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UPGRADING FLUTE- DIFFERENT FLUTE BRANDS

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flutistfantasy
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2013 6:46 am

UPGRADING FLUTE- DIFFERENT FLUTE BRANDS

Postby flutistfantasy » Thu Jun 27, 2013 7:08 am

Hi there,
I've been playing the flute for around 6 years and for my upcoming ABRSM Grade 8 exam, I am thinking of upgrading my flute. My current flute is Yamaha 281 model (open hole, nickel-silver, c foot) and although it is an amazing instrument I find that it lacks a sweet tone and a flute repairer suggested overhauling it as there were many things to fix.

So, I have narrowed down my choice to 2 flutes: Powell Sonare SF-75 model & Muramatsu EX.
The Powell Sonare is all solid silver (head,body,foot) and has a Powell Signature Headjoint. The Muramatsu EX is silver headjoint, silver-plated body as far as I know.
The listed price for Powell Sonare (according to Flute Center of New York website) is $3999 and list price for Muramatsu EX is $3900. So price-wise, there is not much difference but here is the thing. I live in Australia and there aren't many flute shops around here. The one that is closest to me (also has the widest range of flutes in Australia) does not sell the Muramatsu Ex and the Sonare SF-75 model. I would love to take a plane to America or Japan to buy a flute at their store, but the plane-ticket price is a bit too much :/ So I went on many online flute websites (including eBay) and found out that there was a store (dominicsmusic) who was selling the SF-75 for around $2000 including shipping costs. I had many doubts about this store even though they had 100% rating and great reviews so I requested explicit photos of its body and headjoint. It's body is made in Germany (they changed from China to Germany, I think.) and headjoint in Boston. I think it's a pretty good deal as I found a SF-6 model for around the same price and more at my local flute store. Everything here is basically a rip-off! I've heard many pros and cons about the Sonare..

Anyways, with the Muramatsu EX the cheapest I could find online was around $3000 without shipping costs. Does anyone know any sites with a cheaper price? It would be greatly appreciated. I've heard great things about Muramatsu EX and I'm a bit hesitant about its silver plated body. Does the silver plating wear off quickly? I'm planning to use this flute for at least 6 years. I would have gone with the Muramatsu EX except I realised that if the headjoint matters the most, why not go with Sonare (which has all solid body with plated keys) and save $1000 so I can save for a better headjoint? This is a bit risky as I have doubts about the Sonare body but still, it's solid silver.

Sorry for talking so much..but anyways my point is: MURAMATSU EX OR POWELL SONARE SF-75? And any experience with these flutes or anything you've heard of them. I know that it's a much better idea to try both of them and see for myself which one is better. But I cannot do that and people in these online shops will not let me have a trial (shipping costs are horrible). Please, if you know of any good online stores that sell these flutes, tell me! And please tell me any other good flute models (intermediate~semi professional) around the same price ($3000?) that would be worth looking into.

Thank you so much!

evrmre
Posts: 99
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2012 2:22 am

Re: UPGRADING FLUTE- DIFFERENT FLUTE BRANDS

Postby evrmre » Sat Jun 29, 2013 9:37 pm

About all I can offer is that I've tried the EX, and fell in love. Sweetest sound and easiest playing flute I've ever picked up, right through the whole range. I've not tried the Sonare, so I just can't compare. They only had Azumi, Pearl, and Altus in store at the time (None came even close).

Having said that, I'd be a little surprised if there isn't someone in Oz who would have both flutes in stock, and be willing to send them out to try. I'm in NZ (chch), and was able to try the EX locally, so they are around. I didn't ask about the Sonare, but I suspect the shop could have sorted something out if I had. At that sort of price, I'd be expecting a little bit of effort from the stores to get them sold...

The chain here who had the EX was KBB music. They might have some suggestions on who is the agent in Oz for the two brands, and how to get them to try, if you have no luck with your local stores.

I'd estimate that the choice is going to come down to playing them, unfortunately. Each player is just a little too different for it to be anything but a gamble otherwise.

flutistfantasy
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2013 6:46 am

Re: UPGRADING FLUTE- DIFFERENT FLUTE BRANDS

Postby flutistfantasy » Sun Jun 30, 2013 2:47 am

About all I can offer is that I've tried the EX, and fell in love. Sweetest sound and easiest playing flute I've ever picked up, right through the whole range. I've not tried the Sonare, so I just can't compare. They only had Azumi, Pearl, and Altus in store at the time (None came even close).

