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Thread: Tone rite

  1. #1

    Default Tone rite

    Has anyone tried a ToneRite? And if so, what results have you gotten?

  2. #2
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tone rite

    While you're waiting for an answer you might take a cruise through these threads.
    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
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    Registered User sblock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tone rite

    <removed by site owner. has nothing to do with discussion at hand. strongly suggest you pull back, lest you entertain the ire of the site owner who is not amused with your last two postings, one of which ended a lengthy discussion. take it elsewhere or figure out how to fit in. no further warning.>
    Last edited by Mandolin Cafe; May-23-2017 at 3:39pm. Reason: violates forum posting guidelines. not in the spirit of this community.

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    Default Re: Tone rite

    Nick,
    I used one on my Yellowstone. Did it make a difference, maybe just a little. I had more luck just playing the snot out of mine.

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    Default Re: Tone rite

    I don't know whether it's the power of suggestion or not but I believe it has really helped mine. Occasionally, I'll even pull a mandolin out of the herd that I haven't used lately and let the Tone Rite run for a couple of days just to keep it in shape.

    I know a producer that's worked for some great names (Emmylou, Loveless, Presley, etc.) who puts his new instruments in front of some loud (volume-wise) speakers for a couple of weeks. It apparently does the same thing.
    David Hopkins

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    Default Re: Tone rite

    There are definitely those who believe vibration makes changes the sound of an instrument over time. Among those who have gone on record as having heard such changes over the life of an instrument, and even more dramatically in the period when an instrument is being played for the first time, are Roger Siminoff, Ervin Somogyi, Bob Taylor, Big Joe Vest, Bruce Weber and Bill Collings.

    There are also those who say that those people, as respected as they are in the instrument-building community, are either deliberately lying, or can be relied upon in everything except this one area in which they are deceiving themselves. It's interesting to claim that the only place these folks, as well as others, are wrong is the one place where one disagrees with every one of them. That might lead some to suspect the disagreement has more to do with the claimant's personal views on the phenomenon than on the group all going independently astray in exactly the same observations.

    Me? On the matter of instruments opening up, I have no reason to doubt the ears of those folks, or to think they all just happened to get it wrong in the one place with which someone has a philosophical disagreement.

    ----

    As to whether the vibration induced in the top has to come from the strings, instead of from any source which induces vibrations in the top, I have no reason to think the bridge movement caused by the strings, and then transmitted to the top, is different in a substantial way from vibrations in the bridge caused by a device like the Tonerite, or from a speaker against which the instrument is placed.
    ----

    Playing a funky oval-hole scroll-body mandolin, several mandolins retuned to CGDA, three CGDA-tuned Flatiron mandolas, two Flatiron mandolas tuned as octave mandolins,and a six-course 25.5" scale CGDAEB-tuned Ovation Mandophone.

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    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tone rite

    I just got done with a week of break in with the Tonerite on my new Ratliff custom R5...it totally does as advertised, I had time to play about four hours and the vibrations ran for 160 hrs, on both low and high power. I heard and observed the mando expand, with the headroom for power sound greatly developed. Considering it is the equivalent of over 50-3hr gigs of vibrations, some may poopoo the device, but logical deduction leads to a non deleterious effect. For such a little cost, why not? Not sure if it can do anything to an already broke in rig, but of a green instrument, for sure it has an effect, revealing the potential sooner.
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    Default Re: Tone rite

    I didn`t use a Tone rite but I did wrap my mandolin in a heat pad that has a vibrating mechanism and without the heat turned on I let it vibrate on high for five days and being open minded when I then tried it I did not see one bit of change in the tone of the mandolin, of course my Ratliff has been pretty well "played in", it was new in 2008, so maybe as stated above on a new (green) mandolin they might really work, don`t see where they will do any harm...My neighbors would not like it if I turned up my speakers real loud and let them blast for five days while I was out of town, probably shake all of the doors and windows loose, pictures falling off of the walls etc...

