Hauptwerk is a highly advanced software sampler specifically designed to simulate the church organ. This technology makes world-famous organs reachable for organists worldwide.

Apart from a personal computer running Hauptwerk software, a keyboard or organ console with midi outputs, headphones or an external amplifier are required. The notes played on the keyboard are transmitted as midi-signal to the computer, which is used as sound source and outputs the audio through the soundcard, making it audible using headphones or an external amplifier.

HauptwerkBox-Large-LUsing Hauptwerk, an organ (sampleset) should be downloaded to the RAM of the PC. At this moment, about a hundred sets of mostly historical organs are available, amongst which are Schnitger, Silbermann and Cavaillé-Coll instruments. All individual pipes of these organs have been recorded (sampled) in stereo. These recordings (samples) have a length varying from 5 to 25 seconds and are played back repeatedly in a loop, without an audible cut. The length of the loops makes the sounds lively, compared to the rather ‘stiff’ sound of digital organs which are common today: they have significantly less RAM to rely on.

A major part of the organ sound is defined by the space in which it is located. Therefore, Hauptwerk is supplied with special functionalities to replicate this as realistically as possible. When releasing a key, the recording of the reverberation produced by the related organ pipe is played back. As the timbre of short sounds may vary in a highly reverberant space, multiple recordings of the reverberation are available. This is called multi-release sampling, which is uniquely available within Hauptwerk. Since vast amounts of RAM and processing capacity are common in personal computers, the aforementioned possibilities are reality today.

To give the virtual organ a lively wind supply, a scientific model is used to simulate the behaviour of the wind supply, including bellows and wind channels. Apart from the original tuning in which the organ has been recorded, several other (i.e. older) tunings can be chosen from. Also, the output can be divided to up to 512 channels, apart from the more common stereo and surround. Hauptwerk comes with a free sampleset of the British 30-stop Brindley & Foster organ.