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Thread: Sinfonico, an amateurs evolving perspective

  1. Sinfonico, an amateurs evolving perspective

    First of all, I am putting up two videos to compare my limited rusty embouchure on both the Wessex Sinfonico and a Besson Imperial from the 80s



    I figure that this is the sort of “upgrade” consideration that the typical Wessex customer will be ruminating over. As a Adams/Geneva/Prestige/Neo owner/buying power I rightly or wrongly would assume that these people might prefer staying with tried and trusted models and brand names.

    The Imperial is on its last legs, you can hear and feel air escaping, it’s had new corks etc. To no avail, air it leaking out of the seams and it would need 2k’s worth of restoration… But, you do get an idea of how I sound on it.

    I think I sound pretty similar, if not identical on both instruments, which in my head confirms that the person has a bigger impact on sound than the instrument.
    The Sinfonico feels more resonant, but that isn’t reflected on my iphones recording ability.

    If somebody else’s unbiased ears hear a clear difference, better or worse, feel free to let me know.

    This is after about 20hrs playing.

    Weight is not that much lighter than the 80s imperial, but you can tell.
    Threads on valves have already improved at finding the correct path.
    Valves are bedding in nicely, I certainly can’t play faster than the valves can return.
    Compression when pulling the valves has eased of, and seems normal to any other instruments I have played.

    Despite me “feeling” that the Sinfonico was thinner when I look at the video it doesn’t get held differently.
    I have never felt that any Euph brand/model was odd to hold, so I probably am not sensitive to the minute changes that euph designs have between models.


    I am playing on a Alliance DC3, which might play a bigger factor for this, but I realise that I made out that the Sinfonico allowed higher notes than other euphs, I tried again on the imperial for a giggle and able to squeeze out the same ridiculous notes, but it definitely required more air and mouthpiece pressure compared to the Sinfonico.

    I am still adjusting my larger main tuning slide, which to my mind confirms that any overall sharpness is because of overblowing from the player and not fundamental instrument design error. I might end up on the smaller MTS but time will tell.

    Tone/sound quality:

    To my ears when listening back to my phones recordings of both the Imperial and the Sinfonico, they are pretty much identical to my ears.

    I have had instruments that remove something from my sound, my experiences with student model Jupiter’s and Besson Prestige’s come to mind, so not saying that tone and sound quality it is completely the player, but I am happy with the sound from both the Sinfonico and the Imperial, so the rest is completely down to me.

    Final verdict:

    Very happy with the Sinfonico, it gives me the sound that I wanted to recapture from my first experiences from playing the Euph, whilst affording me some modern design and build advantages.
    It is staying with me.

    Would happily recommend this instrument to any level of player beginner to professional.

    Only thing I haven’t done is play it within an ensemble, but it’s sound profile similarities to the Imperial, would give me the confidence to just slot right in without a second thought.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Summerville (SC)
    Hello JHarris, thank you so much for the clips and your perspective on these euphos. I listened to the clips thrice now, and I seem to be hearing the following:

    * You seem to be more comfortable on Sinfonico than on Imperial.
    * I hear a "denser" / warmer tone on Sinfonico than Imperial.
    * I Seem to hear a more assured / easier high treble region on Sinfonico than Imperial.

    Thank you again for the review!

    Regards, Guido
    Miraphone M5050L
    Wessex EP104 Festivo (Available for adoption!)
    DC2 3 & 4, DT16, SM4U, 4AL, 51D

  3. Thanks for your kind words Guido!

    The Imperial is a leaky air bucket, with a partially crinkled bell and some pretty big dings, if it was in fighting condition, I wonder if those kind words would have been harder to distinguish.

    I think the core tone is very similar, but the room responds much better to the Sinfonico.

    Sinfonico is definitely easier to play than most other Euphs I have played before, I would compare it to the Neo for ease of blowing and better intonation, with the advantage of having the old school Besson sound.

    A professional choosing a new instrument and looking for a colour pallet from the “glory days” of Besson, in my humble opinion, would be well matched with the Sinfonico.

  4. The Sinfonico has a more robust sound. I think they sound nothing alike. I think that if the Imp were restored, it would be the better of the two. I can hear the leaks and the effects on the sound. But I also hear a core sound to it that surpasses the Sinfonico. I am wondering if recording could be an issue with both your setup and the prior tester I heard. Both affected a quality that seemed to accentuate the mid range to the point I found it hard to listen to.

    I get new is better. Maybe the Sinfonico is the way to go. I am at the point where I want to purchase a new euphonium also. If I could find an old Imperial for cheap and have it restored, it might be very tempting.

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  5. #5
    FWIW, I think a newer horn like the one we have tested and are testing (ACB Doubler and Wessex Sinfonico) is likely to have better response, particularly in the low range, than an old horn. They will also have a more "modern" tone concept, which somewhat more pure and open.

    The classic Bessons have a very rich sound, though. They have a coloration to the sound, but it is quite pleasant and projects very well, too.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
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  6. Just an update because I have since played the Sinfonico within an UK brass band for rehearsals and concerts.

    With the caveat that it’s a new band to me and that the rehearsals and concerts have all been outdoor environments, so some comments might change when rehearsals resume in an indoor setting…

    Ensemble: Sound/tone/volume wise it fits/blends into a UK brass band just fine, it doesn’t stand out until you ask it to.

    Tuning: I have finally adjusted to the instrument and against a tuner I am in tune with the notorious 6th partial F etc. also being in tune, against a tuner…

    However, in an ensemble, where you are next to a globe stamp euph, being in tune to a tuner isn’t the same as what other players are playing, as you can imagine the GS euph is very sharp, but because my 1st valve slide is all the way in, the difference is unlippable.

    This GS euph player, in their words, hasn’t adjusted slides since they received the instrument and just lips it, so when we are in a less volatile environment (indoors) it can be looked into more successfully, because the Sinfonico’s 6th partial is lippable into “relative tuning” against the rest of the ensemble…

    It will be interesting to read the opinions of the other reviewers who play in more accomplished/professional level bands compared with my amateur band. Especially the US bands with regards to blending as I know you guys have a slightly different concept of the euphonium sound….

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Valley City, North Dakota, USA
    Has there been any additional feedback now that these initial reviews are over a year old?

    Curious if things like the fourth valve cover has seen manufacturing improvement...

    I currently own a Schiller Elite compensating euphonium. I seem to have gotten a decent I haven't had any issues with it. (However, I WILL say that I absolutely HATE Jim Laabs Music. Have had several horrific experiences with them...just not with this euphonium purchase.)

    I'm starting to play more. I play with the local college concert band (also play trombone with their athletic band) and just recently joined a new community band start up. Since I am more invested in the hobby now, I'd like to invest a bit more into my primary (euphonium) horn. I'm in the middle of don't know how feasible it is to get my hands on a variety of horns. The Sinfonico has caught my eye and I do like what I have heard review-wise.

    Curious what advise you have for someone that simply doesn't have the luxury of testing a lot of horns in person.
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Hidden Valley, AZ
    I'm just curious, does the tubing follow the Besson or Willson arrangement between valves 1&2?

    1966 Besson 181 highly modified New Standard
    1915 York Bb tenorhorn original
    2019 Wessex Tornister

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by highpitch View Post
    I'm just curious, does the tubing follow the Besson or Willson arrangement between valves 1&2?
    You can see the tube pretty well in this video:
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Hidden Valley, AZ

    Thanks, Dave.

    1966 Besson 181 highly modified New Standard
    1915 York Bb tenorhorn original
    2019 Wessex Tornister


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