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Focalink Vs. Maparam

Nonayourbeeswax
Double Ocarinist x 4
Double Ocarinist x 4
Joined: April 26th, 2008, 2:08 am

June 5th, 2008, 12:58 am #1

Here is a question that I think will help people decide what ocarinas to buy.

Two of the best well-known ocarina companies are Maparam and Focalink. Both are very high-quality brands.

Look at these brands. One of the first things you notice is that Maparam is considerably pricier. It is also a well-known fact that Maparam is supposed to be one of the best brands you get and are supposedly better then Focalink.

But the question here is: Is it really worth it? How much better are Maparams and is it really worth the price? Is the difference in quality worth the difference in price? If I have a collection of Focalinks would it be worth it to buy a collection a Maparams? Could it be that Focalinks might be better then Maparams?

I have neither a Focalink or a Maparam so I would not know.

What do you think?
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Deleted User
Deleted User

June 5th, 2008, 1:24 am #2

I think that there is a huge Asian market that we have yet to tap into because the lack of translation. :omg:
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omashanti
Inline Ocarinist
Inline Ocarinist
Joined: June 3rd, 2008, 3:06 pm

June 5th, 2008, 2:19 am #3

Ok...as an ocarina maker for the last 19 yrs...my opinion is that every ocarina is unique and has qualities based on a number of aspects...size of instrument, fipple shape and size, tuning acuracy, etc etc....

As a collector, i look first for the tuning and the tone...once i find what i like i buy it. i recomend one of everything as each has unique charicteristics to make it special and everyone like different things. For example, some folks blow realy hard while others blow softly...also some folks like crisp shrill tones while others like deep warm or even chiffy tones.

As with any instrument...i don't care who made it...each one is unique and will require some geting aquanted with. I.E. you cold line up 100 $20,000 flutes of solid gold and made by the same reputable company, and one would discover by comparison that though all are great instruments, each has charicer of its own like, like the way certain notes require subtle adjustments.

Bottom line is...go for acurate tuning and the tone you like...then look at special things like....i don't know...turtles or sea shell designs like i make ;)

But do keep in mind that if you want my ocarinas, they are strictly the peruvian traditional one octave(tuned to perfection) chromatic ocarinas. They still play everything, just without the extra holes and in one octave. i recomend something with fewer holes for beginners as they are easier to get instant satisfaction out of without the complexity of a lot of holes. As a teacher for the last 20+ years, i find that instant gratification is a firm building block for beginning musicians in general. If you can play a cool song in the first 20 minutes, you will probably continue to learn more. Often it is the difference between a cool 10 or 12 hole that sits on a shelf and a cool 5 or 6 hole that gets played all the time.

Granted this is a generalization and not everyone fits into these catagories.

Hope this helps!

Check out my website for more info:
www.rareearthflutes.com

Contact me via e-mail as the phone number is wrong :rolleyes:

Cloud
Write your own tabs from any sheet music in four easy steps! Check out our new tab writer here http://www.seocarinas.com/cart/tabchart.html
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kissing
Site Admin
Joined: February 3rd, 2008, 12:55 pm

June 5th, 2008, 4:13 am #4

I agree with Mr.Cloud on that the important things are tuning and tone, and that the important thing is the unique characteristics of the instruments which you may like. With the type of ocarina (12-holes? 5-holes?) it also depends on the type of music you like to play. The songs I like happen to work best with ocarinas that have wider range of notes, and I am very fond of Double/Triple ocarinas that extend range and feel most comfortable playing them. But I really do highly respect the work Mr Cloud puts into preserving the original peruvian style ocarinas which are ultimately ancestors to the 10/12-hole ocarinas. It is really hard to find good peruvian style ocarinas, and he has them! :D

Anyway, on the topic of Maparam and Focalink:

Owning both Focalink and Maparam ocarinas, they are indeed different in the kind of tone they produce. Deciding between them is a very subjective matter that depends on personal preference and style of music.

