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Aqualung Mistral 2 hose regulator

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Ah yes.

The silence of a rebreather, with the comfort and physical properties of ... a rebreather.. :lol:

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Good evening everybody. I finally decided it was time to sit down a discuss my new Mistral. I read all the posts here which I found very informative, Thank You. I thought that just maybe the regulator would prove itself more valuable over the long run.

 

I went into this with several issues I wanted to overcome. Bubbles and the Pain in my ears from the bubbles. Sure when diving hoods etc I cover up the second problem but who wants to do that all the time?

 

I feel a high quality easy breathing regulator is like having power steering in your car. No I'm not talking compared with failed PS, but compared to manual steering. Good old Manual Steering has its place, it's just not while parallel parking. When diving at altitude I think an easy breathing single hose is like having PS and breathes easier than when I'm sitting here at my computer sucking in 1500 foot air.

 

SO anyway, I went into the pool a week ago Sunday with my Mistral, an Aqualung OCTO, a full tank and all my dive store buddies. They were doing a newbie class.

 

Let's see, the negatives everybody talk about are its a freeflowing SOB. OK, Hard Breather, Hoses are a problem, gums hurting... Everybody hates the thing. Well one guy loved it (SCubed) after he lived with it for a week or so.

 

I read the manual... The manual says a few things. How to clear the regulator. Tip head left and breath out. OK... How to adjust the Comfobyte mouthpiece OK... How to clean it after using it. And why and how it breaths and how and why it might freeflow.

 

OK I'm ready to shake it out.

 

I set up my kit and noticed the regulator hoses ran into my BCD a bit. I flipped the BCD pick up strap over the tank and used it as a top bottle holder. The hoses just cleared the BCD and the tank is sitting maybe 1" higher than I would have rigged with the ATX200. Hum...

 

From what I read, this might help in the freeflow department by putting more height difference between the mouthpiece and the second stage, but may bring up a balance issue.

 

I hit the pool.

 

Splash, the first thing I noticed is it is a lot lighter in my mouth than the ATX. Also there was a lot less shock when I hit the water.

 

The first couple breaths had a wheazing noise. The Exhaust ports were out of the water. I did a vertical decent and submerged a few feet. Yes the hoses tugged a little on my gums.

 

Head turning left and right is restricted. OK yeah, my horse noticed this right off too after getting a bridal. I'm a big guy, maybe two inch longer hoses would be a nice touch?

 

I remembered from the manual, start with the hoses set with the tie straps even with the mouthpiece and twist accordingly to neutralize the tugging on your mouth. WOW, very nice. Since our pool is only an 8 footer this adjustment may have to be made at deeper depths. I played a little and got it very comfortable.

 

Hey and where are the bubbles? And those loud noises in my ears! I was almost instantly in love.

 

I thought ok lets pull the thing out of my mouth and clear the thing. I took a little breath because I hate eating pool... Tilted the head and gave a very slight outward breath, WOW. This is the easiest clearing thing I've ever tried. By tilting, gravity moves the water left toward the exhaust and the light breath opens the ex port woosh done.

 

Later testing in different positions I found that since gravity is being used you must think about what you are doing to let the gravity clear the thing. Head down right hand banked swimming turn with zero air in your lungs is not the time to pull the hoses out of your mouth.

 

OK so why does everybody hate it? I started swimming around.. OK yeah no power steering. Well I jog too, yeah little like running up hill. OK. Where's them bubbles?

 

I did nose down decents, up... I burned up that 3300# swimming laps in the pool. I surfaced maybe 50 times in a couple hours. It was about split between my OCTO and Mistral freeflowing. When the Mistral took off it was a lot more difficult to stop it. But who surfaces continually while diving? I don't. Grabbed that new OCTO just for rememberance, yup Power Steering.

 

OH yeah. Regulators dont freeflow normally when diving, just when screwing around on the surface. I think by raising my tank an inch neutralized a lot of the surface trouble. It made it a lot easier to put the mouthpiece below the second stage.

 

I could make it go if I swung the hoses up over my head. BAD MOVE. Plus the Mistral will freeflow zillions of CF more air than the OCTO, very noisy.

 

I really tested the thing and came to a couple realizations.

 

If you hike your gear in and swim out, like the manual says you will be swimming with the reg in your mouth to avoid freeflows. I tried this, and with a front swim and the reg in the water it was not a problem. However a lot of us back swim on the surface, well that doesnt work.

 

Next different swim positions make exhailing easier and some make inhailing easier. We've all heard that stuff so I won't go into all that.

 

I drag raced cars for years. Not one of my hot rods had Power Steering. The belt was not only in the way, but stole engine HP. I was going straight anyway.

 

This reg was bought so I could take movies and photos underwater. It does exactly what I was looking for, made the world quieter and lost those annoying bubbles.

