Warrington Cavaille-Coll Sample Set

Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, Warrington organ (1870)

The organ was originally manufactured for the private hall of John Hopwood in Bracewell. The construction of this unusually large orgue de salon took place in the workshop of Aristide Cavaillé-Coll in Paris during 1869-1870.  Before shipment to England, the completed organ was erected in Cavaillé-Coll's workshop on Avenue du Maine and the organ builder organized a series of concerts, which were performed by the leading Parisian organists of the time - a notable list containing Camille Saint-Saëns, Charles-Marie Widor, and Alexandre Guilmant.

After arrival in England, the instrument was erected in the rural "cottage" of John Hopwood in November 1870 and voiced there under the direction of Felix Reinburg, Cavaille-Coll's favorite voicer. It occupied a large part of the music room, and was inaugurated by Dr. William Spark of Leeds who gave three concerts there on the 7th-9th November 1870. The organ had 3 manuals and 41 stops, and was one of the first Cavaillé-Coll instruments to have two swell boxes: both the Positif and the Récit are enclosed.
Although this organ is large, especially for an orgue de salon, the voicing is carefully done so as not to overwhelm the listener. The overall design is also notable for the placement of some stops - for example, the Hautbois and Voix Humaine are located on the Positif rather than their usual position on the Récit. Also, it is remarkable that the original design did not have a single aliquot; no Cornet, Nazard, Larigot, or Tierce to be found anywhere. But there is a wealth of foundation stops in varying colors, permitting countless ensembles and orchestral timbres.

Later, Hopwood decided to move the instrument into his new estate in Ketton. The new house was more extensive than Bracewell and the music room was somewhat larger, but the organ still occupied about 1/3 of the room. After the move, the organ was expanded by Cavaillé-Coll himself. It gained a true Subbass 32 (replacing what was before a Resultant), and a Violon 16 and Diapason 8 were also added to the pedal. In addition, a Diapason 8 enriched the stop list of the Récit, and a Dulciana 8 was added to the Positif. However, the pipes of the Dulciana were later replaced for more a delicate English Dulciana, an even softer string demanded by contemporary English music. In 1878,  Cavaillé-Coll was commissioned to change the Octave 4 of the G.O. to an Octave 2. Originally, in accordance with Cavaillé-Coll's style, the organ had both a Prestant 4 and an Octave 4 on the G.O.

One year later, the London organ builder Thomas Lewis added two mixtures: an Echo Mixture to the Positif, which is a progressio harmonica of 6 ranks of string timbre (8 + 4 +2 2/3 + 2 + 1 1/3 + 1); and a 6-rank Mixture for the Récit. Both the mixtures are operated from small added windchests and have a separate appel.

With these final changes, the tonal development of the instrument reached its present form. In 1926, after the death of Mr. Hopwood, the organ was moved to a new home in the theatre of Warrington, Parr Hall, where it still resides today. The organ was moved by Henry Willis & Sons, and re-erected without further modifications. The organ was inaugurated by Wilfred Sanderson, and a month later a concert was given by Marcel Dupré.

In 1972, Henry Willis & Sons was commissioned to restore the instrument. But it was not a pure restoration; on this occasion, the Barker lever key actions and the stop mechanical actions were changed to electro-pneumatic action. In addition, because the construction of the mixtures by Lewis allowed individual ranks to be drawn separately, two ranks were used as derived stops (the Larigot 1 1/3 on the Positive, and Nasard 2 2/3 on the Récit). Sometime later these two added stops were suppressed by unknown organ builder, but two wooden flanges remained on the console where the stop knobs had been located. These "blanks" were used when designing the Hauptwerk screens, so the user can draw these two stops by pulling these wooden flanges with no label on them. 
The organ is serviced by David Wells Organ Builders of Liverpool today. It has not had any substantial restoration for the last 50 years, and it needs one. The organ is seldomly used by the local community, but it remains fully playable with the exception of several pipes here and there, which had to be derived digitally from the surrounding recorded audio material when the sample set for Hauptwerk was prepared.

The organ is the only remaining work of Cavaillé-Coll in Britain that is in close to original condition. This organ is perfect to fit all French symphonic organ music of 19th century and it may also remind the sound of the  concert organ of Palais du Trocadéro, which was inaugurated only a few years later.


Further reading:

Gerald Summer: L'orgue Cavaillé-Coll de Bracewell (1870) et son transfert a Ketton (1875) puis au Parr Hall de Warrington (1926); The Cavaillé-Coll Organ at Bracewell hall (1870), Ketton Hall (1875) and the Parr Hall at Warrington (1926), édition bilingue Francais-English, La Flute Harmonique, Publication de l'Association Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, Numéro 99, Année 2017.



The samples are offered in 48kHz/24bit resolution. The multiple releases have three levels: short, mid and long. Hauptwerk v4.2 and higher supported. The sample set is offered in a plain wave format, no encryption.

Reverb time

The reverb time is ca. 3 seconds.

Keyboards, pedalboard

The original compass of the keyboards is 56 keys, extendable to 58 keys via a mixer switch. The original compass of the pedal division is 30 keys, extendable to 32 keys via a mixer switch.


All ranks of the Positif and Récit were recorded with and without tremulants for the most convincing tremulant behavior. However, loading the authentic tremmed ranks consumes large amount of RAM. It is possible to select to use the artificial tremulant instead to save RAM (the switch is located on the mixer tab).


RAM consumption: 8-channel surround

16-bit, other settings default:  29 GB  (27.4 GB in HW 4.2)

20-bit, other settings default:  50 GB

24-bit, other settings default:  54 GB

* loading in 16-bit depth is NOT recommended due to high amount of digital hiss emerging, since the noise floor of the 16-bit depth is too high and very audible with the many samples sounding simultaneously.

