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Thread: Besson sovereign vs besson prestige

  1. #1

    Besson sovereign vs besson prestige

    What are the actual differences in these two models? I want to get either a sovereign with a trigger or a willson 2900 before I go to college, but I feel I want that besson sound more and the only person I know of who plays on a sovereign is Bastien Baumet, so do you guys have any input on what the differences are, and if I should get a 2900 over the sovereign?

  2. #2
    gold-plated trim
    fancy case
    trigger standard on the prestige (although available on sovereign)
    heavy top and bottom valve caps (although standard sovereign style caps are included in the case)
    extra stay connecting the leadpipe to the bell on the prestige (although the special gold lacquered model doesn't have this)
    it *might* be a slightly heavier bell on the prestige, too.

    I find the sovereign to be a little more responsive and springy whereas the prestige projects more and has a slightly thicker sound.
    --
    Barry

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Misa Mead also plays on a Sovereign, and in a Q&A video about her equipment she says that the Sovereign requires a bit less energy to play than the Prestige.

  4. #4
    According to the recent Steven Mead Q&A's, the Sovereign and Prestige differ only in bell thickness and leadpipe design apart from the cosmetic changes. The instruments both use the same valve block, bell taper and overall design.
    The Prestige's bell has more mass resulting in a slightly darker sound where the Sovereign's lighter bell responds more easily. The sovereign has a free-floating leadpipe design and bends a little more around the bell where the Prestige has an extra brace between the bell and the leadpipe and is also a tad more straight. These different leadpipe-designs plus the difference in weight, due to the different bells, not only result in different playing instruments but also in weight and feel in the hands of the player while holding the horn.
    Personally, I always found the Prestige on the heavy side and fairly "difficult" to play, requiring a lot of practice and air to be comfortable playing one. I picked the Sovereign 967T over the Prestige while choosing a new horn last december, preferring the response (including a very poppy low register) and lightweight feel over the darker sound of the prestige.
    As Barry already noted, the Prestige has some extra "bling": gold-plated trigger assembly and valve caps plus some extra engraving under the Besson logo on the bell and a fancy all-black with gold trim case. Besson also includes an extra set of valve caps in the case, these are of a different weight than already installed on the instrument.
    The new gold-lacquered Prestige had some improvements made to it including the removal of the extra brace between the leadpipe and the bell. Steven Mead claims these modifications improved tuning and response while retaining a dark sound. I tested one briefly in France before the global health crisis and quite liked it.
    In the end it comes down to personal choice of course, build quality and finish is the same on both instruments and they are priced about the same (around €700 difference in Europe).
    Have a listen to this short duet I recorded a couple of weeks ago with my girlfriend. I play the Sovereign 976T while she plays her Prestige 2052. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCCQlu-_QoQ

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xfoontes View Post
    What are the actual differences in these two models? I want to get either a sovereign with a trigger or a willson 2900 before I go to college, but I feel I want that besson sound more and the only person I know of who plays on a sovereign is Bastien Baumet, so do you guys have any input on what the differences are, and if I should get a 2900 over the sovereign?
    If you're going to be a music major in college, you may want to contact your prospective college instructor in advance. My teacher, Rob Stattel, had acquired a Besson in high school but when he later went on to study with Brian Bowman, he acquired a Willson 2900 and BB1 mouthpiece. I remember noting that one of Dave Werden's students used an Adams with 4AL mouthpiece. I think it's common for students, when they connect with a teacher they admire, want to emulate the sound.
    Dean L. Surkin
    Mack Brass MACK-EU1150S, BB1, Kadja, and DE 101XTG9 mouthpieces
    Bach 36B trombone; pBone; Vincent Bach (from 1971) 6.5AL mouthpiece
    Steinway 1902 Model A, restored by AC Pianocraft in 1988; Kawai MP8, Yamaha KX-76
    See my avatar: Jazz (the black cockapoo) and Delilah (the cavapoo puppy) keep me company while practicing

  6. Vito, above, summarized the differences accurately. I GREATLY prefer the leadpipe of the Prestige, so much so that I had my 2002 Sovereign converted to a Prestige-style straighter leadpipe with mid-brace. If found that with the lighter bell, the Sovereign was more responsive, but with the floating leadpipe, it responded differently in different parts of the range where the Prestige-style leadpipe gave the horn a smoother response across the range. Also, I don't like the leadpipe wrapping so far around the bell. It abets the "tuck your right elbow in" style of holding the instrument which for a taller person like me puts more stress on fingers and wrist.

