Sonare or Pearl... need a lot of help deciding!

Flute History and Instrument Purchase

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Sonare or Pearl... need a lot of help deciding!

Post by cg41 »

I've been playing the flute for 10 years now and I have a Gemeinhardt 3SHB now (silver headjoint, silver-plated body and foot) and I want to upgrade because I think I want to start taking the flute a little more seriously. My price range is $1800 or less, and I would like to have a silver head, body, and foot, with pointed arms. The thing is, I don't see too many brands out there that fit this criteria and price range. I want a really nice sound and intonation. I know I'm not going to be getting a nice Haynes, Powell, Altus, Muramatsu, Miyazawa or the like, so I guess I will have to do with other makes. I've been hearing so many conflicting stories about both the Sonare and the Pearl. So far, this is what I've gathered:

Sonare: excellent headjoint (made from Powell) but the body of the flute is made in China... so it might not be so sturdy, cheaply made, quality is questionable? and etc. sonare is rather new so unsure how good this flute is... but i tried it in the store and it sounded so nice compared to my current flute... it sounded better than the yamahas i tried too (i don't prefer yamahas anyway).

Pearl: the silver on this flute is very fragile; hearing stories about problems with the Ab key, split e, and other parts of the flute bending or about to break off due to the fragile silver... (don't know if people are overexagerating or not) not sure where they are made... i've heard china or japan.. not sure which one. i haven't tried this flute out because there aren't any stores around me that sell them. professionals don't really use this flute. more features and cheaper than sonare.

If anyone can suggest which flute they think is better, or offer another suggestion, I would really appreciate it... I've been going crazy trying to find the right flute! Also, do you think that Sonare and Pearl are a step up from my Gemeinhardt... or are they worse? Thanks so much in advance for any help, and sorry for such a long post!

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Post by embum79 »

The best thing to do is try them both out, loan them if you can, and compare them against each other. There will be some people who prefer Sonare, and some who prefer Pearl.. it all depends on the person playing. The same flute can sound completely different with different players.

I wish I could be more helpful, but I just don't want you to take someone's word that they like one over the other and then that flute not being a right fit for you. One of them will just feel better for you.. the one that makes YOU sound and feel like a million bucks is the one to pick.

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Post by biggzh »

I personally love the Sonare's. I have a 6600 (no different than the 7700 other than french-styled keys and leather case cover (or "case-case" as said by one of my classmates....)), and it's outplayed Pearls for as long as I've had it. Pearl is not just known for their fragile silver, but their mechanism is not that good either. In flat- it'll be in the repair shop when you have a performance. Their cost-efficiency is also not as good as a sonare. The 6600 (solid silver, handmade headjoint, etc) is about $1500, while the Pearls that I've tried (silver head, silver-plated body and foot, C# trill key, D# roller) both costed the same, but the Sonare definately outpaced and outplayed it the first time that I blew through it. Course, if you find a good Pearl, then you've found a good instrument (much like Generation Whistles if you're into the pennywhistle market)

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Post by fluttiegurl »

The newer Pearls are much improved. I have several students on the Quantz flutes (which is what is in the same price range as the Sonare, with no mechanical problems whatsoever. On the other hand, I know a player with a Sonare that has been a virtual nioghtmare with repair issues. All in all, I think the most important thing is how you sound on each flute. Have someone listen to you as you play both.

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Post by fluttiegurl »

Another comment about Pearl. There was a statement about professionals not using Pearl flutes. I recently had the opportunity to meet Rhonda Larson, who has been one of my favorites for some time. She plays Pearl flutes, as well as Nestor Tores. I LOVE her sound. If you ever get a chance to see her perform, it is a wonderful experience. Pearl flutes are made in both Taiwan and Japan, depending on the model. The higher end flutes are made in Japan, student models are made in Taiwan. As for quality, I still have had no problems with either mine or my students flutes, but I can see where the student flutes could be a problem at some point.

As for Sonare, I also had a chance to attend a Powell clinic last week and learned quite a bit about them as well. Basically, you are paying for the headjoint and a cheap body. This seems to be a good idea. Other manufacturers are taking hold as well (miyazawa - Lyric, Haynes - Amadeus, Altus helped design DeMedici but there is no connection). They will be releasing a line of Sonare piccolos and alto flutes sometime in the near future. I am excited about thrying them as well. There are a great number of performers who play Powell, but I am not sure about Sonare (remember that they are VERY different), but the only thing that really matters is how YOU sound. If you like the sound, then these seem to be good flutes for the money.

I think it is wonderful that flute players today have such choices! When I got my first open hole, and even my second, the only choices I had were Gemeinhardt, Emerson and Armstrong. I really didn't even have the option of inline or offset G because inline was standard. It is amazing how things have changed.

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