Different sound through different pads ?

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Benjahmin
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Different sound through different pads ?

Post by Benjahmin » Fri Jun 25, 2010 3:53 pm

Hi together !

This question might be for the real sensitive ones who might hear the difference:

When I learned to repair woodwinds, I was taught two general ways to repad a flute 1) the "Dry Padding" which eventually needs a lot of very precise papershimming beneath the pads but leaves them with a smooth and even surface.......2) "Wet" or "Hot" padding, which has the pad soaked in water a bit, then heated and clamped to obtain the ringformed imprint of the keyhole.

Now technically I prefer the dry pads without the imprint, simply through the idea that they will last longer ( not having been stretched over the keyhole to form that imprint) and also since I somehow feel, they are faster to play, have less skin-area touching the keyhole and also have less tendency to become sticky.
On the other side, pads with an imprint seem safer concerning leakages, they are faster to install ( and thus cheaper ).

The actual argument was though, that even pads are preferred by classical flutists, because they SOUND different, have a different accoustic-reflection.
Well, I guess, most of us know, that there is hardly as much rumours, hearsay and ""magic"" up to religious faiths and superstition anywhere else than in musical instruments
and many of the different views are simply a matter of taste and feeling.

Saxplayers for example can fight wars about what a difference their Pads make, wether they have plastic - or metal resonators,round or even starshaped....leather or neoprene, and Yes, it does in fact make a SLIGHT difference, but none that I would pay a penny more or less for. Other factors are much more important there.

So concerning the flutepads > Is there actually a difference in sound that anyone would REALISE to make a difference, or is this too rather a question of liking and individual preference ?

And by the way, since I m into the pads anyhow: Has anyone ever tried Sponge-, or Neoprene-Pads in their Flute ( Pisoni or Toptones ) ?
I know that Piccolos like the Pisonis once in a while, but I can't really imagine either in a "normal" flute.......do they make any sense at all ? Not that I want to try them, I'm simply interested in the matter , since I've had most of them on a sax by now and allways returned to the traditional pads in the end.



Thanks!

Benjahmin

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Post by fluteguy18 » Fri Jun 25, 2010 10:30 pm

With flute pads and the dry/wet padding techniques you are usually dealing with two different kinds of pads. Wet padding is done with thick and soft felt pads. Dry padding is done with thin and hard felt pads. They are all covered with a skin. There are of course a variety of pad types (felt, synthetic, silicone, gold blah blah blah) but let's just stick to basic felt pads.

Hard felt pads do not have a lot of 'give' or cushion to them. They require very precise installation methods. Soft felt pads have more cushion to them and 'give' more than hard felt pads. Soft felt pads are usually used on student/low intermediate flutes for speed of installation through wet padding. Hard felt pads must be shimmed. They are usually very firm and very flat. they have minimal contact with the rim of the tonehole (in comparison to wet padded thick pads) and must be shimmed exactly.

Under the fingers, there is a certain difference in feel (to me) between the pads. The thick/soft pads generally have a lot of microscopic leaks (even when sealing well) in comparison to high quality hard/thin pads. This I think is because of the wet padding method. It is less precise. So, assuming both flutes are of equal quality, and are padded perfectly, a flute with hard/thin pads will play better than a flute with the soft/thick pads.

There is also a matter of distance between the pad and the tonehole. Thick/soft pads stick out from the key cup further than their thin/hard counterparts.

I am not however a 'pro' repairman. I do what I can, when I can/want in terms of repair. If I am mistaken, I am sure that someone will correct me.

Benjahmin
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Post by Benjahmin » Sat Jun 26, 2010 12:08 pm

@Fluteguy 18

Yep! I catch the idea of a different ""Feel"' of playing thicker or thinner pads, and yes, installing them ( wet or dry) is a different story each.

I never heard about those tiny leaks imprinted pads are supposed to have, making the even ones actually play better in comparison, which is then, why I suppose they are said to "sound" better.

Nice Theory.....makes sense to me !

