9K vs 14K Aurumite

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9K vs 14K Aurumite

Post by fsm » Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:52 pm

I have an Altus 1407 sterling flute which (for reasons lets not get into) I need to replace the headjoint on.

I've tried many, including the Powell 14K Aurumite which is my favorite so far. So now I'm wondering about the wisdom of getting just the headjoint and whether I should look into just getting a new (or used) Powell. I could probably swing the 9K Powell, but the 14K seems a little out of my price range.

Obviously I have to go try them -- but what is the practical difference between the 9K and 14K? In terms of aesthetics, I know that the 9K is gold on the outside and the 14K on the inside. That doesn't really make sense to me; if the 9K is silver inside, doesn't it just sound like the silver models (not that that would be a bad thing...)?

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Re: 9K vs 14K Aurumite

Post by pied_piper » Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:36 pm

The topic of materials comes up quite often, but frankly scientific studies have shown that the material a flute is made from has no impact upon its sound. The statement that gold sounds better is a frequently heard urban legend. The characteristic sound of any given flute is determined by geometry, not material. The sound is affected by the embouchure cut, the headjoint taper, and the bore of the flute. That said, some people find that the material may make a difference to the player's perception of sound, so indirectly, the player may make subtle embouchure adjustments which in turn change the sound. If you like gold, it may subconsciously make you feel good and therefore play better. :shock:

That said, I play a 14K gold head on my silver flute. After my statements above, that may seem hypocritical, but I chose my headjoint not because of the material it was made from but rather for the embouchure cut on this particular headjoint. This one gave me the flexibilty, projection and sound that I wanted.

My suggestion to you is to try as many different headjoints as you possibly can and have someone else put it on your flute while you are blindfolded so that you are not influenced by the material or appearance. Rate each one as you put each thru the same paces playing the exact same music on each headjoint. After doing that, buy the one that sounds and feels best to you while you are playing it. Also have an objective listener or two listen and rate the sound. Afterward, I compared the scores. That is how I ended up picking my headjoint and I've had zero regrets. The material never entered into consideration when I chose it.

However, there is one benefit to a gold headjoint or flute - it won't tarnish like silver. :D
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."

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