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Casey Jefferson

A new perspective on sound projection

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11 minutes ago, Andreas Preuss said:

At least, some time ago I asked a violin maker who is well educated in acoustics if there is an explanation for the so called projection and his straight answer was 'This is the only thing for which physicists have no answer.'

When it comes to human perception there is a VAST number of things for which physicists have no answer!

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This phenomenon can be increased through adjustment as well.  We had the opportunity to do side by side tests and recordings of instruments  both in a small ish room and in a hall with various adjustments; this effect was common to all we tested to varying degrees.

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Without quoting posts individually, I'll just do a general reply.

First thing first, fortunately, I paid peanuts for this violin in question. So even if it's just a false hope, at least I can make some peanut butter jam out of it. It's just that I did not expect it to do anything special, but it did. And I can see why there are many people are being skeptical about this topic, especially many blind tests were done. On top of it these tests whether public or private, only a small percentage of people have access to them, so for the rest of us it remained a mystery. I for one never heard this effect anywhere else apart from artists playing in concert halls.

One thing for sure, this violin projects the sound differently. I did another casual test today in a different house and I'd describe the sound as rich and warm but taking up a lot of the "view" - hence the term "big sound". One can feel the sound ringing right beside the ear. It's NOT the sparkling frequency range that is projecting (which this violin didn't quite have in the first place), it's the body of the tone, without harshness and shrillness.

Whether people will believe it's a fact or just placebo effect, doesn't really change the fact that I heard what I heard and it's real.:D Keep the comments coming guys.

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On 11/21/2019 at 1:42 PM, Casey Jefferson said:

Hi all,

Been years since I posted last time. How y'all doing? I came across a violin with a very interesting way of projecting sound.

Under the ear, it has somewhat warm and rich mid and low mid frequency with punch, but maybe lacking a bit of sparkles. When playing in a bigger room with some reverb, it didn't quite have that screaming sound when listening in close range, but a few steps back, there seems to sound like a pair of speakers hooked up and reinforced the sound, and like the sound came from the air above. I let someone else played and I can confirm the phenomenon too. And it projected above grand piano accompaniment with ease.

My question is, how often one will come across a violin like that? For sure I know this is probably the first time I've heard anything like that, and I've played many violins by living established makers, including one by a maker who's active member here, too. (Admittedly I didn't not test all of them with the same way as playability has always been my priority)

PS: I purposely omitted the info about the violin to avoid biased judgement.

Did you try with other instruments? I would guess that the phenomenon you described is more due to the room acoustics than the violin

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2 minutes ago, Navyasw02 said:

Did you try with other instruments? I would guess that the phenomenon you described is more due to the room acoustics than the violin

I did, include another violin every single time. Without a fail, it showed the differences. And not just same violin to for comparison, it's always of different quality.

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On 11/20/2019 at 11:42 PM, Casey Jefferson said:

 and like the sound came from the air above.

i have a form of synesthesia and i went to see a former teacher of mine in recital and the sound seemed to be coming from a purple cloud about 10 ft above him.  not literally visually, but distinctly and uncontrollably in the mind's eye, if you follow.  the fiddle was a testore.  i look forward to reading all this thread when i have time.  it looks like it might be great. 

i also have experience with fiddles sounding radically different in positions other than the player's (for the better lately, luckily :) ).

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At this point, my wild guess would be that this particular violin has a vibration mode which happens to strongly activate one of the room modes. When a room mode is activated, not all the sound would be directly coming from the violin any more, but from all over the place.

Or it may happen to align with one of your vibration modes (although I suspect that parts of the body are quite highly damped). :)

There might also be a "Tartini tone" thing going on, where two tones (modes) in combination generate a perceived third tone.

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20 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

At this point, my wild guess would be that this particular violin has a vibration mode which happens to strongly activate one of the room modes. When a room mode is activated, not all the sound would be directly coming from the violin any more, but from all over the place.

Or it may happen to align with one of your vibration modes (although I suspect that parts of the body are quite highly damped). :)

There were different rooms that I tested, some bigger than other. This effect also happen when my students/colleagues played it as well, at least 4 different players.

