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Discussion Starter #1
Dear Forum members,

I am in the market to buy a nicer soprano sax than my current Antigua Winds Soprano, which is based on Yani S991. From my shortlisted list of sops, I have played few and my thoughts for them are as follows:


Antigua Winds: This model gives me 80-85% of tone/ feel when I compared it directly to S991. The palm keys on this are not easy for me to handle. Well, may be I need some more practise to get them in control [rolleyes]


Yanagisawa S991 - Definitely it had more roundness to the tone, freer response and warmth. Not exactly a true winner :doubt:


Selmer Mark VI - The one I tried was from later years ~1974/ 75 and it was relatively brighter sounding. For sure, it had the focused and controllable tone, more in-line with my tone concepts. And I don't remember having problem with palm keys but its been a while that I played it. I love love Mark VI tenor and Alto that I own


Yanagisawa S6 - I have no experience but from my guitar collection and playing experiences - Japanese instruments are superbly excellent, they ace the tone and feel IMO. ESP Navigator Guitars as better than Gibson Les Pauls ever since they started making them. (Sorry I know we are no talking guitars) :blah5:


Keilwerth SX90 - Again no direct experience but I see that doublers/ Sop players like the dark fat tone on these. :doubt:


Yanagisawa S992 - I love the idea of Bronze because of its warmth tone. But after playing S991 I wasn't sure because S991 was more modern sounding and lacked depth or focus. It sounded great for classical players but not jazz soloist and contemporary work. :doubt:

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I would very much appreciate any comment, feedback, personal experiences on these sops Vis-à-vis others.

I keep seeing S992 as true winner on this forum but my heart beats for Mark VI or S6. :geek:


Musically,
VaMi :)
 

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VaMi: I think one really needs to play MANY versions of each model before reaching a model-by-model comparison/conclusion declaring that all versions of that model share certain characteristics. MEANING, that each horn has its own characteristics and if you played a second (or third, or fifth) version of that same model you'd likely find differences.

I've owned most of those models you listed, I've played all of the models you listed, and in some circumstances, I've owned/played two or more versions of the models you've listed.

I once owned a mediocre Mark VI, now I own a really nice Mark VI - there is a world of difference among VI's. Many rave about the S6 but I've yet to come across one that plays as good as my VI (and my favorite-of-all sopranos I've owned, a Martin Handcraft from 1926). I could go on but suffice to say that I doubt anyone on SOTW can objectively direct you in one direction or another. The choice is solely yours to make.

Every model you listed has its pluses and minuses, with maybe with the exception of the Antiguas - nice enough but usually not in the same league as a good VI, or most Yanagisawas. And as soon as someone reads THAT, they will surely come on here praising their Antigua.

One suggestion I have is don't generalize about any model - play it yourself, then decide. DAVE
 

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I keep seeing S992 as true winner on this forum but my heart beats for Mark VI or S6. :geek:
You just answered your own question. Even if every sax player on the planet prefers the 992, it should be irrelevant to you if you prefer the VI/6.
 

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I had an Antigua Winds soprano based on the Yani 991 as well. I sold it and bought a Yanagisawa S901. Then bought a Yanigisawa S6 and sold the S901...which I think is slightly rounder and fuller than my 901 was. I have a fairly bright custom mouthpiece, in contrast.

Unfortunately, I haven't tested as many soprano's as I have alto's and tenors to be able to comment about some of the other options. Personally, I think at this point I'd be happy with any soprano with good response and smooth quality feel. Mouthpiece tweaks and reed changes go a long way.
 

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I have a Keilwerth SX90II and a Yanagisawa SC901B. I prefer the Yani because it is easier to play, in terms of both tone production (playing in tune, getting palm key notes to sound) and ergonomics (better for strap use, therefore less weight on hands).

Obviously, the posts above telling you that this must be your choice are correct. My only suggestion is that, since you have a laundry list of top-notch soprano candidates, you at least try a curved soprano, unless you already know from experience that you don't like curved sops. I've found that I enjoy the more "in your face" sound of the curved horn — helps you understand and control what you are doing.
 

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I, too, dig the Yanis - great ergos, response, and tone - but found the curved (SC992) so loud (to the player) that it made my ears ring. Among the two-piece horns, I preferred the curved neck on my Selmer Serie III, although I don't like detachable necks on sops. A Mk VI came and went decades ago, ditto a Super 80 (Serie I).

I recently found a "semi-curved" (bent neck, straight bell) Borgani Jubilee gold pearl sop. It's just right.

Sheesh, I feel like Baby Bear in "Goldilocks".
 

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I've tried each one of the soprano's you've listed and plumped for the 992 bronze. My two principal reasons were,
a) It had a warmer sound than the 991 I was playing.
b) It was far easier to play in tune than the Mark VI I was tempted to buy.

However, these are my reasons and may not be true for you - where are you based?
 

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I tried an Antigua and really don't see the comparison between that and the Yani .... pinky keys on both sides were terrible ... nothing like a Yani or Yamaha ...I have short fingers and the Antigua almost required me to lift from B to Bb or turn my entire hand to the left ...same with the right Eb and C ....action was substantially higher ... BUT ..and it is a BIG BUT ...it had a pretty tone .... If I had the $$$ and the choice I think the 992 would be in my stable .... although I am really really interested in trying a P. mauriat ... heading to NYC this week to give one a try at Sam's
 

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I still really enjoy my S991. I've played one Mark VI and it wasn't great. I've owned an Antigua and always felt there was something missing in the sound.

