Where'd the "Sound Samples" Thread Go?

Brad Bordessa

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I thought the discussion on luthier sound samples was one of the most engaging, fascinating threads to roll through UU for a long time. But it looks like it disappeared. Am I not seeing it? Where did it go?

I don't think there is a way for an OP to delete a thread. Did it get reported and removed by a mod? It seemed pretty civil. I was looking forward to seeing what kind of opinions had been added overnight... ☹️
 

Blank Williams

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Yeah that is weird. Didn’t seem hostile or anything. I was also enjoying all the opinions.
 

donboody

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Didnt read it, but now youve got my attention.
 

Mfturner

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I enjoyed the thread too, I didn't get a chance to comment, but my comment would have been a vote for using somebody like @bazmaz as an attempt to standardize the playing component. A few individual builders have used him before so there is some precedent for it... but playing ability/style/ song choice are real variables that I would be concerned about if I were a builder. Watching a video of a pro like Jake play something great is fun and all, doesn't really give me anything to compare against like @bazmaz library of videos.
 

good_uke_boy

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Agree it was an interesting thread. Among other things, I was looking forward to learning more about Brad Donaldson's new archtop design.
 

ukudancer

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I was enjoying the thread as well. I definitely didn't see an issue with it. That said, I do want to say that the title did make seem like the luthiers who actively do not posting sound clips are doing so to hide flaws. It gave me a feeling that the thread was directly targeted at someone specific, even though it did lead to an interesting conversation among our little community.
 

VegasGeorge

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Well, let's just pick it up where it left off. I didn't reply to that threat yet either. But I will now.
I don't trust sound samples. I've been around recording studios and been part of recordings all my life. I worked as a sound tech in the university music department as an undergraduate. I know that every acoustic situation is different, every mic different, every recording device different. It would be a step in the right direction to "standardize" the equipment used. But honestly, the room, the weather, the number of people present, etc, etc, all effect the recording. I just don't think it's practical to rely on recorded sound samples when evaluating a Uke.
 

BradDonaldson

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It was a lively conversation and I enjoyed it. To tie up a couple loose ends, thanks for the suggestion of the BlueYeti microphone and camera adapter, I will look into that. And for good_uke_boy, for more info on my archtop ukulele project, do a search under “Making an Archtop Ukulele “. It is in the Luthier Lounge section of UU Forums. I will be reprising that thread shortly as I have made considerable progress in the last several months.
Brad
 

Spieler

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Thanks for the revival!

I enjoy sound samples as an additional reference point.

For example, when confirming woods for a custom ukulele, by reading and learning and seeking out further information I narrowed my options down to a few different combinations of top and sides (including, ukuleles made from the same wood for both) that appealed to me most.

By listening to the maker's multiple recordings of each combination-- completed instruments over time-- I was able to gain a decent sense of the comparative/relative differences in his hands (even across body sizes). Meaning, while each recording may not have been definitive, taken as a whole I feel I was able to better understand the overall character of the different combinations, and hone my own preferences from there.

I definitely appreciated the opportunity afforded by the sonic library-over-time.

~ S.
 

LukuleleStrings

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It was a lively conversation and I enjoyed it. To tie up a couple loose ends, thanks for the suggestion of the BlueYeti microphone and camera adapter, I will look into that. And for good_uke_boy, for more info on my archtop ukulele project, do a search under “Making an Archtop Ukulele “. It is in the Luthier Lounge section of UU Forums. I will be reprising that thread shortly as I have made considerable progress in the last several months.
Brad
No worries. ;-)
 

Mfturner

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While I agree with @VegasGeorge that the recording environment strongly influences the sound, even with the same equipment on a day to day basis, I do find back to back recordings, such as the Magic Fluke videos with Jim Hill, to be useful in comparing different ukuleles. That involves trusting that Magic Fluke agrees that the videos represent the differences they expect...
 

Kenn2018

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I think the original thread started out complaining about a luthier who kept promising to post sound samples but never did. Was he hiding something? It branched out from there.

I thought there were good points made both for sound samples and against.
 

VegasGeorge

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Another interesting thing about recording a Uke's sound is that a Uke always sounds different to the player than it does to a listener at a distance. Prove it to yourself. Take a well tuned Uke and hold it in playing position. Then give it a strum on the open strings. Then hand it off to a friend and have your friend repeat the strum, but at a distance. It will sound different. So, what is it your looking for in a sound sample recording? The sound you'll hear as a player, or the sound others in the same room will hear?
 

