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I've been playing a Barone bari for 3 years now in gigs and practice. No issues with intonation, mechanics, or tone. IMO it's a fine horn, capable of a great jazz or classical sound. As always, reed/mp combination is a determining factor.
 

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I've owned mine for several years and been very happy with it, absolutely no problems. Its fun to play and has a great tone and feel.
 

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If you listen to the clips in the bari shootout thread in the bari section you'll realize that the setup and player have a lot more to do with the way the horn sounds than the maker. With a bari the bigger issue is typically the construction and bracing which will keep you from being frustrated by trying to play a horn that is mechanically deficient or often out of adjustment. So far Phil's horns seem to be holding up pretty well with the baris rarely coming up for sale used.
 

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I purchased my Barone bari in early 2008. After initial setup, I have only had 1 adjustment, reseating the low B pad. Mine gets played several hours a week, used in theater pits, orchestras, big bands, and horn sections, and handles all very well. The gold plate is wearing down to the silver on the side body, some of the rods, and key touches, but otherwise holding up very well. It still looks new from a few feet away.
 

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If you listen to the clips in the bari shootout thread in the bari section you'll realize that the setup and player have a lot more to do with the way the horn sounds than the maker. With a bari the bigger issue is typically the construction and bracing which will keep you from being frustrated by trying to play a horn that is mechanically deficient or often out of adjustment. So far Phil's horns seem to be holding up pretty well with the baris rarely coming up for sale used.
Agreed. My tech is happy with the build quality of my Baronitone. Phil had it shipped to me directly from Taiwan, and it played nicely right out of the box. After a few weeks I took it to my tech for a new horn set up. He is incredibly thorough, but I was still out of there in an hour, and he likes to chat...A LOT! There were a couple of minor leaks, and a little adjustment to the low C# mechanism. He is a bari player primarily, and he really enjoyed play testing it. It plays great, and is very easy to play at all volumes anywhere on the horn.
 

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Do the baris really feature fully ribbed construction as indicated on Phil's website? If so, that's a great feature on a low A bari at that price-point, and not totally typical as compared to other Taiwanese horns I've looked at. It's hard to see on the photos, which is why I ask.
 

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I just happened to look at the prices of Barone's again. Rather amazing when you think you could get SATB for $8,148. Less than some Tenor's...

You'd think some school professors would take their budget there and get things taken care of.

-Bubba-
 

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I love my Barone baritone. I ordered the vintage bare brass finish last December. Phil was very easy to deal with. He initially told me two months but it ended up taking three to arrive, however, Phil kept me up to date on the progress and I understand that the horns are made to order and he does not have much control over small delays. I am primarily a tenor player and I wanted a baritone for fun that would not break the bank.

The horn shipped directly from Taiwan. Phil warned me that baritones by virtue of their size may need a lot of adjustment because of movement during shipping. However, the horn played great out of the box. I took it to my tech and he only found two minor leaks. The tone is big and rich. And when I say big I mean big. This horn can get huge if you push it. I have an SR Tech pro mouthpiece and with a plasticover reed I can get a great raw sound for rock and with a Rico Jazz Select reed I can get a Pepper Adams vibe for jazz.

I had a local pro try it out and he was impressed. I tried it against a Cannonball and found them both to be great horns but Phil's horn is lighter, most likely because it does not have the double arms for the low notes. Baritones are heavy enough as is so I like that it is lighter. The only advantage I could find in the Cannonball over the Barone was that the Cannonball came in a fancier case but it was over $1000 more so if you do not like the case the Barone comes in you can upgrade and still come out ahead. The Barone case is not fancy, but it has wheels and seems to have the padding to protect the horn well.

I cannot comment on long term quality because the horn is still new, but after three months the only other adjustment it has needed is because I bumped one of the key cups and it needed to be reset. I own a Mauriat tenor that has been great for years so the quality of Taiwanese horns for me was not a concern, I already know they can be fantastic. Regardless of price, the Barone baritone is a great horn. Factoring in price, it is unbelievable.
 

