Sax on the Web Forum banner
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Yamaha YTS 480 Tenor | Selmer La Voix II Alto
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As someone who loves learning and talking about new gear — and as someone whose always been intrigued by the Selmer Reference 54 as a concept (way out of my price range at this point in my life) — I was shocked to hear that the Supreme would be replacing not one but two horns in the Selmer lineup. Is it really that good of a horn? I'd like to hear from people who've had a chance to try one out. What are the pros and cons?
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
35,487 Posts
Welcome, NobleAda.

The search function is sometimes useful - it actually worked on this topic.

 

·
Registered
Yamaha YTS 480 Tenor | Selmer La Voix II Alto
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Welcome, NobleAda.

The search function is sometimes useful - it actually worked on this topic.

I did do a search. I just saw that the aforementioned post was 7 months old. I was hoping to get more recent thoughts, as people may have had more of a chance to try them out. I'm sorry if that wasn't a solid thought. My bad.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
13,712 Posts
The real drawback is there aren’t going to be many used on the market so you are likely to pay a boat load. That said, it offers the chance for possibly better pricing on used versions of the two discontinued horns. All three are great. It just depends on your preference.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2015-2017
Joined
·
4,246 Posts
Maybe the Supreme is “that good”, maybe not.
they introduce a new one, and retire two others. Think of them as separate tasks.

There do not always need to be more and more models. Sometimes there might be fewer.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Logician
Joined
·
27,614 Posts
The annual Navy Band Sax Symposium in Virginia was always a great opportunity to try all the new Selmers side by side, along with numerous other brands of horns. There is one set for January, though I doubt the vendor room will be like old times. That said, I always preferred the older II altos (before the III's came out) over the III altos and Reference horns.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
119 Posts
It makes sense from a business perspective though, maintaining three lines of production ( + Seles) for their horns was already kind of strange even before the Supreme, both in term of cost and in term of marketing.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2012
Joined
·
3,390 Posts
In the alto range, Selmer has been doing a great job with the single SA80 and SA-II horns for 2 decades. Neither the S-III nor the Ref54 really succeeded in overshadowing what still remains one of the best altos on the market (and my preferred). Let alone obsoleting it.
It is quite logical that Selmer’s bet is to position the Supreme as their top alto, and to keep the SA-II where it is.
Computer aided design has helped Yamaha to improve many acoustic aspects of their horns, it might be that Selmer eventually did the same with the Supreme, which obviously would be a big step ahead, compared to the SA-II which remains a “good old” design of another generation.
The S-III and Ref54 suddenly look a bit like “in between”, and become redundant.
The orchestral players will move to the best and latest Supreme, taking advantage of the improved playability, which de facto obsoletes the S-III, and the jazz “screamers” will have to choose between used … whatever and whatever, or maybe give the Supreme a try, as playability somehow does make a difference.
For those stuck (and happy) in the MkVI worshipping, all of this is pure mundanity anyway.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
316 Posts
I think its incredible they kept three models going so long plus the Axos of course so it makes complete sense to me that the two selected are to be discontinued. I own a mid nineties series 2 which has something tbat makes it hard to sell considering the price of the Supreme .
 

·
Registered
Yamaha YAS-62 MK 1 (stamped logo) 053XXX
Joined
·
391 Posts
From what I understand the sheer demand of the Supreme forced Selmer Paris to accelerate their timeline for discontinuing the aforementioned models. I have only tried one Supreme and I really liked it but I didn't have my MK VI with me to compare. I have said on other threads the MK VI is not the best Sax in the world but it is great and if I came a cross a Sax that was significantly better I'd switch in a heart beat.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,680 Posts
I was shocked to hear that the Supreme would be replacing not one but two horns in the Selmer lineup. Is it really that good of a horn?
Replacement of models is not based on quality, but on market positioning. The Supreme was designed as mainly an improved version of the Series III. It doesn't matter whether it's truly better in some absolute sense; when the Series III.5 comes out, the Series III can be safely discontinued. It's like the latest model of a car.

The Ref. 54 alto was a niche horn in a niche that Selmer apparently no longer believes it needs to fill with a dedicated model. It's hard to argue with that conclusion. How many hardcore jazz players say, "I want to buy a new alto, and it's got to be a Selmer"? If they buy Selmer, it's probably a vintage horn. If they buy new, it's probably an Asian-made imitation of a vintage horn.

I've said this in many other threads, but I'll repeat it here anyway: I think the Series II is on the way out too, but it will take more time for this change in the lineup to be implemented, because the Series II-like Axos (which was recently rebranded) needs a stronger market position first. I think Selmer recognizes that a two-model alto lineup -- "entry-level professional" and "premium" -- makes the most sense for the company in the long run. And it's also smart to offer only models that can't yet easily be purchased in excellent used condition, for half the price of a new horn, by anyone, anywhere, at any time. It will be years before the used market is saturated with Supreme and Axos instruments.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
104 Posts
As someone who loves learning and talking about new gear — and as someone whose always been intrigued by the Selmer Reference 54 as a concept (way out of my price range at this point in my life) — I was shocked to hear that the Supreme would be replacing not one but two horns in the Selmer lineup. Is it really that good of a horn? I'd like to hear from people who've had a chance to try one out. What are the pros and cons?
Hi NobleAda, great question - and welcome to the forum! We all come at this from a little different place, but I'll try to give you my best objective perspective. My main alto is an 875EX, so this is my point of reference.

