Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

Some six years ago I purchased a PMXT-66R tenor and wrote a review about it.

At the time, I was a first year jazz student at my local conservatory, recently having transitioned to tenor from playing alto almost exclusively. After 4 years of conservatory study, a couple of international tours, many hours of practice and countless local gigs, I thought I might take the time to share my impressions of the horn with you again, and perhaps shed some light on what it's like to use it as your regular axe. If there are other P Mauriat owners out there (particularly who play the 66R), I'd love to hear from you too!

Appearance / Finish

When I purchased my 66R, it came to me un-engraved, and in the standard vintage brush finish. I mentioned in my original review that the finish seemed to be flaking off in some areas, but that overall I thought it looked pretty. I have to admit, after a few years, I got sick of the finish! It continued to flake off, much to my disappointment. After talking to my repairer, I eventually decided to have the body sandblasted instead (although the finish remains on the keywork). Admittedly, this was largely a cosmetic choice, as the more I looked at the flaking vintage finish the more I thought it looked cheap. That being said, whilst I didn't think the finish had a detrimental effect on the sound, I also didn't think it was particularly enhancing it either.

Key Layout

After so many years of playing the 66R, the slightly unusual key layout of the left hand (particularly the palm keys and G# cluster) feels completely natural to me now. I can't vouch for the 66R's of the last couple of years (perhaps they've tweaked the key placement?) but if you're looking to transition to a 66R, my advice is to give yourself a couple of months to get used to it.

Tone

Two things here: think BIG and DARK.

Yes, the sound is big. Does big = good? It really depends on what situation you're playing in I think. To illustrate the point, I'll share a short story with you:

A few months ago a friend of mine was kind enough to lend me his Mark VI so I could have a chance play it. I played it for over an hour, and whilst I liked the sound and feel of the VI, I wasn't totally blown away. In fact, I was in for a pleasant surprise when I went back to my Mauriat, because I couldn't believe the difference in sound - the 66R seemed to fill the entire room in comparison to the VI!

Before I returned my friend's cherished VI, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to record myself playing both horns, so I could listen back to them and remind myself why I didn't need to sell a kidney to purchase a vintage Selmer. After replaying the recordings however, I was in for one more surprise.. I now much preferred the sound of the VI! How on Earth does that work you ask?

Well, the VI just sounded a lot more centered than the Mauriat, it sounded like the great tenor players of year's past, the kind of sound that I had tried to capture myself for such a long time. Although I thought that the Mauriat had a bigger sound, that 'bigness' doesn't always translate on record.. Not only that, there is just an authenticity about the sound of those Selmers that is so hard to capture with modern horns, despite everyone's best efforts.. It really is a prickly situation to be in - although sadly I can't think of my Mauriat the same way anymore..

Construction

OK, I have one major gripe here, and it comes in the form of the rolled tone-holes.. Let me show you some pictures my repairer took:








Notice anything wrong? Check out the uneven tone-hole in the first pic, and the wavyness in the 2nd and 3rd pics.. Unfortunately, it seems this is the mark of poor workmanship..

The only reason why this problem doesn't have huge effects on my tone and intonation, is that the spring tension on my horn is set quite tight, much more so than other horns. The knock-on effect of this is that I use more pressure to close the keys, resulting in a firmer seal. My repairer speculates that if I had the tensioned loosened and used less pressure to close the keys, that I probably wouldn't be getting an adequate seal..

One more thing about the Mauriat's workmanship: perhaps it's just those that I've spoken to, but I've never met a repairer who has talked too highly of the P. Mauriat's construction. I feel as though I am constantly trying to vouch for this horn, to repairers and other saxophonists, that it's worth considering alongside Selmers, Yamahas, Yanigisawas etc. I imagine other Mauriat owners must encounter similar situations!

Conclusion

I know I've been critical of the 66R, but that's only because I play it every day, and it's so crucial to me in my career as a professional saxophonist. In general, it's been a reliable horn, and certainly has a sound and price that make it an attractive choice when compared with other modern horns on the market.

Unfortunately though, to me that's all it is. I don't love my instrument the same way other saxophonists do, and I could easily see myself parting with it tomorrow, if only I earned enough money to buy a SBA or a VI. (I realize this all sounds a little melodramatic, but of course it's true).

I should point out also that I've never tried a System 76, or even a Mauriat constructed in the last couple of years - perhaps the sound and/or assembly process has evolved?

FYI: My current setup is a Francois Louis Spectruoso Size 10 and Rico Jazz Select Reeds, Size 3S (filed).

I would love to hear your thoughts below!

- Jeremy
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Technician
Joined
·
3,408 Posts
The most telling aspect of this story is when the OP heard the recording of the 66R-v-MkV1 The same result would have been apparent IMO with any post MK V1 Selmer or even a Yamaha.
Many horns especially 'big name' vintage sound great-- " lush,spread,dark" whatever the vernacular---until they are recorded. This happened to me a few years back,the big band I was with recorded a CD spread over a weekend,ensemble was recorded first and solo's were to be added next day. I did the entire recording on a 10M--I normally played a Serie111--every one else was playing 'modern' horns and the recording was digital. Sadly this was a mistake on my part, the focus just wasn't there, the band leader thought I needed to be more aggressive-in fact everyone was trying to be helpful not realizing that the live sound I'd been getting with the 10M was not 'coming across' in the studio.
We were on a tight budget so it was not possible to re-record but, I learned a big lesson-- the ears can be very deceptive regarding saxophone 'sound'
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,912 Posts
I have to ask the question:

Is the (lets call it) "diminished" sound of the recording of the 10M, present in the recording playback only? Or, is the sound of the 10M, in front of the horn, in a room actually diminished? In other words, is it something to do with the encoding and decoding of recording process or simply "reality" for the actual listener?

I have wondered this myself. I hear recordings of me, albeit fairly low quality, and Im always surprised that is sounds fairly spread and, not is a rich Stan Getz way either. (If he were alive, he'd be upset that we're sharing a paragraph here....).

I think you have to have someone play your horn for and hope their sound concept is somewhat similar, to answer this.

OTOH, when I played a PM a few years back, I thought it had a fundamental undertone that sort of colored all lower octave tones. Not in a good way...I call it "one note bass" in speakers that sort of create more bass than the basic box and acoustic profile could naturally create. (You hear it all the time in most cheap ear buds and alot of car stereo systems.. sort of annoying but its the new normal) anyway, I wonder how an early 10M and the PM would sound side by side... i think that's the better comparison.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
1,365 Posts
The most telling aspect of this story is when the OP heard the recording of the 66R-v-MkV1 The same result would have been apparent IMO with any post MK V1 Selmer or even a Yamaha.
Many horns especially 'big name' vintage sound great-- " lush,spread,dark" whatever the vernacular---until they are recorded. This happened to me a few years back,the big band I was with recorded a CD spread over a weekend,ensemble was recorded first and solo's were to be added next day. I did the entire recording on a 10M--I normally played a Serie111--every one else was playing 'modern' horns and the recording was digital. Sadly this was a mistake on my part, the focus just wasn't there, the band leader thought I needed to be more aggressive-in fact everyone was trying to be helpful not realizing that the live sound I'd been getting with the 10M was not 'coming across' in the studio.
We were on a tight budget so it was not possible to re-record but, I learned a big lesson-- the ears can be very deceptive regarding saxophone 'sound'
not disagreeing with you but isn't this- to some extent- a matter of how good your sound man /producer was at doing their job....
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2009-
Joined
·
2,761 Posts
Interesting followup, jeremyjt. I know what you mean about the sound "spread". I notice this when I use the Warburton LA on the 66 — it just doesn't play as well for me as it does on my Yamaha 62. The Sakshama Florida works fine on the 66 as do other "brighter" pieces. Agree about the left hand keys as well. I put a Runyon key riser on the palm D and I'm considering building up the low Bb spatula. Mine's an old one, like yours, with no engraving. Since I bought it strictly as a back up I haven't used it to the point where the finish is flaking, and haven't I noticed problems with the tone holes either. Still enjoying it but the T62 remains my preferred horn.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
310 Posts
OK, I have one major gripe here, and it comes in the form of the rolled tone-holes.. Let me show you some pictures my repairer took:







Notice anything wrong? Check out the uneven tone-hole in the first pic, and the wavyness in the 2nd and 3rd pics.. Unfortunately, it seems this is the mark of poor workmanship..

The only reason why this problem doesn't have huge effects on my tone and intonation, is that the spring tension on my horn is set quite tight, much more so than other horns. The knock-on effect of this is that I use more pressure to close the keys, resulting in a firmer seal. My repairer speculates that if I had the tensioned loosened and used less pressure to close the keys, that I probably wouldn't be getting an adequate seal..
I'm sorry if I seem like a dog with a bone but I find the idea that your repairer's solution to poorly sealing pads is for you, as the player, to use more pressure when closing the keys, frankly, ludicrous. The sort of seal between tone-hole and pad that your repairer should be aiming for is one that can be achieved with almost no pressure whatsever. Ideally, just the weight of the key laying on the pad, with it's return spring detached, and no additional pressure other than gravity.

The subject of uneven rolled tone-holes, found on various makes of horn, has been discussed at great length elsewhere on this forum and a skilled repairer ought to be able to manipulate the tone-hole so that it is the best it can be and then, with an appropriate choice of pad, obtain the standard of seal I have described above. If the tone-holes on a sax are so distorted that they cannot be corrected I would inclined to hang that sax on the wall. From what I can see in the 'photos your Mauriat isn't that bad.

