I've been trying out violins lately at the Cremona show in San Jose and noticing a huge difference in terms of violin sound under my ear, but not hearing much when the same violin is played by another player. This is especially true concerning some of the higher frequency shrillness, harshness, and brightness sounds. You can hear these loudly under the ear, but not notice it at all when someone else plays the violin. A warm and smooth violin sounds comfortable under the ear, and again the difference from 3 feet away is not that noticeable, at least to me.
The audible difference is slight (for me) even among two violins that sound opposite under the ear. Does one go for comfort and liking the sound under the ear, or tolerate some discomfort in terms of brightness in hopes that the violin will project better?
What do professionals prefer in terms of sound, and how much does the under-the-ear sound factor into their selection of an instrument? If the under-the-ear is uncomfortable, do you wear an earplug in your left ear?
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