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View Full Version : Found this vid-Collings vs. Mainland...can you hear the difference?



ejnovinsky
04-04-2012, 04:30 PM
Found this vid looking up Mainland sound samples.....The guy in it has a UU shirt on so it may have been here sometime before, but it was kinda sweet so I figured Id put it up. Can you hear the difference? Apart from the Mainland being slightly louder I think they sound shockingly similar.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KX_78z2DINg&feature=related

Ryan<3Ukes
04-04-2012, 08:15 PM
Yeah, the guy in the vid is a UU member. I think this just shows how compressed or distorted sound is through different devices. I listened through my phone speakers and the sound was just terrible but when I had my headphones it helped a little. I think that the sounds are pretty different though.

Gwynedd
04-05-2012, 12:49 AM
I can hear a distinct difference; the Collings has an extra note or two, a high overtone (to my ears) and a more interesting sound. Both are sweet, but there is definitely some kind of color that makes the Collings sound complex. However, the 4X price difference? I think it would come out that if you are an intermediate player, the Mainland is the best price/performance. If you are an advanced player and want a super Uke, I would take the Collings because at that level, a great player is going to get a lot out of that instrument.

UKEON TERRITORY
04-05-2012, 01:10 AM
The Collings eats the Mainland ukes lunch . But for the money , the Collings is a waste of it . I'd rather have a handful of the Mainlands over the one Collings anyday .But that's just IMHO .

csibona
04-05-2012, 05:35 AM
I was listening to the video while reading this thread and wasn't paying attention to the changes of the ukulele in the video until I started hearing how different passages sounded - you can hear distinct differences between the two ukuleles. I prefer the Collings' sound - your mileage may vary.

Dan Uke
04-05-2012, 05:39 AM
He's on here and his collection is very nice.

Paul December
04-05-2012, 06:15 AM
I'll admit it...
...I don't really hear too much of a difference between the two.

Drew Bear
04-05-2012, 06:43 AM
You can read George's (aka GX9901) blog posts (4 of them) about this comparison:

http://gx9901ukes.blogspot.com/2009/10/mainland-vs-collings-smackdown-weigh-in.html
http://gx9901ukes.blogspot.com/2009/10/ukulele-smackdown-mainland-vs-collings.html
http://gx9901ukes.blogspot.com/2009/10/ukulele-smackdown-mainland-vs-collings_11.html
http://gx9901ukes.blogspot.com/2009/10/ukulele-smackdown-mainland-vs-collings_14.html

ejnovinsky
04-05-2012, 06:48 AM
I'll admit it...
...I don't really hear too much of a difference between the two.

Yeah me either. Certainly not enough to justify the price difference. Both are sweet though give me either or. But if I'm spending my own cash Id have to take the mainland

Couloirman
04-05-2012, 07:10 AM
I have both a mainland and a collings and yeah, trust me, the Collings was worth every penny.

OldePhart
04-05-2012, 07:15 AM
I can definitely hear a difference which actually says quite a bit about the relative sounds considering the poor audio recording. I would never rely on the built-in microphone in a simple consumer video recorder to evaluate the relative merits of musical instruments, though! You can tell by the change in background noise level when he begins playing that the recorder is using auto-leveling which completely invalidates any comparison of the relative volumes of the instruments - and the audio quality is certainly not good enough to evaluate the finer nuances of "tone."

That said I'll agree with many here that the Mainland probably represents the better "bang for the buck" for most players. Mainlands are quite tasty for the price. I think that the average player can easily distinguish between a Collings and a Mainland in person but whether that difference is worth the price multiplier comes down to budget. On my current budget there is no way that I can say the Collings is worth the price multiplier. If I had twice as much "disposable" income as I presently do, it might well be a different story.

John

Plainsong
04-05-2012, 07:23 AM
Yeah, I remember that vid. It's night and day, and I even did a test on my husband where he doesn't have any uke preference and wasn't looking at the screen... even through the compression and the recording process and through crap macbook speakers, the Collings has it all over the Mainland. And I say that liking Mainland and feeling it can hold its head up proudly. My husband wasn't so kind to the Mainland after he heard the switch, but come on. Even though the Collings was better there's no shame in the Mainland.

Ken Middleton
04-05-2012, 07:51 AM
Apart from the Mainland being slightly louder I think they sound shockingly similar.



If by "similar" you mean that they both sound like ukuleles, then I agree. They are both much closer to the sound of ukuleles than bassoons, for instance.

Don't really mean to sound facetious, but they are about as different as you can get.

Plainsong
04-05-2012, 11:57 AM
If by "similar" you mean that they both sound like ukuleles, then I agree. They are both much closer to the sound of ukuleles than bassoons, for instance.

Don't really mean to sound facetious, but they are about as different as you can get.