    Willie

  12. #9

    Default Re: Tone rite

    I too am deeply skeptical, but too many people I respect swear by the benefits of such devices and/or of 'playing in' an instrument, for me to dismiss them as wrong.

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    Registered User sblock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tone rite

    Quote Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
    There are definitely those who believe vibration makes changes the sound of an instrument over time. Among those who have gone on record as having heard such changes over the life of an instrument, and even more dramatically in the period when an instrument is being played for the first time, are Roger Siminoff, Ervin Somogyi, Bob Taylor, Big Joe Vest, Bruce Weber and Bill Collings.

    There are also those who say that those people, as respected as they are in the instrument-building community, are either deliberately lying, or can be relied upon in everything except this one area in which they are deceiving themselves. It's interesting to claim that the only place these folks, as well as others, are wrong is the one place where one disagrees with every one of them. That might lead some to suspect the disagreement has more to do with the claimant's personal views on the phenomenon than on the group all going independently astray in exactly the same observations.

    Me? On the matter of instruments opening up, I have no reason to doubt the ears of those folks, or to think they all just happened to get it wrong in the one place with which someone has a philosophical disagreement.

    ----

    As to whether the vibration induced in the top has to come from the strings, instead of from any source which induces vibrations in the top, I have no reason to think the bridge movement caused by the strings, and then transmitted to the top, is different in a substantial way from vibrations in the bridge caused by a device like the Tonerite, or from a speaker against which the instrument is placed.
    Unfortunately, this post is filled with so much innuendo and misrepresentation that it should not be left unchallenged. No one on the MC, to my knowledge, has ever accused Roger Siminoff, Ervin Somogyi, Bob Taylor, Big Joe Vest, Bruce Weber and Bill Collings of "deliberately lying" with respect to this phenomenon. And no one has even claimed that they are all specifically wrong about it alone, but somehow correct about everything else. That would be a pretty silly thing for anyone to say, in fact. As for the part about "deceiving themselves", this is a common phenomenon in human sensation. There are many optical (and auditory) illusions that are well known to us all, and these are all examples of our perceptions being "deceived." It's hard-to-impossible suppress them, in fact. Being misled by our eyes, ears and memory happens all the time, but this does not diminish us somehow as human beings. Therefore, characterizing this a "deceiving ourselves" comes across as rather harsh, even if might be true. Fooled might be a more apt term.

    That said, it might be worth pointing out that at least some of these individuals -- Roger Siminoff, for example -- are (or were; Roger is retired now) actually in the business of offering a professional "de-damping" service for a fee, so they stood to gain something monetarily. Caveat emptor. That doesn't mean they're wrong or lying, only that they may have a conflict of interest that you should consider.

    If you want to read more about the effects of Tone Rites on acoustic guitars (from Martin and Collings), where they have actually been tested, you might start with a controlled, peer-reviewed scientific study published in the respected acoustic journal, The Savart Journal, by Stanford professor Bruce Clemens and his colleagues, back in 2014. They debunk the idea that it improves the tone. It is found here:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Clemens et al study of ToneRite Savart Journal 2014.pdf  
    Last edited by sblock; May-24-2017 at 12:09pm.

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    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tone rite

    Quote Originally Posted by sblock View Post
    ...Therefore, characterizing this a "deceiving ourselves" comes across as rather harsh, even if might be true. Fooled might be a more apt term.
    ... adapted might be another, even more neutral term. Perception effects must have been useful for something, originally, or else they wouldn't exist. They were probably intended for some purpose of survival, not analysis.
    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