 

I think once you get used to this thing in the pool and understanding its limitations you HAVE to head to open water with your camera gear to really work the thing.

 

While it is impossible to counteract the forces of nature, some things we just need to live with to get the most horsepower. (out of our Cameras)

 

I'm a dry land photographer. You guys if you read my intro in general know I'm new to this Underwasser Photg stuff. Personally I think a camera housing is a bigger pain in the tail than a quirky non-power steering regulator.

 

I took my wonderous ATX200 and handed it to my 15 YO son and said, here you go. Big Smiles. I think he's really looking forward to losing the Herpes infested rental Titan POS he's been diving with.

 

I'll be using this one until somebody can invent something with power steering that does the same thing..

 

OH yeah and you can sort of talk underwater too, hahahaha as SCubed says. The problem is everybody else can't understand you because their exhaust is making too much noise in their ears.

 

I think I invented a new hand signal I reached over my head and made a bubbling finger motion while extending my arm up while obviously laughing....

 

The only comment on the negative from the crew was when first looking at it was wow look at all that plumbing... My answer was, yeah a lot of that will be going away when my D9 gets here... B)

 

Sincerely, Bob Bonner

Sexy-1 Productions

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I have used the mistral over the past season, when not using my Drager semi-closed RB. I think of it as a travel rebreather. Almost all of the negative comments are from short term use: this is not a quick pool test regulator. It is different, but as others have noted, once you give it time in the water (with your camera rig) you will find it a good OC reg for camera work. It is really nice to have a little quiet around your face, without noisy exhausts filling your ears and hood!

 

I would say to anyone interested in owning one, try it for at least a weekend first. It is a nice reg.

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Aqualung Mistral

I’m very surprised that Aqua Lung would release the two hose Mistral regulator without a bright red stick-on label that says “Try In Your Bath Tub First Before Diving With Itâ€. My mistake is that I used it on a 85fsw dive for my first experience with it (I work as a divemaster on a local dive boat) and found that I had to literately fight for every breath. I would be considered a veteran diver having had and used the original Mistral and Aqua Master regulators and fully understand the characteristics of two hose diving - No Comparison! This regulator gets a “Not Ready for Prime Time Voteâ€. I would feel guilty selling this regulator to anyone without making sure they understood that this regulator is for decoration only or having your picture taken on a boat deck with it, providing you were not standing too close to the water.

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Is the intent of the Mistrel to relive the golden ages of diving? You'd think that if Aqua Lung really wanted to offer a functional unit they'd make a functional unit. Cost?

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Interesting, There appears to be a difference then according to AERO as far as diving the original Mistral and Aqua Masters and this current unit. I have never used the original designs. Of course they coupled tried and true double hose technology to a combined Titan first and second stage and not an original single or twin stage mistral / aqua master. Obviously something is lost in the translation. Then I would have to say, maybe for $1000 they should have used an ATX 200 or Legend regulator instead of a Titan. I have used the Titan and thought it was JUNK compared to my 200. I had to look at the name of this site again. OH yeah photography, I still think hauling camera gear is a bigger hassle than this regulator. BUT then counter point, when you are trying to be creative the last thing you need to WORRY about is the dive gear giving you issues. HO-HUM. Maybe the Mistral is just that, the first stage pain of converting to rebreather technology MOBULA? Did our buddys at Aqua Lung screw up? Theres no question inventing the single hose reg did a lot for diving in the 60's. But then SCUBA changed Hard Hat diving forever. This is not for everybody, glad to hear there are others who also agree with me on its strongpoints. Sincerely, BOB

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Perhaps a I am flogging a dead horse here, but on the topic Aqua Lung's new Mistral, there are a couple things anyone considering using a double hose regulator for the first time need to understand.

 

First. These things breathe, or should I say require you to breath a little differently. The breathing action on double hose is quite close to that of a rebreather. For example, they don’t take well to fast, head down descents. Ditto, if you have a tendency to breathe with short, choppy inhalations/exhalations. Do that on a rebreather will likely get you in big trouble.

 

I can say this, because I have a goody amount of experiences with double hose regulators Aqua Lung’s original Mistral made in the very early 60’s, Nimrod Snark III Silver (very nice reg) Voit Trieste Two (has both high and low pressure ports, but one of the hardest to breath on) Aqua Lung’s latest incarnation, as well as several hours on Drager Dolphin SCR and Inspiration CCR.

 

As far as Aqua Lung’s new Mistral, which I dive quite regularly, the breaths fine as long as your expectations are not that of diving a single hose. There have been a few threads on the thing breathing absolutely horrible (a good place to find the most discussions on double hoses is http://vintagescuba.proboards2.com ), one or two cases, the source of the problem was a simple matter of having the intermediate pressure adjusted in the first stage. Believe it, or not, not all regs that roll out the factory are entirely ready to dive. They are put together by human hands, remember that.