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13 minutes ago, Casey Jefferson said:

There were different rooms that I tested, some bigger than other. This effect also happen when my students/colleagues played it as well, at least 4 different players.

The students/colleagues perceived it as well, or was it that you perceived it when they played?

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Hi Casey,

do you think it would be possible to capture the described effect in a recording and share it? Maybe testing the violin in question vs. a couple of comparator instruments using different microphone positions (e.g. close by, at a distance, in the next room)?

Thanks

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2 hours ago, David Burgess said:

The students/colleagues perceived it as well, or was it that you perceived it when they played?

They heard it too, pretty obvious, not a small difference. To be honest, it took me a few tests to finally believe what happened.

2 hours ago, Geigenbauer said:

Hi Casey,

do you think it would be possible to capture the described effect in a recording and share it? Maybe testing the violin in question vs. a couple of comparator instruments using different microphone positions (e.g. close by, at a distance, in the next room)?

Thanks

Yes! But whether the effect will translate to the microphone is something I cannot guarantee. I'm curious how it'll turn out, to be honest. But for sure I'll be taking a video clip trying to capture the effect.

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21 hours ago, David Burgess said:

Amongst the various fiddles tested in the Fitz-Curtain-Fan Tao tests, they have not yet discovered any magic . Sound volume measured up close highly correlated with volume at a distance, whether from measurements, or listener impression.

Hey, if  I had a three-milion-dollar sufboard in Hawaii or Southern California, I'd be a hero in some circles.  Wouldn't matter whether of not I could even manage to stand up on the danged thing. :lol:

Where "up close" are they measuring the sound from (front / back) both ?

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1 hour ago, Peter Lynch said:

Where "up close" are they measuring the sound from (front / back) both ?

I'm not sure. The question I asked Fan Tao, maybe two years ago, was whether they had found any evidence for the notion of "soft  or seemingly quiet under the ear or up close", but with superior carrying power at a distance.

Of course, they have not tried every existing fiddle. ;)

On some performance stages, I almost couldn't hear myself playing, as if the sound was "sucked away". I don't know yet if this is a deficiency of these auditoriums, or if it could mean that the sound was somehow more efficiently broadcast to the listeners, leaving less for the player. Either could be an issue for a player, since it's somewhat handy to be able to hear yourself when playing. :)

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1 hour ago, David Burgess said:

n some performance stages, I almost couldn't hear myself playing, as if the sound was "sucked away". I don't know yet if this is a deficiency of these auditoriums, or if it could mean that the sound was somehow more efficiently broadcast to the listeners, leaving less for the player. Either could be an issue for a player, since it's somewhat handy to be able to hear yourself when playing. :)

I think this is pretty common, at least for me. I remember going into an audition once, never been in the space before, I couldn't hear myself (at least that was my feeling), audition started going sour. But at the end they commented that I at least produced a nice big sound and seemed more interested in my viola than my playing.

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13 hours ago, Jerry Pasewicz said:

This phenomenon can be increased through adjustment as well.  We had the opportunity to do side by side tests and recordings of instruments  both in a small ish room and in a hall with various adjustments; this effect was common to all we tested to varying degrees.

I've been trying to digest this, my friend who's doing really fine work on adjustments said the same thing that he can make the violin sounded more to the audiences but compromising the sound to the player. Can you elaborate a bit more maybe what's the concept behind this? I need to ask my friend about it too.

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2 hours ago, David Burgess said:

On some performance stages, I almost couldn't hear myself playing, as if the sound was "sucked away". I don't know yet if this is a deficiency of these auditoriums, or if it could mean that the sound was somehow more efficiently broadcast to the listeners, leaving less for the player. Either could be an issue for a player, since it's somewhat handy to be able to hear yourself when playing. :)

I can relate to that phenomenon. It's more of the acoustic, but some instrument do better than others under the ear in such places which may or may not sound loud to the audiences.

