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People may be avoiding the potentially good news. If material does not matter then relaquers are a great option assuming the buffing was not done to the extreme. Additionally, maybe we could then cover our horns in some kind of high quality decal when the laquer wears off to protect the horn similar to how they decal cars or vans. If it didn't have any acoustic effect that was negative it would be a great way to preserve horns.
 

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I do have some quibbles with the "if we can't measure it, it makes no difference" crowd that shows up in these debates in some cases. As someone who works with patchy business and product data all the time, I often think about the McNamara fallacy, where we can have a tendency give too much weight to what we can easily measure and disregard that which we don't know how to measure. I think that we sometimes disregard the fact that our bodies are remarkably sensitive audio and touch sensors, at least within the range that matters. We are just terrible at logging that data.

We're artists making art. If it feels better to you, then it's better for you. If it sounds better to you, then it's better for you. As long as it's made of something that's safe and durable, then who cares what that material is?

I had the chance to play a whole bunch of extremely high quality clarinet barrels of the same model and length but made of two different woods and a plastic, several of each. In my back to back testing, all the barrels were excellent, but I felt like there were differences between the barrels of different materials that were larger than the differences between individual barrels within the group. Those were small differences that I would be hard pressed to identify if I weren't swapping back and forth. Even acknowledging that there were differences between them, I would be hesitant to attribute the differences to any particular resonant quality of the material, given that it seems entirely possible that a reamer behaves ever so slightly differently moving through different woods (and plastic). I suppose that is a difference that one could say is attributable to the material, though. Probably more importantly, I could tell there was a difference, but I was having a hell of a time determining whether or not I had a preference for any of them over the others.

I don't go much for fancy finishes, but I do like the look of a horn that has "honest" wear on it from regular use. I used to justify that by saying that if someone loved it enough to play it that much, it must be good gear, but that's not necessarily true. I just have a preference for that look and a sentimental idea about a horn's history. It doesn't make the horn play better, but it might make me a little more excited to play.

I think a lot of "logical" and "rational" people have a hard time admitting that they picked something for aesthetic or sentimental reasons, so they are willing to work backwards from their conclusion and go along with some weird, hand-wavey pseudoscience to justify their choice.

After trying all of those clarinet barrels, I picked the one that had the prettiest wood grain and it's been great.
 

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Bird probably sounded great honking a car's horn ..... He sounded great on a plastic sax, that you would expect .... doesn't mean it sounded the same as his brass horn. Doesn't mean that materials don't effect the sound of a saxophone.

If the material makes no difference to the sound, then why haven't we seen aluminum saxes? They would weigh less than brass, I assume, and be a selling point.

Turtle
Well I know we have several material specialist as members here at SOTW who could give you a more specific answer but I don't believe aluminum is ductile enough for drawn tone holes and you can't really solder to aluminum so it would be more like welding the tone holes on. In short, I suspect machining and manufacturing a sax made from aluminum would likely be very expensive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
....if you are gonna go to the trouble of testing various samples where only ONE single variable is changed ( a good method, btw)....then for goodness sake...don't just post your interpretations/conclusions.....post the darn results for all to see and hear....

(regarding anyone who makes the claim of a discernible difference....be certain there is only the sole variable of material (or finish, or whatever). Because if there is more than a single variable (say it is finish and geometry/spec)....the veracity of your conclusion flies out the window....) ....

When all of that has been confirmed....now you have some grounds to claim the sole variable among the test subjects is the material/finish.
I don't think Kim did the testing for any scientific journal, so maybe he's not worried about going through the trouble of formally showing all his data for just a quick blog post. He did the testing for his own purposes and is using the data how he sees fit. I'll bet if you contacted him and really wanted to see it, he'd probably share it.

In regards to changing just one variable, I believe that's exactly what he's doing. He controls the production of the neck to ensure the specs are the same other than the material. If the same player, same mouthpiece, same neck dimensions, same horn, same mic, same recording equipment, etc... are all used, and the only change is the material of the neck, that's specifically testing one variable. I would also think that from a scientific testing point of view, the neck would be about the best thing you could use to test the effect of different materials.
 