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    Default Re: Tone rite

    Quote Originally Posted by sblock View Post
    Unfortunately, this post is filled with so much innuendo and misrepresentation that it should not be left unchallenged. No one on the MC, to my knowledge, has ever accused Roger Siminoff, Ervin Somogyi, Bob Taylor, Big Joe Vest, Bruce Weber and Bill Collings of "deliberately lying" with respect to this phenomenon. And no one has even claimed that they are all specifically wrong about it alone, but somehow correct about everything else. That would be a pretty silly thing for anyone to say, in fact. As for the part about "deceiving themselves", this is a common phenomenon in human sensation. There are many optical (and auditory) illusions that are well known to us all, and these are all examples of our perceptions being "deceived." It's hard-to-impossible suppress them, in fact. Being misled by our eyes, ears and memory happens all the time, but this does not diminish us somehow as human beings. Therefore, characterizing this a "deceiving ourselves" comes across as rather harsh, even if might be true. Fooled might be a more apt term.

    That said, it might be worth pointing out that at least some of these individuals -- Roger Siminoff, for example -- are (or were; Roger is retired now) actually in the business of offering a professional "de-damping" service for a fee, so they stood to gain something monetarily. Caveat emptor. That doesn't mean they're wrong or lying, only that they may have a conflict of interest that you should consider.

    If you want to read more about the effects of Tone Rites on acoustic guitars (from Martin and Collings), where they have actually been tested, you might start with a controlled, peer-reviewed scientific study published in the respected acoustic journal, The Savart Journal, by Stanford professor Bruce Clemens and his colleagues, back in 2014. They debunk the idea that it improves the tone. It is found here:
    As far as I know, none of the other individuals I listed are selling a ”dedamping" service, including Big Joe. My point was, these individuals certainly seem to have been able to make great instruments... except for the one place their ears place them in conflict with someone's worldview.

    It was interesting to look at the charts in that study and to see how the range around 200hz showed an increase responsiveness. i guess that means it stayed the same across the six instruments' befores and afters.
    ----

    Playing a funky oval-hole scroll-body mandolin, several mandolins retuned to CGDA, three CGDA-tuned Flatiron mandolas, two Flatiron mandolas tuned as octave mandolins,and a six-course 25.5" scale CGDAEB-tuned Ovation Mandophone.

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    Default Re: Tone rite

    Quote Originally Posted by sblock View Post

    If you want to read more about the effects of Tone Rites on acoustic guitars (from Martin and Collings), where they have actually been tested, you might start with a controlled, peer-reviewed scientific study published in the respected acoustic journal, The Savart Journal, by Stanford professor Bruce Clemens and his colleagues, back in 2014. They debunk the idea that it improves the tone. :
    And I can show you studies that say coffee is good for you and some that say it's bad. There are studies that say milk isn't good for you, and on and on.

    It depends on who did the study and who paid for it.
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    formerly Philphool Phil Goodson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tone rite

    Quote Originally Posted by DHopkins View Post
    And I can show you studies that say coffee is good for you and some that say it's bad. There are studies that say milk isn't good for you, and on and on.

    It depends on who did the study and who paid for it.
    Do you suspect undisclosed funding for the above study that might have influenced the results?
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    Default Re: Tone rite

    Hi I used one on a new Crump Bouzouki for one full week and it definitely made a difference, really opened the instrument up. Also tried it on my Duff A5 Mandolin but I didnt notice any real difference on that to be honest. Mind you, the Duff ( which is less than one year old) , sounded great to begin with so there probably wasnt much room for improvement.

    I used a Mandolin Model tonerite on the zouk but had to loosen the A and D strings so the device would fit.

    I think Tonerite had been debated a lot on a number of forums. Some love it some think its a waste of time. I think that it definitely works but its results may vary from instrument to instrument as described above. Hope that helps.

    John
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    Default Re: Tone rite

    Quote Originally Posted by Philphool View Post
    Do you suspect undisclosed funding for the above study that might have influenced the results?
    I for one am always suspect of results vs funding sources.. a perfect example would be a climate change theory debunk funded by exxon/mobil.
    But in this case i cant see where this is applicable as the results were negative and the only entity to gain any clout from this study would be tonrite. And it failed to produce decernable results.
    I for one have heard or thought i heard inst. Open up..if you will after say 20 min of playing. If it sat in the case unused for awhile it would take another
    20 min to open up again. This time to open up would decrease as the inst aged. My only hypotheses here woul be curing ...which only time
    can dictate..or maybe a kiln..but i would have to conclude that the TR simply
    Brings the inst to that "opened up"place.and that if
    Returned to the case it closes back up again.until it is fully cured ..
    .