Thanks

Benjahmin

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pied_piper
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Post by pied_piper » Sat Jun 26, 2010 8:31 pm

Regarding pad types and padding techniques, for felt pads the firmer (hard) pads are made from needle felt while the softer pads are made from woven felt. Padding with firm pads definitely takes more work but generally provides the superior result. Softer pads also have to be shimmed, but the tolerance is much greater, so it requires fewer cycles of using a feeler to check for leaks and removing the key/pad to insert or remove shims. With firm pads, it is typical to use shims of even .0005 inch thickness to get the proper pad-to-tonehole coverage 360 degrees around the pad. With the softer pads, such precision is not needed due to the "give" of the softer felt. The softer pads are often moistened, clamped, and then heated until dry. Some techs instead use steam to seat the softer pads while clamped.

If the job is done correctly, the soft pads should not leak any more than the firm pads. The problem with this technique, however, is that the water/heat/clamp technique does not hold the pad seat impression forever. Over time, the softer felt will tend to return to its previous shape and therefore leaks can occur sooner than with the more precise seating done with firm pads.

Also, there is a definite difference to the feel of firm vs. soft pads. When firm pads are used, the touch required to close a key has a more precise feel to it, whereas the softer pads may tend to feel a bit mushy to the touch. You can also hear a difference when the key is closed. With firm pads, briskly closing a key will result in a sort of "pop" sound. With softer pads, the sound is more of a "thunk". IMO, the firmer pads feel better to an experienced player and the sound produced by the flute is also "crisper" sounding, most likely the result of the firmer pad surface reflecting more of the sound waves rather than being absorbed by softer felt.

Over in another thread (New Guy Around) there was a discussion of cork and felt for key adjustments. Since I'm already responding to repair techniques, excuse me for continuing that discussion here. In the last few years there has been an evolution of the materials used. One example is the development of Tech Cork, which is a high quality composite cork that does not compress as readily as natural cork. Many repair technicians have started using this in lieu of natural cork. It costs only a little more than natural cork but seems far superior in durability.
http://www.musicmedic.com/catalog/produ ... k-200.html
http://www.jlsmithco.com/SYNTHETIC-CORK

Synthetic felt is also proving to be superior than standard wool felt for key adjustments and silencing.
http://www.jlsmithco.com/SHEET-FELT

Some other useful new materials (see applications in the links) include: laminated cork, ultra suede, sheet teflon, and pad leather.
http://www.jlsmithco.com/LEATHER-SUEDE-TEFLON
http://www.musicmedic.com/catalog/produ ... k-400.html
http://www.musicmedic.com/catalog/produ ... us100.html
http://www.musicmedic.com/catalog/produ ... l-100.html
http://www.musicmedic.com/catalog/produ ... -l100.html
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
--anonymous--

Benjahmin
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Post by Benjahmin » Sun Jun 27, 2010 2:57 pm

@ Pied_Piper

Yes, as I said, I get the idea of the different feeling of thick and thin pads. I personally don't really feel TOO much of a difference, since coming from the "heavy-duty- mechanisms" of the sax, my fingers might not have developed that sensivity yet, ;-) but definitely that difference does exist, since, here again, I know it from the rather large Sax-Pads, where it is definitely obvious to feel and even see. The same goes for the absorbtion of "sound" by thicker pads, though I wasn't sure wether it would make much of a difference on the rather tiny Flutepads.
But as You describe the whole thing, it seems quite similar in fact.


Anyhow, talking about "thick and thin" pads once more, maybe I should rather refer to "medium and thin" because the "thick" ones You may be talking about, which do not even give that "POP" when closed, are not used too much any more , are they ? I remember having pads about a 3.5mm or more thickness in the place I used to work, but they were hardly ever needed unless a very old flute came in for an overhaul.
Generally the range used to be around 2,5 - 2 and less, and they were all shimmed and set well leakproof even IF they were to be imprinted. Maybe that is, why the difference never occured too much to me, especially as I didn't really play the flute then anyhow, just enough to test them for technical function.

