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Johannus Technology and Quality

To understand what an extraordinary instrument your Johannus organ really is, we present you some more extensive and in-depth technical information. To begin, you may know that the link between pipe organs and their modern digital equivalent consists of the conversion of digitally recorded sound to audio. Digital Recording derives its name from the fact that it consists of sound, converted into numbers (digits) and stored on a sound chip in the organ. You also need another special chip to convert these back into sound. These are called Digital-to-Analogue Converter chips, abbreviated to DAC. When an organ is reproducing these digital recordings, it is the one point where things can go wrong in many ways. 

Firstly consider the processing power. Even present day DACs are limited in the amount of sound data they can process. This means that if you want to have a realistic sounding digital organ, the organ will need many DACs. If there only one DAC, it might sound good when using only a solo voice, but if you want to add more registers, you will find that the quality of the sound diminishes rapidly or ‘fatigues’. 

This is the main reason why some digital organs can sound 'shrill' whenever you try to play full choruses or full organ. The only way to avoid this is to limit the number of stops every DAC handles to a maximum of two. Therefore every Johannus organ contains a full 24-bit Digital-Audio Converter for every two registers. Moreover, all DACs are 24 bits, 96 kHz, which is something you will not readily find elsewhere. Johannus applies a minimum sample frequency of 48 kHz. CD quality consists of 16 bits, 44.1 kHz. 24 bits is 8 bits more, which means a 28 = 256 times more precise representation of the contour of the waveform.

Moreover, we have found that 48 kHz is more than adequate for high quality sound by the way it is used. Some boast to have a higher sample frequency. What they fail to mention is, that because they only use a few DACs, they are in desperate need for the higher sample frequency to compensate. If you use composite samples, or if several samples (registers) are processed by the same DAC, and these have the minimal frequency of 44.1 kHz, then the use of just a few DACs results in a worsening of the sound. We limit the load to no more than 2 manual registers per DAC (a unique feature!), which is why the sound of a Johannus does not fatigue when adding more registers. The process of sampling consists of converting sound into numbers by scanning the waveform. The sampling frequency indicates how often the sound of a pipe is scanned and measured. The number of bits determines how precisely this is done.

But there is more to consider. A pipe organ has a number of pipes for every register, and every key. This means, that the number of pipes is a multiple of the number of keys and pedals. Now if you want to make a digital organ, one way to do this is by recording every pipe connected to every key separately, and storing this into memory. If you switch on a stop, and press a number of keys on your digital organ, you will hear the sound of the pipes of the original organ. The sound you hear is the original.

Secondly, it takes a lot of memory to store every pipe of every register of even a small organ. If you compare the sound of two pipes of the same register of adjacent keys, they are virtually identical. This means, that the sounds they make have many characteristics in common. They may only be different in pitch. In fact, this is what the builder of the organ aimed at, but there are always small differences. However the similarity makes it possible to use one recording to play at different pitches. In this way you can use only one sample to make the sound of several pipes. Some organs even make the sound of a complete register from only one recording of one pipe. This trick makes it possible to use less memory, but it makes the sound very much less realistic.Johannus deploys Real Time Sampling. This means that we do not make use of this trick, but use as many recordings as there are pipes. We do not hesitate to use lots of memory. As far as we know, this makes the Johannus organ unique. Every sound of every register you hear is a real recording of a unique pipe. This guarantees that the Johannus organ sounds amazingly real as the harmonic structure of the rank is faithfully maintained. Then there is the matter of the attack and decay of the pipe sound with the pressing and releasing of the keys. Pressing and releasing keys opens and closes valves, which make a distinct sound in the pipes. In between you only have the sound of the vibration of the air in the pipes, modified by the movements of the pipe itself. You can play notes of every length on a digital organ by either shortening this middle section, and attaching the release, or lengthening it by 'looping', i.e., replaying the middle part again and again as long as is necessary, and then attaching the release. If the sample of the middle section is too short, you hear less of the modulations of the sound caused by the movements of the pipe and other natural variations, and the tone will sound 'sterile'. Only when you take a middle section that is long enough, will the modulations of the movements of the pipe also be audible, adding to realism. Johannus have taken care to employ 'Long Loop Samples' - meaning, that we have made the middle section long enough to ensure that you can hear a living sound, not a sterile one.

Take a close look at the console construction. It is a beautiful piece of high quality furniture as well as a great sounding organs! No cheap plastic roll lid, but a real wooden slat lid and keyboard blocks of hardwood, not veneer. A Johannus organ also has a very beautiful pedaboardl. The pedals are made from high quality hardwoods by professional carpenters. The pedal operates through a wireless contact system, which prevents wear and tear. We hope you now know a little more to judge the real value of a Johannus organ.



Johannus Support 

Specialist Organ Consultant

For small or large organs it is important to get the right advice for your needs and acoustic environment. To help, Bernies Music Land have an on-staff consultant with extensive design experience, at your service to find or create the perfect organ.   

Musicians' Workshops

Bernies Music Land conducts regular workshops and recital evenings to promote

 

classic organ and help church musicians better understand and utilise the classic organ. Players of all abilities are warmly welcomed to any of our evenings. Check our 'Dateline' in the 'News & Events' Section of our website.  

Buy A Key

Are you considering a classic organ for your church or venue? Bernies Music Land can assist with fundraising with their ‘Buy A Key’ project. The project encourages your community to donate and ‘Buy A Key’. Their contribution is recognised on a custom-designed poster that can be displayed in your venue. For more information please phone the classic organ staff at Bernies Music Land on (03) 9872 5122.

Johannus Warranty and Service

As Johannus is an international company, they are well prepared and equipped to look after their organs and their clients in every part of the world. 

Here in Australia, Bernies Music Land has an on-staff technician to assist customers and our specialist staff also have technical knowledge to rapidly diagnose any problems. 

We are supported by a network of specialist service technicians all over the country and have direct access to the Johannus After Sales desk in Holland for effective diagnosis, usually on an overnight basis.

Parts that are not held in stock can be ordered and delivered to Australia in as little as five days and Johannus guarantee the availability of electronic parts for a minimum of 25 years. 

Johannus owners can be assured of the very best of care with a warranty that covers parts for 10 years and labour for 5 years. In some cases, where damage has been sustained to the organ that cannot be rectified on-site, we can arrange for your organ to be transported to our service department. Unfortunately, we cannot cover transport costs under warranty. 

We will always do our utmost to have your Johannus organ up and running as soon as possible!