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My Console


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      This is a new Hauptwerk console, which has been constructed and built over a little bit more than one year by Colin Peacock from Renatus Ltd. in Bideford, Devon, Great Britain.

      After a draft construction and the first visit to Bideford, we started to plan the console. It was a pleasure to work with Colin, as he always came up with ingenious solutions, even for complicated implementations. When the organ was almost finished, I revisited the Renatus company to discuss final open questions.

      The console was built by Renatus according British RCO specifications. It consists of a maple, stainless steel and glass construction with two Acer 23 inch (T232HL Abmjjz) touch screens. UHT (Orlishausen, Germany) provided the four keyboards with pressure point simulation (Series 40, key form E 85/50). The lower keys are covered with crème colored mineral; the upper keys are made of blackwood. The pedalboard was built by Renatus.

      The cables for the three LED lights (pedal light, music deck light and one LED strip below the music deck) are laid invisibly. No annoying wires are visible — even from the backside of the console.

      The organ bench with music shelf is equipped with bass pucks. The cables of the pucks are also fitted invisible inside the bench.

      The MIDI logic boards are designed and built by Renatus. They are very flexible. A total of 6 boards are installed. They are daisy chained to show up as one single MIDI controller. The manuals may not be cheap, but they are worth the money charged for. And the service of UHT is incredible. Each manual (including the corresponding thumb pistons) has its separate logic board, the pedal (including toe pistons) is connected to one of the manuals. Rocker tabs and four LCD displays share two additional boards.

      Each piston can be programmed individually, even allowing different pistons firing the same MIDI message. A piston can also be programmed to fire two messages (one when pressing and one when releasing). This flexibility allows using the same MIDI message with as many pistons as desired. I read in one of the forum threads that it was hard to assign more than two pistons to one function. With Renatus hardware this is no problem at all. For instance, I have plus and minus thumb pistons for the stepper for each manual, two toe and two hidden pistons behind the right monitor.

      Internally the organ is heavily dependent on USB ports. A 7-port USB hub is installed inside the console. The Renatus keyboard controller requires (only) one port; the touchscreen monitors also need one port each. There are several additional ports installed, which are accessible without opening the console. For example, I use one of these ports for the obligatory Hauptwerk dongle.

      The console automatically powers up, when the Hauptwerk computer (a Mac Pro) starts, it automatically switches off, when the computer shuts down.

      In summary, designing and setting up the organ was as much fun as playing it now. I would like to thank Colin Peacock for his patience finding solutions even for tricky things and thus making my dream console to become reality.

      If anybody has further questions, please feel free to contact (or even visit) me. It will be a pleasure to show all unique features in detail.

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