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Thread: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

  1. #51
    Gone Fishing Tiderider's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    Thank you very much for putting up this comparison, you've produced a fine tone from both contenders. To my ears the second has a more dry focused sound so I'm calling it the Gibson.

  2. #52

    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    Fine job on Scrooge!! Perfect for the season.

    They do sound very close. I don't have much experience with recent Gibsons, but I'd say the first one sounds most like my KM900.
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  3. #53
    texaspaul texaspaul's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    I guess we do hear differently, based on many factors many which are subjective. To me the first mandolin had a bit more bite in the treble and the second seemed fuller in the bass (woody) thus I would have guessed the 1st to be the Ky and the 2nd the Fern.

  4. #54

    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    I used to own a KM900, and I'm guessing the second is the KM1500. Very curious to hear the result, and thank you for the comparison.

  5. #55
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    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    Kentucky first ....Then the Gibson second is my vote. Great Post by the way
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  6. #56
    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    I'll post the answer a bit later... keep the guesses coming! They are both very, very good mandolins.....

    This was the very first time I'd used the Tascam DR-100 Mk.II with its internal mics, by the way, so this was a double test in that respect. Normally, I'd use a pair of Neumann KM-184's or Rode M3's for something like this. I was very impressed by how the supplied mics sounded. Amazing considering the whole recorder package is available now for well under $300.
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  7. #57
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    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    Really appreciate you doing the comparative samples almeriastrings. I went back and forth a couple times, esp to listen to the higher notes, and to my ears, the first mandolin has more 'meat' in the higher notes, and a bit more depth (or complexity) in the bass. As such I'm going with the first being the Gibson, and the second the Kentucky. Can't wait to find out what the result is.

  8. #58
    Registered User f5loar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    Wait a minute..... did one mandolin have the toneguard on the other no toneguard or did you take it off and put it on the other one?

  9. #59
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    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    I removed it for the recording. I was waiting for someone to notice that
    Gibson F5 'Harvey' Fern, Gibson F5 'Derrington' Fern
    Distressed Silverangel F 'Esmerelda' aka 'Maxx'
    Northfield Big Mon #127
    Ellis F5 Special #288
    '39 & '45 D-18's, 1950 D-28.

  10. #60

    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    Another consideration, referring to some theories being discussed on a concurrent thread...

    Did you put the first mandolin into service without giving it a chance to wake up? Rude treatment like that would surely put it at a disadvantage.

    Was the second mandolin allowed to listen to the first, and thereby subjected to ambient vibrations and molecular movement, ie heat? It probably should have been put in an isolation booth so as not to have unfairly raised its level of consciousness.

  11. #61
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    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    Will guess Kentucky 1st, Gibson 2nd, but I think I liked the tone of the first one a little bit better regardless. I was able to pick out the Silverangel in the other test you did without any hesitation (because I play one as well), but this is tough, and I won't be surprised if I'm totally wrong.

    Great picking, btw! Thanks for posting the comparison, am interested to hear the results...
    Chuck

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    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    Boy, How we all hear differently...Myself, I won`t say which I thought was which but for my taste I like the sound of the second one best, not by much and a little tweaking on the EQ if I was playing #1 on stage it could be made to sound exactly the same...I have made sound tests on all five of the mandolins that I own and they seem to be almost identical when playing back the tapes but I do know they all sound a little different when listened to straight out without going through a sound system....

    I am waiting to see which was which...Great picking by the way....

    Willie

  13. #63

    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    I just listened once, and I immediately thought:

    1st: Gibson
    2nd: Kentucky

    They both sound very nice. I imagine that the differences are more obvious to the player rather than the audience. Still, the first one to me had more depth than the second (which is also a fine-sounding mandolin).

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  15. #64
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    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    It is very interesting to see how the guesses panned out. Doing this from recordings is very challenging. The differences are indeed somewhat more obvious when you have them in your hands, but the recordings do fairly accurately convey the major 'trends' each mandolin displays in real life.

    No. 1 is the Gibson. This is a Harvey signed, post flood example, now one year old. This mandolin has a lot of volume. It also has a 'rich' and complex tone that both cuts through, and does not sacrifice clarity to get that complexity. It has a good low end without muddiness, and beautifully defined highs. It is a delight to play. You hit a few notes and find yourself grinning. It sounds like you want a mandolin to sound like. It is a wonderful mandolin.

