Loudest soprano

pondweed

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I searched but couldn't find anything specific i.e. a geeky and contained thread like the good ol' "soprano weights" thread. No long neck models as that changes the tension. Larger bodies fair game - a mahimahi 1/4" deeper/fatty soprano body was pretty good for me but the woods probably didn't maximise possibility. Straight bog standard soprano-y sopranos. How do vintage compare to modern? Luthier to off-the pegs? I'm hoping that each time someone mentions something, it will get knocked off by someone having experienced something else in direct comparison. Good to hear about strings for maximising, but only in passing. Keep it all directly comparative.
 
Out of all the sopranos I've had, Martin OXK, Flight TUS-35, Decca and a Kamaka HF-1, the OXK was the loudest of all.
 
Loudest soprano I own is also the lightest in weight - a 1940s Martin Style 1. In terms of modern builds, I’d say the KoAlohas are probably the loudest I’ve played…
 
I have a few, vintage Martin, KoAloha standard and pineapple, couple customs. The loudest by far is my Pop's WOW. Not just louder but fuller. Then probably the KoAloha's and vintage Martin are all around the same volume but the Martin has that "plinky planky" voice that's pure vintage Martin.
 
I have a few, vintage Martin, KoAloha standard and pineapple, couple customs. The loudest by far is my Pop's WOW. Not just louder but fuller. Then probably the KoAloha's and vintage Martin are all around the same volume but the Martin has that "plinky planky" voice that's pure vintage Martin.
Agreed on the Pops’ WOW.
 
My mahogany Timms is by far the loudest soprano I've ever played. It's on par with my banjo uke, which gives you a rough idea.

The koa Timms I have is a little more subdued by comparison, but still loud for a soprano.
 
Ooh - this is going well, thankyou! The vintage (and vintage pattern/shape like Timms, more modern Martin and others) we all have an eye for and probably memory of. It would be helpful for non-owners to hear where the more contemporary designs are perhaps larger in volume, or where there is anything structurally interesting/contributive.

(Sod's law - I'm now seeing similar threads underneath my reply box. But the only relevant one was 2010 and got 25 replies... we can do better).
 
The loudest soprano I ever owned was a 1927 Vintage Martin style 2, but other than that, hands down, the loudest soprano I have ever played is the UKESA Wow by Pops Okami. I help Pops to sell these but even before that, I am a believer from my very first experience with the Wow in 2016. I hope that others who own the Wow will chime in with their experience. The light build, a combination of select pine and spruce, and unbracing create an ukulele that has tremendous volume, long sustain, resonance, and a True Tone. When Pops created this, he wanted an ukulele that could be played and heard from a stage without the need for amplification. He wanted one that could be heard above a 45-member choir. I once did a comparison playing the Wow next to KoAloha, Kamaka, Kanile'a, Pono, Kiwaya, and Timms and the Wow surpassed all except the vintage Martin in sound projection and volume. Next in line, in my own test was the Kiwaya Koa. Additionally, when played softly, the sound is sweet, and when played more vigorously, it kept its balance and musicality.
 
I would have expected Koaloha/Ukesa and vintage Martins to appear on this list... along with Kala SSTUs (although I don't think the soprano was as popular and is no longer made). Banjo and/or resonators (if available in soprano) might or might not count...
 
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My Flight Ultra Travel is not only loud for a soprano, it’s louder than any of the other ukuleles I’ve played.

Edit: in my opinion, the volume on this uke comes at the expense of tone.
 
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We often engage in discussions here about loud ukuleles. Perhaps it is in part due to the diminutive size of the sopranos that we become focussed on it. At the same time there is something very satisfying about finding an instrument that seems to put out more than you put into it or than seems possible from the size.

There are other factors to consider. besides just sheer volume. The sound should also be full and balanced and have qualities that are pleasing to our ears. Some instruments are loud, but we may not like the sound they produce. I have known players who disliked a particular spruce instrument that was loud, but sounded harsh to their ears.

I don't know if anyone has done actual decibel testing. Some of this is about our perception as players with the instrument in our hands. I had one of the laminate Martins that always seemed a little dead or unresponsive. When I recorded it, I was really surprised at how loud and full it seemed, but I did not find it satisfying to play.
 
I see that the usual suspects have already been mentioned (Koaloha, vintage Martin).

The loudest conventional soprano that I have played in person and own is this Mele Kalia solid cedar top I encountered by chance at a local music shop in refurbished condition.

The recording probably doesn't properly capture how loud, but it's perhaps the first soprano that made me surprised at how loud it is for its size.




If less conventional body shapes are allowed, then another one to add to the loudest sopranos list would have to be the Ohana Vita Soprano.
My goodness, here's a video from 14 years ago


I guess beyond that, the smart alec response to 'loudest soprano' question would be banjo & resonator ukes for acoustic and electric soprano ukuleles.
 
My experience is limited, but so far my KoAloha soprano is by far the loudest.
 
I don't know if anyone has done actual decibel testing. Some of this is about our perception as players with the instrument in our hands. I had one of the laminate Martins that always seemed a little dead or unresponsive. When I recorded it, I was really surprised at how loud and full it seemed, but I did not find it satisfying to play.
I wondered whether this would crop up - that resonance in the fingers like the purring cat or the absence of it... presence of which much lull us into a false volume feeling? Re other points, yes, acoustic only as otherwise the energy parameters change too much. And BUs are something else. But yes, the soprano Vita should surely fit in. Ironically for me, I'm now thinking the Risa Soprano can go if I can passive-amplify an acoustic soprano that can be acoustic as long as humanly possible. But drilling holes knocks out a vintage Martin, unless it's a previously damaged one. Would be too pricey anyway...
How does one set up decibel testing that could be comparative across platforms? That would be good thing to hear about!
 
How does one set up decibel testing that could be comparative across platforms? That would be good thing to hear about!
In order to remove variables, you could use some type of robotic device that could strum the strings so it would be consistent. Most of us are probably somewhat variable in our strumming. Where we contact the strings, what part of our fingers we use, our intensity, all likely changes slightly from strum to strum. If you were to have people do the testing, perhaps you would have a number of players do a series of strums and then try to determine what the average is for each player and across players. It could be interesting research.
 
Whichever one you play with Fingernails.
 
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