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    Default Re: Tone rite

    Quote Originally Posted by Philphool View Post
    Do you suspect undisclosed funding for the above study that might have influenced the results?
    Absolutely not!!! I simply know that it happens. I do not know whether that's the case here. But, because it does happen, I tend to take these kinds of studies (medical, musical, whatever) with a grain of salt until I know otherwise.
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    Default Re: Tone rite

    I only used th TR on a brand new mando, which had room to change. I can't imagine a mechanism of change after dedamping occurred. It doesn't simulate the seasonal changes that happen with time(curing/aging, baseline moisture change) Not sure how it can be categorized as a waste of time as it was working while I was doing something else. It used very little power, so at worst it was a slight waste of electricity, but so much of our modern life is wasteful...
    The only way I see to experiment is, get a brand new instrument, a nice one, put it on a stand, put it on a tonerite for a week, enjoy your awesome new mando...if you got a good mando I'm sure you'll be happy with the results! If you got a dog, try again! Science!
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    Default Re: Tone rite

    The funding for the Clemens et al. study, published in the Savart Journal, was provided by Clemens himself. He purchased the new guitars from Martin and Coillings that were used out of his own pocket, as well as the ToneRite. The spectrum analyzer and computer were laboratory equipment that was already owned. As someone already pointed out, it's pretty hard to fake data like these. And the work was subjected to peer review by acoustic experts.

    It's certainly true that pharmaceutical companies have funded some highly suspect studies about the efficacy of their drugs in the past, and that tobacco companies have funded bogus studies to show the supposed harmlessness of their cigarettes. But these are cases where the sponsoring business stands to make a large profit, and which lead to a clear conflict of interest. There is no such conflict here, because Clemens stands to gain no profit whatsoever. He's a research scientist and he doesn't sell anything. In fact, he's out thousands of dollars!

    If you don't believe the findings, I think you should probably look elsewhere for more likely reasons not to accept them. Questioning the funding sources doesn't make a whole lot of sense in this instance.

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    Default Re: Tone rite

    That Clemens study was interesting, and well presented.

    Having only studied it briefly to get the gist of it, I do see that some measurable changes occurred with the treatment. One can attempt to write this off as statistically insignificant if one chooses, but the measurements do show that *something* happened. I'm looking specifically at page 6 of the report, showing the charts for each instrument. As one might expect, not all instrument brands will react the same way. But the Collings results seemed to show a dramatic spike at the 200Hz range after treatment. Responsiveness nearly doubled.

    Granted, the control sample (Collings A) also showed an increase at that frequency in the 2nd measurement, despite not having been subjected to the ToneRite treatment. But it had a higher peak to start with, and ended at a lower peak than the test sample (Collings B), which was lower to begin with.

    *edited to add*
    I want to be specific here. Doing my best to read the charts and interpolate the measurements in the 200Hz spikes, Collings A (the control sample) started at about 170 and ended at about 230, so it increased by 60. That's about a 35% increase, which we could call the baseline for variations in the measurement technique, since we know the instrument did not change. Collings B (the test sample) started at around 145 and ended at around 255, increasing by 110. That's a 76% increase over its first measurement, and nearly double the numerical increase of the control sample.
    *end edit*

    Collings B also appeared to have some improvement in the ranges of approximately 760Hz and 975Hz, which the control sample did not.

    If nothing else, I would think that a conclusion would have been made that these differences were worth further study on a wider sample of Collings guitars, to see if it is repeatable. A real scientist cannot make a conclusion based on a study that only involves one pair.

