My experimental data on how different vibratos change the sound

parker_knoll

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2006
Messages
1,267
Reaction score
212
Location
London
Here are the results!

If you need the context, check this thread.

THE EQUIPMENT:

1 x Duesenberg Vibrola Short
1 x Mastery OMV-P Vibrato
1 x Dearmond M55 sacrificial guitar for UK£70, with the same bridge arrangement as my M65.
3 x the cheapest string sets I could find, GHS 10-38 - a strange gauge a bit light in the bass but the point here was comparison.



THE RESULTS

So I recorded the guitar after each step directly into Logic using the onboard Guitar Amp Pro set to US Combo 40 and UK 2x12 closed.

I just played each string open, then strummed the same chord pattern, and then tested the range of the trems when installed.

Audio Samples

Fixed bridge
Duesenberg Vibrola
Mastery Vibrato

EQ overlay

I used a spectrum analyser plug in to view the EQ response of each recording and average them. Here they are overlaid.

PURPLE = MASTERY
ORANGE = DUESENBERG
GREEN = FIXED



So how do the different units change the sound?

NOT MUCH!

Arguably there's a small loss of bass with the Mastery but it's pretty insignificant. There's also a resonant peak around 120Hz with the Duesenberg, but again nothing huge. What do your ears tell you rather than your eyes?

Sustain

Sustain wise there's not really anything in it. Perhaps the Duesenberg has a slight edge but it's not dramatic.



General

Aside from the sound, both vibrato units work very well. The Duesenberg has a slightly softer spring than a Bigsby B5 but it's great to have the adjustable arm, both for height and length. Range is pretty similar to a Bigsby.

The Mastery has a far greater range, but I'll have to get used to how high the arm is off the body. I guess it could be bent. It would look better if I spent the extra bucks for a metal tip.

Now for what to do with the M65 I'm not sure. I'll muse on it.
 

GAD

Wrinkled Member
Staff member
Joined
Feb 11, 2009
Messages
13,732
Reaction score
3,505
Location
NJ (The nice part)
Guild Total
77
Neat!

As someone who's a lover of detailed data, I'm constantly reminded of this quote from the world of photography:

"We've experienced the fact that the perceptions of an expert surpass the precision of measuring instruments." ~Nakabayashi-san of Canon, Inc.
 

parker_knoll

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2006
Messages
1,267
Reaction score
212
Location
London
Cast some clear epoxy into new cavity - with some mysterious object embedded - install original hardware - maybe shift that bridge a tad by enlarging the holes sideways.
I meant the Nashville M65 rather than the Dearmond M55, but yes :)

Or I can put a Squier vibrato on it and resell
 

Bonneville88

Senior Member
Gold Supporting
Joined
Feb 10, 2017
Messages
2,297
Reaction score
508
Location
St. Louis, MO
Guild Total
40
Great work, interesting to try to discern differences in
the audio files.
 

dreadnut

Venerated Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2005
Messages
12,428
Reaction score
2,501
Location
Grand Rapids, MI
Guild Total
2
Neat!

As someone who's a lover of detailed data, I'm constantly reminded of this quote from the world of photography:

"We've experienced the fact that the perceptions of an expert surpass the precision of measuring instruments." ~Nakabayashi-san of Canon, Inc.
Man, that's a really interesting quote, especially considering the source. And there s certainly some truth to it. After all, instruments can go out of calibration.

Here's another profound quote to support parker_knoll's post:

"In God we trust. All others must bring empirical data."
 

Nuuska

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2016
Messages
4,240
Reaction score
1,174
Location
Finland
Guild Total
9
To continue subject measurements vs perception.

There was this finnish guy named Tapio Köykkä - an inventor and radio builder. He was busy with Orthoperspecta - and TIM - Transient Intermodulation Measurement.

I remember at teenage I read one of his articles - didn't understand half of what he was writing - but one sentence struck me - and it will be true forever - he said it after people were discussing why some amps with better results sounded worse that those with lesser results.

This is how I remember it .

"Either we have not made enough measurements - or we are measuring wrong things" - concentrating on unessential things . . .
 
Last edited:

parker_knoll

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2006
Messages
1,267
Reaction score
212
Location
London
well, exactly. I posted this in The Gear Page as well (to very little interest, which is okay) and some guy started talking about how string length behind the bridge affects jangle, and then of course I thought "what are we actually talking about here? reduction in lows and mids? less sustain? all of those? what does jangle mean, actually?"

In this case I wanted the vibrato install NOT to affect the sound so I was happy with the results.
Incidentally, I've just used the same setup to measure three quite different Guilds, and the results confirmed what my ears told me. Will postin a different thread as not relevant to this.

As we know there is a lot of pseudo science in the guitar world - "tone magic" - but then there are so many variables.
 
