With stringed-instrument maker's plethora with their own appelation, it is difficult to meet itself there.
List of makers http://home.hccnet.nl/h.speek/bouzouki/makers.html
Already the instrument:
All these data will affect the sound, by looking to it more or less of force; of the sharpness, the strong "projection" or not, a brief warm or flashy sound, it is for the taste of each, and best is to listen to if possible of the instrumentalists who already play it.
There are stringed-instrument makers who distance themselves more than from the others by their age in the profession.
The Price: you need to count between 500 € in 3000 € for these instruments (and yes, it is expensive with regard to the guitar, but there is less also which are made
Here is a small outline of the sound of a mandolin octave of the stringed-instrument maker Davy Stuart http://homepage.mac.com/craigtoo/.cv/craigtoo/Public/StuartRicksMIX.mp3-link.mp3
Bouzouki or Octave Mandolin ?
The question could have returned: melodic Play or chords play ?
(Andy Irvine) http://www.chinatogalway.com
Let us retain that there will be more power and sharpness in chords brushed on a bouzouki than on a octave mandolin, and that the play can be more easily melodic on a octave mandolin
More acrobatic but possible things on a bouzouki.
You've got little fingers?
Choose an octave mandolin (one neck lower 58 centimeters or take a bouzouki with easy tuning ( ADAD) which does not re-cry out big ecartements of fingers. But you will always have to make the dead end on certain possibilities.
Things can intervene such the thickness of neck, the size of your fingers, your capacity to move your wrist....
But octave mandolin / bouzouki or cittern= > 8 strings or 10 strings?
No ready-made answer. The cistre with 5 strings is really pleasant to listen to in melodic play when it is tuned with it 2 added low strings.
It is an instrument powerful, but according to the tuning which you will take, you will have to pay attention (in rhythmic) not to touch the 2 firsts strings on 10 to make your chords (we find the same thing as the guitar where we do not play the E low string to do the D chords)
Once again, it is a question of personal taste. Those who will come from an instrument such as the guitar, will be satisfied to find the low strings. Those who will come from the banjo tenor or of the mandolin (tuning GDAE) will have to adapt themselves and re-learn the chords
(Guy Roelof on Cittern Davy Stuart)