Cadia

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Another interesting thing about recording a Uke's sound is that a Uke always sounds different to the player than it does to a listener at a distance. Prove it to yourself. Take a well tuned Uke and hold it in playing position. Then give it a strum on the open strings. Then hand it off to a friend and have your friend repeat the strum, but at a distance. It will sound different. So, what is it your looking for in a sound sample recording? The sound you'll hear as a player, or the sound others in the same room will hear?
That's very true, and a good point. Usually we judge the sound as a player, forgetting to maybe pass it off to someone else to play so we can hear it as a listener. And of course sound samples totally discount how a uke FEELS in the hands, if it feels just right or if something is off or bothersome. Still, I want to hear a sound sample of any uke I'm considering purchasing.
 

Brad Bordessa

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^ Mic drop. Super fascinating. Thanks for sharing, Bill.

I've never thought about near field and far field like that. It certainly lines up with what my ears tell me about a sound source. Having a repeatable test would be fascinating. And god knows it would be nice to go beyond silly descriptive words. 🤙
 

Neil_O

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Maybe the reason some of us like the sound sample is so we have another reason to find a connection with the ukulele that we still haven't decided that we need to buy. Even if the expertly filmed and recorded instrument is not the exact one that we can buy, we still are eager for another connection to the uke we long to have. This sound-sample predilection may be because the UAS gene is dominant in some people.

"If I have one great ukulele, why on would I need another?"

Well, the sound sample is like a commercial jingle, Uke-eh-leh-le... Buy one from Ditson department store this weekend! It activates another part of ourself that makes us crave acquisition. I wrote a NUD recently and a few thoughts in, I started telling the story of the hunt. That ended up being a big part of the love I have for the soprano I bought.

I think hunting for ukuleles is fun, so the sound sample adds to the fun. Imagine if everything you have bought from an internet link had a short video with a sample of the thing turning around on video and a show of how it works. Imagine if that thing was a Romero Creations thick bodied soprano. It would be valuable to see this uke in action, even if that was just live the view of the dimensions of the uke compared to the person's hands. This uke is very deep for a soprano, as I understand, so a video would be great. It is also supposed to have a deep sound, so a sound sample would be great for someone UASing for one.

If the internet was text only, and no pictures were available, I would decide what uke to buy because of the descriptions.
 
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Booksniffer

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Another interesting thing about recording a Uke's sound is that a Uke always sounds different to the player than it does to a listener at a distance. Prove it to yourself. Take a well tuned Uke and hold it in playing position. Then give it a strum on the open strings. Then hand it off to a friend and have your friend repeat the strum, but at a distance. It will sound different. So, what is it your looking for in a sound sample recording? The sound you'll hear as a player, or the sound others in the same room will hear?

Very true!

Like cupping your hands around your ears to catch more of how your voice sounds to people outside of your own head...

I've found it helps to play ukulele standing before a hard, smooth surface; facing a wall, a door, or even a big mirror.
The sound bouncing back to you gives you some idea of what others hear.
 

Kenn2018

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Very true!

Like cupping your hands around your ears to catch more of how your voice sounds to people outside of your own head...

I've found it helps to play ukulele standing before a hard, smooth surface; facing a wall, a door, or even a big mirror.
The sound bouncing back to you gives you some idea of what others hear.
A side sound port also helps. It's not exact, but it does help.

Trying to come up with words that describe sound from an instrument is very subjective and imprecise. I mean, what is "dark sounding" or "chimey"?

I have an idea in my mind about what they mean. But that isn't necessarily what other people think they mean.
 
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Cadia

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A side sound port also helps. It's not exact, but it does help.

Trying to come up with words that describe sound from an instrument is very subjective and imprecise. I mean, what is "dark sounding" or "chimey"?

I have an idea in my mind about what they mean. But that isn't necessarily what other people think they mean.
That's true, tone is subjective. Which is why a sound sample helps. Every uke I've purchased which I've been able to hear a sound sample of I've been happy with. The uke doesn't have to be played by a Kalei or Corey to judge the tone. The playing can be kept simple, as many luthiers do who are not expert players.