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People may be avoiding the potentially good news. If material does not matter then relaquers are a great option assuming the buffing was not done to the extreme.
Yup...completely true.
Not a secret, just something many folks intentionally refuse to accept because it would take away a bargaining chip in negotiating a price...
 

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I don't think Kim did the testing for any scientific journal, so maybe he's not worried about going through the trouble of formally showing all his data for just a quick blog post.
.

That's one way to look at it...another way is:

here's a biz which makes $ by selling replacement necks....and they offer necks in different materials.....and the biz states they have done testing which proves material and finish makes a difference.

Once again, the 'data' is quite easy to make public: let's see the sonic analysis, or let's HEAR some samples.

If the former, then let's look at the numbers and see if they reflect something discernible. If the latter, one can hear and judge for themselves.

This 'debate', with due respect....is just a merry-go-round. "Proof" one way or another is incredibly simple. A controlled test, a one variable difference.

Over the years (decade-plus ?) of all of these threads and convos, I have yet to come across a thread where someone has actually done and made public that controlled test, between two subjects with that single variable of difference.

If someone knows of one, please link it here. Otherwise, again, this convo is just a "well, I believe what I believe" sorta thing....
 

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I do have some quibbles with the "if we can't measure it, it makes no difference" crowd that shows up in these debates in some cases. As someone who works with patchy business and product data all the time, I often think about the McNamara fallacy, where we can have a tendency give too much weight to what we can easily measure and disregard that which we don't know how to measure. I think that we sometimes disregard the fact that our bodies are remarkably sensitive audio and touch sensors, at least within the range that matters. We are just terrible at logging that data.
Yes, I agree with this. I'm not sure how you turn what you hear into data, but I know that I'm not trusting any machine to tell me, through some measuring of data, that two things sound identical, or not. It's not that type of a machine that is either making the music or listening to it.

Never trust a machine to make decisions for you. You need to trust your own audio and touch sensors in order to make decisions. :cool:

Turtle
 

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Can this thread be combined with the countless others on the same topic and buried in the archives?
Can we put it in the rules that a 6 month ban is the punishment for opening a new materials make a difference thread?
 

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Yes, I agree with this. I'm not sure how you turn what you hear into data, but I know that I'm not trusting any machine to tell me, through some measuring of data, that two things sound identical, or not. It's not that type of a machine that is either making the music or listening to it.

Never trust a machine to make decisions for you. You need to trust your own audio and touch sensors in order to make decisions. :cool:

Turtle
Yes, but...

We need to be sensible about what we attribute the differences to. Sure, maybe that silver Yanagisawa plays better than the brass one, but is that because it's silver or is that because Yanagisawa puts their best workers on the silver horns? Or because the shop selling it has no problem having their in-house tech take an extra two hours to make sure everything is perfect on the $12k horn?

In the neck discussion, are we sure that the two necks are exactly identical?

Even though I came out in defense of people buying and enjoying stuff for subjective reasons, I do absolutely abhor the hyperbolic marketing that wants to tell us that a silver plated neck is going to make us sound 15% more resonant or that a cryogenically treated ligature is going to improve your legato by as much as 41 International Legato Units (ILUs) or that a mouthpiece uses the Golden Ratio to vibrate your soul in sympathy with the core of the Earth. Any company that markets like that is immediately taken out of consideration for me. The gear might be perfectly good. I just don't want to do business with bull****ters and there are plenty of honest, skilled, passionate people doing business on the up and up in our little world.

So there's a balance.
 

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Yes, but...

We need to be sensible about what we attribute the differences to. Sure, maybe that silver Yanagisawa plays better than the brass one, but is that because it's silver or is that because Yanagisawa puts their best workers on the silver horns? Or because the shop selling it has no problem having their in-house tech take an extra two hours to make sure everything is perfect on the $12k horn?

In the neck discussion, are we sure that the two necks are exactly identical?

