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In this video I compare three alto saxophones at three different price points - a Jean Paul AS-400 ($500), a Jean Paul AS-860S ($1,500), and a Selmer Mark VI ($5,000). Which sounds best to you? Do you think they're worth their prices? Let me know!

 

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Only listened to the versions (of the first song) where sax was not shown.

Liked #2 the best, then #3, then #1. #2 and #3 were not so far apart really. #1 was too bright for my taste.

Now I’ll go back and see which ones they were . . .
Uh oh!!
 

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I liked the JP 860s the best. Seemed to jive really well with your playing.

I think it's safe to say that none of those saxes are holding you back. Not in the market for a new horn, but I wouldn't mind playing one of these JPs!

Pretty cool that you can buy a quality instrument for that kind of money. The beginner one isn't too far off price wise from a mid tier electric guitar.
 

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I also thought #1 sounded thin. I liked the sound of #2 and #3 better since they had a warmer sound, but were pretty close. Great blind test! I'd save my money and go for the sound and lean toward the JP-860 due to better mechanicals and pick up the gold lacquer.

Thanks Dave!
 
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Yes I think they're worth their prices! I was positive which was the VI and thought the cheap model sounded quite dull and weak by comparison to the others. Rest assured your VI was in another class. That's if pop, clarity, definition and complexity of tone are anything to go by ;) You also sounded most comfortable on it, unsurprisingly. Interesting video, thanks.
 

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Also for me the order from best sounding to least best sounding (covered) was 1, 3 , 2.

The difference is huge. In particular, 1 has a much more defined, sculpted and brilliant ( that is very different from bright ) sound.

2 and 3 ( especially 2 ) have a foggy, dull tone that could sound like "warm" but it just is not.
 

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Nicely put together clip. Thanks for sharing that.

Interesting the inconsistency in what people are hearing. Hard to hear past the playing. I would never have picked out a 5K horn from the 3.
 

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I haven't seen the results YET. I pick #2 as my favorite and poss. the VI, and #3 was not far behind. #1 was nice but seemed less warm than the others.
After seeing results. I am blown away by the beginner level horn.
 
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All this proved is Jean Paul quality control is really good and Mark VI's are way over priced which everyone knows but many still pay the insane price.
 

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…Liked #2 the best, then #3, then #1. #2 and #3 were not so far apart really. #1 was too bright for my taste…
That is exactly what I thought as well! I didn’t like #1 at all - too bright - almost like a child’s toy I thought while I listened. I thought #2 was a little bit better than #3, but both were much better than #1.

Very surprised that #1 was the Mk VI and my favorite was the $500 sax.

All I can say is that, well, these were just altos, so it’s like comparing manicured vs non-manicured nails on a chalkboard.:LOL:
 

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Many thanks for this.
I listened without knowing which was which and I much preferred #2 and #3 to #1, which I rather disliked, especially in the first song. On the whole I preferred #3 to #2, so my order was 3, 2, 1.
For me: #1 was brightest, #2 was warmest.
(After 2 minutes listening I believed that #1 would turn out to be the cheap sax, so that may have affected my judgement).

It's interesting that we mostly seem to agree that #1 was the brightest. But some people think that this made it the best ("brilliant") and others, me included, think that it made it the worst ("thin"). So, not surprisingly, it's a matter of personal taste.
 

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2,3, and then 1. Wow. "Holy grail" saxophones are in the "ear" of the Beholder.
 

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All this proved is Jean Paul quality control is really good and Mark VI's are way over priced which everyone knows but many still pay the insane price.
To me, it proved that it's the player, not the horn, that's important. I'm going to make all students who whine about needing to "upgrade" to a $5k horn in order to sound better watch this video. No, you need to practice, not spend all your parent's money. As long as it's in tune and in working order and won't fall apart in 6 months, the horn really doesn't matter all that much.

Thanks yet again for another great video @Dave Pollack
 

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They all sounded the same to me. Great players can make junk sound great. The real question is how it feels to the player... and how long it lasts, as we all know how long a VI can hold up. It is good though that you disclosed your financial relationship with Jean Paul at the end; and I have nothing against that.
 

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For me it was 1, 3, 2 before the big reveal. Imagine that, the order went from high $ to low $ to my ears.
That's what I came up with also after watching on the TV. Horn #1 sounded brighter which isn't normally my favorite thing but it was also clearer. The JP's were slightly muddy in comparison, but not horrible. If I was buying a horn for a beginner the JP would be my first choice.
 

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Preference: 2-3-1, pretty easily. Like others, I thought the VI sounded exceptionally bright on this recording, and I consider myself relatively familiar OP's playing and "base tone."

Price of the AS-400 about the skyrocket.... "Quick! Snatch-up the 5-digit JPBs!"
 
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