Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 31

Thread: Sound ports, fad or function?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    U.K.
    Posts
    252

    Default Sound ports, fad or function?

    I had the chance to buy a good Uke with a sound hole in the upper bout but decided not to and to stay with the traditional style instead. The number of Ukes for sale with these player facing sound holes seems, to me, to be increasing. Is it just a fad or is, as I suspect is the case, there some value in having a top port. Perhaps it’s one of these things that’s good for some situations and less so others?

    My UAS is under control at the moment (though I have positive thoughts about a couple of Sopranos and then there’s that nice Concert .......) so mine is just more of a general question than anything else. I do have a cheap Uke I could add a sound hole though to (????????) so maybe it’s not a completely academic question.

    What do people think. Are sound ports a fad or a function?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    ▇▇▇▇▇▇▇
    Posts
    5,615

    Default

    as to fad, it seems to me it is driven but he function, and a function that players desire.

    I have no sound ports on my ukes as of yet, but others have said that the function is to direct more of the sound to the PLAYER instead of the audience.

    One of the problems I have in recording the uke is that the sound recorded is NEVER the sound I hear with my own ears, but instead an approximation.

    With many years working as an audio engineer in various forms, with enough experience, and a handful of very nice and different microphones, there is ALWAYS something missing. Other folks do not hear it, for they hear the sound that is projected FORWARD and not the sound that a player hears that is both projected sound as well as reflected sound, as well as the sound that does NOT move forward but is felt mostly as direct vibration from the instrument in your hand and/or against your body.

    For me, a side sound port would seem to frustrate me and make this dichotomy of what the player hears, vs what the audience hears even FARTHER apart.

    However, if you care not for recording, or for recording what YOU as the player are hearing, then maybe the sound port is useful to sweeten what you as the player will hear, as it allows the air pressure of the sound waves to escape toward your face, as well as forwards, away from you.

    My next step in experimental recording techniques is to use binaural microphones which you wear in your ears like earbuds and these are designed to mimic the hearing perception of your own ears, and be a sort of virtual-reality for audio, sort of a super-directional and dual-mono recording rather than any kind of stereo recording.

    So yes, they are BOTH fad and function it seems to me, but this is just my humble opinion.

    Folks that have ukes with sound ports will likely be able to comment better on the perception or efficiency of their function.

    Everything is, relative. LOL.
    Just the FAQs
    "Only those who will risk going too far, can possibly find out how far one can go."
    -T. S. Eliot

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    JoCo, NC (near Raleigh)
    Posts
    2,957

    Default

    I have several ukes with side ports and for me, there is a small but perceptible function to them. Honestly the effect is not as great as I had hoped for. Maybe because I play almost exclusively in small rooms and am getting more reflected sound anyway? Regardless it is still useful and I haven't found any downside to the feature, so if I can get it for not much extra I'd rather have it than not.
    Current Stable:
    -Ohana TKS-15E Tenor - Eb cuatro
    -Iriguchi Keystone Tenor "Weeble" - Bb, SC SMU
    -Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE, steel string
    -KPK pineapple SLN - GCEA
    -Cocobolo 16" SC#1 - gCEA, SC SLMU
    -Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    -Imua iET - Bb, M600
    -Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    -Rogue bari
    Once upon a time:
    -RISA Concert Stick
    -Bruko sop. custom #6
    -Lanikai lam hog bari
    -Kala SLNG
    -Bruko bari
    -Gold Tone BUT


    Jim's Blog

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Pickering, ON, Canada
    Posts
    4,006

    Default

    None other than Pete Howlett came right out in these pages and gave his stamp of approval. His was very skeptical but finally decided to build a tenor with a side sound port, he publicly said he was convinced.

    I own several tenors with side sound port and I really like the over all effect. Three of us were visiting Luis of LfdM Guitar and Ukuleles and Adrian started to play a baritone with a side sound port. Luis put a piece of paper over top and we the audience immediately heard a difference. It is not just the player who hears the difference.

