Next step after Yamaha YRA-28B Alto (towards a Bernolin Resin)?

Home Forum Recorder Makes, Models and Maintenance Next step after Yamaha YRA-28B Alto (towards a Bernolin Resin)?

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This topic contains 24 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Katia J September 17, 2020 at 2:22 am.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 25 total)
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  • #1073

    Daniel Clark
    Participant

    So I 100% know what my 3rd or 4th step is going to be – I’ve fallen in love with the Vincent Bernolin Resin Alto A=415 (about $600).

    My current instrument is a $20 Yamaha YRA-28B Alto (straight windway).

    I’m looking for feedback on what my next step should be – specifically, is the $40
    Aulos A709B Alto (curved windway) a significant upgrade/chance to learn more re: breath control etc.?

    If not, any alternate suggestions in the under-$100 price range? I’m looking less for something that sounds better and more for something that requires/allows breath control etc. closer to the Bernolin.

    Or should I just save my money for the Bernolin as a 2nd step?

    #1075

    Aulos303
    Participant

    I think for that kind of money one could get a wooden instrument. A lot of money for what is essentially plastic.

    You don't stop playing when you get old. You get old when you stop playing.

    #1078

    Daniel Clark
    Participant

    I dislike wood as material from a practical point of view, and from an aesthetic POV I think the Bernolin looks better than 99% of wooden instruments. Reviews suggest the Resin sounds just as good – the reason Plastic usually doesn’t sound as good, based on everything I’ve read, isn’t about its properties as a material, but rather a result of the usual way of working with it – injection molding – not allowing the same details or adjustments as wood. The Bernolin uses Resin, but it’s created not via injection molding but via a process similar to that used with wood. Just like with wood, you can send it back for re-tuning if it’s ever needed.

    #1079

    Katia J
    Participant

    Honestly? If I ever merit a “better” instrument than my plastic Yamaha/Aulos (doubtful but I can dream!), it would probably be the Bernolin resin. I’ve heard it compared to some of the better wooden instruments (as in, said to be better than the cheaper wooden instruments), but it would be without maintenance issues…

    #1081

    Richard Hureau
    Participant

    If I were you, to upgrade to a higher-end Aulos, I’d chose the 509B (“Symphony” model). I like it better than the 709B, which has an oddly placed right-hand index finger hole. An added bonus to the 509B is that it is the plastic model that is closest in size and finger positioning to the Bernolin resin 440. The Bernolin is somewhat fatter than most altos, including the various plastic and wooden altos I have. The Aulos 509B is also somewhat fatter. You do NOT notice this when you are holding them and playing them, but it’s just the way they are and it is nice to have a good quality recorder and a plastic one that kind of match up.

    Here is a snapshot of the Bernolin vs a Yamaha Ecodear.

    http://www.rahsoft.net/images_for_forums/bernolin-vs-ecodear.jpg

    You can see how the Bernolin is thicker throughout (except the head joint which is somewhat smaller). The fat foot joint actually HELPS with the finger positioning because it makes the 2 lowest double holes easier to reach.

    One other thing. Why do you want a 415? I do not think that that is a good idea, unless you play with a lot of pro-level folks or perhaps a harpsichordist who uses 415. You won’t be able to play in most amateur recorder groups, etc. Also, 415 altos are significantly larger than the 440s, so switching from the Bernolin to a 440 model will feel different.

    #1082

    Richard Hureau
    Participant

    I should have said that the Bernolin windway area is smaller than other altos. The entire head joint is fatter and somewhat larger than other altos.

    #1083

    Ken In Dallas
    Participant

    Why 415 Hz? Your Yamaha YRA-28B is an A=440 instrument, which would indicate that you’re not playing now with a bunch of authentic Ancient Instrument people. Off hand I can’t think of any Sheet Music that comes with a CD in 415 to play along with either. It seems like a lot of money to be in a lonely place.

    As you’re asking for opinions on your next resin instrument, I’ll venture some observations based on my daily playing Altos made by all three major makers – Aulos, Yamaha, and Zen-On.

