Update to the HD Series Upgrade Manual

An update from Jeff:

Hi everyone,

I’ve recently completed a major update to the Wersi HD Series Upgrade Manual. There are a number of new items that may be of interest to all Wersi owners. For those contemplating an enhancement to their instrument, the new Chapter 1 provides more detail on the thinking behind the HD Series concept. For those wanting a more authentic drawbar sound, the new Chapter 7 provides more information on the new VB3-II software, and for those thinking of upgrading an OAX instrument, we now have the first part of the OAX version of the Upgrade Manual. Here are all the changes.

  1. New Upgrade Manual Structure
    The manual is now divided into two parts, Part 1 covers the installation and configuration of the HD Series hardware whilst Part 2 covers the installation and configuration of the HD Series software. Part 1 is expected to remain fairly constant, but with the huge and ever increasing amount of new generation software that can be installed on the system, Part 2 is set to expand considerably, so I thought it should have its own dedicated section.

  2. New Chapter 1
    I’ve added an introductory section to the HD Series Upgrade Manual to explain in more detail the thinking behind the HD Series concept, and what I’m seeking to achieve with the upgrade. There are a number of different ways in which a Wersi instrument can be enhanced, and many owners who do this will have their own particular preferences. For me there are some essential design objectives that have to be met, and these are detailed in this chapter along with the ways in which they are implemented. A number of other popular options for enhancing a Wersi instrument are also considered in relation to these design objectives, and the pros and cons of the HD approach are discussed. So if you are thinking of enhancing your Wersi instrument, I hope that this will give you a clearer idea of why I chose this particular option, and where I’m going with all of this. 

  3. Updated Chapter 2
    I’ve expanded the software section of this chapter to include more of the kind of new generation software that would be useful to install on this type of instrument. 

  4. Updated Chapter 4 (OAS Manual)
    This now features the latest version of the Kontakt Player, Kontakt 6. As far as I can tell there isn’t much difference from the previous version in the way that it operates, but some of the menus have changed. So if you are installing Kontakt for the first time, the text now relates to the new version.

  5. New Chapter 7 (OAS Manual)
    This is an entirely new chapter on installing and configuring the new VB3-II Hammond Organ. As a Hammond organist of many years standing (I never got round to buying a stool!) I can thoroughly recommend this package. It’s the closest that I’ve ever heard to the real thing. If you want to know more about this software, and particularly if you are considering installing it on an OAS/X instrument, give it a read. Like all software that’s designed to be compatible with a wide range of midi controllers, there are some specific setup operations that have to be done for implementation on the Wersi.

  6. New Chapter 8 (OAS Manual)
    I’ve added a new chapter on ‘Further Enhancements to the HD Series’. Currently this details the new graphical user interface. If you haven’t seen this yet then you can check it out here.

  7. New OAX version of the Upgrade Manual (Part 1)
    I’m in the process of constructing an OAX version of the Upgrade Manual. Part 1 is now available. Not owning a Sonic, I’m most grateful to my two ‘Super-Sonic’ friends, Curt from WersiClubUSA and Geoff from the Wersi Owners Forum, for helping me with this, and in particular for verifying the instructions in Chapter 3 where we look at setting up the external midi system.

Still to come

  1. New VB3-II demos
    I’ll be re-recording the VB3 audio demos using the new VB3-II version so you can get an idea of how this sounds. 

  2. Part 2 of the OAX Upgrade Manual
    I’m constructing Part 2 of the OAX Upgrade Manual. This will cover the installation and configuration of the same software as that featured for OAS. This could prove tricky as the external midi system on OAX is not as straightforward as that on OAS, so I’ll need to put my thinking cap on!

    You can find the new updated manual on ‘The Upgrade Manuals’ page of the HD Series web site at:-


