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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I started a thread on ProOne sopranos. It seems that ProOne soprano owners are off playing their ProOnes, or there are not very many on SOTW. I could not find any in stock in the Atlanta area. Anyway, rather than broaden that discussion, I am starting a new thread.

The ProOne line is feature rich, no debate about that. I also really respect Peter Ponzol’s work. But frankly, I have never been an Antigua fan, and I am a little put off by their marketing, which doesn’t help. I thought they laid it on a little too thick. Then, they claim to have a professional level instrument, but they price it at the intermediate level. Did they blink?

Are these underpriced sleepers that hold their own against the Big Four and other pro horns, or are they just okay for the price, which has been my opinion of Antigua for a long time.

Additionally, let’s talk about individual features. Trident arms, do they work or do anything at all? Rimmed or ringed tone holes but just at the lower end, do they help the sound and does not having them keep that sound from spreading too much? Special brass, does it make a nice sturdy, great playing horn or are they just combating the proliferation of high copper, red brass with hype? and so on.

The no-stick G# key seems like it would be a home run, is it?
 

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I just bought an Antigua Pro one last week, second hand. I had once bought Taiwanese horns (tenor and soprano) before from System54. The tenor felt flimsier than other tenors I once owned.
But because of the design input from Peter Ponzol, knowing he was also involved with Keilwerth and had one of his mouthpieces, I tried one out. I always had Keilwerth SX90r's until I sold every sax I had some 3 years ago. Long story.
Anyway, it's marketed as a Pro level horn. But any horn used for making money is a pro horn IMHO. So forget the PRO label.
Quality and design is way better than the System54. It feels very solid and a lot of things are really well thought off. Its rigidity reminds me of the Keilwerth's. Solid build.
The trident arms are very firm. They start off of the rods as double arms and spread out to 3 "fingers". The one in the middle is soldered on, the ones on the sides are adjustable. So fine adjustments are possible if needed.
Straight or rolled tone holes have little or no influence to the sound. It's about pad longevity.
It is a nice sturdy horn, regardless of the metal alloy they used.
The no-stick G# key mechanism works like a charm. The only down side for me on this horn is the D-palm key. It's not high enough for my big hands. Need to fix a riser soon. The Keilwerth's have adjustable palm keys, a feature I would like to have seen on this horn. That would make it irresistible... They D-palm key is however more solid that the other palm keys. It can handle more force.
I'm no pro, but I used to play semi-professional gigs after my day job. I would take this horn on any stage... Happy about the sound too. Middle D sound less stuffy than before.
I don't know about the price tag. It is made in Taiwan, so competing against other manufacturers would seem possible. They need to be under the price range of the big four or they would never be sold.
BTW, I also like the engraving. It's subtle yet present on many parts of the body, including the neck. Very tasteful. Key work feels natural to me. Although Selmer's key work is unbeatable.
Even the case is very well designed/practical.
I'm over the moon with my "bang for the buck" second hand sax.
 

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Grafton + TH & C alto || Naked Lady 10M || TT soprano || Martin Comm III
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Then, they claim to have a professional level instrument, but they price it at the intermediate level. Did they blink?

Are these underpriced sleepers that hold their own against the Big Four and other pro horns, or are they just okay for the price, which has been my opinion of Antigua for a long time.
No, they are very good for the price. Forget labels like intermediate and professional, they are meaningless.

There are many saxophones at that kind of price that (IMO) are way better than modern Selmers etc.

Look at the
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
No, they are very good for the price. Forget labels like intermediate and professional, they are meaningless.
Are they only "very good for the price" or are they "excellent at any price?"

I understand your point about labels, but I thought that "premium brands," "price leaders," "discounters" and other marketing jargon would be awkward. Perhaps that is what we on SOTW should do, that is, use marketing jargon to communicate more clearly about the products we buy.

There are many saxophones at that kind of price that (IMO) are way better than modern Selmers etc.
That is my hope. Sopranos are tricky though. They are often an afterthought for instrument designers and manufacturers. And rightly so, they are a much smaller market segment.

Look at the
Pete? Are you alright?
 

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Are they only "very good for the price" or are they "excellent at any price?"

I understand your point about labels, but I thought that "premium brands," "price leaders," "discounters" and other marketing jargon would be awkward. Perhaps that is what we on SOTW should do, that is, use marketing jargon to communicate more clearly about the products we buy.
By very good for the price I mean that the quality would imply a (much) higher price (if you buy into the myth you get what you pay for). When test played the ProOne it was just after checkin out a few Selmers and I had to say the ProOne was quite a lot better.

The big problem with those marketing labels is people believe them, unless a company honestly describes a mid- priced instrument as professional.

It works when a company has various lines and someone thinks that if they have a so-called intermediate, then at some stage they will need to "upgrade." So within a few years that company gets two sales.
 

