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PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2019 8:04 pm 
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I've been on a search now for the whistle that gives the most clarity. By this I mean some bit of edge, an un-muddied and almost sharp tone that is the opposite of breathy and muffled. It's much easier in a high whistle but for the mezzo and low whistles I've found nothing performs like a Goldie or Overton. My low D Overton is more clear and has more bite than the high D Dixon Pro.

The reason I'm looking for this is is for live performances with lots of background noise. I own a Scottish brewpub and playing live there is a challenge, what with the noise of the kitchen, the people, the HVAC. I really like playing mezzo A and lower but so far I haven't found any whistles below my Goldie in A that don't just disappear. And yes, I'm playing with a mic and full sound system that connects to the house speakers and my Kerry Pro in F just melts away like a snowflake against the low-end background hum.

Ideally I'm looking for a low F, G, or even E that will have a nice bright tone. I have the lung power to blow through something but don't want any windy, airy, ephemeral whistles. I need a powerhouse! Thoughts?

-Peter


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 2:13 am 
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I think, by their very nature, they can't be very bright sounding, which just leaves clarity.

However, as you are already using electronics, how about adding a hint of reverb to your performances.

(I tend to find it makes my harmonicas stand out a bit more.)

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 2:52 am 
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My Shearwater F sounds very clear but is not very loud. The second octave can get quite penetrating because of the clear sound. If you contact John Bushby, the maker, he might even increase the volume of the whistle. They don't break the bank, so it might be worth a try.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 5:00 am 
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psoutowood wrote:
I've been on a search now for the whistle that gives the most clarity. By this I mean some bit of edge, an un-muddied and almost sharp tone that is the opposite of breathy and muffled.


Of course these things are difficult if not impossible to put into words in a way that means the same thing to different people.

And there are terms that are saying the same thing but some are considered "bad" and some "good".

There's a continuum that on one end might be called bright/nasal/buzzy/ringing and on the other end dark/dull/tubby, the difference being the presence of higher harmonics (which can be measured and graphed).

Seems to me there's a seperate continuum that on one end is clear/clean/pure and on the other end dirty/noisy/gravelly.

A pure tone can be dark or bright; a bright tone can be pure or dirty.

Then there's volume which is a third independent characteristic.

Not sure when you say a tone that has "the most clarity" but also has an "edge". Seems to be when people speak of an "edge" they're referring to dirt/noise in the tone, the opposite of clear.

In my experience, I never know until I play a whistle in a group situation how the whistle will sound there. I love the sound of MK Low Ds, with good volume and a dirty edgy tone having a strong "core".

Then I got a Reyburn Low D that had a tone I can best describe as "a Native American flute in the fog", lovely, but so different from the biting presence of the MK.

But! when I played the two in a noisy session, the MK tended to sound a bit nasal and thin while the Reyburn had a thick meaty presence, more full-sounding than the MK. In other words played in a group my impression of their tone was somewhat opposite of what they sounded like played in a quiet room solo.

I don't think you're going to know until you try a number of whistles in your particular acoustic situation.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:24 am 
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Richard, good points. Acoustic quality is a difficult thing to pin down, never mind attributing "good" or "bad" to a sound. I have a Shearwater Bb that is so delicate and airy and well-balanced that it would be great in a studio recording where I want a real sense of mood. But that's not the kind of music I'm playing--I am in lively environments playing lively music.

I appreciate a whistle that can handle ornamentation, legato, double-tonguing, and breath variety. Some of my whistles sound as if I'm playing them with a thick velvet blanket draped over them--the accuracy of melody and ornamentation is lost in a breathy moody fog.

As we all want as well, I'm searching for a whistle where the bell note is as strong and clean as the upper register. I have too many whistles that you have to tiptoe around the bottom few notes and the volume drops almost to zero. I feel that isn't a subjective wish for timbre, it's a manufacturing detail.

-Peter


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 12:39 pm 
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THE most boomy alto F that I play is a hybrid between a Kerry Optima F and a Qwistle. The plastic head of the Optima F broke (I had it on the window-sill and the heat cracked the plastic) and I replaced it with the "pro" head of my low D Qwistle (for which I ordered the standard head as it was simply too loud with the pro head). But is is a long way from "clean-sounding". It is in fact the most chiffy whistle I own but, boy, does it have a strong sound. Only problem: Donald WG Lindsay, the maker of the Qwistle, took a two-year sabbatical from whistle-making.
EDIT: from what it looks like, you can still order the head. If you want to, I can record a sound sample. The head for the aluminium version has two o-rings inside and fits perfectly on the Kerry Optima F body.
EDIT again: if you buy the Optima F and a "pro" Qwistle head, this mod will cost you 165 pounds however. But still cheaper than a tunable MK alto F, which I don't think would be as boomy -- I have the Kelpie low D and it is not as loud as the low D Qwistle.
https://lindstruments.com/collections/t ... 5237820476
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:39 pm 
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Peter,

You might check with Colin Goldie about a low D he currently has available (or I should say, might still have) at the shop that he described to me as being louder than typical tenor D he makes. I was considering it, but am looking for some different tonal characteristics for my next Goldie tenor D.

