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What do I need for Hauptwerk

This English page is not just as extensive as the Dutch page because the information is already available on the Hauptwerk Prerequisites site.

See the step plan with all steps to build a Hauptwerk configuration.

On this site I restrict myself to a PC with Windows, Hauptwerk works also (or may be better) on an Apple MAC.

You can make it just as expensive as you want. Here are examples; on every part you can choose other components.

1) A 'trial' configuration

2) A 'basic' configuration

3) An 'advanced' configuration

I have (and I'm very satisfied: the biggest samplesets are good loadable and 'start pc + load sampleset' spends about 1 1/2 minute):

Phased purchase

When you want to use Hauptwerk, you can make two choices:
  1. Buy a complete Hauptwerk system with all integrated.
    Examples of such fully integrated systems are on this page. In the matter of operation no difference with a normal digital organ, the computer, sound card, speakers and subwoofer are fully integrated. Also there are swell pedals and thumb pistons special configurable for Hauptwerk. See MIDI and organ hardware for use with Hauptwerk for other suppliers.
  2. A phased purchase.
    It is clever to do your purchase so that:
    • You have no regrets about wrong purchases (e.g. wrong sound card, computer audio or sampleset).
    • Buy the things the last which are relative expensive and add not a lot.
Looking back, I made sometimes wrong choices. I shall now do a phased purchase in this order:
  1. Hauptwerk trial (E 0,-)
    Download always at first the Free version Hauptwerk.

  2. Sampleset trial (E 0,-)
    Download always at first a good free sampleset e.g. Velesovo MINI (10 registers).

  3. Sound card/midi interface
    Mostly you have already a computer and a digital organ (or keyboard). The sound card/midi interface lacks as the only main part. You can do three things now:
    1. Buy a cheap USB-midi cable.
    2. Buy a single-stereo-channel sound card/midi interface.
    3. Buy immediately a good multi-stereo-channel (for eventually surround in future) sound card with a lot of things that are important: e.g. headphone connection, easy volume control, etc.
    More details about the choice of a Midi interface / Sound card.

  4. Good Sampleset that works with Hauptwerk Free Edition
    The sampleset of Anloo works fine with Hauptwerk Free Edition, also is Anloo relatively inexpensive (E 99,-).
    You can also choose Menesterol (E 70,-), but than it is not possible to load all stops with the Free edition.
    Another good choise: Gapinge (E 19,-).
    Also samplesets with more reverb are eligible, only you can load a small part of the stops at one time.
    Caution: Hauptwerk Free Edition works only with unsecured samplesets.

  5. Hauptwerk Basic
    Do you hate the limitations of Hauptwerk Free? And you want also try sampleset that are only work with a legal version of Hauptwerk? Buy then Hauptwerk Basic.
    Read more about the differences between Hauptwerk Basic and Advanced.

  6. Good free sampleset
    With Hauptwerk Basic you can use the good demo samplesets of Sonus Paradisi, these demo's can be used as compleet organ, the only restriction is the amount of stops.
    See: Sonus Paradisi free stuff: Laurenskerk/Rotterdam (24 stops!), Dom/Utrecht, Smecno demo, Velesovo demo, Zwolle demo, Maximin demo, etc.

  7. Good quality Sampleset for a fair price.
    The sampleset determines for the largest part if you are satisfied with Hauptwerk. A good bargain is a pick purse (cheap is not always a good choice). When you have only Hauptwerk Basic (with polyphony limit of 1024) you can't use the big samplesets (like Caen, Zwolle, Kampen, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Metz, Aix) in an optimal way. When you won't spend too much money I can recommend Menesterol (E 70,-). There are obviously also other good samplesets, but they are more expensive and less suitable for Hauptwerk Basic because of the polyphony limit.
    Read more about the choice of Samplesets

  8. Good computer with 16 GB which is suitable for 32 GB.
    When you buy a new computer for Hauptwerk, buy then immediately a one with a motherboard that is suitable for 32 GB.
    Read more about the choice of a Computer

  9. Two active speakers.
    A pair good active speaker adds a lot to the sound quality!
    Buy at first two good ones, more can later also. It is better to have two good speakers than a lot of moderate quality.
    Read more about the choice of speakers

  10. Windows 64 bit.
    A 64 bit version of Windows is needed when you want to use more then 3.5 GB RAM.
    Read more about Windows 64 bit

  11. Good headphone.
    Listening via a good headphone gives the most realistic result for Wet samplesets.
    Read more about a the choice for a good headphone

  12. Hauptwerk Advanced Upgrade.
    Hauptwerk Advanced is needed when you want an unlimited polyphony, multi-stereo-channel (especially needed for surround) and the wind model.
    Read more about the differences between Hauptwerk Basic and Advanced

  13. Big/expensive top quality Sampleset.
    You want always more; with Hauptwerk Advanced and a bigger budget are also the big/expensive samplesets accessible. For example: Trost, Caen Surround, Rieti, Rotterdam, Utrecht or Sauer.

