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Thread: Can you hear the difference videos vs blind tests in person.

  1. #1
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    Default Can you hear the difference videos vs blind tests in person.

    I often see on YouTube videos around.. can you hear the difference between this cheap instrument vs this expensive one.. those should be renamed to can my mic accurately represent the difference.. even with HMS (the ukulele site) videos it is hard for me to tell what I would feel if I was to own the uke (I have ordered from them, the videos are nice but still hard to replicate what I would feel).

    I did try a blind test when I owned a whole lot of sopranos.. I was able to pick the top 3 I liked when I played but boy was I wrong about being able to tell which one I was playing.. Cost does not equate to winning a blind test but it is satisfying to know that there is a reliable difference when our eyes are closed.

    Have you'll tried blind tests of ukes played by yourself or having some one else play while you listen?

    Are online videos a good indicator for you?

  2. #2
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    I used to pour over those videos and listen and relisten. There's some advantage if the ukes are all on the same video (same recording conditions), but it's a completely different experience to playing them yourself. Obviously, your choice of speakers/headphones makes a huge difference here.

    I haven't done a blind test live, but watching the video exposes biases compared to listening to the video blind, especially if I've already decided my favourites ahead of time.
    Glenn

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by glennerd View Post
    I used to pour over those videos and listen and relisten. There's some advantage if the ukes are all on the same video (same recording conditions), but it's a completely different experience to playing them yourself. Obviously, your choice of speakers/headphones makes a huge difference here.

    I haven't done a blind test live, but watching the video exposes biases compared to listening to the video blind, especially if I've already decided my favourites ahead of time.
    Oh yes! I forget.. more than the mic, it is the speakers (and everything else on the replay side.. encoding, stream quality, electronics) that have an impact.
    I think groups of people should get together and do blind tests.

  4. #4
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    It's hard for me to hear much difference on a video. Especially since most of the time I'm hearing it through the tiny speaker on my phone. And I'm not hugely qualified, other than having ears, to point out many differences.

    But I could easily tell the difference in tonal quality between my thinbody kids First Act toy guitar/baritone uke conversion and the old vintage Giannini baritone uke. Both with similar new flourocarbon strings.
    I mean you could play music on the FG125..or 3.., but it might end up feedin the fire if it starts to get too cold.
    The Giannini sounds great for not a lot more money, but I might not want to leave it out by the campfire all night.
    Last edited by old and slow; 12-30-2019 at 04:17 PM.
    The crew...Giannini Baritone Uke, Washburn Rover "4-string tenor guitar", Yamaha G-85A classical guitar.

    In the works....LP style long scale wide neck solid body electric tenor guitar.

    Wall hanger...The Loar Honey Creek type-A Mandolin.

  5. #5
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    Myself and Sam13 did a blind sound test with a LfdM spruce/rosewood vs LfdM sinker redwood/Malaysian Blackwood vs Pono PC cedar/macassar ebony. Simon would play all three while I had my back turned, then I did the same to him. All instruments were low G with wound 4th and 3rd strings.

    A couple of very interesting observations unfolded. When blindly listening it was less evident which was which. When playing each instrument the difference was very noticeable. One would think a spruce top, redwood top and cedar would sound very different, not really. Yes there was a difference but most recognizable when played.

    I have always said even a 10% difference in sound can take a ukulele from just ok to great sounding.......for the player. The audience, that includes us listening on YouTube videos has a hard time discerning tonal properties.
    Currently enjoying these ukuleles : *LdfM tenor, *LfdM 19" super tenor. *LfdM baritone, *I'iwi tenor , *Koolau tenor, *Webber tenor, *Kimo tenor, *Kimo super concert, *Mya Moe baritone, *Kamaka baritone, *Gianinni baritone, *Fred Shields walnut pineapple super soprano, *Kala super soprano, *Loprinzi super soprano, *Black bear ULO concert , *Enya X1 concert, *Enya X1 pineapple soprano, *Enya Nova *Gretsch tenor, *Korala plastic concert

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by DownUpDave View Post
    Myself and Sam13 did a blind sound test with a LfdM spruce/rosewood vs LfdM sinker redwood/Malaysian Blackwood vs Pono PC cedar/macassar ebony. Simon would play all three while I had my back turned, then I did the same to him. All instruments were low G with wound 4th and 3rd strings.