Even though I came out in defense of people buying and enjoying stuff for subjective reasons, I do absolutely abhor the hyperbolic marketing that wants to tell us that a silver plated neck is going to make us sound 15% more resonant or that a cryogenically treated ligature is going to improve your legato by as much as 41 International Legato Units (ILUs) or that a mouthpiece uses the Golden Ratio to vibrate your soul in sympathy with the core of the Earth. Any company that markets like that is immediately taken out of consideration for me. The gear might be perfectly good. I just don't want to do business with bull****ters and there are plenty of honest, skilled, passionate people doing business on the up and up in our little world.

So there's a balance.
I agree with most of that ..... except that we have to be sensible about what we attribute the difference to ..... Nobody knows for sure! And even if they think they know, they can't prove it. The only sensible thing to do, when that much $ is on the line (like a 12K horn), is to try them out and listen for yourself. If it were me and I was considering two different necks from the place in question here, I'd have both sent and send back the one that was the least favorable, or if identical, the one that lost the coin flip. I never pay any attention to marketing, so I can't comment on that part.

But, just to be clear .... Keilwerth never said anything about the Shadow and how it relates to their other horns, beyond the material note. Or any other claims for that matter. In fact, they give out so little info that I can't even figure out what year my horn is.

Turtle
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
.

That's one way to look at it...another way is:

here's a biz which makes $ by selling replacement necks....and they offer necks in different materials.....and the biz states they have done testing which proves material and finish makes a difference.

Once again, the 'data' is quite easy to make public: let's see the sonic analysis, or let's HEAR some samples.

If the former, then let's look at the numbers and see if they reflect something discernible. If the latter, one can hear and judge for themselves.

This 'debate', with due respect....is just a merry-go-round. "Proof" one way or another is incredibly simple. A controlled test, a one variable difference.

Over the years (decade-plus ?) of all of these threads and convos, I have yet to come across a thread where someone has actually done and made public that controlled test, between two subjects with that single variable of difference.

If someone knows of one, please link it here. Otherwise, again, this convo is just a "well, I believe what I believe" sorta thing....
Those are valid points. I, personally, have no reason to suspect Kim is lying. He seems to be satisfied with his research, and he welcomes people to try multiple necks (both in person or by mail) to decide for themselves. If Kim felt the need to post the data, then he probably would. I agree, though, that posting the data would give more credence one way or the other to whole materials debate.

In regards to hearing some samples, he does have videos testing necks of different materials on the same horn. However, there are always going to be issues with sounds clips. The human ear is not great for objectively measuring subtle changes, the speakers/equipment you use to listen will alter the sound, and you won't be able to feel subtle differences in how it plays.
 

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[Kim] used high-end equipment to objectively measure the frequencies produced by different materials. Any guesses as to what he concluded???
I, personally, have no reason to suspect Kim is lying. He seems to be satisfied with his research.
Note that he needn't be lying, per se. The first quote above is really pretty content-free. Using "high-end equipment to measure frequencies ..." could just mean using a really nice microphone and audio interface to record samples played on necks of various materials. The recordings themselves would be pretty objective.

However, if all he presents are his subjective impressions of the sound qualities of each neck, then he's just doing what any other listener could do. Except that he's rather obviously more motivated than most folks would be to hear different qualities (real or imagined), since his livelihood depends on it. I have no idea what his "research" is. From a scientific point of view, "research" is useless if you don't disclose your methods and data. In this case it appears he's simply using it as a buzzword.

Again, I'm not claiming that he's lying. A couple of years ago when I went shopping for a soprano saxophone and tried out many different horns, I formed opinions of them based on my experiences. I could in good faith call this experience "research", but it's not at all objective and I wouldn't try to pass it off that way.

However, there are always going to be issues with sounds clips. The human ear is not great for objectively measuring subtle changes, the speakers/equipment you use to listen will alter the sound, and you won't be able to feel subtle differences in how it plays.
Differences that cannot be detected by the human ear are pretty useless for making music.
 

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There is abundant scientific evidence both in acoustic theory and physical tests that the interior "geometry" of a mouthpiece, neck, or saxophone has a direct effect upon the sound waves in the column of air inside. The smoothness of the interior surface also has a demonstrable effect upon the amount of sound energy that is dissipated. However, scientific research has found that the vibrations of the wall material do not "couple with" or affect the soundwaves in the column of air inside a woodwind instrument, nor are they audible over the sound of the instrument being played.