  14. Touch screen.
    A touch screen is, in my opinion, the most flexible and handy method for registration.
    Read more about Touch screens

  15. Two extra speakers for surround.
    Surround is in my opinion (after headphone) the nicest. Although that requires two extra speakers.
    Read more about Surround

  16. Surround sampleset.
    For example Caen Surround, Freiberg or Utrecht.
    Read more about Surround

  17. Subwoofer.
    A subwoofer adds (for me) not a lot (when you see it relative, because of good subwoofers are enormous expensive). This is dependent on the quality of the other speakers (are they suitable for low tones).
    Read more about a Subwoofer

  18. More RAM memory
    With more RAM memory you can load bigger samplesets, and also load the samples with greater precision. This is good for soundquality.
    See also: (14-bit), 16-bit, (20-bit), 24-bit.

  19. More active speakers
    It is possible to reproduce e.g. each manual with different stereo channels. You can also split different type of stops to different stereo channels, see Surround and multi-stereo-channel front.

  20. A second Touch screen
    To register on both sides it can be handy to have 2 Touch screens available. A lot of samplesets has registration screens for two Touch screens.

  21. Solid State Drive
    A S(olid) S(tate) D(rive) is an alternative for a hard disc with two advantages: A lot faster and silent.
    See: S(olid) S(tate) D(rive) en Hauptwerk.

Midi Console

These are the possibilities:
1. keyboard with midi connection.
2. digital organ with midi connection, most of the digital organs younger than 10 to 15 years has a midi connection. When you want to buy a digital organ with as goal to use it for Hauptwerk ask if the stop changes also results in a midi message, this is for the older organs not the case.
It makes sense to use also the speakers of the digital organ, but often this is difficult... Read further on: Audio / Speakers of digital organ.
3. A "self made" project were you compose all components (for instance midi keyboard, midi pedal) together to a Midi Console.
The results are gorgeous, see Pictures Selmade/special.
4. A special Hauptwerk console, you can buy it for example at:
R&M The Virtual Pipe Organ (Germany).
SakralorgelWELT (Germany).
See further: Midi links on Hauptwerk site.

More nice examples on Pictures Standard Hauptwerk console.


You can run Hauptwerk on an Apple MAC or a Windows PC.

Take care for this things:
1. Internal memory This determines the size of the sampleset you can load. When you have 2 GB internal memory, you cannot load the bigger samplesets. Be careful also for the maximum internal memory of the computer when you want to extend the memory later. Better is to buy a computer which has a motherboard/processor that allows more internal memory (e.g. 32GB). When you buy a new computer, take immediately minimal 16 GB (or better 32 GB in combination with Windows 64 bit). Fast memory improves the loadtime of a sampleset. When you want absolute 'free of interference'-memory use then ECC, for 'normal home usage' this is not necessary. See for details: Memory....
2. Processor The processor determines the amount of stops that can be played simultaneously (polyphony). When you want to play for example 40 stops simultaneously (a nice tutti can also with a lot less registers!) on a wet sampleset, and you use big repeated chords, you need an enormous big processor. So it is better to choose a fast processor (eg Intel i7). A fast processor improves also the load time of a sampleset.
3. Hard disk Samplesets use a lot of memory on the hard disk. But on new computers the hard disk is often about 500 GB or more, this is sufficient. The speed of the hard disk has influence on the time spend to load a sampleset in the internal memory, also a RAID configuration has a positive impact.
4. SSD-drive A SDD-drive has a big positive impact on starting the pc and loading samplesets in memory. A good SDD is only E 100,- (for 256 GB / written in 2015).
5. (Cooler) noise It's not pleasant when the computer makes a lot of noise (from the cooler). Usually the amount of noise is not in the specification, but you must take it into account.

On Hauptwerk forum: Tested computer configurations
On Hauptwerk forum: Computer hardware / specs

Operating system

You can run Hauptwerk on an Apple MAC (with Os X) or a Windows PC (Windows 7, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10).

Windows Vista 32 bit 2 GB limit

Windows Vista 32 bit (standard version) has a limit that you can use a maximum of 2 GB per application. This is too less for Hauptwerk when you want to use large samplesets. There is a workaround, see: 4 GB memory with Vista 32 bit? http://www.photographicworkflow.com/wiki/3GB_Switch

Windows 32 bit (standard version) / 64 bit

Windows 64 bit versus 32 bit, advantages:
  • You can allocate more than 3.5 GB memory.
  • The Hauptwerk polyphony can be (a little bit) higher on 64 bit.
  • Some (music) software doesn't work on Windows 64 bit.
  • Not all sound cards supports Windows 64 bit.

Optimize Windows for Hauptwerk

Hauptwerk uses a lot of resources from the Computer. To have a polyphony as highest as possible without disturbance you must configure Windows so that the computer does as less as possible in the background. Also you want that Windows itself uses at less memory as possible, so there remains more memory for Hauptwerk.

Below there is a list of possibilities to optimize Windows for Hauptwerk. It is not certainly necessary to run Hauptwerk, do it only when you want an optimal Hauptwerk pc.