    No. 2 is the Kentucky. This is a 2008 model. It is a particularly 'dry' example, tone-wise. It is not (quite) as loud in dB as the Gibson, but cuts very well. It is definitely well into in the 'Loar-tinged' camp in terms of voicing. It is really well made, with spectacular materials. Fit and finish are phenomenal when you consider the price... it is a very fine mandolin in its own right, and anyone could use this on stage or in the studio and get great results. It is most categorically a 'professional' grade instrument. I have played some individual luthier-built and well-known brands in the $4K+ bracket I liked a lot less than this Kentucky. I found this one on Ebay a couple of years back for $850...... best $850 I spent in a long while.

    I'll do a couple more tracks, with guitar backup, as that gives an idea of how they 'mesh' and 'cut' in a different context. It is always fun doing comparisons, they're very informative. Thanks for all the comments!
    Gibson F5 'Harvey' Fern, Gibson F5 'Derrington' Fern
    Distressed Silverangel F 'Esmerelda' aka 'Maxx'
    Northfield Big Mon #127
    Ellis F5 Special #288
    '39 & '45 D-18's, 1950 D-28.

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  17. #65
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    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    Thanks for doing that almeria. It was very interesting! I guessed (wrongly) based off my preferences and I really liked the Kentucky!
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    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    Quote Originally Posted by John Duncan View Post
    Thanks for doing that almeria. It was very interesting! I guessed (wrongly) based off my preferences and I really liked the Kentucky!
    As did I, but it shouldn't surprise me that I liked the Gibson's tone better...my ears seem to be leading me to instruments with more dollar signs of late...stupid ears...
    Chuck

  19. #67
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    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    Quote Originally Posted by almeriastrings View Post
    It is very interesting to see how the guesses panned out. Doing this from recordings is very challenging. The differences are indeed somewhat more obvious when you have them in your hands, but the recordings do fairly accurately convey the major 'trends' each mandolin displays in real life.

    No. 1 is the Gibson. This is a Harvey signed, post flood example, now one year old. This mandolin has a lot of volume. It also has a 'rich' and complex tone that both cuts through, and does not sacrifice clarity to get that complexity. It has a good low end without muddiness, and beautifully defined highs. It is a delight to play. You hit a few notes and find yourself grinning. It sounds like you want a mandolin to sound like. It is a wonderful mandolin.

    No. 2 is the Kentucky. This is a 2008 model. It is a particularly 'dry' example, tone-wise. It is not (quite) as loud in dB as the Gibson, but cuts very well. It is definitely well into in the 'Loar-tinged' camp in terms of voicing. It is really well made, with spectacular materials. Fit and finish are phenomenal when you consider the price... it is a very fine mandolin in its own right, and anyone could use this on stage or in the studio and get great results. It is most categorically a 'professional' grade instrument. I have played some individual luthier-built and well-known brands in the $4K+ bracket I liked a lot less than this Kentucky. I found this one on Ebay a couple of years back for $850...... best $850 I spent in a long while.

    I'll do a couple more tracks, with guitar backup, as that gives an idea of how they 'mesh' and 'cut' in a different context. It is always fun doing comparisons, they're very informative. Thanks for all the comments!

    I have liked this comparison and your "other" comparison (was it "The Loar" thing?) I thought that No.1 was the Gibson (yeah, sure...) but was ashamed to be wrong if I didnīt figure the recording and its variables right?

    I have yet a request that results from a simple critique. The tonal characteristics of an instrument are revealed by using as many of the possible diverse playing techniques.

    For once, I found both - the previous "The Loar" soundclouds and this here soundbyte - recordings too fast. The notes merged, bled into each other. May it be playing style or other factors (I noticed the same with pjlamaīs Stanley review), I think that the mandolin does not show itīs proper potential.

    I would therefore like a recording that shows singlestring fiddletune style picking (think "My Sweet Blueeyed Darling" in a late 80ies Monroe version), blues style licks (think "Bluegrass Stomp" or better the intro to tunes like "Sally Joe"), maybe throwing in a crosspicking lick or two... I do not think that itīs necessary to play faster than 80 beats per minute, think Foggy Mountain Special (or Foggy Mountain Rock).

    Whatever you do, Ebenezer Scrooge lends itself to that kind of playing also. And you can do it nicely.

    I would also be very interested to listen to your 39er as a rythm backup. All without reverb and other enhancements.

    And I think that Tascam makes a great product for bluegrass musicians. Iīve got an older one that I can only burn CD-s with (from around 2000; no USB or whatever). Got to figure out how to load tracks from the Tascam to the Computer...)

