An area woodwind repair lady hosted a flute party this weekend. The lady I encountered making flyers said there'd be lots of upper-tier flutes to try out (and buy), some piccs, and lots of flute stuff. Well, at least the first two were right.
I did get to play on a $11,+++ Altus and Miyazawa. They both had lovely tone and played very easily low C to high A (despite being cold). To my ear the Miya had a little nicer tone. However, neither seemed $6000 better than my Yami. Sorry, no sale. Besides that I'm not looking to upgrade my flute. I'm saving for a treble instead!
Also played a Hammig picc with the wings. Hate them. HATE them. They touched my upper lip and were just really way weird. Made it halfway through a scale before quitting 'cause I hated the wings so much. The rep explained they do help focus the air and make it easier for players to switch between flute and picc. And since I've been doing so since 6th grade (eh-hm years ago ) I'm more than fully comfortable doing that, so the wings serve no purpose for me. Except apparently to irritate the snot outta me.
HOWEVER (and the point of this thread)--my picc-friend who went with me tried out a LeFreque thingy on her flute. I know this has been discussed here in the past, and called the instrumental equivalent of snake oil. Well, I *could* hear a difference in her tone with the thing on. Definitely was brighter without it. And she felt that her high notes were easier to play, esp soft. She also tried the picc with one, which I thought made a bigger difference in toning down the brightness.
Me, I didn't have any of my horns along, and don't live close enough to book it home for them like my friend could. So I have to reserve personal experience until after next year's flute party. But I'm concluding that this isn't totally snake oil. Now, it could depend completely on the player. I would call her an advanced player, not a pro but much better than just an intermediate (in the camera world she'd be a prosumer, ha). Or it could depend on the horn. Both hers are Haynes solid silver that she bought used back in 1948. But I could hear a very audible difference with and without. She was pleased enough she bought the flute one, and is keeping the picc in mind for next year.
Just wanted to post my opinion on the LeFreque thingy.