Well, here's where I'm at now:
I LOVE my new KnitPro wood ones. They are nice and smooth, the join is absolutely no problem, and the little 'unbent paper clip' alan-key thing helps to tighten them more than my hands can (although hand-tight is fine). I wish they hadn't made them lairy multi-coloured, should have stuck with beautiful wood. The cable is lovely and bendy.
Haven't yet tried the metal ones. I ended up ordering the shorter 'special' wood ones to get the right length cable/needle combination.
Then, I have looked into magic loop and half magic loop that people suggested. Having at first disregarded it as 'bonkers', I think it has its merits, especially as fair isle on DPN's is a bit challenging in the tangle and tension departments.
I've learned 4 new techniques on one hat, which satisfies my in-built geeky knitting nutter side
THANKS GUYS !!!