I'm really going to have to play all these things side-by-side before deciding to buy a trad-reed Hayden. I've had points where I've convinced myself that reed type is a small nuance, particularly since we have a few posters here whose bandmates ask they use Stagi for recordings since it "sounds better". But just recently when I play my Lachenal Crane, side-by-side with my Morse, I do end up wishing that I had reeds like the Crane in the body of my Morse.
In the meantime I suppose we're all just waiting for one clever guy to have a Newton moment and suddenly figure out an inexpensive way to produce true concertina reeds.
This is all so subjective and so much a matter of personal preferences.. And it's compounded by the fact that we, as concertina fanatics, hear nuances in sound that others don't. I hear a world of difference between my Jeffries G/D and my Morse, but I've played with people who can't tell them apart.
I find that the difference between the hybrid and traditional sounds varies by acoustic environment. In some rooms - an echoy gym, for example - the difference seems very noticeable; in others less so. Run thru a big PA system at a dance, you can't tell the difference. Differences also diminish when the sound is recorded and played back.
For Anglos, key is a major factor. My C/G Morse sounds much more like a 'real' concertina than my G/D, which has a more complex, more accordion-like sound.
If you're doing a test to compare hybrid v traditional instruments, don't just play the boxes yourself; bring along another player and listen. What you hear when playing isn't the same as what a listener hears.
Matthew, I'm surprised your Beaumont is quiet. My Morse boxes are incredibly loud. I wonder if something in the design of their Hayden mutes sound. Or maybe you're just hearing it as quiet. Come over sometime and we'll do some side by side tests. (I have a decibel meter iPhone app).
But the bottom line: these are all fine concertinas, and what really matters is the skill of the player, as Jody says. Differences we sense as huge because we're concertina fanatics may not loom nearly as large to our audiences.
Edited by Jim Besser, 15 August 2014 - 06:33 PM.