hi...i just finished my midwifery apprenticeship and also help teach basic prenatal skills at a midwifery college. my experience (with myself and many many new students listening to heart tones for the first time) is that you should try many kinds and see what works for you. i think a lot depends on your ear shape and hearing ability. i bought the expensive Allen fetascope and then the economy model at the same time and ended up giving away the expensive one because i hated it. i also have a wooden Pinard horn that i like. my favorite tool has been the economy fetascope, but with the more flexible earpieces that came as extras with my infant stethoscope. i also recently tried a metal Pinard horn and it worked really well. good luck!