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· Just a guy who plays saxophone.
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I’d recommend sticking with the EM since it works for you. Hopefully you’re a more solid player with a better idea of what to expect when buying a saxophone next time you grace us with a review…or whatever this was.
 

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Eastern Music Ref 54 Unlacquered Tenor, Antigua ProOne
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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
I’d recommend sticking with the EM since it works for you. Hopefully you’re a more solid player with a better idea of what to expect when buying a saxophone next time you grace us with a review…or whatever this was.
Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't meet your standards for a review? I'll be sure to check in with you as I progress, and ask you when you think it's OK to talk about my instruments on this site. Get over yourself.
 

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I'd like to thank OP for sharing his experience. Most of us don't do it and he took his time to present it very well. I haven't tried any tenor from EM, but I like their curvy soprano (bell toneholes to the left, like P Mauriat PMSS 2400 GL, based on the older Yanis) ... the setup right out of the box was unbelievable... IMHO, I agree that today a cheap horn can be a good horn, they are improving and EM is doing a decent job, everyone here at SOTW praises their mouthpieces (the MBII and Fatboy Guardala-like), and the necks as well!

In this thread, I've uploaded a video and below there are some opinions and my replies. So I don't repeat myself here.



Then there is the issue with the reviews. I've been reading very detailed reviews here, for over 20+ years browsing this source of knowledge that I consider SOTW to be, and more often than not, when I get to hear how the reviewer (or some of the contrarians) plays... ouch! I think "wow, how could they? haha... I want a quarter of that self-esteem" 😅

I guess if you were reading a racing car / off-road vehicle review by me (I drive a little car to the supermarket, to my gigs, and back home) it's not gonna be of much use to the knowledgeable ones.

So there's that... I think it's always helpful to upload a video of your playing when you're reviewing a product. But always better to share than not share.
 

· Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
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I think it's always helpful to upload a video of your playing when you're reviewing a product. But always better to share than not share.
A brief biography would be useful. It is useful to know whether the presenter has any pertinent experience, what kind of music they play, and their baseline setup.
 
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A brief biography would be useful. It is useful to know whether the presenter has any pertinent experience, what kind of music they play, and their baseline setup.
I agree! That adds, but playing for me it's what really. For the discerning ear that tells the story better than anything. If you pay attention everything is there. Words for music and sounds don't do it for me. For example, over the years of listening to some of the Steve Neff mpcs reviews, you get to understand how he plays, how he blows, and that gives and idea of how "I" will sound on that particular piece. Hope I'm making sense here haha
 

· Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
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I agree! That adds, but playing for me it's what really. For the discerning ear that tells the story better than anything. If you pay attention everything is there. Words for music and sounds don't do it for me. For example, over the years of listening to some of the Steve Neff mpcs reviews, you get to understand how he plays, how he blows, and that gives and idea of how "I" will sound on that particular piece. Hope I'm making sense here haha
Check Ves’ posts to learn his depth of experience, then you’ll better understand my apparent lack of appreciation for his in-depth review.

Yes, I completely understand your perspective of Steve’s reviews. It’s all the more interesting to me because I have owned and played some of the very mouthpieces that he has reviewed. Steve is good people and a treasure to the community.
 

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Check Ves’ posts to learn his depth of experience, then you’ll better understand my apparent lack of appreciation for his in-depth review.

Yes, I completely understand your perspective of Steve’s reviews. It’s all the more interesting to me because I have owned and played some of the very mouthpieces that he has reviewed. Steve is good people and a treasure to the community.

Yes, I did some background checks on OP :), still better to share and expose himself to bullying/reality check... it's a good conversation starter. Most of the time I'm too lazy to share things that I believe would benefit the community. Neff is a treasure no doubt, and you as well Dr G! almost 40k posts, that's love for all things saxophone above anything else!
 

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Eastern Music Ref 54 Unlacquered Tenor, Antigua ProOne
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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
After my brow beating here, I was like ***, I know some of these guys have Eastern Music horns, so someone else must have concluded they were decent horns. So, I did a quick search and found this:
One of your esteemed members talking about how good Eastern Music Instruments are, and that they are comparable to the higher end like.. Antigua and P. Muorawhatever. Hmmm.. imagine that.

So, me, Johnny Come Lately, with less than one year of play time, buys one before ever joining this forum, makes that same conclusion, independently, but my opinion is pooh poohed, because I don't have the credentials to have an opinion. The guy tells me I'm comparing Apples to Oranges, but when he says they are comparable in quality, it's ok, because he's got the credentials to say whatever he wants.

Whatever, I get it. There's something to be said for reputation, and I have none here. I wrote what I wrote, and I stand by my conclusion.