    Doug
    Sterling Virtuoso 1052HS & Adams E3 Prototype 0.70 Top Sprung valves
    Sterling Virtuoso 1050HS baritone
    New England Brass Band
    Winchendon Winds/Townsend Military Band

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Vito View Post
    Have a listen to this short duet I recorded a couple of weeks ago with my girlfriend. I play the Sovereign 976T while she plays her Prestige 2052. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCCQlu-_QoQ
    Nice job to both of you Vito, really enjoyed listening to that!!
    --
    Barry

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Location
    Leadwood, MO
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    580
    Very nice! Thanks for sharing.


    Quote Originally Posted by Vito View Post
    According to the recent Steven Mead Q&A's, the Sovereign and Prestige differ only in bell thickness and leadpipe design apart from the cosmetic changes. The instruments both use the same valve block, bell taper and overall design.
    The Prestige's bell has more mass resulting in a slightly darker sound where the Sovereign's lighter bell responds more easily. The sovereign has a free-floating leadpipe design and bends a little more around the bell where the Prestige has an extra brace between the bell and the leadpipe and is also a tad more straight. These different leadpipe-designs plus the difference in weight, due to the different bells, not only result in different playing instruments but also in weight and feel in the hands of the player while holding the horn.
    Personally, I always found the Prestige on the heavy side and fairly "difficult" to play, requiring a lot of practice and air to be comfortable playing one. I picked the Sovereign 967T over the Prestige while choosing a new horn last december, preferring the response (including a very poppy low register) and lightweight feel over the darker sound of the prestige.
    As Barry already noted, the Prestige has some extra "bling": gold-plated trigger assembly and valve caps plus some extra engraving under the Besson logo on the bell and a fancy all-black with gold trim case. Besson also includes an extra set of valve caps in the case, these are of a different weight than already installed on the instrument.
    The new gold-lacquered Prestige had some improvements made to it including the removal of the extra brace between the leadpipe and the bell. Steven Mead claims these modifications improved tuning and response while retaining a dark sound. I tested one briefly in France before the global health crisis and quite liked it.
    In the end it comes down to personal choice of course, build quality and finish is the same on both instruments and they are priced about the same (around €700 difference in Europe).
    Have a listen to this short duet I recorded a couple of weeks ago with my girlfriend. I play the Sovereign 976T while she plays her Prestige 2052. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCCQlu-_QoQ
    John 3:16

    Mack Brass Euphonium
    Conn Victor 5H Trombone
    Yamaha 354 Trombone
    Mack Brass 200S BBb Tuba

  9. What about the new prestige gold plated horn(be2052-8g-0)? It has a floating lead pipe now… does anybody have experience with this new horn?

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Harmon View Post
    What about the new prestige gold plated horn(be2052-8g-0)? It has a floating lead pipe now… does anybody have experience with this new horn?
    I'ts essentially an update to the Prestige by making the leadpipe free-floating and having it lacquered in a gold color. The Besson website describes it as follows: "12" bell, gold lacquer finish, free floating leadpipe for more resonance."
    The lacquer with the addition of the new leadpipe design makes it more responsive while retaining the typical dark sound of the Prestige.
    I tried one at the French National Brass Band Championships, it's indeed more responsive.
    An interesting thing to note is that Steven Mead does not use the Lefreque resonance plates anymore with his new golden Prestige. He explained during one of the recent Q&A's that, while they were helpful for resonance on the older design, the new golden Prestige doesn't need them anymore by his opinion.

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