Yamaha, Gemeinhardt, Jupiter, Emerson, Artley, Armstrong, Azumi, Pearl, Sonare, and Trevor James. This question comes up incredibly frequently, so if you want/need any information on any of these, try searching the forum (try to stay within about 8 months or a year), and if there's something that you want to know that doesn't turn up, feel free to ask. Pretty much any of them can be found at fluteworld.com. In general, stay away from colored flutes from eBay, flutes made by makers with no professional looking website, and those that seem too good to be true. In the flute world, most often you get what you pay for. What exactly is wrong with your old flute that you need a new one?
I'm sorry, but Lera, before you post, would you mind taking the time to read what others have written (especially in such a short thread as this)? I asked the same question, and the bit of "advice" doesn't really apply, as the original poster has already stated that (s)he is looking for a student flute, not an intermediate. This is not the first time that your posts have virtually duplicated those already posted (oftentimes mine), and quite honestly, I find it wearisome.
Avoid purchasing a flute without playing it first - even if it is new. When you go to a music shop aim to play 3 or 4 different flutes, have some-one listen to you who will give a second opinion. If you have the chance to try a flute a friend has then that might reduce the list of possibilities.
Not all "broken" flutes are worth fixing - especially as some repair shops will charge almost as much as a new flute for repadding, making adjustments, removing any major dents and/or fixing the head cork etc. Always get at least one estimate first and make sure the technician is competent by asking for recommendations from your teacher, other flute players etc.
As previously posted, in my limited experience buying Chinese imports is OK. You dont pay an inflated price for the prestige/brand name but the resale value is much lower. Some repair technician dont like them because it isnt economic for them to charge as much for servicing and it can be difficult to get parts. Its worth remembering that many (most?) student brass and woodwind instruments are now made in Asia. If you buy a less well known instrument from a reputatable store with a warranty after trying it you cant go far wrong.
I would add Altus to the list of recognised predictable brands. A few years ago I would have been surprized to see Jupiter (and others) included in this list and many years ago when I started to play flute Yamaha wouldn't have been in the list!
With the cheapest Altus flutes starting at about 2K, and carrying the specs often associated with intermediate instruments (B foot, open hole), I don't think they qualify as a student instrument. I did list Azumi (which is a division of Altus) in my original post.
I believe Azumino is the town in Japan where Altus is headquartered.
I've looked at some photos, and although some say "Azumino, Japan" i haven't seen any that weren't also marked either Altus or Azumi. Maybe someone is making knock-offs, and Altus hasn't trademarked Azumino?
I think it may have been mentioned here before, but I noticed on the Altus website that they're now also making the Azumi's Z-cut headjoint available for the regular Altus flutes, even on the pro models. I'm guessing that's a good sign, and not just a marketing ploy.
It's been awhile since I picked up and played, but I would have to agree with going in and trying out a few different brands first. As far as repairing is concerned, do a cost-benefit analysis: how much did you pay for the original flute? Business is brisk, but techs still charge an arm and a leg to fix up an instrument, so don't bother if it was cheaper to begin with.
If you are very careful and know what to look for, buying used isn't so bad, especially if you just need something to survive through high school. Just be sure to really inspect the instrument and ask plenty of questions. If you look like a sucker, they'll make you a sucker.
Any new student model flute from a reputable manufacturer will be a good student flute. Regarding used flutes....a repadded one by a competent tech will often play much better than a new one out of the box from a manufacturer. (You have to decide if the design was a good one before putting that kind of money into it though) A new flute that has been setup after a little use (again, by a competent tech) will be just as nice.
The big problem with mass produced flutes (include many pro level flutes here too) is that the final finishing stages are not done well, or at all...That part of the operation is labor intensive and gets glossed over in the manufacturing process because people want their student flutes to be "cheap". So that part goes out the window and then people give bad raps to particular brands based on their experience with experiencing the results of this phenomenon.
You need quality materials, and good design first off. Quality materials vaires a lot with all the off-brand stuff out there. Good design? Mostly everything out there has decent design applications. The last part is craftsmanship. Even a good design with quality materials will be substandard if craftsmanship was not administered to allow it to play to its full potential.
If the manufacturers aren't doing it to keep costs down, then find a good tech who can make it work by doing the final finishing and setup. The basics are there, they just need to be finished. Most people NEVER get their flutes working at their full potential.