Valgon Rings and Foster Extensions

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flutepicc06
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Valgon Rings and Foster Extensions

Post by flutepicc06 » Sun Aug 26, 2007 5:09 pm

I'm interested to know what any of you who may have tried Valgon Rings or Foster extensions on your flutes think of them. I recently encountered both at the NFA convention in Albuquerque, and I'd like to hear your opinions. I've already formed my own ideas about both, but for the sake of not biasing the conversation, I'll reserve my thoughts for later. I looking forward to reading your ideas on the topic! :)

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sidekicker
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Post by sidekicker » Sun Aug 26, 2007 5:56 pm

I tried the Foster extensions once last year and really couldn't tell a difference. The theory behind them is fascinating and, although I'm no specialist in such things, seems pretty sound. I just couldn't recognise any change in my flute sound or pitch. I've not tried the Valgon Rings, though, so can't offer an opinion there. But -- as most everyone knows on here -- I'm not really one who hops toward new flute gimmicks very quickly (or at all :-)).

SK

fluttiegurl
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Post by fluttiegurl » Sun Aug 26, 2007 7:06 pm

I have tried Valgon rings and did not notice a difference, even though the sales guy was trying to convince me otherwise. Just something else to get flute players to spend their money. Hard work in the practice room would be free and much more useful. My opinion.

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Iolaus
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Post by Iolaus » Sun Aug 26, 2007 11:09 pm

I couldn't bring myself to try them; they were just too funny looking!

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sidekicker
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Post by sidekicker » Mon Aug 27, 2007 5:43 am

fluttiegurl wrote:Hard work in the practice room would be free and much more useful. My opinion.
That was my impression as well, along with perhaps investing in a better headjoint to achieve much more than the acoustical "correction" that is supposed to happen with the Foster. I also did not like how they look on the flute, personally.

Good pitch is certainly something, IMO, that shouldn't require a gimmicky (and very expensive, I might add) apparatus; healthy practise techniques and a tuner should take care of that. As far as darkening the sound or getting a fuller projection, that too (IMO) can be accomplished through practise and maybe getting another headjoint (which -- depending on options and metals -- would give additional benefits like a wider colour palette, crisper articulation, greater dynamic ranges, etc.). But, again, I noticed absolutely no difference in any respect when I tried the Foster. I gather that if it works at all, it's going to be flute specific.

Just my opinion, and only with regard to the Foster; I haven't tried the Valgon rings.

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fluteguy18
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Post by fluteguy18 » Mon Aug 27, 2007 11:01 am

At the risk of sounding ignorant.... can someone explain what these things are, and what they are *supposed* to do? I was reading FluteTalk this morning, and the Foster extensions were advertised, but not explained....

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sidekicker
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Post by sidekicker » Mon Aug 27, 2007 12:05 pm

Not ignorant at all. I hadn't heard of them either until someone asked me to try them last year. Here is some info on the Foster:

http://www.flute4u.com/Foster_Extension.html

SK

fluteguy18
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Post by fluteguy18 » Mon Aug 27, 2007 1:43 pm

Hmm.... interesting..... I will definately try them if given the chance.... but sounds like another way to waste money [as if we dont spend enough money on flutes as it is]. :wink:

FLflutist
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Post by FLflutist » Mon Aug 27, 2007 5:29 pm

I saw them on Fluteworld and was going to ask if they actually worked.

Wasn't going to buy them anyways :P

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flutepicc06
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Post by flutepicc06 » Thu Aug 30, 2007 9:53 pm

Well, now that any discussion of Valgon rings and Foster extensions has died down, I thought I'd give my $.02...

When it comes to the rings, I can't say I buy the marketing jibberish about WHY Valgon rings work (frankly, the theory seems very unsound to me), but they certainly seem to have an impact. After some blind testing of the Valgon rings (including among the testers a university professor, several of her students, a recording artist from out CA way, and myself), the consensus seems to be that they definitely change the feel of the flute for the player (most reported feeling some increase in resistance), but perhaps more importantly, they can make subtle differences to the sound, and oddly enough, effect projection (the university professor described it as making the player seem as if they had portable acoustic shells around them that just shot the sound out to the audience). They're really rather neat little gadgets, IMO, though they certainly aren't suitable for every instance.I would think as a soloist or in a chamber setting, they could be very useful.

As for the Foster extensions, I was far less impressed, though there was a subtle difference there too, mostly in where the sound seemed to originate (it seemed to move the sound off to the right of the player). If it weren't for the $700 price tag, I would be far more willing to experiment with them, but as it is, I don't consider them particularly useful, and the impact (being rather minimal) certainly is not worth the cost (at least in my mind).

I certainly agree that these products are no substitute for good old fashioned practice, but my personal opinion is that it never hurts to augment the results of good practice if possible.

fluteguy18
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Post by fluteguy18 » Fri Aug 31, 2007 11:24 am

Valgon rings.... hmmm..... very interesting. I will probably try to give those a whirl at next year's convention. If they work [for me that is, because they might not work for everyone] I can think of several situations to use it..... like several of my solos in Brahm's 2nd Symphony for example....

wkzh
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Post by wkzh » Fri May 14, 2010 4:02 am

Hey first post!

IMHO, what the Foster Extensions do is to alter the available resonances of the flute body. If you're a mad flautist who loves screaming those altissimos (like me), and you fiddle around with the foot, you'll know that adding a bit of tubing, or closing some random tonehole, would cause enough change to the resonance to substantially affect (or destroy) the response of that note.

In fact, the third octave is also be affected by it. For example, high A has a very poor response when the D# tone hole is closed. What about notes like G or E? So although the extension might not affect the tone substantially, it may have a substantial effect on the response of certain notes.

For myself? I stick a paper tube at the end for no-good-reason fun sometimes, courtesy of some random workshop idea. I wouldn't buy a Foster extension: if you really want those resonances, why not custom order an extended footjoint? No point adding a B tone hole when you can't reach Bb. Of course, the $$$ is a restriction. If so, I suppose any random material would have the same effect, no need for fancy metals. Of course, scratching is one problem, but I'm pretty sure PVC's softer than work-hardened Sterling silver.

As for the Valgon Rings, I think it has to do with the radiation of sound. But again, if you're going to increase the radiation, merely attaching small metal rings to the end is just not enough to justify your intentions. Add a bell? Attach a radiation plate? I wonder if adding a second "sympathetic flute" might do some good... definitely more expensive, though! Double flute + interlinkages, wow-whee.

In short, exceed what's available on the market if you can. Of course, if you lack the expertise, just buy what you can't make.

kz
The flute family: probing the lower limit of human hearing and the upper limit of human tolerance.

dddiam
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Re: Valgon Rings and Foster Extensions

Post by dddiam » Wed Feb 11, 2015 9:48 am

My flute coach uses two Foster extensions (stacked) on her Brannen-Cooper flute (with "C" footjoint).

I can attest that there is a significant increase in volume and projection when she uses the extensions.

She uses the extensions when she needs to stand out or project, such as when leading an ensemble. She removes them for softer situations, such as when playing a duet with a harpist.

David D.

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