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.
I've heard a Maesta and love it's sound signature. Have yet to get play one.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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