    All my Aulos’ are easy to play and clog the least. They have a forgiving and pleasant voice for ensemble playing. The different registers have differences in voice, which is something I have no problem with having performed on recorder since the 1960s. It’s just what recorders sound like. I love Aulos, I’ve got a lot of’em.

    My Yamaha is the Ecodear 400 series. I understand it’s a fairly new design. It gives the most wind resistance of the three and clogs the most. It doesn’t clog enough to be rejected. It does clog enough that I don’t want to be passing it around the circle during a Pandemic. Of the three it is the only one with a slightly ‘reedy’ voice. I find it blends well when I play with others yet it permits (tolerates?) my expressiveness in solo playing. The low and middle registers are about the same while the top end is somewhat flute-ish or most like a soprano recorder in sound. Nothing to reject it for… just its normal personality.

    My Zen-On is the G-1A. It’s the newest design on the market. It’s the most expressive of the three, rates the mid-point for clogging, and is the most like a better wooden instrument. It’s the most in-tune playing up and down scales in various keys. The registers – if not equal – have voices that are close and blend well crossing their boarders. I would guess that’s as it has undercut fingerholes such as fine wooden recorders have. It is the instrument I’d be most happy being stranded on a distant Pacific island with.

    To my thinking, there are ‘student’ instruments such as you have now, then $40- to $80 current state-of-the-art resin instruments such as I’ve described above and that are the mainstay of practice, rehearsal, and even performance, and then – for most people – a wooden instrument that you love and adore. (that’s got to be a ‘run-on’ sentence) I own a wooden Sapranino, Alto,and Tenor. You wrote a bit about not wanting a wooden instrument. I wouldn’t lock that door just yet. I won’t try to change your mind, but I’m thinking you’ll find your way. Best of luck! – k –

    #1087

    Richard Hureau
    Participant

    SInce Ken brought up the Ecodear, I’ll just add this info to what he said. There are actually TWO models of the Ecodear alto. The model 402B Ecodear, which is the one everyone in the USA has, has a VERY narrow windway, which gives it a unique, muted, mellow tone, which is unlike any plastic recorder I have ever heard. It’s OK if you like that sound.

    If you want an Ecodear model that is the same as the 302B, you have to get the Ecodear model 48B (which is not available in the USA). It has the same windway and everything else as the 302B, except for the body color (and different plastic material). BOTH models are available in the UK:

    More info on the 48B:

    https://uk.yamaha.com/en/products/musical_instruments/winds/recorders/plant-based_plastic_alto/index.html

    also

    https://www.thomannmusic.com/yamaha_alto_recorders_baroque.html

    #1091

    Ken In Dallas
    Participant

    Richard, I do love a good mystery. I searched high and low for that technical info about the two windways with no success. And given that they’re all made in Japan, why bother to make more than one of nearly identical plastic instruments at the same price point with both marketed in the UK. I’ve no idea what it’s all about. But, they’re great inexpensive instruments and we all benefit by having choice.

    Also, I think I’m coming down with Pandemic Internet-purchasing disease. I have no real need for it, but I’m thinking of buying up on my Aulos Alto to the Haka model 709BW. Have you come across any reviews? I’m very impressed with my Haka Soprano, but wonder if the Alto would play about the same. Thanks – k –

    #1093

    Aulos303
    Participant

    Also, I think I’m coming down with Pandemic Internet-purchasing disease. I have no real need for it, but I’m thinking of buying up on my Aulos Alto to the Haka model 709BW. Have you come across any reviews? I’m very impressed with my Haka Soprano, but wonder if the Alto would play about the same. Thanks – k –

    Here is a video comparing the Aulos Haka alto a Yamaha alto. I was looking into getting the Haka alto to replace my Yamaha 312 but I’m not sure

    You don't stop playing when you get old. You get old when you stop playing.

