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Thread: Contrasting Shires Q40 vs Q41

  1. #31
    In regards to intonation I think the reason JakeGuilbo's experience was different than mine is that the slots of the Q40 are extremely wide compared to the Q41, and even more so when compared to the Q41 medium shank! I tend to play on the low side (as Warren would tell me, play into the floor of the note). So therefore when the slots are that wide, the horn blew really flat for me. If you play more "straight" than you would probably feel the horn was sharp, which makes sense. My most recent feedback to Shires was wanting to find a way to narrow the slots on the horn, and even the new Q40 that I got still feels very wide.

    JakeGuibo, I see you play with and started the San Francisco Brass Band and had your first concert recently! Hope it went well and congrats on having your inaugural concert! No easy task to get a group together and put on a concert!
    Steven Vaughn, D.M.A.
    Professor of Tuba & Euphonium, University of Northern Colorado
    S.E. Shires Euphonium Artist

    Principal Tuba - Fort Collins Symphony

    Eastman 836 CC Tuba
    Meinl Weston 2182W F Tuba
    Shires Q40 Euphonium

  2. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by guidocorona View Post
    In your opinion and for your professional purpose,

    * In which areas do the Q40 and Q41 differ from each other?

    * What are the individual most salient/greatest strengths of each model?

    Best regards, Guido
    Hopefully this will clear up a lot of thoughts/questions on the differences between the two horns, as they are now. I imagine both horns will continue to develop and improve, but I don't believe these characteristics will change much. I don't know if this needs to be said, but this is also just my opinion and observations having played both horns in multiple different settings over the past year or so.

    The Q41 is a great all-around horn, works well is everything. In quintet (if playing the trombone part), it gets the same clarity and directness as a trombone with a bit more roundness. Didn't get to play this horn with an orchestra, but in practice is sounds like it would project over the orchestra for something like Planets/Mahler 7 with a true "tenor horn" like quality. I know Hiram has played it with orchestra. In wind band it really shines and does such a great job at being able to blend with all the different colors of a wind band like clarinet, trombone, tuba, french horn, etc. and provide depth to the band sound. In brass band it gets a bit too close to the color/timbre of a british-style baritone, ESPECIALLY the medium shank model. The large shank model is a good comprise if you want your euphonium to be a bit brighter and more forward in sound but not stepping into british-style baritone timbre too much, IMO it still does however, and makes it difficult to blend. Dan Thomas does a great job playing a horn with an 11.5" bell with Black Dyke Band, and the smaller sound/bore used to be the standard for brass band until somewhat recently from my perspective. That's another discussion to be had that would be really interesting!

    The Q40 is a bit too wide in sound for brass quintet trombone parts, even on something like the Kamen quintet which you'd think would be great. The rounded articulations make it hard (not impossible though) to match with horn/trumpet. In orchestra it works pretty well if you can project the sound, but it takes more effort than the Q41, but that could also be overcome with a mouthpiece change probably as well. In wind band it works great if you are playing a piece where the composer treats the euphonium like a 3rd tuba part...which is a lot of pieces in my experience! But for traditional wind band pieces (Holst/Marches/transcriptions) it's again too wide and the articulations are too rounded. The Q40 flourishes in brass band, the rich, warm sound blends really well with every combination of instruments (soli's with tenor horn, doubling with soprano cornet to provide depth, providing clarity for the EEb tuba, duets with flugelhorn sound really lovely, etc.). Compared with my Prestige where I felt my sound couldn't get past the front of the stage (I did have an older prestige, and would be interested in trying a newer one to see how the differ). The Q40 does a great job of blending in the middle register, and soaring in the upper register to be heard clearly in even the thickest of textures, and loud dynamics.

    Both horns are equally great for solo playing, and just depends on your preferences for feel/sound. So for my purposes, the Q40 is what I need. Admittedly, I haven't played euphonium in a wind band setting (outside of subbing for some rehearsals) since I was in college (and that's ok with me tbh! lol). I play solo repertoire/brass band and orchestra on the rare occasion those works come up. Since I also play so much tuba I want a horn that can take a wider air column and not feel like I'm getting backed up, which happens on the Q41.

