For more than two decades, ALTUS has led the field in flute manufacturing with respect to the development of new silver alloys and the introduction of new and unique materials. With an ALTUS flute, every flautist has the chance to find an instrument which best corresponds with his way of playing and his musical perceptions.
The increased density of the alloys and their particular composition offer an increased range of tonal colours and optimum possibilities of musical expression. Optional wall thickness is therefore not absolutely necessary in order to achieve projection capacity and response.
Nickel silver is a material composed of copper, nickel and zinc. This material has been used for more than 100 years for manufacturing flutes and some of the most renowned flutes were made of this material. Nickel silver has a low density but is a very resilient material and quite resistent to damage. It is relatively inexpensive but nevertheless well suited to the manufacture of flutes. This material is an excellent choice for a musician who has to keep his budget in mind.
Due to the low density of this material, nickel silver instruments feature a light and clear tone and a precise response.
All ALTUS flutes, no matter which material they are made of are entirely hand crafted. Nickel silver has certain properties of sound (very bright and clear) which are preferred by some musicians. An ALTUS nickel silver flute therefore is in terms of manufacturing and sound qualities (especially through the head-joint design) not less valuable than a sterling silver instrument. Because of the cheaper cost of material such an instrument presents an excellent choice for a limited budget.
Of course, such a flute is better than a mass produced student flute, since an ALTUS nickel silver flute features all typical ALTUS qualities regarding mechanism, intonation and sound projection.
This alloy consists of 92.5% pure silver with a small portion of copper and other metals in order to harden the material. The specific character of sterling silver makes it an ideal metal for building flutes by both professional craftsmen and the manufacturers of student flutes. The higher density of sterling silver results in greater sound projection,
Flutes made from sterling silver have a characteristic silver sound and a great capacity of sound projection.
For more than 25 years, ALTUS is on the lead in the use of innovative alloys with a higher proportion of silver. This rare material with a silver share of 95.8% is distinguished from sterling silver by the fact that it contains various hardening elements.
Because of its higher density (similar to that of zinc) this material has been used for a long time for manufacturing fine cutlery. In the creation of its own 958 silver alloy, ALTUS discovered a precious metal which offers a sound quality referring back to the instruments of the early French flute makers.
This alloy offers a more powerful sound without the need for greater wall thickness. Instruments made of 958 Britannia silver offer a considerable harmonic richness and a strong resonance combined with a light and silvery tone.
As a result of Shuichi Tanaka’s intensive study of historic French flutes, ALTUS offers an extraordinary innovative material to meet the expectations of musicians who need to play with extraordinary expression and a wide spectrum of tonal differentiation. ALTUS Silver is an “impure“ silver alloy. For a long time, flute makers have tried to discover the secret behind the composition of alloys used in the old French flute maker tradition (Louis Lot a. o.). With the presentation of ALTUS Silver, Mr. Tanaka has arrived at an exceptionally convincing result. The composition of ALTUS Silver remains his personal secret and can be regarded as the peak of his work to date.
Instruments made from ALTUS Silver impress with their especially intimate, silvery tone, their very distinct character and the enormous richness in different tonal colours.
This almost pure silver alloy with a silver content of 99.7% is Shuichi Tanaka’s latest contribution to the art of flute manufacturing. This alloy is the closest to pure silver of all alloys currently found and only used for ALTUS flutes. Pure silver was long seen as being too soft to enable it to be processed into a flute suitable for playing.
But ALTUS has developed a new and special process to harden this material, which is now used not only for the manufacture of flute tubes but also for particularly heavily-used mechanical parts of the instrument. The great density of 997 ALTUS Pure Silver provides a remarkable capacity of sound projection and an evenly distributed brilliant tone colour and a fiery response throughout the flute scale.
These alloys are standard in the manufacture of gold flutes. Gold is a more precious metal than silver and has a greater density, which gives it projection capacity. Many musicians who perform predominantly in large concert halls prefer these instruments. The brilliance of a silver instrument and its exact response retreat in favour of a warm and full tone.
A flute made of 14 carat gold offers a warm and flexible sound. An instrument made of 18 carat gold offers in addition more darkness and warmth in tonal colour.
Gold plating provides added softness and darkness to the tone of a thus ideally complemented silver flute. Also the resilience of gold may help protect a silver instrument.
The typical sound of a silver flute acquires a warm elegance when enriched with gold-plating. Gold plating can be an affordable option to buying a golden flute.
Platinum ist the material with the highest density (21,5g/cm³) used for manufacturing instruments and favoured by orchestra musicians and contemporary music specialists. The fusion of platinum and silver adds brilliance and force to the characteristic sound projection of a silver flute. The sound qualities of silver offer the basis for such a concept, adding power and assertiveness as characteristics of platinum. The sound quality of a platinum plated silver flute is very direct and clear. A darker brilliance and excellent response characterize platinum-plated flutes.