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I love my Barone baritone. I ordered the vintage bare brass finish last December. Phil was very easy to deal with. He initially told me two months but it ended up taking three to arrive, however, Phil kept me up to date on the progress and I understand that the horns are made to order and he does not have much control over small delays. I am primarily a tenor player and I wanted a baritone for fun that would not break the bank.

The horn shipped directly from Taiwan. Phil warned me that baritones by virtue of their size may need a lot of adjustment because of movement during shipping. However, the horn played great out of the box. I took it to my tech and he only found two minor leaks. The tone is big and rich. And when I say big I mean big. This horn can get huge if you push it. I have an SR Tech pro mouthpiece and with a plasticover reed I can get a great raw sound for rock and with a Rico Jazz Select reed I can get a Pepper Adams vibe for jazz.

I had a local pro try it out and he was impressed. I tried it against a Cannonball and found them both to be great horns but Phil's horn is lighter, most likely because it does not have the double arms for the low notes. Baritones are heavy enough as is so I like that it is lighter. The only advantage I could find in the Cannonball over the Barone was that the Cannonball came in a fancier case but it was over $1000 more so if you do not like the case the Barone comes in you can upgrade and still come out ahead. The Barone case is not fancy, but it has wheels and seems to have the padding to protect the horn well.

I cannot comment on long term quality because the horn is still new, but after three months the only other adjustment it has needed is because I bumped one of the key cups and it needed to be reset. I own a Mauriat tenor that has been great for years so the quality of Taiwanese horns for me was not a concern, I already know they can be fantastic. Regardless of price, the Barone baritone is a great horn. Factoring in price, it is unbelievable.
I'm glad you like it! I'd love to get together to give it a try sometime soon!
 

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I got a silver-plated baritone earlier this year. Phil was good to deal with - did what he said he'd do on all counts. I'm really happy with my horn, too. Had a minor, self-inflicted mishap with it about a week after I got it. Knocked a key shield loose on the low D#/Eb because I wasn't used to the extra horn sticking out. The sax tech that repaired it is a bari player and thought it was a well-built horn that played well. He said it was heavier than a lot of baris he'd dealt with. I don't have a wealth of experience to compare that.

As far as sound goes, a LOT depends on you, the mouthpiece and the reed. I've been looking for a punchier, louder mouthpiece and have tried a bunch of lower-cost options so far - Graftonites, Metalites, etc. - and some various reed types and reed strengths. The thing can honk and scream with a Metalite. I'm currently mostly using a Yamaha 5C with a Rico Royal 3 reed. It's not particularly loud, but I really like the tone I get with that (and so does my wife). But I played it against some electric guitars for the first time last night and really couldn't compete. These are the same guys I can compete with on my tenor, so I'm going to keep looking for something louder for that venue. Tone doesn't matter so much there, though :)
 

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I got a silver-plated baritone earlier this year. Phil was good to deal with - did what he said he'd do on all counts. I'm really happy with my horn, too. Had a minor, self-inflicted mishap with it about a week after I got it. Knocked a key shield loose on the low D#/Eb because I wasn't used to the extra horn sticking out. The sax tech that repaired it is a bari player and thought it was a well-built horn that played well. He said it was heavier than a lot of baris he'd dealt with. I don't have a wealth of experience to compare that.

As far as sound goes, a LOT depends on you, the mouthpiece and the reed. I've been looking for a punchier, louder mouthpiece and have tried a bunch of lower-cost options so far - Graftonites, Metalites, etc. - and some various reed types and reed strengths. The thing can honk and scream with a Metalite. I'm currently mostly using a Yamaha 5C with a Rico Royal 3 reed. It's not particularly loud, but I really like the tone I get with that (and so does my wife). But I played it against some electric guitars for the first time last night and really couldn't compete. These are the same guys I can compete with on my tenor, so I'm going to keep looking for something louder for that venue. Tone doesn't matter so much there, though :)
A very under rated bari mouthpiece is the Yanigasawa's either the metal or rubber. Get rid of the Yamaha, you'll never get any power from them. Thank you for your comment; I need all the help I can get. Phil
 

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I recently tried a Metalite on my Barone baritone. With this piece I could compete with the amplified musicians in the rock band I am in. If you already have a Metalite, try it against the electric guitars, I think you will find that you will be heard.
 

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I have a couple of different Metalite mouthpieces. They are loud. But I can't find a setup that I can play reliably without squealing horribly at either the upper end of the horn, or as I'm reaching the end of a phrase and getting low on air support. They have much bigger tip openings than I'm used to. I've gotten a variety of different reeds in different strengths, but haven't found something that's consistent. Since the common point of failure is me, I suspect that my embouchure needs a bunch of rework to play confidently on the bigger opening mouthpiece. My Yamaha 5C with a Rico Royal 3 reeds actually works well and sounds good. Just not loud. I play alto mostly, and a bit of tenor, but the mouthpieces I have for those are fairly narrow tip openings, too. Like I say, I think I need some serious time on long tones with a tuner, and some patience that I'm sadly in short supply of. I want to go out and blast this thing, but can't get there just yet. Work in progress...
 

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I'd suspect it isn't the tip opening that causes all the trouble it's more likely the fairly high baffle that extends back much further from the tip than your 5C. Your 5C has almost no baffle at all. Many folks report issues with squeaks and chirps when they first try playing high baffle mouthpieces.
 

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I have a couple of different Metalite mouthpieces. They are loud. But I can't find a setup that I can play reliably without squealing horribly at either the upper end of the horn, or as I'm reaching the end of a phrase and getting low on air support. They have much bigger tip openings than I'm used to. I've gotten a variety of different reeds in different strengths, but haven't found something that's consistent. Since the common point of failure is me, I suspect that my embouchure needs a bunch of rework to play confidently on the bigger opening mouthpiece. My Yamaha 5C with a Rico Royal 3 reeds actually works well and sounds good. Just not loud. I play alto mostly, and a bit of tenor, but the mouthpieces I have for those are fairly narrow tip openings, too. Like I say, I think I need some serious time on long tones with a tuner, and some patience that I'm sadly in short supply of. I want to go out and blast this thing, but can't get there just yet. Work in progress...
Well, to be perfectly honest, Rico mouthpieces are s**t. Is that too candid? If it is than I apologize but most mouthpieces are that, what I said, the word starting with s, but Rico mouthpieces are big s**t. And baritone mouthpieces on the market, well, don’t get me started. You need a BIG pooper scooper before going into a music store. However, if you feel that you really have to play that because there's nothing else in your price range then put more of it in your mouth and that may solve your problems. Most players that I come into contact with, in fact probably 90% of them don't put enough of the mouthpiece in their mouth. If you don't you close the tip opening off and that causes squeaking and a lot of other problems not only in the upper register but in the lower register too and intonation problems. Also, you’ll get much, MUCH more sound and volume because since you’ll no longer be closing the reed off the reed will now be vibrating the full width of the tip and this is good. On tenor facings are about an inch long so take a little more so your teeth go in past the break of the facing. On baritone it’s a little more but just a little. I posted once that you can’t take too much in but that wasn’t accurate, you certainly can take too much if you choke but if you take an inch on all of them than you’ll be okay. If anyone is questioning this than look at pictures of Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Mike Brecker and the guys with HUGE sounds because these guys all take a ton of mouthpiece in their mouth. I do all the wok on Ernie Watts mouthpieces and he's up past the bite plate on his mouthpieces, all of them. I also make Sonny's bite plates and he's very close to the metal and it looks like he's partially on the metal. When I used to work for Mike Brecker we talked about all of this stuff and we both agreed that you have more control when you cover the length of the facing so don't debate it, just try it for a month and do the exercises but try not to go back to your old way of playing or you'll ruin any work you've done. You don't want to go backwards.

Now, the thing is that you’ll sound pretty bad at first because you don’t know how to control your new embouchure yet but this goes away in a very short time. I think it took me all of a half an hour before I got it dialed in and you won’t really have to do anything, just pay attention to the sound and do exercise one. Your ear will take over and in no time, provided you do everything else correctly you’ll sound amazing. Speaking of amazing, I’m amazed by how many how many folks on here are looking for some magic mouthpiece. I’ve made many a mouthpiece in ten or so materials and it doesn’t exist but the closest you’ll get to magic is these exercises that I’m about to give you. I studied with a man who’s now deceased by the name of Joe Allard. Joe Also taught Mike Brecker, Dave Tofani who was the first call tenor man in NYC, Lawrence Feldman (another NYC studio player), Dave Liebman and many, many other amazing saxophone players. Joe also taught Victor Morosco who I later studied with when Joe couldn’t teach anymore and Joe played with Toscanini and the CBS Orchestra. Up until Joe the general thought was that the embouchure should be something strong, muscular and was a muscle that should be exercised and kept taught when being used and this is what I think Larry Teal taught. Joe changed that and as a mouthpiece maker I am in complete agreement with Joe. I’ll tell you why.

A reed is made and designed to vibrate on a mouthpiece. When you place a mouth on this setup just that act limits its ability to vibrate so metaphorically a mouthpiece and reed plays best with no mouth on it. So, ideally the best way to get that baby vibrating is to suspend yourself away from it as much as you can by being loose, relaxed and allowing it as much freedom to do its thing. The only time you want to dampen it is when the mouthpiece is too bright then it's time to get a different piece. The problem is that when we pick up the sax for the first time the teacher never tells us things like how much mouthpiece to put in our mouth or any of the stuff you’re about to learn in these exercises. When I did them after three weeks I honestly couldn't believe the difference they made and I had already been playing quite a while but I only started to sound good after I started doing these exercises. I also no longer needed a high baffle mouthpiece because I was able to sound as loud as I needed to with any mouthpiece so I got a high-quality sound that was also loud. So enjoy and let us know after a few weeks after doing #2 how you all sound and remember that #2 is a difficult thing to do, especially on bari but that it’s not in doing them that you get good but it’s in trying to do them and practicing them that you get the rewards. Phil Barone

This is part one of the tone production exercises:

Preamble-IMPORTANT

The whole point of these exercises is to learn to play by not using your embouchure and to be as loose as possible therefore allowing the reed to vibrate as much as possible. After I did these for several months I found that I no longer needed a high-baffle mouthpiece to get a funky sound or to sound really loud because my embouchure was no longer getting in the way of the reed. In fact, when I tried to use a high-baffle mouthpiece it was way too bright. Granted, I don’t sound quite as loud as I would with a high-baffle piece but darn close and I get a much higher quality sound.

You want your embouchure to remain stable and unmoving and you should put one inch (24 mm) or a little more of the mouthpiece in your mouth so that your bottom teeth are just past where the facing begins to curve on the side-rails of your mouthpiece. That means you want your bottom teeth to go in a little more than one inch; the facing on most tenor mouthpieces starts to break away (called the break) of the side rails at a little less than one inch. So by bringing the mouthpiece in an inch no matter how much you bite or how tight your facial muscles are you won’t close the tip opening off which allows for the reed to vibrate the full width of the tip opening. Any less and you’ll bend the reed which will cause the pitch to change and won’t give you the complete benefit of the tip openings size and the sound the mouthpiece is capable of producing.

For some people using high-baffle mouthpieces, they may unconsciously do this to adjust the sound down and if you play a high-baffle mouthpiece now you may find that after you’ve been doing these exercises a couple of weeks that you no longer need a high-baffle piece because you will get a much larger variety of tonal colors. You may also find that you no longer need harder reeds because you’re no longer closing off the tip-opening.

When you first start to do this you may find the sound obnoxious or unrefined but your ear will take over and this will go away in several days at the most and you will be left with much more volume and control with the exception of the altissimo notes which you will no longer play by manipulating or bending the reed. Henceforth, after you get good at doing exercise one you should be able to get altissimo notes out by making small adjustments in the muscles at the front of your throat. That’s how Lennie Pickette, Ernie Watts, Sonny Rollins does it and that’s how Mike Brecker did it so if they did it so can you.