    What I can say though with confidence, is that the Shires horns are the best feeling and sounding horns I've played on. I've tried every horn at conferences and such and never felt anything special or something that made me want to sell my Prestige until I tried the Shires horns. You owe it to yourself to try them! If you played the Q40 before and didn't like it don't disregard it, the changes have been really positive! Try it again!
    Last edited by stevevaughn; 10-04-2021 at 12:13 PM.
    Steven Vaughn, D.M.A.
    Professor of Tuba & Euphonium, University of Northern Colorado
    S.E. Shires Euphonium Artist

    Principal Tuba - Fort Collins Symphony

    Eastman 836 CC Tuba
    Meinl Weston 2182W F Tuba
    Shires Q40 Euphonium

  3. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by JakeGuilbo View Post
    I too am of the opinion that the Q41 just sounds better. I had the chance recently to compare a (brand new large shank) Q41 and (older) Q40 also and there was no comparison, the Q41 was leaps and bounds a much better horn. The intonation on the Q40 was completely out the window, the particular model I had was really sharp, not flat like in Dr. Vaughn's case. It was also stuffy and unresponsive. The Q41, on the other hand, was bright, agile, compact, beautiful. It floated and responded and resonated. It held up well next to my Adams, but I left that play session actually more impressed with the Adams that I have than either of the two Shires. I was able to color the sound on demand with the Adams and the difference in sound between the Shires and Adams in a larger room was no comparison - the Adams opens up and fills the room, the Shires sounds like other horns. Could be the bell material, could be the room. The intonation was better on the Q41 than my Adams though, but I've been struggling with intonation since the main tuning slide repair. I have a gold lacquer Prestige on order - I look forward to seeing how this horn compares.
    Finally Ö a discerning listener!

    Mike

  4. #34
    I think my opinion may be colored by my experience with a particularly old Q40 - the difference in Dr. Vaughn's recordings was much closer than I remember the Q40 playing, speaking to the improvements they've recently made and no doubt the quality of the performer. It's so interesting that you feel you couldn't project with the Prestige - I feel the Adams E3 projects TOO much - every recording of the brass band I make it's ALL EUPHONIUM ALL THE TIME and it's ALL ME. The timbre is more Willson like than Besson, although it can be molded and shaped, but it sticks out so much. The medium shank Shires Q41 I had on trial in 2020 was similar to the Yamaha Neo I was playing at the time, and not enough of a difference for me to want to switch.

    I am very much looking forward to seeing how well the new Prestige stands up to the Adams. I like the quality of the Adams sound for solos and think I can work to try and better blend if the Prestige doesn't work. If the Prestige is as good, however, with better intonation in the middle of the staff, I'll sell the Adams.

    And yes! First concert done! More relief than anything, now we move on to the next. Hope to become the first band ever from California to compete at NABBA in 2022, if COVID cooperates.
    Adams E3 0.6 with SS Bell
    K&G 3.5D
    ---------------------------------
    Founder and Solo Euphonium
    San Francisco Brass Band

  5. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by JakeGuilbo View Post
    It's so interesting that you feel you couldn't project with the Prestige

    And yes! First concert done! More relief than anything, now we move on to the next. Hope to become the first band ever from California to compete at NABBA in 2022, if COVID cooperates.
    The deal breaker for me was doing a brass ensemble concert Christmas of 2019 with with my Prestige (orchestra brass ensemble, with added euphonium). There was this really nice solo on Greensleeves and the sound just wouldnít get out, I had to work so hard to get my sound to be present for a solo. Then in March of 2020 we did a brass band concert and in the recording I could barely hear my soloís throughout Titanís Progress, and also on my solo piece we did, In Gardens of Peace.

    I played the old Q40 on a program with Cheyenne Symphony that involved a brass ensemble arrangement of Holstís ĎThe Perfect Foolí (GREAT euphonium part in that!), and the Q40 had no problems being heard (even having to lip almost every up to be in tune!). The conductor after the first rehearsal was even astonished at how well the sound carried in the hall, and blended.

    Then I played the Q41 on an outdoor concert in summer, where I did the same solo, and it felt much more comfortable and easy to sit on top of the band.

    Makes me think my prestige just might have had some issues maybe, or needed some work done on it, because I know plenty of people that project really well with it. Maybe itís me!!!

    Hope to see you at NABBA in 2022! We will be there!
    Steven Vaughn, D.M.A.
    Professor of Tuba & Euphonium, University of Northern Colorado
    S.E. Shires Euphonium Artist

    Principal Tuba - Fort Collins Symphony

    Eastman 836 CC Tuba
    Meinl Weston 2182W F Tuba
    Shires Q40 Euphonium

  6. #36
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Summerville (SC)
    Posts
    316
    Thank you Steven for your thorough and thoughtful analysis of the unique character of the two horns. Truly enlightening.

