Opinion on two differents recordings by myself

Edited: October 31, 2019, 3:12 PM · I hope this is not too boring, but i'm collecting opinions about the sound of a particular bow when i play it.

I'm evaluating a bow, for purchasing, but what is received by the listener regarding what i can "express" is maybe more important that what i think myself on that bow.

So i layed 2 quick violin tracks on an existing piano part i composed and played myself (once and away...) with this new bow and another with a bow i'm using almost exclusively during these last years. I won't tell which track relates to which bow, for now.

Vedova Nera 1

Vedova Nera 2

I did not eq or compress the tracks. I only added some artificial reverb. Microphone gain, mic, position, etc, everything is unchanged in the 2 violin tracks. Only bows are different: 1 with a bow, 2 with another bow. Both similar rosined.

Leaving all considerations (brighter sound, louder, articulate, etc) is there one of the 2 tracks where you like some more my playing with that particular bow?
I did not intend to clone the same part: i improvised on the mood that a particular bow inspires me.

Thanks in advance if someone will give me his opinion of the kind "track 2 gave me something more than track 1", etc.....


Replies (32)

Edited: October 27, 2019, 7:50 PM · I can't filter out all the other distractions to hear any difference. It would be easier if this were just a violin piece. The piano accompaniment is quite dominant in the recording and the tune is pretty subdued. Violin sounds perhaps a tiny bit louder on the second track, so maybe that's a plus.
Edited: October 27, 2019, 7:56 PM · I agree with Paul. You should post something where the violin is more featured. Also, the artificial reverb is distracting - it might make you sound better but for someone looking for opinions on how 2 different bows perform, you should post something as unedited as possible.
Edited: October 27, 2019, 8:42 PM · Your observations match my goals..... :)
Another thing i desired to test is the way a particular bow helps "punching" in the mix. Difficult ambients (so the reverb) and intricate mix are something i wanted to test about how a bow carries more sound, too (setting aside the violin, the player's tecnique, etc).

Thanks !

October 28, 2019, 6:41 AM · This is in the top 10 list for the weirdest thing I've ever seen on v.com.
October 28, 2019, 6:47 AM · Mr. Deck, weirdest thing for whatever reason, if you please?
October 28, 2019, 7:17 AM · I could not hear differences between the two recordings that I could confidently attribute to the bows.

This might be an opportunity to get community feedback on what a bow can actually influence.

My experience is that "decent" bows have no inherent properties to affect the core tone of the strings and instrument.

Things like overall weight, balance point and stiffness affect what I have to do with my bow arm to execute various bow techniques. And some bows may have one or more of these properties that are so far off that it is not possible to execute certain bowing techniques with them with "good result".

Have you played a series of etudes where you try various bowing techniques, and then select the bow that makes it easiest to execute them?

For example, I can play simple legato and detache with either my grandson's cheap "student" bow or my expensive CF bow and get what I perceive as the same tonal result. But if I have to execute rapid string changes or a fast attack bow movement like martele or staccato, then forget about it. The student bow is too soft to get a decent sounding effect.

Edited: October 28, 2019, 7:30 AM · Because you asked for comments about one bow vs the other for sound, but we can't hear any difference. You can hardly hear the violin at all in the recording underneath the piano and all the sound processing, and when that's pointed out to you, you basically said it was deliberate ("observations match my goals"). And you even added that you intentionally played the two bows differently which means the results are inevitably biased. So yeah, I'm calling that weird.
October 28, 2019, 7:31 AM · Carmen -- oh no, you're not a "bow tone skeptic" are you? I hope you're wearing armor because that view is definitely not PC around here.
Edited: October 28, 2019, 8:55 AM · Paul,

i have forced poor friends and musicians to listen for sound differences between these 2 bows, in these last weeks :D
Invariably someone like one, some like the other.
I played everything, from nearby or from a far distance, alone or accompained.
I played Bach and Kreutzer studies.......
Every time, at a blind test, opinions are 50% but are always neat. That is: almost nobody says "you sound the same with them". Someone likes n.1 and someone always likes n.2.

So, without explaining too much (like i'm doing now :) ) i thought that i could focus in finding out if there is a small bit of something that can make me stand out with one bow or the rather the other one, only by feeling, and "by skin", for the listener.
Thus the processing, the heavy accompainment.

The bows have different weight and balance, not much, but it influences the way i use them.

I did not want to put the post in this form, but you forced me to explain..... :D

So: if you say you don't perceive some difference, as feeling, in the 2 tracks, it's a new and interesting result for me.

October 28, 2019, 9:00 AM · Carmen, the 2 bows are very similar ones. I can execute (as far as my actual technique permits) every bow stroke almost with similar results.....
The bow i'm evaluating, in my opinion, has not state-of-the-art hair, so i could really appreciate it well when i recently got some more gripping rosin.

Weight and balance differ lightly. I'm used to a bow more frog-oriented. The new bow shifts the balance a bit towards the tip.

October 28, 2019, 10:18 AM · "The bow i'm evaluating, in my opinion, has not state-of-the-art hair, so i could really appreciate it well when i recently got some more gripping rosin."
Reading this, I wondered if "not" was a typo for "got." Then I wondered what "state-of-the-art" hair is.
October 28, 2019, 10:44 AM · I wrote the right way. It hasn't in my opinion "optimum bowhairs the way it could possibly be", even if the bowmakers says otherwise...... :)

Can it be enough, for a non english speaker poster?... :)

Edited: October 28, 2019, 10:52 AM · Marco, your English is plenty good enough. I have no trouble understanding you.