Having said that, I'd be a little surprised if there isn't someone in Oz who would have both flutes in stock, and be willing to send them out to try. I'm in NZ (chch), and was able to try the EX locally, so they are around. I didn't ask about the Sonare, but I suspect the shop could have sorted something out if I had. At that sort of price, I'd be expecting a little bit of effort from the stores to get them sold...

The chain here who had the EX was KBB music. They might have some suggestions on who is the agent in Oz for the two brands, and how to get them to try, if you have no luck with your local stores.

I'd estimate that the choice is going to come down to playing them, unfortunately. Each player is just a little too different for it to be anything but a gamble otherwise.


Hi, thank you so much for your reply! I've just re-checked Oz Winds and their store online and no, they didn't have any Sonares or Muramatsu.
A bit of disappointment here and there, but I'll keep looking! Thanks.

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pied_piper
Posts: 1615
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2007 1:31 pm
Location: Virginia

Re: UPGRADING FLUTE- DIFFERENT FLUTE BRANDS

Postby pied_piper » Sun Jun 30, 2013 11:13 am

Try these:

Muramatsu
AUSTRALIA WORLDWIND MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS AUSTRALIA PTY.LTD.
Mr.Mark O'Connor
Suite 1/111 Moore Street, Leichhardt, Sydney, N.S.W. 2040, AUSTRALIA Tel : (02) 9564 1233
Fax : (02) 9560 9497
e-mail : admin@worldwind.org
website : http://www.worldwind.org

Powell/Sonare
Flutes and Flutists Pty Limited
140 Sailors Bay Road
2063 Northbridge NSW
Australia
Phone: 011 +61 2 8006 5345
This dealer also carries Sonaré products
david@leviston.net
http://www.flutesandflutists.com
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
--anonymous--

fluteguy18
Posts: 2298
Joined: Sun Jul 16, 2006 3:11 pm

Re: UPGRADING FLUTE- DIFFERENT FLUTE BRANDS

Postby fluteguy18 » Sun Jun 30, 2013 12:36 pm

To be completely honest you can't really compare these flutes in my opinion. You're comparing a flute with an intermediate level body with a pro-level headjoint (the Sonare) to a entry level professional body with a pro level headjoint (the Muramatsu). There's no comparison between the two in craftsmanship and in the long run the Muramatsu will outplay the Sonare once you achieve the skill level to truly appreciate and prove the differences.

Yes, the Sonare has the solid silver body but the craftsmanship of the Muramatsu is in another league entirely. The price tag reflects that. You're paying for materials on the Sonare but the skilled manufacturing of the Muramatsu.

That being said, neither are poor flutes. In fact they're both really great. They merely serve different kinds of players at different skill levels at different price points. The Sonare usually sells for about $2999 USD. They used to sell near the $4k range until discount dealers started slashing prices to increase competition (and to give the buyer a feeling of getting a great deal). I personally feel the discounted price is the more accurate value of the Sonare.

What I recommend is finding a way to test play them before you make a purchase to see which one you like the best. But if I had to make a blind decision and purchase without trying (which is NOT a good idea) I would buy the Muramatsu.

PiccoloBoy14
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2013 1:08 am
Location: Ohio

Re: UPGRADING FLUTE- DIFFERENT FLUTE BRANDS

Postby PiccoloBoy14 » Sat Jul 06, 2013 4:09 am

Have you tried the Pearl Flutes at all? I have an Elegante 795 RBCD and I love it. It's solid silver and has an inline G, a D# roller, and a C# trill. All for the price of 2668.80 USD. It's quite lovely for me. If you have not tried it and are still looking, you should give it a shot. Each to his own of course. I like it. You may not.