Until this Mauriat can be played needing only light finger pressure to get an adequate seal and you are confident that there are no leaks, however small, it simply won't be playing at it's best. Using "more pressure to close the keys" will inevitably inhibit your playing just as not being in love with your horn will. Long term, heavily sprung action could even cause repetitive strain injuries.

You say you are dissatisfied with this Mauriat, would part with it tomorrow and would love to own an unaffordable vintage Selmer as though Selmers are your only alternative. If you really are dissatisfied with this horn then surely there must be plenty of other superb quality vintage professional instruments that can be acquired for what you could sell your Mauriat for that don't happen to have Selmer engraved on the bell ? I can think of many vintage makes and models that don't cost an arm and a leg.

Looking forward to your next post in 2019.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
2,829 Posts
Good horn,played one a few years ago quite impressed!!..matched it against a mkiv i have and it compared well, but i could still hear the difference in quality,the 6 was better to my ears.
Overall mauriats are ok though.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
941 Posts
So, you bought the horn, the finish "flaked off", the "rolled" tone holes became "wavy" and the horn can't seal so the keys are adjusted to help it seal. That horn sounds like a stone nightmare, and you sound like a tennorman of old:able to play through anything and get your sound. But you should reward yourself and get a good 10m or Selmer that is in good shape. It's your business and you need a good tool. Then go start a fire and burn that thing in the pictures.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
46 Posts
A lot of this can be explained by the fact that you never really hear how a horn sounds from behind it, when you are playing it, and "hearing" through the bones in your head. I have other trusted ears listen when A-Bing horns, and have tried to record them in the process when possible. From now on, after reading the OP's post, I will always record every horn I play test to get that parallax point of view on the sound, so to speak. The OP seems quite knowledgable and accomplished and I see no reason to critique his post FWIW. Also FWIW I turned to Barones from my VIs and haven't looked back, and I record a lot, with no discernible difference between the old horns and the new ones except that the Barones have (much) better intonation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
46 Posts
p.s. Also try to have someone else whose playing you are familiar with play a horn for you when demoing to get the listener's perspective...
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Wow, thanks for your responses guys! Some were a bit more heated than I had imagined..!

Before I answer specific questions, I just want to say this.. As much as I don't always like to admit it, I am a bit of a 'gear-head' - I love trying out new mouthpieces, horns, ligatures, reeds etc to see if the grass is really greener on the other side. To this end, I'm a bit of a sucker when it comes to advertising. I've read so many great reviews of mouthpieces that claim to be the definitive choice for any and all saxophonists, whether it's Jody Jazz, Theo Wanne, Francois Louis, etc - and the same can definitely be said for the saxophones themselves - particularly the PM's. It's not to say that these aren't great pieces of equipment, but I think there are too many superlatives thrown around when reviewing musical gear, particularly saxophones, and what we need as musicians is honest feedback on how saxophones perform and whether they might be suited to our own individual tastes. Although this thread may only be my second post, I've loved coming to SOTW for many years now to see these sorts of discussions, so forgive me if I seem like a bit of an amateur on these forums.

You stated that you had the body sandblasted? Yikes
I did! The keywork was removed when sandblasting of course, so it still has the original brushed finish. Over time, the raw brass has gotten (visually) quite dark and actually contrasts nicely with the brushed keywork. To my ears, the sound has brightened a little after removing the brushed finish from the body, and honestly, I don't miss it at all!

I'm sorry if I seem like a dog with a bone but I find the idea that your repairer's solution to poorly sealing pads is for you, as the player, to use more pressure when closing the keys, frankly, ludicrous. The sort of seal between tone-hole and pad that your repairer should be aiming for is one that can be achieved with almost no pressure whatsever. Ideally, just the weight of the key laying on the pad, with it's return spring detached, and no additional pressure other than gravity.

The subject of uneven rolled tone-holes, found on various makes of horn, has been discussed at great length elsewhere on this forum and a skilled repairer ought to be able to manipulate the tone-hole so that it is the best it can be and then, with an appropriate choice of pad, obtain the standard of seal I have described above. If the tone-holes on a sax are so distorted that they cannot be corrected I would inclined to hang that sax on the wall. From what I can see in the 'photos your Mauriat isn't that bad.

Until this Mauriat can be played needing only light finger pressure to get an adequate seal and you are confident that there are no leaks, however small, it simply won't be playing at it's best. Using "more pressure to close the keys" will inevitably inhibit your playing just as not being in love with your horn will. Long term, heavily sprung action could even cause repetitive strain injuries.

