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8notes.com Forums Flute Pearl flute review

     
Pearl flute review    01:28 on Monday, March 20, 2006          

StephenK
(395 points)

Posted by StephenK


Curiosity got the best of me and I picked up a Pearl-505RBE to see how different offset is with open holes and how the split-E would effect playing.
On offset-open holes I experienced no odd transition or inability to switch back an forth between inline and offset open holes so that's nice to know.
On split-E... dear lord it's amazing how much added weight this little mechanism adds and it didn't really seem to do much at first really. I switched between flutes E's and A's to see if I felt any more secure and I didn't really notice anything. It wasn't until I tried playing "lazily" that I noticed it's cool effect. It could offer crack protection for those moments when you don't expect it. There IS a timbre difference, but it really is negligible and after playing with it for awhile I seem to have adjusted for the split-E and I rather like the sound now. It’s been a few days, but it doesn’t appear to affect my ability to hit high E’s on my other flute.
The Pearl PH-5J headjoint.... SUCKS... Oh my dear lord it appears to be on autopilot. The thing has absolutely no resistance and produces only a sickening sweet tone (well it's a lovely sweet tone, but I don't like "sweet"). Absolutely no lower range projection capability or “edge”.
The flute itself is nice. The scale is good. The mechanism functions very well. There are obvious signs of plating when you look closely at the keys though, wrinkling at edges even inside the hole of the open hole key. The tube and the tone holes have no plating issues at all though. It's interesting that the entire flute inside and out is silverplated or the alloy that they use is silver colored in nature, the tenons are certainly a different hue.
I like the reversed gizmo key. Gives more room for the fingers to move around down there, but I don’t like that I cannot easily slide from low Eb to low C. I’ll need to see what I can do about that.
The Bb/thumb key is nicely designed as well. Appears to allow easier switching between each.
The French case the flute came in was an EL CHEAPO case that smelled of glue. Hideous. There was even a little piece of cloth that was glued in place that covered the headjoint somewhat that I couldn’t understand why they would do such a thing as it got in the way of taking out the headjoint, but I noticed it that the G# is actually making contact with the headjoint in this case… the fabric being a barrier. Horrid horrid design. Thankfully I have a couple spare cases.
The French case is also non-standard. It is French width and height, but American length. So the case cover which is actually decent can only fit this case or another non-standard case like Gemeinhardt’s French case… lol now I finally have a cover for that case!
All in all… the flute is good, but the headjoint and case are bad. I would purchase this flute with the intention of headjoint shopping to end up with a better flute. I hope the head joint cut on this Quantz flute isn’t the same across the board. If this flute body is the same across the board then getting this flute with its silver plated head and upgrading the head would be a very worthwhile investment.
I purchased this flute used for 0… a couple weeks used. So it was a good purchase.
But considering this flute is 0 from fluteworld and 0 from WwandBW… Yamaha’s student flute is probably a better buy as you will get a decent headjoint with the flute... and it usually can be found new for around 0-600 (Though no split-E's).
Now I did get my Natsuki head fitted to the Pearl flute and with the change in head it could rival a Yamaha flute, but you're talking about an 0 head upgrade.
I also restored my Gemeinhardt headjoint and I found the good ol’ model J to be a better player than the Pearl head. Cost me a pretty penny to restore that sucker, but it was worth it.
I’ll attach a recording of my Gemeinhardt now back in one piece shortly since I was actually suprised that my Gemeinhardt seems to be sounding better as of late now that it has competition. lol.

Re: Pearl flute review    01:54 on Monday, March 20, 2006          

Account Closed
(3248 points)

Posted by Account Closed


Thanks for the write up on that. I think I know who you got that flute from. Nice guy!
I had the Quantz 665 RBE model for about a month to use as a backup while I was trying to sell my Muramatsu on consignment.
I thought the scale was very nice on it and the headjoint was pretty decent. I really think that the scale on them are a lot better then the one on the Yamaha flutes personally.
When I played the one I had, it was lacking robust to the sound and sounded kind of tinny sounding to me. I put an Emanuel headjoint on it and that helped out a lot with that.
I ended up selling it and using my student Yamaha because the sound just could not be beat.
I am always fooling around getting different flutes to see if it might be 'the one' that will stand out to me that I can use as a backup, but so far my little Yamaha 221 has beaten them all, even the all solid silver flutes that I have tried. It just works well for me. Too bad Yamaha can't change their scale though. That is the only draw back, but I can work with it.
I took the split E off of the Pearl that I had. I just don't like them at all. It makes that E sound very muffled to me.
All in all, I thought the mechanism was very fluid on the Peal that I had and comfortable. I just didn't care for the sound much. I tend a be a bit spoiled now though, and I am used to handmade models and headjoints, so when I pick up a student line flute it just doesn't cut it for me anymore. The only one, like I said before that does, is my 221.
I didn't think that the cases were that bad. Did yours come in a green lined case? I thought that they were pretty nice, myself.
Now you are going to have to make a recording on it, so we can hear it Stephen.

