Audacity Trumpet Spectra

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Sethoflagos, Apr 18, 2015.

  1. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    This might have been a groundbreaking study in 1970, but suffice it to say, we've probably come a bit further than that in the last 45 years. 45 years can mean a lot when it comes to technology and our ability to make use of it for scientific analysis, never mind the wealth of knowledge garnered and built upon in that timeframe.

    These days we wouldn't just generically say "microphone" - as I mentioned above, the type and model of microphone used matters, as does the preamp, and how much gain was on the signal from the preamp. I'd also venture to guess that "about 5 cm away" and "about one bell radius away" probably wouldn't suffice for any analysis done today - the exact placement of the microphone - the distance and whether the microphone was on or off axis would definitely be considered. With certain mics, being slightly off axis significantly colors the sound, so there would have to be some consistency to that.

    I think that the one thing that would tickle my fancy with this would be whether or not we could scientifically prove whether or not certain brands of horns with claims to having more core of a sound, or claims to having more overtones present in the sound, are actually true. However, at the end of the day, it still boils down to the who it is behind the horn in the first place, as well as the context when it comes to the musical aspect.
     
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Actually Patrick, there is something to the claims - but not necessarily the way that the marketing people want. The Bach core is VERY real and quantifiable. I can show it. but just need some time to get the screen shots done. My playing schedule is heavy right now, so time is an issue. There have even been some successful "copies" by Kanstul, B&S and Taylor among others. Monette and Yamaha with their Xeno have essentially defined alternate approaches for sound - Yamaha obviously being more successful as far as numbers go. The Schilke heavy is closer to the Bach than the Yamaha.

    Now, give me a break with the Committees, Harrelsons and a ton of other brands. They have their own spectrum but are very much "alternative" and not as identifiable in a blind test.

    I have no hopes of any of this helping to buy horns by the numbers, rather see it as helpful in sorting certain parameters for the technically interested. Richard Smith of Smith-Watkins fame actually uses measurements in his QC process.
     
  3. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

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    Meanwhile....

    For the individual who isn't so ambitious as to try to determine absolute, universal parameters and characteristics for particular instruments, but simply wants to compare his own performance on different equipment set ups, absolute accuracy (if such a thing truly exists here) is not necessary.

    The basic requirements are:

    1) Individual test results should be repeatable.
    2) The measuring apparatus should be sufficiently sensitive to show significant differences between different tests.

    Earlier postings demonstrate that even an inbuilt laptop microphone is more than sufficient to provide this. The real challenge, as always, is being able to interpret the results and assess their significance. This is particularly true if you're not completely clear on what question you are attempting to answer.
     
  4. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    Benade chose his microphone placement for a reason.

    "Our ears appear to do best in gaining an impression of musical tone color when they operate on signals picked up from all directions in a reverberant room, with the signals integrated over a time whose duration is about that of the precedence effect--30 or 40 milliseconds. Because of this, we should provide ourselves with composite sound spectra calculated by combining the analyzed data from each one of many microphones placed in a reverberant room, with people moving around within the room to 'stir up' the various room modes.

    The radiation behavior of flaring horns is such that a microphone placed just in front of a bell (about one bell radius away) receives a sound signal that is in reasonably good agreement with what one expects from the complicated room-averaging procedures described in the preceding paragraph. It is for this reason that the microphone was mounted by means of a spider just beyond the end of the bell in the experiments with Schlueter."

    What if we were to adopt such a standardized mic placement in our TM Audacity tests?
     
  5. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

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    And it's probably worth noting that Benade's papers are routinely cited as 'authoritative' in many of the current research papers on brass acoustics. It would take a very brave person to condemn them as no longer relevant. I use the term 'brave' loosely.
     
  6. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Meanwhile....

    If that's the case, then what's the point of posting it on a trumpet forum if it's not going to amount to a hill of beans to anyone else?

    Benade's papers are probably considered authoritative because it probably hasn't been improved upon or undertaken since then. (Or, perhaps, it served the purpose for the time, and it was discovered that it's of little value to anyone who is working to make music.) I assure you, if the right crew wanted to really take this to task, they'd probably find that Benade was on the right track, but that there's a lot more that can be garnered from a better test with state of the art mics, preamps, digital analysis and methodology.

    It's not that I mind this sort of thing - I don't. I'm a major Schilke fan boy because in reading Renold's papers, I know he used the scientific method in his efforts to construct what he believed (and I tend to agree with) were (and still are) some of the best trumpets ever produced. With that said, Renold's process was a bit more involved and documented than what you presented us with here based on your experiments with Audacity.
     
  7. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

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    Many reasons. All of them positive and constructive. :-)
     
  8. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Keep telling yourself that.
     
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    I find the discussion fascinating as it DOES challenge anyone interested in stuff like this to think out of the box about a lot of applicable disciplines. I think that Trumpetmaster needs geek appeal and measuring horns is for sure about as geeky as you can get. Actually getting screen shots of actual output is refreshing compared to a lot of the copy/paste opinions for things never tried.

    As far as the room discussions go, it makes sense to know that there is a lot of good data on this. If we know how our ears work, we realize that there is a phenomena called "early reflections" (<10ms) that screw up our ability to localize and sort sound out. Above 20ms, the reflections can be interpreted as a separate event and don't play so much of a role. If we agree, we need to keep the microphone close enough to limit room effects (other than the effects controlling our ears). Type of microphone will also skew the results between different peoples testing, but so what. There still is commonality waiting for us to discover it!
     
  10. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

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    Availability tends to be the issue out here (can't find a Shure SM57 for love nor money).

    But I have been offered a Behringer instrument condenser mic and either a M-Audio fast track solo or Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB audio interface. Be grateful for anyone's experience with these from the point of view of just getting a decent digital recording (as opposed to the measurement angle).

    Addendum - could conceivably be Avid (ie not M-Audio) Fast Track Solo.
     

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