Maparam (in general, based on the ones I have) possess a warmer, richer kind of tone that blends the sound of air into the tone (but the overall sound is still quite dense and rich). The sound of their triple is similar to the Icarus triple ocarina (the red one) that Osawa uses in concert. This is because the Maparam triple's design was based on the Icarus triple, and tries to gather a similar sound.

Focalink (from owning their Double Soprano G's and listening) have a clearer, crisper sound. The sound feels very solid and is quite easy to control. From listening to recordings of their Triples, air sound seem to be minimised, and focus is put onto the clarity of the ocarina sound.

They produce different kind of sound, suited to the tastes of the individual makers. They are both my favourite makers of ocarinas compared to others I've used so far for the sound and quality of their ocarinas, though they are very different in tone style.

Furthermore, the individual ocarinas are often different from each other as well. I have owned the Maparam Alto C, Double Alto C AND the Triple Alto C, and can tell you straight off that each have different properties (and probably on purpose by the maker:

The Single AC is a balanced ocarina - the tone requires some good technique to play the high notes, but its not too hard. There are moderate dynamics, and the tone is the richest out of the three.
The Double AC has the easiest tone to control. You blow, and a very pure and rich tone is made. I'm figuring that it has been made this way so that beginners to the double ocarina can focus on their fingering by making tone-control easier.
The Triple is the most difficult out of the three in terms of fingering AND tone control. However, after owning it for a while, I see that it has the most potential and variability in its dynamics and capability to express feeling to the music. It has the most potential, but requires more skill.

As far as price goes, I think Maparam are definitely worth what they are priced. The quality definitely measures up to the price from what I can judge, and I have therefore been a repeat customer.

Focalink's prices are a bargain, and they offer a LOT for the price they charge. Their quality is definitely good, and I will most likely buy from them again! (in fact, maybe their Double/Triple Alto C models - to give me an alternative Alto C sound).

I can't say one maker of ocarinas is better than the other in this case, and I don't think price really affects my judgment. My personal preference goes towards Maparam a bit, since I like the mellow, rich timbre. But I also love Focalink for its purity and ease of tone. Also depends on the music played and the mood I'm in during the day too of course :D

Bottom line is - you can't really go wrong with either. Both are used by professional ocarina artists who have released albums. They also play very different kind of music genres. (Ocarina Classica uses Maparam/Woodsound and their musical style is classical/traditional. Hao Lun Hsu uses Focalink, and his music genre leans towards New Age/Avante Garde/Rock. However, they do cross over as well, I've seen Hao Lun Hsu play classical music using Focalink, and vice versa for Maparam).

That said, it needs to be pointed out that Maparam and Focalink are not the only makers of ocarinas, and nor are they necessarily the representative "biggest" ones in the world. They are simply the ones who were very open and interested in making providing for our community (most approachable). I found Maparam approachable through their demonstration through youtube, friendly emails, and they had already begun making a website for the international market (they just needed a little help). I found Focalink very approachable, also from their demonstrations through youtube and an easily accessible website + readily answered emails.

Will I contact more ocarina makers to try get them connected with the english speaking international market? I do not know, since contacting Focalink and Maparam in the first place were done as a customer interested in their products, not specifically to release their products out into the world.
Last edited by kissing on June 5th, 2008, 4:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Deleted User
Deleted User

June 5th, 2008, 6:22 am #5

While sound is key in choosing, comfort should take center stage. No matter how well it sounds ... if you cannot play an ocarina comfortably, it is not for you. Ocarinas styles are as unique as human hands. Different people have totally different needs when it comes to hole placement. Not everyone has the same dexterity of fingers either.

It is so hard to shop for an ocarina over the internet. The best way is to find a place that sells ocarinas, and handle them for yourself. Since most of us cannot do this with the ocarinas in question ... one needs to look at scale, shape, and hole placement.

The question should not be which is the best, but which is the best for you!

:TON:
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Mikael
Triple Ocarinist x 2
Triple Ocarinist x 2
Joined: April 22nd, 2008, 9:46 am

June 5th, 2008, 9:58 am #6

There are a couple of things I would like to point out that none of the previous posters have.

