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I have given up on modern soprano saxes. Through the years I have owned 2 Selmer Mk Vl's, a silver Yamaha YSS-62 and a Yani 901. None of them can compete with my Conn from 1926 in tone and open free-blowingness. Its just a happy thing to play. The scale is fine, and the lack of a front F key is no problem at all. I have easy fingerings up to triple A. Also my friend's 1920's Martin is also exquisite, and I have played old Bueschers that were really great. Also tried a very early 5 digit Mk Vl once, which seemed like the only Selmer that could compete with my Conn. The newer modern horns Ive played just seem to be shadows of the old timers to my ears. Any thoughts?
 

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I 've been told that the Selmer Super Acion 80 series II is the best sounding modern soprano. I certainly like mine. Very heavy brass. Dark full tone.
 

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Only modern soprano that claims to have a vintage sound is a Keilwerth SX-90. Perhaps you should give one a try.
 

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The R&C sopranos both straight and curved also have that vintage thing going on.
 

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LateNiteSax said:
I have given up on modern soprano saxes. Through the years I have owned 2 Selmer Mk Vl's, a silver Yamaha YSS-62 and a Yani 901. None of them can compete with my Conn from 1926 in tone and open free-blowingness. Any thoughts?
I bet the modern horns you've tried have a smaller bore than their old american counterparts (take some measurements and let us know!). Maybe the JK as suggested above, has a bigger bore...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I feel no need to try these other horns, but if they have the Conn thing going on, thats good. I dont have a micrometer to measure the bores. A common misconception is that a bigger bore = a bigger sound. I can see easily without any devices the fact that the Selmer has a considerably larger bore at the top of the tube than the Conn. I think the big bore VS small bore thing is a real oversimplification and dumbing down of the issues, kind of like silly political soundbites on the Iraq war: "they hate our freedom" and absurd stuff like that. You need to see whats really going on under the surface with design and manufacturing of horns.
 

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I just measured my S901 and 1928 Buescher TT sops. I measured their length and their outside diameters at three different points where the rods and keywork didn't interfere.

Both sops were the same length. If anything, the S901 had the larger outside diameters at all points, but we are talking less than a tenth of a milimeter, not significant numbers. I don't know what the inside measurements are - does anyone?

I've owned 'em all over the years (except a Martin) and I really like the S901 and the one TT in my closet. My second TT is a great player, too , but it doesn't have the resonance of my favorite TT.

Still, when I play them all side-by-side, they all sound good. Even though I can hear differences, they are just that - differences, not better or worse. I doubt if anyone could tell one from another under blind testing.

The advantage of the modern sopranos, especially the S901 is intonation. The Bueschers are good, but the Yanagisawas are superb - and the S901 is the best of my three Yanagisawa sopranos.

The advantages of the TT is 1) the look for my kind of music, and 2) the strong high end.

We've been over this ground before, I know. I don't buy big-bore vs. small bore, especially in sopranos, and I don't buy the weight arguments, although I will concede that ANY additional weight for someone with physical problems may be a factor. I STILL believe that all sopranos are within a few ounces of each other regardless of the era or features. DAVE
 

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sycc said:
Only modern soprano that claims to have a vintage sound is a Keilwerth SX-90. Perhaps you should give one a try.
Could you please explain what you mean by "vintage sound". Does Phil Woods really sound unvintage on his 82Z. In my opinion the player, reed and mouthpiece are much more important than the horn. When I traded my Mark V1 alto for a modern Yamaha, intonation was more precise, the sound was as warm and projected better. I do use vintage mouthpieces though, mostly vintage Brilharts.

Martin
 

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Discussion Starter #9
yeah, vintage sound is a silly term that I refrain from using. I want to sound good. The Conn sounds really really good, tunes up marvelously when key heights are proper (and doesn't get stuffy) and is fun to play. I just love it. How far have (soprano saxes) really come in the past 80 years?
 

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Latenitesax -

So, it is not the difference between vintage and modern horns. It is good vs. bad, rather.

Also, when discussing a good tone, the horn is only part of the picture. It is you, the player, that detemines most of it.

Here is how Saxpics puts it:

"A Brief Discussion on What Creates the Saxophone Sound


"There are the things that, IMHO create the saxophone sound:

- YOU (70 to 80%)
- The mouthpiece, reed and ligature and what they're made of (15%)

... and the rest (5 to 15%):
- The neck, and what it's made of (brass, copper, plated with nickle, silver or gold. Some may be solid gold or silver)
- The saxophone bore size
- Resonators, or lack thereof (ranging from nylon to thick flat metal)
- The thickness of the saxophone construction
- The material that the saxophone is manufactured from (brass, bronze, copper or plastic)
- The material the saxophone is plated with (nickle, silver, or gold)
- The plating or construction of the bell (e.g. the King Silver-Sonic, with a sterling-silver bell)
The color or type of lacquer or enamel hasn't been proven (or discussed in depth) to have any effect on sound.

"There is a rumor that delacquered Selmer Mark VI's (specifically) have a more open sound, however.

"There should also be a brief mention that the location you're playing in will greatly affect your sound. You'll get a far more resonant sound playing in a small practice room than in a large, open space (such as a field). It is best to audition your prospective horn in the setting that you're going to be in the most often.

"Note also that vintage horns seem to play better with mouthpieces from the era the horn was built.

"Finally, saxophones of different pitches have a "natural" tone quality, e.g. a C Melody tenor has a deep bassonish quality to it's tone. Sopranos are generally quite bright. Basses are felt more than heard, etc."
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The difference between my Conn and the other horns I have owned is dramatic. The tonal color, flexibility and secure feeling of the Conn is amazing. I played a cheap Barrington soprano at a student's house yesterday and thought that horn was really really nice. I have a feeling that the keywork wouldn't hold up too well. Its like 300 bucks at WWBW. Yikes. Thats less than I spend a box of reeds!:D
 

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note to self:

Don't buy reeds at the same place as LateNiteSax...:D
 

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that's one BIG box of reeds.

I've always liked old Martin sopranos for some reason. I could never put my finger on it though as I have few that go thru my hands (repair and stuff). Of course I also like the more modern Coufs and Buffets & 61/2s
 

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Martin 5862,I should of said Keilwerth is only sax similar to vintage instruments. Instead of vintage sound I should of said darker tone.(alot of the older saxes do have a darker tone).
 
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