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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I bought a curved VENUS soprano on E-bay. I have a straight semi-pro EXPRESSION sax, but as I suffer of severe arthrisis, it caused too much pain to hold the horn after 15 min playing.

I didn't expect a lot from the VENUS horn, but WOW !! for $240.00 it's sturdy, have a good intonation, it plays in tune from the bottom to the highest note. Ergonomics are very good. The mouthpiece is I think a copy of a Yamaha 4 or 5C. With my Vandoren V16 S7 mp, it is a little bit harder to blow, but the sound is very good.

So I will sell my straight EXPRESSION EXSS380YR. Finish is brushed brass. The horn is in mint condition - about 25 hres. Sound is really rich. I paid it 2300, but I would leave it for 1100.00. This is a special serie designed by the canadian jazzman Yannick Rieu. He plays with the same model. If you want to hear the sound of the horn : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQjEvMh8M-E

Thanks for your attention
 

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Which eBay seller did you get the Venus sop. from?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I bought it from Musicalwheel from California. It has been shipped the day I paid; they announced 7 days shipping delay, but I got it after 5 days. Service is very good. I chose the antique finish as scratches do less appear. Don't hesitate if you want a back up soprano horn or even as a main soprano. Those saxes are really astonishing... Stphen Howard do tested an alto after 1 years in the hands of a music student and the horn was still in great shape.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I'd like to say that some people could guess I do some advertoisement for the E-bay seller, but no....I'm just really surprised by the quality of this horn...
 

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I have a Venus curvie and I have to agree with "jojocat" - it really is a great little soprano and the intonation is very good, especially when using a Yamaha 4C mpc.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Does anyone has any experience with the VENUS tenor ? I have here a Vintage Weltklang that needs about $400.00 to play right; I realise that I can get a nice brand new horn for tha same price. Thanks to share your feedbacks.
 

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Does anyone has any experience with the VENUS tenor ? I have here a Vintage Weltklang that needs about $400.00 to play right; I realise that I can get a nice brand new horn for tha same price. Thanks to share your feedbacks.
I'm going to repeat my standard warning on cheap Chinese saxophones. The real problem is not brand quality, it's consistency within the cheaper brands. One Venus may come from one factory and be wonderful. The next could come from a completely different factory and be trash. That's why I asked who the curvy sop was bought from. If I bought one from Musicalwheels, hopefully it would be from the same supplier as the one evaluated in this thread. Another seller's Venus sop might have nothing in common with the one discussed here. There is no effective enforcement of trademarks on Chinese exports. So Venus is just a name that could be stenciled on any sax exported from China. If it's a different seller, different shipment, or different model from the one you've seen, it may not be the same at all.

PS: This inconsistency/trademark concern probably doesn't apply to the higher-end Chinese saxes such as the Bauhaus-Walstein.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Enviroguy,

thanks for your advices. I'M not sure I understod everything right, as I'm french and I don't read english perfectly, so my question is : if I buy a tenor from Musicalwheel, is it a garantee of the same quality control as the sop I bought from them ??

I first bought an expensive soprano made in Taiwan. I bought it from the only ''respectable'' sax dealer in east Canada. But in the first 5 minutes, a plastic ''mother of pearl'' button fell off... the sax is OK but I as told above, it's to painful to hold the horn for a long period of time. So I bought this cheap soprano in order to continue to play while I try to sell the straight sop. The Venus horn is IMO as better as the expensive sax and it cost 5 times less...
 

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Those straight Asian sopranos are very heavy and the thumb rest doesn't help any. I would say to try the tenor before buying.
As to the question of paying $400 for a cheap horn vs. fixing the Weltklang, I would fix the old horn as you know the faults and good points.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Sometimes I think like you. But in about a year, there will be the pads to change entirely. And how can I try a tenor sax sold in California ?
 

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a plastic ''mother of pearl'' button fell off… it's to painful to hold the horn for a long period of time.
It is very easy to fix this with a bit of glue.
 

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One Venus may come from one factory and be wonderful. The next could come from a completely different factory and be trash.
In 2008-9, there were only about 250,000 saxophones manufactured in the PRC (i.e., the mainland). That number has probably dropped since the worldwide recession. It isn't likely that a brand that has been on the market for several years would be manufactured by many different facilities owned by different business entities, especially if the brand name is a registered trademark--- at least in present-day China. Ten years ago, the above-cited quote might have been the case but it is much less likely now. International brand recognition in China is as important to Chinese products and their manufacturers as it is in the west to western products and their manufacturers.

In China, the saxophone has retained a cultural stigma since the Chairman himself declared the saxophone to be a "bad" instrument. I have seen only ONE Chinese music video (at one of the zillion KTVs here in China) even show a saxophonist. I NEVER hear a saxophone played in a song on the radio. I have seen only one Chinese saxophonist's CD for sale here. (My travel through the mainland is limited, but I live in one of the most affluent provinces outside of Shanghai, so I do get a good feel for what's hot in the top-tier Chinese cities).

