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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Thought this may be interesting as these later S1 sops are hard to find in the USA and the UK (more common in Continental Europe).

I had a Dynaction-style early S1 previously (just sold), which was well made and nice, but I didn’t get what the fuss was all about. Dark tone, inconsistent keywork.

Then I spotted a série II overseas with everything bar the extra alt G key and thought I’d give it a go since the price was good enough that I'd have been certain to sell without loss i f it hadn't worked out.

Set up on these horns is crucial. Saxes that came out of the Paris factory had heavy springing, which slowed down the S1 action. I’ve seen it in S1 saxes from tenor thru sops. This sop was no different. A very heavy lower stack upon arrival. Stripped down, adjusted throughout, and it feels very comfy. Not quite the extraordinarily ergos of a brand new Yani but honestly not far off. The right hand pinky table is wonderful with plenty of swivel and tilt to customise for any hands.

The action comprehensively dumps the old school Dynaction set up and is a massive improvement.

But the even bigger difference I have found (which I suppose could be down to individual example comparison) is that the sound of the série II is incomparable to the série I. Yes it has the same rich core, but whereas the série I was warm and pretty, this one is alive, with a bucket load of sizzle on top. Is there a better sop sound than this? I don’t think so. It takes the breadth of a 20s USA soprano and adds crackle and punch...and impeccable intonation.

Tuning is nothing short of exceptional, more locked in vs my série I (again could be down to individual example variation), though the short cone length compared to other sops means that it’s best with medium chambers, and very large chambers such as Gaia are best avoided.

A few pics for ya’ll:








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I have an S1 which is probably a transitional model with basic keywork and range to F. I can't agree with your comments about the action. Certainly not about the lower stack. But one never knows with older horns. The action may have been adjusts before I got it. I have a SDA tenor and found the gold plated springs very easy to work with.

It would be interesting to make real comparisons between the various sopranos bearing the S1 logo. My guess is that the body and tone hole placement is the same with different keywork.
 

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My Buffet S-1 soprano is an Anniversary model from 1977, serial number 27,xxx A (presumably for the American market and tuned to 440Hz). It has the old style LH and RH pinky keys, no strap ring but it does have the tilting RH thumb hook.

I imagine that Buffet gradually changed the features through the run of the S-1 soprano. Is the designation of "Series II" your own nomenclature or does it come from the elsewhere ?

It would be interesting to compare the action of my soprano with yours and also the features and sound.

Rhys
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The série II moniker comes from listings I’ve seen in France, and kind of makes sense to apply since the mechanisms (at least) of the 2 versions are distinct enough to warrant differentiation.

You’re welcome to come visit, Rhys - London NW2 - if you are round my way. I recall you’re not that local though (sold you a buffet tenor piece refaced by Morgan Fry some years ago!).

Would be interesting to compare *good* examples from each version since I should emphasise (as I did in my original post) that my earlier version S1 might simply not have been such a good example....it happens! We can only go on our own experiences.


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I have a good example - original pads and set up other than a few new corks. While I enjoy the classic simplicity, I've always wanted to try the updated action. Long trip from Fla to UK but if you need a Florida vacation, I'm north of Palm Beach.

Quinn just sold a beautie similar to mine but with a high F#. You can probably still find the ad on eBay.

https://www.facebook.com/pg/StuartSaxophone/photos/?tab=album&album_id=668183296612437
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I have a good example - original pads and set up other than a few new corks. While I enjoy the classic simplicity, I've always wanted to try the updated action. Long trip from Fla to UK but if you need a Florida vacation, I'm north of Palm Beach.

Quinn just sold a beautie similar to mine but with a high F#. You can probably still find the ad on eBay.

https://www.facebook.com/pg/StuartSaxophone/photos/?tab=album&album_id=668183296612437
Well you never know - my company creates inventorying and warehouse management software for wine storage businesses and stores and have a few prospects in the SE USA. Will let you know if I get to Palm Beach!!


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Discussion Starter #8
My guess is that the body and tone hole placement is the same with different keywork.
You're probably right, with differences in tonal character (sizzle v no sizzle. focus v spread etc) perhaps being down to variation between individual examples ex factory. I think I read somewhere (@postma?) that the S1 soprano was not a true cone, whether a parabole or otherwise I can't recall, but since Buffet are the guys that transformed and dominated the clarinet market with a ground-breaking polycylindrical design (R13) more or less at the same time that the first MKVIs appeared, would it be a huge surprise that they would try to correct inherent tuning issues with cones in a similar way?
 

