Dave Dolson said:
And, this no slam on Antigua saxophones - I own one (a soprano 590LQ) and I've tested others. Yes, they play and can fill a lot of players' needs. But to me, a "pro" saxophone is not an inexpensive Taiwnese-made horn.
I recently got a B&S, and there is a distinct difference between it and the Antigua, the tone is slightly fuller, the keys fall more naturally under my fingers, The biggest difference is the quality of the adjustment screws and overall mechanism, the Allore can be set up "just so", whereas the 520 could was a case of "good enough"
To be honest I am not close enough to being a good enough player that the horn held me back, but things like respone sluring down steps through the octave are noticably better on the B&S, and the tone quality more even througout. It didnt bother me at all on the Antigua, but now I think, "Oh, that was easy" on the B&S. In short the tollerances and quality are that much finer on a true "pro" horn, but the differences on the Antigua are not such that they will significantly hold most players back, and we are talking a 500% difference in the cost for me to buy.
I have no doubt that more expensive Taiwanese brands like Cannonball and Mauriat are fully capable of the level of workmanship and quality of a true pro horn, but again, thats a different price level entirely, and perhaps the keyword in the quote above is "inexpensive". I think the Antiguas are excellent for the money they cost, especially on the used marker, but no, they are not top of the range big buck pro horns...if you want that, then you have to pay for it.
If you want a good quality modern horn for marching, or as a back up for rowdy gigs, or if you dont want to invest $1000+ in a true pro level horn for the level of playing you do, then you can do worse than an Antigua.