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On 11/22/2019 at 2:17 PM, Casey Jefferson said:

I've been trying to digest this, my friend who's doing really fine work on adjustments said the same thing that he can make the violin sounded more to the audiences but compromising the sound to the player. Can you elaborate a bit more maybe what's the concept behind this? I need to ask my friend about it too.

Sure.  What seems to happen is the player will have an understated sense of the dynamics and shape of the sound to the audience.  It is still able to be heard well, but the blossoming of the tone can be moved further out.  It is not an odd occurrence, and any adjuster when they work in a hall instead of the shop can readily hear the difference.  I find it very informative when working with quartets, or small groups, and extremely eye opening when working with a soloist and an orchestra (unfortunately I have only had this opportunity a couple of times).

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4 hours ago, Jerry Pasewicz said:

Sure.  What seems to happen is the player will have an understated sense of the dynamics and shape of the sound to the audience.  It is still able to be heard well, but the blossoming of the tone can be moved further out.  It is not an odd occurrence, and any adjuster when they work in a hall instead of the shop can readily hear the difference.  I find it very informative when working with quartets, or small groups, and extremely eye opening when working with a soloist and an orchestra (unfortunately I have only had this opportunity a couple of times).

That rings a bell, my friend did learn the most when he doing adjustment right at the concert hall for fine players.

But still, I want to first check with him if he can actually make instruments do that projection effect though. He did always help me adjusting my Italian violin (made in 2015) and always did a fantastic job, but tomorrow I'm hoping that he'll be free and I wish to do a session of the infamous projection test at his place.

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8 hours ago, Casey Jefferson said:

That rings a bell, my friend did learn the most when he doing adjustment right at the concert hall for fine players.

But still, I want to first check with him if he can actually make instruments do that projection effect though. He did always help me adjusting my Italian violin (made in 2015) and always did a fantastic job, but tomorrow I'm hoping that he'll be free and I wish to do a session of the infamous projection test at his place.

What's an "infamous projection test"?

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I have added a new topic that suggests a possible physics view involving the difference of phase velocity and group velocity in any wave phenomenon.  That is, the examples where the phase velocities of the components of a signal travel at different speeds in a medium.

This is called "Dispersion."

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21 hours ago, Johnmasters said:

I have added a new topic that suggests a possible physics view involving the difference of phase velocity and group velocity in any wave phenomenon.  That is, the examples where the phase velocities of the components of a signal travel at different speeds in a medium.

This is called "Dispersion."

That's very interesting, thanks for starting the thread!

So here's the update. It was indeed, a false hope. I have no problem admit that. ;) while it did project the sound different than violins that I got to test side by side, it start to fall apart when I tested it at larger space. I didn't expect it to, due to the it being a cheap workshop violin. I'll send this violin for further adjustment and see it can bring out more of that quality. Till then, that's what it is. Thank you guys for participating this discussion.

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On 11/21/2019 at 7:27 AM, martin swan said:

Amen - it seems the most misguided of approaches. Unless you're going to spend your life performing Bach Sonatas & Partitas, you can only gauge projection in relation to competing noise.

OTOH a nice chamber music space is probably a very good place to find out what you feel about the nearfield sound and response of an instrument.

Martin, Matestic sent me the link to this thread in response to a question I had about cello under the rear vs at a distance. Your comment was extremely interesting, because in the absence of any better opportunity, I have always done exactly what you were advising against: playing cellos in an empty hall after rehearsal. This brief video is from a couple of nights ago. After my colleague and I noticed that this Rovatti cello sounded soft under the ear but seemed to be pretty powerful further away, I made this video of him noodling while I wandered around the stage. There’s a certain amount of ambient noise, and no matter Where I was on stage it was extremely easy to hear him. Would you folks consider this a better judge?

Edited by PhilipKT
Typo

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Philip - with respect, you really can't prove a point with a sample of one, a judge who might be subconsciously biased and no control! Nice playing though.

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In my experience, the doubts about projection comes from young, unseasoned players. Seasoned professional players and soloists in general are not worried about projection, it seems they have a "feeling" about it. 

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