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Enjoy your rare Buffet soprano S1. Looks great. I'm really wanting a S1 Alto or S2 Alto, reallyyyy love my Selmer Mk7 alto but need a S1 S2 Alto. Buffet the last few years have really won my heart.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Quick update as I get to know this little horn better regarding mouthpiece selection - which really surprised me - it takes every mouthpiece I throw at it (apart from a Lawton metal which has a shank too long to tune and I didn't fancy cutting it).

Aizen SO (Soloist), Buffet original from the same era opened up to .70, 2 Riffault based pieces (Ralph Morgan, John Thomas), Selmer S80 G, Navarro Maestra - so covering the full gamut of (in order) small to large throats and chambers - intonation is great with them all. This is a real bonus since the different character of these varied pieces allow for a wide rang of tone choice.
 

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Do you know in which factory this horn was built and what year?

I have a mid-80s Paris alto that is as mouthpiece neutral as your S1 sounds. It may have been a goal of the times and neighborhood.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
These were built in the Buffet Paris factory, and predate the Expression which was made in Germany by Keilwerth. The S series was made up to 1985 in modest numbers.

My soprano was made 1981/1982. Here is a serial # chart. I think this is around the time that the 2 main S1 features from altos and tenors were finally applied to the soprano (split tilting table, adjustable right hand Eb/C). There were some changes such as the beefier S1 thumb rest that I've seen in earlier examples dating to 1979/ 80. I wonder did the front F key also become standard from 1981/82 onwards?

They have a neutral-to-bright nature with a strong core, although with the original mouthpiece supplied with the S1 soprano (peashooter BUT combined with a large chamber) the sound is a lot huskier and a bit more spread. It's an older design that may date back to Dynaction times.

An alto I've tried from early '80s had an 'open window' neutrality and that gave me the impression of a slender, pure tone. I think the sopranos are similar but they are more powerful than either the alto or tenor. Their tendency is to offer more cut and to be less polite.
 

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These were built in the Buffet Paris factory, and predate the Expression which was made in Germany by Keilwerth. The S series was made up to 1985 in modest numbers.

My soprano was made 1981/1982. Here is a serial # chart. I think this is around the time that the 2 main S1 features from altos and tenors were finally applied to the soprano (split tilting table, adjustable right hand Eb/C). There were some changes such as the beefier S1 thumb rest that I've seen in earlier examples dating to 1979/ 80. I wonder did the front F key also become standard from 1981/82 onwards?
The alto in my signature was built literally a block away. It is very neutral and mouthpiece/reed sensitive. My tone tends to be pure, but I’ve been able make its sound quite dirty, at least for me.

Design and manufacturing, and competitive and marketing strategies go through trends. I wondered if there were some ideas held in common at this time and location about what a great sax was. Perhaps this is part of the so-called French or Parisian sound. And, of course, at this time, Selmer was at the top of their game.

My soprano, also built around this time, but in Germany, is a great design, but it's a totally different concept that adds a lot timbre to the sound. People love the sound, but I would not call it neutral nor mouthpiece sensitive. I can coax it to do what I want, but I have to work with it.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
I’d say every mouthpiece and every reed will sound a bit different on the S1 soprano. It can sound husky, raw, gritty, velvety, rich, dark, bright.

It’s nature is as described above but it’s highly influenced by set up. Maybe that’s the definition of neutrality?

Been comparing it to a Yanagisawa SW010 that I had an expectation of becoming #1 soprano. I thought it might be a bit richer than the S1. In the end it’s turned out a bit more spread as expected, smooth rich tone as expected, but considerably brighter and a bit less complex or interesting (to my subjective ears).

So the S1 is unquestionably warmer toned than a SW010 which I guess people will see as a reference point, and from my perspective a bit more interesting. Intonation is very close though SW010 is better above Top F.

Compared to a Conn New Wonder II the S1 is more contemporary sounding, more bite, grit, less velvety, different tone; chalk and cheese. Both deeply satisfying in very different ways.

Hope that helps context it.

What are you playing Twocircles? Keilwerth?


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