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flutego12
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Location: Southern Hemisphere, Earth

Re: UPGRADING FLUTE- DIFFERENT FLUTE BRANDS

Postby flutego12 » Sun Jul 07, 2013 5:55 am

Have you tried the Pearl Flutes at all? I have an Elegante 795 RBCD and I love it. It's solid silver and has an inline G, a D# roller, and a C# trill. All for the price of 2668.80 USD. It's quite lovely for me. If you have not tried it and are still looking, you should give it a shot. Each to his own of course. I like it. You may not.
I've heard a Maesta and love it's sound signature. Have yet to get play one.
flutist with a screwdriver

chengerz
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2013 8:22 pm

Re: UPGRADING FLUTE- DIFFERENT FLUTE BRANDS

Postby chengerz » Sat Sep 14, 2013 12:53 pm

I've used to own a Ps-705, and I saw my current EX as an upgrade, even though the Sonare had a 14K Aurumite headjoint. The mechanism on the Sonare was too fluttery for my liking and although it made a nice sound, the tone I got from it wasn't as consistent as I could have liked. Everything is better about the Muramatsu except the plating on the body tarnished really quickly. But I don't mind that, because ultimately it's a better flute in every other aspect.

verona6708
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2015 1:48 pm

Re: UPGRADING FLUTE- DIFFERENT FLUTE BRANDS

Postby verona6708 » Mon Nov 23, 2015 1:50 pm

I have had a sonare flute for the last 6 years. The metal on the keys started to react with the case that came with the flute and it started to tarnish badly. After I had it for about a year, I sent it to them to have the tarnish taken off (which they said would be an easy fix for just over $100). My flute was returned 2 months later with very little difference in the tarnish, but they charged me about $500. Their excuse was they believed that I wanted more done on it (replacing perfectly good pads, replacing all the corks and some screws). I called and sent emails about this to them, and I was given responses from a computer, or a "we will get back to you about a refund". They never got back to me, so when I contacted them again, I was given the same response. I also heard from people that the alloys in the flutes were not the best and too pliable. I opened my case to start practicing and after lightly cleaning off the flute with a cleaning cloth, the a flat key broke off at the rod. I take good care of my flute, had yearly COAs, but this brand and company has let me down constantly. Do yourself a favor and don't buy a sonare flute.

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pied_piper
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Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2007 1:31 pm
Location: Virginia

Re: UPGRADING FLUTE- DIFFERENT FLUTE BRANDS

Postby pied_piper » Mon Nov 23, 2015 11:44 pm

Powell has a good reputation for customer service. Did you deal directly with Powell or a dealer for that work?
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
--anonymous--

bellyjaby
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2016 7:41 pm

Re: UPGRADING FLUTE- DIFFERENT FLUTE BRANDS

Postby bellyjaby » Sat Jan 23, 2016 8:04 pm

Normally I wouldn't give recommendations on which instrument is best but in this case it is not a like for like ccomparison. The EX is a vastly, vastly superior instrument. The sonares are parr of the step up range of instruments (a category of flutes that either contains beginner level instruments made from precious metal or a handmade headjoint on a cheap mass-produced body). If your current flute can be serviced to play well you'd be much better just upgrading the headjoint rather than buying the sonare (which would need upgrading again pretty soon if you're serious about progressing). The muramatsu, however, is an entirely different beast, with a sublime mechanism and headjoints as good as any. A Muramatsu made from recycled bean cans would knock spots off any step-up flutes. The Altus 807, which only has a solid silver lip plate and riser, is also a superb instrument and feels and plays just as well as the solid silver version (I know that one very well-known pro plays one of these, so don't be fooled by the term "intermediate" as these are professional quality instruments and would keep the majority of advanced players happy for life). More precious metal doesn't necessarily equate to better instrument. Other brands in the intermediate/entry-pro bracket worth looking at are altus, sankyo, pearl (695 Dolce and above), Yamaha (500 series and above), Haynes, Miyazawa. At this level there is no one-size-fits all as it's a bit like finding the best pair of running shoes - we all have different physiological requirements. If I had to pick one that would be most likely to suit most players it would probably be the muramatsu but I wouldn't recommend buying blind. Open-hole, closed hole, off-set G, inline G (which usually only comes as open hole without an E mechanism) are down to personal choice too. With good maintenance these instruments should keep going as long as you want them to and you can always upgrade with a super-duper handmade headjoint later (Ian McLauchlan has opened up a whole new musical world to me in this respect). Enjoy finding your new flute!


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