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Which is your favorite soprano sound among these 3 horns?

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View attachment 26240

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I recorded these three clips for my own evaluation, but thought I might as well share it with the community. On test are three well-rated straight sopranos :-

#1 SML King Marigaux - one piece construction, straight neck
#2 Keilwerth SX90II, 2 piece with straight neck
#3 Mystery contender, 2 piece with straight neck

The same mouthpiece and reed in used throughout - a Bari HR70 and a Hemke #3 reed ( the G man's reed, half a size up :bluewink: )

Listen to the clips and see if you can match the clips with the identities of the horns as stated above.

Finally, please vote in the poll for the clip that has the best 'sound' to you, along with any comments or observations about your choice.
 

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I'll leap in on this and make a fool, once again, of myself : my ears tell me that Clip C is most likely NOT the Marigaux.

The only 2 horns I know, obviously are the Marigaux and the Keilwerth. I would expect the K to be darker and rounder, which clip C definitely is.
I have always found the Marigaux to be quite a bright horn.

But, what is the mystery horn?
 

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G, they all sound close to the same to me, but I'd have to guess #3 is the SX90II. Not enough diff in the sound to make a diff.....
 

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I'll leap in on this and make a fool, once again, of myself : my ears tell me that Clip C is most likely NOT the Marigaux.

The only 2 horns I know, obviously are the Marigaux and the Keilwerth. I would expect the K to be darker and rounder, which clip C definitely is.
I have always found the Marigaux to be quite a bright horn.

But, what is the mystery horn?
"Soprano Planet" indeed. Impressive knowledge and discerning ears. Although I won't disclose the identities of the horns till later on, I take it you are guessing C to be the Keil?

So now, why not complete the game and take a stab at whether A or B is the Marigaux? Do you find the 'Mystery Horn' to be comparable to the two named horns?

I always find listening to horn and mpc comparisons interesting because it helps me to refine myself what type of sound concept is in my head for the instrument. I've learnt a lot from listening to the clips at Steve Neff's site on mpc comparisons, do now I want to contribute a little something back to the forum.


Kenny called and HE WANTS HIS REED BACK
No, he said i could keep it, because he only uses #2.5 Hemkes lol.. As you know he's got this job at the prison, and only the #2.5 will do the job of keeping the riots down
 

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Yes, I suspect C is the Keilwerth.

My money ( 2 cents, actually ) is on B to be the Marigaux.

It seems to be the tighter, brighter sounding instrument.

And A, of course, is the ...............
 

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I think B is the brightest and tightest sounding horn, close to the A horn but smaller and brighter than A.

Bore wise, from biggest to smallest: C,A, B
 

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The first two were pretty much identical to my ears. I agree with Joe about the third being a JK, I own an sx-90 and hear some similarities.
 

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The first two were pretty much identical to my ears.
They sounded the same to me first time through, but after listening to C, I listened to B again and then A again, and I heard something different.

I know the Marigaux soprano well because I've owned a few, and I really tried to put my finger on what was "not right" for me about them.
I absolutely love SML Gold Medal altos and thought that their sopranos would be just as good for me, but it didn't turn out that way at all. Go figure.
 

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I think I liked the core tone of B best. I thought A and C the basic sound was very similar. I thought there were more issues with tuning on B.

Such are my opinions (caveat: I am soprano saxophonicus ignorantissimus).

I have absolutely no idea which horn is which, having played none of them.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
They sounded the same to me first time through, but after listening to C, I listened to B again and then A again, and I heard something different.

I know the Marigaux soprano well because I've owned a few, and I really tried to put my finger on what was "not right" for me about them.
I absolutely love SML Gold Medal altos and thought that their sopranos would be just as good for me, but it didn't turn out that way at all. Go figure.
When I play the horns A and B, one of which IS the SML, they sound really quite different to me. Let's just say Joe really knows his sopranos, the SML is a brightish, tight sounding horn, that is perhaps a bit focused and 'small' sounding. The other horn is a modern construction piece, physically much heavier built. It has a certain warmth and velvet to the sound that the SML doesn't seem to have, but on the clip here, it doesn't really come across.

One thing I also learned in this exercise, is that mp3 files are quite severely rolled off on the high frequencies. Even though the clips were recorded in mp3 format, when the file is converted to WAV format, there is much more extension to the high frequencies, so perhaps the 'sameness' of clips A,B and C are partly due to the mp3 format. But as WAV files are about 10x larger in size, it is not possible to post those files here.

As Joe points out, a few repeated listens through, especially if done with a good set of headphones, will make the differences between the 3 saxes tones more apparent and easier to pick up. It's a bit esoteric, as the differences can be subtle, especially with the lower resolution recording format.