Now, exercise one. First, read this through to where exercise two begins before starting exercises one.

Finger low F but sound middle F by slightly over-blowing and be sure to feel the muscles in your stomach when you blow. When you take a breath your stomach should come out instead of your shoulders going up. Using the muscles in the upper, front part of your throat, "slide" it down to low F. It’s a subtle movement so it takes some time to get in touch with these muscles because you may not have ever used them. Before you attempt it remember that the pressure on the reed should just be enough to FEEL the reed through your bottom lip with your teeth using the same muscles you’d use to chew your food, not your facial muscles. You should never use facial or lip muscles. This is crucial.

You will feel this subtle movement in the lower part of your throat if you’re doing it correctly when the octave drops to low F. There’s no rhythm so hold the note for as long as you have to until it sounds low F but do it with the air stream while opening your throat and supporting your diaphragm. Be patient with yourself because you’re doing something new and may take a little time. One way for you to understand how to make it happen and experience the feeling in your throat is to take a deep breath and when you run out of air the low F will sound naturally. Just keep blowing until you run out of air and the low F sounds but remember to be aware of the front part of your throat. Pay close attention to what’s happening and once you get it you’ll be able to do it on command.

Now, once you begin to get it, it will most likely be sloppy, you may hear squeaks and other sounds in between the first F and the low F so work on making it clean but don't use your embouchure to drop to the lower octave. If there's a gurgle or some distortion in between the middle F and low F that means you need to use more air or more consistent air but keep trying it until its CLEAN and PRECISE. Use your diaphragm, open your throat and relax more as you go to the low F keeping the diaphragm supported.

Do this exercise chromatically down to low Bb. It gets harder as you go down but the benefits will come by just practicing it, not by perfecting it. As you go further down on your instrument I suggest you return to the previous notes like F. If you’re working on B you may want to practice C for a little while because you may have to re-experience the sensation to make it happen on lower notes.

You should probably do it on F and E before you venture further down the register but trying to do it on D or Eb won't hurt because it's harder and may give you some insight on how to do it on D flat for example. If you're not successful then stop and take a break because you don't want to reinforce bad habits and the worst thing that can happen is if you start feeling tightness around your embouchure because that exactly what we’re trying to avoid. And remember, these exercises are just for warming up and cooling down and should not be done for too long.

This is part II of the tone production exercises I learned from Joe Allard and Victor Morosco with embellishments by myself but the credit really belongs to Joe and Victor who really revolutionized the way the saxophone and clarinet should be played with regard to the embouchure. From a mouthpiece makers perspective it’s completely and utterly ridiculous that anyone would play any other way such as with a tight embouchure while not taking less than an inch of mouthpiece in the player’s mouth. Evidence of this is apparent by looking at photos of John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Michael Brecker and virtually ALL of the greatest players of all time. While there may be exceptions. Ernie Watts is up past the biteplate on his mouthpiece and so is Sonny Rollins and Mike Brecker used to play way up there too and Mike and Ernie were both studio players and played every genre of music so don’t let anyone tell you that you can only play certain ways or a particular style using this method.

Another great exercise is to purchase a very large tip opening mouthpiece to warm up on and do these exercises and to teach you to use your diaphragm completely. However, you can do more harm than good if you use a hard reed on a very open mouthpiece and it may cause you to become tight. Just remember not to bite or use too much pressure on the mouthpiece, you must blow harder on a more open mouthpiece to set it the reed in motion.

Contrary to popular belief, the saxophone is best played with a very loose embouchure in order to let the reed “float”. I’ve studied the Larry Teal method which is very different and having made mouthpieces for so long I believe the Allard method is best. There will always be some tightness and jaw movement no matter what you do and there have been plenty of players that didn’t subscribe to this method that sounded great but there are many variables and nothing is unequivocal, especially in art where anything can go and who’s to say how these few may have sounded had they embraced the Allard method. Maybe a lot better.

I’ll add that it’s not necessary to get obsessed with these exercises but try to do them correctly and put in a few minutes to warm up and a few minutes to cool down each day.

Some Points to Remember

1. Remember that you can’t take too much mouthpiece in within reason. You shouldn’t choke but try to pass the point that the facing starts on the rails of the mouthpiece, an inch for tenor, and ¾ for alto. That’s the teeth should be past that, not the lips. At first, this will be uncomfortable and the sound may be crass and hard to control but be mindful and you will persevere. The crassness will go away in a few days or less.

2. The only pressure on the reed should be with the bottom teeth through the lip USING THE JAW MUSCLES, NOT THE MUSCLES IN YOUR FACE. It should just be enough to FEEL the reed through the lower lip. Any more than that and you begin to close the tip opening of the mouthpiece off.

3. If you’re playing loud or soft you should always be filling the same amount of air through the sax but when you’re playing loud you’re moving the air through the sax faster and when you’re playing softly you’re moving the air through slowly.

Whether this is true or not I honestly don’t know, it’s just a metaphor to enable you to be able to always fill the saxophone up with air all the time. Always imagine your horn being full of air whenever you’re playing and you’ll always have a fuller, bigger sound.

This is Exercise Two

Please print out the notated part of this exercise and if you feel so inclined, post it on the internet. The first part or section is all open C# until the end when you slur down to C natural. This is the whole exercise and you’ll just be continuing down chromatically. The syllable HUH is used with no tongue and the syllable TA is a fast hard staccato. You should be blowing hard using your diaphragm as you blow. Always use a metronome at a slow to medium speed.

OPEN C# FOR TWO EIGHTH NOTES FOLLOWED BY TWO STRONG STACCATO EIGHTHS FOLLOWED BY ONE STRONG STACCATO HALF NOTE etc.

Some stuff to remember

Remember, the term "loose" is used loosely. If you play too loosely then the horn would come out of your mouth. Here are a couple of tips for all the exercises. Take as much mouthpiece as reasonably possible. This will force you to loosen up and don't "try" to play the high notes. From now on you're going to use your throat so start getting in touch with your throat muscles. If you start using your throat instead of the muscles in your face you'll be able to get a series of different notes without changing your fingering.

Any pressure on the reed should just be enough to FEEL the reed through your bottom lip with your teeth, no more. You never use facial or lip muscles, use the same muscles you would use to chew your food.

Start experimenting with that and keep the airflow CONSTANT when playing both exercises especially the first one. Just do F first and keep the air flowing until it transcends to low F etc. and at first it make take a few seconds to drop down but notice the subtle changes in your throat. In no time once you feel what's happening in your throat you'll be able to do it at will. It's normal that the low notes are especially hard with both of these exercises but the benefit comes with TRYING to do them, not by necessarily actually doing them but the better they get is indicative of your progress. Lastly, start playing scales on just your mouthpiece when you're in your car and places like that where you can't have the horn. Good luck, Phil Barone

Length of tenor facing- 1 inch = 25.4 millimeters
Length of alto facing-.750 inches= 19.05 millimeters.
 

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Can anyone give me a description of the sound they get from a barone bari and compare it to other manufacturers? Thanks!
I see this sort of question a lot and with mouthpieces too and as far as modern horns are concerned I don't think they sound very different. I think the mouthpiece will distinguish the sound a lot more than the sax. I couldn't tell the difference between one of my horns and a new Selmer or Cannonball or any other new horn for that matter. That's the truth. Phil Barone
 

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A very under rated bari mouthpiece is the Yanigasawa's either the metal or rubber. Get rid of the Yamaha, you'll never get any power from them. Thank you for your comment; I need all the help I can get. Phil
My go-to bari piece is a Metal Yanigasawa #7. My old dealer friend pulled it out from under the counter one day and said "I've been keeping this for myself, but my health won't allow me to play baritone any more." He gave me the piece and I've enjoyed the way it sounds on various baris. I borrows a Yamaha 52 bari for use in a show last year, and they are great together. No discernable intonation differences between D1, D2 and D3. That's unusual for me.
 
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