On 2 occasions, I've had a chance to extensively play test Selmer altos (in addition to various single-test demos throughout the years)

In 2017, it was 3 Ref 54, 1 SII, 1 SIII, and alongside that, the 82Z and 875EXII.
In March of this year, I was able to extensively test 2 SII and a single Supreme.

My thoughts and preferences:
  1. SIII has always been a bit bright and focused to me. It reminds me a 'little' of the 82Z, but with just a tad more depth and body. I don't play classical and usually have some form of Meyer on the neck, and the SIII just doesn't have the warmth or body I'm looking for to balance with a slightly more aggressive mouthpiece.
  2. Every SII I've played has been fantastic, and one in particular was just so well setup I should have purchased it. Compared to my EX, it had the warmth and body but even more guts and presence. Still thinking about purchasing one, especially now that there is the specter of them being discontinued. Although, with the ubiquity of these in the market, I'm hopeful there will always be an opportunity for one.
  3. The Ref 54: A different sound from the SII and SIII. All 3 Ref 54's I played were well setup and provided a great experience. I preferred the honey lacquer over the brushed - hard to tell if it was the finish or just manufacturing tolerances, but the honey lacquer on the day just seemed better balanced and had a better 'ring'. Of the Selmer altos, I feel this is the least 'even' from top to bottom. For me, it has a big bottom end while the upper stack is more SIII-like than SII-like. Personally, I prefer the more 'homogenous depth' of the SII which provides more of a blank canvas to me with respect to timbre and amplitude. The SII has a little more resistance which I like as I can lean into it for different effect.
  4. Supreme: The most buttoned-down, even-from-top-to-bottom Selmer with an overall warm character, but with the more narrow focus sound of the SIII. IMO, still doesn't have the volume and body and 'ring' of an SII. When pushed, it keeps the sound warm and round, whereas the SIII, Ref54, and SII all brighten up a bit and project more. I prefer the latter aspect. I think it's the Supreme neck...there is a comparison video from Kessler that, for my ears, seems to darken any of the horns it's on. I didn't like it at all on the Ref54 or the SII compared to their native necks. I haven't heard it on a SIII, but I get the sense I would since the SIII neck on the SIII body is a bit too focused and bright for my tastes and the Supreme neck may temper that.
  5. I'm curious about how the classical folks playing SIII's will take to it. It feels a lot like a 3 ergonomically and seems to have a similar narrow focus of sound (compared to more resonant and deeper sound of the SII)...but the neck keeps things warmer and as a result provides, for me at least, a completely different sound concept.
  6. I want to like the Supreme the most because it is just such a beautiful instrument! Seriously, I find it's lacquer gorgeous and it's ergonomics and evenness-of-sound are top notch. However, for my sound concept, I still prefer the SII, and the Jubilee altos are gorgeous as well.

Best to you on your journey!
 
Joined
·
82 Posts
Here's a copy-paste from the earlier linked post.

"So we've got one at Fleming Instruments & Repair here in Houston! Here's my very quick review.

Out of the Box: The guys in the shop are split 50/50 on lacquer color. I personally like the honey gold, most guys say they might be trying to hard to match the old Mark VI's. Most of us don't like the engraving, very busy, and doesn't look to be hand-done. The engraving extends all the way up the back of the horn, near the thumbrest and even higher. Case is phenomenal, very balanced, protective, and stylish. 'Concept' mouthpiece looks cool, I chose not to use it. The sax needed minor adjustments to pad height and level out of the box. Some light feather scratches on the bell flare out of the box as well. Nothing major at all, but something I did notice with ours. Key and clothes guards look very modern and light, but feel a bit thin. Overall a beautiful horn in a beautiful package.

In the Hands: Ergonomics are good. Nothing feels out of place under the fingers. I do like the newly designed front F key. The sax is heavy and feels like a professional instrument sitting in your hands. Action was smooth and quiet. Palm keys feel excellent with rounded edge. Side keys (new angle) took all of 1 minute to get used to and felt very intuitive.

In the Practice Room: I played it for about an hour. I'm classically trained so keep that in mind. Selmer C*, Vandoren reed sz 3. Good open sound, very free blowing and has the ability to sound even in all dynamic levels. Core sound is warm and open on my C*, but responds well to adjustments from the embouchure. Low range is a bit punchy for me and I noticed I had to pull back a bit on air pressure below low D. Intonation issues are... better, but not perfect. I hit it with a tuner after a good warm-up, and the same issues we all have still exist on this horn. Flat notes are flat, sharp notes are still sharp, etc. It's better, I feel, but only slightly. Altissimo registers speak and 'slot' better than many horns I've played and tuning has improved slightly.

Overall, I like it. Would I trade in my Yamaha Custom or WO20? Maybe not, but I feel it's a good entry for the professional horn market. It's a bit flashy, and is pushing into 'over-built' territory, but I would definitely suggest it to professionals that come into the shop looking for the best."

In reference to your questions about Selmer specifically, the only thing I can say is, "I sell the horns, I don't make or market them". I would assume that with a smaller line-up they are able to focus more resources into their current productions. Only time will tell!

I'm personally more excited for the Tenor version of the Supreme. If they take the feedback out there for the alto they may end up producing one of the best tenors we've had in the market for many years.
 
  • Like
Reactions: NeedsWork
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top