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Selmer La Voix II alto, Yamaha YTS-21 tenor, Gemeinhardt 3OB flute
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Discussion Starter #1
I have four flutes on demo for the Flute Center of New York (great resource this is). They are:

Yamaha 362
Haynes Amadeus 680 (this one has a split E mechanism)
Powell Sonare 501
Di Zhao 700


The Yamaha is the least expensive at about 1500 retail, the others are in the 2k range (the DiZhao is more but if I were to go in this direction I'd probably get the 600 which is the same minus pointed arms and a wooden box, which I have to say is gorgeous). I am considering upgrading from my Gemeinhardt 3 which has served me well since I started two years ago but whose limitations in terms of responsiveness have become apparent.

After a couple hours of rotating between the four, here are my findings:

The Yamaha, as one would expect from anything Yamaha, has great ergonomics. I would describe the sound as focused but a little hollow, dull perhaps. Playing it so far has not sparked joy.​
The Amadeus felt a little loose and squishy, at least in comparison to the Yamaha, and for some reason my finger kept hitting one of the key arms, which I've never experienced before. Tonally I got not thrill from this one, although it is more open sounding than the Yamaha. The split E does make a difference, though for me F# rather than E is usually the problem note in the third octave.​
The Powell could be described as "free blowing," to use a sax term. I found the third octave easier to play than the other two, and I found the keywork to be comparable to the Yamaha, although the E flat felt a little strange. My first thought after running through a couple piece was "this is the one."​
But man, the Dizhao has a nice looking box. It also has the darkest, prettiest tone of the bunch and has the most clarity and volume in the low octave. At first I thought the Powell felt the most nimble, but after going back and forth between the two I decided that this is not really the case.​

Going back and forth like this is to a good way to evaluate, though. I need to spend time with each one, doing an ordinary practice routine. And even then I might vote for none of the above. All of four are better than my current flute, but to pay retail for an instrument I have to be ready to marry it. My interest is also piqued by the Yamaha 500 series, which are handmade. A new 577 is close to 3k, which is outside my comfort zone, but I could look for a used one.

Any thoughts?
 

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Keilwerth saxes (S/A/T), Selmer clarinets (S/B), Altus Azumi flute
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I'd try Muramatsu, Sankyo and Miyazawa offerings as well.
That's a very different price point. The OP indicated that $3k is outside of his/her comfort zone.

To the OP:

First, I agree that FCNY's trial policy is outstanding. I bought a flute from them a couple of years ago via this system. I would suggest trying the Altus Azumi. I tried all of the flutes that you listed (except the Yamaha) and ended up going with the Azumi.

One thing to be aware of: in my experience, the more resistant flutes that make the low notes easy tend to be more difficult to shape and to play cleanly in the third octave. The Azumi is a relatively free-blowing flute, but I found it to be by far the most flexible of all those I tried.
 

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Selmer La Voix II alto, Yamaha YTS-21 tenor, Gemeinhardt 3OB flute
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Discussion Starter #4
That's a very different price point. The OP indicated that $3k is outside of his/her comfort zone.

To the OP:

First, I agree that FCNY's trial policy is outstanding. I bought a flute from them a couple of years ago via this system. I would suggest trying the Altus Azumi. I tried all of the flutes that you listed (except the Yamaha) and ended up going with the Azumi.

One thing to be aware of: in my experience, the more resistant flutes that make the low notes easy tend to be more difficult to shape and to play cleanly in the third octave. The Azumi is a relatively free-blowing flute, but I found it to be by far the most flexible of all those I tried.
I believe there is a Miyazawa at around 3k, so I may look into this if I decide to stretch the budget. Thanks for your thoughts on the Altus. This was on my list but their demo was out, so this will have to be part of round 2. I did not find the Dizhao to be more difficult up high, in spite of being the most responsive down low. My reservation about it is its rather subdued quality. The Yamaha actually feels the most solid in terms of build quality in the body. On the others the extra dough goes into the head joint.
 

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Well that Yamaha is sort of a step-up student model so it may have a bit beefier feel. There are tons of these as well as lightly used YFL 4XX flutes for sale at well under $1500 so I'd be hard pressed to pay that for a new one. Haven't played a Powell but the one Hayne Amadeus I tried I wasn't impressed by. I've played a few Di Zhaos and nearly bought a heavy-walled Handmade a couple years back. I've liked most of these and found they sort of "punch above their weight" so to speak when it comes to comparable price points. The real question is how reliable and dependable over the long haul will they be and how well will they hold their value in terms of resale if that's a concern.