That begs the question: by what mechanism can the metal a neck is made from have an effect upon the harmonics of the sound waves inside the tube if not through the differences in vibrations of the material? When those who insist that the material "colors" the sound go a step further and tell how the material does that in terms of physics is when I will sit up and pay attention to what they have to say.
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
Note that he needn't be lying, per se. The first quote above is really pretty content-free. Using "high-end equipment to measure frequencies ..." could just mean using a really nice microphone and audio interface to record samples played on necks of various materials. The recordings themselves would be pretty objective.

However, if all he presents are his subjective impressions of the sound qualities of each neck, then he's just doing what any other listener could do. Except that he's rather obviously more motivated than most folks would be to hear different qualities (real or imagined), since his livelihood depends on it. I have no idea what his "research" is. From a scientific point of view, "research" is useless if you don't disclose your methods and data. In this case it appears he's simply using it as a buzzword.

Again, I'm not claiming that he's lying. A couple of years ago when I went shopping for a soprano saxophone and tried out many different horns, I formed opinions of them based on my experiences. I could in good faith call this experience "research", but it's not at all objective and I wouldn't try to pass it off that way.

Differences that cannot be detected by the human ear are pretty useless for making music.
Here are Kim's written words:

In a sample test of, for instance, 5 brass necks and 5 bronze necks, we noticed distinct differences in both sound and response from the two metals. It requires a certain amount of sensitivity to notice the differences as they are sometimes subtle. However, test recordings with quality equipment using frequency analyzer and high end microphones detect and confirm the differences even between the different brass alloys.

Basically, he objectively measured the differences to confirm what he had observed.

In regards to differences not detected by the human ear, I disagree that they are useless for making music. The way an instrument feels and responds is extremely important.
 

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Of course if "science" and "scientific research" and "scientific data" all say it is so, then it must be true. Like when science and its research and data concluded that the world is flat. I guess it must have been true back then because they said it was so.


Turtle
 

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Here are Kim's written words:

However, test recordings with quality equipment using frequency analyzer and high end microphones detect and confirm the differences even between the different brass alloys.

Basically, he objectively measured the differences to confirm what he had observed.
He's still just saying that he confirmed some differences using test recordings. He doesn't even say what those differences were.

He could have given some relatively vague statement like "brass alloy type 1 resulted in reliably larger peaks in the 10khz band compared to brass alloy type 2" and then indicated how that was related to one of his subjective ratings, but he didn't. There's absolutely nothing objective being reported here.
 

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Of course if "science" and "scientific research" and "scientific data" all say it is so, then it must be true. Like when science and its research and data concluded that the world is flat.
Yes, sure, exactly like that.

Would you happen to have a citation for that scientific finding, by the way?
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
There is abundant scientific evidence both in acoustic theory and physical tests that the interior "geometry" of a mouthpiece, neck, or saxophone has a direct effect upon the sound waves in the column of air inside. The smoothness of the interior surface also has a demonstrable effect upon the amount of sound energy that is dissipated. However, scientific research has found that the vibrations of the wall material do not "couple with" or affect the soundwaves in the column of air inside a woodwind instrument, nor are they audible over the sound of the instrument being played.

That begs the question: by what mechanism can the metal a neck is made from have an effect upon the harmonics of the sound waves inside the tube if not through the differences in vibrations of the material? When those who insist that the material "colors" the sound go a step further and tell how the material does that in terms of physics is when I will sit up and pay attention to what they have to say.
Just curious - if the wall material is vibrating, wouldn't the interior geometry be continuously fluctuating in shape and air volume?
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
He's still just saying that he confirmed some differences using test recordings. He doesn't even say what those differences were.

He could have given some relatively vague statement like "brass alloy type 1 resulted in reliably larger peaks in the 10khz band compared to brass alloy type 2" and then indicated how that was related to one of his subjective ratings, but he didn't. There's absolutely nothing objective being reported here.
True, he could have, but I don't think the goal of his short blog post was to write a research paper. I would be curious to see the actual data, though.
 
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