Can you hear the difference between a $5k, $180k, and $1mil Cello?

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Wow! Easily discernible difference (given the price multiples, there better be).

Let me first state the overall impact. With the fist cello I kept waiting for it to end; the second I could listen completely; and the third I was wishing didn’t end!

Specifics, the first sounded bright/strident. It was fast, but not melodious. The second was distinctively warmer, but it suffered with speed, I felt the notes were not blending but interfering into the next notes in the fast passages. It felt warm/cozy, but also fuzzy.

The third though was a lovely blend of emotion and speed. One could hear the microdynamics and still there was sweetness in the melody/tone. Also it could not just keep up with the speed, but begging to be driven faster! It was in the third that I felt the artist (I don’t know who she is) lagged the instrument - she needed more prowess to fill in micro details into the piece which the instrument could have brought out.

Wish it was a blind test though.
 

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I think if we put the $5k cello on some of these
it may sound like the $180k one.
Cheers,
Sid
Wow the site looks one of those pseudo scientific snake oil cottage companies of hifi audio accessories.

Cheers,
Sid

There are differences but it is not night and day , listening to a compressed YouTube video on iphone and Sennheiser HD598.
Probably it would sound even worse on my stereo setup.

Honestly, I could not wait for her to finish on all three.
 
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sud98

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I guess the only thing I realised after watching all three is that I am no fan of the cello and no amount of $ would change that :)
 

raghupb

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There are differences definitely, specially when playing low notes (the fat strings)
That said, this lady needs to play Bach's Cello #1 a wee bit slower.
Those into this genre of music, check out Yo-Yo Ma's rendition of the same.
He seems to get the pace right.

PS: Another good contemporary cellist is Zoe Keating

Cheers,
Raghu
 

Hari Iyer

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Imo, the technical comparison in the video follows a flawed approach. She mentions before hand what she is playing and hence psychoacoustics plays trick here. As per belief engine our ears expects greater performance with the higher priced cello and automatically ignores all flaws. Yes, this is true.

The vedio should have been just given 3 nrs, #1, #2,#3 and without mentioning any price tag just played all of them in sequence or random and should have asked the viewers if they could notice any differences. I can bet that only very few people could make out differences.

I have even heaed blind test where there were only one piece of music playing through out the 5 minute session, but it was fooled to the users that 3 different price brackets are been played low, medium and very high and arbitrarily flashing which is what even though all were same. You won't believe 95% of the respondent selected the high priced flashings # as good even though all were same. Such is psychoacoustics and belief engine.
 

square_wave

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I have heard the cello many times live. I have to tell you that the best recordings played back on a very high resolution system and you sitting in the sweet spot in front of those speakers can only take you close to the experience. Never equal it. Some things will never get captured by even the best microphone. When you listen to the recordings via youtube, there are so many variables and limitations which takes you further and further away from the true experience. I am unsure how we can understand the true differences between these cellos if we do it this way. We will hear some differences due to some fundamental ( macro level nature ) of these differences but those may not be what a musician is looking out for when they play and listen to it live. What do you guys think ?
 

sud98

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I have heard the cello many times live. I have to tell you that the best recordings played back on a very high resolution system and you sitting in the sweet spot in front of those speakers can only take you close to the experience. Never equal it. Some things will never get captured by even the best microphone. When you listen to the recordings via youtube, there are so many variables and limitations which takes you further and further away from the true experience. I am unsure how we can understand the true differences between these cellos if we do it this way. We will hear some differences due to some fundamental ( macro level nature ) of these differences but those may not be what a musician is looking out for when they play and listen to it live. What do you guys think ?
This is one question I always had in mind. When one hears live music, you still listening it via a microphone, an amp and speakers, unless you are in a private session where you are hearing the live, acoustic version. So why do we think it will be very different?
 

square_wave

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This is one question I always had in mind. When one hears live music, you still listening it via a microphone, an amp and speakers, unless you are in a private session where you are hearing the live, acoustic version. So why do we think it will be very different?
It depends on what you are trying to evaluate.

You can record a live event using very high end production techniques like what you see with acoustic events like classical etc. If you listen to an unprocessed version of such a wave file using a very high resolution dac and music system in a good listening room or a very high end head phone, you may be able to replicate the original sound to about 90 %.

In the youtube production and delivery chain scenario, you have so many variables. I doubt you will get to hear the finer nuances of what makes a acoustic musical instrument so special through such a chain. Capturing everything that happens to an acoustic instrument through its "attack - sustain - decay" phases itself is such a challenge even with professional gear. Talk to some recording guys and they will tell you :)
 
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alpha1

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The funny thing is that even two cello's of 1 Million USD will not sound alike.
So much for the proportionality between tone and price.
LOL

Snake oil and human haughtiness continues well into the 21st century!
 
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