Susato vs. Dixon Whistles

Susato vs. Dixon Whistles

Wondering if anyone could share their experiences with either the Susato or Dixon D whistle. I’m really more of a flutist, but because of the tiny nature of the D whistle, I always carry one around just in case I run into some musicians. I also play them occasionally in sessions. Anyway, right now I play an Oak D whistle that I’ve had for years, but I really do not like the sound. I would like a whistle that I could play with a bit more confidence in public, and looking around found the Dixon and Susato to be fairly comparable. Any suggestions?

Re: Susato vs. Dixon Whistles

I recently bought a susato D whistle. The whistle itself has a lovely tone and brings "power" into the tunes. However, I did find that I needed to "break in" the whistle as it had a tendency to sound blocked on higher octave notes such as high b. I’ve never tried a dixon whistle, but hear that they’re good value for money.

Re: Susato vs. Dixon Whistles

Hi!
I’ve been playing Susato (high d). That was my second whistle, and I like it very much. I’ve been tempted to get the flute but given up for small hands, so Susato is nice to get the thicher sound.

I tried my friend’s Dixon whistle once. I remember it had sweeter tone than Susato’s, imitating the feeble metal sound like that of Generation.

In my opinion, Dixon is better in terms of the tone. But if you often go to the session, it is practical to get Susato because it is loud enough to mix with other instruments. Or you can get both. They are much much cheaper than one flute.

Oh, yes. As Hayley says, I sometimes feel it is hard to play higher notes on Susato. But if we can change the shape of lips and the tongue appropriately, it gets much easier to get higher notes.

If you get just Susato and get used to it, I think, you won’t feel it is hard to play.

Re: Susato vs. Dixon Whistles

I’ll let you know in a couple of weeks as I have just placed an order for a Dixon whistle at his web site.

What you need to know about Susato whistles is that even though they come off a production line they are all very individual. Try a few out in the music store before buying. I have two high d whisles and they have completely different tone and quality. One is noce and soft and the other loud.

They are not great if you are playing tunes where the notes go above high a as they can be way too shrill. If you practice your breath control you can get over this by ensuring a strong steady flow but controlling the volume of air by constricting your throat. For one of the greatest exponents of the Susato listen to Sean Ryan from Tipperary - absolutely mind blowing stuff!

Great for big sessions with a lot in players where you need the extra volume to be heard but not so hot in a small session where they can dominate a bit.

I also use them for doing the ‘show off’ bit where I want to do a couple of solo sets with just my bouzouki accompanist.

For slow airs and the like it’s hard to beat the Clarkes sweettone.

I’ll let you know how I get on with the Dixon - I’m expecting it in a couple of weeks.

Re: Susato vs. Dixon Whistles

Just to back what’s already been said, the Susato is hard to beat for power and volume, but the Dixon has a much sweeter tone. I find Susato whistles very unforgiving, especially on the high notes - if your breath pressure isn’t spot on, they’ll squeal like a puppy with its tail in a vise (No, I haven’t tried it). Dixon whistles are comparable with the ‘traditional’ metal whistles (Generation, Oak etc.) for ease of playing (although they take a bit more breath), but much louder and with a fuller tone.

Re: Susato vs. Dixon Whistles

P.S. Dixon whistles may also vary in terms of quality - I can remember trying a couple in a shop in London that sounded distinctly weak and breathy, but I have also played ones which I was reluctant to put down. I’ve yet to take the plunge and buy one.

Re: Susato vs. Dixon Whistles

Dixons aren’t the loudest, but they’ll cut through your average session. Tone is great (a little on the round, sweet side, rather than overly chiffy), intonation is spot on, and they’re very even across the first two octaves. I own three Dixon d’s (my sons play two of them), and they’re identical in appearance, tone, and playability, which suggests to me that his quality control is pretty good.

I’ve never played a Susato, so I can’t help you compare the two.

The only major difference between a Dixon and a "better" metal whistle in the next price range up (such as a Sindt or Burke) is that the metal whistles tend to have more pop…probably because the walls of the metal whistles are thinner. Dixon’s, with their thicker walls, are responsive, but not as crisp as a good metal whistle.

But at less than $30 US it’s well worth having one around. His Bb whistle also sounds terrific and is easy to play.

Hope this helps.

Posted .

Re: Susato vs. Dixon Whistles

i really like playin dixon whistles so i would recomend one of them. I haven’t got one myself but i’ve tried one and they just have a real nice feelin to them - its quite hard to describe though!

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Re: Susato vs. Dixon Whistles

Although the Susato is the loudest……I’ve been playing the Dixon regularly in church, at jams, and with other groups. Have a lot of confidence in it and seldom have any clogging problem. I use to play high end whistles but felt they were taking too much abuse so stick with the Dixon and WW…

Re: Susato vs. Dixon Whistles

Like Breandan said, loudness might be a good thing in a big session where you can’t otherwise be heard (or hear yourself). But my personal view is that Susatos can really be a curse in a small session. They’re too loud, too shrill, and the top few notes can have a horrid breaking-up quality. They also can sound very brash for slow airs and I think they lack the lyrical fluidity that really makes an air work well on a whistle.
I just don’t like them, I guess!

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Re: Susato vs. Dixon Whistles

Well, 7 months after my initial post, I actually have both whistles posed in my initial question. In case anyone ever finds this post in a search, here is my final 2 cents. The Susato is indeed loud with a nice full sound (probably not too traditional and too loud for many sessions, unless you really want to stand out), but the high notes are quite hard to play without cracking them or squealing. The Dixon (just arrived today) has a nice sweet tone, and while some of my upper notes squealed at times and occasionally seemed off pitch, I think this is simply a matter of me not providing the proper amount of air pressure. I think the Dixon will definitely get the most playing time of all of my whistles at this point. Anyway, that’s my opinion for now.

Re: Susato vs. Dixon Whistles

Late to the party, but want to add my two cents since I recently faced this issue myself. For a frame of reference, I’ve had whistles for about 20 years but am still probably a 5-stars-out-of-ten level of player.

I am a member of an "Irish Punk" band in the "tradition" of Flogging Molly or Dropkick Murphys, and am thus always fighting my band members to keep stage sound levels down. The Walton’s whistle I had was a no-go in many ways, so I got a Susato, which I left at a relative’s house and have now replaced with a Dixon brass trad. For what it’s worth, I’m playing into a Shure Beta57a, which has been very good to me.

The Susato is definitely WAY louder than the Walton’s or the Dixon, and is thus good for that situation. I’ve seen lots of posts about how people find it hard to access the upper register. I think it’s just that most whistles actually don’t require much more effort to get up there, where the Susato behaves more like a piccolo in that there is a considerable difference in air support required. I think it may be disconcerting to some whistlers to be so darn loud, too, so that might make them try to back off a little and not really belt out the upper notes.

The Dixon, though, is a much more beautiful sound in my opinion. When I think of beautiful recordings of the tin whistle, I think of tones much more like the Dixon than the Susato.

I feel I had a slight bit more control over some effects with the Susato, especially bending notes. I believe this is due to the thickness of the ABS plastic used in the Susato whistle. I miss that a little bit. And, once I’m on stage with distorted electric guitar, a mandolin playing through a half-stack, and a full drum set all being played enthusiastically, I reckon I’ll miss the volume of the Susato as well.