    The Clemens study was a good start, but in my opinion it doesn't settle the issue definitively. In fact, it does suggest that changes happened during the treatment. A 76% increase in responsiveness in a certain range is anything but "negligible" as he claims.
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    Default Re: Tone rite

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobin View Post
    That Clemens study was interesting, and well presented.

    Having only studied it briefly to get the gist of it, I do see that some measurable changes occurred with the treatment. One can attempt to write this off as statistically insignificant if one chooses, but the measurements do show that *something* happened. I'm looking specifically at page 6 of the report, showing the charts for each instrument. As one might expect, not all instrument brands will react the same way. But the Collings results seemed to show a dramatic spike at the 200Hz range after treatment. Responsiveness nearly doubled.

    Granted, the control sample (Collings A) also showed an increase at that frequency in the 2nd measurement, despite not having been subjected to the ToneRite treatment. But it had a higher peak to start with, and ended at a lower peak than the test sample (Collings B), which was lower to begin with.

    *edited to add*
    I want to be specific here. Doing my best to read the charts and interpolate the measurements in the 200Hz spikes, Collings A (the control sample) started at about 170 and ended at about 230, so it increased by 60. That's about a 35% increase, which we could call the baseline for variations in the measurement technique, since we know the instrument did not change. Collings B (the test sample) started at around 145 and ended at around 255, increasing by 110. That's a 76% increase over its first measurement, and nearly double the numerical increase of the control sample.
    *end edit*

    Collings B also appeared to have some improvement in the ranges of approximately 760Hz and 975Hz, which the control sample did not.

    If nothing else, I would think that a conclusion would have been made that these differences were worth further study on a wider sample of Collings guitars, to see if it is repeatable. A real scientist cannot make a conclusion based on a study that only involves one pair.

    The Clemens study was a good start, but in my opinion it doesn't settle the issue definitively. In fact, it does suggest that changes happened during the treatment. A 76% increase in responsiveness in a certain range is anything but "negligible" as he claims.
    Unfortunately, you are interpreting the response spectra in Fig. 4 incorrectly. I will try to explain.
    (Moreover, you seem to be cherry-picking the data, which is decidedly unscientific.)

    First, the acoustic power is given by the integral under these curves (not by the peak heights), and those values changed negligibly before/after treatment. So no instrument got any louder with the treatment. Second, the frequency positions of the peaks did not change. So the harmonic structure of the sound did not change before/after, and no instrument sounded with a different timbre ("voice") after treatment. Third, the widths of the peaks in question did not change, and these set the basic strength of that acoustic frequency component, because the peaks are so sharp at the top. The height of a given peak is not a particularly sensitive measure, simply because they are so sharp. Small differences in the digitization register (sampling intervals of the plot) can easily cause these to change by ~10-20%. So this is not good evidence that anything changed at all! Furthermore, you have clearly cherry-picked these data, because no such changes were observed in either the Taylor or Martin guitars! Finally, you seem to have ignored all the remainder of the data in the paper, which included player-assigned scores for a wide variety of sonic characteristics (Fig. 2), the average scores (Fig. 3), and the numerical correlations of the before/after spectra (Table 1). These all point to NO DIFFERENCE produced by the ToneRite treatment.

    Finally, your math does not point to a "76% increase in responsiveness." This is simply wrong, and also highly misleading. There was NO measurable increase in the responsiveness overall, measured both objectively (spectra) or subjectively (player evaluations) and only a small -- but negligible -- change in the responsiveness peak (not area) at 200 Hz (only) for 1/3 of the matched guitar pairs tested, but not for the other 2/3rds. Finally, this study was performed by "a real scientist" (why did you impugn the author that way?), and it was not based on just "one pair" of guitars -- it was based on three pairs, drawn from three different manufacturers. Granted, this is a small sample size (how would you like to finance the purchase of more than 6 brand new guitars, I ask?!), but the experimental evidence presented in the paper clearly shows that this sample size has sufficient statistical power to support the paper's conclusions. It is way more authoritative, in my opinion, than your purely anecdotal evidence.

