Good evening and I hope you are doing well. I have been reading through this and MANY other sites (stores, players, makers, etc.) as I am getting ready to pull the trigger and start learning the oboe to go along with the clarinet I have played off and on for years. Apart from embouchure and back pressure differences, any suggestions on where to actually start? I have thought of buying a couple reeds to start in on embouchure while looking for the right instrument (another issue in itself). In regards to instrument, I am torn between newer Fox, Bulgheroni, etc. instruments where there's a possibility of "younger" or improperly dried wood leading to rapid cracking, going with something lined (or fully synthetic), or sticking to a used instrument. As much as I would love a Loree or Hiniker, I would not be able to even start to do it justice for quite a while and I would prefer to start with something a little free blowing (I have read otherwise of both makers).
I know it is a very open ended question set, but any assistance is greatly appreciated.
I am so pleased that you are interested in playing the oboe. It is a tricky instrument to master and you really would be best to find a teacher that you can trust and follow their advice. You need a teacher to help most importantly with reeds which are so often completely useless when bought from a shop. So first things first - a teacher.
The best way to find an instrument would be to again get help from the teacher or a very good woodwind supplier who specialises in oboes. I don't know if you live near to one. They are few and far between it seems.
A used Loree from a reputable dealer would still be a good choice because many of the intermediate student oboes whilst cheaper will possibly leave you wanting the full key work when you make progress.
A used oboe is often free blowing and has endured enough life to have its cracking potential passed by. Cracking is not as prevalent as it used to be whatever you read. So have faith in the top makers of oboes. These include, of course Loree, Cabart - the Loree intermediate oboe and is excellent - Howarth, Rigoutat, Marigaux, Buffet, the Fox Renard plastics are very good, Bulgheroni, Fossati Thierry is excellent. Do look for practical advice from an oboist who can try instruments for you and pass judgement as to the life left of a used oboe or the ease of blowing of a new instrument.
If you are on a budget though and want a new oboe then the Cabart, the Fossati Tierry, the Howarth S40, the Rigoutat Delphine, The Fox Renard series are worthy of serious consideration.
Best of luck