I'm just quoting to say I love this post. And yeah that Mainland did well, but then it found itself in the ring with something with more complex sound, tone, just overall better...

Hippie Dribble
04-05-2012, 12:02 PM
Nice thread ejovinsky, thanks for it mate. Or, maybe I shouldn't thankyou because all it does is deepen my lust for Collings ukes which surely isn't a healthy thing ... :p

Teek
04-05-2012, 12:32 PM
The Mainland is muddy compared to the Collings, which is bright and ringing. I could hear the difference without looking at the video. But I'm listening on Bose desktop speakers through a Creative SB X-Fi sound card.

I would guess that not hearing much difference between them is probably more about your computer and speakers than your hearing or your actual ability to differentiate between the two or hear the nuances. If you listen for the specific difference in characteristics of the two ukes, and know what you are listening for, then even considering audio recording source and YT compression factor, it's still comparing Ford and Ferrari. I have no lust for either a Collings or a Mainland, so I have no dog in the fight. I don't even understand comparing the two, better a Collings and a Kanile'a IMO.

OldePhart
04-05-2012, 12:38 PM
If by "similar" you mean that they both sound like ukuleles, then I agree. They are both much closer to the sound of ukuleles than bassoons, for instance.

Don't really mean to sound facetious, but they are about as different as you can get.

BWAAA-HAAAA! :) Oh...my...I am so glad I'm using one of those "spill resistant" wireless keyboards. I still need to go fetch a cloth to wipe down the monitor, though... There are a couple of folks whom I never read their posts with a mouth full of liquid -- I think I'm going to need to add you to that list, Ken - you completely snuck up on me with this one. :rofl:

Dan Uke
04-05-2012, 12:49 PM
I'll say it another way since the Masters is on TV. I drive the golf ball 270 yards but if I can get another 10 yards with a new driver, I would gladly pay the $500 and buy a new driver. It's the same concept with a uke except with a uke, you just keep both!!! LOL

hmgberg
04-05-2012, 01:52 PM
If by "similar" you mean that they both sound like ukuleles, then I agree. They are both much closer to the sound of ukuleles than bassoons, for instance.

Don't really mean to sound facetious, but they are about as different as you can get.

I think they both sound just like ukuleles. I can't decide which one sounds most like a bassoon. Perhaps if someone blew into them it would be helpful.

ejnovinsky
04-05-2012, 04:06 PM
Its a fun experiment isnt it? I think weve missed the point here though....The reason I posted this was not to decide "which is best" but "can you hear the difference?". In no way am I saying the Collings is worse than the Mainland. It damn well better not be worse considering it costs about 4 times as much. The argument I make is is it 4 times better soundwise? From a build quality standpoint its probably no contest, I dont know Ive never held a collings (but once again it had better be). I still say the answer is no its not 4 times better soundwise. Thats my opinion though, and opinions are subjective. Thats what makes threads like this so much fun, in a discussion of something that is a sensory idea (how something looks, sounds, feels, etc) obviously anyones input will be an opinion, and its fun to watch the range of ideas and the different ways people hear it. When I watched this video on youtube I was reading through the comments, and they are all over the place. I wanted to see if that pattern (or lack thereof) would be recreated in a thread. I think for the most part it has. Good stuff! Now for everyone that will brand me as a uke heretic with a tin ear for my opinion, before you get the pitchforks and torches out think of it this way. How lousy would it be for the world musically if everyone heard everything the same way?

ejnovinsky
04-05-2012, 04:11 PM
If by "similar" you mean that they both sound like ukuleles, then I agree. They are both much closer to the sound of ukuleles than bassoons, for instance.

Don't really mean to sound facetious, but they are about as different as you can get.



facetious?.......no...slightly condescending...yes...

ejnovinsky
04-05-2012, 04:22 PM
I would guess that not hearing much difference between them is probably more about your computer and speakers than your hearing or your actual ability to differentiate between the two or hear the nuances.

still comparing Ford and Ferrari. I have no lust for either a Collings or a Mainland, so I have no dog in the fight. I don't even understand comparing the two, better a Collings and a Kanile'a IMO.


thats a good point, Im listening through a crappy beat to death laptop......you know a Ford GT would stack up pretty well against a Ferrari....maybe a Honda civic vs. the Ferrari :). As for why the comparison I have no clue, I was researching Mainland sound samples, and came across it. I just thought it was neat pitting the cheap vs. the expensive I have no bias really either way....Although I did buy a Mainland it didnt arrive until this evening so it played no part in forming any opinion for this discussion..

ejnovinsky
04-05-2012, 04:25 PM
Nice thread ejovinsky, thanks for it mate. Or, maybe I shouldn't thankyou because all it does is deepen my lust for Collings ukes which surely isn't a healthy thing ... :p

Glad youre enjoying it, its fun to stir the pot a little once in a while.....