Enjoy Jeff

10 thoughts on “Update to the HD Series Upgrade Manual

  • 03/09/2019 at 10:54

    Hi Curt,

    My observation concerning the pre-configured Hauptwerk preset is that it’s been designed for a specific purpose, which is to support the Hauptwerk packages being sold by The Music Store. These all feature two manual pipe organs. In this respect it does the specific job it’s designed to do, but it’s not a general solution. If Wersi were in the future to decide to market virtual instruments with more than two manuals then I would expect that they would provide a corresponding set of pre-configured presets with different manual combinations defined. This is where it gets messy. Let’s say for example we have a four manual virtual instrument such as the Hereford Cathedral organ. This requires four different midi channels, one for each of the manuals plus a fifth for the pedals. Now let’s say we want to play the virtual instrument manual assigned to channel 4 on the Wersi upper keyboard, the virtual instrument manual assigned to channel 2 on the Wersi lower keyboard, and the pedals on channel 5. If Wersi continue to employ dynamic midi channel allocation, when placing our Hauptwerk sound on the manuals and pedals, how do we get the OAX to skip over midi channels 1 and 3 in what is essentially a serial channel allocation process. One solution would be to ‘pad out’ the placement of the Hauptwerk sound with ‘dummy sounds’ in order to step on the OAX channel assignment to the next channel number. If we have access to the actual Hauptwerk sound that Wersi have created in the sounds database, it would be possible for the user to replicate this, but it’s a bad solution. Also it doesn’t allow for the selection of the virtual instrument stop combinations directly from the OAX. We would have to resort to selecting these from within the Hauptwerk software, which is slower and more awkward particular on a screen as small as that on the Sonic. It’s all very messy and inelegant and there’s a much better way.

    The better way is for us to create our own set of Hauptwerk presets using fixed midi channel allocation. So for the example above we simply create five separate VST/External sounds and assign them midi channels 1 to 5. Now all we have to do is place the appropriate VST/External sounds on the Wersi keyboards and pedals in these presets for whatever virtual instrument manual combination we require. For selecting the Hauptwerk stop combinations we use the same method as I describe in the Upgrade Manual for doing this on OAS. We need an additional VST/External sound with a specific Program Change code placed on one of the manuals. We use the Hauptwerk ‘Midi Learn’ feature to associate this sound with a particular stop combination. This is the scheme that I’m proposing for the OAX equivalent of the Hauptwerk Chapter in the Upgrade Manual, but I’m going to need the assistance of my two ‘Super-Sonic’ friends to prove that it will actually work!


    • 03/09/2019 at 14:09

      Unless Wersi have made a mess of the VST Host, once a configuration is saved it will automatically assign the sounds to the appropriate channels automatically, (Remember a typical modern VST3 host can typically access more than 64 Midi channels and spread over the number of VSTs installed) which means each VST in the host can have its own assignment of channels. (EG: If you have 8 VSTs in the host, then it’s the equivalent of having 8 separate Midi Outs)

      The biggest surprise is that Wersi have not integrated Hauptwerk into the Live Organ Section, (And supplied with the standard basic free organ) so that you could load in and store whatever Hauptwerk instrument you like. (Within the limitations of the amount of storage installed)

  • 03/07/2019 at 15:00

    Hi Curt,

    Yes, splitting the keyboard to obtain an extra virtual instrument manual would work. The method I outline in the HD Series Upgrade Manual allows you to do this if requred, and indeed I make use of it occasionally on my Hauptwerk recordings. However, it’s not the ideal solution because most of the time we wish to play the virtual instrument exactly like the real instrument would be played, i.e with the entire Wersi keyboard mapped to the entire manual of the virtual instrument. The trick to doing this is the ability in Hauptwerk to assign more than one midi channel to any of the virtual instrument manuals. This is done by using the Hauptwerk Primary and Secondary Inputs feature as I describe on Page 7 of the Upgrade Manual (Chapter 6).

    Wersi have very conveniently side stepped this issue in OAX by preconfiguring the Sonic for Hauptwerk virtual instruments that have only two manuals. I suspect that they are also using dynamic midi channel allocation in their Hauptwerk preconfiguration because they use the same VST sound for the upper and lower manuals and the pedals. If they were using fixed midi channel allocation then the VST sounds would have different names. This I think is why they provide the Hauptwerk preconfiguration, they have placed the Hauptwerk VST sound in the manuals and pedals in a prescribed order such that the OAX allocates the same midi channels as those they have set up in Hauptwerk.

    None of this is going to work in OAX for virtual instruments of more than two manuals because we need the flexibility to continually change the combination of virtual instrument manuals that we wish to play. The midi channels in Hauptwerk are fixed but as we have discovered in OAX, with dynamic channel allocation we can never be sure what channels are going to be allocated. The solution I think would be to use fixed midi channel allocation for both VST and external midi control of Hauptwerk. I’m working on this and should have some ideas for you soon.


    • 03/09/2019 at 07:27

      One interesting idea that I might try one of these days is to attempt to use Hauptwerk without the pre-configured setup. For no other reason than to see what we might learn.

  • 03/05/2019 at 09:24

    Hi John B.

    Many congratulations on your HD Series upgrade, I much enjoyed reading about your implementation. It’s good to hear that it all worked out OK and that you’re pleased with the result. A new and exciting world of musical exploration now awaits you!

    Just a thought for the future. I noticed that one of the applications you are running is Hauptwerk. If at some time you wish to install any virtual instruments in Hauptwerk that have three manuals or more, there are a couple of things that OAS enables us to do that you will find very useful. Firstly, we can play any two of the manuals on the virtual instrument from the two Wersi keyboards, and secondly we can directly select any of the registrations that have been set up in Hauptwerk from the OAS. Both of these features can be configured in a total preset so that as we move from preset to preset we can instantly change both the manual combination and/or the registration. Having these controlled by the total presets also enables us to use the thumb pistons on the Wersi, so we can play the virtual instrument exactly like the real thing. Details on how to do this are contained in Chapter 6 of the Upgrade Manual. All the Hauptwerk recordings on the Wersi HD Series web site were made using these features, and indeed couldn’t have been made without them!


    • 03/07/2019 at 10:57

      Thanks Jeff,

      Regarding your remark about Hauptwerk with three manuals or more, I did indeed encounter that problem. How to play with a two manual organ, like my Verona, a three or four manual virtual organ. It seems that that is possible. I’m going to study that manual of yours again and try to solve that. That must certainly succeed.

      John B.

      • 03/07/2019 at 13:03

        First, let me say I haven’t reviewed that section of the HD manual, but my first thought would be to split the keyboard(s) and assign each “zone” to a different MIDI channel. Technically it should work but having enough keys to play is a different topic.

        We did something similar at one point with one of the Ketron modules and the lower manual of our OAX700, and it worked perfectly.

  • 03/03/2019 at 05:42

    Well my Wersi Verona has been completely upgraded to the HD version. the whole story can be read and viewed with a number of photos on my website, http://www.wersi-fan.nl/verona-hd-upgrade.html. At the top on the left side of the page, you can set the language you want, this is made possible by Googel translating.

  • 03/02/2019 at 15:22

    Hi John,

    Many thanks for your interest in the Wersi HD Series. As it happens I’ve had one of the new Mac Mini models hooked up to the Wersi for a couple of months now, (Santa had it on the back of his sleigh for me last Christmas!). I have to say that its performance is absolutely stunning. For anyone considering going down the upgrade route I can definitely recommend this baby, it’s the business. I went for a top end spec very much along the lines you were suggesting, principally because I’m developing what you might call the ‘Reference Design’ for the upgrade, and this will need to verify all types and levels of applications. As I said in the manual though, one of the many advantages of having computing power outside of the instrument is that users are free to choose whatever applications they wish to run, and can then specify appropriate computing resources to support these. So it may be just a drawbar package which takes very little resources, or it could be the large classical and theatre organs in Hauptwerk which demand large amounts of RAM and multiple processor cores, or the high end professional orchestral libraries running in a sampler that require fast disc access and powerful processors. And if and when users require to move up to more demanding applications, the computing equipment can be upgraded. In keeping with the HD Series concept, it means that whatever users decide to install, they can always have the best of the best.

    I don’t have any immediate plans to replace the audio/midi unit that I’m using, but like all the external hardware in the upgrade I have the option to do this in the future if required. And as you say, the Thunderball 3 ports on the Mac mini make it possible to go for a high performance unit. Apple like to put it about that their OS doesn’t support touchscreens, but the Acer monitor that I’m using is touchscreen enabled and when I first got it I tried it out with the Mac Mini. It worked perfectly with just the connection of an additional USB cable. The reason that I don’t use it in this mode is because it’s located in place of the music rest and it’s too far away from the player to be comfortable to use. Curt encountered the same problem when he used a second monitor on his Sonic. If the monitor were located beside the console however, it would be option. Instead I’m using a wireless trackpad located on the console. It’s much easier and more comfortable to use and can perform all the actions of a touchscreen. The keyboard is only required for some textual input when setting up various applications and is not needed for performance, so it sits in the cupboard whilst all the control is done from the trackpad.


  • 03/02/2019 at 09:15

    Had a quick look through some of the manuals and the setup is quite good for a very basic Midi Set up.
    Regarding the MAC Mini, it was replaced (Upgraded) in 2018 and I would recommend the following specifications, I7 CPU, 8GB Ram and a 500GB SSD, then upgrade the Ram yourself to 32GB, (You would need to be using VSTs professionally to need 64GB) and finally get a 2TB Thunderbolt 3 (Setup as Raid 0) SSD external drive unit, (Use the internal SSD for the programs and the external SSD for the Sample Sets) as this will be the most cost effective option. (Steer clear of Apple upgrades if you can as they are vastly overpriced)
    One point to remember is that MAC OS is not optimised for touch screen control (At least not in the current iteration) so always make sure you have a keyboard and mouse available just in case.
    If you are looking to get really serious also get a Thunderbolt 3 Midi/Audio interface for best performance. (This does bump the price up but you will grateful in the long run)


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