You're right ! Imprints have the tendency to flatten out again, but not really, when played regularily. In fact many pads with prints we got from students and schools had the imprints deepened and the skin torn right along it for beeing "overstretched", rather than it had come back up. This is exactly why I myself don't like the imprint in the first place.....and probably the thick pads from the start, which allow this, when thinking about it.
But the effect of the Padfelt expanding again is the same one I make use of in the keyjoint- felts, as I had described in the "new guy -thread"
If played regularily, it will keep perfect shape. If not, it will "regrow" and needs a short pressing, which is far easier to handle than adding pieces of paper or cork on a shrunken felt. The sewed felt, which You mention to be used in pads, is best for this job, by the way, since it is quite rigid and tight allready and lasts ages, when pressed again.
It is difficult to cut and trim precisely though, needs patient work by nailscissors or razorblade.

I've read a lot about the Teflon-tape to be a very good alternative, but never got to check it out yet. First of all it is not something to cross Your way easiliy here in Ethiopia
and also I'm doing quite fine with my feltbuffers and don't really see a need to change them.
But since You mention it, is the teflon rather soft, and absorbs Keynoise as well ? -( like felt does)- or does it allow the "Clicking" of the keys as paper or cork does ? By the way...yeah,I know the synthetic cork but I find it very difficult to adjust by sandpaper or other means. It must be cut EXACTLY to fit, which is not really easy.

I'm sort of allergic to any clicking or rattling of my keys, so that even IF I use cork for example, I like to add a piece of felt to one side.
So knowing teflon rather from frying pans, I imagine it to be rather hard and "clicky" (?)

But coming back to the topic: So the different sound, or the better approach towards it, which even pads provide, can be traced back to padthickness and airleaks or leakproof-seal of the pads rather than the actual surface-shape ( flat or ringed) ? .....>imagining that the halfround shape of the ringimprint makes the soundwaves curl back into the instrument, while the smooth pad allows it to reflect and ""slip out"" smoothly.....because this is what I heard some people argue, and from the technical point of view , couldn't imagine this idea to be too much of a cause....that s why put up this topic.

Since now, that I got serious about the flute, and I only have my own instrument, I don't have many possibilities of comparing and checking out for myself, as I could have done some years back and I also don't want to make the mistake of relating everything from the sax into the flute, so excuse me for asking strange questions once in a while ;-) ;-)

Thanks

Benjahmin

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pied_piper
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Post by pied_piper » Sun Jun 27, 2010 6:47 pm

Benjahmin

You are correct in your observation about pad thickness. Really thick pads (anything over 2.7 mm) were used on some older flutes. 2.7 mm is the thickest that I stock. If I run into a flute that needs thicker pads, I just add additional shims as needed.

Student flutes, in my experience, tend to go through periods of inactivity. For example, some students don't touch their flute over the summer break and that's when the impression begins to fade. In those cases, a simple re-moisten and clamp is usually all that's needed, at least until the next year.

The primary purpose of teflon sheet is to reduce friction, but it is not hard like on a teflon coated frying pan, so it does help to eliminate clicks. I'd describe it as a slick, rubbery texture. Its primary application is to help keys that slide over one another. On the flute there are not very many - one place it can be helpful is on flutes with a split E. Typically, the lever from the lower stack that closes the second G key slides over a bar on the G key to close it. Cork or felt is normally used on that lever, but those materials introduce friction that can make the mechanism a bit sluggish. In that instance, a small piece of teflon sheet can be applied to the lever to reduce friction and improve the performance of that key. If additional silencing or thicker material is needed, the teflon can be applied over cork.

On the topic of pads reflecting sound, because of the small surface area involved, the reflective (or non-reflective) properties of flute pads most likely have very minimal impact upon the final sound. For example, If you take two identical model flutes except that one is closed hole and the other is open hole, can you hear any difference in the sound of any given note? Closed hole flutes have metal pad retainers which are much more reflective of sound than the smaller grommet and open hole, but the size is so small that it contributes a negligible amount to the sound.
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
--anonymous--

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JButky
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Re: Different sound through different pads ?

Post by JButky » Sun Jun 27, 2010 8:29 pm

Benjahmin wrote:Hi together !

This question might be for the real sensitive ones who might hear the difference:



So concerning the flutepads > Is there actually a difference in sound that anyone would REALISE to make a difference, or is this too rather a question of liking and individual preference ?

