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jonjin

Fungus treated wood in blind testing...

18 posts in this topic

jonjin wrote:

Great article on how fungus treated wood used to make a violin beat a Strad in blind testing...

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090914111418.htm

JJ

Very interesting! Thanks.

It shows, though, that judging anything subjectively is something of a problem. Fashions change, and expectations change, so something that was once thought to be "the best" however that was judged, can now be found lacking.

There was a programme on Radio 4 a few weeks ago about carbon-fibre violins. These were designed to be easily (and cheaply) manufactured so that more children could pick up the violin, although initially, they would be very expensive until mass-production took over. The CF violin was compared with a Stradivarius, and clearly was lacking, but just like MP3s, if modern students get used to the sound of a plastic fiddle, that will become "right" and perhaps a "proper" wooden instrument will sound weak, or thin or whatever in comparison.

As the article makes clear, objective measuruements of a violin's sound are impossible, but nevertheless, the subjective alternative also gives rise to problems.

Wine tasting anyone?

S.

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Very cool; surely materials science has to catch up with the old masters soon? :)

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Carbon fibre guitars sound awful. I have a rainsong I got for christmas last year..

it sounds horrid.

i keep it around out of respect for the person that bought it(my lovely wife, God Bless Her!) but it sounds really synthetic and "wonky"

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SergeAuckland wrote:

jonjin wrote:
Great article on how fungus treated wood used to make a violin beat a Strad in blind testing...

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090914111418.htm

JJ

Very interesting! Thanks.

It shows, though, that judging anything subjectively is something of a problem. Fashions change, and expectations change, so something that was once thought to be "the best" however that was judged, can now be found lacking.

There was a programme on Radio 4 a few weeks ago about carbon-fibre violins. These were designed to be easily (and cheaply) manufactured so that more children could pick up the violin, although initially, they would be very expensive until mass-production took over. The CF violin was compared with a Stradivarius, and clearly was lacking, but just like MP3s, if modern students get used to the sound of a plastic fiddle, that will become "right" and perhaps a "proper" wooden instrument will sound weak, or thin or whatever in comparison.

As the article makes clear, objective measuruements of a violin's sound are impossible, but nevertheless, the subjective alternative also gives rise to problems.

Wine tasting anyone?

S.

I listened to that programme in the car and though the CF one sounded pretty dire in comparison.

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i_should_coco wrote:

SergeAuckland wrote:
jonjin wrote:
Great article on how fungus treated wood used to make a violin beat a Strad in blind testing...

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090914111418.htm

JJ

Very interesting! Thanks.

It shows, though, that judging anything subjectively is something of a problem. Fashions change, and expectations change, so something that was once thought to be "the best" however that was judged, can now be found lacking.

There was a programme on Radio 4 a few weeks ago about carbon-fibre violins. These were designed to be easily (and cheaply) manufactured so that more children could pick up the violin, although initially, they would be very expensive until mass-production took over. The CF violin was compared with a Stradivarius, and clearly was lacking, but just like MP3s, if modern students get used to the sound of a plastic fiddle, that will become "right" and perhaps a "proper" wooden instrument will sound weak, or thin or whatever in comparison.

As the article makes clear, objective measuruements of a violin's sound are impossible, but nevertheless, the subjective alternative also gives rise to problems.

Wine tasting anyone?

S.

I listened to that programme in the car and though the CF one sounded pretty dire in comparison.

I agree, it did sound poor in comparison, but that's my point, it's because of what were're used to. If CF became the norm for violins, (like MP3s for music) there'e a risk that that's what kids expect violins to sound like, just like heavily compressed (both dynamically and data rates) music.

S.

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SergeAuckland wrote:

Wine tasting anyone?

Briefly saw an episode with Hugh Fearnley (river cottage fella) blind tasting wine made with pinot noir grapes. A couple of bottles from established wine makers in Burgundy and one from an amateur wine maker who grew his pinot noir grapes in his back garden. I can’t remember the exact location but it was somewhere like Stoke on Trent.

Wine experts were invited to taste the wines and by a significant margin preferred the pinot noir from Stoke on Trent to the pinot noir from Burgundy. Not that all wines taste the same, because they don’t.

As for wood in acoustic instruments, I can tell a guitar made with a mahogany soundboard (the top bit with the ‘ole in it) from a guitar made with a spruce soundboard. The former has a warmer tone, the latter a brighter tone. I think! :D

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jonjin wrote:

So how does one go about measuring tone?

