Urban Luthier

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Posts posted by Urban Luthier


  1. On 6/21/2020 at 10:00 PM, Michael Darnton said:

    I've already mentioned my current bench, 18x48 inches (Amazon, $120) in a 4x5 foot basement cedar closet. The tool box is two feet wide, for scale. No cellos allowed. It's working for me. 

    20200521_112237.jpg

    wow - this is the coolest small work space i've ever seen!


  2. On 6/11/2020 at 2:19 PM, MANFIO said:

    The details we see in a painted violin will not be noticed by 99,9% of the viewers,  now and in the past.

    Even professional musicians, even soloists,  that pass 8 hours a day with a violin in their hands will not have the trained eye to "see" the details a luthier can spot. 

    Do you think the cardinal who commissioned the work wouldn't have noticed the how the violin was depicted (form and playing posture)? What about the cardinal who purchased the painting afterwards? 


  3. 5 hours ago, Davide Sora said:

    From my observations, it seems to me that Stradivari always left a sharp edge at the end of the pegbox and that it softened just a bit the inside edges of pegbox walls, without making a real bevel.

    Here two outstanding example: Cello Mediceo and Viola Tenore Medicea 1690

    Instead, I associate the bevel on the inside of pegbox walls with Guarneri del Gesù only.

    Always ready to be proven wrong...:)

    I agree with Davide and David - I looked at the photos taken under UV light of the Strad Messiah and Tuscan tenor  in the B&G monograph -- varnish can be seen right up to the edge of the pegbox wall (sharp at the top and slightly softened on the side walls). Looking at photos can be deceiving as one can easily miss-interpret the flair of the side walls of the pegbox wall as a chamfer in a low res image. here are my own photos of the Messiah

    _DSF4025.JPG

    _DSF4022.JPG


  4. There are images of the Florence tenor in the S&G book on the Tuscan violin noted above, but no ct scans. There are ct scans of the Mahler on Strad poster but this is a far cry from the tenor! I’d love to see ct scans of the tenor as well if anyone can find them


  5. 19 hours ago, martin swan said:

    Uuuuum ....

    Bruel & Kjaer. Flat as a pancake. Calrec soundfield also very uncoloured. I think most classical recording is done with mikes that are as uncoloured as possible.

    If the mikes are placed where the listener would be sitting, the information will arrive at the mikes at the same time as it would arrive at the ears. And speed of sound is not frequency dependent - low frequency waveforms are less attenuated by distance, but they don't travel at a different speed.

    Most people don't sit off to one side of the middle of the concert hall by choice. If they had the chance to listen from the conductor's POV I think they would say yes.

    And of course we should factor in that everyone's hearing has a slightly different response curve - we are never hearing quite the same thing as our neighbour because of the shape of our ears, and then we all process and comprehend the information differently too.

    So there is no real or objective sound to be reproduced in the first place, just a range of different preferences.

     

    Ummmm... yes to all of the above.... most classical recordings are recorded very well with the best mics (B&K and Neumann are flat but not perfectly flat). BUT In recording, microphones are not generally placed where the listener sits. They are placed above the players (Blumlein Stereo and Decca tree are popular setups for classical) Most old Decca (think Kennith Wilkinson) were done this way while many of the fantastic modern recordings (e.g. Linn Records are done with the Decca tree and + ton of spot mics (this allows for a lot of flexibility with level matching in post). Most of these setups can capture more info than we can actually hear from our listening position - and yes the mic will pick up a different frequency response than we hear in the audience.  (Kind of like looking at an ultra high resolution photograph of a violin - more detail than can be seen with the naked eye)

    In the end, it is all an illusion and the quality of the illusion  comes down to how well the engineers setup the mics and care taken in post production.  


  6. Most well recording material will sound wonderful on a good hi fi system! For all the rest, the Apple HomePod works just fine!

    as for your comment about microphones etc - yes the whole audio recording process is flawed from the beginning. A microphone response isn't perfectly flat to begin with. Plus when you factor in The high and low frequencies from a violin played on a stage will reach a microphone at different times than our ears sitting in the audience --  Flawed from the beginning!


  7. 13 hours ago, Bill Merkel said:

    i think that's all true, but the overriding thing is if the audiophile doesn't have musical training, he has no idea what to listen to!  but he has to listen to something, right? 

    There in lies the problem with much of the high end opinions one finds in forums and even professional reviews - most listen to what can be referred to as 'synthetic music' - think all pop / rock / electronic music. These folks want to tune hi-fi to their own 'personalized representation' of how they want their music to sound.  Nothing wrong with that, but it makes it difficult for folks like us who prefer a violin to sound like a violin through audio equipment. Not something laden with harmonic distortion, frequency and timing errors. 

    I think one of the reasons there aren't more musician audiophiles is that so much of what's called 'hi end' equipment is truly awful and it take a lot of time to cut through internet-noise to find something that is actually good (for our purposes) and reasonably priced.


  8. 17 hours ago, TimRobinson said:

    I've always liked good sound, but not to the audiophile level.  I just looked at the price of Harbeth speakers in Oz, they range from $3,700 to $28,000.  Quality is never cheap, but is the pricing similar in the US (remember our dollar only buys about 61 UC cents)?

    Regards,

    Tim

    Ha, I'm Canadian so i feel your pain regarding the dollar. I agree, very expensive but well-priced compared to a lot of audiophile nonsense products. Especially for folks who make their living from audio engineering. Generally, the street price through a dealer will be less. 

    Tying back to this forum... I simply mentioned this brand as a starting point for makers or musicians considering high quality audio playback  equipment - a way to cut trough some of the Audiophile media noise. 


  9. Yes I agree a side topic of its own,  but I think good audio recording and playback equipment can help violin makers make informed decisions about making (if one is able to keep some level of control over the recording and playback chain).

    The headphones referred to above could be a very useful and affordable reference tool for makers who archive the sound of their instruments.

    If one is use to simple mass market headphones -- listening to a pair of good electrostatic headphones will be quite a shock


  10. No argument from me, as an audiophile (not audiofool) I believe fine audio equipment can, and should enhance ones enjoyment of music. @Roger Hill notes above how some audio nuts go to the ends of the earth to fine tune their audio system to their own ‘personalized representation of sound’. The very sad reality is - they are listening to distortion. Simply head over to Stereophile and look at some of the measurements of many of the high priced audio equipment. Many (not all) measure so poorly that they are little better than tone controls. Some products costing $100s easily outperform some costing 10 x that.

    My advice to anyone here who wants excellent quality playback in their home (I mean broadcast level quality) is to look at a pair of Harbeth speakers and an affordable 100 w solid state amp. There are alternatives of course but the Harbeths are domestically friendly, easy to set up and used by countless studios to monitor and mix television, radio and film. reason being is their mid band frequency response is flat. 

    Too much hassle? An Apple HomePod is an excellent device for casual listening. It uses incredibly powerful dsp to deliver a relatively flat frequency response. 

    The koss phones mentioned above are quite good as well for personal listening.

    Simple rule of thumb with audio gear - listen to speech. If the human voice doesn’t sound natural than nothing else will.