Reply To: Bernolin resin alto/soprano recorders vs. Aafab/Coolsma polyester recorders…?

Recorder Forum Home Page Forum Recorder Makes, Models and Maintenance Bernolin resin alto/soprano recorders vs. Aafab/Coolsma polyester recorders…? Reply To: Bernolin resin alto/soprano recorders vs. Aafab/Coolsma polyester recorders…?

Timothy Kogstrom

Dear Matteo:

Sorry for the slow response…(I was off for the weekend at a Renaissance festival in East Tampa, Florida…), (a good time despite providing a surprisingly minimal amount of truly historical/period culture, musical in particular…)

Meanwhile…back in the 21st century…I will humbly and respectfully have to diverge from Richard’s expressed(?) perspective on the humble Mollenhauer Prima recorder…in that, FOR WHAT IT IS, and what I believe is its design goal is, it is a decent starting point…

YES, on which Richard, myself as well the esteemed Sarah Jeffery would say, be wary of “cheap”/inexpensive wooden recorders, they often times are a poorer investment than the equivalent expenditure or less in plastic instruments…

However, I have found the Prima soprano and alto recorders to offer SOME appreciable qualities for a minimal investment…They are constructed of a relatively soft plastic head joint, (so that the soundwave-generating mechanism is relatively indestructible), and the body is made of a soft wood impregnated with paraffin wax…(such that it has a relatively light and mellow/”round” timbre…), though due to the wooden body, it CANNOT be left in a hot vehicle due to the wax migrating out of the wood…). NO, it is NOT the last word in response in the high register, nor the most refined of timbres, and it will clog like any non-cedar block instrument, however, it is certainly not strident, and the lower register is warm and full-throated, particularly with the alto.

Though I have NOT played them, but have heard them played and have fellow ensemble mates who do own and play them, the Mollenhauer “Dream” recorders garner reasonably strong support, they sound full-bodied/throated and I am told they are relatively easy to play…and Sarah Jeffrey has indicated that she likes them as a relatively inexpensive alternative to the much more dear custom/hand-turned Renaissance offerings, Sarah reinforcing her preference for the all wood models.

Again, “horses for courses”, and yes, unfortunately, on-line videos can only go so far as to convey the sonic qualities of an instrument or instrument comparisons…

Wouldn’t it be nice if some wealthy benefactor would create a website, (or fund its creation), wherein an internet user accessible library of recorder recordings was generated, maintained and updated as needed, utilizing thoughtfully determined recording conditions/acoustic parameters, as well as a high quality recording/audio chain. This would include specifying the flatness/frequency response of the microphone(s) used, as well establishing the acceptable parameters of any microphone/audio chain components used, and any other pertinent application parameters for consistency.

Either a wealthy benefactor could purchase/maintain a library of instruments and maintain them, OR, more realistically, instruments could be “requested/auditioned/returned” from/to the manufacturer in a timely fashion. Alternatively, perhaps, upon the condition that the instruments would be handled/returned with great care, instruments in mint to excellent condition might be requested/volunteered to be auditioned and returned, from the general public…

Auditioning repertoire need not be virtuoso in technical demands, nor must the “audition-er” be a virtuoso, but just someone(s) who genuinely knows how to play, and that the instruments are played consistently.


Tim K.