Overall there are so many nice used flutes out there that I can't see buying a new one unless you are totally thrilled with it. If you're patient you can find some really nice instruments in that $1800 - $2500 range.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2009
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I have four flutes on demo for the Flute Center of New York (great resource this is). They are:

Yamaha 362
Haynes Amadeus 680 (this one has a split E mechanism)
Powell Sonare 501
Di Zhao 700


The Yamaha is the least expensive at about 1500 retail, the others are in the 2k range (the DiZhao is more but if I were to go in this direction I'd probably get the 600 which is the same minus pointed arms and a wooden box, which I have to say is gorgeous). I am considering upgrading from my Gemeinhardt 3 which has served me well since I started two years ago but whose limitations in terms of responsiveness have become apparent.

After a couple hours of rotating between the four, here are my findings:

The Yamaha, as one would expect from anything Yamaha, has great ergonomics. I would describe the sound as focused but a little hollow, dull perhaps. Playing it so far has not sparked joy.​
The Amadeus felt a little loose and squishy, at least in comparison to the Yamaha, and for some reason my finger kept hitting one of the key arms, which I've never experienced before. Tonally I got not thrill from this one, although it is more open sounding than the Yamaha. The split E does make a difference, though for me F# rather than E is usually the problem note in the third octave.​
The Powell could be described as "free blowing," to use a sax term. I found the third octave easier to play than the other two, and I found the keywork to be comparable to the Yamaha, although the E flat felt a little strange. My first thought after running through a couple piece was "this is the one."​
But man, the Dizhao has a nice looking box. It also has the darkest, prettiest tone of the bunch and has the most clarity and volume in the low octave. At first I thought the Powell felt the most nimble, but after going back and forth between the two I decided that this is not really the case.​

Going back and forth like this is to a good way to evaluate, though. I need to spend time with each one, doing an ordinary practice routine. And even then I might vote for none of the above. All of four are better than my current flute, but to pay retail for an instrument I have to be ready to marry it. My interest is also piqued by the Yamaha 500 series, which are handmade. A new 577 is close to 3k, which is outside my comfort zone, but I could look for a used one.

Any thoughts?
I just ditched my sonore 702 with auromite head for the Di Zaho 700. I bought mine at a place in sacramento. They had it marked down from 2800 to 2500. I told them I'd pay them 2K out the door and they took 15 secs to say yes. so if you really like it I'd find someone selling it cheaper and then use that price point to bargain down. then I ;put a yamaha E head on it and Im in heaven. But never take prices at face value. Every headjoint (used) Ive bought has had a signifcant markdown. So good luck. Thats my flute and I think its stands up to -flutes i"ve tried in the 5K range. Actually my sonore was 5K marked down to 3600 and then I sold it for 2500 a year later. Man used is the deal. K
 

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Selmer La Voix II alto, Yamaha YTS-21 tenor, Gemeinhardt 3OB flute
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Discussion Starter #8
Well that Yamaha is sort of a step-up student model so it may have a bit beefier feel. There are tons of these as well as lightly used YFL 4XX flutes for sale at well under $1500 so I'd be hard pressed to pay that for a new one. Haven't played a Powell but the one Hayne Amadeus I tried I wasn't impressed by. I've played a few Di Zhaos and nearly bought a heavy-walled Handmade a couple years back. I've liked most of these and found they sort of "punch above their weight" so to speak when it comes to comparable price points. The real question is how reliable and dependable over the long haul will they be and how well will they hold their value in terms of resale if that's a concern.

Overall there are so many nice used flutes out there that I can't see buying a new one unless you are totally thrilled with it. If you're patient you can find some really nice instruments in that $1800 - $2500 range.
Agreed. I’m leaning in the direction of buying used. I do like the Di Zhao 700 in terms of playability and sound, but the build quality strikes me as so so for reasons I’m not expert enough to pinpoint.
 

