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CX90 Alto: Has Anybody Played One?

5098 Views 17 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  J.Max
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I have. I once compared my Selmer SuperAction 80 II to a Yanagisawa A-992 and a Keilwerth CX-90. The CX-90 was the most peculiar in all respects. I think I reported about this somewhere here on the forum in some detail, but I'm not entirely sure... Anyway, here goes my impression of the CX-90.

Built and layout: Build quality was okay, though not as slick and spotless as the Yani and not as solid as the Selmer. I'd say that that for the price you quote, the horn's at least a decent buy. It looks nice, the body is certainly something special. The keywork feels different under the fingers than that of the Selmer I was used to (and the Yani felt even more agile than the newly overhauled Selmer - though it could have profited from a better basic setup). There wasn't anything that couldn''t be adjusted to work suffciently well, though. And there's nothing in the layout of the keywork that's too much of a hassle to get used to. But among the three saxes, I liked the CX-90 the least when it came to pure handling. Given that you play a 901 alto, I'd say that there's a certain risk that you'll be underwhelmed.

When it comes to tone, this sax is something special: very warm, round and exceptionally mild. No unnecessary edge whatsoever, but also a certain lack of bite and power. It's a pleasant blow, though, and quite effortless if you don't try to go for a blast. The Selmer's a boomer with a huge low end, but a certain nasal quality to its middle and upper register (that was actually the reason for me to test other altos!), the Yani has an elegantly full bodied and also round and warm sound - but also a bit subdued. The CX-90 surpasses them both when it comes to producing a smooth, relaxed sound. I'd say it's very well suited for orchestral and classic music, maybe smooth jazz. But this is no sax for blues or rock, not even pop - and you'll need quite a bright mouthpiece for jazz if I'm any judge.

Depending on what you want (and especially if you want to replace the A-901, which is quite a giant killer in its own right), I'm not sure you'll be satisfied. If, however, you're looking for a very smooth and nice sound, the CX-90 may be for you.

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