This recorder belongs to one of the most iconic recorder brands that is eye-catching due to its unique squarish organ pipe shape. It is definitely a conversational starter whenever it is taken out for a performance.
The clever short bocal design reduces the distance from the mouth to the labium considerably for an instrument of this size, thus facilitating a strong and rapid response. I was very surprised that how little breath support was required to coax a sonorous sound from this instrument, especially for the lowest notes.
I had encountered some issues with the high A, B, and C. These notes requires well-controlled breath pressure before they can be produced accurately. With my instrument, however, I suspect that this is probably due to the instrument adapting to a tropical climate after being shipped in from a temperate (late Spring) climate.
The notes in the second octave require the use of the unique octave key next to the left-hand thumb key. Activation of this key needs some getting use to, especially if one is not already accustomed to using a similar octave key in other woodwind instruments. Nevertheless, with practice, this is not an issue.
I have also found the low D sharp/E flat key to be somewhat tricky to be pressed down. I suspect that this could be due to my relatively short right-hand right finger. With practice, however, I believe this issue could be easily resolved.
I have also encountered a small but audible squeaking sound when the low C and C sharp keys are activated. This issue was easily resolved, with advice from the staff at Paetzold by Kunath, by applying a small amount of cork grease (that is supplied with the instrument) on the articulating levers of those two keys.
Otherwise, the revolutionary key design enables a person with relatively short fingers to be able to play this instrument with ease. If you can play a tenor recorder, the finger stretch for this instrument should not be an issue.
The instrument purchased from Thomann has redesigned keys that have very low key noise (the older instruments had audible key noise and this was one of my major concerns when considering which manufacturer to purchase from); additional gaskets between the tenons that result in excellent air-tight seals; and it is also supplied with a newly designed telescopic floor spike, which allows one to play the recorder either standing or while seated.
The instrument does not ship with a floor stand, which must be purchased separately. It will be very useful to use the stand to rest the instrument, either during practice or performance sessions, when the instrument is not being played. Options for the instrument stand includes the original fold-down stand, and the newly introduced cross stands (for standing the recorder either on its head joint, or at the end of the instrument). If you travel on public transport, you may wish to consider investing in a safeBag, a relatively light weight case that can be carried on your back.
This instrument has been a very useful and powerful addition to the recorder group that I play in. It is certainly a worthwhile purchase if you are looking for a reasonably priced instrument to expand your group's repertoire (and also recorder collection!), and I am very pleased that I have chosen Thomann as my partner for this purchase at a very attractive price!