The Maparam ocarinas are easier to play in my opinion. They seem to easily produce the beautiful sound you want, and you won't ever find a Maparam playing badly. I am also more comfortable with holding the Maparams, as well as the finger holes. The only downside I can find about Maparam, is that they have a limited selection of ocarinas. As a repeat customer I would like to see perhaps a double ocarina in G among others. That being said, I haven't found better quality anywhere else.

One thing that is great about Focalink is their wide selection of ocarinas. Even if you have already decided on an alto C ocarina, you will still have THREE options if I remember correctly. By being the owner of one of their double SG ocarinas I can say that it is generally more difficult to get used to than Maparam ocarinas, but it has a very beautiful sound once you find the proper techniques to play it. They recently did some modifications to their double SG so their other ocarinas may be a more accurate representation of how they are like.
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ImmortalOffspring
Double Ocarinist x 2
Double Ocarinist x 2
Joined: April 26th, 2008, 8:53 am

June 5th, 2008, 10:36 am #7

I own both the Maparam Double Alto C and the Focalink Double Alto C:

Personally, I like the Maparam one more than the Focalink. My Maparam (Remember, if I bought another Maparam Double Alto C, it wouldn't exactly match the other) sounds better over the whole range. Also, it not in the least airy in the first chamber. The Focalink do have a small airiness when playing the higher notes of the first chamber.

On the other hand, I actually find that the Focalink one has better placed subholes and such. A minor inconvenience, but still.

But on the subject of price:

I actually feel that, for an ocarina player in making, Focalink offers the best sound for the price. Off course, you will want to step things up afterwards, and the Maparam is there. :nod:
The name's Andreas, but don't tell anyone.
New nickname: The Ocarina-playing Wolf.

My blog. Read for random stuff. Oh, and be prepared for long ramblings about my dog.
New Entry: Hopefully back then.
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Myung
Triple Ocarinist x 2
Triple Ocarinist x 2
Joined: April 22nd, 2008, 10:03 am

June 5th, 2008, 2:51 pm #8

I personally like the sound of my Focalink dbl SopG better than my Maparam dbl AltC. If I ever upgrade to triple, I think I will go for a Focalink. I find the overall shape more practical in use. I like the flatness of the right hand part. Subholes are excellent. The only thing you need to get used to, is the subhole on the ringfinger hole of the second chamber. But you get used to that quite easily imo. The Maparam is also an excellent ocarina, the sound "colour" is just very very different from the Focalink. I think it is mostly up to preference of sound and shape and budget, when you are doubting between the two. The best way to know which you prefer is to play both, but you'd probably have to buy them first...Unless you know someone not too far away who has one or the other, or both XD.
Last edited by Myung on June 5th, 2008, 2:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Myung
Triple Ocarinist x 2
Triple Ocarinist x 2
Joined: April 22nd, 2008, 10:03 am

June 15th, 2008, 12:04 pm #9

On second thought I do also really love the sound of the Maparam dbl AC.
I don't know wether it was the weather or my own improvement, but it sounds so nice now.
Even though I had alot of trouble making it sound decent in the beginning.
Me wants a single Map AC tooooo, gah I want so many ocs XD.
Good thing I have forbidden myself to buy new ones for the next 6 months lol.
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Aryah
Transverse Ocarinist
Transverse Ocarinist
Aryah
Transverse Ocarinist
Transverse Ocarinist
Joined: April 29th, 2008, 3:06 pm

June 21st, 2008, 7:03 am #10

Well, I was holding out for a Spencer, but he hasn't had an auction up in a while and his website still isn't up, and I really want a 12 hole to start playing with. So I'm thinking of either a Focalink or a Maparam, listening to everyones videos I prefer the Focalink sound, but I'm afraid that I might not be able to get used to the sub-hole positioning (I'm not very well finger-coordinated lol).

Are the sub-holes hard to get used to on the Focalink?
How much breath does a Focalink require?

:?
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