$1M Stradivarius vs. modern violin blind test - Page 2 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #31 of 48 Old 05-23-2020, 10:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post
I think he's detecting the same thing I do: a difference in the sound box.
So months have passed, lots of posts, and not a single soul has taken the test but me. I don't know if it is because they:

- can't hear a difference
- can't figure out how to download and install foobar and the optional ABX comparator component
- can't figure out how to download the two, short, 7-second long music files
- enjoy reading threads about what other people can hear but have no interest in what they themselves can hear
- won't even try because the F%^*#@& jerks who do their best to scare people away from conducting ABX tests on their own have succeeded

Anyway, for people who want a little help, watch this video which shows a really easy way to hear a difference and I finish a complete winning test in just over 2 minutes [but for a novice it will take a little longer, obviously]. Although I call the video a "spoiler alert" it only explains what you might want to listen for. You should still take the test and it is not cheating. Why? Because to pass the test you still have to rely on your hearing and THAT'S what an ABX test is. It is a test to see if you hear a difference or not. This video just shows what to listen for: the nasal sound of violin A.

Once playing, watch in "quality:HD" and full screen by clicking the various symbols in the lower right of the window:


Pass the test and then you can brag to your friends that YOU can hear a difference between a million dollar Stradivarius violin and a modern day one (and not some junky one, by the way: I think it was $15k), even though the conclusion of the published study was that the experts they tested could not reliably tell a difference!

Last edited by m. zillch; 05-23-2020 at 11:34 AM.
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post #32 of 48 Old 05-23-2020, 11:13 AM
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Or... have no interest at all.



If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough – Albert Einstein
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post #33 of 48 Old 05-23-2020, 11:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Ratman View Post
Or... have no interest at all.
Why would a person read a thread about a topic they have no interest in at all?
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post #34 of 48 Old 05-23-2020, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by DreamWarrior View Post
It's enough for me just to recognize that modern code, what I steep my life in, originated back with the bloody loom...the LOOM! Weaving fabrics to create decorative wares prompted creation of "code" (to "program" the loom)! Crazy! Now we create proverbial soft wares, lol.
With you bringing up 8-tracks in other thread, actually posting only minutes before me while I was mentioning them and both of us mentioning recording on them, this makes me ask did you ever use punch cards in your early days? One of my freshman courses at UT was an introduction to programming, with punch cards, and slide rules FFS! The first full-on programming course, FORTRAN, we graduated to teletypes, whoo hoooo. Then the next course I took had an utter SOB for a prof--the experience turned me off on the whole computer/programming thing, very unfortunate in the long run. If I had had access to something like a full pascal programming environment early on, I think I would have quickly turned into computer geek. I likely would have leaned more towards the science end than hardcore programming though, like studying architectures and whatever.
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post #35 of 48 Old 05-23-2020, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post
When I first heard that some people claimed they could identify the sound of different brands of good quality violins I was skeptical. I didn't discount it as being totally impossible, however I thought it was unlikely. @Ethan Winer [musician and engineer] and others in the forum were confident differences existed but I needed proof. There were some studies out there but the results were mixed/inconclusive from my perspective. Just because you can measure a difference doesn't prove you can hear a difference in a blind test.

Then one day I found a site based on a radio broadcast which posted actual examples! Woo-hoo! "Now I can apply the Foobar ABX double blind test to the files once I download, precisely synchronize, and level match them.", I exclaimed.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Foobar ABX test I've made a tutorial which explains how to download, install, and use it, here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5njCrqCN9k

So it turns out I can actually hear a difference. Can you? Take the test and post your score sheet to prove it.
Download and install Foobar here: https://www.foobar2000.org/download
Once installed and open, then download the ABX Comparator component here: https://www.foobar2000.org/components/view/foo_abx

Here are the two FLAC files to download and insert into Foobar for the ABX double blind test. If Dropbox asks if you want to start an account don't think it is necessary in order to download the files. Just click "No thanks, continue to download" at the bottom/side to proceed to the direct download option. In the download box click "Save file".

Violin A Modern:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/3w6tz5aoje...aded.flac?dl=0

Violin B Stradivarius:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/hplu3jtix3...aded.flac?dl=0

I dedicate this thread to Scott so he can show the younger generation who visit his listening room how incredibly resolving his setup is.

UPDATE: Psst: I give a tip on what to listen for in post 31.
I played a Strat once. I was scared ****less holding it- it was worth more than my parent's house and the bow alone was worth more than all of our vehicles put together.

The sound was ... intoxicating. Just the strings themselves vibrating , with no fingers on them, the warmth and tone was unbelievable. I quickly picked back up my violin and played the same notes. I could hear the richness it had but it was - faded- just not nearly as warm. Electric heat vs fireplace, if that makes any sense.