<Added>

I didn't notice much of a weight differnce with the split E, but I do know that Pearl uses that extra stabalizer bar, so maybe that is adding weight too. The flute seemed pretty light to me. That was a big plus to me. I like silver plated flutes because of that.

Re: Pearl flute review    12:25 on Monday, March 20, 2006          

ninafire
(109 points)

Posted by ninafire


My Pearl weighs a ton. I don't have the split E, but I do have the C# trill and had to get a bo-pep thumb rest because it wanted to roll backwards on me. If was a small trade-off though because I really like the flute overall.
I have to agree with Piko though, the 5J headjoint does suck. I tried a student model with it, a 501, and agree on the complete lack of resistance. And no colors either.
I have no idea what cut headjoint my flute came with. Unlike the newer models with the cut name engraved into the hj (like "Forza"), mine says nothing besides HJ6 which is pretty meaningless to me. I suppose I could contact the company, but I think even the 6 is too free-blowing personally. I only use that one with a pickup now. I found an Altus head that I really like and had it resized to fit. I think I may need to have it shortened though. The resizing seems to have added just enough length to make it hard to play with A=442 flutes without lipping it up almost all of the time.

Re: Pearl flute review    22:39 on Monday, March 20, 2006          

StephenK
(395 points)

Posted by StephenK


The Pearl doesn't seem to radiate like other flutes do. It seems the sound and resonance begins and ends at the head with little travelling to the body. Though I would hope that means what sound isn't distributing it actually going out toward people.
The split-E for me doesn't sound muffled just more like everything else around it. Maybe you have a distinct liking for it's unique sound on regular flutes so you notice it missing.
The case was the green lined case and just seem so cheap to me. I would have prefered a standard American style inside than the crooked and patch work fabric and post job in this case. The fabric is nice... but what they did to it! It's really made to resemble a professional French case, but it just doesn't compare.
I have made a recording and will put in that recording thread just so that all four combos can be compared.

Re: Pearl flute review    22:43 on Monday, March 20, 2006          

StephenK
(395 points)

Posted by StephenK


I'm afraid the weight isn't an illusion, even my lap feels it! I'm not sure what it is though. Maybe the metal they are using is just plain heavier. It doesn't seem to be the usual copper alloy. lol... even the foot feels heavy!
I need to find a scale that can weight this thing. Though another problem with this flute is that you cannot just lay it down. The thumb post is positioned in such a way that the flute rests on it and the G# key. THAT is just BAD design. It does rest better in an open case like that... which may be why they did it.

Re: Pearl flute review    03:52 on Tuesday, March 21, 2006          

Account Closed
(3248 points)

Posted by Account Closed


Though another problem with this flute is that you cannot just lay it down. The thumb post is positioned in such a way that the flute rests on it and the G# key.

I noticed the same thing on a Jupiter flute that I sold not too long ago. The thumb post seemed to be a bit longer then most.
The Pearl that I had felt rather light to me, but then again I am used to an all solid silver Powell with a C# trill key and an offset G. My Powell tends to run on the heavier side.
If you do find a scale to weigh it on, I would be really interested in your findings.
Re: Pearl flute review    19:30 on Tuesday, March 21, 2006          

ninafire
(109 points)

Posted by ninafire


I don't think any metal was added when it was resized, but the bore was originally too large and it seems the shrinking process lengthened it just enough that it no longer plays at 442. I'm hesitant to just have it cut though. I keep wavering on this decision!

Re: Pearl flute review    08:46 on Wednesday, March 22, 2006          

Dennis
(587 points)

Posted by Dennis


I now have to chime in. First off: The HJ you had...5J...were those the only characters in the name? I play on my first headjoint from pearl - PH-5JSL. I LOVE this headjoint. It has a great timbre in the low notes, and plays comfortable in all ranges. I had the flute "tweaked" when I got it. Kara, I did notice that the Split-E sounded a bit muffled, BUT after I took it to the doctor, I found that the split-E felt on the crutch had condensed...so the key itself (lower G) was not closing all the way. After altering that a bit...PERFECT Split-E. I really also don't feel the weight difference everyone is speaking about. That could also be because of the fact that I owned a pearl flute previous to this. I have a PF-521 which has offset, split-e, b-foot, silver plated everything, and a solid silver lip plate. Now I have a 665-RBECODA which has offset, slipt-e, b-foot, C# trill, D# roller (which is what Stephen needs to change to for the Eb to C movement), and it is silver plated with a solid silver head with a 10K solid gold lip plate. I feel no difference in them. I do have to say that getting it looked over by someone else (sorry Kara as I know you do repair work) helped me immensely. I played on it for a month before taking it in. I was like...it's my playing...I suck! That's why I could play anything well. Well, come to find out it plays very perfectly now. As far as the thumb mechanism...I love it. It is really easy to switch back and forth. The G# key...eh...I think the reason you say it's designed so badly is the fact that it was designed to play...not to lay on table. That's what they make flute stands for. Pearl is a very good company. Something I could not say about any of the Jupiter Flutes I tried before re-settling on a Pearl. The headjoint that came with the 665RBECODA I have is model PH-610J. I hate it. There is too much of a fine line between resistance and cracking. Therefore, I use my 5JSL still. One day I will upgrade again. I also have to note that the Pearl Flutes start blowing people out of the water when you get to the REAL Quantz Series, and then the Coda-Quantz and up. Listen to Rhonda Larson sometime. She plays on a 14K Gold Maesta with an 18K gold head. Of course I will not be able to afford this for a very long time, but her tone is a dream! That's all for now. Thanks!
-Dennis

