Anyone had experience playing the Fox 500/510/520 English horns? I know the 555 is a great school horn, and a bargain. Are the pro models enough better to justify the price premium? How do they compare with Loree, etc.?
The Fox 500 is every bit the English horn that the Loree, Marigaux, Rigoutat, Howarth, et al are. I've played about a dozen over the past few years, and they have all been absolutely top notch. There is perhaps not QUITE the range of color available that I find in my Fossati, but it could also be a function of the bocal I was using when I was trialing them. Really, they're very good English horns.
And, at nearly $2,000 cheaper than the standard Loree, you can hardly go wrong!
I'm a working union doubler in Chicago. Just bought a new 500 and am playing on a show that is heavy EH.
Its fabulous in every way. Even scale, beautiful sound and it *feels* great. When looking for a horn, it was difficult to find vendors with them in stock and then yes, the prices were not necessarily current. Having said that, I tried both the 500 and 510 from MMI and while they both arrived in fine shape, the 500 was the winner in blind tests (they feel similar in terms of weight and keywork so no dead giveaways) with both me and my teacher on the supplied bocals and my Laubin #1 that I bought for my previous EH.
I'm not sure what you're looking to use it for so that may very well colour your opinion about price vs. value. If I were not playing a ton of EH, just starting on double reeds, just starting on EH or doing community theater, I would get serious about a 520 or 555. I've played the Lorees. They are great...but are they 9K great? Not for me. I wanted a top quality horn and paid for it but I didn't feel like I OVERpaid for it. Dig? Let us know how you make out.
Also, just read a recent thread about EH intonation (bocals vs. horn vs.reed etc). No such problems with the Fox 500. If you are a good reedmaker and have good ears, the Fox will be a great tool for musicmaking. If you lack these things, the Fox won't automatically compensate, but I think that goes without saying, right?
We've had the 500 for some time now, and can't say enough good about it. Great sound and intonation, good projection, comfortable keywork, excellent quality wood with very tight grain. I suppose if you were to go through 20 Lorees and find the very best of them (good luck with that), it would be worth what they charge, but for $3K-$4K less, the Fox is an incredible bargain.
I'm excited you have all found good Fox instruments. Back when I was english horn shopping I tried a Fox 500, Marigaux, Loree, and Howarth. My favorite was the Marigaux but it was almost 3,000 more than the used Loree i was trying which was an extremely close second. I did like the Howarth as well, but was working very hard to project. The fox I had was very unstable in pitch. I really like my fox 330 oboe, and I absolutely adore my fox bassoon, but I think I was just unlucky to get my hands on a mediocre English horn. One of my students has a 510 that is quite nice! I would never speak poorly of fox, but in my own experience I did not end up purchasing one when I had the chance.
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