Phoenix developer, Dave Bostock, sampling a French Cavaille Coll organ.
Anyone who has ever listened to good music on a Compact Disk (CD) can appreciate the fact that sounds of such clarity and realism are stored on a plastic disk. Even full-length movies are now stored on similar disks (DVD) and the quality of both sound and picture is amazing. The same type of digital technology is applied to the sounds of a Phoenix Organ except that the digital recordings of organ pipes, instead of being read from a spinning disk, are stored permanently on computer memory chips. Each time a note is pressed at the keyboard, the Phoenix computer instantly plays back the appropriate digital recordings of organ pipes (or any other type of sound or combination of sounds that are chosen).
The sampling rate on a Phoenix Organ is the same as for CDs. The sample rate is usually 44.1kHz although 48kHz is often used. Once the digital recordings of the pipes are made they are then edited before being stored in the memory of the organ. This is one of the most important parts of building a Phoenix organ. A very critical musical ear with great sensitivity to the details of pipe organ sound is required to do such work, to say nothing of the patience required. In fact, many consider sampling to be an art once they have noticed the differing qualities of sound between organ manufacturers. Editing pipe samples involves the judicious removal of unwanted background noise caused by air leaks and blower rumble as exists in many older pipe organs as well as the removal of typical street traffic noise heard in many churches. Hearing is believing. Contact a Phoenix representative to receive a demonstration CD or, better still, play a Phoenix as soon as you can to see for yourself. The quality is obvious and we welcome side-by-side comparisons.
Donald Anderson of Phoenix Organs at the console of the 3 manual tracker action organ in St. Catharine's Cathedral, Canada during the sampling session. This is one of many pipe organs that Phoenix Organs has recorded pipe by pipe. Note the horizontal Trompette en Chamade above the console.