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Treble Aeola or Edeophone?


koeter
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Are there differences in quality, sound between these two? If you look for a high end quality treble EC, which would you recommend?

There are differences in sound and quality even between individual Aeolas and Edeophones. Most particularly, there are differences in sound, because many of these top end instruments were custom made to the preferences of individual purchasers. Quality can also depend on the period when the instrument built. Paul Davis once told me that for some instruments from a certain period he could even name the individual Wheatstone craftsman who had set the reeds, based on the superior responsiveness of those reeds.

 

It seems that in general more people prefer Aeolas to Edeophones, but there are some -- Wim Wakker among them, if I remember correctly -- who prefer Edeophones. Wim does prefer to replace the Lachenal hook action with a riveted action (he makes his own), though others seem quite satisfied with the original Lachenal action. Also, some say the 12-sided bellows of the Edeophone are too flexible. Others, myself among them, don't find this a problem.

 

I myself have had several different Aeolas, and there has been noticeable variation in sound quality, action response, and reed response just among the ebony-ended ones. I've only owned a couple of Edeophones, but there were definitely differences between them, as well. I preferred the action of the one, but the tone quality of the other.

 

So my recommendation is: You should be quite happey with either an Edeophone or an Aeola, and you should base your choice not on the name or category, but on the individual instrument, including and especially its current condition.

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I'm with Jim Lucas in that the attributes of an individual concertina should be the determinant factor in selection rather than a particular make or model. The unknown history and care of an instrument coupled with its individual construction make for a unique situation. Throw in the current playing condition and you have an incredible number of variables.

 

That said, quality often tells. Edeophones and Aeolas were the flagship instruments of their respective companies. We can probably assume those instruments got the most attention from the best workers and probably were made from the better available shop materials. So every Edeophone or Aeola deserves further investigation.

 

The one component of a concertina that is difficult or impossible to repair/restore is the reeds. Reeds that have been carelessly filed in tuning or allowed to accumulate serious rust and corrosion can be compromised in sound and performance.

 

There are numerous opinions, stories and folklore involving both Aeolas and Edeophones. (I have not been able to find the pre-2008 cnet. threads where Wim Wakker talks about his preferences and the differences in Edeo construction and sound. Can anyone help?)

 

We know for a fact that Lachenal experimented with aluminum reed shoes that in some cases proved unstable. Edeophones with aluminum shoes need to be looked at with special attention. Some think the Edeos with a larger reed pan hole have a better sound. I've heard opinions that hold that pre-1910 Aeolas had a different and sweeter sound than subsequent instruments.

 

In the end it will come down to finding an individual instrument that suits your needs and expectations. But it is always worth the effort to give an Aeola or Edeophone a second, third and fourth look.

 

Greg

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I'm not disagreeing with these two; I also find concertinas vary a lot and the way they have been treated over what's probably about a century of life has a huge effect.

 

However I'll have a go at describing the difference, because I do think the two factories had different ideas about what was 'the best sound'. It seems to me that the Wheatstone sound is clearer and more sophisticated than the lachenal intention; which appears to me reedier and perhaps more strident, with a consequent ability to force its way through other noises. I would pick the Lach for playing jolly bouncy stuff to an audience, the aeola for subtlety to a few friends. Big chords and quiet play work better on the aeola; the notes seem to blend better, somehow.

 

Very subjective this. Not sure how much real use it is!

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Generalising a lot, the Edeophones that I've sat next to (and tried) have both had a very distinctive voice. Difficult to describe, and different from my mid range Lach. of a similar age. I could pick them out in a crowd and it might be a sound you like more or less than other models.

Aeolas just sound good. (I've not had a chance for playing one enough to say anything, but I'll assume that top end models from both companies should have a good playable feel as well.

 

Chris

Edited by spindizzy
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My vote would go to the Aeola every time.

I have owned six Aeola EC's and two Edeophones,over the years, both metal and wooden ended versions.With the Aeolas there was allways a consistency of tone throughout the keyboard. It is usual,with the Aeola, to be able to hear every note of a chord even when that chord is spread from top to bottom notes. So it is in the balance of volume and sweetness of tone that I feel the Aeola wins.

 

I have just been testing the volume balance of my current Aeola against a non- Aeola Wheatstone of similar vintage and for chord work the Aeola is streets ahead.

 

The other, and for me, very important factor is the Wheatstone "Action"; the rivetted levers and light weight (metal covered) wooden buttons are infinately superior to the action of the Lachenals. Although, one of the Edeophones I owned years ago did have rivetted action!

