Sax on the Web Forum banner
1 - 20 of 44 Posts

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
3,641 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Back with the age old instrument debate- Student vs Professional model saxophones. This time I'm featuring one brand - YAMAHA! I compare the YTS-23 with the YTS-62. Have a listen and see if you can tell which is which, and let me know which sound you prefer. Hope you enjoy!

 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
4,160 Posts
glad you are doing these. Jay Metcalf has done a few as well with the cheap chinese horns and it continues to echo the things we've been saying for as long as I've been on here. Mouth, mouthpiece, and reeds matter 95%. Horn is 5% provided it's in good regulation and is a quality horn to begin with.
Oh and for the students out there. Stepup horns are stupid, don't buy them, ever. Go from a Yamaha 23 if you can as a first horn, then if at some point you really want to invest in, then go straight to a used pro horn and take it to a legit tech to get it set up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
434 Posts
Same opinion as chknbon. Thought that #2 (YTS-23) definitely had a more interesting sound than #1. Not sure I would call it fuller, it was just more interesting, possibly more complex or ‘brighter’....everyone uses different words as descriptors.

The difference was more obvious at the beginning of the video, and less obvious towards the end........

Dave, your technique is great...........would love to hear you on a Selmer, Martin, or Conn instead.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2013
Joined
·
7,356 Posts
I think the 62 is a poor one to do a comparison with. I never liked the tone of the 62's purple logo through to the newest one.

Just kind of bland.

There would be no comparison with a 61 or even any of the custom horns, 875 82Z etc.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
3,641 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I think the 62 is a poor one to do a comparison with. I never liked the tone of the 62's purple logo through to the newest one.

Just kind of bland.

There would be no comparison with a 61 or even any of the custom horns, 875 82Z etc.
Send me one and I’ll make another video!
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
3,641 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Same opinion as chknbon. Thought that #2 (YTS-23) definitely had a more interesting sound than #1. Not sure I would call it fuller, it was just more interesting, possibly more complex or ‘brighter’....everyone uses different words as descriptors.

The difference was more obvious at the beginning of the video, and less obvious towards the end........

Dave, your technique is great...........would love to hear you on a Selmer, Martin, or Conn instead.
Check my other videos, I’m on a Conn 10M!
 

·
TOTM administrator
Tenor: Eastman 52nd St, Alto: P. Mauriat 67RDK, Soprano: Eastern Music Curvy
Joined
·
6,402 Posts
Same opinion as chknbon. Thought that #2 (YTS-23) definitely had a more interesting sound than #1. Not sure I would call it fuller, it was just more interesting, possibly more complex or ‘brighter’....everyone uses different words as descriptors.
You are definitely right. I think my favorite I saw the other day was someone describing the sound of a horn as "introverted." I dunno where people come up with this stuff lol. I also liked the 23 more.

My favorite video would be a video test comparing MkVI, SBA, 10m, etc to a Bundy, Yts-23, and Shooting star! :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
101 Posts
In terms of sound, I agree that the difference between Yamaha student and pro is not much, assuming each instrument is in perfect playing condition.

But sound is not the only consideration. Build quality, which effects reliability and playability may also be important to some people. Yamaha student models are some of the best student models ever built but they are not built to the same standards as their pro models.

I currently own both a YAS 61 and a YAS 21. Until recently, the 21 didn’t respond as well as the 61 because of a slightly loose neck joint. The joint was loose because the receiver was stretched. The receiver on the 21 is much thinner brass than the one on the 61 and it is easy to see how it would be more prone to leak over time. Even though the key work is very similar between these two models, it is put together better on the 61 and feels less bendy on the 61. The neck octave key on the 21 is a bit wobbly because the screw rod is loose in the thin U channel pillars, which could probably wear more easily than the proper pillars on the 61. I also own a YAS 23. Although, I think there are some design improvements in the 23 compared to the 21, my 23 seems more cheaply built than my 21, with more wobble in the rod keys and less level tone holes. I also don’t like the glued bow to body joint compared to the clamp on the 21 but that is just my impression. My 23 also has a great sound, but feels more fragile.

Now whether the better build quality of the pro version is worth the extra cost compared to the student model is another question.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
Dave, one thing I did not get from your test was how each instrument felt from your side of the fence. Was there any difference/preference?

I have a YAS-23 and have only tried one other Yamaha, a Custom EX. There was a difference from the player side in the sound that was heard and felt, the Custom EX had a smoother/rounder tone (this is where words struggle to convey things for me), my YAS-23 was good but seemed just ask tad "brassy"?

I preferred #1, less "brassy"/bright in some passages, but it was hard for me to pick much difference, if I am honest.

Thanks for the video, looks like you had fun making it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,073 Posts
This would be a hard test because Yamaha makes great student model horns and not really so great Yamaha 62. (Entry level pro) Like somebody mentioned, the custom series would have been a better comparison. Particularly the 82Z since you did jazz demo mostly.
I got the horns right, but I am around Yamaha 26 and Yamaha 62 horns all day and know what to listen for.
You sounded great on both, but most students could not do that. And of course I should note that students who get those pro horns sooner tend to get better faster. Anyway, nice video!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
692 Posts
I liked the Star Wars shirt you're wearing- kinda sets the stage for a sax shootout, Jedi-vs-Jedi!

I really couldn't pick out the student horn definitively, had a slight preference for Horn #2 and it turned out to be the YTS-23. In the hands of a professional player, they were so close. Concur with some other comments here that the pro Yamaha had a little more complexity in the lower end that held up in the higher end. You maintained your strong, singing tone on both of them.

Agree with you 110% on where to put budgeted music funds for the advancing player. My oldest plays alto and his YAS-26 is great, I can't tell much difference between him on that horn versus my YAS-82Z (I offered the 82Z to him if he would pursue music....he's got the talent....but he chose basketball instead.) IMHO, Yamaha makes one of the best (if not THE best) student horn out there. Growing up in the late 70's, my student horn was a Bundy with no resonators, incredibly stuffy....a dog. My folks couldn't afford lessons but through sheer will and determination, I was able to play that thing in the top chairs of concert and jazz band at school, since music was my "thing". But that Bundy was a far cry from the Yamaha my son has. Some have nostalgia about their first horn, mine is more along the lines of loathing. It was AMAZING how my first pro horn just blew that old Bundy away. But the YAS-26 is a completely different animal than the Bundy.

BTW, saxophones are inexpensive compared to cellos....my youngest is really talented on cello. I'm happy that he does well at county and state levels but we just upgraded him to next level cello- I coulda bought a nice used Mark VI for what we paid!

Great post Dave, your student's parents should view it before purchasing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
946 Posts
I have nothing but less expensive instruments, 'pro' level but lower end brands.
I am not a professional musician, I do this recreationally, so my opinion comes from that lens.

I decided to focus on putting $ into mouthpieces and lessons before spending loads on a high end saxes.
The horn journey for me will begin next year, to see if once I am happy with my sound and have the cash, I am going to see if any high end horn excites me for the money.

I think if a horn excites you and makes you want to play more, and hones in your sound or frees your technique because it is easier to play for you, and you have the money, then buy it.
If it does none of the above then why waste the money?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,741 Posts
There are enough factors, that horn contribution remains a mystery. IMO, the two factors that seem to dominate, and [falsely] associate performance with the horn, is condition, and key height. Open keys are louder to me the player. Open vs close keys may sound the same out front however. I'm comparing a fresh 50's Cleveland and a fresh YAS-23 right now at home, and the Cleveland seems throatier, and a bit louder. I'm waiting to compare at gigs before drawing additional conclusions.

PS - condition includes pads, regulation, leaks, key slop, tenon leaks, mouthpiece cork leaks, clogged pips, etc. Lots and lots of sneaky things are lumped into condition. My favorite example was my tiny tunneled neck cork leak, that was *not* between the mp and the cork, but was *between* the cork and the neck. Took a year to figure that one out.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
18,961 Posts
glad you are doing these. Jay Metcalf has done a few as well with the cheap chinese horns and it continues to echo the things we've been saying for as long as I've been on here. Mouth, mouthpiece, and reeds matter 95%. Horn is 5% provided it's in good regulation and is a quality horn to begin with.
Absolutely NOT, and everytime someone posts such an absurd comment I have to chime in with my boilerplate reply. This is the perfect example of a fallacy which somehow gains internet credibility simply by being picked up and repeated, and it an absurd one.

Saxophones are built from specifications. Body tube, bow, bellpiece, neck tube, tonehole specifications vary from horn to horn (more so in the past than today, but still today, yes).

It is these specifications which give a saxophone it's sonic attributes. They are inherent to the instrument's design.

These specifications do far more than effect "5%" of the sonic signature of the instrument.

Indeed, one can massage a horn one way or the other by their mouthpiece and reed setup...but the intrinsic tonality of the instrument itself is still locked into a particular range by the specifications of the body and neck.

Period.

Period.

If this were NOT the case, then why over the past 100+ years of sax manufacture would multitudes of company's have spent so much time producing horns of various body/neck specifications ? I recently had 3 Kings here...an old splitbell, an early Zeph, and an S20. With all keys off, taking a caliper to all of 'em, one can clearly see the 'evolution' of the changes made to the specs of the body and neck.

Guess what ? There are certain specs from the 20's splitbell which were still maintained in the S20. Also a number which were changed. Playing all 3 assembled (me, same player, same setup, same room) their sonic character is noticeably different (although I will add there are aspects, tonally and responsively, of all three which are similar as well).
Clear example of how changing specs significantly effects the resulting tonality.

Also, if this were true, then why doesn't everyone simply pick up a used 23 for $600 and then just spend their leftover thousands on mouthpieces and lessons ?

Because ....different horns possess different specs which result in different sonic performance. Any sax player with a half-decent ear who goes into a shop and tests a few horns side by side with their same mouthpiece, same room, same player...will notice this instantly, really.

Regarding the OP's vid...good vid, nice playing Dave.

Do people here really think there's only a "5%" sonic difference (which would of course be completely audibly negligible to 99.7% of humans) between the horns ? Because I would guess most listeners can hear something audibly significant in the differences.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,616 Posts
I listened to the sound without seeing the video, and it sounds like one person playing one instrument, not like one person playing two instruments.

Now I suspect the basic specifications of a Yamaha 62 and 23 are very similar (bore dimensions, tone hole sizes and locations). So my conclusion, not surprisingly, would be that "pro" status vs. "student" status on instruments of the same basic acoustical design won't really matter. Where the differences are going to be found, is in the quality of execution and the refinement of the mechanism. You can see this even between a 1930s Buescher Aristocrat and a Bundy that have essentially the same acoustic design, but the Buescher plays with the feel of a professional instrument and the Bundy, suffering from years of cost cutting, plays with a heavy clunky imprecise action.

Same thing with my 10M Conn tenor and my Mexi-conn tenor. To me the sound and acoustical playing characteristics are pretty much the same; it's the action that is slick and refined on one, clunky and stiff on the other.

There are also little decorative touches, like a dark gold lacquer vs. the bright clear epoxy, or the way the posts and braces and so one are neatly machined with nice shapes on one and just plain chunks of metal on the other; or extensive hand engraving vs. a simple laser etched or silkscreened logo. No effect on anything other than a sense of "this is a really nice instrument". Those things won't affect the sound coming out, but they shouldn't be totally disregarded either. I mean, Steinway could just paint the pianos flat black and fit them with legs that are just pieces of steel tubing, and make the music desk just a plain flat rectangle of plywood or molded plastic, and the lid just a plain flat piece of MDF, and the pianos would sound and play exactly the same.
 
1 - 20 of 44 Posts
Top