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Thanks for all the time and effort you put into this excellent, very thorough review. Your attention to detail is commendable. Nice photos too.

Although the horn comparison sound clips are short, I think I agree with you that you sound better on the Axos than on your Mark VII. The Axos does seem quite impressive, based on your evaluation.

Congratulations on your first time with an S80 C*. :)

A couple of questions:

"Although there is some proprietary manufacturing information that I will not be able to reveal ..." — Does this mean that you learned things from Selmer that you are not permitted to share on SOTW, or that there are some things that you don't know because Selmer wouldn't share them with you?

"The Henri Selmer Paris company believes the tonal properties of the lacquer are unmatched by any other saxophone currently on the market." — Without getting deep into the endless debate about finishes, "resonance," and related issues, did Selmer really state that the company's lacquers have tonal properties? Can you direct us to a source for this?

One piece of constructive criticism, if you don't mind: At times in your introductory section about the origin of SeleS and its manufacturing techniques, it's hard to distinguish between information provided by Selmer that you are repeating, and information that you obtained through your own research. I suggest that when the former is the case, it would be helpful to readers to preface your remarks with, "According to Selmer, ..." or "Selmer claims that ...." Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for all the time and effort you put into this excellent, very thorough review. Your attention to detail is commendable. Nice photos too.
Thank you, it means a lot!

Although the horn comparison sound clips are short, I think I agree with you that you sound better on the Axos than on your Mark VII. The Axos does seem quite impressive, based on your evaluation.
They are a bit short and I considered recording additional takes, but listening back I found that the clips were a great demonstration of what I wrote in the prior section.

Congratulations on your first time with an S80 C*. :)
:D Great mouthpiece.


"Although there is some proprietary manufacturing information that I will not be able to reveal ..." — Does this mean that you learned things from Selmer that you are not permitted to share on SOTW, or that there are some things that you don't know because Selmer wouldn't share them with you?
I was in contact with Stéphane Hascoet at Selmer Paris (who, I think, is director of marketing), and while he answered all my questions, he remained vague when answering a few of them, stating that he couldn't tell me more because of proprietary processes / trade secrets.


"The Henri Selmer Paris company believes the tonal properties of the lacquer are unmatched by any other saxophone currently on the market." — Without getting deep into the endless debate about finishes, "resonance," and related issues, did Selmer really state that the company's lacquers have tonal properties? Can you direct us to a source for this?
Yeah, Stéphane Hascoet himself is the source of this statement.


One piece of constructive criticism, if you don't mind: At times in your introductory section about the origin of SeleS and its manufacturing techniques, it's hard to distinguish between information provided by Selmer that you are repeating, and information that you obtained through your own research. I suggest that when the former is the case, it would be helpful to readers to preface your remarks with, "According to Selmer, ..." or "Selmer claims that ...." Thanks.
I know what you mean. My wife said it sounded like some parts of the intro had not been written by me. :D

All the info that's under "INTRODUCING THE SELES AXOS" comes from Stéphane Hascoet's answers to my questions, except obvious editorializing like when I wrote "Although there is some proprietary manufacturing information that I will not be able to reveal, we can still take a close look at what is involved in making a SeleS Axos alto saxophone, where this process is similar, and where it innovates" or "Even though what exactly is and isn't made this way is proprietary information, it is not too difficult to make an educated guess by looking at the information and illustrations in this introduction", etc. The purpose of some of the questions I sent to Stéphane were to double-check the info that I had gathered, and others because I could not get a clear answer through my own research.
 

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A question I forgot to ask: Does the Axos have the special C# venting mechanism of the Series III, or the normal mechanism of the Series II? If the latter, is the middle C# as flat as it tend to be on the Series II? If not, what adjustments have been made?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
the special C# venting mechanism of the Series III
Is what you're talking about the assembly in the red circle below? The whole thing is comprised of key linkages, cup and arm, pad and tone hole, correct (basically a second C# tone hole behind the regular one)?



If it is, then nope, there's no such thing on the Axos.



is the middle C# as flat as it tend to be on the Series II? If not, what adjustments have been made?
I'll play some C# octaves with a tuner tomorrow and report back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So yes indeed, middle C# has a tendency to be flat on the Axos compared to the other notes around it. It's only a few cents flat, so I definitely could live with it, especially coming from a VII, but I can see how some folks would find this irritating.

Thanks for pointing this out, I'll make an edit to the review!

Edit: my VII also has a tendency to be flat on that note so maybe I have a tendency to be flat on middle C#? Interesting...
 

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So yes indeed, middle C# has a tendency to be flat on the Axos compared to the other notes around it. It's only a few cents flat, so I definitely could live with it, especially coming from a VII, but I can see how some folks would find this irritating.
That probably means the Axos uses the Series II keywork or a modified version of it, rather than the Series III keywork, which was specifically designed to correct this problem. On my Series II alto, I often play middle C# with the side C key down as well, to bring up the pitch slightly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That probably means the Axos uses the Series II keywork or a modified version of it, rather than the Series III keywork, which was specifically designed to correct this problem. On my Series II alto, I often play middle C# with the side C key down as well, to bring up the pitch slightly.
Please see my edit.

