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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:44 am 
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Lesson learned (or at least observed). If one does not have the funds to make whistle purchases, one must not peruse places where whistles can be purchased, especially used.

I really like my Carbony low E whistle, and I've been casually looking for a good deal on other keys, and managed to pick up a nice D flute a few weeks ago. That should have been the end of it, but I kept looking, even as our bank account has shrunk due to me being out of work. Of course, someone listed an F and a leading-tone soprano D on eBay for me to find. I failed to resist the temptation, placed a low bid, and watched in slow, mounting horror as nobody outbid me on either one.

So, I won, but I also lost.

That being said, I am very interested to try out the soprano D. It's a leading tone model, so it has the extra hole for the C# below D, but I'm hoping it will work well as a standard soprano D. I've been itching to try a Carbony soprano D for a while now, hoping it will play like an upgraded Clarke Sweetone. If it improves on the Sweetone in any significant way, I'll be pleased.

I expect the low F to play just like my low E, but in F, which will make it another fine whistle.

Unfortunately, I still have a long list of Carbony products (and a variety of other whistles and flutes from various makers) I'd be hard pressed not to purchase, should a good deal appear, so I'm going to have to close my eyes and stick my fingers in my ears for a while.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:38 am 
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I know how hard it is not to push the BUY button.
You mentioned an improvement on the Sweetone. Now, that would be quite a feat of whistle world wizardry. Speaking of the Sweetone D, I have two. On one of them, I use an O ring for the heck of it. It plays like a different version of the Sweetone, even sweeter in a way, but slightly quieter.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:24 am 
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Tyler DelGregg wrote:
I know how hard it is not to push the BUY button.
You mentioned an improvement on the Sweetone. Now, that would be quite a feat of whistle world wizardry. Speaking of the Sweetone D, I have two. On one of them, I use an O ring for the heck of it. It plays like a different version of the Sweetone, even sweeter in a way, but slightly quieter.


How do you use the O-ring? Inside the whistle?

As for the improvement, I hear you. My experience with high end soprano whistles has been mostly disappointment. I think it's because they go for volume for session playing, and I'm someone who favors low whistles because they are easy on the ears in the upper register. I sold a Goldie soprano D years ago, and did the video demo for it with earmuffs on. The Clarke Sweetone is my favorite stock whistle, and it's among my three favorite soprano D whistles (Chris Wall and Freeman Mellow Dog being the other two).

I think a conical bore whistle with carbon fiber walls might round and mellow the tone a little, and being significantly more durable is certainly a plus. My favorite Sweetone cracked after an unfortunate drop years ago, and it's now held together with thread and epoxy. I don't have a lot of hope for the bell note being strengthened over the Sweetone, especially with the lead tone model, but it would be appreciated. My biggest question is whether the top notes will be soft enough for me.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:28 am 
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I recently acquired a Carbony soprano D Leading Tone. I'm pretty new at this, so don't feel qualified to write reviews generally, but I don't mind following up on someone else's post. I'm very impressed with this whistle. In part I was interested because I too find a lot to like with the Sweetone. And while I haven't tried them side-by-side since my Clarke is kept at my workplace, I do find them similar in terms of very balanced octaves, excellent intonation, and generally excellent playability. Whether or not their conical bores are a factor, I'm not sure, but they seem more similar to each other than to any of my cylindrical D's, and in a positive way.

Tone-wise the Carbony is fantastic, and clearly preferable, for me, to the Clarke. Clear, pure, crisp. So calling it an upgraded Sweetone sounds about right.

But it's not superior, for me, in every aspect. I find it does require more precise breath control. It's more like my Freeman Blackbird in that regard. It's easier to miss a note if I don't have my airstream velocity/volume right. And the bell note in particular is sometimes a struggle, particularly if there's any condensation, I need a light touch to consistently nail the bottom D. It also seems to collect condensation faster than most of my other whistles. That's a bit of surprise since it's mostly carbon fiber/resin, as opposed to metal (thought the mouthpiece is partly aluminum). Again I haven't tried it back-to-back with my Sweetone, but I wonder if the bore's taper makes it more conducive to collecting moisture?

I've only had it for a couple of weeks and haven't spent much time trying to make use of the leading tone feature. Learning how to use it for strikes/rolls will take some time. Even just playing a C# eighth note is weird in that I'm not used to using my pinky for anything, and I'm also not used to sliding a finger down to a hole. (I typically keep that pinky planted all the time.) The only downside to having a seventh hole is that occasionally I've found my pinky covering it by accident. But I'm confident I'll be able to adjust to all of this once I've spent more time with it.

Now I really want to try an alto Carbony in A or G.

