opinion on two violins (audio sample)

Edited: January 15, 2020, 6:00 PM · Could you tell me which violin you prefer and why? I'm curious...
Order in the recording:
Bach Violin 1
Bach Violin 2
Mendelssohn violin 1
Mendelssohn violin 2
Sorry in advance for the out of tune notes, I'm not at my best and I don't play that Mendelssohn in a long time, but I think it's good to show the E string. I was also playing the voilin 2 without the shoulder rest. which makes it very hard to play in tune for me. (yeah I always have my excuses ready)
Violin 1 is using fresh Obligatos + Pirastro Gold E and violin 2 is using old Dominants.

Replies (28)

January 15, 2020, 3:03 PM · Ask your teacher or someone who can hear the violins in person. Recordings are not the best medium when trying to decide on violins.
Edited: January 15, 2020, 6:53 PM · I don't have one, since I finished my maste's 4 years ago. Since that I've bn distracted with other things and never played regularly. I only have friends and colleagues but they also can only hear through recordings. I know they're not the best, but it's still very possible to hear the differences. I have my opinion, I just want to check if it matches...
Edited: January 15, 2020, 3:20 PM · Despite recordings are not optimal, keeping the conditions the same helps.

In this case I would be confident enough to like violin 2 much more for the quality of tone both in high and low registers (rich tone with a lot of different frequency content, more smoothness than violin 1, etc.). If that matters, it also seems to have more volume?

Of course I would not be able to say how much I like violin 2, but to say more than 1 is possible :)

January 15, 2020, 3:48 PM · I also prefer violin 2 it seems to have a more pleasant and also richer tone, also it seems to choke less quickly.
Edited: January 15, 2020, 7:26 PM · Thanks. As I thought...
The violin 1 was way more expensive, it's from the 19th century. And I remember it being better when I bought it years ago (with some other strings on it). I think the current Obligatos may not be doing it any favors. I also left it on a Luthier to lower the fingerboard, so with all that operation it probably doesn't have the soundpost on the same place it once had. I need to solve this. I will start with the strings. I feel when playing that the sound is muted or stuck inside... and the color/tone is also not the same it once was.
It's very weird to me that I almost prefer violin 2 now, it used to sound like a toy when compared to volin 1.
January 15, 2020, 5:56 PM · I also prefered violin 1 to my ears
January 15, 2020, 5:59 PM · Darren, you're the first to say voilin 1...
Edited: January 15, 2020, 6:06 PM · I didn't particularly like the treble side of violin 2 especially the A-string, though it had more depth than violin 1, to me 1 had more evenness that I just liked
Edited: January 15, 2020, 7:13 PM · yeah 1 has more eveness, I notice on the voilin 2 the G string is way darker/richer and more like a bass, it really stands out from the other strings, but I actually like it. Depends on the repertoire I guess.
Too bad I can't just confidently alternate between the two on a daily basis, because violin 1 is a little bigger, it almost looks like a small viola, and that makes a slight difference on the lef hand to play in tune.
January 15, 2020, 7:20 PM · I prefer #1, but I think there's less of an edge and a bit more warmth to #2. At a distance, I suspect #1 will be better.
Edited: January 15, 2020, 8:10 PM · I agree with Lydia.
Hmmmm is violin 1 a modern violin?
January 15, 2020, 8:36 PM · I think he said Violin 1 is an antique (19th century).
January 15, 2020, 11:41 PM · Ohhh,I see
January 16, 2020, 3:35 AM · As far i have listened (not in an absolute hifi way (it was not the case)), i believe that generally the recording #1 has a better articulation and projection, especially in the E string. I believe it will be heard better in a big concert hall.
Personally, i like more the recording #2 for the overall tone, both a bit deeper and with more even harmonics. If it's true that its current Dominant strings are old, maybe it could benefit in the articulation area of sound and in loudness with new strings. I don't seem to like the normal medium Dominants. I would put some heavy gauge Dominants if they are not.

