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Originally Posted by Emery Wang
I wonder how much of this is influenced by the power of suggestion. No doubt a Strad and other high quality instruments sound great. But when the listener hears what he believes is a legendary instrument, I wonder how much of his perception of that instrument's sound is colored by the fact he believes this to be true. After all, sound perception is processed in the brain, and the brain is quite susceptible to suggestion.

It would be interesting if someone played a high quality violin, left, then came back with the same violin but announced that this one is a Stradivari: would the audience think the "second" violin sounded different because they believed it to be a Strad?


That would be funny, to see people nodding appreciatively when they weren't even hearing a Stradivarius!

But, yeah, I'm sure there's halo effect in play.


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There has been a number of blind tests comparing Strads with other old and new violins. Google "Stradivarius blind test." Here's one article.

Larry.

Edited to add: I was also suspicious that Yamaha's A.R.E. process may also involve chemical treatment of the spruce, but all I've found indicates that the process involves heat and pressure (torrefaction), but no chemicals.

Last edited by iLaw; 08/26/21 02:14 PM.
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Great article iLaw. Their testing process seemed quite good to me. I wonder if any such blind tests have been done with pianos.


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Originally Posted by iLaw
There has been a number of blind tests comparing Strads with other old and new violins. Google "Stradivarius blind test." Here's one article.

Larry.

Edited to add: I was also suspicious that Yamaha's A.R.E. process may also involve chemical treatment of the spruce, but all I've found indicates that the process involves heat and pressure (torrefaction), but no chemicals.

Yes, blind tests like that have shown that people tend to actually prefer the modern instruments.
It might be interesting to treat modern wood with the ancient recipe and see how they sound!

I haven't followed Yamaha's process in detail. I don't know why, but I thought it was applied to the rims. Is it applied to the sound boards? (that would make sense to me.)


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Strads secret is over 300 years old and you guys quibble over an hour and a half video LOL.

-chris


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There is also the Paris double blind test.



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Originally Posted by Retsacnal
I haven't followed Yamaha's process in detail. I don't know why, but I thought it was applied to the rims. Is it applied to the sound boards? (that would make sense to me.)

I'm simply extrapolating from their A.R.E. guitar literature, where they often state "Solid Sitka Spruce Top with A.R.E." or "... and a Sitka spruce top with original Yamaha A.R.E. wood-torrefaction technology." I've not seen any suggestion that the A.R.E. technology is applied anywhere other than the spruce top. I presume the same would be true with the pianos.

Larry.

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I think mistakes would not be massive.A Stradarius violin would probably be compared to other great violins.The accoustics of the room,and even a person's mood could certainly affect how they perceive and judge the sound.Of course the halo 😇 will always be there and will affect perception.Who has not played thier piano on a day when they are tired and it just sounds different or not as good as usual.

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Originally Posted by Retsacnal
Originally Posted by pold
Surely anybody in a blind test can spot the treated vs non-treated wood?
It's annoying that they mix interesting stuff with rubbish. The interesting stuff is finding borax, zinc, copper, alum and lime water. The rubbish is the claim that this is the "secret" and "primary reason for the pristine sound". This is so unprofessional, especially if you are a scientist.


Since you stipulate a blind test, I assume you mean that they can hear the difference in the two. If the difference is discernible, then is it really rubbish or unprofessional to think that the difference could be positive?

Anyway, again, they aren't knocking Stradivari's skills. Only supposing that the extra je ne sais qouis of his violins' tone is due to this treatment. Right?

BTW, isn't Yamaha now processing woods to change their tone on a variety of their products?

And, yeah, it is interesting that the solution is so simple. And that they seem to have figured it out. thumb

If there is really a difference in sound they could do many blind tests, it is very difficult, but possible as an experiment. You would need to make new violins from the same tree, with exactly the same thicknessing using CNC carving technology. All violins will be identical except some of them have the wood treated.
The same experiment could be done on new identical pianos, with soundboards from the same tree, same thicknessing, and to make the pianos even more identical they could use laminate or particle board for the case, beams and rim. All identical, except some pianos will have the soundboard treated with the chemicals and other soundboards won't be treated.

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Pold,
Identical thicknessing does not insure same frequency relationships among the parts.

-chris

Last edited by Chernobieff Piano; 08/26/21 10:45 PM.

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Originally Posted by Chernobieff Piano
Pold,
Identical thicknessing does not insure same frequency relationships among the parts.

-chris

why not? if the wood is from the same tree.