<Added>

OOPS! I meant...That's why I COULDN'T play anything well!

Re: Pearl flute review    17:13 on Wednesday, March 22, 2006          

Dennis
(587 points)

Posted by Dennis


They actually don't sound the same. I don't want a solid gold flute, either. I would like the Silver Maesta or the Opera model from Pearl. Both of which I still cannot afford for a long time. I'm looking around ,000 for the Silver Opera Model. But, of course, I would probably fly to Texas and try a few types including gold out at Orpheus Music. See if there is a huge difference or something I prefer in my sound. The next flute I get will be chosen over a few days worth of trying them out. To tell the truth...I can't even hear much of a difference in a silver plated flute and a solid silver one. So who knows about gold.
-Dennis

Re: Pearl flute review    17:52 on Wednesday, March 22, 2006          

schoolgirl0125
(613 points)

Posted by schoolgirl0125


Hey ppl! Yea, i'm loving my new pearl. HeAvy? umm.. seriously i can't tell. but when i had my friends flute in on hand and my pearl in the other. GOSH is the pearl heavy. BUT the heaviness doesn't affect my playing. Why complain about?..does it seriously affect your playing. it doesn't for me. Oh, and the split e thing..i have no clue what that is. I think i remember someone saying you could take it off? or i don't even know how to use it! and all the special thing added to my flute^_^ heehee. like c# roller..I don't know!

Re: Pearl flute review    21:21 on Wednesday, March 22, 2006          

ninafire
(109 points)

Posted by ninafire


Micron,
When I lay the Altus hj next to the Pearl hj, the Altus is noticeably longer. A good 1/8 of an inch. I'm no hj designer or physicist for that matter, so I guess I just assumed they would be pretty much the same length and they're not. I don't know if the body of an Altus flute would be correspondly shorter than the Pearl or not because I don't have an Altus body to do the comparison. But if the tube size is different enough between the 2 flutes, is it not possible that one may be relatively longer and still play at the same pitch?
When I play the Pearl hj, I need to pull out to play at 440; when I play the Altus, I don't.

<Added>

correspondingly, not correspondly. duh.

Re: Pearl flute review    23:10 on Wednesday, March 22, 2006          

Dennis
(587 points)

Posted by Dennis


I was mentioning that I have not played a solid gold flute before. I have no basis for comparison as to whether the gold would sound better for me than silver. I can't tell a difference between silver plated and solid silver. I really can't tell a difference between the test that Sir James did on his website either. So when I do go to buy a flute next time...it will be between 15,000 dollars and 50,000 dollars. I will be trying out all sorts of metals and options. Hopefully I will be ordering that flute at the end of this year or the end of spring semester next year. I'll let you know MHO also as to whether there is a difference in my tone, or if it's just hype. I don't HAVE to have gold...but like you said...if they play the exact same and the gold one gives me more confidence (for some reason that sounds really shallow, but so be it) I will buy that one. (To tell the truth, I think just buying any flute gives you more confidence. It's all psychosomatic. Given that it functions in the first place of course!)
-Dennis

Re: Pearl flute review    01:25 on Thursday, March 23, 2006          

Account Closed
(3248 points)

Posted by Account Closed


Dennis,
Are you in College majoring in music right now? I can't remember if I had asked you that or not. If so, what year are you in?

Re: Pearl flute review    01:35 on Thursday, March 23, 2006          

Dennis
(587 points)

Posted by Dennis


I go this fall for school. I am moving to Tallahassee actually in two months. I am majoring in both Clarinet and Flute Performance. Hopefully I can be famous for both. I don't want to choose! Little Rock will be about 5 hours closer to me then also...we might have to meet up for some jam weekends!
-Dennis

Re: Pearl flute review    06:09 on Thursday, March 23, 2006          

Account Closed
(3248 points)

Posted by Account Closed


Yeah! That sounds fun! Though, I am not sure if I could keep up with you.

   
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