Anyway, i don't feel as there is a world a difference between the two recordings. You could have swapped two different bows as well ........ :)

January 16, 2020, 5:00 AM · Unfortunately the auto adjustment of the dynamics on mic just spoils it completely, but I believe 1 has more potential than 2.

1 is more open sounding than 2, but does not lack depth. It just has more overtones than 2.

2 sounds silkier, but A string Chokes on itself an I believe this "silk" comes of as "fuzz" in a mix or in a large hall. 2 probably does not carry well.

They both have a nice growl to them, which I like a lot, 2 perhaps even more so, but it might be noticeable only because of lack of overtones. The growl diminishes in upper registers on no.2.

But then again I am a sucker for growl - I associate it with old Italian sound. The growl from lower registers manifests as reedy/woody sound in the upper register, so the violin almost sounds like a bagpipe.

No 2 is not even across the strings. Every string seems to have a life of it's own. No 1 is more coherent.

Now, if you used equal strings and turned off any automatic level adjust...

January 16, 2020, 6:12 AM · Violin 1 sounds a bit choked to me. Perhaps it just needs a luthier-visit tune up. You seem to play V2 with a bit more abandon - but maybe because the second time through each piece is a bit more comfortable. Anyhow, there is not a lot in it - probably because of the recording environment and quality...
Edited: January 16, 2020, 6:42 AM · All answers subsequent to David telling us which violin was more expensive are invalid. Did you not notice that everyone switched to favoring Violin No. 1 immediately after David said that one cost more? Go with the answers you got before that, because they are not infected with bias.
January 16, 2020, 6:59 AM · I did not base my review on that, but yes Paul is right.

Also - notice me and Elise Stanley completely disagree on what violin was "choked"... I thought (and still do) that no2 is choked and subdued, not "deeper".

it just screams: "Do one more recording with Olive strings on both with no automatic compression and do not tell us which is which..."

January 16, 2020, 7:07 AM · .. in a more resonant room with no dynamic compression...

And Paul, I did not favor #1

January 16, 2020, 7:56 AM · Okay .. almost everyone.
January 16, 2020, 8:05 AM · When the playing field is as unlevel as this anyone's opinion could easily go the other way if you put on similar, new strings and used a chin rest on both violins so we're just wasting our time.
January 16, 2020, 8:15 AM · On this limited sample, #1.

I'd recommend recording these again from the back of a large room or hall (or at least from the other side of your house). What is important is how the sound impact is in that scenario. How does the warmth and musical intent "travel" in a sense. I suspect #1 will do better at this.

January 16, 2020, 2:24 PM · I have the exact same suggestion as Douglas. This needs more distance. In any event, we always hear the player far more than the violin. I've previously posted videos of my two violins, which could not be more different, and yet I don't think you can really hear much difference, even with a decent camera and some distance.
January 16, 2020, 3:09 PM · I keep reading always the same things, written by the same posters, in this forum, such as "record from a distance", "ask your teacher", etc.
This is not what the OP asked.

As said, i like more recording #2 because if find it more "organic" and soulful. It does not matter if it was recorded with a cheap microphone at the distance of 1 m.

January 17, 2020, 9:51 AM · Violin 1 sounds like it has more core and complexity, especially on E string. Which is easier for you to play? I would guess violin 1.
Edited: January 17, 2020, 11:37 AM · Violin 1 is easier becasuse it's my violin since 2012. Violin 2 is the one I was using before that. They have a difference in size, despite both being 4/4, 1 is bigger, the distance between the fingers feels different so it's hard to get used to and switch between the two.
I really think Obligatos are somehow muting violin 1. I'm in the process of experimenting other strings, for now. Later I'm going to a luthier for a new bridge, this one is not in the best condition and also a soundpost and general checkup.
January 17, 2020, 2:15 PM · Hands down violin no. 1. Its more even, more core to the tone, and nicer overtones. It just a better violin.
January 17, 2020, 3:47 PM · No 2 maybe more flattering "under the ear", but No 1 has more resources.

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