The answer is: yes, probably. Over at _Live Science, _there's a good rundown on how the myth was recently tested. In 2010, researchers pitted the antiques against modern instruments, but the methodology of the experiment was disputed. (It was done in a hotel room. Critics argued a concert hall was the only reasonable venue.) In a more recent study, the same team again had a group of 10 soloists play a set of instruments; modified welders glasses kept the musicians ostensibly blind, and adding wear to the new instruments made them physically indistinguishable from the antiques. The musicians each played 12 instruments, then ranked them. Once they'd picked a favorite, they then attempted to choose between their own instrument, the one they'd chosen as their favorite, and an "alternative favorite"; the "alternative" was was the highest-ranked antique or modern instrument, depending on which type the musician selected as the best.