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After seeing a video ad with Ponzol talking about the trident arms preventing the pad cup from being blown open on the sides by the air column, I tried an experiment. Using a candle flame, I played low notes on a soprano near the flame and directly in front of the bell. If the air column can blow open a pad cup, it certainly can cause a flame to flicker.

Try it!
 

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Whether or not the trident arms make a difference on the bigger horns, I think they are probably overkill on soprano. How often are low-end leaks an intractable problem on sop the way they sometimes can be on alto, tenor, or bari? Yanagisawa has been using double arms on some of the bell pads on its top horns for 35 years (and we don't really know if they make a difference either). It doesn't use double arms on soprano. Why not?
 

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How often are low-end leaks an intractable problem on sop the way they sometimes can be on alto, tenor, or bari?
I've never known them to be a intractable problem on alto, tenor or bari.

Definition of intractable
1
: not easily governed, managed, or directed <intractable problems>
2
: not easily manipulated or shaped <intractable metal>
3
: not easily relieved or cured <intractable pain>


Obviously I have had leaks there but generally it's just a question of sorting the pads, or a bit of adjustment. Or take the horn to my tech and he hits it with a hammer and all is well again.
 

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I've never known them to be a intractable problem on alto, tenor or bari.
That's why I said "sometimes." For some people, they can be; hence all the extra hardware on some horns. And you don't have to paste in a definition of "intractable"; I don't use words that I don't understand.

Anyway, the point of my post was not to lament the problem of leaks in general, but to assert that trident arms -- designed as a way to help eliminate leaks -- are overkill on a soprano sax. They are almost surely unnecessary. Do you agree with that?
 

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That's why I said "sometimes." For some people, they can be;
I know you said "sometimes," and that was why i was responding because I was trying to respectfully disagree about "sometimes." Of course people have problems but unless the horn was flattened by a steamroller or something, I am not aware of those leaks not being fixable at all.

. And you don't have to paste in a definition of "intractable"; I don't use words that I don't understand.
I didn't think you did, I looked it up for myself to check what it meant, and pasted it in as some other people (as well as me) may not know the correct meaning. Just trying to be helpful in general with no intention of being condescending

Anyway, the point of my post was not to lament the problem of leaks in general, but to assert that trident arms -- designed as a way to help eliminate leaks -- are overkill on a soprano sax. They are almost surely unnecessary. Do you agree with that?
Absolutely I agree, but I also think they are unnecessary on any horn. The saxophone has survived nearly 200 years without them. I think the ProOne is a great horn (you can see my glowing praise o the Antigua website) but I think it would be just as good without them.
 

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Absolutely I agree, but I also think they are unnecessary on any horn. The saxophone has survived nearly 200 years without them. I think the ProOne is a great horn (you can see my glowing praise o the Antigua website) but I think it would be just as good without them.
My sense is that Peter Ponzol & co. must really believe that the trident arms do help on the alto and tenor ProOne horns. Whether that's true or not, who can say? I've written in another thread that I have no idea whether the double arms on my Yanagisawa alto make a difference. I do know, however, that my Yany tenor works just fine with only single arms. Anyway, the alto and tenor probably established the trident arms as a "signature" feature of the ProOne horns, such that Antigua was reluctant to omit them from the ProOne soprano, lest customers think they weren't getting the full set of innovations.
 

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My sense is that Peter Ponzol & co. must really believe that the trident arms do help on the alto and tenor ProOne horns. Whether that's true or not, who can say? I've written in another thread that I have no idea whether the double arms on my Yanagisawa alto make a difference. I do know, however, that my Yany tenor works just fine with only single arms.
In spite of what I said above about them being unnecessary, perhaps double arms, and maybe chickenfeet do make a difference to the strength and may help in regard to the sturdyness of the horn if it gets bumped or dropped. So possibly necessary in that regard but not in normal use I think. However as we know that is not the stated reason for them in the case of the ProOne.

such that Antigua was reluctant to omit them from the ProOne soprano, lest customers think they weren't getting the full set of innovations.
Could it be that they considered them useful on soprano also.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I think with most manufacturers the soprano is an afterthought. We did this on the tenors and altos, so it must be best on the sopranos too, without regard for what actually would be optimal on the soprano.

Or, as LostConn proposed, We don’t dare leave these features off the soprano lest customers be put off. Like the non-stick G# key, I understand there was not room to install it on the soprano and too much room on the baritone.

I do not know that either of these scenarios were the case with the design of these horns. I am sure that Mr. Ponzol did his due diligence. One thing that impressed me was that they had one prototype with all ringed tone holed and one without. There was a big difference in sound. The core of the sax with the ringed tone holes was too spread for what they wanted. Through trial and error they figured out how many tone holes could be ringed and still get the sound they wanted. I'd like to have heard that they did this with each voice of sax.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Actually, I do not, at least not that I can find, so I am going to have to remember get some candles at the store.
 

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I'm hoping you can follow through on the experiment. My observation is meaningless unless it is repeated with similar results.
 
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