Closest to accordion

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  • #3890
    AvatarOfir
    Participant

    I’m looking for an intermediate/pro melodica with the following important parameter: sound as close as it can to an accordion, but still on reasonable price range (~100$) and weight (<1kg). (excluding the Victoria Vibrandoneon Mk II..)

    After watching many many videos, I ran into these two:
    (13 MELODICAS comparison review)

    (YAMAHA P37D | HOHNER 32K | ANGEL 32K MELODYHORN SOUND COMPARISON)

    and I have real doubts between the Angel Melodyhorn 37 and the Yamaha P37D. (I really dislike Hohner’s sound, as it seems too harsh for me.)
    On the 13 melodicas the Angel sounds better to me, with a warm and mellow sound, whereas at the 3 melodicas video the it seems less solid and the Yamaha seems like the better sounding one.

    I can get the Yamaha for roughly 100$, and the Angel for 65$, but the price doesn’t really play any major role here.
    I read that the Yamaha has way better build quality, but it seems that the Angel won’t fall apart anyway, therefore the parameter of ‘as close to accordion sound’ it the most important to me.

    Please assist, which one will be my new instrument??

    #3891
    Daren BanarsëDaren Banarsë
    Keymaster

    Hi Ofir, welcome to the forum. If you can afford it, the Yamaha P37D is the one I would recommend. It is better built and will last longer.

    #3893
    AvatarOfir
    Participant

    Hi Troy,
    Thank you very much for your welcoming comment, I’m definitely here to stay.
    By the way, I’ve seen your “circular breathing” video with your Yamaha – beautiful!

    As for build quality, I saw a previous post comparing the two (with Hohner as well), and the conclusions.
    The thing is that although I’m thinking of adding the melodica to my arsenal (meaning touring with it and holding concerts in festivals and so), I’m approaching this question with a different criteria, sound needs.

    By listening to as many records as I can, It seems that the Yamaha tend to have noticeable overtones which makes its lows less ‘deep’; I’m also quite afraid of ‘thin’ highs at the Yamaha’s, as its lows and mid seem less ‘full bodied’. (or is it just the recording? I can’t tell nor get access to any of these before buying..)

    It’s all very hard to decide, because I’m making my comparisons based on videos with varying sound quality, players (most of them are really really bad players..), and they all are playing only partial range of the instrument..

    I would really appreciate if you can approach my dilemma from the sound aspect.

    Thanks again 🙂

    #3894
    Daren BanarsëDaren Banarsë
    Keymaster

    Soundwise, the Angel sounds like a muffled Yamaha. It’s as if someone has turned down the treble. I like the sound of both of them – it’s down to your personal taste. I wouldn’t use an Angel professionally, because the reeds aren’t reliable enough.

    Glad you liked my circular breathing video!

    #3897
    Daren BanarsëDaren Banarsë
    Keymaster

    The melodicas that sound close to accordions are the ones which use accordion-style reeds. But as you probably know, they’re not the cheapest models – Vibrandoneon, Clavietta, Hohner Pro36, Hohner Soloist and Silvertone.

    #3911
    AvatarOfir
    Participant

    Note about something that I wrote before: when I claimed that I dislike Hohner’s sound, while I was only referring to the modern available models, all of them.

    As for the comparison between the Yamaha’s and the Angel’s sound, you raised an important point: do you say that the Yamaha has ‘more’ into its sound than the Angel (as if it can be reduced to the Angel’s by an EQ)? If so, then I’ll probably go for the Yamaha; I was afraid that it has less low freq sound components, therefore a totally different creature.
    I noticed that you are the one playing on the 13 melodicas video; can you comment on the other aspects of playing these two? i.e. sound responsiveness (dynamics and so); didn’t find that on other reviews.

    Seems like the common thing for all your list items is that they are discontinued? 🙁
    (and I won’t put >2000$ on the Vibrandoneon, even if available..)
    By saying accordion-style reeds do you refer to single reeds? (meaning single reeds is always accordion style reeds)

    That said, I guess that I’ll get myself one of the two (Y/A), and in the background look for my Hohner Pro36, which its sound I really liked.

    #3943
    Daren BanarsëDaren Banarsë
    Keymaster

    Yes, accordion style reeds are single reeds.

    I think you have to remember that the Yamaha P37D, the Angel, and most other melodicas are all very similar in design. There isn’t a huge difference between them sound wise or playability. I don’t think you’ll find any ‘totally different creatures’ among them!

    #3951
    AvatarOfir
    Participant

    Same design, no huge difference, but taking into considerations such video as the ’13 melodicas’ you recorded (assuming that you used roughly the same recording distance and the same setup), it seems that the sound difference can indeed be huge.
    I guess that it mainly depends on the material of the reeds (for basic sound and responsiveness), and on the melodica’s design and package for the final sound (acoustics).

    It seems that the ‘accordion sound’ is in fact the ‘holy grail’ of melodicas, therefore I feel that I should apologize for my first message ‘requiring’ that for my needs; I thought that there are main sound families which are common (more or less), trying to point on the one which matches my needs. I didn’t know that I was asking for the best-discontinued-hard to find models.

    I’ll set my order for the Yamaha now (don’t let my German grand hear that.. 🙂 ). Worst case, I can always sell it if I won’t like it (no one import that in my country) for at least the price that I spent.
    I’m extremely happy with what I’m able to do with my (pardon my french) Swan 37 melodica, which I own for roughly a week; I can only imagine what I will be able to do with a pro instrument..

    Thank you for everything! for assisting, for the videos, and for this terrific website!
    I promise to post more details on the Swan soon (pictures, exact weight) to enhance the review database.