And by the way, since I m into the pads anyhow: Has anyone ever tried Sponge-, or Neoprene-Pads in their Flute ( Pisoni or Toptones ) ?
I know that Piccolos like the Pisonis once in a while, but I can't really imagine either in a "normal" flute.......do they make any sense at all ? Not that I want to try them, I'm simply interested in the matter , since I've had most of them on a sax by now and allways returned to the traditional pads in the end.

Thanks!

Benjahmin
There is really no difference in sound for any of these pads.

A good technician through careful preparation can even make ANY type pad feel the same as any other. It's all in the preparation of the flute and understanding what you are dealing with and controlling all the variables for each and making them conform to specific ranges of tolerances.

Neoprene has never been a good conventional source of padding material. "Sponge" may be referring to one of two types on the market today, you would have to clarify. Both are laminated but one is open cell variety and the other is closed cell variety.

Flute pad installation can use any material, but a good technician must control (and understand) a whole bunch of variables, decide on the tolerances that are required, and then conform the pads, key cup setup and tone hole preparation to work within a cooperating set of tolerances.

If you can do that, it doesn't really matter what type of pad you use and even the most savvy player won't be able to tell the difference if you've worked at it to achieve that ultimate goal.
Joe B

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MissyHPhoenix
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Post by MissyHPhoenix » Mon Jun 28, 2010 8:58 am

FG18 mentioned the gold pads -- I have them on my Prima Sankyo and love them. However, I will be the first to admit that I haven't had a lot of experience with a wide range of different flutes, so I don't know if the pads really make a difference, or if it is simply that I love the flute! Does anybody else have the gold pads, and what do you think about them? I know some people think they are a gimmick; not sure about that, I am hoping that they will last longer than the regular pads, which is one of their big selling points.
Missy

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JButky
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Post by JButky » Mon Jun 28, 2010 11:00 am

MissyHPhoenix wrote:FG18 mentioned the gold pads -- I have them on my Prima Sankyo and love them. However, I will be the first to admit that I haven't had a lot of experience with a wide range of different flutes, so I don't know if the pads really make a difference, or if it is simply that I love the flute! Does anybody else have the gold pads, and what do you think about them? I know some people think they are a gimmick; not sure about that, I am hoping that they will last longer than the regular pads, which is one of their big selling points.
Pad life is largely dependent on more than one variable. The Flute's mechanism, the touch and care of the player, and the quality of installation all have an impact on how long a set of pads will optimally perform.

The JS gold pads are very nice pads though. If you like them, keep them!
Joe B

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cflutist
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Post by cflutist » Mon Jun 28, 2010 12:30 pm

What about Straub pads? Have read about issues with them in the past?

Been told that they will be installed on my new Brannen so I hope they will be okay.

Don't know what kind of pads Carolyn Nussbaum used on my Haynes. How does one tell what kind of pads are used?

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JButky
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Post by JButky » Mon Jun 28, 2010 3:54 pm

cflutist wrote:What about Straub pads? Have read about issues with them in the past?

Been told that they will be installed on my new Brannen so I hope they will be okay.

Don't know what kind of pads Carolyn Nussbaum used on my Haynes. How does one tell what kind of pads are used?
Most techs can usually tell by looking. All pads have issues...Which is why you have to keep up your maintenance.

People switch pads types more often than you would think. It's usually to balance out the way pads respond to the way they play. Some flute and pad combinations are just not good with any particular players touch.

Brand doesn't matter, every flute is individual too. If whatever pad you have on the flute as it comes works for you, go with it!!
Joe B

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Post by fluteguy18 » Mon Jun 28, 2010 4:41 pm

Straubinger pads can have issues if one or two things are not addressed. If they are not installed properly, they will have issues (sealing or will be noisy). If you don't take care of them properly (don't keep them clean, and be sure to avoid the key cup edges when cleaning the flute exterior) the pads get very sticky very quickly, and can split open. I learned all of this from talking with David Straubinger about problems I was having with his pads on my flute.

One thing that is consistent with Straubinger pads is that they often have a slight sticky/tacky sound. This is not because they are sticky but because they make a water-tight seal from the moisture in your breath. This noise is audible ONLY to the player and is often inaudible to the player. If you do hear it, you get used to it. Mine does that.