    When Andrew at HMS received the first Farallon with a sound port he said right on the video recording that it made a big difference and was the best sounding Farallon they had ever heard. So yea it does have a function. As they say your mileage may vary.
    Last edited by DownUpDave; 11-01-2017 at 04:04 AM.
    Ukuleles.............yes please !!!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    2,929

    Default

    I don’t suppose it matters to anyone, but I don’t like the way they look. UUers really go on and on about the beauty of the different woods they pick (Ha!), and then they order an extra hole cut right on the top and hang an ugly tuner right on the carved headstock.

    I guess sound and tinkering is really everything, and whadda I know anyway. My ukes are plywood for heavens’s sake.
    Kala "Spalted" baritone - Lo D GBD
    Kala tenor eight string - gG cC EE AA

    Luna "Peace" concert - Lo - G CEA
    Flea "Red" concert - Hi-G CEA -
    Kala "Exotic Mahogany" soprano - Hi-A DF#B

    Mahalo yellow "Smiley" soprano (Dad's Day gift) - C
    Ka-Lai Pineapple soprano (old) gift - C

    Two ukes are better than one. Uh, what’s better than two?

    God gave us old age so we wouldn't mind dying so much.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    70

    Default

    Within the accoustic guitar community the side soundport has slowly gained traction as well... the anecdotal opinions have mounted and while some traditionalists still complain, the general consensus seems to be shifting from novelty toward acceptance.

    This flamenco guitarist has managed to capture on a recording the best set of sound clips I have found comparing a guitar with a sideport to one without. He is thoroughly convinced that the soundport is an important development in guitar technology:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjG1rH9d2iA
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJLTqE_-pxI


    To my ear, an instrument with a sideport produces a wider, more open sound than one without. The difference is perhaps subtle, but definite.

    I conjecture that the mechanism is via an imperceptible delay--sound escaping from the side hole reaches the ear of a listener after bouncing off the ceiling, while sound escaping from the front of the instrument reaches the ear of the listener directly. The result is that the tiny difference in time it takes for these two sound sources to reach a listener's ear causes his brain to interpret it as a more complex sound. That's my theory, anyway. Nobody yet can say for sure why they sound different.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Posts
    11

    Default

    To my ear, an instrument with a sideport produces a wider, more open sound than one without. The difference is perhaps subtle, but definite.

    I conjecture that the mechanism is via an imperceptible delay--sound escaping from the side hole reaches the ear of a listener after bouncing off the ceiling, while sound escaping from the front of the instrument reaches the ear of the listener directly. The result is that the tiny difference in time it takes for these two sound sources to reach a listener's ear causes his brain to interpret it as a more complex sound. That's my theory, anyway. Nobody yet can say for sure why they sound different.
    Good description. I liken it to a stereo-like effect.
    From the ukuleles I have made and testing I have done, with and without. I feel that they do give a more open sound and this stereo-like effect.
    These are both functional reasons I've really come to enjoy sound ports in my instruments.
    But the fact is that everyone has their own tastes so do some testing if you like.
    Last edited by Jardin; 11-01-2017 at 05:08 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Bridgend, South Wales
    Posts
    352

    Default

    As a player, I have recently acquired a ukulele with a personal sound hole (Compass Rose Tenor). I was certainly not convinced about its worth, until plugged it with a sock! I am now totally convinced that the soundport is effective on ’this’ ukulele. I do not perform or record, so I am only concerned in the sound ‘I’ can hear. I do not feel I would require a sound hole on my Concert Koaloha, I like the sound as it is.

    As a newbie builder, I am yet to add an extra hole, however, I have the template/jig to do so as I am certainly interested in trialling it, however, I’m not sure which size will benefit most - probably tenor.
    'All the gear, no idea’
    km-ukuleles.com
    Ukuleles from the heart!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Upper Hale, Surrey/Hants border, UK.
    Posts
    4,083

    Default

    I removed a pick up system from my Kala KA-SEME, & the sound quality did change a little, it seemed to give it a slight mellowness, compared to when it had the hole blocked, so yes, it can make a bit of difference, but mainly to the player, I think.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    199

    Default

    A side port can be mighty helpful if you play in a group. Otherwise you hear all the other instruments better than you hear your own. Which, for beginners, may sound like a good idea but really it's hard to play well when you can't hear yourself.

    Be kind and listen to what everybody else hears coming out of your ukulele.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •