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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I hesitate a little to start yet another discussion on the relative merits of various soprano makes and models, but I don't think I have yet seen this variant...

Basically it comes down to the fact that I have now ended up with 3 sopranos (4 if you include a nasty high-pitch instrument), and want to bring it down to just two. I am happy with a modern curvy ("System 54"), but then have to decide between a silver SML (1971) and a Buffet SDA, as there's no way I will have sufficient time to dedicate to both of these. The other option could be to sell both the SML and the Buffet, and go for a modern, high-end horn (second hand).

I realise that few will probably have had the opportunity to play all of these, but thought I would reach out to collect ideas and opinions as currently the only option for trialling is to simply go out and buy..

thoughts welcome !
 

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Why two?

If you are indeed dispassionate about your selection, put them all up for sale, and commit to the one that is left after the first two are sold.

Condition matters. Which horn plays the best as they currently exist? Which horn has the most promise for delivering what you want from a sop?

If that question meets a dispassionate response, then sell them all, and get one good sop. It is up to you to define what "good" means to you.

Enjoy the Quest (and don't forget to get a mouthpiece to bring out the best of whatever horn you commit to).
 

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I have some experience with both an SML and a Buffet SDA soprano, but it is a long time ago. At the time I compared them extensively to my Selmer SA80. I wanted to like them, but had to admit they were no comparison. I couldn’t get the altissimo to speak as I could on the Selmer, and I found the sound a bit dull. I would prefer a secondhand SA80 (I or II, they are not too expensive) to both these vintage sopranos. For vintage I do like older Mark VI sopranos, but these are quite expensive. But that is my preference..
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Why two?

If you are indeed dispassionate about your selection, put them all up for sale, and commit to the one that is left after the first two are sold.

Condition matters. Which horn plays the best as they currently exist? Which horn has the most promise for delivering what you want from a sop?

If that question meets a dispassionate response, then sell them all, and get one good sop. It is up to you to define what "good" means to you.

Enjoy the Quest (and don't forget to get a mouthpiece to bring out the best of whatever horn you commit to).
Thanks, good point - I'm not completely agnostic, just undecided, and basically need to understand what 'good' is and whether 'good' is likely to be that much of a step-up over what I already have.
The SDA looks great, has essentially new pads and build quality is great. The SML is silver, and I really dislike polishing. It also has a lighter setup and slightly older pads. The curved System 54 is also essentially new.
The SDA and SML are similar in size and weight, neither has a high F / strap rings, low C sharp on the SDA is heavier, but the palm keys are larger and easier to negotiate. To me they have similar sound, although the SML is slightly more free blowing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have some experience with both an SML and a Buffet SDA soprano, but it is a long time ago. At the time I compared them extensively to my Selmer SA80. I wanted to like them, but had to admit they were no comparison. I couldn’t get the altissimo to speak as I could on the Selmer, and I found the sound a bit dull. I would prefer a secondhand SA80 (I or II, they are not too expensive) to both these vintage sopranos. For vintage I do like older Mark VI sopranos, but these are quite expensive. But that is my preference..
Thanks Henk, useful advice! I feel a MkVI is a bit out of my budget, but the idea of an SA80II appeals, as do some of the Yanis.. some good food for thought
 

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Congratulations! How do you feel your Mark vi is different from the SML and Buffet sopranos?And what is part two of the dilemma?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks Henk,

To capture in a word, more “substantial”. It is feels bigger in the hands, and the body keys appear more spaced out with really large pearl touches which give it a different and perhaps nicer feel (coming from tenor). I’m still adjusting to the side keys. Left hand palms works pretty well, but I was surprised how close to the body the right hand set are - it means more hand movement in the top of the horn. The left hand pinky cluster in comparison though is easy to adjust to, and is no issue. I was amazed at the size of the ring for the neck strap - it’s actually thicker than the one on my baritone!

However, more substantial also in tone. Really, a wonderful, rich, thick sound to the VI, with more presence throughout, and much less work to control shrillness up top. You can get a really “sweet” and singing sound out of it as well. For the first time I get to explore the delights of a top F#..

Both the buffet and the SML are also really decent horns, particularly the build quality on the buffet is outstanding, and it also has the most “modern” left hand palm keys of the three. In terms of sound the Buffet is more “focussed” with a really strong, directional core, while for any given mouthpiece, I feel there is more flexibility in the SML. However my impression is that both the buffet and SML are pretty similar tonewise overall.
No doubt also, that the intonation on the VI is more locked in, and I can begin to concentrate more on the playing. It’s all still honeymoon period though so Probably issues will crop up later down the line.

Part 2 of the dilemma is that I have to sell the other two to help finance this purchase and to settle on a mpc/reed setup.
 

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Nice to hear that your experience is similar to mine. Is it a later model vi? My experience is that HR Link mpcs work well with these, maybe with some balancing and finetuning. For vintage also Selmer soloist, but these are expensive. I’ll PM you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
yes, a later version 222K, which puts it around 1974 I think. It came with a soloist G, which has a beautiful tone to it, but too closed. I noticed that Pillinger makes versions of these with larger openings and that may be an option worth exploring
 

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I had a '72 VI soprano keyed up to high F#. Always found the upper palm keys needing more attention to properly voice until I started using a more open mouthpiece. A Selmer Metal Classic in a G tip opening. Very open Super Sessions also do well with these horns.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
thanks Grumps i will certainly look into this. I was certainly surprised at how nice the soloist sounded..
 
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