  1. Only Hauptwerk active
    Run during Hauptwerk no other software, even not the Windows Task Manager.
  2. Disable Virus scanner
  3. Disable Windows Defender
    [Start, Control Panel, Systems Management, Services, Windows Defender, Switch off]
  4. Disable Automatic Indexing hard disc
    [Start, Control Panel, Systems Management, Services, Windows Search, Switch off]
  5. Disable Windows Firewall
    [Start, Control Panel, Systems Management, Services, Windows Firewall, Switch off]
  6. Disable Automatic Updates
    [Start, Control Panel, Systems Management, Services, Windows Update, Switch off]
  7. Disable (wireless) Network / Internet
    [Start, Control Panel, Device management, Network adapters, right mouse menu, Switch off]
  8. Set Power Management on 'High performance'
    [Start, Control Panel, Power Management, High performance]
  9. Reduce the Visual effects
    [Start, Control Panel, System, Advanced, Performance settings, Advanced, Visual effects, Best performance]
  10. Disable Windows system sounds
    [Start, Control Panel, Sound, Sounds, No Sounds]
  11. Disable Screen saver
  12. Disable as many 'Services' as possible
    Do this only when you have a bit knowledge of Windows!
    [Start, Control Panel, Systems Management, Services]
About two (may be the most important) configurations are different opinions (see: Optimize Vista for Hauptwerk):
  1. Virtual memory
    [Start, Control Panel, System, Advanced, Performance settings, Advanced, Virtual memory]
    Here are three possibilities: 1) No page file 2) System managed size 3) Own definition.
    I have the best results with No page file, but Martin Dyde recommend System managed size.
  2. Processor scheduling optimize for 1) Programs 2) Background services
    [Start, Control Panel, System, Advanced, Performance settings, Advanced]
    Here I follow the preference of Martin Dyde: Programs, there is also a person (with a Focusrite Saffire) who must choose Background services to prevent distortion.

Midi interface / Sound card

Rougly there are three types:
  1. (USB) Midi cable. This is only a midi-interface without sound card.
  2. Sound card single-stereo-channel (with integrated midi-interface), one channel stereo output, e.g.: M-Audio Audiophile 2496 (PCI card), EMU 0404, EMU 1212M or RME HDSP9632 (a top quality card but I don't know if Windows 7 / Vista is supported). In my opinion, for a pure stereo wet sampleset is a single-stereo-channel sound card sufficient. When you only listen with Headphone a single-stereo-channel sound card is good enough. But for the Surround (enormous improvement of spacial experience) samplesets is a multi-stereo-channel sound card required.
  3. Sound card multi-stereo-channel (with integrated midi-interface), has multiple stereo output channels, e.g.: M-Audio Profire 610, M-Audio 1010/1010LT (PCI card), Presonus FP10/FIREPOD or EMU 1616M, see Topic on Hauptwerk forum about choice EMU 1616M or Focusrite Saffire
A large latency (delay between pressing a key and hearing the sound) is often caused by the sound card/midi interface. Buy a sound card that supports ASIO-drivers.

The choice for a suitable sound card is dependent on:
  • Support it my operating system (eg Windows 7, Windows 8.1, OsX).
  • Latency.
  • Sound quality.
  • The amount of output channels.
  • The availability of a Midi interface.
  • The availability of a Headphone connection.
  • Possibility to change the volume easily.
  • PCI, Firewire or USB connection (for connecting the computer).
  • Is it possible to add effects (e.g. reverb) to the sound.
It is hard to recommend an interface with the best price/quality ratio; I didn't try all of them. A lot of persons choose for M-Audio. I have an EMU1820M (with possibility to add reverb, but I never use it because I prefer Wet samplesets), the disadvantage of the EMU1820M is that the volume is not adjustable with a button (except for headphone), changing volume can only via software.

CAUTION: Many (internal) sound cards don't have a headphone connection (+ headphone amplifier), this is the case for e.g. the EMU 0404 and 1212M. The sound card must be connected to an amplifier, the headphone must be connected to the amplifier.

See the recommended midi interfaces/sound cards on: Hauptwerk prerequisites

On Hauptwerk forum: Creative X-Fi sound card and Hauptwerk
On Hauptwerk forum: What Interface do you recommend?
On Hauptwerk forum: M audio 2496 or E-mu soundcart.
On Hauptwerk forum: Sound Card Advice
On Hauptwerk forum: E-MU 1820 comfusion
On Hauptwerk forum: emu 1616 PatchMix routing puzzles
On Hauptwerk forum: E-MU 1616 PCI Soundcard
On Hauptwerk forum: No volume control from emu 1820 with using multi-channels
On Hauptwerk forum: Surroundsound/Home Theatre Amplifiers?

Before I had a EMU 0404. This was a good card with a low latency. Now I have a EMU 1820M PCI because:
  • This card has connections for 3 stereo channels. I use channel 1 for my Adam A7X and subwoofer(Front), I use channel 2 for my Genelec active speakers (Rear)
  • This card have a headphone pre-amplifier.
  • This card have better Digital => Analog convertors (The 'M' in the type number) than the EMU 0404.
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Using these advices is on your own risk.


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