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Aqualung Mistral 2 hose regulator

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Has anyone here tried the new (relatively) Aqualung mistral regulator - the one wth the 2 hoses?

 

Aqualung claims it has significantly less bubble interference and noise, making it "ideal for phtographers" Any truth to this or just marketing hype? How does it breathe?

 

Curious,

 

Brad

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I Brad i'm trying to convinced a dive shop to loan me a unit so I can do a review for my local magazine (and maybe Wetpixel), will keep you posted if things happen as i wish.

 

The concept make sense, look's good on paper but can it fly...

 

Regards

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i did one dive with it, so this is not a full review, just some initial thoughts.

i was not diving with a camera :)

here are a few of my impressions:

- when swimming horizontal, breathing is easy; though initially a bitstrange to have the sound of bubbles come out from behind you

- when you look up or go to a more vertical position, air starts flowing easier ending in close to free flow should you put yourself on your back

- when heading down, breathing gets more difficult and you have to work harder to get air

so positioning of the combined 1st 2nd stage wrt to your lungs is goign to be key to get a good breath of air in most positions.

 

aside from that, i found the mouth piece uncomfortable and the 2 tubes restricted head movement sideways, they also tend to float up and pull on your mouth, but i am sure that rebreather divers will have a fix for that.

 

it was such that i did not want to try it again, though i am sure that i could get used to most of the downsides i have listed here

 

so in my opinion, it's more of a gadget than anything else, but that's just me. if you really don't want the bubbles go with a rebreather, closed or semi closed.

 

eric was trying one out in bonaire so i am sure he will have a lot more to say when he gets back. i'd be interested to hear that

 

hth

 

/paul

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I had one dive on the reg set as well. I agree with the last post but would like to add a bit.

 

From my limited experience and IMHO the work of breathing realy ruins an otherwise cool new toy (and I like cool new SCUBA toys).

 

When in normal swimming position the reg required quite a bit breathing effort, a real workout! It would be a good reg if you could stay head up the entire dive, but too much work otherwise.

 

I did not get it and consider it just another gimmick. It is high on the "great cool new toy" scale but it breathed so poorly I would not use one on another dive.

 

If you are considering one, please test dive it before you buy and see if you have the same experience.

 

Chris

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Scorpio Fish, DIN or yoke?

 

All the best, James

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I have one (see under general discussion). In my opinion it is one of the hardest regulators to breathe off that I've tried BUT you can get closer to some fish with it. I'll use mine when I want to photograph fish in certain dive sites but certainly not all the time.

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Who cares about the reg - Eric's macro port looks funny!

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Yea, and he's all decked out like a tech geek!

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I had one dive on the reg set as well.  I agree with the last post but would like to add a bit.

 

From my limited experience and IMHO the work of breathing realy ruins an otherwise cool new toy (and I like cool new SCUBA toys). 

 

When in normal swimming position the reg required quite a bit breathing effort, a real workout!  It would be a good reg if you could stay head up the entire dive, but too much work otherwise. 

 

I did not get it and consider it just another gimmick.  It is high on the "great cool new toy" scale but it breathed so poorly I would not use one on another dive.

 

If you are considering one, please test dive it before you buy and see if you have the same experience.

 

Chris

 

The reg probably breathes as well as it can. What you experiencing is physics not bad design. The actual regulator that you are breathing from and the exhaust valve are mounted at the tank valve. This means that you have to suck and blow the air through the hoses using your own lung power. As long as the reg and exhaust valve are in the same plane as your lungs as would happen when you are are swimming horizontally in the water there is no hydrostatic pressure difference and the reg breathes OK. When you go either head down or head up you will find that due to the difference in pressure the reg will be harder to breathe either when inhaling or exhaling. All 2 hose designs have this characteristic. Also rebreathers that have back mounted counterlungs behave in a similar way. Rebreathers that use over the shoulder counterlungs do not have a change in breathing with different postions as the counterlungs have been designed is such a way part of them is always in the same plane as your lungs.

 

If you want a new bubbleless "toy" try a rebreather. You wil be able to get much closer to the marine life.

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Amigos,

 

I owned a 1959 original single stage Mistral until a month or so ago. It was fine tuned by a "vintage" diver I know and I used in in FLA late March to 90'. It had a "turbo boost" type of system that when tuned was great. Only limitation is you have to use these old regulators with maximum tank pressures of around 2250 PSI. The later model (circa 1969-1972) US Divers Royal Aquamaster was a two stage design,with many still out there and usable on 3000 PSI tanks.