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Originally Posted by pold
Originally Posted by Chernobieff Piano
Pold,
Identical thicknessing does not insure same frequency relationships among the parts.

-chris

why not? if the wood is from the same tree.

Because all parts of the same tree do not have the same density or grain structure or even grain direction as other parts. Therefore two bits of wood, even from the same tree, are likely not to have the same acoustical properties. Selecting timber is an art.

Last edited by gwing; 08/27/21 07:41 AM.
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Originally Posted by gwing
Originally Posted by pold
Originally Posted by Chernobieff Piano
Pold,
Identical thicknessing does not insure same frequency relationships among the parts.

-chris

why not? if the wood is from the same tree.

Because all parts of the same tree do not have the same density or grain structure or even grain direction as other parts. Therefore two bits of wood, even from the same tree, are likely not to have the same acoustical properties. Selecting timber is an art.

Actually you can select parts of the tree with the same density and grain if the tree is big enough, and especially if you want to.

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If you measure coarsely enough, you can make a lot of things look identical.

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Originally Posted by Maestro Lennie
If you measure coarsely enough, you can make a lot of things look identical.

hehehe thumb


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Originally Posted by pold
Originally Posted by gwing
Originally Posted by pold
Originally Posted by Chernobieff Piano
Pold,
Identical thicknessing does not insure same frequency relationships among the parts.

-chris

why not? if the wood is from the same tree.

Because all parts of the same tree do not have the same density or grain structure or even grain direction as other parts. Therefore two bits of wood, even from the same tree, are likely not to have the same acoustical properties. Selecting timber is an art.

Actually you can select parts of the tree with the same density and grain if the tree is big enough, and especially if you want to.


Hmm, so unless we can go back in a time machine, and make our non-Stradivarius violins from the exact same cuts from the exact same trees, then our experiment is invalid? In fact, all these existing comparisons must be invalid... frown

Or... we could acknowledge that virtually all experiments include controlled and extraneous variables, just like these, and make the best of it! thumb


Going back in time would be awesome of course, because we could actually get Stradivarius to make the non-treated violins too! And bring the treated and non-treated subjects back for testing in like-new, unmodified condition! Talk about controlling the variables!! And we could sell them for a small fortune too. laugh


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Originally Posted by iLaw
Originally Posted by Retsacnal
I haven't followed Yamaha's process in detail. I don't know why, but I thought it was applied to the rims. Is it applied to the sound boards? (that would make sense to me.)

I'm simply extrapolating from their A.R.E. guitar literature, where they often state "Solid Sitka Spruce Top with A.R.E." or "... and a Sitka spruce top with original Yamaha A.R.E. wood-torrefaction technology." I've not seen any suggestion that the A.R.E. technology is applied anywhere other than the spruce top. I presume the same would be true with the pianos.

Larry.

I agree that the soundboard would seem to be the logical thing to treat. TBH, my main “exposure” to A.R.E. was the recent spate of cantankerous posts about it here, so it must be from those that I picked up on the rim being treated. ?? Anyway, so I took a peek at the Yahama site, and it does seem to be limited to the rim. I guess the Yamaha engineers know what they’re doing.


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Originally Posted by Chernobieff Piano
There is no Magic or Chemistry, only a great craftsman.
Were this Wikipedia (and -- what an improvement this forum would be if it were), this would be the place for [citation needed].

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Originally Posted by Retsacnal
Hmm, so unless we can go back in a time machine, and make our non-Stradivarius violins from the exact same cuts from the exact same trees, then our experiment is invalid? In fact, all these existing comparisons must be invalid... frown

Or... we could acknowledge that virtually all experiments include controlled and extraneous variables, just like these, and make the best of it! thumb


Going back in time would be awesome of course, because we could actually get Stradivarius to make the non-treated violins too! And bring the treated and non-treated subjects back for testing in like-new, unmodified condition! Talk about controlling the variables!! And we could sell them for a small fortune too. laugh


That's so difficult to do proper comparisons, I don't have the luxury to buy and cut an entire tree, and for violins, even if the slices are very thin in a quarter sawn wood, there are other variables, for example if the sound post moves a half millimiter, you going back to square one in your comparison. I am not saying that it's impossible, but it's very demanding. And all the piano brands have the time and money to do these comparisons when they want to produce a new product.

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Almost all sizable timber logs were moved to the saw mill by water until the advent of steam logging trains and later logging trucks. Many would sit in salt water log booms for weeks or months.


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