    #1095

    Katia J
    Participant

    Richard, I do love a good mystery. I searched high and low for that technical info about the two windways with no success. And given that they’re all made in Japan, why bother to make more than one of nearly identical plastic instruments at the same price point with both marketed in the UK. I’ve no idea what it’s all about. But, they’re great inexpensive instruments and we all benefit by having choice.

    Also, I think I’m coming down with Pandemic Internet-purchasing disease. I have no real need for it, but I’m thinking of buying up on my Aulos Alto to the Haka model 709BW. Have you come across any reviews? I’m very impressed with my Haka Soprano, but wonder if the Alto would play about the same. Thanks – k –

    And, why are some marketed in one place and not another? (Yes, I know, desirability and sales, but why is one more desirable– or expected to be more desirable– in one place?)

    And, is it really the Ecodear material that makes this instrument sound the way it does (as Yamaha claims), or is it the narrower windway (as many others claim)?

    #1099

    Ken In Dallas
    Participant

    I’ve never made a Recorder, but I’ve been making sting instruments for nearly 40 years. Without overloading the answer with Physics jargon, the ‘voice’ of a Recorder (after the skill of the maker creating windway and labium) is primarily influenced by the density of the wood or plastic. (‘density’ measured as “specific gravity” – weight of an amount wood compared to the same amount of water) After that comes the thickness of the walls of the Recorder. I’ll stop there, but I am a pedantic old guy in his 70s, available for endless discourse on things I may and perhaps may not know anything about. – k –

    #1102

    Richard Hureau
    Participant

    Katia and Ken,
    I know that the 2 Ecodear models are as I said (the differences in windway) because it is mentioned on some UK store’s website in a Q&A area (I forget which). I mean, it is an obvious question and if you search on UK music store websites, I think you’ll find it somewhere, as I did.

    As far as why they marketed 2 like this, I think this is Yamaha’s attempt to bamboozle folks into actually believing that a change in the type of plastic they used (Ecodear) would make such a difference in sound. I think it is pure, unadulterated B.S. If you live in the USA, you saw one model (the 402B) which Yamaha claimed was EXACTLY the same as the 302B except for the plastic used. So, wow, when you tried them you could hear that the Ecodear sounded A LOT different. So it must be the plastic, right?

    Well, turns out that if you looked at the windway, you see that they are not, in fact, the same. So gee, I wonder why that Ecodear sounds so muffled? Could it be that narrow windway? You think?

    My theory (of trying to fool people into thinking it was the plastic making the difference) is somewhat ruined by the fact that I’ve been told (but don’t know for certain), that BOTH Ecodear alto models were introduced in the UK AT THE SAME TIME. I wonder if this is really true. I mean, for example, why would they give the Ecodear that has the narrower windway the same model number (except for the first digit) as the 302B? And then give the Ecodear that REALLY IS THE SAME as the 302B the goofy model number 48B? It makes no sense.

    So my theory is that after they got caught in the lie that the plastic of the 402B was causing the difference in sound, they owned up to it and produced the 48B, which has the fatter windway like the 302B (and most other) recorders have. I’ll bet it sounds the same as the 302B too. I wish I could get a 48B because I like the look of the Ecodear a lot and would like to have one that doesn’t sound like it has a head cold!

    Concerning the Haka model, I prefer the Aulos 509B (“Symphony”) over it. As I mentioned above, it is more like the Bernolin in size, so it is easier to go back and forth. Sarah Jeffery has a YouTube review of the Haka here:

    She mentions the odd placement of the right hand finger holes, another thing I don’t like about it. This is not to say it isn’t a good alto; it is.

    #1103

    Aulos303
    Participant

    Also see the video link I posted above

    You don't stop playing when you get old. You get old when you stop playing.

    #1104

    Katia J
    Participant

    I had a look on Youtube hoping to see a comparison video between the Haka/709 and Symphony/509, but no luck.

    I *think* the 509 is the Aulos I have, but at the moment I don’t know where the case (with the model number on it) is. It is definitely fatter than my Yamaha.

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