    By the way- left hand piano + right hand melodica works terrific together; I’ll post a video soon.

    #3962
    Daren BanarsëDaren Banarsë
    Keymaster

    Good choice 🙂 Let us know how you get on with the Yamaha!

    #3970
    AvatarMelodica-Me
    Participant

    Hello Ofir, One thing that will change the dynamics of even the best Melodicas is how they are played in triads, and the voicing of those triads. Consideration for overtones in melodica tuning as in accordion is very important to the overall sound. I tend to tune my Melodica’s slightly sharp in octaves (1) cent to thicken the sound, but not enough to feel that you are out of tune when played with other instruments. Another issue for consideration is that not every melodica will fit the sound you are looking for, what may sound good for one musical piece may not sound as good for another. I have recorded using many different melodicas in combination, but when in solo I tend to look for a specific sound that fits the musical piece. And last, the statement that Daren makes that there is not much difference in the lower cost melodicas is true as the basic design of the reed plates body and vary slightly. Once you jump to a melodica that cost several hundred dollars the reeds tend to be of better quality and the tone tends to be more defined. Good luck in your search.
    Melodica-Me
    Monsters of Melodica

    #3973
    AvatarOfir
    Participant

    Thank you Melodica-Me.
    When I said ‘dynamics’ I was referring to the ability to control the nature of tone and volume the played notes, as I can easily do on my piano – and expected that from a wind instrument.
    When considering tuning, do you refer to playing chords / octaves as the way to get ‘accordion like’ sound, or do you get accompanying overtones from other reeds (even if not played) when playing single notes?

    I hope to get an instrument which allows me to produce a variety of tones, just as every piano I get in my concerts can get me a huge range of different sounds, matching different musical pieces.

    Can I conclude from your saying that the sound difference between different high-cost (high quality) melodicas is bigger than the sound difference between different low cost (say even pro stuff) instruments?
    I know that it’s hard to evaluate ‘sound difference’ (I don’t know of any formal way of defining it), but I guess that it’s something that we can agree on even without a formal definition.

    #3975
    AvatarMelodica-Me
    Participant

    Odor, Volume is easy to control, tone is much different, if you use a pickup and effects like chorus, reverb, and EQ, the tone can be manipulated. As in any instrument the quality of sound producing element in this case the reeds will determine te quality of the tone, as they are on your piano, a guitar, or a basic Reed on the saxophone. It all comes down to the quality and the tone you want to produce. I tend to get more of an accordion sound when played in chord thirds, gifts with octave and fourths. The tuning off by a cent in the octave works for me to thicken up the sound. Trial and error is the only way to find the sound you are looking for. In the Monsters of Melodica recording of “Spain” (see You Tube) or members recording and you can here it there, you can here a lot of accordion type sounds in the solo. I am using a Hammond Hyper with a little chorus and plate reverb. Again this is a $400-$650 melodion depending where you but it, not cheap but going to record with a melodica that does not have the final quality or response needed well makes no sense. Work with your Swan melodica and see what you feel lacks for your needs and work your way to the sound you like. I have a good selection and use them all, I do not own a Swan so I can not help you with the sound or direction on how to EQ. I do not own a Yamaha P37 but have heard it many times and the tone is very good as a entry level for someone with the ability to play it from the start. In other words as a piano player you will probably make it sing.
    Melodica-Me

    #3976
    AvatarOfir
    Participant

    Melodica-Me, when saying ‘volume’ I was referring to the ability of creating fine differences. I.e., with my currently owned Swan, there’s a bottom volume limit which I can’t start the reed below; after getting the note running, I can make small changes. This is an example of a big ‘dynamics’ bug of the instrument.

    As for tone, I think that you took me to the wrong direction. Yes, EQ and every other effects can be nice (I’m also in the pro audio business, doing commercial mastering works, so I know a thing or two about that), but I’m basically referring to the acoustic sound of the instrument, free to air. This is the basics as in any other acoustic instrument. I’m also focusing mostly on the single note sound, rather than multi-note relative effects. If a single note sounds terrific, so will a chord of any kind.

    #3977
    AvatarLowboy
    Participant

    Hi Ofir,

    Welcome to the forum. By coincidence, I believe I have provided additional answers to your questions through the recording I just posted a few minutes ago–before I read your post.

    As you can hear from the recording, I have this melodica really talking and have used no effects except delay and the usual EQ/compression used in recording. All the modulations you hear are from playing technique and having the right melodica. The melodica I played in this recording is a plastic Hohner Piano 27. Production was discontinued several years ago, but they are all over Ebay and other auction sites for $30 to $60.

    As most people on this forum know, this is one of my favorite melodicas because the sound is projected out the back of the instrument. Hence, you can get all types of volume and tonal modulations from the instrument by moving it around and by pressing the back of the instrument up against your body. This particular melodica bends notes pretty readily. Waving it around a microphone in various ways in combination with using other techniques produces interesting modulations as well. I have been working on these techniques for close to an year. Too much to go into right now, but some of my previous posts talk about this exploration in detail.

    So can a melodica (cheap or expensive) be really expressive? Yes, but like the piano, there is a half life of study involved to pull out the instrument’s capability.

    Regards,

    Lowboy Bootay

    #3978
    AvatarOfir
    Participant

    Hi Lowboy,
    Thank you for your welcoming message.
    Also thank you for pointing out to your newly released audio, which indeed shows nice dynamic range.

    By the way, can you please identify the (37 notes) melodica played in this video? (not the flutey one at the end, obviously). I really liked his sound.

    I guess that I mostly liked the fact that the tone is gentle yet has lively overtones on every note.

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