When the saxophone becomes socially and culturally acceptable in China, one can be sure that domestic sales will soar and inspire the manufacturers to be more detail and status conscious, and thus interest western importers.

Despite the continual dissing of Chinese-made saxophones, I am sure that the manufacturer of Venus saxophones appreciates the attention from this forum.

Stephen Howard recently reviewed a Venus Alto that had been played for about a year. http://www.shwoodwind.co.uk/Reviews/Saxes/Alto/venus_alto.htm
 

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Jojocat, I too have a Venus curved soprano which is three years old now and sounds great and has had no problems. As to their tenors, I've bought two-one was an absolute dream and one wouldn't play.
The good one was a beautiful horn with the rose brass finish and nickel keys. When it arrived, the octave pad on the neck wasn't lining up with the hole quite right. I took the key off, and gently bent it so the pad hit the hole centered and level. It took about 15 minutes to fix it. After that, the horn played very well, with a warm rich tone, and smooth action. I donated that horn to a local school when I developed tinnitus and thought I was going to stop playing the sax. I am back to playing now, and I dearly wish I still had that horn.
The other one was a nickel sandblast finish. It seemed to have a leak in the low end, and I took it to my local repair shop. They confirmed it had a leak, and fixed that for a small fee. The horn played well for about a week, then it started having the same problem again. I contacted the Musical Wheel folks, and they gave me a full refund on the horn. They didn't have any other tenors at that time.
I wound up buying a Yamaha YTS-23 tenor locally which I got for an excellent price. If I was in the market for another tenor, I would be happy to buy another Venus. If there is inconsistency in the manufacture, it would be worth it to get another one like the rose brass one I liked so much. The Musical Wheel guys are great to deal with, and those horns come in such attractive finishes which are a change of pace from the standard gold lacquer without being the gaudy bright colors.
 

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Don't be surprised by the Venus soprano. I have a Venus tipped bell soprano (saxello) that I bought last year and it's fabulous, quite the equal of other horns costing $1K or more. No, it's not a top level professional horn. But it is 90% of a good Yanagisawa (which it is obviously a copy of), and that's saying a lot.

The real issues with these horns is the QC in the factory. So it's best to buy when you see that there are a lot of instruments available, and if you don't like the one you get, ship it back and get another.

For US customers, Musical Wheel is wonderful to work with, accommodating and responsive. There is a reason they have a lot of sales and high positive feedback percentage.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Dear Steve,

I agree with you as Musical Wheel gave an excellent service. Because I live very far from California, I asked them to double check the horn before shipping in order to avoid expensive shipping fees in case of problem. I got a positive reply and they promised that they would do that without any problem.
 

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I play a Yani 990 in orchestra, and have a hard time hearing myself, even playing into the music stand - dang trombones behind me are always blasting. My right thumb has also been thru tendonitis. I thought a curvy might help me hear myself and help my thumb, but a Yani curvy is not in the budget. Well, because of all the amazed buyers on dozens of threads, I put $250 at risk and bought a Venus nickel curvy soprano. I figured worst case I'd pickup a copy of Stephen Howard's repair book and wrench on the cheapo sax - nothing to lose. Cute little wall hanger in the office?

My sax arrived yesterday. Wow. Very solid, and the intonation over the entire range is as good (dare I say, better?) than my Yani - most are dead on, some are 5 cents off. Oddly enough, the extreme high end and extreme low end are perfectly in tune - it is the low D and F that are a bit sharp - I suspect a few key height adjustments may fix that, but well within my Yani specs. Other Asian horns I've played were 20+ cents off at 4x the price. This horn had no leaks! To the player's ear (me), it seems about twice as loud as my straight Yani - but I still think it puts out more volume to the audience as well. Throw the mouthpiece away - I put a CEWinds gold genesis on it and pushed that sucker down. Awesome sound, deep, with lots of power. I think it would be a great rock and roll soprano, if there is such a thing. Ergos are very good, tho a bit different from a straight horn. The thumb hook is WAY more comfy than my Yani. Some parts of the action are a hair stiff, but after a bit of break-in I'll look at setup tweaks.

This is an incredible bargain, and better than most sopranos I've played out of the box. I definitely got one of the good ones! We'll see how it holds up but I am very impressed. I have to find a neck strap short enough - the four I tried (including the one sent with the horn) were all too long.

It may be time to get a tenor!
 

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jojocat, Is this Expression Soprano still for sale??
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Dear Joeysoprano,

yes, it's still for sale. This sax is absolutely new...but I can't play with a straight sax anymore, even with the curved neck, it's too painful. Have a look at this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQjEvMh8M-E This is the designer himself playing the same sax. Do you hear this sound ?? If you are interested, just send me a PM, maybe I can lower the price a little bit more for you.
 
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