Ken Middleton
04-05-2012, 09:39 PM
facetious?.......no...slightly condescending...yes...

No, I don't think so. I feel that the point about these two instruments being "shockingly similar" was totally and completely wrong. The two ukes sound so different. In any case, I am sorry - it certainly was not my intention to be insulting.

Neither was my point that one has a better sound than the other. They both sound fine, just different. Undoubtedly, you would expect slightly tidier workmanship with the Collings, considering their high profile and reputation in the acoustic guitar world. However, many solid wood ukes are going to sound equally good, even if they don't have an identical tone to the Collings.

I have tried out many ukuleles, including most of the Collings range and have talked several times with those responsible for their production. Most of these instruments have a lovely sound, but a very distinctive one.

The point I have been trying to make for a while on this forum is that, once you have a reasonable quality uke (all-solid, for instance), the quality of tone you get from it is really produced by the player, not the strings or the instrument itself. Just listen to the sound of a Kamaka or a DaSilva ukulele in the hands of a mediocre player. The tone (not the difficulty of the music) coming out of the instrument can sound terrible. Put it in the hands of Jake or James and the same instrument sounds incredible. I have listened to James Hill close up playing an inexpensive Kaka tenor and he makes it sound truly amazing. The point is that a Kala has a different sound to a DaSilva, but both can be made to sound terrific.

ejnovinsky
04-05-2012, 11:40 PM
No, I don't think so. I feel that the point about these two instruments being "shockingly similar" was totally and completely wrong. The two ukes sound so different. In any case, I am sorry - it certainly was not my intention to be insulting.

Neither was my point that one has a better sound than the other. They both sound fine, just different. Undoubtedly, you would expect slightly tidier workmanship with the Collings, considering their high profile and reputation in the acoustic guitar world. However, many solid wood ukes are going to sound equally good, even if they don't have an identical tone to the Collings.

I have tried out many ukuleles, including most of the Collings range and have talked several times with those responsible for their production. Most of these instruments have a lovely sound, but a very distinctive one.

The point I have been trying to make for a while on this forum is that, once you have a reasonable quality uke (all-solid, for instance), the quality of tone you get from it is really produced by the player, not the strings or the instrument itself. Just listen to the sound of a Kamaka or a DaSilva ukulele in the hands of a mediocre player. The tone (not the difficulty of the music) coming out of the instrument can sound terrible. Put it in the hands of Jake or James and the same instrument sounds incredible. I have listened to James Hill close up playing an inexpensive Kaka tenor and he makes it sound truly amazing. The point is that a Kala has a different sound to a DaSilva, but both can be made to sound terrific.


Thats a huge, huge , huge nugget of wisdom there, and I 100 percent agree. With any instrument you get out what you put in. Cheap or expensive. Buying a collings. or Mya Moe, or whatever will not make you a better player, or make you "sound" better. The only thing that does that is passion,dedication, practice, and finding your niche, or own personal sound. If youre passionate about what your doing it will show in what comes out of the uke. That was something I struggled with hard as young guitar player. I was constantly modifying my strat to try to make it sound "better" when really what I should have been doing was focusing on my playing. Not just technique either, Ive seen very technical players, incredibly skilled that simply didnt move me because they sound like machines playing. Great sound comes from passion, and emotion more than anything. Though having good tools doesnt hurt. :) Thats some powerful stuff right there huh?

As for being insulted, no apologies required I dont insult easily. Thanks for clarifying your remark though I see what youre saying now, and its extremely sensible....In fact Id say its a musical commandment...

steelarts
04-05-2012, 11:51 PM
I'll say it another way since the Masters is on TV. I drive the golf ball 270 yards but if I can get another 10 yards with a new driver, I would gladly pay the $500 and buy a new driver. It's the same concept with a uke except with a uke, you just keep both!!! LOL

Yeah, but driving that extra 10 yards is no good if it puts you in the woods or you can't sink the putt! That Mainland sounds great, as good as the Collings? Probably not but for the money it's a fab sound and I don't personally think that at 4X the price the Collings is 4X better. Like Ken says, the sound is just different and for those who can't afford a Collings budget it just goes to show you can have a great sounding uke at a reasonable price.

I have quite good speakers with my computer and while I agree it's not the best way to compare sonics it gives a pretty good idea and to be honest I don't think I'll be rushing out to get a Collings. Whilst the note separation and definition is excellent it's a little too brash for my ear and I'd rather put my money into a Kanile'a or KoAloha. For those of you who have more money than sense or for whom money is no object what about this one? www.themusicroom-online.co.uk/product_info.php/cPath/258_278_280/products_id/5362
A collings uke at over 2k!!!:eek: