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I have a pro one soprano and think its a great horn. I wouldn't mind having a tenor, but don't need another.
I commented on another Pro One post here that I just bought a tenor. It's very good. I occasionally - after a few weeks - think that it might become my main tenor. This is over a very good VI and a Mauriat 66 RUL. I think that the Mauriat is a 'better' horn - it has a clear, big, broad, full sound all the way up and down that I just love for some stuff, but I just don't sound as warm on it as I like. Other players clearly get a warm sound out of it. The Pro One has a nice big full sound and can sound sweet and very warm. The Mark VI also sounds great all around. And I may end up sticking with it. But I keep wanting to pick up the Pro One. All of what I've heard since playing jazz music on tenor makes it a little difficult wrapping my mind around picking an Antigua over a Selmer Mark VI. ! But. When you have a choice and keep picking up one more than the others, that just might be your horn. I've been very indecisive and changed my preferences frequently. So. We'll see. But I'm just posting my experience so far.
I don't know about other people but I rely on listening to good players playing horns I'm interested in, on YouTube. And Antigua doesn't have much. But I have heard Don Braden - he plays one and he could obviously play anything.
 

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Yes, I have been in communication with Don Braden. I recently purchased a Gold Plate R.S. Berkeley Virtuoso tenor, part of what motivated me was how good Don sounds ...and played the Virtuoso for several years as his main horn. He still has and plays the Virtuoso. Previous to that he played on Keilwerth for a long time. He switched to the Antigua Winds ProOne and 2500 because he likes the textural difference and fatter/wider tone the Antigua Winds are like that perform closer to the Keilwerth. I am loving my R. S. Berkeley but I'd say it leans more towards the MKVI bore and I'm willing to bet the Antigua Winds ProOne and 2500 are somewhere between that and Keilwerth. Don could and does play whatever horn he desires. I don't believe Antigua Winds is paying him tons of $$$ to endorse their horns, doubt they have the budget. I think he earnestly likes their horns and also from a great music educators viewpoint likes there are companies making great pro level products at an attainable price for serious students.
 

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I nearly picked a Pro One tenor up several months back when Quinn was selling them cheap but I already have 5 tenors and just couldn't justify buying another.

The Virtuoso is also a very nice feeling and playing horn and one that actually is more Mark VI like than most of the Taiwanese horns despite what many of the other brands might want to suggest with their marketing.
 

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I nearly picked a Pro One tenor up several months back when Quinn was selling them cheap but I already have 5 tenors and just couldn't justify buying another.

The Virtuoso is also a very nice feeling and playing horn and one that actually is more Mark VI like than most of the Taiwanese horns despite what many of the other brands might want to suggest with their marketing.
I could be wrong. It is my understanding that R.S. Berkeley saxes are made in China, not Taiwan. All the horns I've owned made in Taiwan (P. Mauriat, Barone, Antigua Winds, Eastman 52nd St., Eastman 640) are stamped below the serial # "Made In Taiwan". This Virtuoso has nothing stamped below the serial #.
 

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Yeah, I'm not sure about the RS Berkley either though I just checked 4 of the 5 horns I own that I'm pretty sure were made in Taiwan and none of them are stamped. I have two Barones (both older from 2008-2010) a Tenor Madness Custom and a Mauriat 67R alto. The 5th is a silver plated Barone I just bought and it's presently living at my parent's place. I only played it for a few hours while I was there on vacation a couple weeks back but I think that horn was stamped "Made in Taiwan". My first Barone tenor did come with a small sticker that said "Made in Taiwan" but the sticker is long gone.

Regardless these are nice playing horns. I was at USA Horn several years ago and Mark pulled out 5 or 6 Asian made tenors - a couple of Vikings, a Sax Dakota, something else I can't remember and the Virtuoso. If I had taken any of those home that day it would have been the Virtuoso. It played the best and was the most "Mark VIish" of the bunch - I had plenty of vintage VIs there to compare it to. That being said, I've played some other RS Berkley horns including a Low Bb bari that were terrible so.....
 

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Yeah, I'm not sure about the RS Berkley either though I just checked 4 of the 5 horns I own that I'm pretty sure were made in Taiwan and none of them are stamped. I have two Barones (both older from 2008-2010) a Tenor Madness Custom and a Mauriat 67R alto. The 5th is a silver plated Barone I just bought and it's presently living at my parent's place. I only played it for a few hours while I was there on vacation a couple weeks back but I think that horn was stamped "Made in Taiwan". My first Barone tenor did come with a small sticker that said "Made in Taiwan" but the sticker is long gone.

Regardless these are nice playing horns. I was at USA Horn several years ago and Mark pulled out 5 or 6 Asian made tenors - a couple of Vikings, a Sax Dakota, something else I can't remember and the Virtuoso. If I had taken any of those home that day it would have been the Virtuoso. It played the best and was the most "Mark VIish" of the bunch - I had plenty of vintage VIs there to compare it to. That being said, I've played some other RS Berkley horns including a Low Bb bari that were terrible so.....
Interesting. I didn't think that ANYone had a couple of Vikings! I thought they were all bought, and, mostly, held on to!
Can you say something about your TM Custom? Anything you can compare it to, favorably or unfavorably, would be appreciated. I've heard, mostly, that they're the best out of Taiwan. And I've heard they are the same horn as a few people make, but that the TM setup pushes them into another category of great.
 

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Interesting. I didn't think that ANYone had a couple of Vikings! I thought they were all bought, and, mostly, held on to!
Can you say something about your TM Custom? Anything you can compare it to, favorably or unfavorably, would be appreciated. I've heard, mostly, that they're the best out of Taiwan. And I've heard they are the same horn as a few people make, but that the TM setup pushes them into another category of great.
Sure - This was many years ago while Richie was still selling horns. He worked at USA Horn for a few years back-in-the-day before Mark took the place over so they knew each other well. As a result for a few years Mark often had Viking branded horns in the shop though he wasn't what you might call a "dealer" necessarily. The last one was a straight one-piece soprano that I considered buying a few times. That day he had an M40 and an M58 in the shop - I preferred the M40 out of those two. I probably should admit none of the horns were specifically setup and it was kind of a pseudo blind play test. Mark just pulled the horns out of the store room, put them together, and handed them to me asking me not to look at them in advance. I wasn't blindfolded but I honestly didn't look at the horns before playing them. I only played each for a few minutes and on that day at that time the Virtuoso played the best of the bunch. It also happened to be the most Mark VI-like of the group as well. This was sort of the point of Mark's experiment with me. At that time many of the Asian (mostly Taiwanese) branded horns were claiming to be like Mark VIs- that was the marketing angle of the day. He wanted to hand me a bunch of these horns claiming to be Mark VI-like and ask me which, if any, I thought was closest.

The TM for me is in sort of a different league. Initially these were built off of body tubes that were nearly the same as the P. Mauriat 66R tenors but I believe they are getting them from the factory to their own specs now. Simon Harding who goes by SimonJazzSax here at SOTW works for TM and is our resident expert on all of the details about what's going on with these horns so I'll leave that stuff to him and the other threads where that stuff has been discussed.

My story is; I played a Yamaha 875 Custom tenor for about 15 years. I love the way this horn feels and it sounded okay, at least as good as the enthusiastic hobbyist, weekend-warrior type I am could make it sound. I tried one of the first Mauriat 66Rs ever made in late 2003 or early 2004 when Sax Alley first began selling them and Tim was still working out of his basement. It played okay, had a nice sound that was bigger and more spread than my Yamaha but it just felt physically big and unwieldly by comparison. The Mauriat Sys-76 that came on the scene a couple years later was a better fit for my hands but by then the prices had begun to creep up and I wasn't sure I wanted to spend that kind of money. I ended up splitting the difference by buying a tenor from Phil Barone. This was in 2008 when Phil first started selling horns, before he had a website or the different Classic and Vintage monikers came about. These at the time were rumored to be the same as the Mauriats just at half the price. I can't say they were exactly the same but I bought a lightly used Sys-76 shortly after getting the Barone and compared them side-by-side many times and they were very very similar.

I liked the sound of the Barone better than my Yamaha (though I wouldn't have claimed it then or now to be vintage Selmer like) and the keywork was much better for me than the 66R. The thing I really like about the Barone and many of the Taiwanese horns is the palm key response. Those tone holes are just slightly larger and make getting a fuller sound on those notes easier for me. I still play this horn most of the time.

Despite liking many of the characteristics of the Barone a lot I miss the slick feel of the Yamaha keywork and that's where the TM comes in. I wasn't looking for another horn but I was at Sax Alley one day and asked Tim "what's new" and they had just become a TM dealer so he suggested I kill a few minutes trying some TM tenors while he was working on my horns. The TM tenors had a sound similar to my Barone but with quicker response and better keywork. It was like they combined many of the characteristics I liked best about my Barone with those I liked best about my Yamaha. The sound, response, keywork, intonation, consistency of timbre over the entire range, and especially similarity of sound in alternate fingerings ( like different Bbs and front F & E compared to palm key F & E) are excellent.

In the end it comes down to what works best for you as a player. There are a lot of really good horns being made today it's just a matter of what set of characteristics align best for you as a player. If I were a better player I might chose differently. I'd love to be part of the vintage Selmer fan-boy club especially if it meant sounding as good as many of those guys do on those horns but I'm not good enough to consider the traits that many pros find in those horns as "character", or "personality", or whatever "je ne sais quoi" they have as anything more than quirks to be overcome. Obviously some of the best music ever made was made on these horns so that's on me as a player not the instruments but I do know what works best for me.

I've found Asian instruments seem to agree with me. I play Japanese flutes and Japanese and Taiwanese saxophones. It may be a bit of a sweeping generalization and not true for everyone but I think many of the east Asian horns have some similarities that make some folks like me okay with most of them just preferring some over others while other people don't like any of them. I find the TM to be a sort of tricked-out or hot rodded Taiwanese tenor- the best I've played. However, if you have played Cannonballs, Mauriats, Jupiters, Eastmans, Vikings, etc. and haven't liked them you may not find the TM to your liking either as to me it's sort of cut from a finer grade of the same cloth.
 
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