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Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2009
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7,900 Posts
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I stopped posting here a while ago but thought this would be interesting for some. Since my own tenor is in the shop I'm playing some concerts and recordings on horns that I borrowed from friends. One is a Selmer/Adolphe Sax and the other a VI. Some impressions.
The VI (it's an 125xxx): A bit bright for my taste but it has great projection form ppp to ffff. Intonation (especially below low D and above C3) is really all over the place but that's probably because I don't know the horn very well. But even so I felt I had to work harder than normal to keep it in tune. Key work is great; fast and quiet. This one has the dreaded ball construction for side Bb and C.
Sound is good but not very flexible, feeling a little boxed in. As with most Selmers (VI and newer) it plays like it has a built-in limiter. (Strangely, I feel the same about many of their bass clarinets). Biggest drawback for me is the position of the right hand in combination with the thumb hook. Hurts my hand every time I play a 'modern' horn. All in all a good instrument that works fine in a variety of musical contexts, but not really very special.
The Adolphe Sax/Selmer: A totally different horn. Feels a bit like the Supers I've played. As bright as the VI, but the sound seems to be bigger (not louder). Has a great, immediate response, and no problems with intonation here except low C is a bit low. This horn has a lot of flexibility soundwise, responding quickly to manipulations of air stream and embouchure. Key work is not as quiet as the VI but certainly as fast, and the inline right hand feels very comfortable to me. An inspiring horn to play. I hear these are rare but if you find one check it out.

(Pieces used: Link STM, Caravan, Strathon Adjustotone)
 
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