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JS Crescent, JS NOS, Selmer SBA, Couf Superba I, Conn, Buescher, King
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Discussion Starter #1
I meant to do a better job of this...the info in the sound clip page explains.

I think the JS Crescent is actually pretty easy to pick out, but maybe that's because I know it intimately.

This post DOES have promotional aspect. I'm not trying to hide that, but it isn't for the Crescent -- that's out of production now, discontinued, I do not offer a PRC-made tenor at this time. That makes this a really good time to post something like this.

https://soundcloud.com/justsaxes/sets/pro-vs-student-horn-blind-taste-test

5 horns:

- Just Saxes Custom Tenor, lacquered (ROC-origin)
- Just Saxes Crescent Tenor, goldplated (PRC-origin)
- P. Mauriat PMXT-66R, lacquered, no F#
- Selmer early series Super Balanced Action, very custom
- Conn "Chu" tenor, Art-Deco transitional, modernized keywork, lacquered (probably relacq before refinishing)

My intention's kind of to get into what separates a "student" horn from a "pro" horn. I've always intended to find a way to either do that in some detail privately, or in a format like this, but this is the best time there's been to date (because I no longer offer the Crescent, so my discussions of it aren't subject to the "you just want to sell something" suspicion/objection).

I can make this more fun by throwing in a prize. The first person to ID all 5 horns correctly will receive a Tino Schucht thumbhook, either the "Gentle Touch" or "Dirty Punch," your choice, roughly a US$100 value.

Please don't hold back on arguments or commentary on what sounds good or like it sucks (other than the playing -- the playing sucks, it isn't really meant to be good, just as minimally embarrassing as possible, while trying to show the different ranges and performance of the horns, as my current ability level allows).

IMO what sucks to one person is what another person's seeking -- that is my experience, helping people to get what they want in a horn. That's of interest, I think not just for me but in general.
 

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JS Crescent, JS NOS, Selmer SBA, Couf Superba I, Conn, Buescher, King
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Discussion Starter #2
eh...not my tags on the soundcloud clip, lol...I don't know how/why that happened, but I take it as...not a compliment.
 

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I love these tests - they remind me I don't have the ears to really tell the difference or at least, which is "best"; so I can relax.
And nothing wrong with doing a test-as-promo - the comparison youtube by sax.co.uk is as close to viral advertising as one can get in a small community - given how often it's been "discovered" here!
 

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I'm getting a 'Not available in the US' message when I try to play a file.
 

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JS Crescent, JS NOS, Selmer SBA, Couf Superba I, Conn, Buescher, King
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Discussion Starter #5
Cheers, lesacks.

I don't have an explanation for that, StuartSax.

I was able to pull it up on my phone (tried that because its browser isn't logged into Soundcloud), and it was fine, though not much use for listening.

I should have put a date on a "reveal." I'll ID the tracks on Nov 1, 2018.

Re the Tino hooks, they're very comfortable -- I use them on my own SBA and JS Custom (name of JSC is not permanent, is a placeholder -- if anybody has a better name and I use it). Sample size is small to date, but as far as controversy over whether the Tino hooks make a difference in performance, only accomplished players have tested them for me thus far. They believe the hype. I do, too, but I don't think it matters as I'd use the Tino hooks anyway for their better (to me) feel.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yeah: stuartsax, I just changed browsers to one that isn't logged into soundcloud and it still worked for me (in CA).
 

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JS Crescent, JS NOS, Selmer SBA, Couf Superba I, Conn, Buescher, King
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Discussion Starter #7
If nobody IDs correctly, I'll still gift the hook to the person that gets the most right, first.
 

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I'll give it a shot…

1. JS Crescent
2. Mauriat
3. Conn
4. JS Custom
5. Selmer
 

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I heard very little to separate them. They all sounded like tenor saxophones. I listened through them twice and began laughing to myself at our collective OCD about such things. This served to corroborate my long-standing contention that we sound like ourselves regardless of the horn we choose or the equipment we use. It is the player, not the instrument.

Buy a reputable saxophone, enjoy playing it. Buy more if you can afford it, enjoy playing them all. DAVE
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Just struck me I should recheck something.... I thought I had already edited/added this, but the JS Custom (ROC) tenor is being played with a Schucht neck -- the effect: darker color (less extraneous, extreme high partials, more power and thicker high notes than the original neck, but also slightly less defined lows). That's not super helpful because you can't hear the original neck, but if you know a variety of ROC tenors it may help.

Some interesting guesses thus far. A tip, and I think these factors are audible in the recordings: look at (in order to guess more accurately):

- lows: how full, how wide, color of subtone, color of fullvoice, how much edge at fuller voice, how much power from low D downward compared to low D thru C2, D2 thru F3.
- core of sound: how much edge; is the core of the sound what pops through or the outer edges (if it was a spray paint circle, what part of the circle pops forward, and how wide is the diameter of that circle); color of the core, color of the outer edges of the sound
- highs (maybe one of the more telling areas): how full are the LH palms, in particular high D? Character of F3 from the front F (first note of the "Shotgun" bit is F3 from front F).
- note shape - nasal? Not nasal? etc....

I set them all up to my taste, so that is a constant.

