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 Post subject: MK Pro A
PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 1:52 pm 
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I just received an MK Pro in the key of A today. What a great whistle. It plays and sounds exactly like an MK whistle. The bottom two notes are strong and very easy to land on from any other note. A is a great whistle key, it feels a little more like a high whistle and is exceptionally easy to play, at least this one is. I love how it sounds. This is the first one I’ve seen with the silver anodized color. It’s very understated, yet beautiful. I am currently playing an MK Pro low D, a Killarney D and now this MK A whistle. I’m not currently planning on getting many more whistles than these three, all three are fantastic, IMO; perhaps a Goldie low D at some point. If I get a Goldie I’m leaning towards the softer blowing range. If I don’t love the tone of a whistle I won’t play it. I like the tone of Goldie whistles on the recordings I’ve heard.

After playing it some more the highest couple of notes are edging towards too loud, IMO. I would say slightly more so than my low D MK. Ideally I’d prefer them to be a little softer, but I don’t consider it a significant negative. The rest of the notes are all beautiful, complex, smoky amd focused. I need to play it for a week or so to be sure, but so far I love the whistle.


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 Post subject: Re: MK Pro A
PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 3:22 pm 
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Location: Tyler, Texas
Congrats on the new MK. It's always a good day when a whistle arrives!

I've got the MK Pro in F and it is a very nice whistle.

Glad you are liking yours in A.


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 Post subject: Re: MK Pro A
PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2020 2:45 am 
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Location: Surrey/Hants border, England
I too, find 'A' to be a good key, I must do, I've got 3 already, (2 whistles & a Duo), & I was eyeing up a pre used MK 'A' on Ebay, (I have a MK in low 'F' which I really like), so this is timely info..... :D

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Trying to do justice to my various musical instruments.


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 Post subject: Re: MK Pro A
PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2020 8:25 am 
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Location: WV to the OC
Congrats!

It's a wonderful thing when you get a new whistle and it meets and exceeds expectations.

I have a lot of experience with MK Low Ds but zero with any of their other sizes. I'd love to get my hands on an MK A.

You're right there's something special about those "mezzo" or "alto" keys, whistles in F, G, and A. I've heard many people express the opinion over the years that those are their favourites.

My most recent acquisition is a Colin Goldie F and I absolutely love it. The voicing is perfection. It's the highest Goldie I've played, previously it's been only Low D and Low C. I have played Bernard Overtons in Eb and Enat and they were super too.

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


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 Post subject: Re: MK Pro A
PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2020 10:28 am 
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I played the A MK for about an hour this morning and it reinforces what I wrote last night about the highest notes. The notes above high D, three fingers down, are just borderline too strident for me. The rest of the notes are gorgeous. On my MK low D the highest notes are loud, but still sound great. It’s not just that it’s a higher pitched instrument, I can linger on the high b note on my Killarney D whistle and I’m not bothered by it at all. There is also a little extra push needed for those notes on the A whistle compared to the MK D. I’m going to play it regularly for several more days and see if it still bugs me then. I might just need to adapt my technique, but I have no problems going from my MK low D to the Killarney high D.


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 Post subject: Re: MK Pro A
PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2020 1:15 pm 
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I got an MK Pro A a few months ago and am really impressed with the balanced octaves and how much it plays like a low whistle. Much like the Mk Pro F, it has a husky strength and more airy sound that is lots of fun in a mezzo whistle. My Goldie mezzo A, by comparison, is much more pure and bright, with more back pressure in the top octave. I can't say which one I like more. they are both different and lovely in their own way. The Mk does require quite a bit more air, which is perhaps why it feels like a low whistle.

-Peter


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 Post subject: Re: MK Pro A
PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2020 11:55 am 
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bruce.b wrote:
The notes above high D, three fingers down, are just borderline too strident for me. The rest of the notes are gorgeous. On my MK low D the highest notes are loud, but still sound great.


On the half-dozen MK Low Ds I owned the High B was a tiny bit strident, and had to be blown just so. Overblow it a hair and it was sharp, underblow it a hair and the tone got gravelly.

The pick of the litter was the MK Low D that had a bit stronger Bottom D than the others AND had a bit sweeter High B than the rest.

Still, I feel that the Low D > High B balance (which seems to be the trickiest thing for Low D makers to do) is better on my Colin Goldie Low D than on any of the MKs I owned.

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


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 Post subject: Re: MK Pro A
PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2020 3:14 pm 
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I think I’m going to order a Goldie low D soon. I want to be sure what to get first. I’m leaning somewhere towards a soft blower. As long as the whistle plays ok, the tone of it is vital. I won’t play it if I don’t love how it sounds. They sound great to me on the many recordings I’ve listened to. i don’t generally like a lot of air noise. Too breathy and unfocused and I won’t play it. I’d want to shoot for a tone that is focused and on the clear end. About the same air consumption or less than the MK would be nice. Back pressure isn’t a big deal as long as it isn’t a crazy amount. I’m a little worried about clogging as I’m a wet player.


