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Technique & Instrument Related to techniques, to the instrument, to the components, to maintenance.

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View Poll Results: Which is which?
#1 Poly #2 Blackwood 9 40.91%
#1 Blackwood #2 Poly 13 59.09%
Voters: 22. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-29-2017, 08:49 PM   #11
Jared Loch
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Default Re: Poly or Blackwood Chanter, Can you hear the difference?

I'm interested to see which is which. In the past, I personally have played a poly and abw version of the same make, model, & era chanter, and almost fell over from the difference in tonality, feel/playability, and sound quality between the two. This may have been purely players perspective and opinion. But I believe there is magic in the wood, and I believe I'm hearing this in the second recording. Regardless, both recordings indeed are examples of exemplary playing Patrick. Cheers!
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Old 08-30-2017, 08:28 AM   #12
bob864
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Default Re: Poly or Blackwood Chanter, Can you hear the difference?

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Originally Posted by Green Piper View Post
I like. But...... you're not recording them using studio hi-fidelity equipment, and playback is not necessarily over high quality equipment, and other considerations include the bit-depth of the recordings, etc.
A couple years ago I made recordings with studio-quality equipment. I can't tell any difference between my chanters when I play them (aside from the feel of wood vs plastic), and almost no one claimed to be able to hear a difference in the recordings when I initially posted them.

I'll listen to Patrick's recordings on my studio monitors when I get home.

My two chanters are in a single recording. I can't remember which is which anymore, but the recording is here:

https://soundcloud.com/piperbob/chantercomparison
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Old 08-30-2017, 09:07 AM   #13
BGP
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Default Re: Poly or Blackwood Chanter, Can you hear the difference?

The second one is more "clear" a tone which I like better, I fear it may be poly but hope it may be wood.

(I dislike the feel of poly under the fingers)
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Old 08-30-2017, 10:00 AM   #14
el gaitero
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Default Re: Poly or Blackwood Chanter, Can you hear the difference?

"Quite often in life I've flunked being right " said Tunes of Glory Maj. Charlie Scott;....like me;,...nonetheless..I'm still going with #2 as the abw choice.
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Old 08-30-2017, 02:11 PM   #15
TwitchyFingers
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Default Re: Poly or Blackwood Chanter, Can you hear the difference?

I'll risk the embarrassment of being wrong and say #1 is poly and #2 is blackwood. Somehow, #2 has to me a little more "rounded" tone and #1 get's some more frequencies bouncing out of the bore.
To further putting my neck out towards being a fool, I'd rather hear #1 as a band chanter and #2 as a solo chanter.

I'm probably wrong for many reasons.
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Old 08-31-2017, 04:55 AM   #16
bob864
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Default Re: Poly or Blackwood Chanter, Can you hear the difference?

I hear more difference in the drones than the chanter. It is really evident if you use the blog page and alternate between the two files using the audio control. As you press the play button on one the other will automatically stop, so you can go through phrase by phrase. Alternating in the middle of the long notes makes it easiest to hear.

I'm not sure I can hear a difference in the chanters.

I downloaded both files to my computer and put them into adobe audition where I could pan one left and the other right and play them at the same time. Then I re-centered the recording and applied EQ to cut the bass frequencies so I could hear the chanters without the drones. I think the second chanter is a little more aggressive.

My conclusion is that most of the difference is due to the recordings. The difference in the drones makes us hear the chanters differently. Very slight differences in relative position (microphone to instrument) or absolute position (room) can make a tremendous difference in recorded sound-- especially if the room hasn't been "treated" acoustically.
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Old 08-31-2017, 05:18 AM   #17
Shawn Husk
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Default Re: Poly or Blackwood Chanter, Can you hear the difference?

Interesting post ^^

Chanter harmonics interact with drone harmonics. I agree that in the two recordings the chanters may sound very similar but the drones sound quite different. I believe this to be a function of the chanters and how they are interacting with the drones.

Just as different drones or even drone reeds will cause chanter tuning to change slightly we can hear the difference in these recordings with how each chanter is interacting with the same drone set up and causing differences in how we perceive the drone sound.

I've cast my vote already on the Patrick's FB page where I first saw this survey, fwiw though, I chose #1 as ABW, #2 poly.
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Old 08-31-2017, 08:46 AM   #18
3D Piper
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Default Re: Poly or Blackwood Chanter, Can you hear the difference?

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Originally Posted by bob864 View Post

I'm not sure I can hear a difference in the chanters.
It's like when Chris Elliot did an experiment on the David Letterman show to tell the difference between Peanut and Corn oil.. "Dave, I can't tell the difference"
The testing method may have been a little different, though..


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Old 08-31-2017, 12:25 PM   #19
Patrick McLaurin
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Default Re: Poly or Blackwood Chanter, Can you hear the difference?

Bob is right. There are non-negligible differences in the drones. I would have to do a much better job of body placement and orientation to get the drones to sound more similar.

Anyone who has walked around a piper playing will notice vast changes in drone sound and blend. One of my tests of a pipe is, when someone else is playing it, I stand behind them but to the left and listen for the bass, and stand behind and on the right and listen for the tenors. If you can't hear them on the opposite side, that's usually indicative of a weak sound.

It is interesting to note that despite the drone difference, the chanter difference isn't as pronounced.

I would find it hard to believe that the drone difference was just perfect enough to cancel out the chanter difference resulting in little perceived difference in chanter tone between the recordings. Perhaps we can still conclude that there's just not a whole lot of difference between these two chanters, regardless of flawed recording technique?
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Old 08-31-2017, 12:27 PM   #20
bob864
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Default Re: Poly or Blackwood Chanter, Can you hear the difference?

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Originally Posted by Shawn Husk View Post
Interesting post ^^

Chanter harmonics interact with drone harmonics. I agree that in the two recordings the chanters may sound very similar but the drones sound quite different. I believe this to be a function of the chanters and how they are interacting with the drones.
That's an interesting idea. I don't know near enough about acoustics.

It seems like if the chanter could impact our perception of the drones, then the sound of the drones would change with each note. That is, if low A made the drones sound a certain way, then E should make them sound different. But the drones sound pretty uniform through each recording.

Patrick mentioned that the process took a fair bit of time. I'm wondering if maybe part of what we hear is related to moisture.
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