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

  1. #11
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    The sound the instrument produces for a listener is not way up there in the list of reasons why I will love one ukulele and loathe another. For me, it’s a mixture of the sound I hear as the player, combined with the tactile sensation of holding it and playing it, along with a bit of the appearance of the instrument and even the smell of the instrument thrown in for good measure. So, no... audio recordings of instruments don’t really do much for me when it comes to buying ukes.
    Sopranos: aNueNue Khaya Mahogany 1, Bruko No. 6; Kiwaya KS-1; Kiwaya KTS-4; Kiwaya KTS-4K; Martin S-O
    Concerts:Cahaya CY-0112; Kiwaya KTC-1; Martin C-1 (ca. 1947-1955); Musicguymic's Kolohe
    Tenors: Cordoba 24T; Kiwaya KTT-2K
    Baritones: Cordoba 24B

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerome collector View Post
    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerome collector View Post
    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.
    I agree with Jerome. The second sounded a little fuller to me because the low strings seemed a little louder.

    It's interesting how the power of suggestion can work. If the reviewer makes a statement about what they hear, are we influenced by that? Studies would indicate that we are. I remember a blind study a few years ago. With guitars. The viewers were told that a musician would play the same song on two different guitars. That the reviewers found one guitar fuller and richer-sounding with clearer notes and better sustain. (Or something like that.) Votes and comments were taken for a week. With a running tally displayed. The second garnered more votes. With comments that reflected the characteristics that the reviewer had stated they could hear noticeable differences. Turned out that there was only one guitar played twice.

    What did it prove? Not much. Did the player change his position tot he mic? Was his playing different each time? Did he play more vigorously? And so on.

    Listening using earphones I find I can sometimes tell some general differences in the instruments. Some plastic bodied instruments come across as, well, plastic to me. I can make out the sustain sometimes.

    The strings, I think, have a bigger influence in what I hear than the subtle differences between woods and constructions.

    I have decided not to buy an instrument or two because of the sound sample I heard. They sounded dull and boxy. To me.

    I think I heard a difference between the older Ko'Aloha tenor and the new one. It seemed more balanced in the highs and lows. But I wouldn't run out and buy one based upon that one sample.
    There is a subtle yet profound difference between the learning of something and the knowing of that thing.
    You can learn by reading, but you don’t begin to know until you begin to try to do.

    —Lou Churchill, Plane & Pilot Magazine

  3. #13
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    I listened to the sound sample through some cheap earbuds at work and barely noticed a difference. Then I listened with some good earbuds and noticed more of a difference. Maybe a sound sample can sometimes tell you what you don't like, but when you like the sound sample you won't know for sure until you try it yourself.

    A good player can make a cheap instrument sound great, so who knows?
    Glenn

  4. #14
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    I'll add a further wrinkle to this whole discussion. In addition to the response of the microphone used to record, the response of the speakers/headphones used to reproduce the sound, and whatever audio compression routine gets used (for instance by YouTube's encoding), several of my instruments have a very pronounced orientation effect.

    What I mean by this is that they sound very different when your ears a behind/above the body (while playing) vs. when your ears are in front of the body (when you are the audience.)
    Mainly a concert player.

    Beansprout alto (myrtle) | Martin Konter | Kala Elite Soprano
    KoAloha Silver concert | Blackbird Clara | Kamaka HF-2A | KoAloha Opio KCO-10 (acacia) | KoAloha Opio KCO-10S (spruce top)
    UkeSA Pineapple Sunday concert (acacia) | Pop's Pineapple Sunday (koa)

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ukecaster View Post
    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.
    I listened once and made a reply...listened again and disagreed with myself and deleted it. ha.
    I'll admit I'm just listening through my laptop speakers....but there just isn't enough of a difference for me to warrant buying the more expensive instrument if the two were both well built and setup...even if one sounded slightly better. It'd have to be a huge difference.
    Most of us probably do listen more "through laptop speakers" as we don't have as refined of an ear for this kind of thing as professional musicians who hear in super high quality. So long as there isn't anything grating to my ears in the sound of an ukulele I'm okay with it.

    The HMS demos prove it's more about the player than the uke. So, no, I don't put a ton of stock in sounds clips or video demos. How someone else sounds playing a uke is different than I would sound.. Different player, different room, etc. etc.
    Last edited by jer; 01-01-2020 at 06:15 AM.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ukecaster View Post
    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.

    Attachment 124045
    I like the second one better.
    Sound more focused and warm to me, whereas the first one might be considered open and jangly in some way.
    Listening with over-ear Beyer Dynamics headphones.

    While you cant count 100% on the sound form a sound sample representing what it will sound like in your hands, I still find them usefull. I am dissapointed that my ANueNue Tenor doesn't sound like Kalei Gamiao when I play it...
    Several times I have drooled over the looks of an ukulele online, but stopped myself from buying it after listening to HMS sound samples. Though it sounded good, less aesthetically attractive ukuleles sounded better in comparison - so I didn't buy anyway. Not if I cant have it all, looks and sound.
    Ohana SK30M mahogany super-soprano, Cort UKEBWCOP Blackwood concert, Anuenue African Mahogany Tenor, Fluke Koa Tenor, Hora M1176 spruce Tenor

  7. #17
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    What I do is to compare samples of different instruments from the same source back to back, especially the ones from The Ukulele Site. This gives me a general idea of what I might prefer over something else. My all-time benchmark for a full, warm, well-balanced sound is this one:

    https://vimeo.com/95555490

    Even so, it is though to compare because even from the same source, there are so many variables coming into play, not just that they feature different players (all of which are great), but also choice of song, strings, high G or low Gm, distance of the microphone, etc.

    An interesting experience I keep having with these videos is that of the ukes I own, I totally recognize their distinctive voices when I play along the video of that exact instrument.

  8. #18
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    OK, the first uke in my video was the brand new $43.00 laminate Kmise, the second was the solid Ohana. I like both of them. The Kmise has more volume when I compare here, and sounds woodier, with more mids, to my ear. I like a loud uke, so sometimes that colors my opinion in a comparison, even if another uke being compared (with less volume) has better overall tone.

    That being said, the Ohana (2nd uke) was bought by the original owner in 2007, played once for a performance, then stored away unplayed for 12 years in CA, until I just got it from him last week. So I'm hoping it opens up and develops into an even better uke as I put some playing time on it
    Last edited by Ukecaster; 01-02-2020 at 04:48 AM.
    John

  9. #19

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    What I like about watching videos of the instrument playing is to observe which string and where on the fretboard the ukulele is being played. For me that helps me to intuit how deep is it's voice, etc.
    K
    Sopranos, Concerts, and Tenors including Baritone body at a Tenor Scale - 4 String, 5 String and 8 String :-)
    For Sale: Seagull Nylon String
    For Sale: National Mahogany Resonator
    For Sale: Gold Tone Resonator

  10. #20
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    I usually always play whete the neck meets the body, love that tone.
    John

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