If anybody wants to edit picks, that's fine. I'll keep the results quiet til Nov 1 unless someone gets them all correct and lets the post stand for 24 hours. I might not get on every day, so if I happen to be slow to see the thread again, and more than one person has them all correct, the earliest original post will be the winner.

Pls state some of the "why" of your picks if you have time. That's more interesting than the picks themselves.

Example: my guess is that lostcircuits preferred #5 because it has the most cut, and for the qualities that make that the case (but I'm happy to be corrected if not).
 

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Discussion Starter #13
When I say set-up, I mean adjustment, not pad/reso install, etc.

The Crescent, PM & JS Custom all have the original factory pad/reso installs, and my set-up.

The Chu and SBA have nearly maxed resonators, and Pisoni LD (Crescent/PM/JSC all probably have basically the same pad and reso, "MyPads" grade, with similar reso sizings but the Crescent is SIII style metal while PM & JSC are one piece domed).
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I heard very little to separate them. They all sounded like tenor saxophones. I listened through them twice and began laughing to myself at our collective OCD about such things. This served to corroborate my long-standing contention that we sound like ourselves regardless of the horn we choose or the equipment we use. It is the player, not the instrument.

Buy a reputable saxophone, enjoy playing it. Buy more if you can afford it, enjoy playing them all. DAVE
:)

I will say for me these are all radically different to play. My favorite is the SBA, and it has the worst intonation (very sharp low notes) but what it does better, or for me more comfortably than the others, is more important and feels the most like "home." That's probably not too audible in the recordings because I don't play it with the original neck, normally (though it's being played with original neck in its sound clip).

The right "Holy Grail" horn for any given player is about "feel" (two meanings, both the physical feeling of the horn to the player, and how the player feels and thinks when playing it). Presuming the full array of options vintage & modern, no two players will have the same want, there, but players of similar ability -- especially skilled jazz-only "bebop and beyond" players -- will tend to prefer the same horns overall (hence the focus on SBAs, and the market value of SBAs, at present, for example among stronger Jazz players).
 

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I don't doubt that you felt a difference among them. But to listeners (especially non-saxophone players but certainly I include players who are in the audience), I think we put way too much emphasis on how a horn sounds when it is the "feel" we are enjoying as much as, or more so, the sound we hear from the horn we are playing.

It IS a subtle thing. It is a mental thing, too. Of COURSE a player must be satisfied with what he hears/feels before being able to do his best work. So potential buyers must go through the drill you did here before deciding which horn serves him the best.

That is the reason I have so many saxophones in my closet - I have never been able to decide on just one - I'm doing it today, enjoying side-by-sides with two sopranos. It is a luxury.

I think this exercise also points out the problems when someone comes on SOTW and asks which saxophone he should buy. My goodness, a guy like you can't make them sound different (at least different enough so that one would be persuaded to buy one over the other). And besides, a second set of saxophones in a similar test will most likely show completely different results, at least to the player.

They are all different; well, except that they aren't. Oh well, I still enjoyed your post. DAVE
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I don't doubt that you felt a difference among them. But to listeners (especially non-saxophone players but certainly I include players who are in the audience), I think we put way too much emphasis on how a horn sounds when it is the "feel" we are enjoying as much as, or more so, the sound we hear from the horn we are playing.

It IS a subtle thing. It is a mental thing, too. Of COURSE a player must be satisfied with what he hears/feels before being able to do his best work. So potential buyers must go through the drill you did here before deciding which horn serves him the best.

That is the reason I have so many saxophones in my closet - I have never been able to decide on just one - I'm doing it today, enjoying side-by-sides with two sopranos. It is a luxury.

I think this exercise also points out the problems when someone comes on SOTW and asks which saxophone he should buy. My goodness, a guy like you can't make them sound different (at least different enough so that one would be persuaded to buy one over the other). And besides, a second set of saxophones in a similar test will most likely show completely different results, at least to the player.

They are all different; well, except that they aren't. Oh well, I still enjoyed your post. DAVE
We're in agreement for sure, except about whether the differences are there to suss out. I hear them, and it's not my imagination, but what's on the recordings sometimes isn't what you hear/feel when playing. Examples, #5 is to me the edgiest to me, though #1 is close on that count. #2 definitely surprised me in terms of how much edge it had, recorded; it didn't/doesn't feel like that to me, live. #3 was darker recorded than I expected. There were big differences in how the horns blended with the recording to me. I set the reverb for all the files on #1 (because it was the first file edited), but it (the reverb) seemed to me to work best with others, and how well some blended and others didn't, as recorded on the same equipment, did surprise me.

One thing worth mentioning: when I played the tracks I was just trying to sound OK on all horns. Every track is me trying to sound OK, no underhanded agenda. I made a conscious effort to avoid unduly favoring some over others, though I think on one track it's clear I either played a little better that day or that that horn matched me better than the others when recording them. There is some accidental/incidental difference in how comfortable I felt (therefore what I played), but I'm fairly familiar with all these horns -- have spent hours & hours on each (except for the specific Crescent, but it's minimally different from all the others that came before, and I have hundreds of hours on Crescent tenors, all said).

I tried to be fair to all the horns, very much consciously.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
So far, IDs are not better than random.

A hint: Conn 10M is easiest to ID, for more than one reason.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Woops. Chu, not 10M. Big difference.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
3 days left. IDs and comments as soon as I can get on again on or after Nov. 1.
 
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