Iíve got a new headjoint out for trial, and I made a couple of recordings with it. One is Faureís Pavane, which goes down to low C, and the other is Beauty and the Beast, in which I play the second part an octave higher than written, going up to Hi C.
I made up a website with these recordings. However, as I really only want to pay out$3,000 if there is a real improvement over my current headjoints, I recorded the same songs, the same way, with the same equipment and processing, etc. So, on the website are ten songs, 2 for each of five, unidentified, headjoints. This way I can see what people think without their having any preconceptions. I played each as carefully as I can, and Iíll reply later to the list with what feedback I get.
I put them up in fully detailed wavís (about 26 MB) and as Wmaís (about 4-6 MB).
To make things simple, I built a survey from Survey Monkey, and embedded it in the website. The first question is most important to me, but the rest would be interesting to know, if you care to fill them in, there are only ten in total. I also linked this site to a site I built about how I compare music files so that I can switch between different versions and hear the same point in the music. I do this all the time for different microphones, different electronic processing etc.
The website is here (and the music files are at the bottom)
1. You haven't told us why you are unsatisfied with your current headjoint and what sound you want from a new headjoint.
2. Your recordings have an added reverb that doesn't reveal the true sound of each headjoint + body combination. Furthermore, a live comparison in the same room -- and not recordings available on the Internet -- is the only test that matters.
3. Your playing is so simple that you're not exploiting the colors that are possible with each combination. I hope you don't play this way normally.
4. Most flutists say that they can play a "new" headjoint properly only after months of learning its true capabilities.
5. Spending up to $3,000 on a new headjoint based on a very small sample of anonymous (and unvetted) voters on the Internet doesn't appear to me to be a very wise idea. Don't you have teachers, colleagues or friends whose opinions you value who can listen to you live and at least give you a better opinion?
That said, the general consensus is that you have the following factors in a headjoint:
- Speed and flexibility.
- Overall tone in terms of brightness/how "airy" it is.
A typical pro headjoint will be good at maybe two of these. So it really is a matter of what you are looking for it to do and the rest is simple enough to figure out for yourself. But of course, you have to play it, since these factors are greatly affected by your skills. Or, technically, your ability to overcome their problem areas, since everything has problems and compromises to work past.
A key point is being missed here. If you arbitrarily try different headjoints other than the one(s) you are used to, you're just going to end up sounding the way you always do, assuming they are similar enough in fit, form, and function to what you are used to. In fact, the best headjoint for your growth as a player may in fact be a headjoint that you need to grow into, and, by default, you will not sound that good on initially. The process of (or problem in) stepping up is that it's not an easy task.
Also, enhancing the level of your playing not only requires your embouchure to improve along with the allegedly "better" HJ, but may also require better technique, which may indeed have a better body/footjoint/mechanisms associated with it. In the minimalist case, your flute may need to be professionally attended to, to insure that its playing to the best of its ability, and that the pads are seating well with minimal force.
If your playing is representative of your test files, I would not waste money on expensive headjoints. This is not an insult to you playing, it's just that your style does not warrant any changes in your equipment from what I can tell from the limited selection.
Just as a note on buying headjoints, I have had some different experiences to share.
First, buying a wood headjoint- one HJ was much better than the others on trial, I really liked it. I couldn't keep the pitch up properly, but I did buy it and with some hard work, a few months later I could play it well. I still love it.
Second, buying eBay headjoints: One, unreturnable Miyazawa handmade HJ for 1/4 of its retail price, I really didn't like much, didn't play much, and left alone thinking I'd sell it when I got the chance. (I could have sold it for almost twice what I'd paid, so not a huge risk to buy it.) A couple of years later, I spent some quality time with it, and really learned it, and now it is my go-to headjoint.
I also bought a Sankyo NRS-1 to replace the poorly made (and I suspect, should never have made it past quality control) handmade CY headjoint that came with my Yamaha 881. I had several handmade HJs on trial, and I really responded well (picked every time!) to the NRS-1. I still like it, and do well with it.
I haven't gone to listen to your sound files, but if you want a nice new handmade headjoint that will accommodate your advances in playing (and can afford one), then buy one. Just know that, with a newer Jupiter, Pearl or Yamaha student flute, a GOOD flute teacher and plenty of practice, you will be able to develop a great sound.
You can't buy a better sound unless your current equipment is hampering you, and that happens after a lot of practice and time with a good flute teacher.
wellI have 9 flutes and i can play all of them equally except they are all different . Sure my beater Armstrong 104 is not as good as my Haynes flute ,but people tell me they love the mellow sound of it. So I think just play the darn thing and you will become good. I love having all these different flutes because if I need a quiet flute I have one or one that is powerful with more projection I have that. Of course i sell flutes and buy flutes so its fun too !