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Thread: Yamaha 842S or Besson Prestige?

  1. Yamaha 842S or Besson Prestige?

    I am a college student at USU, studying music education (and music therapy). Euphonium is my main instrument and I've never owned my own horn before. I've been using the school's best horn - a Besson Sovereign - but I need to buy my own instrument now.

    I've narrowed it down to two horns (not exactly hard when it comes to euphoniums)

    1. Besson Prestige

    2. Yamaha 842S



    I've read reviews, but I can't tell which one would be better. I usually hear that Besson is way better than Yamaha, but sometimes I will hear that Yamaha is better because of the intonation problems of the Besson. I would ignore the intonation comments if it wasn't for the fact that I had some serious tuning issues with the Besson I'm on now. The horn plays very sharp - my tuning slide is almost all the way out all of the time.

    However, over time, I got used the the Besson and my pitch issues sort of fixed themselves.

    Still, I'd like advice. Which horn is better in your opinion?

    Thank you!



    - Sarah


  2. #2

    Yamaha 842S or Besson Prestige?

    There is no "right" answer: the horn that's better for ME might not be better for YOU. A good Besson will blow a bad Yamaha off the stage, just as a good Yamaha will blow a bad Besson off the stage. Try everything and use what works FOR YOU.

    Because horns aren't put together by robots, there can be significant differences in how two horns that come off the same assembly line side by side, so you should make the effort to try as many different 842s and Prestiges as you can before forming an opinion on which is "better" for you, and then try several of that model side-by-side to select the best of the lot.

    I've narrowed it down to two horns (not exactly hard when it comes to euphoniums)
    While Yamaha and Besson are the most widely available brands in the US, there are at least half a dozen other premium quality horns that I would try if I were currently in the market for a horn, some of which--based on past experience--I vastly prefer to both the 842 and the Prestige. Those include, in no particular order, Sterling, Miraphone, Willson, Kanstul, Meinl-Westin, Adams, Inderbinen, Geneva, London Musical Instruments. Furthermore, each manufacturer offers several different models and options, each of which affects the sound, response, and ergonomics of the horns. If you're going to spend the type of money that it takes to purchase a premium horn, you owe it to yourself to investigate other possibilities than the "big two."

    Finally, depending on the age of the horn, a Sovereign may not be the best measure of the native intonation of a Prestige. Not only is there variability from horn to horn, but the Prestige (and the Sovereign) were significantly tweaked to improve response and intonation in 2006 when Buffett-Crampon bought the Besson trademark and shifted manufacture from Keilwerth-Schreiber to B&S.

  3. Yamaha 842S or Besson Prestige?

    For me personally, if I were narrowing things down to an Yamaha 842S or a Besson Prestige. I would chose the Besson hands down. But my resasons are somewhat idiosyncratic.

    Similarities:

    Responsiveness - Comparable between new Prestige and 842S. The Yamaha is significantly better than the older Besson Sovereigns or Prestiges.

    Build Quality - Again, when comparing the new Besson with the Yamaha, I think they are comparable.

    Differences:

    Intonation - Yamaha is generally better, but it does not have a trigger, and is still sharp in the 6th partial. Intonation on a Besson is not great, but if you are used to the triggerless Sovereign, then the trigger on a Prestige will help you keep things spot on.

    Sound - I think the sound of the Besson is smoother and I prefer it to the 842S. In fact, I like the sound of a 642 over that of the 842S. The 842S is "brassier" and "rougher" when I play it than the 642 or a Besson Prestige or Sovereign.

    Ergonomics - BIG differences! The lead pipe on the Yamaha 842 is mounted significantly lower on the bell than on the Prestige or a Yamaha 642. Also, the third valve slide is mounted much closer to the outer branch on the Yamaha 842S (even than on a 642). This means the Yamahga feels like a much "smaller" horn since the grip for the left hand is much smaller (perhaps over an inch smaller) and the distance from the bottom bow to the lead pipe is less. If you are tall and have larger hands, the Yamaha will feel small and require that you hold it up, even when in a seated position. If you are small or have short fingers, the Besson may feel awkward.

    For me, the last two items (sound and ergonomics) are show stoppers. As a result, I much prefer the Prestige to the 842. In fact, I even prefer the Yamaha 642 to an 842 for the same reasons. When I have spoken with Adam Frey (842S) and Roland Froescher (642 and York 4052) they each prefer their own horns for eactly the reasons articulated above. Aside from the fact that each are performing artists for their respective instruments, Roland finds the Yamaha 842 too "small" for him compared with his earlier 642 and doesn't like the location of the lead pipe on the bell. Adam prefers the ergonmics of the 842. Roland is about 6" taller than Adam. So go figure...

