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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2009
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The Macsax tenor Empyreal is incredible on You Tube. I have this alto and so far its seems like a good horn but I have an 82Z and I was looking for a better tone than the Z , fat and full of overtones. So after playing this Empyreal a while I"m wondering if I'd like the P Mauriet 76 or a Barone better? Anybody tried these horns? K
 

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big shout out to Saxpholic, great guy and we talked about 45 minutes on the myriad of horns we have owned.Every once in awhile I run into a great guy/or girl on this forum. Thanks so much K
 

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SOTW Columnist and Forum Contributor 2015-2016
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Keith,

My pleasure to talk with you! If I'm ever in your neck of the woods we'll get a beer for sure. Call or text anytime!

- Saxaholic
 

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No if you come around here, bring your mouthpiece and you can play my 6 tenor and we'll run 50 I real pro tunes on sax or flute as you drink whatever. . Real nice talking to you. Really appreciate the help. K
 

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Keith,

The Macsax is a good horn but all horns from Taiwan are basically the same and the Macsax is the EXACT same sax as mine. However, mine comes with one of my mouthpieces and it's less money so it's a better buy. Good luck with whatever you choose. Phil
 

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Thanks Phil. Ive heard many good things about your Vintage altos. Are they basically the same horn as the Eastman 52nd street altos?
 

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Thanks Phil. Ive heard many good things about your Vintage altos. Are they basically the same horn as the Eastman 52nd street altos?
ya know, I'm not really sure but most of the parts on these horns are similar if not the same. The main difference is the factory they're made in. Phil
 

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Sorry to revive an old thread, did someone tried the Eastman 52nd altos against MacSax Empyreal, Barones, Cannonball Vintage or BB? Thanks
 

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I have owned all of these horns save for the Eastman and Empyreal alto, both of which I've been able to play-test for awhile on separate occasions. Here are my impressions:

1. Eastman 52nd Street: I do not like these horns at all. Perhaps they've gotten better over the years because I haven't tried one in a while. My repair tech mentor was approached by Eastman to "set up" the horns when they arrived in the US. He got a bunch of them and said they took nearly 3-5 hours to get them right because there were so many problems mechanically with them. Now, he was a perfectionist, but he said the horns didn't hold up well to adjustment, took way too much work to set up, and he refused the company's offer because they wouldn't pay him the money he needed for his time. This same guy however sang praises on the Barones, Vikings, and Cannonballs he has seen, so he's not afraid of Taiwan horns. My personal playing experience with these horns is that they were very "blatty" without a serious core...no real richness to the sound, and keywork was clunky. I wasn't impressed at all. There is a pro shop around the corner from me that has had the same Eastman 52nd Street alto on their wall for 5 years now. The sales guy I got friendly with say everyone who has played it hates it...and that's with a setup from their tech, who is at least semi-competent.

2. Macsax Empyreal - Wonderful alto IMO. The tenors are even better. They're all set up by Ken Beason (I think?) and as such the ones I played felt wonderful in the hands, very balanced, and tight as a drum. These are semi-focused horns, but still retain a nice fatness around the core and resonate like crazy. I'd say they are medium to medium-bright with good warmth. A bit of a dryer, snappy sound, good for bop and quick playing. A bit heavy on the mids and highs, but overall the sound is great. I almost bought a tenor on the spot, and it's one of a very, very select few horns I considered buying and playing instead of my The Martin Tenor.

3. Barones - Also wonderful horns. Probably the best value you can get in a pro horn. You'll have to budget to have them set up though, because I don't believe Phil has them set up anymore. You get it straight out of the box. The set ups needed have been very minimal in my experience, granted this was also quite a number of years ago. I prefer the Vintage models myself, but the Classics play great and have a focused, medium-bright tone that sings. The Vintage models have more breadth to them and a fatter core, and are medium in the tone spectrum. Solid action, and I've never seen any major quality issues with them. Keep in mind that he did change his factory at one point, so if you get some of the very early ones they might be a little bit different. Supposedly they were identical to the Mauriats when they first came out.

4. Cannonball Vintage - I owned one of these last year and it blew me away. Enormously surprised at how great this alto was. It was like a perfect blend of vintage and modern. Warm sounding, creamy, great core but had plenty of brilliance so it wasn't dull sounding. Extremely versatile horn, great intonation, superb action. Really, really enjoyed it. I would love to compare one with an Empyreal side by side one day.

5. Cannonball Big Bell - The altos are far better than the tenors, IMO. They are bright horns with power. But the altos have a little more balance than the tenors. They've gotten better over the years, IMO. The early ones and the later ones play different for me. I enjoy the later ones a lot more. Action is good, but different than most horns, so check one out first if you're thinking about it. Still super comfortable but check that it's a good fit for your hands. When setup correctly their intonation is very, very good and the altissimo pops out effortlessly. While not exactly the most versatile horn IMO, it will do jazz/pop/rock/R&B very well. Solid horns but buy them used and save a ton.

Hope that helps, cantoni!

- Saxaholic
 

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I am trialing a Macsax Empyreal . Has anybody tested these against a P Mauret76> altos

The Taiwanese horns comes from a few different factories so several brands share the same body tube. Differences are mostly cosmetic or work done to the neck (cannonball). Saxaholic should have noticed which horns that are related?
 

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To me it doesn't matter who shares a body tube if the neck is different, because that makes the whole horn different. And I know that most Taiwan horns aren't the same, despite the popular myth. There are different body tubes and bore sizes, different materials, different tone holes, many different necks, and entire designs that are different.

You are also assuming I sat down with all 5 horns in my lap at once, or that I took measurements. That did not happen. This info has been collected over the past decade or more and I dont care about measurements, I care about how they play and feel.

I do not believe any of the horns are "related" to each other. They each played differently for me. They might have similar keywork, but the playing experience was different for each horn.

Hope that helps!

- Saxaholic
 
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