Your friends all thought one of the two bows was better but the distribution is random (50-50). What often happens in this situation is that the listener feels they need to make some choice so that they don't look like some kind of rube. But in discussions about "bow tone" I usually end up being the guy who says "the emperor has no clothes" (thereby I am made to look like a rube anyway), so I didn't have any trouble breaking that mold from the outset.

October 28, 2019, 10:54 AM · I too am a "bow-tone" sceptic, but the different dynamic qualities of two sticks and their hair can make us get a different tone from the violin.
Edited: October 28, 2019, 10:57 AM · Paul: I very much hoped that you acted this way, because i often read that you do it... :)

So, reasonably between these 2 tracks you hear no one that stands out more than the other. It's a good answer too.........

Edited: October 28, 2019, 10:59 AM · I too am a "bow-tone" sceptic, but the different dynamic qualities of two sticks and their hair can make us get a different tone from the violin.

And can one really compare two similar bows if they have not the same amount of hair from the same batch (same horse?..), at the same tension, with the same rosin?

October 28, 2019, 11:00 AM · I'm not skeptic at all: i have something like 7 pernambuco and 2 carbon fiber bows, and each one pulls out a different sound, and different according different violins (i use 2 main violins).

This new bow is very very similar to one i already own, but has some pros and some cons because it's slightly different. This is the reason why i am a bit undecided to purchase it or not ("weather i really need it or not").

October 28, 2019, 11:58 AM · For what it's worth, being rather very subjective, I like the sound of recording 1 better. Hard to say, it seems richer more jazzy if that makes sense to you.
October 28, 2019, 12:07 PM · Yes, i agree. The violin (in average) has more "body", by listening with non hifi speakers.
When listening with more fidelity, the 2's sound is a bit hollow in the middle and often has more "bass" and "highs".
October 28, 2019, 12:39 PM · I found (on my best phones) the second version was slightly more nasal or "pinched", a bit like a VSO.
October 28, 2019, 12:45 PM · I did not know the acronym VSO, but if you meant a "lesser violin sound", i accept the opinion, but i don't agree with it.
October 28, 2019, 12:46 PM · Marco, Thank you for your clarification; your English is fine. My comprehension seems to be a bit off today!
October 28, 2019, 1:00 PM · "VSO" means "violin-shaped object". It's a pejorative term for a cheap, poor-quality violin.
October 28, 2019, 1:10 PM · It should be more correct to talk about "bow shaped object", seen that the violin is always the same, in the 2 tracks...... :D
October 30, 2019, 7:00 AM · All right: I found that in the second recording your violin sounded cheaper, whatever the reason.
Edited: October 30, 2019, 8:00 AM · Thanks for replying. It's evident you are among the few who are interested ........ :)

Anyway i extracted 2 brief excerpts of solo violin from the above tracks, dry without reverb:

Vedova Nera excerpt 1

Vedova Nera excerpt 2

October 30, 2019, 12:54 PM · I liked No. 2 better. It sounds more smooth.
October 30, 2019, 3:01 PM · Marco these two last files make much more sense! I also think the second is slightly better but the difference is all but negligible. By the way could it be that your strings are worn out?
Edited: October 30, 2019, 6:14 PM · Yes, thanks.
But my original test, in origin without too much explanation, tended to focus on which bow could give more "something" to a violin that could make it stand out in a busy mix, as "feeling transmission" too....

Isolated clean tracks testing were not my purpose....... Anyway i put them because they were requested.

Interestingly, until now people reported (not only in this forum) that they liked #1 better. Now 2 different listeners like more #2 when isolated like a solo violin without anything around.

In fact, i find more satisfying to play with the #1 bow. But without any doubt, the bow #2 has more "horses" (like an engine) when pushed more. It flects less in the middle, it's stronger.
When doing some long slow bowings from frog to tip, it feels longer. But i still have to adapt to it, because it's slightly more tip balanced.

Bow #1 is a 2010-made Arcus Sonata bow (discontinued).
Bow #2 is a discontinued Arcus C5 bow, with angled frog.

Violin's strings are 2 and a half months old Vision Solo strings with stock E. I play very often lately.

November 10, 2019, 8:38 AM · The second example sounded better to me, from the top examples- more wistful and emotional somehow- the violin part seemed better timed. I don't know if I could call that a difference in the bow. Like others here my first impression of the recordings was that the piano part- keyboard?- needs to come down in volume and the violin playing is much better anyway. The loud keyboard lacks expression, the string part doesn't and has more texture that is overpowered.
November 10, 2019, 9:20 AM · Another vote for the second bow.
November 10, 2019, 12:15 PM · Thanks a lot for opinions.

The piano part is not classical-style. It's an improvised part over short themes, and was conceived from the start for dancing the "french" mazurka, as it is in the european balfolk circuit. So it's not strictly on metronome, but pulls and pushes where the dance is calling, if i explain myself.
It's not a strict accompain part, it has to be driving. Thus the volume.
Maybe in this forum people are not used to this :)

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