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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi everybody, I got the chance to compare some great tenors (some found @Mike Duchstein's shop in Berlin, Germany) and want to share my experience with you. All horns had very good setup. I played them with my Phil-Tone Intrepid (Otto-Link Resochamber design) with Rigotti Gold 3,5 Hard. I listed them in order of preference from # 1 to 4 with # 1 being my favorite. Top notch service at Duchstein and I definitely encourage you to check out the shop (especially if you are in the EU).

4. Keilwerth Toneking Black Nickel - 75,xxx = 2900

Tone: dark and very loud + quite spread, but a bit blank/hollow when comparing with the other 3. It took all the air I could give without feeling limited, just balls to the wall tenor. At louder volumes it became a bit bright especially in the palm notes. I feel because the low register is so big, it makes the rest of the horn sound a bit thinner which in turn translated into an uneven feel throughout. Intonation was quite good. It's perhaps the greatest horn for amplified situations though.
Ergos: Felt good under the fingers, IMO better feel than the later SX90s although it has the inline toneholes. This one had flat metal resos.

3. Buescher Aristocrat Series I - 287,xxx = 2380

Tone: dark, thick, projecting and very laser like focused tone. Very even throughout the range. I felt that it wasn't as loud as the Keilwerth, but it had more complexity. I didn't feel that the tone changed much when I pushed it and I kind of liked that. It was very consistent throughout the range, although the palm notes became a bit too focused for what I like. Altissimo was very good and multiphonics ok.
Ergos: Felt very good and fast! Actually I have smaller hands and this one felt great in terms of ergos. I especially like the pinky table, but perhaps that's just me. This one had flat metal resonators.

2. The Martin Committee III - 174,xxx (90% original lacquer) = 2980

Tone: right in the middle between focused and spread I feel. I actually felt it's in the middle of the JK and the Buescher retaining the best of both worlds. Thick voice with a lot of complexity and evenness throughout. I actually felt it had the mellow side of a good VI in it, but perhaps that's just me. Very pleasing tone that keeps its warmth also at higher volumes.
Ergos: I liked this but for me it lost to the Buescher due to the pinky table and the space/positioning between low D and Eb which is too close to one another. These were really frustrating for me! This one had flat plastic resonators.

1. Conn New Wonder II Artist Special - 229,xxx (burnished gold plated 90%) = 4590

This one was absolutely stunning and for me very definitely the best one of these 4! It is actually the best tenor I've ever played! I'm not sure if this is considered a Transitional, but I see why someone was selling one here and praised it so much (I think it was just a few digits away and was listed for 6000€). The one I played is not just matte, but fully burnished gold plated! It's gorgeous just looking at it.
Tone: It has a bold, thick and very textured voice. The entire range was very full sounding, from the palm notes to the low end. Very even and flexible sound with a silky, free blowing quality to it that could whisper and scream at demand. I could change very easy the color of the notes. Altissimo and multiphonics are much easier than on other 1920-1930's laquered Conns I've played (I attributed this to the great setup). Nothing but great things to say about this gorgeous horn!
Ergos: It felt snappy under the fingers. Spring tension was perfect and pads are very high quality (I think it might have been Pisoni's) and it felt flute like to me. It had flat metal resos. It had 2 mods on the middle Bb finger (for a smooth transition from Bb to B and A) and the left thumb rest that makes it feel great. Gorgeous tenor right there and priced more than fair IMO!

 

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I agree about the tone of the Martin Committee being between a spread and focused one. Mines a 158K.

I played a Buescher once, can't remember if it was a 127 or 156. Although it was leaky, it felt similar to my Martin in terms of the spread and I thought I'd be quite comfortable playing it as a replacement for the Martin.

I also have a Couf Superba I 91XXX and a Conn 10M 273XXX. The 10M is my favorite, followed by the Couf, then the Martin. The palm notes do not get thin on the 10M. Both the 10M and Couf are spread with a big sound. The Couf has a an edge to the sound which makes it brighter than the Conn and, as tends to be the case with Coufs, is also slightly flat in the palm keys but not enough to be an issue.
 

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Thanks for the post Alex. I have never played the Conn and now I would like to try one, because I think your other descriptions are dead on, with the exception that I really like the Sx90. I have a Conn Virtuoso Delux alto that is stunning and dead mint. I'd like to have a similar in tenor.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I agree about the tone of the Martin Committee being between a spread and focused one. Mines a 158K.

I played a Buescher once, can't remember if it was a 127 or 156. Although it was leaky, it felt similar to my Martin in terms of the spread and I thought I'd be quite comfortable playing it as a replacement for the Martin.

I also have a Couf Superba I 91XXX and a Conn 10M 273XXX. The 10M is my favorite, followed by the Couf, then the Martin. The palm notes do not get thin on the 10M. Both the 10M and Couf are spread with a big sound. The Couf has a an edge to the sound which makes it brighter than the Conn and, as tends to be the case with Coufs, is also slightly flat in the palm keys but not enough to be an issue.
Right, I agree about the Buescher (the one I tried was the 127). I find the Martin more flexible and colorful than a Couf and at this moment that's more important for me than anything else.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the post Alex. I have never played the Conn and now I would like to try one, because I think your other descriptions are dead on, with the exception that I really like the Sx90. I have a Conn Virtuoso Delux alto that is stunning and dead mint. I'd like to have a similar in tenor.
It's my pleasure, thanks for the reply saxcop. I believe that specific Conn has something special going on, although Conns are nice in general. Wow the Virtuoso Deluxe has to be awesome, that tenor is close to that! If you don't mind, I would love to see a picture!
 

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I played a Buescher once, can't remember if it was a 127 or 156.
Just for the record, there is a noticeable and significant difference between the 127 & 156 Aristocrats. Possibly as great a difference as between the 4 different models reviewed here. I have both a 127 & 156, so I can compare them directly. The main difference is the 127 is considerably more focused ('laser-like') whereas the 156 has a much more spread tone and seems louder from the player's perspective, but maybe not to the audience out front (the focused sound of the 127 might project more..maybe).
 

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2. The Martin Committee III - 174,xxx (90% original lacquer) = 2980€

Is that price accurate? I mean, I love mine, but if you want to pay me $2500 for it it's yours.
 

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2. The Martin Committee III - 174,xxx (90% original lacquer) = 2980€

Is that price accurate? I mean, I love mine, but if you want to pay me $2500 for it it's yours.
Maybe they're a bit harder to come by in the EU?
 

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With a fresh top-end overhaul that's not unreasonable, but OP didn't make note of that. I wouldn't consider $2500 unless it was completely redone by a competent tech.

- Saxaholic
 

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Discussion Starter #12
2. The Martin Committee III - 174,xxx (90% original lacquer) = 2980€

Is that price accurate? I mean, I love mine, but if you want to pay me $2500 for it it's yours.
The price is accurate. After calculating shipping and import charges from US, yours would be at about the same price in EU I believe.
 

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The price is accurate. After calculating shipping and import charges from US, yours would be at about the same price in EU I believe.
My COMM III is a beast of a player, I'm just not thrilled with the left pinky table ergos. If they're more sought after in the EU I guess that makes sense, but they command a whole lot less money in the US. If an EU buyer wants to talk about buying mine I'd be open to it, for a price that would make sense for you guys ;)
 
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