    Iīll be looking forward to your response towards my criticism and to your soundbytes.
    Olaf

  20. #68
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    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    Aww, I got here too late to guess. Mando #1 is obviously louder and and has more treble where Mando #2 seemed to lack this clarity and seemed slightly muddled. My first knee jerk guess was Kentucky/Gibson and then almost immediately flip flopped to Gibson/Kentucky. Reason being is it was loud, clear and clean which a lot of folks might classify as tinny or cheap and the second sounded a little "older", open and mellow. Personally, I hate the way mandolins sound when amplified or electrified in these situations. They sound so much more awesome in real life.

    Everyone expects the Gibson's to be more refined and have that "sound" but it's always so difficult to tell. How about you find a nice Breedlove FF and throw it in there for comparison? My sounds really nice but I hate running it through a PA or amplifier.
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  21. #69
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    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    Quote Originally Posted by grassrootphilosopher View Post

    I would therefore like a recording that shows singlestring fiddletune style picking (think "My Sweet Blueeyed Darling" in a late 80ies Monroe version), blues style licks (think "Bluegrass Stomp" or better the intro to tunes like "Sally Joe"), maybe throwing in a crosspicking lick or two... I do not think that itīs necessary to play faster than 80 beats per minute, think Foggy Mountain Special (or Foggy Mountain Rock)..
    I take your point that it does help to hear an instrument do different things... certainly in future I'll throw in a few slow bluesy licks and a bit of crosspicking. You're right. Blue Grass Stomp is a good one for putting a mando through its paces. Not sure about "My Sweet Blue Eyed Darling" being at less that 80 BPM, though, I have not measured it, but Monroe used to move along pretty quick on that one! Of course, you could add in chops and tremolo.. but there's only so much you can do in a short clip.

    There were no artificial FX or added reverb, by the way. I just recorded that in a very nice sounding room. It has a hard tile floor and hard walls, and lots of heavy wooden furniture. It always records instruments like mando, banjo and fiddle well. I used a broadband absorber behind me, and another to the side, not enough to kill the reflections, just enough to tame them a bit.

    Greg, unfortunately, I don't have a Breedlove mandolin! I do have a guitar (a prototype 'dread personally voiced by Kim which is great), but unless someone sends me an unexpected present later this month... nothing with 8 strings....
    Gibson F5 'Harvey' Fern, Gibson F5 'Derrington' Fern
    Distressed Silverangel F 'Esmerelda' aka 'Maxx'
    Northfield Big Mon #127
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    '39 & '45 D-18's, 1950 D-28.

  22. #70
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    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    Nš1 sounds so beautiful!!
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    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    Quote Originally Posted by George R. Lane View Post
    I believe the first one has to be the Gibson, it sounded great. The second one didn't seem to have the depth of the first one.
    Am I right?
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    I agree ! The second one sounded pretty thin compared to the Gibson !
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  24. #72
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    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    OP was difference between the Northfield and Kentucky but I would like to hear the sound differences between the Gibson and Northfield.
    My two favorite pastimes are drinking wine and playing the mandolin but most of my friends would rather hear me drink wine! Adapted from quote by Mark Twain------supposedly !

  25. #73
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    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    Both sound great, and also, somewhat different. As the responses hint, neither is "better" sounding than the other. These responses are all over the woodwork, and seem to verify that you can't judge a mandolin by looking at the cover.
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  26. #74
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    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    Awesome test -- very well conducted. Great playing too.

    I also got here too late -- but I read the string from the first post through to the last so I made my guess before saw the right answer.

    As it happens I guessed correctly: Gibson first then Kentucky. I made my choice in a manner much like what others have noted -- the first mandolin had slightly louder, albeit richer and more complex sound - 100 years of tradition and breeding shows through.

    If it were a taste test the first "wine" produced a more "rounded pallet", i.e. , a more satisfying sensation in the mouth.
    Last edited by Bernie Daniel; Nov-30-2012 at 3:11pm.
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  27. #75
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    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernie Daniel View Post
    Awesome test -- very well conducted. Great playing too.

    I also got here too late -- but I read the string from the first post through to the last so I made my guess before saw the right answer.

    As it happens I guessed correctly: Gibson first then Kentucky. I made my choice in a manner much like what others have noted -- the first mandolin had slightly louder, albeit richer and more complex sound - 100 years of tradition and breeding shows through.

    If it were a taste test the first "wine" produced a more "rounded pallet", i.e. , a more satisfying sensation in the mouth.
    +1. The Gibson sounded "fatter", in lack of a better word.

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