Edit: Experiment stopped. There were not enough responses. I failed to reject that there is no significant difference between the tailpieces.
The recording environment was a bedroom with a mixture of hard and soft surfaces. The microphone was a single Røde NT1-A in approximately the middle of the room at neck height. I stood in the same place for all recordings, about 2 feet away facing the microphone with the microphone about 45 degrees left of the bridge.
Strings were Thomastik Dominant Medium G, D, and A. Warchal Amber Medium E. I usually use a Goldbrokat E, but I didn't have one with a ball end. No fine tuners.
First I installed John’s tailpiece as it was provided and put the copper foil in as instructed. Tailpiece distance from the bridge was within his specifications. I made a recording of it. Next, I took out the copper foil and made another recording. Then I installed my boxwood tailpiece (without my usual fine tuner) and made a third recording.
For each recording, I played a chromatic scale, aiming for 4 notes about 2 seconds each, down up down up, from G3 to E6. The first two notes I use for pitch correction and getting settled in a position. I only use the last upbow for analysis. I kept the bow the same tightness, and have not rosined it for days before. Still, it is difficult to maintain the same pressure and a certain playing distance from the bridge.
One wolf tone was found at C6 using the plain brass tube. Adding copper foil alleviates it somewhat. This was already present, although weak and limited to the higher partials, on the setup with my boxwood tailpiece. My usual setup with a Goldbrokat E and (short) fine tuner does not exhibit this wolf tone. See the graph below.
C6. From left to right: boxwood, plain brass tube, brass tube with copper foil. Notice the relatively constant amplitude of the fundamental with pulsing limited to the upper partials in the boxwood tailpiece, the pulsing of all partials of the plain brass tube, and the same but less severely on the brass tube with copper foil.
A note about analyzing recordings: It is difficult (for me) to make a consistent sound on a violin. Within a single bow stroke one can expect a 3dB variation in the amplitude of the fundamental, so any differences less than 3dB are insignificant.
The first thing I observed was RMS. There is no significant difference in the amount of sound that reaches the microphone across all three setups. The setup with copper foil averages -39.3 dB; no copper foil averages -40.6 dB; boxwood averages -40.1 dB. This was somewhat of a surprise to me as I honestly felt like my violin was louder with John's tailpiece. However, I am aware of the power of placebo and that energy could have been redistributed to partials to which I'm more sensitive.
Next, I looked at the graphs of G3, B3, D4, D#4, A4, C#5, E5, G#5, B5, and E6 in my spectrum analyzer (Voxengo SPAN). I avoided C6 as that had a wolf. I could not see any consistent significant differences. Sometimes John's tailpiece(s) would exhibit a stronger fundamental, other times stronger overtones, or weakening or strengthening of particular partials. There was nothing consistent I could make a conclusion on. Here is a sample of graphs. They're different colors because I color coded to stay organized.
A4, plain brass tube:
A4, brass tube with copper foil:
Even though I can't generalize about overall sound of these tailpieces, I can hear a difference between them given the same note. Also, different people will find different things pleasing. Therefore, I have decided to share my recordings to Violinist.com members, with a poll asking which recording they like most. One is of my boxwood tailpiece, one of the plain brass tube, and one of the brass tube with copper foil. Only I know which recordings are of which tailpiece. I have cut off the recordings before C6, as the degree of wolf will identify the tailpiece.
I'll check back in a week or when I remember.
Edit: A was the brass tube with copper foil. B was the brass tube. C was boxwood.
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