Just remembered Tim at Saxalley does allow a 7 day trial period. That may be just the thing to go with.
I also wanted to give my take on the big 4 vs the new horns. This is my opinion and is given in a spirit of sharing info rather than a rebuttal as I don't think anyone was out of line in their comments.. The big 4may be a safe bet but there is still risk involved. Any used horn will lose value. It is often mentioned that the big 4 won't drop as hard as the others. However, they generally are priced higher to begin with leaving the total loss with a higher potential. The 66R tenor sells for about $2,750 new. GAS WYO just sold his on ebay for $2,200 http://cgi.ebay.com/P-Mauriat-66R-T...ryZ16234QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
. The Mauriat seems to be doing well.
I think in general the advice is sound but there is a broad stroke approach. Some of the newer horns were not of high quality. The general assumption by some is they all suffer. I find this true of the vintage vs new horn arguement- vintage is better. What is never mentioned is how much work most vintage really need to be in top playing form let alone the less than ergonomic key setup. The Mauriat is a quality horn.
I tend to go with what works for me and really don't care about the name. In fact I went with one of the other Mauriat's as the tried and true ones just were not for me. If you were blindfolded and handed a Mauriat vs a Selmer, Yamaha etc you are not going to come to the conclusion that the Mauriat is a lesser horn based on the name alone. You will find it to be a sturdy horn with good keywork and feel. The response is excellent. It would only come down to what is your preference for sound and feel of a quality horn.
Anyway, I wish you good luck in finding a good horn. It does make it much more enjoyable when you are matched up correctly