We currently have two materials that are available for order, these are Nitrided DC04 and AISI 430 Stainless Steel. We are also currently working on the new Ember Stainless Steel and hope to be able to offer that in the coming months as well.
There are fundamental differences in the look, feel, the sound and even the smell of these materials. Below I will try to highlight some key differences between them as well as offer two videos of identical scales recorded in the same environment using the same equipment.
Nitrided vs Stainless
People often ask "which is better", the answer is, "neither and both". Both materials have their pros and cons or quirks and pleasantries we like to say. Therefore to some people, Nitrided might be the best option, whilst for others Stainless, and then for the more concise musician a collection comprising of both might be most suitable.
Some Key aspects to highlight:
Aesthetic: The appearance of the two materials is pretty clearly different. Nitrided tends to have a grey appearance that can be manipulated to appear blue/green, as well as brassing. Whilst Stainless has a far more copper appearance with sometimes presenting as a shiny steel colour.
Sustain: It is very clear that Stainless has a considerably longer sustain, almost 50% longer from our measurements. This can be very appealing to many, especially beginners, however it can certainly be less desirable to more avid musicians that want a bit more control. The sound can sometimes become muddy if playing quickly or if the scale doesn't translate to Stainless well. For this reason Nitrided tends to be more suitable for composers.
Timbre: With a close ear, it's apparent that Stainless has a more bright sound, whilst Nitrided certainly has a more ceramic sound and feel.
Volume and Dynamic Range: It has been consistent that Stainless has been producing louder volumes when struck at a similar strength. It is likely therefore to be easier to control the Dynamic Range of Nitrided instruments.
Rust: Stainless has a slightly higher resilience to rust, however it is also more susceptible to discolouration as the Patina can be easily affected. Stainless is also easier to scratch.
Range: Stainless is a harder material which allows it to hold larger notes, this means it is possible to get lower and deeper notes on Stainless. To the same effect, with more elasticity, it allows for smaller notes to vibrate meaning higher notes are possible as well. Overall Stainless can produce a wider range of notes on both ends of the spectrum.
Scales: With the control achievable on Nitrided, it is far more suitable for extended scales with many elaborate notes, for example mutants with 11 or more notes on the top. With Stainless these tend to bleed and cross talk a lot more than Nitrided.
We have a range of aesthetic options for our Nitrided instruments. Some of them bear additional costs and are special orders, these are not available for all scales. Others are free to choose and unless specified during the order process, sometimes these may be chosen at random with your order.
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We currently have a limited range of aesthetics available for our Stainless instruments. Both options are free to choose from and unless specified during the order process, sometimes these may be chosen at random with your order.
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