No with one's ears if the results of the blind test are to be believed ;-)

Good question though. I expect that you could get a computer to recognise them though and accurately determine which instrument is which - some form of pattern recognition software that would pick up subtle harmonics perhaps?

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ultrawomble wrote:

jonjin wrote:
So how does one go about measuring tone?

No with one's ears if the results of the blind test are to be believed ;-)

Good question though. I expect that you could get a computer to recognise them though and accurately determine which instrument is which - some form of pattern recognition software that would pick up subtle harmonics perhaps?

I agree that with enough effort I would expect a computer could identify which was which. However, no computer (or set of measurements) will ever be able to tell you which sounds better, as "better" is entirely subjective.

The main thing I've learned on the 'Wam, somewhat to my discomfiture, is that what sounds people actually prefer in their own homes has little to do with measured performance.

S.

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mosfet wrote:

SergeAuckland wrote:
Wine tasting anyone?

Briefly saw an episode with Hugh Fearnley (river cottage fella) blind tasting wine made with pinot noir grapes. A couple of bottles from established wine makers in Burgundy and one from an amateur wine maker who grew his pinot noir grapes in his back garden. I can’t remember the exact location but it was somewhere like Stoke on Trent.

Wine experts were invited to taste the wines and by a significant margin preferred the pinot noir from Stoke on Trent to the pinot noir from Burgundy. Not that all wines taste the same, because they don’t.

As for wood in acoustic instruments, I can tell a guitar made with a mahogany soundboard (the top bit with the ‘ole in it) from a guitar made with a spruce soundboard. The former has a warmer tone, the latter a brighter tone. I think! :D

Bugger, does that mean I have to swap my magnum of '81 Petrus with Serge for a bottle of ribena?

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SergeAuckland wrote:

ultrawomble wrote:
jonjin wrote:
So how does one go about measuring tone?

No with one's ears if the results of the blind test are to be believed ;-)

Good question though. I expect that you could get a computer to recognise them though and accurately determine which instrument is which - some form of pattern recognition software that would pick up subtle harmonics perhaps?

I agree that with enough effort I would expect a computer could identify which was which. However, no computer (or set of measurements) will ever be able to tell you which sounds better, as "better" is entirely subjective.

The main thing I've learned on the 'Wam, somewhat to my discomfiture, is that what sounds people actually prefer in their own homes has little to do with measured performance.

S.

And in that respect, I actually realised myself that the wam isn't an out and out hifi site.

I actually prefer it this way though, the kit only has to work and sound good to my ears. Not arsed about measurements, but they can be useful in understanding why you like something?

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aswillman wrote:

mosfet wrote:
SergeAuckland wrote:
Wine tasting anyone?

Briefly saw an episode with Hugh Fearnley (river cottage fella) blind tasting wine made with pinot noir grapes. A couple of bottles from established wine makers in Burgundy and one from an amateur wine maker who grew his pinot noir grapes in his back garden. I can’t remember the exact location but it was somewhere like Stoke on Trent.

Wine experts were invited to taste the wines and by a significant margin preferred the pinot noir from Stoke on Trent to the pinot noir from Burgundy. Not that all wines taste the same, because they don’t.

As for wood in acoustic instruments, I can tell a guitar made with a mahogany soundboard (the top bit with the ‘ole in it) from a guitar made with a spruce soundboard. The former has a warmer tone, the latter a brighter tone. I think! :D

Bugger, does that mean I have to swap my magnum of '81 Petrus with Serge for a bottle of ribena?

I'll even give you two bottles of Ribena, and throw in some Chilean Merlot.....

S.

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SergeAuckland wrote:

ultrawomble wrote:
jonjin wrote:
So how does one go about measuring tone?

No with one's ears if the results of the blind test are to be believed ;-)

Good question though. I expect that you could get a computer to recognise them though and accurately determine which instrument is which - some form of pattern recognition software that would pick up subtle harmonics perhaps?

I agree that with enough effort I would expect a computer could identify which was which. However, no computer (or set of measurements) will ever be able to tell you which sounds better, as "better" is entirely subjective.

The main thing I've learned on the 'Wam, somewhat to my discomfiture, is that what sounds people actually prefer in their own homes has little to do with measured performance.

S.

Serge my old son, if you ever have sex, do you time every part of theprocedure and worry if things don't happen in the correct order?

I worry about you, really I do.

Never mind Paul, I think you're the one we should all be watching. :nuts:

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