Anyways...
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post #36 of 48 Old 05-23-2020, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post
Why would a person read a thread about a topic they have no interest in at all?
Because it's here? Why buy a Playboy magazine to only read the articles.



If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough – Albert Einstein
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post #37 of 48 Old 05-23-2020, 04:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post
So months have passed, lots of posts, and not a single soul has taken the test but me. I don't know if it is because they:

- can't hear a difference
- can't figure out how to download and install foobar and the optional ABX comparator component
- can't figure out how to download the two, short, 7-second long music files
- enjoy reading threads about what other people can hear but have no interest in what they themselves can hear
- won't even try because the F%^*#@& jerks who do their best to scare people away from conducting ABX tests on their own have succeeded

Anyway, for people who want a little help, watch this video which shows a really easy way to hear a difference and I finish a complete winning test in just over 2 minutes [but for a novice it will take a little longer, obviously]. Although I call the video a "spoiler alert" it only explains what you might want to listen for. You should still take the test and it is not cheating. Why? Because to pass the test you still have to rely on your hearing and THAT'S what an ABX test is. It is a test to see if you hear a difference or not. This video just shows what to listen for: the nasal sound of violin A.

Once playing, watch in "quality:HD" and full screen by clicking the various symbols in the lower right of the window:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkpqfV5sGbQ

Pass the test and then you can brag to your friends that YOU can hear a difference between a million dollar Stradivarius violin and a modern day one (and not some junky one, by the way: I think it was $15k), even though the conclusion of the published study was that the experts they tested could not reliably tell a difference!
So this says what?:
1. Double blind tests show that musicans and their sponsors that pay big money for these violins are utter fools
2. Those that spend their time prattling on about double blind tests are utter fools

Good morning

-The single digits are where the magic lies.....they deliver a 'touch of god' sensation that sometimes makes the hairs on one's arms stand up. It's hard to describe but it feels like you are there in the recording studio with the artist and "feeling" them move as they are playing the instrument. You can't see them, but you can feel them as movements are happening on the floor below you. - trhought
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post #38 of 48 Old 05-23-2020, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by purduephotog View Post
I played a Strat once. I was scared ****less holding it- it was worth more than my parent's house and the bow alone was worth more than all of our vehicles put together.

The sound was ... intoxicating. Just the strings themselves vibrating , with no fingers on them, the warmth and tone was unbelievable. I quickly picked back up my violin and played the same notes. I could hear the richness it had but it was - faded- just not nearly as warm. Electric heat vs fireplace, if that makes any sense.

Anyways...
So maybe the issue is the perfect medium of the digital recording does not reproduce all the ear can hear. Or is it just my laptop speakers?

good morning and wonderful post

-The single digits are where the magic lies.....they deliver a 'touch of god' sensation that sometimes makes the hairs on one's arms stand up. It's hard to describe but it feels like you are there in the recording studio with the artist and "feeling" them move as they are playing the instrument. You can't see them, but you can feel them as movements are happening on the floor below you. - trhought
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post #39 of 48 Old 05-24-2020, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by purduephotog View Post
I played a Strat once. I was scared ****less holding it- it was worth more than my parent's house and the bow alone was worth more than all of our vehicles put together.

The sound was ... intoxicating. Just the strings themselves vibrating , with no fingers on them, the warmth and tone was unbelievable. I quickly picked back up my violin and played the same notes. I could hear the richness it had but it was - faded- just not nearly as warm. Electric heat vs fireplace, if that makes any sense.

Anyways...

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post #40 of 48 Old 05-24-2020, 03:30 PM
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I am wondering what the outcome would be with that blinded violinist, unknown to him of course, if he got to play the same violin twice in a row or even more? How consistent is his play? Does it vary enough to be audibly different on two repetition in such a DBT test?
Don't think that was tested.
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post #41 of 48 Old 05-24-2020, 03:32 PM
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So maybe the issue is the perfect medium of the digital recording does not reproduce all the ear can hear. Or is it just my laptop speakers?

good morning and wonderful post
Actually, it can reproduce more than the ear can/brain can detect. Ear/brain has masking effects and other issues like the JND capability and some more.

Yes, your laptop speakers are it.
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post #42 of 48 Old 05-24-2020, 09:59 PM
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Actually, it can reproduce more than the ear can/brain can detect. Ear/brain has masking effects and other issues like the JND capability and some more.

Yes, your laptop speakers are it.
So you're say Stradivarius and Guarneri are overpriced junk.

I'm switching to free ear buds on your say so.