 

It does depend, though, what you wish to use a Concertina for, as Dirge says. If I want big cutting-through volume (noise) then I would not choose to use an Aeola because the sound is (usually) too nice, civilised etc. A friend who visited a few months ago was very supprised that my Rosewood Treble Wheatstone (hexagonal) was louder than his metal ended treble Aeola.

 

Geoff.

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My vote would go to the Aeola every time.

I have owned six Aeola EC's and two Edeophones,over the years, both metal and wooden ended versions.With the Aeolas there was allways a consistency of tone throughout the keyboard. It is usual,with the Aeola, to be able to hear every note of a chord even when that chord is spread from top to bottom notes. So it is in the balance of volume and sweetness of tone that I feel the Aeola wins.

 

 

Geoff.

 

This is interesting because it is the balance of tone and volume of the edeophone that Mr. Wakker cited as his reason for preferring them to Aeolas, as I recall. He felt that the 12 sided shape of the edeophone was largley responsible for this.

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I'm diving into this discussion about the relative merits of Aeolas versus Edeophones with my 1927 metal-ended tenor-treble Aeola in one hand and my circa 1922 metal-ended treble Edeophone in the other and, at my feet, lies a 1937 metal-ended hexagonal Wheatstone treble, like Alf Edwards used to play. I bought the Edeophone from Chris Algar a while ago. He had 7 in stock to choose from and the one I ended up choosing, seemed to have the best tone and a nice smooth action compared to the others. The Aeola has a good tone, too and produces a nice sound, which is not too harsh, however, the best sound, to my ear, comes from the 1937 Wheatstone treble, which also has a nice action, despite it not being rivetted (they'd stopped dong it by then). I remember Geoff Crabb telling me last year that, years ago, they would make a batch of instruments, e.g. wooden-ended treble EC's, from identical materials, and yet each concertina would sound a little different when played, So, when purchasers came to collect their concertinas, the concertina they were offered was matched to their preference regarding sound/tone and depending on the type of music they wanted to play on it. Also, I find that the way an instrument sounds, depends on the type of music being played and the skill of the player making the most of the instruments capabilities. Listen to a clip of Mischa playing his Jackie on YouTube, for example. It's a really basic EC, yet Mischa manages to make it sound like a much more expensive instrument.

 

Chris

Edited by Chris Drinkwater
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Listen to a clip of Mischa playing his Jackie on YouTube, for example. It's a really basic EC, yet Mischa manages to make it sound like a much more expensive instrument.

 

Stormy Wheather: http://www.box.net/shared/a8nk2ksyh1

 

Russian tune: http://www.box.net/shared/nj17mmauus

 

Tango, Last Sunday: http://www.box.net/shared/3n4xnenpl4

 

J.S. Bach, Polonaise: http://www.box.net/shared/jcod7rmakc

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Listen to a clip of Mischa playing his Jackie on YouTube, for example. It's a really basic EC, yet Mischa manages to make it sound like a much more expensive instrument.

 

Stormy Wheather: http://www.box.net/shared/a8nk2ksyh1

 

Russian tune: http://www.box.net/shared/nj17mmauus

 

Tango, Last Sunday: http://www.box.net/shared/3n4xnenpl4

 

J.S. Bach, Polonaise: http://www.box.net/shared/jcod7rmakc

 

 

Thanks for the links to these clips, Leonard. I tried but couldn't find any.

 

 

Chris

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My vote would go to the Aeola every time.

I have owned six Aeola EC's and two Edeophones,over the years, both metal and wooden ended versions.With the Aeolas there was allways a consistency of tone throughout the keyboard. It is usual,with the Aeola, to be able to hear every note of a chord even when that chord is spread from top to bottom notes. So it is in the balance of volume and sweetness of tone that I feel the Aeola wins.

 

 

Geoff.

 

This is interesting because it is the balance of tone and volume of the edeophone that Mr. Wakker cited as his reason for preferring them to Aeolas, as I recall. He felt that the 12 sided shape of the edeophone was largley responsible for this.

 

 

Maybe Mr.Wakker feels that the Twelve sided shape, being closer to circular, allows the maker better oportunities for balancing the reed chamber sizes.If this was such a factor one might expect to see him producing instruments of this shape.

 

My test sample, for my opinions, is very small but I have owned about 50 EC's over the last 40 years, including a Jeffries EC, and have repaired and tuned many many more than this.

It is important to say that a "played" instrument will sound quite different to one that has just be discovered in an attic, or one that has just been restored, therefore it is difficult when visiting a dealer who might have several instruments for you to choose from.