I'll be curious to learn your assessment once you've spent time with yours. Overall, and despite the minor issues mentioned above, I think it's great. And bear in mind that I'm a novice player. I suspect that as my playing improves and my breath control gets better, I may get along with it even better than I do now.

[Since I was writing simultaneously with the above post, I'm adding the following:]

Hmmm.... I wonder if the leading tone hole might be weakening the bell note? If so, I'd rather not have it, at least at this point.

The top end of the Carbony is not shrill like a lot of whistles. If I underblow the high B it can be a little raspy, so it requires some push, but not a ton of push like my Susato and some others.

But I think it is louder than the Sweetone. There are three different Carbony high D versions: quiet, normal, and session. Mine is the normal (not sure if that that's the official designation, but it's definitely the middle one in terms of intended volume). I suspect the Carke high register may be easier on the ears.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:41 am 
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Interesting observations, and glad to hear that someone with an appreciation for the Sweetone likes it. I'll definitely report back when I've played it in.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:44 am 
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AngelicBeaver wrote:
Lesson learned (or at least observed). If one does not have the funds to make whistle purchases, one must not peruse places where whistles can be purchased, especially used.

Just enjoy the whistles. There will always be opportunities that tempt, so sacrifice something else to gain the whistle(s) you so enjoy. :)


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 12:26 pm 
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It's hard to miss out, I know, but we can't buy everything. :wink:

At least your buying is focused - mine is still a little bit variable. :D

Nice to know that there is another whistle with the same characteristics as the Clarkes, might have to............no, mustn't!!! :lol:

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:02 pm 
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AngelicBeaver wrote:
Tyler DelGregg wrote:
I know how hard it is not to push the BUY button.
You mentioned an improvement on the Sweetone. Now, that would be quite a feat of whistle world wizardry. Speaking of the Sweetone D, I have two. On one of them, I use an O ring for the heck of it. It plays like a different version of the Sweetone, even sweeter in a way, but slightly quieter.


How do you use the O-ring? Inside the whistle?

As for the improvement, I hear you. My experience with high end soprano whistles has been mostly disappointment. I think it's because they go for volume for session playing, and I'm someone who favors low whistles because they are easy on the ears in the upper register. I sold a Goldie soprano D years ago, and did the video demo for it with earmuffs on. The Clarke Sweetone is my favorite stock whistle, and it's among my three favorite soprano D whistles (Chris Wall and Freeman Mellow Dog being the other two).

I think a conical bore whistle with carbon fiber walls might round and mellow the tone a little, and being significantly more durable is certainly a plus. My favorite Sweetone cracked after an unfortunate drop years ago, and it's now held together with thread and epoxy. I don't have a lot of hope for the bell note being strengthened over the Sweetone, especially with the lead tone model, but it would be appreciated. My biggest question is whether the top notes will be soft enough for me.



I slip the O ring over the window to adjust the tone and volume.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:14 pm 
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JackJ wrote:
I recently acquired a Carbony soprano D Leading Tone. I'm pretty new at this, so don't feel qualified to write reviews generally, but I don't mind following up on someone else's post. I'm very impressed with this whistle. In part I was interested because I too find a lot to like with the Sweetone. And while I haven't tried them side-by-side since my Clarke is kept at my workplace, I do find them similar in terms of very balanced octaves, excellent intonation, and generally excellent playability. Whether or not their conical bores are a factor, I'm not sure, but they seem more similar to each other than to any of my cylindrical D's, and in a positive way.

Tone-wise the Carbony is fantastic, and clearly preferable, for me, to the Clarke. Clear, pure, crisp. So calling it an upgraded Sweetone sounds about right.

But it's not superior, for me, in every aspect. I find it does require more precise breath control. It's more like my Freeman Blackbird in that regard. It's easier to miss a note if I don't have my airstream velocity/volume right. And the bell note in particular is sometimes a struggle, particularly if there's any condensation, I need a light touch to consistently nail the bottom D. It also seems to collect condensation faster than most of my other whistles. That's a bit of surprise since it's mostly carbon fiber/resin, as opposed to metal (thought the mouthpiece is partly aluminum). Again I haven't tried it back-to-back with my Sweetone, but I wonder if the bore's taper makes it more conducive to collecting moisture?

I've only had it for a couple of weeks and haven't spent much time trying to make use of the leading tone feature. Learning how to use it for strikes/rolls will take some time. Even just playing a C# eighth note is weird in that I'm not used to using my pinky for anything, and I'm also not used to sliding a finger down to a hole. (I typically keep that pinky planted all the time.) The only downside to having a seventh hole is that occasionally I've found my pinky covering it by accident. But I'm confident I'll be able to adjust to all of this once I've spent more time with it.