    A couple of very interesting observations unfolded. When blindly listening it was less evident which was which. When playing each instrument the difference was very noticeable. One would think a spruce top, redwood top and cedar would sound very different, not really. Yes there was a difference but most recognizable when played.

    I have always said even a 10% difference in sound can take a ukulele from just ok to great sounding.......for the player. The audience, that includes us listening on YouTube videos has a hard time discerning tonal properties.
    Were you blindfolded when playing the instruments? If not, do you think the visual aesthetics influenced what you heard? I've played multiple instruments, one after the other, while recording on a decent set-up (but not studio quality), and I'm convinced I hear differences in instruments. However, on playback, I struggle to hear any differences, which could easily be the result of the microphones and speakers. I don't believe my assessments in-the-moment were affected by pre-conceived notions or influenced by visual (or even tactile) cues, but I've never been certain. It just seems that, with multiple senses involved, the brain can play tricks. With respect to the OP's question about online videos being a good indicator, I think that there are too many factors on the recording end and the playback end to rely too heavily on videos.
    Mike

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by kerneltime View Post
    I often see on YouTube videos around.. can you hear the difference between this cheap instrument vs this expensive one.. those should be renamed to can my mic accurately represent the difference.. even with HMS (the ukulele site) videos it is hard for me to tell what I would feel if I was to own the uke (I have ordered from them, the videos are nice but still hard to replicate what I would feel).

    I did try a blind test when I owned a whole lot of sopranos.. I was able to pick the top 3 I liked when I played but boy was I wrong about being able to tell which one I was playing.. Cost does not equate to winning a blind test but it is satisfying to know that there is a reliable difference when our eyes are closed.

    Have you'll tried blind tests of ukes played by yourself or having some one else play while you listen?

    Are online videos a good indicator for you?
    I put no faith in online sound clips. How were they recorded? I'm playing them back through 3" computer speakers. Come on!

    What does impress me about those samples - on HMS, for example - is the fantastic skill of the players. I would never buy or reject a uke based on an online sound sample.
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!
    https://www.catskillukulelegroup.com/

  8. #8
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    I was cruising the web the other day looking for a beater uke to replace my walnut Fluke I don't like and came across a Aklot that fit the bill of tenor cutaway and durable. I checked a few reviews and a couple of videos and liked what I heard, so I ordered it on sale from $125 to $65. I do have a very good stereo speaker system attached to my Mac with sub-woofer.


    This is Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly West near the Beverly Center
    9 tenor cutaway ukes, 5 acoustic bass ukes, 11 solid body bass ukes, 14 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 39)

    Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children in hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
    Member The CC Strummers: YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/video, Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheCCStrummers

  9. #9
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    Funny I should see this thread today, as I was just comparing 2 mahogany tenor ukes side by side! So I taped over my cellphone's camera, and did a little recording, a blind comparison. Certainly not studio quality recording, but my phone usually does pretty well IMO.

    One of these ukes is an all solid mahogany Ohana tenor, probably $250 when new in 2007. The other is a brand new, inexpensive $43.00 Kmise tenor from Amazon. The Kmise was billed as all mahogany, with solid top, but the top certainly looks like ply to me. Both have Aquila strings, and were recorded dry into my cellphone on a tripod, about a foot away.

    Which sounds better to you? I can hear a difference when I play them, and recorded too. To me, the first one sounds louder, woodier and more open, both live and recorded.

    20191231_141625.jpg
    Last edited by Ukecaster; 12-31-2019 at 10:07 AM.
    John

  10. #10

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    If all this does is prove that I have an untrained ear, so be it. I do hear a pronounced difference between the two. The second sounds much fuller and richer. And it does show that, without studio quality equipment, differences can be captured. More helpful, I think, when doing a side-by-side comparison than simply posting a sound sample of a single instrument.

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