I compared it to my own SA80II when I was looking for an alternative (I'm getting fed up with the Selmer sound from time to time) - the CX90's tone is charming, round and mellow, but using my usual setup (Brancher L23 ebony, Alexander New York 2.0 reeds), it also felt a bit powerless by comparison - the overall sound is pleasing, but the core isn't as fat and strong as the Selmer's, especially down low. The low end is nice and warm though (if a bit thin - again, I think this is only by comparison), and up high it plays sweetly and easily - but again, this is not a bright horn.
Intonation was decent over most of the range, better than the Selmer - which isn't difficult, really - but less reliable than the Yanagisawa A-991 I was testing during the same period. Response isn't better than the Selmer's (which I consider average - my Yamaha YAS-25 is a lot more responsive).
In the end, I kept my SA80II for its abundant power and full low end - had it been only for overall tone and response, I'd have chosen the A-991... but it wasn't enough of a step-up to exchange the SA80II for it (I couldn't afford to keep both of them at that point in time). The CX90 came in a not-too-distant third.
I think it'd work well for classical playing, but only if you don't have to stand out a lot - soloing may be difficult, especially using a Selmer S80 mouthpiece (even my Selmer Soloist did sound rather dull with the CX90 I tried - while it has a more open, but also quite nasal quality on the SA80II).
To sum it up, as much as I liked the looks and the basic sound concept of the horn, I think it's a bit too limited, even for the rather consistent sound you need for classical work most of the time. But I think you should play one and compare it to the saxphones you mentioned - but if I were in the market for a new saxophone, I'd really look at Yanagisawa, too (A-991 for classical - as well as in general), specifically comparing it to the Yamaha 875EX...
Sorry, didn't see your question back then - I tried a A-991, the brass version. Very well controlled sound, full, clean and warm, but not as powerful as my Selmer. I liked the Yanagisawa's sound a lot, but it wasn't good enough to make me ditch my SA 80II. But if you want a pro sax with great intonation and lots of musical potential, the Yanagisawa should be on your short list. For the price (hardly 70% of the Selmer's!), I consider it a steal. In fact, I have a A-6 in the works that might be capable of replacing the SA 80II... Well, I'm not far from being a Yanagisawa fan, to be honest, so you maybe you shouldn't just take my word for it.
Something that has to be said: My past experiences don't suggest that the material of the horn is decisive for the sound - the body is, as a whole, not because of the metal - or whatever material - that is used; what I've read about the physics involved strengthens this position. I know that many people believe in materials influencing sound, but I'm not (at least no longer) one of them. I even own a phosphore bronze horn I chose because people say the bronze makes its sound dark - a Bauhaus Walstein soprano. In my book, it's not a dark horn at all - but not overly bright either, it's just a very good soprano for the price. But: My brass curvy - a chinese no-name - is considerably darker - as was a SC-991 (the curved soprano by Yanagisawa - brass) I tried and sometimes think I should have kept. I didn't - since a silver(!) Rampone & Gazzani I was able to play test at the same time was darker and fuller than all sopranos I've ever played... much too expensive at that point in time to even consider buying it.
But back OT, we're talking altos here... The CX-90 was indeed a dark sounding horn, but also a little soft - whatever the reasons... And I still like bronze horns - because of the looks... The CX-90 was a nice horn in many respects, but also quite peculiar, ergos, looks, sound... The price is quite attractive, too.
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