    You are perfectly entitled to believe anything you wish, of course. And you are perfectly free to reject the conclusions published in this paper. Or to suspend judgment pending the development of additional data. But please, be cautious when offering scientific critiques. You might be a just little out of your depth with that, especially if you don't have much of a background with acoustic spectra.
    Last edited by sblock; May-25-2017 at 11:25am.

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    formerly Philphool Phil Goodson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tone rite

    @ Varmonter & DHopkins: I totally agree that one must always be skeptical of studies that are funded by those who can benefit based on the results. I'm well versed on pharmaceuticals and others with deep pockets. I also did not see any reason to suspect a problem with the above study.

    @sblock: Thanks for the help with interpretation of the charts. Always hard for me.

    Frankly, I'm always more suspicious of my own perceptions. Many are the times when I pick up an instrument and play and think that it just doesn't sound like it did yesterday, .... or like it did 30 minutes ago.

    Is it my ear, or my technique, or my brain's interpretation, or my expectations, or something else?????
    And totally forget about trying to remember what the instrument sounded like in the store when I bought it and how much has it changed.

    I always think I know the answer. But I also know that I DON'T really know the answer.
    ..... so I try hard to believe the best data that I have till better data arrives.
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    Default Re: Tone rite

    Quote Originally Posted by sblock View Post
    Unfortunately, you are interpreting the response spectra in Fig. 4 entirely incorrectly. (Moreover, you seem to be cherry-picking the data, which is decidedly unscientific.) First, the acoustic power is given by the integral under these curves (not by the peak heights), and those values changed negligibly before/after treatment. So no instrument got any louder with the treatment.
    OK, I'm a licensed structural engineer, not an acoustic engineer. Please explain to me what that means. Please define "acoustic power" with this integral you refer to. I'm not seeing that explanation in the study.

    More importantly, though, his presentation of these charts is supposed to show "something". What is it showing? The Y-axis is labeled "Instrument Response", with no units. What exactly is it depicting, if not volume at particular frequencies? What are the units on the Y-axis?

    Second, the frequency positions of the peaks did not change. So the harmonic structure of the sound did not change before/after, and no instrument sounded with a different timbre ("voice") after treatment.
    I can't make sense of that statement. Is that how "voice" is defined? I guess it goes back to the first question of what exactly these charts are supposed to be measuring.

    Third, the widths of the peaks in question did not change, and these set the basic strength of that acoustic frequency component, because the peaks are so sharp at the top. The height of a given peak is not a particularly sensitive measure, simply because they are so sharp. Small differences in the digitization register (sampling intervals of the plot) can easily cause these to change by ~10-20%. So this is not good evidence that anything changed at all!
    Again, depending on exactly what they are measuring and depicting in the charts (volume?), I don't think it can be said that the peaks should be disregarded. Per their description, this was from the microphone data, and they claimed a 1% to 2% certainty. And in any other type of chart that graphs X versus Y, a high Y reading is very much significant.

    Furthermore, you have clearly cherry-picked these data, because no such changes were observed in either the Taylor or Martin guitars!
    Now wait a minute. The data must be separated between instrument brands. You're claiming that "cherry-picking" one brand is wrong, but I would think that it must be evaluated that way. If, as many people claim, some instruments will respond better to de-damping than others, you can't just take all the results from all the brands and lump them together. It would be ignoring any significant results from the brands that do respond to the treatment.

    Finally, you seem to have ignored all the remainder of the data in the paper, which included player-assigned scores for a wide variety of sonic characteristics (Fig. 2), the average scores (Fig. 3), and the numerical correlations of the before/after spectra (Table 1). These all point to NO DIFFERENCE produced by the ToneRite treatment.
    Player-assigned scores are not scientific. Sorry! The human ear is not a measuring device, and human opinion on what a person hears is notoriously unreliable. At best, such results would have value in a psychological study, but they are pretty worthless in a scientific study of acoustic response. It's just "anecdotal data" like people posting here on the Cafe that they did hear a difference.

