Pronunciation of "To Fire / 放つ"

I have been reviewing 放つ for a while now.

Listening to the WK reading, and comparing it to another verb ending in つ, it sounds a bit odd.

放つ very much sounds like it ends with づ by both voices
Whereas the pronunciation of 保つ sounds much more clearly like a つ.

Am I mishearing things or is there a reason for this?

I don’t hear a difference between the 放つ and 保つ audio.

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I don’t hear a difference either.

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That’s not to say there couldn’t be some allophone difference. It might help if you tell us your native language just to be clear, because that can impact what people hear.

I live in Scotland. I’m not sure if that would have much of an impact.

Listening to an actual example of a づ, 手作り, I can hear a distinction between the proper づ sound and the sound I’m mis-hearing in 放つ. So it’s just me mishearing, I guess.

The づ in 手作り sounds like ず to me, as I expect. The つ in 保つ and 放つ sound the same to me, like つ. There might be a slight z quality to Kyoko’s version for 放つ, but not all the way づ/ず, sinceI still clearly hear the t as well.

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