Johannus Technology and Quality

Your new Johannus organ is an extraordinary instrument. It is the result of innovative research and development melded with centuries of traditional Dutch organ building craftsmanship.

There is lots of hype in the market place about technology and how the sound is produced and this is where Johannus has a major advantage with their cutting-edge real time sampling technology.

So, what is real-time digital sampling technology?

Essentially digital sampling sound reproduction is the conversion of digitally recorded sound to audio. Digital recording derives its name from the process of recording sound, converted into numbers (digits) and stored on a sound chip in the organ. To convert these digital formulae back into sound, a digital-to-analogue converter chip (DAC) is needed. This is a critical stage in the process of sound reproduction where some manufacturers cut corners and things can go wrong.

Let’s consider processing power. Even the most advanced DACs are limited in the amount of data they can process. So this means you need many DACs for a realistic sounding organ as the harmonic structure of the stop is preserved. If the number of DACs is inadequate, single stops may sound OK but choruses quickly diminish sound quality and fatigues the ear.

This is why some organs sound shrill or not just ‘quite right’ when playing full choruses or full organ. Johannus limit the number of stops to DACs to a maximum of two. This means every organ contains a minimum of a full 24-bit DAC for every two stops. All DACs are 24 bit, 96kHz and Johannus applies a minimum sample frequency of 48kHz. This results in a sound that is of much higher quality than that of a CD. Moreover, Johannus R & D have found that 48kHz is more than adequate for high quality sound. Some manufacturers claim to have a higher sampling frequency , but fail to mention that their DAC structure is inferior and need to compensate with this higher frequency, resulting in a harsh or shrill sound. But there is a lot more to consider. A pipe organ has a number of pipes for every stop, division and key meaning that the number of pipes in a pipe organ is a multiple of the number of keys and pedals. To make a realistic sounding digital organ, the best way to do this is to record every pipe on every key separately and storing this into the memory. When you select a stop and press a key you are hearing the sound of the original pipe with the harmonic structure intact.

The amount of memory that is required to store every pipe on every stop is enormous. If you compare the sound two pipes of the same stop, they are virtually identical. This means the sound has many characteristics in common and only vary mainly by pitch. This is how the organ builder meant it to be, a cohesive sound that blends all through the registers. But there are always subtle differences.

Some manufacturers use these similarities to use a small numbers of recordings and extrapolate the different pitches and some only use one small recording (sometimes less than a second) for all pitches. This uses far less memory and often is deceptive as this allows space in an organ for a high number of stops, but the stops prove to be of low quality and extrapolated samples often prove dry and harsh because the harmonic integrity of the stop is compromised because all the subtlety different harmonics from each pipe are lost.

Herein lays the Johannus difference, real-time digital sampling. This technology uses as many digital samples as there are pipes in the original organ. The little subtleties remain giving you a more realistic sound. Johannus organs all use huge amounts of memories and we all think is a good thing. Every note of every stop is an actual individual recording. This is what makes Johannus unique. You are guaranteed your Johannus organ will sound amazing as the harmonic structure of each rank is faithfully preserved and retained.

The attack and decay of the pipe sound is also faithfully reproduced and the chiff forms part of the sample and speaks exactly as a pipe does. The initial sound chiffs as the pipe fills with air, but subsequent pressing of the same note does not have chiff as some residual air remains in the pipe. Johannus use a real-time chiff to emulate this and to make the sound more realistic, the samples are long-looped so you can hear a pure organ sound complete with all the nuances that gives the pipe organ a unique charm.

Your Johannus organ is quite an investment so our aim is for you to enjoy a living sound and not a dry sterile sound. Combined with the Intonat ® software, our factory trained organ voicer has the ability to voice your organ to perfection for your space. Whether it be home, chapel, church, cathedral or concert hall, you can trust our 26 years of experience installing Johannus and Makin organs in all of these venues to assist you in selecting or designing your prefect organ.

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