As for the JS Gold pads, I personally don't want to ever have them. But this is because I spoke to the inventor about them (right before I spoke to Straubinger at NFA 2008 Conv.) I asked him about how they were installed and the general padding method. Whether it is true or not, he claimed that he only made pads and couldn't pad a flute. For that reason alone I won't get them. The creator should be able to install them on the instrument they were intended for in my opinion.

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JButky
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Post by JButky » Mon Jun 28, 2010 5:36 pm

fluteguy18 wrote:Straubinger pads can have issues if one or two things are not addressed. If they are not installed properly, they will have issues (sealing or will be noisy). If you don't take care of them properly (don't keep them clean, and be sure to avoid the key cup edges when cleaning the flute exterior) the pads get very sticky very quickly, and can split open. I learned all of this from talking with David Straubinger about problems I was having with his pads on my flute.

One thing that is consistent with Straubinger pads is that they often have a slight sticky/tacky sound. This is not because they are sticky but because they make a water-tight seal from the moisture in your breath. This noise is audible ONLY to the player and is often inaudible to the player. If you do hear it, you get used to it. Mine does that.

As for the JS Gold pads, I personally don't want to ever have them. But this is because I spoke to the inventor about them (right before I spoke to Straubinger at NFA 2008 Conv.) I asked him about how they were installed and the general padding method. Whether it is true or not, he claimed that he only made pads and couldn't pad a flute. For that reason alone I won't get them. The creator should be able to install them on the instrument they were intended for in my opinion.
Fluteguy, I think a lot of your post lacks some understanding.

Jim Phelan is a horn player, should no-one buy a Burkart because of that? Nonsense.

How can there be "bad" straub installations out there when everyone has to be certified after taking David's course? Well there are Bad Straubinger installations because many bad decisions by techs are made before and during installation. The sticky/tacky sound is not normal and should not be generalized as a characteristic of Straubinger pads. Most do not have this characteristic.

In further defense of Jim's pad's...Jim is an engineer and has corrected some of the basic design flaws inherent in the Straub design. When people do have problems with their straubs and decide to get rid of them, but still want the same benefits, the Schmidt pad is the obvious choice. It has nothing to do with whether or not he installs them himself. Padding is an art best left to those practiced in it's nuanaces. If you don't do it all the time, you won't get good at it. Any of these synthetics do not give you a wide margin for error. A designer who realizes this will leave padding to experienced padders so that his product will be shown as it was designed to be in it's best possible working condition.

The characterization you presented lacks a lot of understanding, IMNSHO...
Joe B

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pied_piper
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Post by pied_piper » Mon Jun 28, 2010 5:46 pm

fluteguy18 wrote:As for the JS Gold pads, I personally don't want to ever have them. But this is because I spoke to the inventor about them (right before I spoke to Straubinger at NFA 2008 Conv.) I asked him about how they were installed and the general padding method. Whether it is true or not, he claimed that he only made pads and couldn't pad a flute. For that reason alone I won't get them. The creator should be able to install them on the instrument they were intended for in my opinion.
Fluteguy18 - Are you sure Jim Schmidt said he couldn't repad a flute? I'll bet he can but chooses not too. After all, repadding a flute is a very tedious, time consuming job and he can probably make a lot more $$$ MAKING pads rather than installing them. While the design and manufacture of pads is related to the installing them, there is no real dependency. After all, how many manufacturers of surgical supplies (i.e. stents) actually install them? :shock:

From what I've heard, the JS Gold pads are equally as good as the Straubingers and even tend to feel more like traditional pads. David Williams offers them as an option on his new flutes, so they can't be too shabby. :D The Williams web site says the pads "may be expected to last ten years or more."
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
--anonymous--

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cflutist
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Post by cflutist » Mon Jun 28, 2010 5:52 pm

pp: I could swear that Willams used to mention JS Gold pads by name. His website now says the following about pads:

Pad Style

Williams Flutes are finished with a choice of either traditional pads or modern-style pads.

Traditional pads are made from the same materials that have been used for over one hundred years. The outer layer is goldbeaters skin (also known as fish skin). The inner material is woven wool felt, and the backing is cardboard.



Either type of pad are installed and leveled with traditional shimming methods. Typically, a pad job on a new Williams flute may be expected to last ten years or more.

I wonder what's going on here?

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