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 Post subject: Re: MK Pro A
PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2020 5:09 am 
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bruce.b wrote:
About the same air consumption or less than the MK would be nice.


That's a tall order! When I was acquiring and trying dozens of Low Ds air consumption was one of the things I measured.

I measured it by how long High B could be sustained. It was interesting that the air consumption of various makes didn't vary all that much in the low octave, and got more divergent the higher I got. High B was the most divergent, being capable of being sustained twice as long in some makes than in others.

I found that the MK was the second-most air-efficient Low D I tested, of 20 or so different makes.

The most efficient was my Goldie "Medium".

Be aware that my Goldie easy/soft blower is slightly less efficient than my medium. As the windway tightens backpressure rises and less air passes through. I don't think I've knowingly played a Goldie or Overton hard-blower but I assume that it's even more air-efficient.

What I don't know is if the resistance of a whistle can get to the level of a Scottish practice chanter or, I am told, the oboe, where you take breaths not to keep the instrument going but to keep yourself going! And exhale to clear your lungs of stale unused air before you breathe in.

The reward of my Goldie easy/soft is more powerful low notes and sweeter high notes, the penalty is slightly less efficiency.

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


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 Post subject: Re: MK Pro A
PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2020 5:30 am 
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pancelticpiper wrote:
bruce.b wrote:
About the same air consumption or less than the MK would be nice.


That's a tall order! When I was acquiring and trying dozens of Low Ds air consumption was one of the things I measured.

I measured it by how long High B could be sustained. It was interesting that the air consumption of various makes didn't vary all that much in the low octave, and got more divergent the higher I got. High B was the most divergent, being capable of being sustained twice as long in some makes than in others.

I found that the MK was the second-most air-efficient Low D I tested, of 20 or so different makes.

The most efficient was my Goldie "Medium".

Be aware that my Goldie easy/soft blower is slightly less efficient than my medium. As the windway tightens backpressure rises and less air passes through. I don't think I've knowingly played a Goldie or Overton hard-blower but I assume that it's even more air-efficient.

What I don't know is if the resistance of a whistle can get to the level of a Scottish practice chanter or, I am told, the oboe, where you take breaths not to keep the instrument going but to keep yourself going! And exhale to clear your lungs of stale unused air before you breathe in.

The reward of my Goldie easy/soft is more powerful low notes and sweeter high notes, the penalty is slightly less efficiency.




Thank you Richard for this very useful information. My dream is to one day get a Goldie. The choice between a hard, medium and soft blower makes the decision more difficult for a new whistle player like myself. Your post here on air efficiency and in other posts on hole spacing, tonal quality and ease or difficulty of playing the higher 2nd octave notes are useful information to me.


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 Post subject: Re: MK Pro A
PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2020 8:18 am 
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Location: Bischberg/Bavaria/Germany
I'd say that my Chieftain V5 is slightly more air-efficient than my MK low D Kelpie. But the difference is minimal and I never tested how long I can hold a note on any of them. I do prefer the sound of my Chieftain Thunderbird though which takes more air. But they're all great whistles. Never tried a Goldie yet. I always wanted one but at the moment my main instruments are the flute and the standard high D whistle.


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 Post subject: Re: MK Pro A
PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2020 10:15 am 
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“ The reward of my Goldie easy/soft is more powerful low notes and sweeter high notes, the penalty is slightly less efficiency.”

Exactly the trade off I want. Of course I’ll talk about it with Colin first, but I’m pretty certain it will be a softer blower. Compared to fiddles and guitars, Goldies are on the inexpensive side. My tenor guitar is worth many times a Goldie whistle.

I just started playing whistles, mostly low D, a lot again about a month ago. For most of the year before that I was concentrating on fiddle. I have played whistles off and on for a long time as a secondary instrument. I am playing whistles a lot now, and even going back and working through June McCormack’s Fliuit, Irish flute tutorial, to clean up some bad habits I have.


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 Post subject: Re: MK Pro A
PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2020 10:33 am 
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Has anyone else played a Qwistle low D? It has an excellent, powerful tone, but I found it to take a bit too much air. It has a big sound in a good way, though it was, ideally, a little too breathy sounding for my tastes. I sold the one I had, but it’s an interesting design. If it’s air consumption isn’t a problem for you, I’d suggest trying one out.


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 Post subject: Re: MK Pro A
PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2020 11:37 am 
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Yes, I have one with both, the "pro" and "standard" mouthpiece but I use the "pro" mouthpiece on the body of a Kerry Optima F, which works like a charm. The sound is amazing but it's not the easiest whistle to play.


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 Post subject: Re: MK Pro A
PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 8:58 pm 
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I really like my Dixon A whistle in brass. It has a nice sound. My MK low D is on its way --scheduled to arrive Friday! Life is good!

Michelle


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