    Doug Ruby
    Sterling Virtuoso 1065HGS & Adams E3 Prototype 0.70 Top Sprung valves
    Sterling Virtuoso 1050HGS baritone
    New England Brass Band
    Winchendon Winds/Townsend Military Band

  4. #4

    Yamaha 842S or Besson Prestige?

    "The perfect is the enemy of the good." Voltaire.

    Well the 842 is perfectly good for the use you want. so I would go with it. Your perfect euphonium may be one of the many makes available, or may not. I've tried most of those mentioned and there is no perfect one, only imperfect instruments with different strengths. Sort of like players, that.

    The 842 is a little cheaper than the Prestige, but is capable of world class sound.

    Yamaha in general is easier to get parts and repair service for.

    842 is less gadgety because it does not have a trigger.

    In some technical respects, the 842 is easier to play well.

    Edit: just read Doug's answer. Re the brassy sound of the 842. I think that is somewhat player and mouthpiece dependent. For several years I played an 842 with an SM3, and was getting a very soft and dark sound. I agree about the ergonomics of the two.

  5. Yamaha 842S or Besson Prestige?

    Thanks for all the advice! I guess what I have to do next is find some horns to PLAY... My issue is that I'm in a small town in Utah and I'm pretty sure I won't be able to find a yamaha 842 OR a Besson Prestige anywhere around here.

    Forgive my ignorance, but... do music stores ship horns in just to be play-tested? Because that may be my only shot. Or I can ship myself somewhere.


  6. #6

    Yamaha 842S or Besson Prestige?

    Several vendors will ship a horn with a trial period. Some offer free shipping if you keep the horn, but you are responsible for shipping both ways if you decide to return it.

    Tuba Exchange, which carries Besson and Yamaha (and several other brands) has a 21 day trial period. Call/email John Simonetti to arrange a trial or ask for details.

    WWBW's trial period is 45 days; additionally, by special arrangement, WWBW will ship several instruments (of different models, so you could get a 842, a Prestige 2051, and a 2052, but not two 2051s) for you to try side-by-side. (WWBW also carries Miraphone, Meinl-Westin, Kanstul, and Willson) Call Roger Lewis at 1-800-348-5003, extension 2266, to ask for details and arrange a trial.

    Dillon Music's standard trial period is 14 days, but can be extended by prior arrangement. Call/email Davin Vance.

    Custom Tubas (carries Sterling. Adams, and B&S) standard trial period is 14 days, but can be extended by prior arrangement. Call/email Jeff Rideout or Neal Campbell.

    If you can swing it, you might want to plan to attend the Southwest Regional Tuba and Euphonium Conference at Northern Arizona Univ. in Flagstaff, AZ in May. Most of the tuba/euphonium makers and major vendors will be in attendance so you can try out a wide range of brands, models, and several of each model, and there will likely be several players with used horns for sale as well.

    [Edit: added SWRTEC info]

  7. Yamaha 842S or Besson Prestige?

    Los Angeles is not exactly next door to Utah, but if you can swing a trip there, you could visit Ferguson Hornguys -- www.hornguys.com -- and audition whatever they have on hand. They tend to promote the new Miraphone 5050, and just might have a couple on hand. Call or mail them. Now, the 5050 is said to be a really big-playing horn, but it couldn't hurt to experience it for yourself as you survey the field of available options. Never have there been so many good choices as now!

  8. #8
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    Yamaha 842S or Besson Prestige?

    Originally posted by: warumtobendieheiden

    Los Angeles is not exactly next door to Utah, but if you can swing a trip there, you could visit Ferguson Hornguys -- www.hornguys.com -- and audition whatever they have on hand. They tend to promote the new Miraphone 5050, and just might have a couple on hand. Call or mail them. Now, the 5050 is said to be a really big-playing horn, but it couldn't hurt to experience it for yourself as you survey the field of available options. Never have there been so many good choices as now!
    I love my 5050. One vote for it from Snorlax.


    Jim Williams N9EJR (love 10 meter CW)
    Shires Q41, Yamaha 321
    Yamaha 621 Baritone
    Wick 4AL or Alliance E3A
    Conn 50H trombone, Blue P-bone
    www.soundcloud.com/jweuph

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