Now I really want to try an alto Carbony in A or G.

I'll be curious to learn your assessment once you've spent time with yours. Overall, and despite the minor issues mentioned above, I think it's great. And bear in mind that I'm a novice player. I suspect that as my playing improves and my breath control gets better, I may get along with it even better than I do now.

[Since I was writing simultaneously with the above post, I'm adding the following:]

Hmmm.... I wonder if the leading tone hole might be weakening the bell note? If so, I'd rather not have it, at least at this point.

The top end of the Carbony is not shrill like a lot of whistles. If I underblow the high B it can be a little raspy, so it requires some push, but not a ton of push like my Susato and some others.

But I think it is louder than the Sweetone. There are three different Carbony high D versions: quiet, normal, and session. Mine is the normal (not sure if that that's the official designation, but it's definitely the middle one in terms of intended volume). I suspect the Carke high register may be easier on the ears.


Okay, I've spent some time with the Carbony, and my impression of it is that it's like a Sweetone with much more backpressure, and a a softer, or more dampened, less open tone. I'm actually surprised by the amount of push it takes to get into the second octave. Backpressure is rare in soprano whistles, and the Carbony low whistles I have are relatively easy blowing. The Carbony is probably a good fit for someone who tends to play forcefully, maybe coming from a low whistle. It makes it a little less relaxing to play, but I wouldn't say it's a bad characteristic.

Volume wise, it seems they're comparable. The high B isn't comfortable for me to sit on in either whistle, but both whistles are better than most soprano D whistles I've encountered.

I haven't found clogging to be much of an issue. A couple of times, I've gotten a weird vibration that's unpleasant, but blowing out the whistle corrects it, and if I warm up the whistle first, it doesn't seem to crop up.

If you haven't gotten a chance to see it yet, I made a comparison video with most of my other soprano D whistles, so you can hear the tones side by side, including the Sweetone. Just search "AngelicBeaver Soprano D Extravaganza" on YouTube, of find the thread on this page.

I have mixed feelings about the pricing. I managed to get mine for much less than sticker price. There are some really nice whistles you can get for less than $100. The Sweetone is like 80% of what I'd want in a soprano D, so it's tough to pay 10 to 15 times that times that for a whistle that gets me to 90%. On the other hand, mass production unfairly depresses prices. My wife makes blankets and hats, wanting to sell them for $20 or $30, when a similar hat from Walmart might cost $7. You have to accept the idea that the handmade/hand finished nature of the things acceptably adds to the cost. In Rob's case, he's offering quality products that just don't have a directly comparable alternative, especially in regard to his alto and low whistles. If both Sweetone and Carbony were mass produced, the Carbony should be $30 to $50, but I admire the engineering Rob puts into his whistles, and he's probably pricing them in his personal sweet spot of steady sales and workload, so I've come to terms with his pricing. In fact, if I can get a job, I plan to save up for the next time he's in my general area and buy a few whistles or flutes directly from him, just to support his efforts. If I can't find them used, I plan to pick up an alto A or G (or both), and an F flute. To be honest, I wouldn't mind having a Carbony in every key from soprano D down to low C.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 1:27 pm 
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I have the "quiet" soprano D Carbony and I had to come to grips with it first. But after playing it for 3 days, I really liked it. Especially the tuning is just perfect. I notice it when playing together with my wife, who plays accordion. Every note is just spot on. Mine does not have much backpressure. But maybe a bit more than a Sweetone, true.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 1:38 pm 
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AngelicBeaver wrote:

Okay, I've spent some time with the Carbony, and my impression of it is that it's like a Sweetone with much more backpressure, and a a softer, or more dampened, less open tone.


Thanks for the follow up! Any idea when yours was made? And whether it represents the "Session", "Quiet", or regular "High" bore?

I believe I've read that Rob has made changes to his designs over time, and I'm wondering if yours and mine might be different iterations. In giving it some thought, I guess there's an increase in back pressure, relative to the Sweetone, once I get to the second octave A and B, in that there I need to give some push. But it's slight, and below that mine is as easy blowing as any other high D whistles I've got. I own two D Sweetones and to my ears, they both have a softer, more dampened, less open tone than the Carbony. So just the opposite of your experience. I'll need to spend some time listening to your video comparison, but I gotta think that side-by-side we'd have no trouble telling our two nominally-the-same whistles apart.

I'm glad we both like them, though. And I agree that while price/performance ratio of the Carbon doesn't make it a great value, it is indeed a great whistle, and it's worthwhile supporting a small scale producer who is trying new things while still respecting the tradition. Among all the other instruments I own, it's still pretty cheap. So if an alto A or G comes up in the marketplace here, you'll have to beat me to it!


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