All I can say is, WAY TO ENCOURAGE NEW MEMBER PARTICIPATION!

My replacement ProOne is now on it's way, hopefully without the problems, and a lighter action, and I get to evaluate it all over again.
 

· Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
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So, me, Johnny Come Lately, with less than one year of play time, buys one before ever joining this forum, makes that same conclusion, independently, but my opinion is pooh poohed, because I don't have the credentials to have an opinion. The guy tells me I'm comparing Apples to Oranges, but when he says they are comparable in quality, it's ok, because he's got the credentials to say whatever he wants.

Whatever, I get it. There's something to be said for reputation, and I have none here. I wrote what I wrote, and I stand by my conclusion.

All I can say is, WAY TO ENCOURAGE NEW MEMBER PARTICIPATION!

My replacement ProOne is now on it's way, hopefully without the problems, and a lighter action, and I get to evaluate it all over again.
Way to hang tough, Ves. You go for it!

May you get what you want, and want what you get.
 
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All I can say is, WAY TO ENCOURAGE NEW MEMBER PARTICIPATION!
Hey Ves, welcome to SOTW. I see this thread has brought you the entire SOTW experience, including the less-than-pleasant know-it-alls. My advice for you would be to enjoy practicing and learning saxophone, and use the "ignore" button for members who frequently come at you in a combative manner. It makes SOTW much better!
 

· Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2017
Picked up a sax in 2002 and here I am.
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Ok, I also own the same Eastern Music tenor and have owned several 2001 and Blue Label tenors. While the tone is very close to that of the 2001, it’s not even close when it comes to build quality, materials or design. I sold my last 2001 because I though at the time I wouldn’t be able to play anymore. Despite that fact, I wasn’t going to be without a horn, so kept the Eastern Music because I was in it for very little. Were I a playing professional, I would keep the 2001 over an Eastern Music horn 100% of the time. Of course this is just my take and if the OP is happy with his horn, all is well!
 

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Eastern Music Ref 54 Unlacquered Tenor, Antigua ProOne
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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Well, since you brought it up again. I got my replacement ProOne (different instrument) and played it exclusively for a week.

The low D# pad still sticks. Not as bad as the instrument I returned; if I break it free when I start, it doesn't re-stick enough during playing to make a difference. But they did lower the spring tensions, so that probably helps. I'm guessing if the spring tension was as before, it would still stick as much. It is what it is. I still say that problem should not be there given the cost of the instrument. I'm also guessing it will go away with some more use and cleaning.

Switching back to the Eastern again after playing the ProOne makes some things very obvious.
  • The first ProOne I tried was kind of dud with one of the Bb fingerings and the low D. This one seems to be better. That's surprising.
  • ProOne is slightly darker and richer, not by much but it is. I like dark and rich. I did try it with a small chamber high baffle MP, and yeah, it can be bright also. Too bright for my taste.
  • Intonation is comparable. I don't feel like I need to do any gymnastics with either one. Or at least the gymnastics are similar.
  • ProOne is more free blowing; less resistance. Also a surprise, because with the previous one that was not the case. The Eastern was better.
  • ProOne The low notes definitely pop out with less effort. I'm believe the "more linear" response part of the marketing.
  • Yes, the Eastern is more "clunky"; things are just a bit looser, but some of the key movements are shorter (which I like).
  • The Eastern overtones better; easier and the overtones are closer to being in tune soon as they pop. On the ProOne they are sharp, and it's tough to bring them down. Maybe it's the tuning point, maybe it's just me, whatever.

These are all minor differences, but I'm feeling like my first ProOne was a bit of a lemon, so maybe there was a reason it was less expensive than the other one's they were selling. I know it's not unheard of that the same model can vary from instrument to instrument.

Switching back and forth between the Eastern and the new ProOne is pretty seamless. I'm not a pro, but I doubt any of this would make a hill of beans difference in a performance, other than tone. So, it comes down to preference, feel, aesthetics, bells and whistles, and the unrelenting pursuit of quality... and the size of your wallet. Sure, the ProOne is a higher quality instrument, construction is more precise, more bells and whistles, but more money. The ProOne is nice, and this one seems better than the last one, but it's not 3x+ nicer. But, that's how it is with all things... the cost of a higher end item is not linear to it's actual cost to construct nor it's actual increase in quality or performance. There are cost multipliers and marketing involved.

So, all things considered... it's a toss up. Eastern wins the value contest, but ProOne wins the overall quality and refinement. Overall playability on both is good enough. It's like Chevy vs BMW. Both will get you from point A to B, but if you have a taste for the finer things in life, and can afford them, then ProOne it is. I'm keeping them both for now.
 

