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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2019 10:28 am 
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I have been reading quite a bit in this forum and all over other websites and the more I read, the more confused I get. :)
Money aside, what is the best sounding high D whistle in the world.
Give me the top three (in case, I have to eat back my words about "money aside").

By best sounding, I meant I want it to carry the richest tones across both octaves. I don't need it to be the loudest (I already have the Chieftain high D).
By richest tones, I meant tones that are
  • deliciously mellow in 1st octave
  • no fraying in second octave (solid)
  • 2nd octave needs to have crisp endings in the higher frequency notes (not roundish) - high clarity
  • loudness: medium to large bore

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2019 10:34 am 
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You will have to decide for yourself, if your criteria are going to be as subjective as they are.

I think the forum has by now matured enough to have reached a consensus there is no 'best' whistle. There's horses for courses at best.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2019 10:46 am 
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arthury wrote:
I have been reading quite a bit in this forum and all over other websites and the more I read, the more confused I get. :)
Money aside, what is the best sounding high D whistle in the world.
Give me the top three (in case, I have to eat back my words about "money aside").

By best sounding, I meant I want it to carry the richest tones across both octaves. I don't need it to be the loudest (I already have the Chieftain high D).
By richest tones, I meant tones that are
  • deliciously mellow in 1st octave
  • no fraying in second octave (solid)
  • 2nd octave needs to have crisp endings in the higher frequency notes (not roundish) - high clarity
  • loudness: medium to large bore

I'm curious as to how you evaluate your Burke Eb (in your signature line), and whether that meets any of those criteria in your mind. The other Burke pitches are fairly similar.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2019 11:17 am 
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kkrell wrote:
I'm curious as to how you evaluate your Burke Eb (in your signature line), and whether that meets any of those criteria in your mind. The other Burke pitches are fairly similar.


It has not arrived yet. :)

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2019 11:30 am 
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I have a Harper, a Burke, a Killarney and a Goldie high D.
I love them all, each for different purposes as they are very different to each other. I'd consider them all the best in the world.
The Killarney will probably not meet your requirement regarding volume but is certainly deliciously mellow in the first, as well as having high clarity in the second octave.
The Harper can well do with some "leaning into it" - the loudest of all, while still having a sweet and round yet complex tone. It is also possible to play it at lower volume without losing the tuning.
The Burke is my favourite "all purpose" whistle, good volume and well balanced over both octaves, moderate air requirement.
The Goldie takes a little bit more air but has a richer tone than the Burke.
Of course this is all very much subjectiv to personal preference.
Over the years, I have tried (among others) a few Copelands, Abells and McManus which I would also consider the best in the world...


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2019 12:05 pm 
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arthury wrote:
I have been reading quite a bit in this forum and all over other websites and the more I read, the more confused I get. :)
Money aside, what is the best sounding high D whistle in the world.
Give me the top three (in case, I have to eat back my words about "money aside").

By best sounding, I meant I want it to carry the richest tones across both octaves. I don't need it to be the loudest (I already have the Chieftain high D).
By richest tones, I meant tones that are
  • deliciously mellow in 1st octave
  • no fraying in second octave (solid)
  • 2nd octave needs to have crisp endings in the higher frequency notes (not roundish) - high clarity
  • loudness: medium to large bore


Yeah, a lot ambiguity here for me too. I have no idea what's meant by "no fraying", and "crisp endings." I think these are mostly aspects of technique--breath control and fingering precision--as opposed to the instrument's characteristics.

But in trying to infer what you're after from the whistles I'm familiar with, I'd think my Carbony high D best fits the bill.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2019 12:15 pm 
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JackJ wrote:
Yeah, a lot ambiguity here for me too. I have no idea what's meant by "no fraying", and "crisp endings." I think these are mostly aspects of technique--breath control and fingering precision--as opposed to the instrument's characteristics.

But in trying to infer what you're after from the whistles I'm familiar with, I'd think my Carbony high D best fits the bill.


Thank you for the Carbony recommendation.

I'm making the assumption that these requirements are met without ornamental additions and that fingering correctness are assumed.

- no fraying = solid & punchy tone rather than diffused and spread out
- crisp = high clarity (like a Freeman Blackbird), well defined

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2019 1:11 pm 
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I'd say it is more a case of finding whistles that you like personally - most of those traits I find in my Dixon tunable aluminium high D - they are not that expensive - but everyone differs in what they hear, so it really is down to what you like.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2019 2:41 pm 
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arthury wrote:
what is the best sounding high D whistle in the world?
To be honest, you might just as well ask, "What's the best looking whistle in the world?" You'd get about as much agreement. And none of us have heard all the whistles in the world in person, so there might always be a better one around the next corner.

