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PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2019 1:13 pm 
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Hi guys,

how would you compare these instruments, if you have experience with both? Which you prefer, and why?

Cheers!


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:38 am 
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I have both and it would be a tough decision between those two. The Kelpie is a bit louder, takes a tiny bit more air (barely noticeable however). The Kelpie is also a bit heavier and slightly slippery because of the black coating -- but I just hold the Kelpie a bit more horizontally than other low Ds so it's no problem. They are both very good whistles. I think I play the V5 a bit more because it has a slightly sweeter sound. But if you want more volume -- go for the Kelpie. On the V5 the holes are scalloped on the Kelpie not -- can't really say what I prefer. The Kelpie feels a tad more responsive in very fast passages (which might be because of the coating and the holes -- I think scalloped holes can make a whistle a bit slower as they take maybe a millisecond longer to get a good seal and the holes of the V5 are also a bit bigger but that should not really be a problem with practice and I am by no means a great whistle player), has a slightly more open, rougher sound, while the V5 has a "velvety" sound and maybe a tiny bit more balance volume-wise between the octaves. The Kelpie also comes with a nice protective sleeve made from thick felt closed with velcro -- that makes it my preferred low D for travelling/visiting relatives, etc. (Of course I could just use the sleeve for the V5 as well :)).


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:20 am 
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Sedi wrote:
takes a tiny bit more air...


Quantity of air, or force of air?

Generally the two are in inverse proportion: higher-resistance whistles have a lower volume/quantity of air passing through the instrument, while lower-resistance whistles have a higher volume/quantity of air passing through the instrument.

I call it "efficiency", the quality of a whistle using a lower volume/quantity of air for a given volume, and the MKs I've owned have been among the most air-efficient whistles I've played. Slightly more efficient, and the most air-efficient Low D I've owned, is my Goldie.

Free-blowing whistles (low resistance) are less efficient, requiring more quantity of air to produce the same volume.

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1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2019 7:08 am 
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The V5 has slightly more backpressure, so needs less air but a bit more pressure. The Kelpie is a bit more free-blowing.
Edit: but the difference is really small. I only notice it at all when playing one right after the other. When looking straight at the windway of both right next to each other, the windway of the V5 looks a teenie, tiny bit smaller but they are almost identical in width. The height of the windway seems to be a fraction of a millimeter less on the V5. They are both very air-efficient. Much more so than my Chieftain Thunderbird for example or the Shearwater low D, I have, which is the most free-blowing of all my low Ds and takes a large amount of air.
I have one low D where the ratio of backpressure to the amount of air you need seems to reach a certain limit -- the Qwistle low D, which is a beast of a whistle but has THE richest timbre of any low D, I ever played or heard. You almost need a flute-like embouchure on that one -- especially for the 2nd octave. But it is so rewarding in sound that I simply made my peace with the difficulties in playing it. They probably stem from the fact that it has a tapered windway that is very wide at one side and tapers down significantly towards the blade. That gives it a huge backpressure but you still need a lot of air.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 4:49 am 
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Thanks Sedi, interesting that the V5 has gone the high-backpressure/resistance route.

Also interesting about the tapered-windway whistle. I've heard about those but I've never played one, as far as I know.

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1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:17 am 
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Yes, it looks like Phil Hardy has steadily increased the backpressure from the V3 to V4 (which I also have), V5 up to the "custom" model on which the backpressure has reached a point that became uncomfortable for me to play. He also increased the backpressure on the Thunderbird low D but I haven't tried the new one, yet.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2019 7:38 am 
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Interesting that Phil has been steadily increasing the backpressure, because on one of his videos he talks about playing an early Overton with high backpressure that he didn't care for.

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1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
1945 Starck Highland pipes
Goldie Low D whistle


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2019 8:21 am 
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Sedi - how is the hole spacing on V5 compared to the Kelpie ? And how in tune is the V5 ?


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:33 pm 
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The hole spacing is similar but the holes are slightly bigger on the V5. Especially the second from the bottom. Probably to space them more evenly. I'd have to check the tuning one against the other... I'll post the results...
Image