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Eastern Music Ref 54 Unlacquered Tenor, Antigua ProOne
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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
...
May you get what you want, and want what you get.
Someone also said, come back when you know what you want. And how exactly would someone know what they want, without investigating what's out there, without playing it? Sure, you can just take peoples advice, but then it's not what you want, it's what they want for you. All I know is I wanted an instrument that was not hindering my playing. How would I know if my first instrument was hindering my playing? I wouldn't. I had to try some different one's, gradually increasing my price point, to see if I could get something noticeably better (plays noticeably better) for the money. I wasn't attached to any of them, and the loser was sold off. The Eastern Music won the runoffs after it came along, and even with the ProOne, which represents my max price point, it's still holding it's own pretty good. So, yeah, I found what I wanted, a good instrument for the money I'm willing to spend. I could return the ProOne and not lose sleep over it, be perfectly content tooling around on the Eastern. But yeah, I want what I got, so, I'm good.
 

· Forum Contributor 2017
“I play sax but mostly it plays me”
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After my brow beating here, I was like ***, I know some of these guys have Eastern Music horns, so someone else must have concluded they were decent horns. So, I did a quick search and found this:
One of your esteemed members talking about how good Eastern Music Instruments are, and that they are comparable to the higher end like.. Antigua and P. Muorawhatever. Hmmm.. imagine that.

So, me, Johnny Come Lately, with less than one year of play time, buys one before ever joining this forum, makes that same conclusion, independently, but my opinion is pooh poohed, because I don't have the credentials to have an opinion. The guy tells me I'm comparing Apples to Oranges, but when he says they are comparable in quality, it's ok, because he's got the credentials to say whatever he wants.

Whatever, I get it. There's something to be said for reputation, and I have none here. I wrote what I wrote, and I stand by my conclusion.

All I can say is, WAY TO ENCOURAGE NEW MEMBER PARTICIPATION!

My replacement ProOne is now on it's way, hopefully without the problems, and a lighter action, and I get to evaluate it all over again.
I think that so-called esteemed member is me. When I purchased those Chinese mainland horns I was playing a 10 year old Antigua Winds and yes I would compare it to that. I also compared EM to other Chinese vendors who compete in the marketplace and found better quality control elsewhere. The horns that were sent to me from EM all had scratches from assembly and I could see solder under the posts clear as day. I had one out a dozen sopranos that played almost entirely in tune and it sounded okay kinda thin in my opinion especially in the upper range. Now that said, it was a bit more work to play than the AW and did not play as pure a tone. Do they serve a purpose and could they be okay for at home use or even weekend warrior types? Absolutely!
There are so many horns out there that there is something for everybody and after playing the mainland horns for a bit I found they were definitely did not play the way I needed. There are several brands that are produced in Chinese factories and some are very high end and the aforementioned should never be discussed as the same class of horns as an ebay horn.
 

· Just a guy who plays saxophone.
Joined
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5,615 Posts
Well, since you brought it up again. I got my replacement ProOne (different instrument) and played it exclusively for a week.

The low D# pad still sticks. Not as bad as the instrument I returned; if I break it free when I start, it doesn't re-stick enough during playing to make a difference. But they did lower the spring tensions, so that probably helps. I'm guessing if the spring tension was as before, it would still stick as much. It is what it is. I still say that problem should not be there given the cost of the instrument. I'm also guessing it will go away with some more use and cleaning.

Switching back to the Eastern again after playing the ProOne makes some things very obvious.
  • The first ProOne I tried was kind of dud with one of the Bb fingerings and the low D. This one seems to be better. That's surprising.
  • ProOne is slightly darker and richer, not by much but it is. I like dark and rich. I did try it with a small chamber high baffle MP, and yeah, it can be bright also. Too bright for my taste.
  • Intonation is comparable. I don't feel like I need to do any gymnastics with either one. Or at least the gymnastics are similar.
  • ProOne is more free blowing; less resistance. Also a surprise, because with the previous one that was not the case. The Eastern was better.
  • ProOne The low notes definitely pop out with less effort. I'm believe the "more linear" response part of the marketing.
  • Yes, the Eastern is more "clunky"; things are just a bit looser, but some of the key movements are shorter (which I like).
  • The Eastern overtones better; easier and the overtones are closer to being in tune soon as they pop. On the ProOne they are sharp, and it's tough to bring them down. Maybe it's the tuning point, maybe it's just me, whatever.

These are all minor differences, but I'm feeling like my first ProOne was a bit of a lemon, so maybe there was a reason it was less expensive than the other one's they were selling. I know it's not unheard of that the same model can vary from instrument to instrument.

