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Discussion Starter #1
It looks like Selmer has redesigned its Reference 54 some what. I have to say, it sounds fantastic! Throw a KB sax neck on there and it should be a dream:mrgreen:
I use to play one that I had purchased 15 years ago in matt finish - I miss that horn! This horn definitely sounds brighter and more focucsed.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOUiq2E3eU4
 

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So now it sounds like a Serie III?
 

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1. The video says the latest changes were introduced in 2014-2015.

2. Did you play your Ref. 54 with the same mouthpiece used in the video? If not, how can you tell whether the horn itself is brighter now?

3. How good can this version be if you think it still needs an aftermarket neck?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I'm assuming almost any manufacturer could benefit from a hand hammered neck. They just dont put enough time into the construction of there necks. Its typically why a horn lacks in the sparkle department.

I could be wrong.
 

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Sounds like he's using a high baffle mouthpiece, but dunno--either way, without a proper A/B it's hard to say whether the "newer" one is actually brighter.
 

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Hello,
1st time that I hear that there was a new version of the Ref 54 in 2014/15.
On the other hand, the matt finish is based on the different finish darker then the gold finish and you can see the same behaviour also on the Ref36.
I figured this out when I was selecting my horn in 2015 and my tech confirmed this - so please do not compare matt with standard gold finish
BR
Juergen
 

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Honestly, I dont think you can tell a lot from a recording of a 54.

The one I had sounded amazing recording...super even, almost some compression. I always felt like the 54 sounded like a Vi but not a live VI...a recorded one.

I felt like the whole horn sounded dense, heavy and not alive when actually playing it. Before I put any stock in a redesign I would have to play it...because again, it had an excellent recorded tone despite feeling like it was overly controlled and just didnt ring.
 

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Redesigned sounds like a bit of an overstatement. All they say in the video is that Selmer removed some weight from it. I wouldn’t be surprised if they actually did that to reduce cost of manufacturing, but I guess we’ll never know. Given that they did not advertise it, chances are these changes are probably irrelevant.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I have to apologies as well! I picked up on the fact he said they were re-designed in 2014/2015. However I assumed it was re-designed again and that's why they were making that video. If it was simply re-designed back in 2015, that is not as groundbreaking.
I'm of the belief that the neck of a horn is the most important factor. The neck alone should dictate your tone more or less - Focused, Spread, Bright, Dark. The horn itself will only amplify what your mouthpiece / reed / neck is giving you. Thus if you have a really good neck, all the horn itself does is ensure nice ergonomics, feel, intonation ETC. I use to want a Ref 36, and I know most people prefer them to the 54. Given that I'll have a KB sax neck, I thought a 54 not sounding as nice as a 36 would no longer matter. Ergonomically the 54 is a brilliant horn! Feels fantastic, plays lightning quick, intonation is superb. It's just the tone thats a little dead.... Change the neck and it should be brilliant! Thats how I look at it anyways, I'll start saving for one:)
 

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Id just go straight for a vi

I sold mine, lost money and bought a vi. Ive not horn shopped since. The 54 is highly overrated and over priced IMHO.

I used a zillion necks and I still disliked it. It rings like its made of lead.
 

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Redesigned sounds like a bit of an overstatement. All they say in the video is that Selmer removed some weight from it. I wouldn’t be surprised if they actually did that to reduce cost of manufacturing, but I guess we’ll never know. Given that they did not advertise it, chances are these changes are probably irrelevant.
So Selmer removed weight to make something sound better, yet all these hacks out here are trying to sell us little gadgets that add weight and supposedly make your horn sound better. It's funny what people who aren't real engineers come up with!

*disclaimer - I am a real mechanical engineer.
 

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It looks like Selmer has redesigned its Reference 54 some what. I have to say, it sounds fantastic! Throw a KB sax neck on there and it should be a dream:mrgreen:
I use to play one that I had purchased 15 years ago in matt finish - I miss that horn! This horn definitely sounds brighter and more focucsed.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOUiq2E3eU4
Wow! A Ref 54 tenor retails for around $8500.00 and the neck that comes with it isn't any good? By the time you add the KB neck you're close to 10K. That's outrageous!
 

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So Selmer removed weight to make something sound better, yet all these hacks out here are trying to sell us little gadgets that add weight and supposedly make your horn sound better. It's funny what people who aren't real engineers come up with!

*disclaimer - I am a real mechanical engineer.
Even that claim I find to be dubious, if Selmer really did reduce the weight. But yeah, funny how the same hacks selling us gadgets that add weight, simultaneously sell stuff that takes away weight, claiming it makes it freer blowing.
 

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Even that claim I find to be dubious, if Selmer really did reduce the weight. But yeah, funny how the same hacks selling us gadgets that add weight, simultaneously sell stuff that takes away weight, claiming it makes it freer blowing.
I've told this story on SOTW before, but when I first got out of college I was working for Ford Motor Company designing cold end exhaust systems (everything past the catalytic convertor). One of our main functions was to "tune" the sound of the vehicle - ie - if a Mustang needed a throaty V8 sound we would manipulate the holes inside of the muffler to get it to sound that way....if a truck hit a harmonic frequency at 1500 rpm, we would reposition the holes so that the harmonic frequency occurred at 7000rpm when you expect the truck to be loud, etc. Whenever we had unwanted resonance or vibration, we would always add mass to dampen that vibration. I've never heard of adding mass to increase sound or resonance until I saw these products for sale by saxophone guys. If Selmer really did remove weight to increase the resonance of the horn, that makes sense to me. Whether they actually did it or removed enough on the 54, that's a different story. I haven't tried a ref 54 that was made after 2015, so I wouldn't know if they are good or not, but I definitely would give one a toot if I got a chance!
 

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Perhaps the redesign referred to in the video is for the neck—read about it on Kessler website. The arm guide/guard fork was eliminated, hinge redesigned and wall thinned at the collar. These changes should reduce weight. Photos of “recent” horns for sale show either neck so that time frame seems about right. Does this sound reasonable?
 

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Perhaps the redesign referred to in the video is for the neck—read about it on Kessler website. The arm guide/guard fork was eliminated, hinge redesigned and wall thinned at the collar. These changes should reduce weight. Photos of “recent” horns for sale show either neck so that time frame seems about right. Does this sound reasonable?
That's the alto neck that Kessler talks about. This video was about the tenor sax. As far as I know only the alto neck went through those modifications.
 

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Thing is, if the redesign is only noticed after somebody posts a video 2 years after the fact, it's likely not a significant change in sound. I didn't check the serial of the Ref 54 tenors I've played in the past couple years, but I do remember them all being a sack of disappointment when playing.

I do recall the Ref 54 alto neck being redesigned, but the alto 54 has been more loved for its sound, both before and after the neck change.
 
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