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Technique & Instrument Related to techniques, to the instrument, to the components, to maintenance.

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Old 01-01-2018, 09:57 AM   #1
DRCTL
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Join Date: Mar 2016
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Default Blair Digital Chanter first thoughts

I received a Blair Digital Chanter from my lovely wife as a Christmas gift. I was quite excited to see it. She bought the plain, unengraved model which comes with a removable "blowpipe" (which is solid and there is no blowing on this instrument), a soft case with Velcro straps to hold the chanter, and instructions.

I thought I would jot down a few thoughts. This is not intended to be a full review as, honestly, I don't think I have put it through its full paces yet, and there are settings I have not touched. So here we go.

Right out of the box I pushed the rotating control wheel and turned it on. I hooked up some headphones to the headphone jack and tried to play it. I got nothing.

Then I look at the paper that was sitting right on top and labeled Read First. Ok that one is on me. The individual sensors need to be adjusted to the individual player before they will read correctly. I followed the instructions and maybe 10 minutes later I was up and running.

As far as I can tell the adjustments to the sensors determine the sensitivity and the distance from the hole where they will read (feel free to correct that if it is not right).

Once I got it dialed in I was able to play with the settings. It has digitally recorded GHB, Small-pipes, and practice chanter. Any of which can be played with-or-without metronome. That metronome feature is pretty handy, especially for someone like me who has been accused of rushing the tempo from time to time.

From a playability side, once the sensors are set it's pretty true to form. The holes are very close to the holes on my Naill chanter although the low G might be a couple of mm lower. It pretty much feels like a GHB chanter in the hole spacing and size. I like the spacing and feel of the chanter.

All embellishments play cleanly on the chanter (at least as cleanly as I am able to achieve), although I had to play with it for a little bit to get the burls right.

The sound of the pipes is good. The drone volumes can be individually controlled and obviously are in tune with the chanter. Way more in tune than my actual pipes but that is another story.

Controls are pretty easy and initiative. It consists of a rotating dial that scrolls through the main menus, with sub-menus selected by pressing the dial. In this way you can scroll through many choices with only one button. Less things to break in my opinion.

Outputs are via a standard 3.5mm plug, and a USB connection (which also recharges the battery). According to Blair's website the USB plug can also play MIDI. I have not done this yet but it sounds interesting.

The plusses are portability, playability and quietness of play with headphones. I am going to buy a small portable speaker so that I can play it out loud as well.

The case that comes with it (is manufactured by Bagpiper cases according to the Blair website) looks sturdy and, if anything, may be a bit too much padding for this instrument. It is a bit bulky but considering the price tag of this digital instrument, I don't mind having a bit of extra protection. I am able to fit in my rectangular Bagpiper case along with my pipes and regular PC.

Overall this is a good looking, useful and extremely playable instrument that I look for to using for years to come.

I am happy to answer questions.
Cheers,
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Old 01-01-2018, 10:51 AM   #2
alsrx
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Default Re: Blair Digital Chanter first thoughts

I too received one for Christmas; however, it was a gift to myself...haha.
I have not made any adjustments to the sensitivity and have been pleased with it so far.
I really like using the metronome feature while playing!
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Old 01-01-2018, 01:14 PM   #3
BaggyMcPipes
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Default Re: Blair Digital Chanter first thoughts

Great review, thanks!
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Old 01-03-2018, 02:34 AM   #4
brent
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Default Re: Blair Digital Chanter first thoughts

Mine has lead to me having done the most practice in years, it's a joy to use
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Old 01-04-2018, 02:39 PM   #5
majorvonhapen
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Default Re: Blair Digital Chanter first thoughts

Thanks very much DRCTL for taking the trouble to post a comprehensive review.

The Blair Digital chanter seem to be fantastic!
I was considering saving for one. As my significant other can't stand the sound of a pc. After reading your review I think I'll have to get one!

Can the rechargeable battery be replaced should it ever malfunction etc?
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Old 01-04-2018, 03:50 PM   #6
Texas Gael
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Default Re: Blair Digital Chanter first thoughts

Quote:
Originally Posted by majorvonhapen View Post
Thanks very much DRCTL for taking the trouble to post a comprehensive review.

The Blair Digital chanter seem to be fantastic!
I was considering saving for one. As my significant other can't stand the sound of a pc. After reading your review I think I'll have to get one!

Can the rechargeable battery be replaced should it ever malfunction etc?
The Blair Electronic Chanter comes with a two year warranty and you need to register with Blair Bagpipes to start the warranty. According to the instructions, if there is a problem, then you would contact Blair by email to find out if you need to send the chanter to them, or to an authorized technician.

Got mine two days ago and am really enjoying playing it on smallpipe mode. It's a very well made instrument that comes with a well made, durable case.

Cheers -

Wes
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Old 01-04-2018, 03:52 PM   #7
DRCTL
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Default Re: Blair Digital Chanter first thoughts

Quote:
Originally Posted by majorvonhapen View Post

Can the rechargeable battery be replaced should it ever malfunction etc?
You are welcome, I am not sure about the battery but the manual says no user serviceable parts inside. I guess if that happened outside of the warranty period ( 2 years per the manual) you would send it back in for replacement. In fact, opening it up voids the warranty.
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Old 01-12-2018, 03:41 PM   #8
Blueliner44
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Default Re: Blair Digital Chanter first thoughts

Hopefully this is a silly question but just got my Blair digital chanter from henderson imports. It's fully charged and turns on and I can cycle through all the menu options with no problem (volume at 94). How do I get it to play??? I saw the comments about the individual adjustments but how do I adjust if nothing happens at all on any note?? Confused... nothing in the user's guide either.
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Last edited by Blueliner44; 01-12-2018 at 03:54 PM.
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Old 01-12-2018, 06:06 PM   #9
kful
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Default Re: Blair Digital Chanter first thoughts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blueliner44 View Post
Hopefully this is a silly question but just got my Blair digital chanter from henderson imports. It's fully charged and turns on and I can cycle through all the menu options with no problem (volume at 94). How do I get it to play??? I saw the comments about the individual adjustments but how do I adjust if nothing happens at all on any note?? Confused... nothing in the user's guide either.

You plugged headphones into it, right? It should sound as soon as it's turned on, if you have something plugged into it.
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