Screen resolution 1280x1024 px or more.

Polyphony of 8.000 voices recommended for the full suround.

Surround format

The sample set is offered in a Surround variant (8 channels). There are two direct channels, two diffuse channels, distant channels and two rear channels.

To reproduce the surround format, an audio card with at least 4 output channels is required, dedicating the direct and diffuse and/or distant channels for the front speakers, and other two channels for the rear speakers.

1. Grand Orgue C–g3 [a3]
Montre 16'
Montre 8'
Bourdon 8'
Viole de gambe 8'
Flute harmonique 8'
Salicional 8'
Prestant 4'
Octave 2'
Plein jeu harmonique VI
Basson 16       '
Trompete 8'
Clairon 4'
2. Positif (enclosed) C–g3 [a3]
Quintaton 16'
Principal 8'
Nachthorn 8'
Dulciana 8'
Unda maris 8'
Flute douce 4'
Doublette 2'
Larigot * 1 1/3'       
Piccolo 1'
Echo mixture VI
Basson et hautbois 8'
Clarinette 8'
Voix humaine 8'
3. Récit (enclosed) C–g3 [a3]
Diapason 8'
Flute travers 8'
Quintaton 8'
Viole de gambe 8'
Voix céleste 8'
Viole d'amour 4'
Flute octav. 4'
Nasard * 2 2/3   
Tierce ** 1 3/5   
Octavin 2'
Mixture VI
Basson [= Cor Anglais] 16'
Trompete 8'
Clairon 4'
Pédale C-f1 [g1]
Soubasse 32'
Contrebasse 16'    
Violon 16'
Soubasse 16'
Diapason 8'
Violoncelle 8'
Flute 8'
Corni dolci 4'
Basson ** 32'
Bombarde 16'
Trompette 8'
Clairon 4'


* Larigot and Nasard are derived from the mixture ranks.

** Tierce and Basson 32' are digital additions.


  • Positiv / G.O., Récit / G.O., Récit/Positif, G.O. 16', G.O./Ped., Positif/Ped., Récit/Ped.


  • Swell pedals for Positif and Récit (operating via the Pedal Matrix in Hauptwerk)
  • Appels for G.O. anches, plein jeu, positif anches, positif mixture, récit anches, récit mixture, pedal anches.
  • G.O. sur machine (= G.O. unison off)
  • Annulation anches for G.O. (affecting only the reeds, not the labial Octave 2')
  • Effet d'orage.






Console view:

this is the general console view. It serves to define the keyboard MIDI inputs for all the divisions. The only active part of this view are the manuals and the pedals. Specifying the MIDI inputs is done by right-clicking on the desired manual or pedal. All the other screen components are image-only.




Mixer view:

The output levels of the direct, diffuse, distant and rear ranks can be adjusted here. Also the blower and tracker noises can be adjusted.

The pipe coupling and pipe detuning features can be adjusted. The sound gets somewhat mistuned with higher settings, giving the "chorus" effect to the overall sound, often found pleasingly "floating".

The mixer settings can be stored, retrieved, reset. 3 different mixer settings can be stored/recalled any time.

The switches:

Select the sampled (real) tremulant or the artificial (Hauptwerk model) tremulant.

Select the plein jeu sounding as recorded (casually mistuned) or purely tuned.

The compass extension switch allows the top most extended keys to be heard.

Blower switch must be always on (to give virtual air into the organ, allowing it to speak).



Left+Right Jambs view:

for dual touch screens, split jambs were created. They allow for portrait or landscape orientation, according to the orientation of the touch screens.




Left + Right Jambs Vertical view:

the dual stop jambs offer vertical (portrait) orientation as an alternative.






Simple Jamb:

simplified version of a single jamb to allow for more readable version of the stop names on small LCD touch screens. There are two variants: landscape and portrait. All the stops of the organ can be found here. Physical pistons or draw stops can be assigned to a virtual button on screen by right-clicking on the button. The indicators for Positif and Récit swell shutters show the actual position of the pedals. The four small buttons (1, 2, 3, 4) serve to recall the stored Pedal Matrix settings (see below).


Single Jamb:

All the stops are available on a single screen.




Pedal Matrix:

MIDI continuous controllers (hardware swell pedals) are freely assignable on this tab to any of the existing swell pedal or crescendo pedal of the virtual organ. Right-click on any pedal in the top row allows for attaching the appropriate hardware.

The pedals are wired to the swell controllers via a button matrix. In this way, any user pedal can operate any swell/crescendo. One hardware swell pedal can control any number of virtual swell pedals which is useful when the physical console has less controllers than needed. The setting can be memorized via dedicated memory pistons (1, 2, 3, 4) and recalled anytime, thus enabling changing the MIDI assignment during performance. For more details, click here.







Version 1.4 downloadable from "My Product". Download and install both volumes (vol.1 + vol. 2)


  • Tierce on the Récit added.
  • Pedal Basson 32' added.
  1. Warrington Sample Set, vol. 1

    Warrington Cavaillé-Coll Sample Set, vol. 1. Free volume. Works in HW 4.2 or any higher version.
    Price: Excl. Tax: €0.00 Incl. Tax *: €0.00 Excl. Tax

    Detail & order

  2. Warrington Sample Set, vol. 2

    Warrington Cavaillé-Coll Sample Set, vol. 2. Direct, diffuse, distant, rear channels. Minimum Hauptwerk version: 4.2. (Also works in all higher versions.) No encryption. Works together with Vol.1.
    Price: Excl. Tax: €400.00 Incl. Tax *: €484.00 Excl. Tax

    Detail & order