Last edited:

cupric

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2018
Messages
1,115
Reaction score
617
well, exactly. I posted this in The Gear Page as well (to very little interest, which is okay) and some guy started talking about how string length behind the bridge affects jangle, and then of course I thought "what are we actually talking about here? reduction in lows and mids? less sustain? all of those? what does jangle mean, actually?"

In this case I wanted the vibrato install NOT to affect the sound so I was happy with the results.
Incidentally, I've just used the same setup to measure three quite different Guilds, and the results confirmed what my ears told me. Will postin a different thread as not relevant to this.

As we know there is a lot of pseudo science in the guitar world - "tone magic - but then there are so many variables.
tone magic or voodoo magic? LOl! When I worked with Engineers who crea ted, and supported very high end, sophisticated equipment, that was a trade term. Each seemed to understand that the end product was beyond rational explanation. The end result was pure voodoo magic.
 

GAD

Wrinkled Member
Staff member
Joined
Feb 11, 2009
Messages
13,732
Reaction score
3,505
Location
NJ (The nice part)
Guild Total
77
There is also the realm of psycho-acoustics. How we perceive sound matters. A couple of examples come to mind:

I have a set of high-end in-ear monitors from Etymotic. I love them because they're almost purely flat and sound amazing with a nice headphone amp. The thing is, when someone first gets them they probably don't like them and don't hear a difference with the amp, but when you stick with them for a month and then go back to whatever your favorite was before, those old favorites sound like crap! I did this to my daughter: She said my Sennheisser HD650s were no better than her Beats, so I challenged her to use them for 30 days. Actually that was a mistake because she hasn't given them back...

Another thing that fascinates me with my Etys is that if I put one of them in one ear, it sounds thin and terrible, but as soon as I put the other one in I am enveloped in magnificent sound even though the first ear has been hearing the same thing since I put that one in.

We are trained to hear things, too. Just like anything else, if you're not trained to hear the subtle difference, then that difference is likely lost on you. Same goes for food, coffee, music, tone, whatever.
 

jp

Senior Member
Gold Supporting
Joined
Apr 21, 2006
Messages
3,353
Reaction score
258
Location
Pacific Northwest US
Guild Total
3
Nice data set, pk. I like the empirical proof debunking the fixed vs vibrato sustain argument.
 

Nuuska

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2016
Messages
4,240
Reaction score
1,174
Location
Finland
Guild Total
9
I just MUST put this link here - because with measuring and statistics etc one can find all kinds of non-related things - like "Amounts of ice-cream consumed in summer relates to amounts of drowned peole."


That other new thread looks interesting, too - thanks for it.
 
Last edited:

fronobulax

Bassist, GAD and the Hot Mess Mods
Joined
May 3, 2007
Messages
19,337
Reaction score
1,888
Location
Central Virginia, USA
Guild Total
5
I just MUST put this link here - because with measuring and statistics etc one can find all kinds of non-related things - like "Amounts of ice-cream consumed in summer relates to amounts of drowned peole."
And the people who find such things need to be reminded that correlation does not imply causation :)
 
Joined
Feb 17, 2018
Messages
150
Reaction score
62
Location
Boddam, North East Scotland.
To continue subject measurements vs perception.

There was this finnish guy named Tapio Köykkä - an inventor and radio builder. He was busy with Orthoperspecta - and TIM - Transient Intermodulation Measurement.

I remember at teenage I read one of his articles - didn't understand half of what he was writing - but one sentence struck me - and it will be true forever - he said it after people were discussing why some amps with better results sounded worse that those with lesser results.

This is how I remember it .

"Either we have not made enough measurements - or we are measuring wrong things" - concentrating on unessential things . . .
Very much how I feel about distortion measurements of Hi-Fi amps! Most modern transistor amps have THD figures of < 0.0...01%, but some sound terrible, dull and lifeless. On the other hand, there are single ended valve (tube) amps which measure at 3-5% THD, but sound amazing :unsure:
 

Nuuska

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2016
Messages
4,240
Reaction score
1,174
Location
Finland
Guild Total
9
Very much how I feel about distortion measurements of Hi-Fi amps! Most modern transistor amps have THD figures of < 0.0...01%, but some sound terrible, dull and lifeless. On the other hand, there are single ended valve (tube) amps which measure at 3-5% THD, but sound amazing :unsure:

THAT was a major part of Mr Köykkä's studies way back then - modern - those days - transistor amps used massive long feedback chains to make amp flat within +/- 0,1 dB from DC to daylight - nothing else was importatnt - then it dawned that inspite of perfect trace them amps sounded quite different.

So - there were many other things to measure.

My ex-boss Mr Willi Studer was building worlds finest reel-to-reel tape recorders - they measured everything - but they also listened - and have other people listen and evaluate products before releasing them.
 
Top