Switching back and forth between the Eastern and the new ProOne is pretty seamless. I'm not a pro, but I doubt any of this would make a hill of beans difference in a performance, other than tone. So, it comes down to preference, feel, aesthetics, bells and whistles, and the unrelenting pursuit of quality... and the size of your wallet. Sure, the ProOne is a higher quality instrument, construction is more precise, more bells and whistles, but more money. The ProOne is nice, and this one seems better than the last one, but it's not 3x+ nicer. But, that's how it is with all things... the cost of a higher end item is not linear to it's actual cost to construct nor it's actual increase in quality or performance. There are cost multipliers and marketing involved.

So, all things considered... it's a toss up. Eastern wins the value contest, but ProOne wins the overall quality and refinement. Overall playability on both is good enough. It's like Chevy vs BMW. Both will get you from point A to B, but if you have a taste for the finer things in life, and can afford them, then ProOne it is. I'm keeping them both for now.
Who brought it up again? You. There was no activity on the thread for ten days before you woke it back up. Interesting how having a tech go through the instrument resulted in a much better outcome, if only a few people with knowledge and experience had mentioned that 🤷‍♂️
 

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  • The first ProOne I tried was kind of dud with one of the Bb fingerings and the low D. This one seems to be better. That's surprising.
[etc.]
. . .

These are all minor differences, but I'm feeling like my first ProOne was a bit of a lemon, so maybe there was a reason it was less expensive than the other one's they were selling.
Based on everything you've described, the first ProOne probably had a small leak or two. That could produce a stuffier sound/feel, more resistance, "dud" notes, and other small ills. A flawed setup can change a horn's character significantly.

The ProOne is nice, and this one seems better than the last one, but it's not 3x+ nicer. But, that's how it is with all things... the cost of a higher end item is not linear to it's actual cost to construct nor it's actual increase in quality or performance.
Yes. Marginal increases in performance or quality become more and more disproportionately expensive as you move up the hierarchy.
 

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Eastern Music Ref 54 Unlacquered Tenor, Antigua ProOne
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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
Who brought it up again? You. There was no activity on the thread for ten days before you woke it back up. Interesting how having a tech go through the instrument resulted in a much better outcome, if only a few people with knowledge and experience had mentioned that 🤷‍♂️
Not sure what you're looking at, but there were several posts since the last time I posted. Why does that matter either way?

The tech didn't go through the first instrument I returned. He went through a new one before they sent it to me. They did apologize for not catching the problems on the first one. Right, your sarcasm aside, yes people here did mention that with some tweaking the first one might have turned out better. Like I said, I didn't buy a new, expensive, horn so I could tweak it. I wouldn't buy a new BMW and then be ok with taking it to the shop because it doesn't run right, especially if I had to pay for it to be fixed. But yeah, I've see a few instrument review videos where the guy says, "I had to make a few adjustments but now it plays fine." Seriously, where does this idea come from, that it's OK for a top of the line instrument to have issues out of the box? Sounds like companies aren't doing their job on insuring initial quality, and apparently that's just fine with a lot of people. On a $250/$500/even $700 horn I can see expecting to have an issue or two, but not on a $2000-$5000 horn. If inconsistencies among instruments, and issues out of the box, is par for the course, then seems to me there's a business opportunity out there. Maybe if more people return instruments that had issues out of the box we'd all be better off for it. You're welcome! 😁
 

· Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2017
Picked up a sax in 2002 and here I am.
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2,450 Posts
Saxophones are made with a lot of parts, many pads that need to seal well, many of those mechanisms interacting with others. All this can present opportunities for leaks and a lousy playing horn. No manufacturer is immune to leaks in a new horn, be it poor QC or poor packaging for shipment. Even Selmer is known for arriving with leaks that need immediate attention. Unfortunately the nature of the beast. Have I owned horns that needed nothing when I got them? Yes, though they were the exception. Coincidently, the two cheapest horns I own arrived playing perfectly, so there’s little relationship with cost.
 

· Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
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38,406 Posts
people here did mention that with some tweaking the first one might have turned out better.

Like I said, I didn't buy a new, expensive, horn so I could tweak it. I wouldn't buy a new BMW and then be ok with taking it to the shop…

I can see expecting to have an issue or two, but not on a $2000-$5000 horn. If inconsistencies among instruments, and issues out of the box, is par for the course, then seems to me there's a business opportunity out there.
You still don’t seem to understand the price point that you are buying. $2000-$5000 doesn’t buy the equivalent of a new BMW. That “business opportunity” you mention is called an “instrument repair technician”. If every horn at your price point had the commensurate attention from a tech before shipping, the cost would no longer be in the same price point, and yet it would still be set up to some generic specification that would not be ideal for everyone (ex. spring tension).

Enjoy your new Kia.
 
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