    I'm not saying I doubt their results of the human tests. Just that it isn't what I consider reliable, precise measurements.

    Finally, your math does not point to a "76% increase in responsiveness." This is simply wrong, and also highly misleading. There was NO measurable increase in the responsiveness overall, measured both objectively (spectra) or subjectively (player evaluations) and only a small -- but negligible -- change in the responsiveness peak at 200 Hz (only) for 1/3 of the guitars tested, but not for the other 2/3rds.
    Interesting that you see it that way. I'm simply pointing out what's in the charts. If they represent something other than what they say they represent (i.e. responsiveness), charted out on X-Y axes, then they have done a poor job of presenting the data.

    Look, I'm not trying to say that the paper is without merit. But there seem to be a lot of unanswered questions here, and vague explanations of what they're trying to show us. If I'm reading it all wrong, fine. But since you posted this study and are defending it as the be-all end-all, you are going to have to help explain it. Please, help me understand what exactly those charts are depicting.
    Keep that skillet good and greasy all the time!

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  33. #24
    Middle-Aged Old-Timer Tobin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tone rite

    *edit: double post
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  34. #25
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    Default Re: Tone rite

    Alas, this is not the place for a tutorial on audio power spectral analysis. And every time I respond to one of your points, you seem to spawn five more, and my patience (and time) for this seemingly endless disputation are limited! You can begin to learn on your own about things like power spectral density by starting with Wikipedia, here. Typically, power spectral graphs, like the ones in the paper, are computed using fast Fourier transforms. Their proper interpretation is a whole subject in-and-of-itself. Merely looking at the apparent height of a sharp spectral peak (as you have) is not the right way to do it, I'm afraid.

    Let me make one tutorial point, though, since you asked about definitions. The timbre we hear (the "voice" of an instrument) in any given musical note is associated with the numbers and relative intensities of the many OVERTONES produced above the fundamental. A trumpet playing a G note sounds very different from a piano playing that same G note because of the overtone structure -- and nothing more. And that structure, in turn, is determined entirely by the instrument's acoustic spectral response.

    Let me get a bit more technical. Tapping a stringed instrument's bridge once smartly with a small hammer is a good (and broadly accepted!) experimental way of approximating a "Dirac delta function," (that is, an infinitely short, but infinitely high, pulse with unit area underneath) whose power spectral density (which is the square of the complex Fourier transform) is white noise, that is, it contains equal amounts at once of all possible frequencies. When the instrument responds to all these equal input frequencies, it outputs a very complicated spectrum that displays peaks located at the frequencies where sounds propagate best through the instrument. In a phrase, it is responding to all possible frequencies at once! And that is the scientific measure of its "voice."

    It is curious to me that you are very quick to reject the subjective (human) analysis supplied in this paper, where players evaluated various characteristics before/after, and which was fully corroborated by the purely objective spectral data, but you seem pretty well satisfied by your own anecdotal evidence, and that of some other people. That strikes me as a double standard. Furthermore, it is not correct to dismiss player-assigned scores as somehow being unscientific. There are thousands upon thousands of of psychological and psychophysical studies that have been carried out over the years by research scientists using scores generated by humans, arising from human perceptions. What matters, from a scientific perspective, is the way in which the data are analyzed, the controls that were carried out, and the statistical power of any conclusions made. Not whether it was some human percept being scored! Yes, you can reach meaningful, scientific conclusions from subjective data. The problem with anecdotal evidence is NOT that it comes from humans. You misunderstand this point. The real problem with anecdotal evidence is that there were no proper experimental controls conducted (leading to uncontrolled observer bias!) and/or that the statistical power is low due to small numbers of observations.
    Last edited by sblock; May-25-2017 at 1:34pm.

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