 

Second. The volume of air in the breathing hoses will cause a considerable amount of shift in buoyancy forward, thereby doing things like making your teeth and gums ache. As a couple of you have found out, like Paul Kay, fitting the hoses with weights will certainly make it a great deal comfier to use, not to mention putting your body back into proper trim during your swims. Both Golem Gear - http://www.golemgear.com and OxyCheq - http://www.oxycheq.com carry stainless steal ring weights for rebreather hoses that work quite will on the Mistral hoses. They run $35 a set, one set is all it needs. Another add on to improve comfort is pick of a orthodontic mouth pieces made by Seacure.

 

For me, the most irritating trademark of double hose regs is their tenacity to free flow, even on the surface, the second the mouth piece leaves your lips. The only solution here is swap out the mouthpiece that came with it to one with a remote shutoff valve, better known among RB divers as a DSV. It really does work, even with the mouthpiece (DSV in closed position) resting on my forehead 20 feet down, no bubbles. Unfortunely they don’t come cheap, the most inexpensive I have found are through Divematics - http://www.divenet.com/divematics/mouthpiece at $375 for the basic model.

 

If you are still looking to pick one of these puppies up, Scubastore.com has the Mistral - http://www.scubastore.com/product.asp?pais...mhbx=subfamilia, for $537.23 U.S.

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I'm using this regulator quite long periof by now, and each dive show, that choice was right. OK, this reg is a bit different. So it can not be compared with single hose regs directly. In depth this one breathes the same, ar Scubapro S600. This reg is superb for underwater photograps. Even large exaust pipes from single hose reg disturbs, when I'm working with my camera (ok, well, i have custom made case and it is quite large and ugly, but lasts).

Things, You say about mouthpiece comfort, are true, it is not very comfortable when You are looking stright forward, but how much You are doing that? I am mosly waching thing happening below, and then, there is no problem. After 1 hour dive i do not feel any discomfort.

So in conclusion, Mistral is a great reg, buy it, if You want it. Just keep in mind, that this one is different and require different approach. Do not expect from mistral the same feelings than from single hose reg.

 

Ojars, from cold baltic sea waters.

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Many thanks to all for the contribution and feed back, kindly accept me as a new member and a diver from the UAE. <<< link :)

 

The reason I registered in this form is the TWO Regs, me and my buddy bought, he fall in love with it (Except for the mouth piece , and the bubles in the hood if miss placed)

 

I hated it, for the free flow, inability of swimming on my back on surface, mouth piece, floating pipes. I decided to sell it cost me $326 only (with out the Octopus and gadget) as I was checking on the reviews on the net I realized many things.

 

I tried it on a check dive in the Red Sea not a good start.

Used it for 10 minutes and started using the Octopus in all the dives afterwards

The free flow at surface was my main reason with the discomfort

 

Will its worth another try, yet ill make sure it’s in a pool or a local dive site this time.

 

 

Regards,

Salem

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Hi Salem,

 

Welcome to wetpixel. I have used a number of different regulators, including doublehoses from the classic one-stage Mistral built in the early 1960's to models like the Voit Trieste II, Snark III and of course Aqualung's new Mistral which I still dive.

 

If you are still interested in this reg, or in the more vintage models, go to my publication www.underwaterjournal.com.

 

In Issue 2, you will find a pretty extensive write up on it - way it behaves, breathes, things you can do/get for it to make it more comfortable, as well as stopping it from free flowing.

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Hello All,

just my first post at Wetpixel and I like to share my experience with the Mistral. I was interested in trying a double hose because I have sensible ears and hate the noise, and bubbles on my face. I went to Bahamas with Blackbeards and take it along with my Apeks. I put the comfobite but without weight was hard on the teeth. Then I attach a pound soft weight below the mouthpiece and was perfect. I get used to the hard breath but love the silence and clear vision. Later I tried again with rings in the hose but wasn't as good as the weight at the mouthpiece. Now I wonder if I can use the Apeks first stage and connect it to the second one of the Mistral, but I suppose they work at different pressures?

 

Thanks to Wetpixel for all I learning in my relatively new underwater photography world.

 

Gustavo Cabana

Argentina/Spain

guscabana.com

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I'm just back from Palau (Fish'n'Fins, Ocean Hunter 1; thoroughly and unreservedly recommended). I took a Mistral and my trusty Poseidon Cyklon.

 

I found that the Mistral was fine in the water, and, as I guessed from a twin-hose with a modern first stage, improved with depth. I guess that I got 25-30% closer to skittish fish. This was at the expense of a 25% increase in air consumption and the annoyance of losing my surfacing reserve when I took the mouthpiece out at the surface.

 

I used AP hose weights from an Inspiration rebreather to make the hoses more manageable.

 

Conclusion: not perfect, not bad.

 

Tim

 

B)

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