Conservatório de Música da Jobra installs PAB

Conservatório de Música da Jobra installs PAB

Conservatório de Música da Jobra (CMJ) console will be finished in February 2009 featuring 4 manuals with pedal, 76 lighed drawbar stops, and a 120-step sequencer. The virtual pipe organ to implement in CMJ’s auditorium will be the Palace of Arts Budapest Pipe Organ Samples.

The Virtual Pipe Organ at Conservatório de Música da Jobrajobra console

A major step in the virtual pipe organ world is about to be made this 2009, with one of the biggest Hauptwerk installations so far: a 200 seat modern auditorium. The project is raising in a music school, Conservatório de Música da Jobra (CMJ), in Portugal and will be ready in February 2009.

Plans and engineering

The school’s directors, Dr. Filipe Marques and Prof. Filipe Vieira, and organ teacher António Mota, PhD, worked together for more than a year on the project. All technical details of project were Antonio Mota’s responsibility (he used to work in engineering before becoming professional music some years ago). The building process was documented in a technical report with more than 300 pages. This digital organ installation is clearly a leap forward, not only due to the quality of the components, from console to amplification, but also due to some technical innovations. Some highlights:

  • sample replay technique with no technological compromises; to date only Hauptwerk with a top-quality sample set can guarantee this
  • use of “semi-dry” sample sets, which:
    • retain the spatial image of the original instrument allowing the best possible realistic “replay” (which is not the case of dry mono samples, the traditional solution for the “professional environment"; as for wet samples: although Conservatorio de Musica's auditorium is not highly reverberant (RT60=~2 seconds), acoustic tests demonstrated that wet sample sets could not compete with the dry and “semi-dry” ones in terms of sound clarity)
    • allows using less audio channels. Aside: Less audio channels means that one can focus the financial resources in maximizing the quality of the speakers and amplifiers; this is a fundamental aspect, that clearly fights the “dry mono setup that needs 100 individual speakers” in the traditional approach.

Also in the hardware, channeling, etc., the project has a particularly innovative approach, using 2 PCs and all software (convolution reverb, crossover filtering plug-ins, etc.) running at 64-bits. Stay tuned for more information (final details are still being validated).

Organ console

Any "professional" organ installation mandates on a pipe organ quality organ console. CMJ's organ console was made in Holland, by Content, under custom specifications. Some features include:

  • 4x UHT wooden keyboards (Hall-effect “life-time-warranty” contacts), with different weights and strokes (I: “heavy”, 140 g / 11 mm; II and III: “standard”, 105 g / 10 mm; IV: “light”, 80~90 g / 9 mm)
  • 76 lighted drawbar stops, 10 of them being for the normal couplers (also duplicated in foot pistons)
  • 120 step internal sequencer (12 memories x 5 banks x 2, plus hand and foot “+” and “-“ pistons for combination increment and decrement)
  • custom hand- and foot pistons for Hauptwerk, namely a second sequencer, plus “reset” buttons, general memories, etc.

The following photograph shows a sound test session in CMJ’s auditorium, using only 1 speaker pair of “full-range” towers. The final version will have 16 towers plus 2 Definitive SuperCube Trinity subwoofers, giving a total of 76 cone speakers ("normal" cones, horns and passive radiators) for 8000 watt RMS of sound.

Present and future workjobra auditorium

The organ to implement in CMJ’s auditorium will be the Palace of Arts Budapest Pipe Organ Samples virtual organ - the immediate goal being (i) to load at maximum quality all the stops the space can handle (with each stop at a realistic SPL - no more, no less) and (ii) being able to play Guillou’s Toccata with a maximum of 20 ms of latency! As for the future: several ideas are being forged, namely, installing a complementary surround sound system to allow more accurate simulations of the acoustics of famous large cathedrals.

About Conservatório de Música da Jobra

The Conservatório de Música da Jobra is located in a small town named Branca (Albergaria-a-Nova), near Aveiro, Portugal. As of this writing, the number of students is about 500. CMJ's website is here.