Some of the SOTWers have told me before, that the SML is reputedly one of the best sopranos ever made. Not my claim. I return to it time and again, and it just seems rather austere sounding, lacks warmth, depth and sweetness in the sound. Rather brighter than I would like too, which I am not sure if it is because of the silver plate finish. Which kinda reflects again Joe Giardullo's experiences with the SML sopranos. Like Joe, I too have a KM alto, and it is definitely an outstanding horn, best alto in my collection, no question. It just has the shimmer and shine to the sound immediately evident on the first blow. But the soprano remains an enigmatic horn to me and I am kind of waiting for its 'greatness' to reveal itself to me one day.

RootyTootoot - thanks for popping in you adorable hamster, and thanks for lending your rodent ears to this thread. For a so called "soprano saxophonicus ignorantissimus". your comments are remarkably perceptive. I do share your opinion that B is rather different, and A and C are more similar, relatively speaking. Yes, intonation is wonky here, there and everywhere - still a long road to Brandford land for me :)
 

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What I like about the SML sopranos is that classic 60's/70's kind of snaky oboesque thing they have as exemplified by Gary Bartz playing with Miles like on that incredible Miles Electric DVD with the Isle of Wight performance. I've decided to limit myself to two sopranos, my True Tone I've had for over 30 years (and which I pickup from an overhaul tomorrow) and the SX90. I had a couple of Liebmans SX90's here for awhile and they really impressed me. I got one in silverplate that I just love. In fact I'll do one of these when I have both horns here.
 

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What I like about the SML sopranos is that classic 60's/70's kind of snaky oboesque thing they have as exemplified by Gary Bartz playing with Miles like on that incredible Miles Electric DVD with the Isle of Wight performance.
You nailed it, Kritavi.
That's exactly where the Marigaux soprano shines.
 

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My guess is that C is the JK and B is the SML. I have an SX90II and an early 70's SML King however using my Soprano Planet mpc they both sound very different from anything on the recordings.

I'm gonna take a USWAG on the mystery and say Bauhaus M2.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
What I like about the SML sopranos is that classic 60's/70's kind of snaky oboesque thing they have as exemplified by Gary Bartz playing with Miles like on that incredible Miles Electric DVD with the Isle of Wight performance. I've decided to limit myself to two sopranos, my True Tone I've had for over 30 years (and which I pickup from an overhaul tomorrow) and the SX90. I had a couple of Liebmans SX90's here for awhile and they really impressed me. I got one in silverplate that I just love. In fact I'll do one of these when I have both horns here.
Okay, now I am understanding where the SML lives and why it has quite a hefty rep in the sax world. "Snaky oboesque thing" is definitely something I can hear my SML KM doing. So I guess it be would be like Gary Bartz in this clip on Youtube, with Miles electric band :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmJwV3Xkl8M

Gary enters around 3.22 and he is definitely using an SML I believe. At around 3.44, for about 15 secs, we can see his horn's LH bell key cluster which is exactly the same as the one on my KM. Thanks for sharing the info, I learn something again! Gary Bartz's tone is rather oboeish, as Kritavi mentions!
 

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When do we know the mystery sax
 

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I'm gonna take a USWAG on the mystery and say Bauhaus M2.
Okay since you asked, you were quite close in your guess. However, it's not quite that distinguished a horn as the BW M2. It's probably a Taiwanese or chinese copy of a Yamaha or Yanagisawa soprano. I'm more inclined to think Yamaha actually. I suspect it is from the same factory who makes Chateau, because it is identical to a friend's Chateau in every way, down to the black nickel finish. I bought it used about 6 years back, so it's one of the older Asian horns, cost me around $400. After fixing up a few leaks, I was suprised at how decent it sounded. Some intonation pecularities, which is to be expected.

A current standard BW horn, has better intonation and is fatter sounding, based on my friends recent purchase of one here. Very warm round tone, almost unbelivably so. Okay, so now you know, and that was a good guess that almost hit the mark. The M2 is reported as being more modern sounding, which I take to mean with a bit more edge, more Yani or Yammy like. Maybe a bit like this mystery horn, but with better slotting?

Thanks for taking part!
 

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Some of the SOTWers have told me before, that the SML is reputedly one of the best sopranos ever made. Not my claim. I return to it time and again, and it just seems rather austere sounding, lacks warmth, depth and sweetness in the sound. Rather brighter than I would like too, which I am not sure if it is because of the silver plate finish. Which kinda reflects again Joe Giardullo's experiences with the SML sopranos.
Just don't say that around AhCheung....
 
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