 

I do agree with Chris Drinkwater that for some types of music, dance band playing etc., I prefer the tone of a Hex/metal ended Wheatstone.

 

Geoff.

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My vote would go to the Aeola every time.

I have owned six Aeola EC's and two Edeophones,over the years, both metal and wooden ended versions.With the Aeolas there was allways a consistency of tone throughout the keyboard. It is usual,with the Aeola, to be able to hear every note of a chord even when that chord is spread from top to bottom notes. So it is in the balance of volume and sweetness of tone that I feel the Aeola wins.

 

 

Geoff.

 

This is interesting because it is the balance of tone and volume of the edeophone that Mr. Wakker cited as his reason for preferring them to Aeolas, as I recall. He felt that the 12 sided shape of the edeophone was largley responsible for this.

 

At least it's about reed quality as well. Here's what he said in a thread about Æola-Edeophone-comparison back in 2007:

 

This is a reply I received from Wim while shopping for a tenor/treble.

 

Hello William,

 

The edeophone was Lachenal's top model. It is 12 sided and has, just like

the aeola, long scale reeds. We've restored many top wheatstones and

lachenals over the years. I've seen many good wheatstones, but very, very

rarely an exceptionally fine instrument. The quality of edeophones ranges

from very bad to (almost) perfect. the best instruments I've ever seen

(reed quality/equilibrium, etc.) have always been edeo's. Over the years I

have replaced all my aeolas in my personal collection with edeophones. I

used an 48 key edeo for the recording of the concerto for concertina and

orchestra (see the music/cd section). I also used an edeo for the premiere

in New York a few years ago.

 

Regards,

Wim

Concertina Connection v.o.f.

 

. . . . . . . . .

 

When comparing an aeola with an edeophone, you'll find that both have comparable reed scaling, although I personally prefer the edeo scaling (better equilibrium). The reed quality (frame/tongue tolerance) is always good in aeolas. In edeo's they can be terrible or superb.. Lachenal used to have an incredible reed maker, unfortunately he was not the only one making edeo reeds…

The chamber design and reed position is comparable in both instruments, although the chambers in a 12 sided instruments are a little more uniform. Also, both instruments have the same dense reedpans. The big difference between the 2 models is that edeo's have mahogany action boards and frames. This filters the higher harmonics, which makes the instrument slightly more mellow. You can compare this to a band pass filter in a analog synthesizer. Lachenal cuts the upper harmonics, and wheatstone tries to amplify them.

 

The action in an aeola is always better. The best thing to do with an edeo action is replace it. An other typical edeo problem is the glue. Over time bone glue does not hold on mahogany. Usually when you take the end bolts out of an edeo, the instrument falls apart.. Edeo bellows, both material and design, are much better than aeola bellows. We rarely have to replace edeo bellows. On the other hand, when we restore an aeola, we quite often need to replace the bellows.

Both aeolas and edeophones are nice instruments… nowadays the quality of an instrument is not only determined by the maker, but also by the condition. I've seen many instruments destroyed by incompetent tuners, with the wrong type of valves or pads, or just regulated wrong. If I was looking for an instrument, I would not worry about the maker, just the condition, preferably still in high pitch.

 

Wim

Concertina Connection v.o.f.

Edited to add his answer to Bill Christ

Edited by Leonard
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FWIW, from conversations I've had with Colin Dipper I believe he largely agrees with Wim. When Anne traded her Edeophone for an Aeola Colin jokingly but definitely told her off!

 

Chris

 

 

Colin did some work on my Edeophone, which I was finding difficult to adjust to and was considering selling. He told me, very forcefully, not to sell it and to stick with it. I think he was right. The example I have is extremely sensitive and requires a very delicate touch to make the most of its dynamic range,responsiveness and superb tone. Whereas the Aeolas I've tried were all more forgiving and easier to play from first touch.

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FWIW, from conversations I've had with Colin Dipper I believe he largely agrees with Wim. When Anne traded her Edeophone for an Aeola Colin jokingly but definitely told her off!

 

Chris

 

 

That's why I own, and am lucky enough to own, one of each, an Edeophone and an Aeola. FWIW, Colin says, like Wim, that, in his experience, Lachenal bellows tend to be better made and last longer than Wheatstone bellows. Earlier this year, he refurbished my 1927 Aeola for me and warned me that the bellows on it would need replacing at some point, though they look fine to my eye, whereas the bellows on my slightly older 1922 Edeophone are still in perfect condition. That's maybe another good reason for buying an Edeophone.

 

Chris

Edited by Chris Drinkwater
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