Monday, April 29, 2013

Sound Check v2

So, the side-by-side sound check of the two ukuleles. EDITOR'S NOTE: The first recording had some problems, so I've redone it, made it shorter, and gone back and forth with the comparisons, which should make it easier to hear.

First, the excuses: It has been nine weeks since I got the mahogany ukulele, so my playing is, um ... well, the word "crappy" comes immediately to mind. So if you listen to the comparison samples, you'll note some buzzes and clams. Then again, I play them both equally crappy, so that balances out. (Actually, I might play the cheaper one a little better, such as that word applies, since all but a few days of my practice has been on that one, the new one having only come home to live here two days ago, and you do get used to the instrument you use the most, but for the purpose of this exercise, let's call that a wash.)


So don't listen for expertise if you listen, see if you can tell a difference in the tone. I can say that the koa is easier to fret and barre, because it is set up with a lower action and it sounds better to me, but I am subjective. Even if I were blindfolded, I could tell the difference in the feel. 


Since the experiment is a single-blind, in that you can't see which axe I'm using, sound is all you got.


Have a listen:

16 comments:

Kris said...

Wow. I went back and forth on which I thought had the fuller sound. The first took the cake, overall, but the second had its isolated moments. You might have given the order away when you mentioned action, however, as the second sounded like it had the lower action. But what do I know? I just screw around on a bass, now and then. Thanks for doing this; I will most definitely pass this along to the uke enthusiast in my house!

Steve Perry said...

I think the Mainland mahogany is a great deal -- it sounds way better than the price indicates, as good as axes costing a lot more. Good tone, and I like the look.

Once I learn how to play, I think the White koa will be more responsive, especially up the neck on the high frets. Now, I am the main limiting factor.

The Daring Novelist said...

Hmmm. As a person without a trained ear....

It seemed like the first one had a fuller sound, but the second a purer sound. I liked the second better, but in some ways it had less character.

heina said...

Without reading the other comments first.

Uke#1 - Has a bit of a "woofy" sound in the lower register (not desirable). The highs are ok, sharp but not resonant. Middle register is alright. Generally the tone is getting boxy and a little clippy.

Uke#2 - Much rounder sound. Strong lower tones that are quite resonant. Highs are clearer and bell like. Mids fit correctly. Much better tone than #1.

Conditions. A lot of this depends on the mic setup, which you didn't mention in the lead in. Could be affected by many other things, and I'm not listening on great monitors.

That said, it's fair to say I have a pretty trained ear. Curious to see which is which.

And as far as Uke's go, I'm not sure what is desirable on the tone range. For a tenor, I would assume people care more for the upper registers so it depends on what you like, but across the spectrum #2 had a better tone.

Steve Perry said...

It was a quick-and-dirty recording. The USB mike was close and the input volume a little too loud, I think. I was having some trouble getting it to pick up, and I over-cranked it. Probably that affected the low register. They both sound a little more boomy in the recording than they are.

Probably I should re-do it, and cut back and forth for a more direct comparison, be easier to hear the differences.

Steve Perry said...

Oh, yeah, the sweet spot. I was just told that each uke has a place where it resonates best when strummed or plucked, and apparently this is closer to the fretboard than the sound hole. (With classical guitars, you can alter the tone by playing sul tasto or sul ponticello, i.e., near the fretboard or the bridge, and the sweet spot tends to be somewhere over the sound hole, though usually not the middle.) The spots might not be the same on my ukes, so I'll have to figure that out ...

Not something I had even thought about. So much to learn ...

Mike Byers said...

My vote's for #2; it seems to have more depth and a warmer tone.

Steve Perry said...

Editor's Note:

If you post, 'twould be helpful if you reference which vid you are talking about, i.e., the earlier one, or v2?

Thanks.

Tom Dupree said...

#2, no doubt.

Tom Dupree said...

By the way,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsiuQvkZBiw

Kris said...

Man, the redo made all the difference in the world. Uke two sounds much warmer and fuller now- especially on the low end.

Mike Byers said...

On test V2, the #2 uke seems to me to have a richer sound, particularly in the higher notes.

Anonymous said...

Can't wait for your next book "The Man Who Never Missed An Opportunity To Blog About Ukuleles."

Any chance we can get a another peak at one of your forthcoming SF works?

Thx,

Ron

Steve Perry said...

Ron --

Not really anything I can show off yet. The next Cutter's Wars book is somewhere on the horizon, but I am not supposed to post a teaser yet, plus I don't have the cover art to flash.

My blues-playing-spy-in-Faerie, Axe: Stem-winder, is too far away from being done to wave about.

The Matador novel is that far away, too.

Can't put up the short stories that sold to kill that thunder.

Opinionated hijabi said...

Mr.perry,

You play the Ukelele.. you do silat. You're an amazing author & in fit shape (congrats on the health exams... just saw that post). Plus anyone from Guru's house exercises knows you're more fit than the average 35 year old with pectorals to show for it.
So... All around, you're still as awesome as ever.

Although, if you're taking requests.. I really loved Iz doing "Somewhere over the rainbow" and it would be fantastic from you. If that's not your style, something Elvis (a secret passion on mine... shhhh).

Bye for now, but not forever I hope
-aisha-

Steve Perry said...

Actually, I have been working on an IZ-style version of "Rainbow." Don't have his vocal chops, that crystal soprano, bit it's fun to try ...