 

You have to find a "banjo" fitting to connect a SPG between the tank valve and regulator first stage yoke to see your air. And there are guys making adapters to connect an octopus into teh two way hookah port that was added on these later model double hose regulators. Point of all this is the bubbles behind your back even in open circuit DID seem to have an effect on getting a tad closer to critters. At least for me.....

 

Since I liked the bubbles in the back and not wanting to get into the hassle of a rebreather I bought but have since sold the NEW Mistral (see photo). While it has silicone hoses (versus neoprene), lots of low and high pressure ports, etc. I was pretty dissapointed with the breathing. My 1959 Mistral breathed better IMHO :) Photo is me using the new Mistral right before I sold it.....

 

YMMV

 

David Haas

 

post-244-1122675123_thumb.jpg

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A photo of my vintage diving friends in FLA March 2005. When diving was simple (I started in 1970 when double hose regulators were just on the way out.) No BC, octopus, weighted yourself for the dive because you ahad to have good buoyancy from the get go. etc.

 

It was great!

 

David Haas

 

post-244-1122675414_thumb.jpg

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post-1676-1122675771.jpg

 

 

As far as I can tell it could be Elvis Presley under all that rubber :)

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Wow! the group shot is very Cousteau, there a lot of vintage in there (not you David the gears :) )

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OK,

 

One more of me in the pool when I first got my "old" Mistral. Hadn't used a double hose regulator in 20+ years and needed to get comfortable again. That spring I was diving it to 75+ in my local quarry :)

 

Davepost-244-1122676047_thumb.jpg

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OK that's better, now I can recognize your smile :) , seriously I have one of those early model with yellow hose, Man it's like sucking on a 50 feet garden hose for air, that gave my lung a work out. There is a delightfull two part features in the Canadian DIVER magazine by Phil Nuytten in this month (june / july) and the former issue (march / april), it tracks down the sory of the Cousteau Gagnan AKA Aqualung story from its beginning, flatering is the fact that the inventor Mr. Emile Gagnan spent quite a major part of his life working here in my own town and I just found that out like now. good lecture and i highly recommend it.

 

Regards

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Aqualung doesn't ship the MIstral with weights for the hoses, does it? As far as I could tell, the thing was ABSOLUTELY UNUSABLE without weights on the hoses. I felt like it was trying to rip my top teeth out. It was also not a good breather, and when I switched back to my Atomic, it was like sipping honey.

 

I *think* it let me get closer to animals, but most of the time I was just in pain.

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Inspiration weights will just about fit the hoses - will try them out soon!

 

Lots of interesting comments but its still a pain to breathe off!

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Eric and others,

 

Paul has a good point about counter weights for rebreathers which COULD make the new Mistral usable. I also recall reading somewhere about "tie down straps / cords" the U.S. Navy uses on some rebreathers to relieve the pressure of the hoses floating and thus a vrey uncomfortable mouthpiece.

 

I found with my "old" Mistral I could dive 2-3 dives / day and not rip my gums up. And it sure breathed a LOT better than the newest one. I have no idea how the "new" Mistral could have passed EN250 breathing test, except maybe on a machine versus real divers using it and providing feedback to Aqualung :o

 

I love my simple balanced Aqualung Titan LX regulators, the modern version of hte Conshelf XIV, the most reliable military used regulator in the world. As Eric states any modern single hose regulator iss like night and day compared to the "new" Mistral. Saddest partis I really wanted the new version to become my primary reg for getting closer to critters. Thing is a big pain ot travel with, too.

 

Oh well.......

 

David Haas

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Wow!

 

I ges I needs to check my spellin' closer before uploading comments :o Too fast on the dang keyboard I guess :(

 

Dave Haas

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From what I gather, the reason that the mistral is more quiet is because the exhaled air is diverted away from the front of the diver.

Is there any particular reason why we don't have a normal 2nd stage with a longer exhaust pipe/hose that would divert the bubbles away (granted it might look silly) as it would take care of the effort of the breathing through long hose as well as still having less noise?

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Is there any particular reason why we don't have a normal 2nd stage with a longer exhaust pipe/hose that would divert the bubbles away (granted it might look silly) as it would take care of the effort of the breathing through long hose as well as still having less noise?