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2019 3:00 pm 
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So -- I made some tuning tests and came up with some interesting results. First off -- with the right breath pressure they can both be played perfectly in tune without one octave being flat or sharp -- I think that might be because the insert serves as a kind of Fajardo-wedge. However -- and this is were it gets interesting -- I did some tests simply increasing the breath pressure till the note breaks from the 1st into the 2nd octave and I noticed that I can for example blow the F# in the 1st octave 30 cts sharp on the Kelpie until it breaks into the 2nd octave. That doesn't happen on the V5 because it breaks earlier -- it simply needs less push for the 2nd octave. So I think this will mean two things -- the V5 is probably slightly easier to play in tune (for a beginner -- but I don't notice that it really takes more effort to be played in tune) but the Kelpie gives you more range of bending the note which allows a more expressive playing. But -- like I wrote -- both are perfectly capable to be played spot on without much effort. The behaviour of the Kelpie is probably (my knowledge of the involved physics is limited, even though I built a few whistles myself) due to the fact that it is louder and can take slightly more air. My low D Qwistle behaves the same way and can be blown sharp even more than the Kelpie, if one so desires, because it breaks into the 2nd octave with more pressure than the Kelpie.
Long story short -- you'd simply have to decide if you want a more narrow range of breath pressure that can be played and slightly easier break into the 2nd octave or be able to bend a note more, simply by blowing harder.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2019 3:14 pm 
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Hmm, I think I have contradicted myself by saying the V5 has more backpressure but breaks easier into the 2nd octave. Shouldn't it be the other way round? If it has more backpressure, it should break harder into the 2nd octave, I think. So -- fact is -- the V5 takes less air and breaks easier into the 2nd octave with less pressure and not more than the Kelpie, like I wrote above. I think I am officially confused now.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2019 6:45 pm 
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Sedi - if you're officially confused - you're not alone and you're in good company ! Thanks for the info - I have a Kelpie and have a very high opinion of it for a number of reasons and am thinking of getting a V5 for a different tone. My experience with musical instruments is that no matter how good an instrument is, my brain, after awhile wants to have some variety in tone and I'm attracted to the V5 for it's similarities to the Kelpie other than the tone. Thanks.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 4:33 am 
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Sedi wrote:
I can for example blow the F# in the 1st octave 30 cts sharp on the Kelpie until it breaks into the 2nd octave. That doesn't happen on the V5 because it breaks earlier -- it simply needs less push for the 2nd octave. So I think this will mean two things -- the V5 is probably slightly easier to play in tune (for a beginner -- but I don't notice that it really takes more effort to be played in tune) but the Kelpie gives you more range of bending the note which allows a more expressive playing.


Man with stuff like this I've done so much testing/experimenting with dozens of Low Ds and when we play we know the feel of everything but putting it into universal language so all of us players know exactly what's meant is difficult.

From playing a large number of different makes of Low Ds what emerged was a feel for the "average Low D" one could say: the average pitch of the 2nd octave compared to the low octave, the average air consumption, the average hole-spacing, etc.

The half-dozen MKs I've owned (made before the Kelpie/Pro dichotomy was created) had a slightly sharper 2nd octave than usual which caused you to blow them in a certain way to play them in tune: you had to blow the low octave strongly, almost to the verge of breaking into the 2nd octave, and you had to underblow the 2nd octave, almost at the point of falling to the low octave. It wasn't much of an adjustment to get used to blowing those MKs that way to get everything nicely in tune.

What it meant was that there was only a slight change in blowing to switch octaves, because you were always perched close to the break. This gave the feel of a whistle with a very light/easy 2nd octave.

What I'm getting at was that the tuning of the octaves impacted the perception of how easy the 2nd octave was. With a mouthpiece of the same physics, but tuned with a flatter 2nd octave, you would be blowing the low octave rather softer, and further from its breaking-point, and blowing the 2nd octave rather harder, and further from its breaking-point. This is how nearly all non-MK Low Ds were made. (The only other Low D I tested with a sharp 2nd octave was the Optima.)

When you say you blew a low-octave note on the Kelpie until it was 30 cents sharp, well, on the older MKs I had you would already be in the 2nd octave before you could get that sharp, if your starting-point was the blowing pressure at which you could play both octaves in tune with each other.

So on those MKs there was very little "room" above the low-octave notes before they jumped, and very little "room" underneath the 2nd octave notes before they fell.

I really began to appreciate the expressive range having a flatter 2nd octave bought you with a certain old Overton Low D I had. The 2nd octave was rather flatter than was average across the various makes of Low Ds I've tested, meaning that the 2nd octave had to be overblown considerably to play it in tune with the low octave, meaning that there was a vast amount of "room" underneath the 2nd octave notes for expressive pitch-changing. You could blow the 2nd octave notes very softly, almost a whisper, and they would still sound in the 2nd octave (though very flat of course). It was quite amazing how softly you could blow those and they not fall to the low octave.

But it meant always underblowing the low octave and always overblowing the 2nd octave, when playing on pitch. This increased the volume differential between the octaves.

While on those old MKs the necessity of always overblowing of the low octave and underblowing of the 2nd octave to keep the octaves in tune minimised the volume differential between the octaves, because it minimised the pressure differential.

I hope this all makes sense :boggle:

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1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
1945 Starck Highland pipes
Goldie Low D whistle


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