just as easy as with Hauptwerk's built-in combination action.

Programmable crescendo with multiple programs

The programmable crescendo is provided through a graphical extension that makes for convenient custom setting of the 61-stage crescendo wheel programs. The Professional Edition ships with two original crescendo programs, those programmed into the real instrument. You can change the choice of program in use by pushing a single button even while playing. You can enable and disable the crescendo wheel with a special stop located within the stop tabs, and it is possible to temporarily disable Reeds, Mixtures and even Couplers from any crescendo state at any time — again with a single click or touch. The EasyCrescendo™, available in Gravissimo Edition allows horizontally programming all stages or stage subsections at once, which is a great convenience feature for organs having that many stops.

Reeds enabler, wheel enabler

The button named Zungen allows you to temporarily disable or re-enable all reed stops from any combination you are using. This is a very useful feature of large organs and can be used in many situations. Also, the crescendo wheel can be turned on and off, which can be 'handy' in improvisations.

Optional engine sounds and mechanic noises

The organ engine in Palace of Arts Budapest Pipe Organ Samples is an optional noise source that you can enable or disable according to your preference. For recording engineers extreme-quality pipe organ recording is made possible since the noise is completely removed from the recording. For those who seek ultimate realism, you can turn on the organ engines, also enabling the sounds of the mechanical action when changing combinations.

Dynamic KeyboardMass™

Keyboards and tracker actions of pipe organ have mass, inertia, which describe their response while you play. The Dynamic KeyboardMass™ is a special feature in the PAB Gravissimo Edition that allows you simulate and control each of the organ's keyboards heaviness independently, even if your keyboard controller does not support any dynamics at all. This revolutionary feature adds a new layer of realism to play the virtual pipe organ. The Dynamic KeyboardMass™ model sets the response of both the speaking and the release part of the pipe sound simultaneously and dynamically. Practically, this makes the virtual organ a more living instrument and ensures that it remains very responsive even if you set it to have very heavy keyboards.


In PAB Gravissimo Edition, there are many features that are related to the organ setup and configuration, such as the direction and response settings of the swell (enclosure) pedals, the assignment of keyboards to divisions (i.e. which manual plays Positive, Récit, etc.) or the characteristics of the KeyboardMas. These can be stored, independently of the stop configuration of the organ in a sequencer called PerformanceSequencer™. It has 8 preset buttons which you can configure just as a combination is programmed, and later recall at any time when you play the organ. Uniquely, the combination action also stores these, so by enabling with a provided button, you can instruct the organ to load them from the Combination Action. This flexibility is very useful in real-life situations, and it is very easy and fun to use.

A full range of frequencies - 64' (64 foot) to half-foot stops

PAB Gravissimo Edition introduces 64' stops in the virtual pipe organs for Hauptwerk. Based on the sounds of real 64' ranks, the original pipe organ's own pipe sounds were carefully modified in a sound design process to provide the appropriate characteristics. These virtually created ranks, such as the Bombarde 64' or the Gravissimo 64' (with fundamental frequencies as low as 8.176 Hz and many harmonics above), or the tiny, half-foot equivalent Piccolo stop add a new layer of flexibility to the virtual instrument. And since all of these extensions are selectable to load, you can choose to enjoy the original pipe organ sounds or go a little beyond.

A full range of couplers

Although PAB Professional and Extended already contains most of the couplers that are used, PAB Gravissimo Edition introduces 98 electric couplers with nearly all possible combinations of straight (non-transposing) divisional couplers, as well as transposing (sub or 16', super or 4'), self or reversed (pedal played on a division) couplers, and also unison off couplers for each division. Reversed couplers, which are also present in the Extended and Gravissimo Edition have the option to split the keyboard and play only pedal notes, while straight and transposing self-couplers of the Gravissimo Edition can be optionally transformed to bass and melody solo voice couplers. Please consult the screenshots of the coupler page of the Gravissimo Edition to see them all.

Encryption and CODM

The sample set comes in a Hauptwerk-specific encrypted format, compatible with Hauptwerk 3.21 and later. Modification or disassembling the organ contents through the CODM interface of Hauptwerk is not supported since the variety of functions, the large number of couplers and manuals and the availability of PAB's special built-in combination action already offers most of the functions the CODM interface may offer. The complexity of the Organ Definition File shipping with PAB is uniquely high and building custom variants requires a certain amount of special expertise. Legally, the end-user license of PAB is permitting using the samples as a whole, as they ship. If you are planning a custom or commercial application that requires a different setup what PAB offers now, please contact us for making a customized version for you.

The User Manual

The User Manual for PAB Pipe Organ Samples guides you through the fascinating history and details of the magnificent Pécsi-Mühleisen instrumental masterpiece, unveils features of the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall, contains an explanation of stop names available on this organ, lists more than 80 different historical tunings, and provides you tips and hints on how to use best the library. In yet another first, the User Manual introduces a Guide to Room Acoustics focusing on pipe organs in a comprehensive yet easily readable form.

The recording

High Definition Sampling (HDS)

Recording of this instrument was conducted following thorough acoustic measurements in the concert hall. All pipes were recorded with the same recording equipment, under the same acoustic and physical conditions, entirely at 192 kHz / 24-bit.

Advanced Pipe Organ Measurements (APM)

Inspired Acoustics' APM technology was developed to measure inner sound properties and characteristics of the pipe organ. APM is used to capture the sound characteristics of swellboxes, case behavior and actual equipment setup accurately.

Synchronized Sampling Technology (SST)

Real pipes behave differently in terms of sound buildup, and it is not possible to accurately determine the correct timing of the sample playback start-of-note without due care. Inspired Acoustics' SST is a technology developed to record an instrument so that note starts are sample accurate, meaning that both the sound buildup and the delay introduced by the distance of each pipes are flawlessly preserved.

Availability and shipping

Uniquely, instead of shipping on tens of DVD discs, retail box editions of PAB Pipe Organ Samples ship on more conveniently usable medium, on an external Hard Disk Drive allowing for smooth and convenient installation as well as backups.

About the creation of PAB

Preparations for creating PAB included initiation and implementation of a broader cooperation between Entel/Inspired Acoustics and the Palace of Arts – Budapest. Being introduced to the instrument from the late phases of its building and voicing and following nearly 2 years of preparation, organization and planning the recording effort itself commenced in September 2007. On-site preparations included a custom acoustic setup of the hall, involving repositioning of the 40-ton stage canopy and 10-ton reverberation chamber doors along with all curtains to a location we specifically desired. All together a net amount of 640 GB of sample data was recorded with the exact same equipment and recording setup. Extensive post production started parallel with the recordings and the creation of the complete library, all together, has taken more than 12,000 working hours. The library is continuously developing with new features, new sounds and more with the latest releases.