Also, it doesn't look like anyone has mentioned Susatos. I'm not very experienced with that brand, but have always heard that they're a bit on the loud side.

Stephen


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2019 9:42 am 
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2019 10:19 am 
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Took me some seconds to get this one :D :lol: .


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2019 6:10 am 
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Since the OP is playing through a sound system I don't think volume per se is the critical thing.

He can put a clip-on mic right at the window and turn the knob to 11 :thumbsup:

I think it's an indefinable something about the timbre, about what timbre will have the fattest presence.

What I experienced was that a cutting bright edge wasn't what worked best, in the actual acoustic situation. Your experience might be the opposite, who knows? But to me it was more about the "core" than the "edge".

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2019 1:15 pm 
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You're right. I think apart from trying different whistles in that setting there is really not much to be done. The requirements are too specific. The only thing that might help, is someone who played different whistles in a similar setting. And I haven't. A lot also depends on the technical aspect, the mic, the sound system, etc.
But considering the requirement of a whistle that has a strong bottom end -- there is not much that beats my Qwistle/Optima hybrid :D . Same is true for the Qwistle low D -- of the whistles I have played (MK Kelpie, Thunderbird, Shearwater, V4, V5, Dixon, TWZ) it has the strongest bell note. In fact some might think it is too hard reaching the 2nd octave but that is the trade-off of a strong low end. You need more punch to reach the 2nd octave. It almost has the playing characteristics of a flute -- increasing the velocity of the air-stream does the trick.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 4:05 pm 
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pancelticpiper wrote:
I don't think you're going to know until you try a number of whistles in your particular acoustic situation.


No doubt, as Richard said, this is the #1 solution to your problem, given our individual perceptions of sound and what we are able to hear in a noisy environment, depending on our ears, etc. No one can answer this fully except yourself, I believe. My own aged hearing is compromised in noisy environments, and thankfully I don't have to play in them, so I cannot offer my solutions in the same situation.

However, I think the key of the whistle (and thus timbre) has a lot to do with what we are able to hear in such conditions, depending on the whistle design (and materials sometimes). For example, I once had a Cillian O'Briain Low Eb that was so nimble (responsive) and clean toned, that it seemed to outperform any other key in his line for a low whistle, though I didn't have an E, but all others. Bore ratio to length might have been optimum, I don't know, but possibly the low E might have had a similar effect, of which is one of the keys you mentioned you are interested. Maurice Reviol made most of Cillian's low whistles from that period when he worked for him in Ireland, and since he took over the same design and low whistle business afterwards, (with Cillian's blessings), you might check out one of Maurice's low E's, if he is still making them, though my Eb was amazing. Yeah, like so many others, it is one of the one's that got away from me in a moment of madness, and moving on to other whistles and/or in need of cash at the time.

Any whistle can be made to favor a strong low end, or an easier high end when the whistlemaker knows how, but often it is luck of the draw when you buy, unless you request the maker or seller ot pick one for you, especially if they have more than one example at hand, or make it for you specifically with your requirements in mind. Aluminum seems to be the one to carry the favor in materials for being heard over brass instruments for whistles, but there are variables, such as delrin heads that may complicate or complement, depending on the end result on specific whistles and makers designs that are available.

Unfortunately for you, your amplified results will be different from many others here who don't use electronics to enhance or alter the live performances, so you again are the one who has the last word or solution, though I hope you do get some other specific replies that help more in that regard.

Good luck-hope you find your grail!

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:15 am 
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Sedi wrote:
A lot also depends on the technical aspect, the mic, the sound system, etc.


I think this is worth repeating. You'll get a different timbre with different microphones.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:03 am 
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psoutowood,

Does your sound system have any sort of "graphic equalizer" ? By that I mean some knobs where you can selectively boost or lower different ranges of tones.

I've found that different brands of whistle have remarkably different spectral (tone) components. I've tried swapping tubes + mouthpieces. The "voice" largely follows the fipple.

Of course, eq wouldn't be the whole story. I've also found that different whistles have "faster/slower", "crisper/softer" transitions, no matter how fast your fingers are.

My favorite Low D's for "fast" transitions are: Reyburn + MK. If you want to sound like a flute, my favorite is Onyx, by W. Sweet.

trill


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