Still, all points towards the Axos using keywork that's similar to the Series II. This is something that Jim Cheek at sax.co.uk mentions with his wonderfully soothing voice in the shop's video on the Axos (@2m31s):


He unfortunately says a few things about the horn that aren't factually accurate though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
He says the bell is "stamped" rather than engraved. He may have confused this with the fact that the Axos has a press-formed bell (also known as "stamping" if I'm not mistaken) as opposed to hand hammered. He also says the lacquer is thicker than a "standard" lacquer, while my understanding from the conversations I had with H.Selmer Paris is that the opposite is true. The case is also slightly different than a Series II and III case.
 

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... and he drones on for 3:30 with marketing stuff before he even plays the thing. Sounds nice enough. Seems like he is trying to be all "artsy". His pitch is all over, so intonation issues are hard to gauge. A few steady, even notes without him bending would have been good. I like a demo that just shows what the horn is look, not the "artiste".

For "A sniff over two grand" (his phrase), I got a brand new YANY AWO10 instead. Shipped to my front door, perfectly set up.

EDIT: He meant (of course) "A sniff over 2000 Quid", almost 2500 actually. This is well over $4000, so the YANY is half the cost.
END EDIT


WOW. Selmer must be hoping the name will drive sales. Right??

I have not played a Selmer regularly for years, but I do hope they figure out a way to stay viable in the current economy.


dat
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man
 

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First video is more to the point...thanks for NO TALKING, just playing. Sounds good, except he had trouble in the low range the very little time he spent there. Sounded much nicer to me than the uk video. Knowing that you can't really tell much about the alto from those clips of course.

Thanks for posting!

dsm
 

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Thanks for the extensive review, JazzVP. The first twenty seconds of YOUR sound clip sounds a LOT better than the two clips you posted up here. And the pictures are terrific. I liked seeing the manufacturing steps illustrated.


dat
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He says the bell is "stamped" rather than engraved.
I understood that to refer to the markings on the bell. Of course, on previous Selmers, company markings were stamped and decorative markings were engraved.
 

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George,

It looks like the bell is stamped along with the wreath logo, etc. all in one step.

Photo on the JazzVP post (link in this thread, post #1)


dsm
 

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George,

It looks like the bell is stamped along with the wreath logo, etc. all in one step.
Just like the good ol' days... Yepper. I think that Chris observed that, and believed it a cost-saving choice (video = ~1:40), when, in fact, it is tradition for Selmer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks for the extensive review, JazzVP. The first twenty seconds of YOUR sound clip sounds a LOT better than the two clips you posted up here. And the pictures are terrific. I liked seeing the manufacturing steps illustrated.
Thanks! FWIW, I'm the guy playing in all the clips in the article as well as the video I posted in the thread starter.

... and he drones on for 3:30 with marketing stuff before he even plays the thing. Sounds nice enough. Seems like he is trying to be all "artsy". His pitch is all over, so intonation issues are hard to gauge. A few steady, even notes without him bending would have been good. I like a demo that just shows what the horn is look, not the "artiste".
Well, he's doing a video review so some talking is expected, as opposed to writing an article like I did and illustrating it with a video. As for the playing, I don't think he was trying to be "artsy" or anything. If you watch some of his other videos, it seems like this style of playing is what he prefers, which may or may not be the best way to demonstrate a horn.

First video is more to the point...thanks for NO TALKING, just playing. Sounds good, except he had trouble in the low range the very little time he spent there. Sounded much nicer to me than the uk video. Knowing that you can't really tell much about the alto from those clips of course.
Glad you liked my video more. ;) Joking aside, it's delicate to properly demonstrate a saxophone, and even then, what you're hearing is some guy (me in this instance) playing it, with everything that it implies: personal tonal concept, abilities, mouthpiece/reed setup, audio equipment and room. A saxophone never sounds like it does "in real life" on recording either. And a video or audio clips don't tell you how a horn feels.

As for the low notes (should I say note?), it's probably a mix between the fact that the Axos I received had leaks and my ability to play smoothly, with a full tone down low.

Just like the good ol' days... Yepper. I think that Chris observed that, and believed it a cost-saving choice (video = ~1:40), when, in fact, it is tradition for Selmer.
This may be very well what he was trying to say indeed. The fact that he presents it as a cost saving choice is confusing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I just wrote a quick update to the review. Please see below:

with the leaks taken care of, almost all of the back pressure that I was feeling compared to the Mark VII has disappeared. The SeleS Axos still makes it more obvious when I'm not using proper air support, but pianissimo is now much easier to play, as is the low end. Although the bell notes weren't a problem, even with the leaks, making sure this alto seals properly has made the low end easier to support when playing on reeds that may be slightly too hard (as it regularly happens within boxes of reeds).
 

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Very nice in depth review!
However, there is a slight inaccuracy: when reading your review, one could think that the bell of the series II and II and the Reference is still hand hammered but it's not. In fact, hand hammering at the Selmer factory is only for baritones and basses because hand hammering causes damage to the wrist of the worker and its use is lmited to where it is really necessary.
Also, medium C# is flat (to a varying degree) on almost every saxophone (or, more precisely, almost every saxophone without a compensation mechanism). The tuning of this note has to be a compromise beween medium C# and high C# and the "octave" between medium and high C# is almost always stretched.
 
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