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Thread: HBC Impressions

  1. #1

    HBC Impressions

    I just began testing the medium and large HBC caps on my Adams. I'll save my own impressions for a bit (and I'm still fussing around with things), but here is a video where I did a comparison back-to-back with the Adams standard 4th cap, the HBC medium cap, and the HBC heavy cap.

    Of course the sound output is not the only relevant factor; the "feel" is also involved. And even with sound, when I record in the basement I have to use close-mic'ing. Normally when doing that I add some reverb, but this recording is untouched. So you are hearing what comes off the bell, but you might hear a different effect in a large room. (No large room is available to me right now.) Nevertheless I think you may hear a difference, and that difference seems to match what I hear from behind the mouthpiece.

    See what you think, and please comment!

    https://youtu.be/LNVoANFHuHc

    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Nice comparisons. I can definitely hear more sound - or more presence of sound with the heavy cap. Any difference between the medium heavy and heavy is very subtle to my ear.
    Rick Floyd
    Miraphone 5050 - Warburton Brandon Jones sig mpc
    YEP-641S (on long-term loan to grandson)
    Doug Elliott - 102 rim; I-cup; I-9 shank


    "Always play with a good tone, never louder than lovely, never softer than supported." - author unknown.
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  3. Excellent video, thank you. The difference between standard and heavy HBC blows my mind a bit. To my ear, through very decent loudspeakers, your sound with the heavy HBC sounds rich and more focused into the forefront of where I perceive the sound to exist. The sound with the standard cap is a bit more dispersed. I can almost equate the effect of the heavy HBC to bringing a pair of speakers into proper phase with each other and the sound that results. As Rick stated, it affects the presence of sound, and for me, spatially translocates it to a sweet spot in my audio field.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    If I understand this correctly, you install one HBC on your fourth valve and it affects the entire range of the horn, even when not using the fourth valve?
    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

  5. #5
    I can definitely hear a distinct difference between the standard cap and both of the heavy caps in Dave's videos. The full sized heavy cap delivers a more robust sound, yet at the same time, a "cleaner" sound. More presence, more fullness. That is not to say that the standard cap is somehow lacking or doesn't sound good, it just does not have quite the body of the bigger caps. I hear the difference with the 1/2 heavy cap, but to a lesser degree. These changes might appear somewhat subtle to the casual listener, but to me, they are clearly evident.

    I just got through testing and evaluating a heavy cap and 1/2 heavy cap, compliments of Doug Ruby. I quickly gravitated to the full sized heavy cap and used it for two weeks, playing an hour or two each day. I must admit that I was pretty much a non-believer and skeptic in these heavy bottom caps prior to trying them. No more, I like the heavy cap and the difference it makes on my horn with me playing it. Besides the differences that one hears, there is also a difference in the general feel of playing and the resonance in the horn, both "improved" with the use of the heavy cap. I can't confirm for sure that the heavy cap was the reason, but I believe the heavy cap gave me a better outcome when playing in the extremely high range (let's call that the notes above high Bb, say up to high F). I can generally play up to F above high Bb, but many times the note is not as solid, full, etc. as I would like. I was able to play these notes with significantly more fullness of tone and stability using the heavy cap. I have no idea scientifically why this may be possible, but nonetheless, that is what I noticed, and I tested and tried high range playing many times while using the heavy bottom cap.

    I will be getting my own heavy bottom cap.
    Last edited by John Morgan; 08-28-2020 at 10:21 AM.
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Wessex TE-360 Bombino Eb Tuba
    Rapid City New Horizons & Municipal Bands (Euphonium)
    Black Hills Symphony Orchestra (Bass Trombone), Powder River Symphony, Gillette, WY (Tenor Trombone)
    Black Hills Brass Quintet (Tuba)

  6. Dean,

    On a compensating euphonium, air flow passes through the 4th valve casing whether you use it or not. If you push down the 4th valve, it passes through twice. The theory is that the large weight at the end of the 4th valve lowers the harmonic frequency at which it will resonate, thus stabilizing the response of the horn.

    Doug
    Last edited by daruby; 08-28-2020 at 01:08 PM.
    Sterling Virtuoso 1065HGS & Adams E3 Prototype 0.70 Top Sprung valves
    Sterling Virtuoso 1050HGS baritone
    New England Brass Band
    Winchendon Winds/Townsend Military Band

  7. #7
    Another point about a heavy 4th cap: that valve casing is not as well braced as 1-2-3 because the first 3 have more ports in & out. So I figured the heavy cap helps stabilize that 4th valve kinda hanging out on its own. (Only my theory - I have never heard a complete explanation.)

    Anyway, since all air passes through the 4th valve, as Doug said, it seems likely it could affect the entire range. When designing the Hirsbrunner prototype euphonium it was discovered that the pipe from the 1-2-3 group to the 4th valve is a fairly critical piece. They changed the curve of that one piece and found an improvement overall. So it stands to reason (again, in my own mind) that a 4th valve casing that sorta "flops around" could also affect many things.

    Also of note, the HBC folks say that using their product on only the 'last' valve is best (so, 3 on a 3-valve and 4 on a 4-valve horn). Adding more weights to the other valves has either a diminished effect or can actually be counter-productive.
    Last edited by davewerden; 08-28-2020 at 11:40 AM.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  8. #8
    Stupid question -- are the threads on all euphoniums identically pitched, or does the manufacturer have to make different HBCs for different brands?
    David Bjornstad

    1923 Conn New Wonder 86I, Bach 6 1/2 AL
    2018 Wessex EP100 Dolce, Denis Wick 4ABL
    2013 Jinbao JBEP-1111L, Denis Wick 4AM
    2015 Jinbao JBBR-1240, Denis Wick clone mouthpiece of unknown designation
    Cullman (AL) Community Band (Euph Section Leader)
    Brass Band of Huntsville (2nd Bari)

  9. Quote Originally Posted by DaveBj View Post
    Stupid question -- are the threads on all euphoniums identically pitched, or does the manufacturer have to make different HBCs for different brands?
    Dave, good question. Threads are different based on brand and when the horn was built. Older English Besson are not the same as newer Besson. Older Sterling, Willson, Adams, and probably Hirschbrunner are the same because they are all based on the Bauerfeind valveset that they all used at one time. Newer Sterling used a different valveset and I do not know if the thread and diameter are the same. I also suspect that Yamaha is different from all of the above. The folks at HBC can give advice, I am sure.

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

  10. #10
    As of right now, here is my valve cap arsenal:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    For today's practice I'm using the medium HBC cap. I'm trying to decide if I lose a little responsiveness as I add the heavier cap(s). It would seem logical, but I suppose an argument could be made on the other side. Anyway, that is not something I can record to assess later!
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

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