You say you are dissatisfied with this Mauriat, would part with it tomorrow and would love to own an unaffordable vintage Selmer as though Selmers are your only alternative. If you really are dissatisfied with this horn then surely there must be plenty of other superb quality vintage professional instruments that can be acquired for what you could sell your Mauriat for that don't happen to have Selmer engraved on the bell ? I can think of many vintage makes and models that don't cost an arm and a leg.

Looking forward to your next post in 2019.
OK, I have to hit back a little at this one. Firstly, I'm a professional saxophonist and I know full well that there are other alternatives - I have friends and colleagues that play Kings, Bueschers, and in particular, Conns, and I've tried almost all of them. It seems so cliched to say that 'Selmers are the only choice for me', but they've been my favourite horn to play thus far. I realise this is completely subjective though, so what works for me might not work for you, and vice-versa.

I'm not out for blood and I'm definitely not intentionally ragging on PM. For the most part, it's been a great horn, and has a great sound - I woudn't have kept it this long if it didn't! I'm just giving my thoughts on the instrument, the good with the bad, and other saxophonists can make their own judgement.

Regarding the tone holes - surely the first point should be that the tone holes shouldn't need fixing in the first place! In all honesty, I hadn't thought twice about them until a technician pointed them out to me a few months ago - perhaps the photos don't really do them justice. I do tend to use quite a bit of pressure when I play, because I hadn't noticed a detrimental effect on the sound. When I suggested loosening the spring tension the technician advised against it, on account of the unevenness you see in the pictures. He said he could fix them, but didn't really elaborate further (I should have pushed him on this..) Next time I get a break in my playing schedule I will take it in again and see what can be done.

The tonehole saga just reinforces something I've been putting off for years - I need to learn more about the workings of my instrument and more about saxophone repair. I suppose like a lot of players, I've been so absorbed with playing that I've neglected a lot of these things. All I have with me are the nuggets of information I get from other players and technicians, and even though I feel as though I have a good 'working knowledge' of the saxophone, these sorts of issues just show how much more there is to know.

A lot of this can be explained by the fact that you never really hear how a horn sounds from behind it, when you are playing it, and "hearing" through the bones in your head. I have other trusted ears listen when A-Bing horns, and have tried to record them in the process when possible. From now on, after reading the OP's post, I will always record every horn I play test to get that parallax point of view on the sound, so to speak. The OP seems quite knowledgable and accomplished and I see no reason to critique his post FWIW. Also FWIW I turned to Barones from my VIs and haven't looked back, and I record a lot, with no discernible difference between the old horns and the new ones except that the Barones have (much) better intonation.
I totally agree, recording yourself and getting others that you know to play your horn is such a great way to get an idea of the horn's sound. I often listen to videos on YouTube from the growing number of PM endorsers (particularly of the 66R), and I'm certain I can hear a handful of the same characteristics in each recording. There is a certain darkness to the sound of the 66R that is hard to put into words - but I'm sure if you've listed to enough of them, you'll know what I'm talking about!


One last thing re: the 'focus' of the sound - perhaps I'm one of those more suited to the System 76. Everything I read about that instrument seems to confirm that it's more focused than the 66R, plus it's interesting to note that it has it's own factory in Taiwan, separate to the rest of the production facilities. I listened to Bob Reynolds on a 76 and he sounds great, in fact it's hard to discern his sound from when he plays his VI, the focus is definitely still there. Will be doing more research into that instrument in the coming months to see if it might be a viable alternative. In the meantime I'll stick with my 66R!

Thanks for the comments guys, much appreciated :bluewink:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,747 Posts
The tone hole situation is interesting! The rolled tone hole P. Mauriat, was supposed to be superior in design, to the SX-90R design.
The Mauriat was said to have true rolled tone holes, as opposed to the SX-90R's soldered rolled tone holes. Go figure? I have had my SX-90R for 16 years, and have never had any tone hole issues. Jeremyjt777's problem is a result of poor build quality, and shoddy craftsmanship;
it is unacceptable! People will defend the Taiwan made horn, to the bitter end; however, any other manufacturer would be vilified.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
115 Posts
You will see from my posts that I am a 66RUL fan, but guys, seriously, you need to go to a decent dealer with all the makes and models, spend a day or two there, and choose what's right for you. I don't know what a "focussed" sound is, this sounds like wine critic's language to me, and I am reminded of Frank Zappa's quip that "talking about music is like dancing about architecture"!

Enviado desde mi GT-P5210 mediante Tapatalk
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
297 Posts
Sounds to me you got a bad horn! My 66r though is looking worn by now after 4 years the tone holes are still flat!.....I still love my six but, come on! It's a dark horn! That's the trill!...play a brighter mouthpiece! Make adjustments in your eq! Finically, To me the real test is live!.....does it sound good to audience plying live?
 

·
(formerly borganiboy)
Joined
·
5,566 Posts
66R's are fantastic horns. Huge powerhouse solid horns. In the end the player comes in the most for sounding good.
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top