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Agreed. I’m leaning in the direction of buying used. I do like the Di Zhao 700 in terms of playability and sound, but the build quality strikes me as so so for reasons I’m not expert enough to pinpoint.
I had a 500 that I ;played alot a few years ago before I jumped to the Auramite powell 700. What sold me (and I was looking at saxes not flutes at the time) was I played the di zaho briefly , grabbed my flute (the powell with a rodger young african blackwood head) and for an hour everytime I did an AB I thought the di zaho with stock head was the best I ever sounded in my life. I decided that i would spend 2K on a really good head joint so thats what I was will to pay for the di zaho. So I did, sold my powell for 2500 and got better flute and 500 toward the inevetablle head upgrade. Bear in mind I'm 66 so Im not looking at 20 years of playing. Just the best I can sound for the next 10 K
 

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I had a 500 that I ;played alot a few years ago before I jumped to the Auramite powell 700. What sold me (and I was looking at saxes not flutes at the time) was I played the di zaho briefly , grabbed my flute (the powell with a rodger young african blackwood head) and for an hour everytime I did an AB I thought the di zaho with stock head was the best I ever sounded in my life. I decided that i would spend 2K on a really good head joint so thats what I was will to pay for the di zaho. So I did, sold my powell for 2500 and got better flute and 500 toward the inevetablle head upgrade. Bear in mind I'm 66 so Im not looking at 20 years of playing. Just the best I can sound for the next 10 K
And im not a heavy player. Good intermediate and I can play 3 hours of memorized music and solo for a solo duo gig. K
 

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Hey Keith! After you and I have had our vaccinations (hope that isn't too long now) you'll have to try out my Yamaha 681 with the EC headjoint.
 

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+1 for the Azumi as a solid built modern flute with a good headjoint
 

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You might want to look at the Altus, the Sankyo and the Miyazawa, for good examples of modern Japanese flutes.
 

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FWIW, I bought a used YFL561 heavy wall with an EC headjoint about 5 years ago and paid $1900. It’s a quite early one, and it plays amazing actually.
 

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Selmer La Voix II alto, Yamaha YTS-21 tenor, Gemeinhardt 3OB flute
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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks to everybody for the suggestions. Since starting the thread, I've actually made a deal on a used (completely overhauled) Altus 907. Haven't played it but I'm confident I will like it, and I won't be worried about what more I could have gotten for the money.
 

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Keilwerth saxes (S/A/T), Selmer clarinets (S/B), Altus Azumi flute
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Awesome! Good luck with it, and be sure to let us know what you think of it when you get it.
 

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Selmer La Voix II alto, Yamaha YTS-21 tenor, Gemeinhardt 3OB flute
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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Awesome! Good luck with it, and be sure to let us know what you think of it when you get it.
Thank you! I will give a full report ASAP. One thing the demo process has revealed is that my Gemeinhardt is out of whack. It's been through a couple years of regular use and is due for some work, but this wouldn't be worth the cost relative to the quality of the flute. It has personal value because it was a gift from my wife and is the reason I started playing the flute, and then sax. Was sort of my destiny, perhaps. Here's the full story, which some folks may enjoy reading.
My Uncle's Flute
 

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Nice story, very well written. I ended up with my uncle's jazz record collection and his clarinet in a very similar fashion but that was back in the early '90s. When I started to double on clarinet I took my first few lessons with that horn but found a Buffet that was a lot less stuffy within a few months. It was a Penzel Mueller and I think it's still living in a closet at my parent's place. I'll have to take a look for it the next time I'm there.
 

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Selmer La Voix II alto, Yamaha YTS-21 tenor, Gemeinhardt 3OB flute
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Discussion Starter #19
Nice story, very well written. I ended up with my uncle's jazz record collection and his clarinet in a very similar fashion but that was back in the early '90s. When I started to double on clarinet I took my first few lessons with that horn but found a Buffet that was a lot less stuffy within a few months. It was a Penzel Mueller and I think it's still living in a closet at my parent's place. I'll have to take a look for it the next time I'm there.
Thank you! I'm glad your uncle's record collection fared better than mine. The small portion that survived is a real tease. Regarding the clarinets, the instruments with the most personal meaning are unfortunately not always the best to actually play. But it's nice to have them as relics. As a counterexample, I have a friend's great grandfather's Hohner Old Standby harmonica, which must be from the earliest 20th century. It's amazing.
 

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Hey Keith! After you and I have had our vaccinations (hope that isn't too long now) you'll have to try out my Yamaha 681 with the EC headjoint.
love to Blain k
 
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