The quest is yours to undertake. Let us know how you get on.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2019 2:48 pm 
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I'd say it is ONLY a case of finding what you like personally...
Backpressure hasn't been mentioned yet, since playing characteristics were not part of your question - although IMO very important. Plenty or little backpressure does in no way indicate the quality of sound or the overall instrument - it is a playing characteristic which some players like and others don't. Some top notch whistles have plenty of backpressure, others in the same quality range have little or almost none. Personal preference can (and in most cases, will) at this point make the difference if you love or hate a particular instrument.
Dixons don't have much backpressure, Killarneys not that much either. Dixons are soft and tender in response as well as in sound - many like exactly that, they're a bit too soft for my own personal liking.
My Harper has a hell of a lot of backpressure, which means I can blow the sh*ite out of it if I want to, and get rewarded with plenty of volume - which was ideal for the times when I played with a rock band - but many players would hate that, it's sort of the banjo among whistles... :wink:
To lead on this analogy, the Burke would be the fiddle, the Goldie the violin, and the Killarney - probably the whistle... :wink:


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2019 3:37 pm 
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From just a few years of browsing available whistles on the market, I've found roughly four main types of whistles, but within those categories there is wide variance in features (tone, intonation, chiff, wind requirement, price and range of expression). So you're still going to have to keep narrowing down your options once you figure out a few things, which I think you have now realized. These four categories share features with each other, they aren't clear-cut in the marketplace, they're just a pattern I found.

1) narrow bore, thin wall, inexpensive pennywhistle type, often with tin or simplest kind of plastic mouthpiece usually having a blade width considerably narrower than the diameter of the tube itself (the lowest priced brands and oldest style brands)
2) brass or nickel-plated tube of considerable strength and a considerably higher quality mouthpiece usually made of metal or a higher strength plastic (delrin, etc.), with considerable design expertise and quality control. Testimonials from users will typically rave of their reliability and often the tone, whether you find them of your taste or not. Bore diameters are mostly similar and tone hole size and location mostly similar. These will be priced from roughly $25 to $70. Cheapest might be a Waltons and certainly one of the best would be the Killarney?)
3) wider bore, wider tone hole and wider blade, for full tone, full volume and full range of expression. Lots of aluminium whistles in this category. Chieftain Thunderbird comes to mind and there are many others (many famous top quality brands) with varying tone and expression. The bore diameter and tone holes vary quite a bit, brand to brand, as does the level of chiff, tonal richness and issues between how the two octaves play, and the design of the blade (flat, curved, overcut/undercut options) but regardless, all of them tend to have appealing richer tone, be highly reliable, professionally designed and constructed, first-rate customer service and quality control, updated in design intermittently, mid to high volume and have loyal users. Some of these are wood bodies supported by metal mouthpieces and metal tuning slides.
4) full wood, or full plastic, and regardless of price and quality, these are often the more subdued tone whistles, shifting towards sounding like wood flutes or recorders. Some will still sound obviously like a whistle, but some, like a Susato (to my ears), sound too close to being a recorder, and I already have three recorders (soprano, tenor and sopranino). The difference in tone between a silver flute and an Irish ebony flute, is immense, and between a brass or aluminium whistle of category 1, 2 and many of category 3, VS these category 4 models, is also big. Personally I've seen a few full wood whistles on YouTube I think sound terrific, and the full plastic Tony Dixon DX001 D whistle sounds quite good. You have to know what you want here. It's a personal choice.

I hope that's enough to confuse via clarity.


Last edited by RoberTunes on Fri Dec 13, 2019 3:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2019 4:07 pm 
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MichaelLoos wrote:
[...]
To lead on this analogy, the Burke would be the fiddle, the Goldie the violin, and the Killarney - probably the whistle... :wink:


I like that analogy! :D

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2019 4:08 pm 
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fatmac wrote:
I'd say it is more a case of finding whistles that you like personally - most of those traits I find in my Dixon tunable aluminium high D - they are not that expensive - but everyone differs in what they hear, so it really is down to what you like.


I missed that manufacturer completely. Thanks for bringing this up. I'll look into this.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2019 4:30 pm 
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MichaelLoos wrote:
I have a Harper, a Burke, a Killarney and a Goldie high D.
I love them all, each for different purposes as they are very different to each other. I'd consider them all the best in the world.
The Killarney will probably not meet your requirement regarding volume but is certainly deliciously mellow in the first, as well as having high clarity in the second octave.
The Harper can well do with some "leaning into it" - the loudest of all, while still having a sweet and round yet complex tone. It is also possible to play it at lower volume without losing the tuning.
The Burke is my favourite "all purpose" whistle, good volume and well balanced over both octaves, moderate air requirement.
The Goldie takes a little bit more air but has a richer tone than the Burke.
Of course this is all very much subjectiv to personal preference.
Over the years, I have tried (among others) a few Copelands, Abells and McManus which I would also consider the best in the world...


Killarney and Harper are more options to look into.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2019 4:58 pm 
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They are TOTALLY different - and I'm afraid Harpers aren't available any longer....


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