Once I finally settled on a mouthpiece for the Yanagisawa, I never looked back. If I were in the market I'd try the S992 but still live my S991.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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My SX90II (2 piece/not the SX90 one piece) experience is that it has an unbelievably warm sound with none of that oboe-ish harshness that I dislike. However, I had A LOT of trouble getting the palm keys to speak well. I am an amateur, but some other guys on here with much better skills have had the same experience. Then, you see Dave Liebman rip up and down the horn expertly, and you scratch your head. The ergonomics that I occasionally find challenging on my Keilwerth alto and tenor (and found unworkable on bari) isn't present with the smaller soprano. My $.02.
 

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I have a curved Yani SC992 as well as two mkVI's (1971 and 1978 models). Sound-wise the MkVI is perfect for my tone concept, but the yani is also great, and probably has the edge in terms of quality of mechanics/keywork.
 

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I tried all of these horns when I was looking for a soprano. I ended up preferring Rampone & Cazzani. I tried a straight which I loved, but ended up buying a curved for the ergo benefits of playing with a strap. Yes the curved is loud but the tone of both the straight and the curved (and the semi curved style) is so much richer than any of the above mentioned horns. In addition the mechanism/keywork of the horn is wonderful, very similar in quality level to the selmers. These are the sopranos that Jerry Bergonzi helped design...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Dear All,

Thanks for the chipping in, much appreciate it and the feedback is interesting.

For now, I have ordered Yani S6/ Vito VSP from Jim (Kritavi) and hope to like it.
(Or May be elusive S992 will remain a winner IMO :| )

Will keep everyone informed!

Musically,
VaMi :)
 

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Just in case the S6 doesnt work, try a s901. it has the same body and tube as a 991 . only 991 have double neck. and it plays smoother and slight brighter than a 991.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Alright Folks,


Got my S6 and compared it evenly to Antigua S991 copy. :twisted:

My thoughts:

- S6 definitely bring me the tone and vibe of Mark VI, which I love. I am happy nevertheless!! :razz:

- S6 is lighter in weight than Antigua Sop and this helps in playing the sax more comfortably for longer duration. :cheers:

- However, the higher register on S6 is relatively thin compared to Antigua Sop (which has an even & balanced tone throughout).Thats a bummer!! :scratch:

- Honestly, I sounded more comfortable on the Antigua Winds and had better control of my playing compared to S6. :innocent02:


- Now I am very very curious to learn more about S992, :geek:
Does it have same weight as a VI or heavier than that? If it is lighter in weight then I think it is the way to go!! Hands Down!

IMHO - Mark VI and S992 are best of both world !!

Any ideas, comments, suggestions ???

Musically,
VaMi :)
 

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VaMi: I recently went about measuring all of my sopranos . . . length, diameter at three different places, neck openings, and weight. I did not have a way to actually weigh the horns, so I held them while stepping on my digital bathroom scale. The scale rounded off to .5 pounds. I know, not very accurate, but for my purposes, it worked.

My MKVI is lighter than my S992 by one pound. The VI was the lightest of my sops at two pounds. The Antigua 590LQ (with one of the dual-necks) was the heaviest at three and a half pounds. The S992 weighed three pounds.

I don't know about you or others, but the difference of one and one half pounds (and it could be even less, or a little bit more because of rounding off) seems insignificant to me.

I would not be too concerned about weight; instead I'd be concerned about how the horn sounds and plays. Knowing from personal experience that Mark VI sopranos can vary greatly, you'd be wise to play whatever model you are considering before buying it.

S992? Yes, mine was very nice - even better when I had it re-padded, but I moved it on down the road. I MUCH prefer my '26 Martin and my Mark VI to any other soprano I've ever played. And I suspect you will be paying a hefty price for an S992. DAVE
 

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My MKVI is lighter than my S992 by one pound. The VI was the lightest of my sops at two pounds. The Antigua 590LQ (with one of the dual-necks) was the heaviest at three and a half pounds. The S992 weighed three pounds.

I don't know about you or others, but the difference of one and one half pounds (and it could be even less, or a little bit more because of rounding off) seems insignificant to me.
I think that's a very large difference when the objects in question are held with arms extended away from the body. The makers of tablet computers and e-readers try vigorously to reduce the weight of their devices by mere ounces.
 

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I suppose, but I am 74 years old, have played soprano (straight and curved, without support) for 58+ years. I find it difficult to assess a pound or so difference in my hands. I'll give you that someone who is OLD and hindered by physical maladies may have some difficulty with one pound or so, but it sure seems insignificant to me. Besides, players use TWO hands. If a pound or so is that much of a problem, get a horn with a neck-strap-ring. When I owned all of those sopranos and picked one up after another, their weight was a non-issue for me. DAVE
 

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I suppose, but I am 74 years old, have played soprano (straight and curved, without support) for 58+ years. I find it difficult to assess a pound or so difference in my hands. I'll give you that someone who is OLD and hindered by physical maladies may have some difficulty with one pound or so, but it sure seems insignificant to me.
Well, I don't know anything about the OP's age or physical condition, but we do know that he noticed and was favorably impressed by the weight difference between the S6 and the Antigua. So for him, soprano weight differences in the range you're describing evidently do matter. And according to your tests, the Antigua weighs 75% more than the Mark VI, which is an enormous relative disparity, even if the absolute difference is only 1.5 lbs. Judging from SOTW threads, playing soprano causes more hand/arm pain than playing any other sax, so I don't consider it odd for a player to be concerned about weight differences. I agree that using a neck strap is advisable (I use one when playing sop), but not everyone wants to do that.
 

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Fair enough. Let's have VaMi make the decision. If HE thinks that small of a weight difference matters to him, so be it. It sure doesn't to me, but then again, I'm not here looking for answers. DAVE
 
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