-The single digits are where the magic lies.....they deliver a 'touch of god' sensation that sometimes makes the hairs on one's arms stand up. It's hard to describe but it feels like you are there in the recording studio with the artist and "feeling" them move as they are playing the instrument. You can't see them, but you can feel them as movements are happening on the floor below you. - trhought
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post #43 of 48 Old 05-25-2020, 09:42 AM
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So you're say Stradivarius and Guarneri are overpriced junk.

I'm switching to free ear buds on your say so.
I re-read my post several times responding to a part of your post but for the life of me I just don't see a comment about those violins worth or value or sound quality or anything else.
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post #44 of 48 Old 05-25-2020, 01:28 PM - Thread Starter
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There's a bunch of different variations of what's actually being tested in this discussion:

- can you audibly ID a Strad as the violinist playing it?
- can you audibly ID the Strad as an audience member listening to it live in a concert hall?
- can you audibly ID the Strad as an audience member listening to it live in a small room in close proximity?
- can you audibly ID the Strad in a recording of it from close mic'ing (my test)?

So the fact that I alone can demonstrate this ability in my posted score sheets doesn't prove, for example, I'd be successful in say a large concert hall.

Last edited by m. zillch; 05-25-2020 at 01:35 PM.
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post #45 of 48 Old 05-25-2020, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by mechtheist View Post
With you bringing up 8-tracks in other thread, actually posting only minutes before me while I was mentioning them and both of us mentioning recording on them, this makes me ask did you ever use punch cards in your early days? One of my freshman courses at UT was an introduction to programming, with punch cards, and slide rules FFS! The first full-on programming course, FORTRAN, we graduated to teletypes, whoo hoooo. Then the next course I took had an utter SOB for a prof--the experience turned me off on the whole computer/programming thing, very unfortunate in the long run. If I had had access to something like a full pascal programming environment early on, I think I would have quickly turned into computer geek. I likely would have leaned more towards the science end than hardcore programming though, like studying architectures and whatever.
No, I started when my mom sat with me in front of a Timex Sinclair 1000 and taught me logic and loops around four years old. I was programing games (terrible ones, lol) on a C64 in BASIC before Kindergarten. Before seventh grade my family moved to South TX (McAllen) and we'd come back every summer to Jersey. So, one year my uncle introduced me to QuickBasic and I figured out actual sub-routines and functions by examining the source of that monkey throwing bananas game. That changed the way I programmed for the better! I only wish I learned C and C++ much earlier in my hobbyist career. Like, if my dad knew one software geek from work or something that introduced me to it, I think I'd have taken a much different path in life.

As for studying architectures -- there's nothing but logic in CPU design. It's basically the rawest form of "software". It really is "turtles all the way down". The same and / or / xor logic we have in software become physical circuits "developed" (*) onto silicon. It is pretty crazy the amount of "software" in a CPU! In fact, sometimes there are even CPU bugs that operating systems have to patch around!


(*) it's a poor choice of words if precision were my goal, but the process is "photo-lithography", so.... More, while there is really no "developing" the chip, it is "doped" -- it's a lateral thinking kind of word, lol.
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post #46 of 48 Old 05-25-2020, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post
There's a bunch of different variations of what's actually being tested in this discussion:

- can you audibly ID a Strad as the violinist playing it?
- can you audibly ID the Strad as an audience member listening to it live in a concert hall?
- can you audibly ID the Strad as an audience member listening to it live in a small room in close proximity?
- can you audibly ID the Strad in a recording of it from close mic'ing (my test)?

So the fact that I alone can demonstrate this ability in my posted score sheets doesn't prove, for example, I'd be successful in say a large concert hall.
But the unanswered question in my mind is the violinist's ability for consistent playback of violins different or not, in an audibly different manner.
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post #47 of 48 Old 05-25-2020, 07:48 PM - Thread Starter
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But the unanswered question in my mind is the violinist's ability for consistent playback of violins different or not, in an audibly different manner.
That's why in the original thread I brought up that the only way to be sure the musician's performance doesn't vary per play is to not use a human one:

Some of Fremer's testing is similarly flawed: he thinks each payback of an LP is the same so comparing, say, different phono preamps per different recording sessions is "valid", but he's wrong.
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post #48 of 48 Old 05-25-2020, 08:04 PM
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Maybe you could go about this differently. I think the idea is that a Strad is simply a masterpiece of an instrument, no cheap modern violin could approach it in sound, so if it's that much better, it would be easy tell which one is which in the AB test. If that was really true, you could kinda do it like the wine taste tests, just have a number of very good recordings of a number of pieces, no real need to have a lot of consistency. You don't try to identify anything, your only choice is which one is better. If you had a bunch of professional players take the test and they all picked the Strad, that would tell you there's something to it.
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