I am currently chasing down a new Pro Flute, the solid silver handmade or top of the line semi handmade drawn tone hole models. Here are a few conclusions as I almost go mad trying to figure out which one is best for my purposes.
All Flutes are open holes, some C and some B foots, some inline and some off set G.... some with C# trill mechanism, most without. All where played with the same solid gold tube/ solid platinum lip plate and riser headjoint. My requirements are a flute that will project well for Latin Jazz/ Cuban music, handle pit work (when requried) have enough projection to cut over an electric band on mic without sounding thin, (Eq can only enhance what is already there, it cant add to what is not there to begin with) and light classical ensemble work. This is a big ask for any instrument!
Muramatsu EX....A very nice flute, great keywork but some how lacking oomph in the bottom end and somewhat thin in the high end. A very easy blowing flute but not enough depth to the tone.
Perhaps my favourite Flute, lighter in sound than the AD model and lacking in depth and solidity of tone inthe bottom end and top end is somewhat thinner than I would like. The standard headjoint was very nice, very crystalline and pure in sound. Overall, a very nice flute.
A very solid rich sound, lots of power and depth in the bottom end, big and solid in the top but lacked the zing of the GX. It is a much softer flute in terms of overall volume than the GX. One concern is solid silver mechanism being more delicate and requiring more trips to the repair shop than a plated mechanism. I doubt that the silver mechanism adds much to the overall resonance of the flute when compared to the plated mechanism. The C foot had more power and projection than the B foot.
Muramatsu DS...Excellent flute, negligible differences between this and the AD, the AD was slightly darker and not as well set up as the DS model. Bottom end and top end response where almost identical and any differences that were perceived could easily be rectified by a set-up.
Overall, the keywork of the Muramatsu and hand position felt identical in all models, the inline G AD model was uncomfortable and I noticed a tendency to cramp the left wrist when playing this flute.
Next was the other big Japanese flutes.
Miyazawa (I tried 3 different models).
These flutes all had a bright sparkling sound, cramped keywork for large hands and sounded thin when pushed. Response was very nice but they lacked depth in the bottom end (no C foot available to test). The top end was very brittle indeed, worse with the factory headjoint. Overall I found it too cramped to play and thin sounding which makes it easy to play but there needs to be more resistance in the flute so as to be able to get the full dynamic contrasts in all registers.
Nice flute, keywork was good but it was all top end and lacked any low mids to the sound. It played effortlessly, spoke well and responded very quickly. A great flute for fast playing but once again was weak in the extremities of the range.
Hand made solid silver flute, B or C foot (I tried two different solid silver Flutes). This was a very resistant flute, had a big dark sound in all registers, excellent keywork (solid silver). The bottom end was resonant and top end spoke effortlessly. Overall a very liveable Flute with lots of colours available in the tonal palate. Drawbacks are price and potential of the solid silver keywork to require more attention more often than plated keywork.
Hand made Solid Gold flute,This was the best one I had tried yet, much darker than the solid silver, incredibly responsive in both the bottom end and the upper range. Keywork was fantastic, C# trill key worked beautifully. It was by and large the loudest of the low B foot joint flutes. The keywork felt more solid than the silver flutes, even more solid than the Muramatsu AD models. Scale was excellent, intonation effortless. The downside was the price.......how much are kidney's worth these days?
Jupiter/ Demidici/ Altus
A very nice flute, quite brittle but effortless to play, spoke well in all registers but lacked depth of tone. Value for money wise, a very, very nice flute. The difference between this and the Miyazawas was minimal, scale was excellent and intonation good. The standard headjoint was less than inspiring.
Also a very good flute but as for differences between this and the jupiter, I couldn't really tell. The standard Headjoint was better but with my headjoint, the lack of depth in the low end and top range became very apparent. Great value for money but I would probably buy the Jupiter which appears to be identical and cheaper.
A not very inspiring Flute, very light tone and easy to play but lacked depth of tone. I found that it felt like playing a better set-up Demidici. I would expect more for the price difference.
Very slight differences between this and the 907, same lack of depth to the tone colour, played effortlessly but I found it too easy to over power the instrument. I guess I was spoilt playing the other offerings.
More to come as I check out the Yamahas, some other very expensive offerings. I fear that I have Champagne tastes with a beer budget. Please feel free to offer any other thoughts, advice and ideas of what to look at....
My ideal budget is $6 to $10K USD.