 

This would still only solve half of the problem as you still have to push the gas through the exhale hose using your lung power. The longer the exhaust tube is the more exagerated the problem gets. The exhaust snorkel would work well as long as it was at the same height in the water column as your lungs. If the end of the tube was higher in the water column you might end up with a free flow, if lower then you would need to work harder when exhaling in order to push your exhaled breath down the tube against the water pressure. You would also have to do a barrel roll in the water in order to clear the tube.

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I have the Mistral and just got back from Bonaire with it, before I left I tested it in the pool and brought my normal regulator just in case.

 

My initial impressions (at the pool) were not good: the mouthpiece cut my lips and made my gums sore; it freeflows on the surface (I lost 500psi swiming out to the Helma Hooker); breathing can be very difficult.

 

After a week of diving it I love it and wont go back.

 

You get used to the resistance, after about 2 days I didn't even notice it. Heavy resistance only occurs if your the mouth piece is directly extended below the first stage, the rest of the time it breaths fairly easy. My breathing rate stayed about the same underwater as with my old regulator.

 

I have noticed that my normal breathing rate at the surface has decreased dramatically. Its like I hardly need to breath and when I do its nice, deep, and slow. I feel like I could stay down for 2hrs with my old regultor :o It will definately strengthen and condition your lungs.

 

I had to rinse the hoses out every few dives, saliva does not seem to drain very easily and would work its way back to the mouthpiece if I was swimming with my right side slanted down.

 

I bought a comfobite mouthpiece before the trip and it eliminated any discomfort issues with the regulator. It is a must in my opinion if you plan on diving with the mistral.

 

I was concerned about diving deep because of the resistance issue. It actually seemed to breath easier the deeper I went. I could have been the nitrogen.

 

I could talk to people about 25' away which was really cool. (it was more like yelling) I would yell out what I was going to do, what I saw, blah blah. . . . . It made it great for getting someones attention. For example, on a dive at Red Slave I was in front of everyone by about 30' when I saw a dolphin ahead staying just within site range, I looked back to the group and yelled "hey a dolphin". everyone looked up, it was great. It also made it easier to curse the damselfish.

 

Free flow at the surface is really irritating, Im considering a remote shutoff if I have to make surface swims. I have been told that the addition of a shutoff valve to the mouthpiece (as with rebreathers) will blow something up and can't be done. I plan on trying to fabricate a plug for the mouthpiece to see if it works. If all is good I may use a rebreather mouthpiece. You can hold the mouth piece underwater to stop the freeflow but its a real pain while trying to hold the camera.

Your surface swims will not be very hydrodynamic, I tended to keep my back in a vertical position while swiming to keep the mouthpiece as deep underwater as possible.

 

When I was using the Mistral in the pool hose weights were one of the first thing I thought it needed, now I don't think there needed at all. I attribute that to the ComfoBite mouthpice.

 

I dive with a HydroOptix mask so I could see the hoses which was irritating. I plan on using those little weight belt clips that have an accessory ring on them to fix the problem. I'll tie them to the Mistrals hoses, roughly where my shoulders would be, then attach the clips to my bc shoulder straps. Testing this in Bonaire seemed to work well without making movement difficult.

 

 

I think I was able to get about a foot closer to garden eels with it, and did notice a difference with other fish, the dolphin, spotted eagle ray, and turtles were unimpressed.

 

The lack of bubbles in my face was great and it is noticably quieter, I wont go back to my old regulator.

 

 

Hope this helped, there are not alot of good reviews out there. Because of the breathing difficulty, its not for everyone. Its also overpriced.

 

 

 

Is there any particular reason why we don't have a normal 2nd stage with a longer exhaust pipe/hose that would divert the bubbles away (granted it might look silly) as it would take care of the effort of the breathing through long hose as well as still having less noise?

 

The reason they dont put longer exhaust ports on modern regulators is that hydrostatic pressure causes the regulator to freeflow when you exhale. Ive tried it, it does freeflow. Im working on a prototype right now that corrects the problem, I hope to have it out there in about two years.

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Just tried the mistral with Buddy Inspiration hose weights fitted (a little tight but they do fit just). Certainly these make it a great deal comfier to use, it no longer tugs upwards causing gums to ache. I can see getting used to this reg now, although I doubt that I will use it all the time - I think it is reserved as a 'fish' photo reg. Interestingly my buddy reckoned that I was getting closer to fish and other scatty creatures than he could (and I hadn't asked him to check) with a Conshelf 14.

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