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The Science of Stradivarius - Page 2

post #16 of 18

Skeptic mag published "Stradivarius Pseudoscience" (currently behind paywalls) which pointed out the simple fact that most centuries old acoustics instruments have been rebuilt many times over, thereby potentially losing some of the famed acoustic properties of the original. Of course the article strongly cautions that these properties are also mythological and do not necessary translate to musician/listener preference in blind tests. This led to an interesting discussion at http://www.maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/324072-stradivarius-pseudoscience/ where a number of luthiers were split on the topic.


Bonus link: http://www.schleske.de/en/our-research/introduction-violin-acoustics/sound-analysis.html

Edited by anetode - 2/8/13 at 4:27am
post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 


Each link that got posted convinces me the Stradivarius legend is hot air, which I honestly invested some faith in before I started this thread. I have heard classical recordings with "performed on a Stradivarius" as the marketing gimmick, but never found any of those recordings particularly outstanding or worthy of coming back to again and again. I excused this on miscellaneous factors having to do with recording techniques or room acoustics. The link above, however, is quite convincing to me, since both violins were recorded in the same environment and equipment, and the Stradivarius sounds dull. Sample #1 is richer in tone and harmonics, and I would easily take it over #2.      

post #18 of 18

the vintage strat will likely come off as dull and lose in head to head a/b's because good wood and lots of hours use result in a mellower more midrange centered sound that always loses in short a/b testing. that little extra bass and treble or lesser instruments tends to impress more in such a unreal testing environment. Long term use by real users though tends to reveal the real benefit and difference of a more mellower richer sound. Just like the time and use that was needed to make the vintage strat sound nicer, it takes time and use to hear and appreciate it. imo/e. Not to mention the fact that the evidence of this was gathered by burning the violin and testing it's ashes. Perhaps those preservatives they found were not the reason why strats are valued. Just because a variable is found in one sample and not the other doesn't mean other variables don't exist. Surely the wood used in old strats is original growth lumber and is of a different character than faster growth from tree farms. In addition it's widely known amongst acoustic guitar makers/sellers that it does indeed take use of an instrument to bring out the tone. Closet kept strats vs played strats. There's a cool 2hr doc out there on the steinway piano and the variability due to being made by different people/ the soundboard is hand fit and cut by different people etc. Pretty entertaining documentary.

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