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Hong Xiao Alto C Review; Review made possible by Ocarina Wind
Topic Started: 31 Aug 2014, 11:10 PM (1,029 Views)
CKeene
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Lion Tamer
Company: Hong Xiao Ocarinas
Website: Available through Ocarina Wind's Amazon page
Range: Alto C (A4-F6)
Price: $53

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Awhile back I wrote a review for one of the wooden ocarinas that are available for sale through Ocarinawind.com. Well the maker has made another review possible by sending me a Hong Xiao Alto C ocarina. Though the Hong xiao ocarinas are not available on the Ocarinwind website, they can be found on their Amazon page. They carry multiple Hong xiao ocarinas in different keys and glazes.

Hong Xiao ocarinas are made in China and at first glance appear very similar to Focalink ocarinas. The similarities are even more striking with the ocarinas in white or blue cracked glazes which Focalink offers on their cheaper ocarinas. They even use the same stamp for the key (the AC seen on the front of the ocarina). However, there are some subtle differences and that's what I'd like to address with this review.
Spoiler: click to toggle

Firstly, this ocarina is in a white glaze with a hand painted design on the front. These cost a few dollars more and it is positively worth it as the result is very appealing to me. The shape of Hong xiao ocarina is a distinct curve of the body from end to end. This rotates comfortably for the left hand though the straight windway is not ideal for some with wrist problems. Many of the best ocarinas out there don't have angled windways though and so I always angle the ocarina by placing it just off to the left of my mouth. As a flute player it would not be a problem but this is an easy solution seeing as the ocarina requires no embouchure (you simply cover the mouthpiece with your lips and blow). The hole placement is comfortable as they are plotted well for an average hand and the Taiwanese style subholes are easier for most people to use over the Japanese style which places both subholes for the right hand.
Spoiler: click to toggle

The tone is warm, round and shockingly good for such an economically priced ocarina. I would put the quality of this ocarina on par with the S model Focalinks which cost twice the price! The similarities are quite close here as I would definitely compare the sound to the Focalink brand which is really the quintessential, pure and penetrating sound of Asian twelve hole ocarinas. I was even more impressed that this ocarina does not even require acute bend to play the highest notes in tune. Moreover, the subhole notes are really quite good, every bit as good as on any Focalink. They play at a fair volume with a good, clear tone. I dare say the subholes better than on any twelve hole ocarina anywhere near this price range.
Spoiler: click to toggle

The breath slope is a strong rise from the low C to High F but it is not unlike most ocarinas I have played. It is a pretty consistent rise with good pressure needed for the top notes but they come out very well and in tune which is a huge plus especially for an ocarina this affordable. The breath does not need to cut much to play the subholes in tune which helps them sound as great as they do.

Overall this is an impressive, professional quality ocarina for an astounding price. The price is low because the product comes from China but that does not mean that this product is cheap. Far from it, these Hong Xiao ocarinas are terrific, quality ocarinas that I would recommend for any and all players, from beginners to performers.
Edited by CKeene, 15 May 2017, 01:17 AM.
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Jubal
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Tree Hugger - Food is your right

These are hidden gems in the ocarina world. Quality at cheap prices. My soprano c had no issues that I can think of.
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Mark Chan
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I had the soprano F and loved it.
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pandorado100
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Premium Poster
I'm glad to hear that you like this ocarina, Connor. I recently bought a Hong Xiao SF from Amazon that I've been very pleased with. I like its clear sound and it is very comfortable to hold. I had been thinking of buying a set of all the various tunings that Mike sells. This review makes that decision easier. :)
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Daniel
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Double Ocarinist x 2
Just wanted to add a note to this, since I bought one of these recently (AC), based in large part on this old review. First, be aware that there is a "P" model available which is a soft-blow model (it has a P stamp under the AC). I found it difficult to work the topmost notes, maybe because of the reduced breath curve. Thumbholes are elongated. Anyway, the seller had actually sent me the wrong model, so I exchanged for the regular model. Sounds and plays quite good, just like this review states. The regular one also has elongated thumbholes (which you may or may not like; I prefer them round), not the round ones as shown in this older review. Looking on Taobao, the flagship site seems to show round thumbholes, but pictures in the comments there show elongated holes. It's still an outstanding ocarina.
Edited by Daniel, 23 May 2017, 01:35 PM.
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Jubal
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Tree Hugger - Food is your right

Thanks for reminding me how much I liked this make. I may pick up a soprano F soon.
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Rughead
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cheap cracked plastic pendant Ocarinist x 3
If I remember correctly, I have Mark's old one? I love everything about it, except how slippery it is. But that is typical for that kind of shiny finish. Hmm, I think I'll take it out and play it today.

Curtis
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