Yamaha 481 vs 684H

Flute History and Instrument Purchase

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Yamaha 481 vs 684H

Post by clarinetcounsel »

About 10 years ago, I bought a 481. In these 10 years, no repair / re-pad has been done. The condition is still quite good (no obvious tarnish only two or three sticky pads). However, as I want to go beyond the limit of this flute (but not that much as it is too late for me to turn to flute major), I just bought a 684H today. So, this is my very brief comparison.

Both have silver body and silver-plated keys; open holes; in-line G.
The differences are :-
(a) 684H has bottom B (with Gizmo key)
(b) 684H has white gold springs but 481 has stainless springs
(c) 684H comes with EC headjoint (it is stamped with EC silver head 925) and 481 presumably comes with CY headjoint (it is only stamped with silver 925 - so I can’t tell exactly)

The Headjoints
As expected, the two headjoint are interchangeable to the two bodies.
In terms of playing, my preliminary view is both are easy to play but, EC has more depth and wider dynamic range.

The Body
684H is said to be of ‘Type 4” body for orchestral music; 481 is said to be of “Type 1” body for chambers/solo music. So, what is the actual difference?
First of all, although both can fit very well with EC or CY headjoints, the inner bore size of the lower part of 684H must be slightly larger than that of 481. Why? Although the foots are inter-changeable, 481 foot is a bit loose on 684H’s body and 684H’s foot is a bit tight on 481’s body.
Secondly, the open holes’ size must be different - my plugs used on 481 simply can’t insert into the holes of 684H as the holes on 684H are smaller. It is sorry that there is no plug with 684H but the smaller holdes seem to have compensated the shortgage of my finger tips' size.
Thirdly, in terms of playing, my preliminary view is 684H has a wider dynamic range (when I compare both with the same headjoint). Of course, there is much to explore after some periods of breaking-in.

The Price
In Hong Kong, the price of 684H is about USD2,500 roughly double of 481 (when I bought 481 in 10 years ago, its price was only half of the current 481). still it is 1/3 cheaper than Sankyo 301 and 40% cheaper than Muramatsu EX (all of silver body + silver plated keys)

The Made
Both my 481 and 684H are stamped with made in Japan.
But, I am told that the current Yamaha 200, 300, 400 series are made in China. Don’t be scared .... I am told that the quality control is very good and that’s why they are brought back to Japan for Japanese own consumers. If you have slight worry, perhaps you just check your laptop, mobile phone or other appliances, see how many of them are made in China but put on USA or European brand.

The upgrade to 684H is worth for the money especially it should be a durable instrument.

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Post by fluteguy18 »

I would say that the difference between the two should be rather dramatic (assuming that the 600 series model is well adjusted). Your 400 series is LONG overdue for adjustment and it simply can't be playing at its best. A flute should get maintenance work once a year or at LEAST once every other year assuming that there isn't any damage to the flute between adjustments.

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