    If I might ask a follow-up....

    How sensitive are Q40 and Q41 to coloring their tone and behavior under different mouthpieces?

    Regards, Guido
    Wessex EP104 Festivo + DC4, SM4U, 51D

  7. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by guidocorona View Post
    Thank you Steven for your thorough and thoughtful analysis of the unique character of the two horns. Truly enlightening.

    If I might ask a follow-up....

    How sensitive are Q40 and Q41 to coloring their tone and behavior under different mouthpieces?

    Regards, Guido
    The Q41 definitely has a wide color palate, part of what makes it so great for wind band where you have a wide variety of instrument types and families. It’s fairly easy to change colors from sweet/dolce to bite-y, for better or worse!

    The Q40 retains a warm characteristic across the range of the instrument, and the spectrum of colors/timbres is maybe a bit narrower. It can still get some bite to it, but that bite is a little bit rounded, but still with lots of core. This is a big difference from the Prestige, which had a huge color range (meaning it could get pretty bright compared to the Q40) but seemed to default to a pillow-y sound as I believe I recall Steven Mead saying at one point (I could be wrong). I do miss the color range of the Prestige at times, but overall I really like that I have a more consistent sound across the horn.

    In regards to mouthpieces I’d say its the same as any other instrument in terms of how much difference you hear when you change mouthpieces. A BB1 sounds pretty different from an SM4U, etc. all as you would expect.
    Steven Vaughn, D.M.A.
    Professor of Tuba & Euphonium, University of Northern Colorado
    S.E. Shires Euphonium Artist

    Principal Tuba - Fort Collins Symphony

    Eastman 836 CC Tuba
    Meinl Weston 2182W F Tuba
    Shires Q40 Euphonium

  8. #38
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/vx0cte35p8...n%202.wav?dl=0

    Hey everyone, I would love to hear some thoughts on these 2 samples. I took the same excerpt from the Cosma, both are played on the Q40, but there's a modification I made between the 2 options. Let me know what you think of the 2 options, and which you prefer! I've uploaded the .WAV file to dropbox so you can listen to the uncompressed version.

    Looking forward to hearing everyone's thoughts! I will tell everyone what the modification was once we get some responses to avoid any pre-judgement.
    Steven Vaughn, D.M.A.
    Professor of Tuba & Euphonium, University of Northern Colorado
    S.E. Shires Euphonium Artist

    Principal Tuba - Fort Collins Symphony

    Eastman 836 CC Tuba
    Meinl Weston 2182W F Tuba
    Shires Q40 Euphonium

  9. #39
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Farmington Hills, MI
    Posts
    368
    Quote Originally Posted by JakeGuilbo View Post
    I think my opinion may be colored by my experience with a particularly old Q40 - the difference in Dr. Vaughn's recordings was much closer than I remember the Q40 playing, speaking to the improvements they've recently made and no doubt the quality of the performer. It's so interesting that you feel you couldn't project with the Prestige - I feel the Adams E3 projects TOO much - every recording of the brass band I make it's ALL EUPHONIUM ALL THE TIME and it's ALL ME. The timbre is more Willson like than Besson, although it can be molded and shaped, but it sticks out so much. The medium shank Shires Q41 I had on trial in 2020 was similar to the Yamaha Neo I was playing at the time, and not enough of a difference for me to want to switch.

    I am very much looking forward to seeing how well the new Prestige stands up to the Adams. I like the quality of the Adams sound for solos and think I can work to try and better blend if the Prestige doesn't work. If the Prestige is as good, however, with better intonation in the middle of the staff, I'll sell the Adams.

    And yes! First concert done! More relief than anything, now we move on to the next. Hope to become the first band ever from California to compete at NABBA in 2022, if COVID cooperates.
    Are you saying the E3 sounds like a Willson? Thatís hard for me to digest as one who played a 2900 for 40 years and now plays an E3 with SS bell. In my experience the sounds could not be more contrasting. In my opinion the Q41 is most similar to the 2900.

  10. #40
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Summerville (SC)
    Posts
    316
    Hi Steve, I listened to option-1 and option-2. The 2nd version seems to have a bit more presence or boldness, or intensity.... What accounts for the difference?

    Also evident in the copy of the same clip, which I have upsampled to 192KHz:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/uvdewltwz2...0192K.wav?dl=0

    Regards, Guido
    Wessex EP104 Festivo + DC4, SM4U, 51D

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