I'll begin by saying that they are both among the very best altos I've ever had in my hands (and I've played a lot of horns). With that said, I give a slight edge to the SBA. It seems to have a richer distribution of harmonics. Some players refer to this as more "spread" whereas the Borgani seems a little more "focused". The difference is small, but apparent. It depends on what you want, I guess.
Both have great intonation and comfortable keywork. Both are set up nicely and blow pretty effortlessly. I feel like the SBA allows a little more by way of expression of tone. The big caveat there is that I've played this particular SBA for the last 20 yrs or so. I got the Borgani yesterday. Even so, I think I'll stay with the SBA. I've got to have a horn really knock my socks off at first blow in order to consider a change.
In a recent post Stephen Howard said "My 'test' for whether or not a horn is worth buying is if it slaps you in the face the moment you blow it. If you don't get that "Oh wow man" feeling, then it's just different - not better." I guess my criterion is similar.
Interestingly, this is exactly how I wound up with a Borgani Jubilee tenor. I played a 64,xxx Mark VI for a long time until I came across a 1934 Conn Tranny and went "WOW" when I first tried it. Then, I recently came into a Borgani Jubilee gold plate tenor and went "Wow WOW!". The VI is gone. I'm keeping the tranny, but the Borg is my everyday tenor now. I even put it up against an SBA tenor I had for a while. It was no contest. The Borgani was hands down better. I thought the same might be true in the alto realm. It's very close, but for me the SBA wins. It's reassuring to see that at least a couple of others agree.
Given how some of us go on the mouthpiece quest to find the perfect match to a horn, I have to wonder whether your mouthpiece (and you) have gone to favor the SBA out of familiarity. I posit that your current SBA setup is not as well matched to the Jubilee.
What would happen were you to invest the time and energy to dial in the setup on that Borg'?
Yes, it think it's a distinct possibility that the Durga just clicks with the SBA a little better. Although its a possibility I am not currently really willing to explore. At my current level of playing, I have finally convinced myself that I have much more to gain by sticking with one horn and one setup and putting in the time and effort to sound better (brilliant discovery, I know). I really like the Durga. I really like the SBA. No matter what your preferred setup is, Its hard to argue that these are not at least among the best pieces of equipment available. Right now my equipment outclasses me by orders of magnitude. My plan is to get off the mouthpiece (and horn) merry go round and work on developing the player. It's difficult because I buy and sell horns and am ever tempted by the next thing the UPS guy drops on my front porch. But I thinking the long run, it's probably a good plan.
Interesting, as are all youtube horn comparisons. I came away thinking they both sounded like altos, alright. I thought the mouthpiece/reed set-up was a bit too airy although maybe the mic placement could be the culprit there. Let me take an opposite position on the video - I liked the Borgani but they were both very close and I'd be hard-pressed to choose one over the other. That's where the player comes in - you can feel things that don't come through to the audience. DAVE
I am just getting in to my tenor borg now,had it a couple of months now and i can feel and hear i am getting in to its vibe,zone what ever you call it more and more.The last week i done some heavy woodshedding and the horn justs sits,sounds and feels great.The borg alto sings more from my ears,more sparkle.The SBA sounds great also as it would but theres no bite.
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