Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 20

Thread: Jim Tests the Wessex Sinfonico--Part One

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Indianapolis area
    Posts
    909

    Jim Tests the Wessex Sinfonico--Part One

    As part of the “Beta Boys” euphonium testing team, I had the opportunity to work with the Wessex Sinfonico euphonium for a week or so.

    Since John Morgan has given us a set of videos demonstrating the Sinfonico and Dave will produce his Grammy-winning demos, I’ll spare you my own screeching. Instead, I’ll comment on my very positive experiences with it during the trial period. Pictures will follow as soon as I can take time off a monstrous Finale project.

    *First, a word about Wessex: I called James with a couple of questions and had a nice discussion. My questions, of course, were answered completely. As a former professor of business administration, I have been consistently impressed by the concern at Wessex for customer service and quality control. All evidence points to the fact that customers can purchase from Wessex with total confidence.

    *TONE QUALITY: The Sinfonico has a full, resonant tone, as you heard from John and will hear from Dave. It’s perhaps a bit lighter than my NEO, but it blended very well with the other euphoniums in the Indianapolis Brass Choir—one gold-lacquer Prestige, one Adams, and one Hirsbrunner. The compensating range was full and responsive. I’d put the Sinfonico in the tonal category of a Hirsbrunner, which is certainly a compliment.

    *DESIGN: As you see in the photo, the Sinfonico is slightly longer and a bit narrower than my NEO and the location of the mouthpipe is a bit different. Per Ann’s request, I have included a picture of the Sinfonico being held while I’m seated; I’m a bit over six feet tall. I am very fond of the 11-inch bell on the Sinfonico, as I feel it projected nicely without edge when I played it on a couple of tunes with the Brass Choir in its rehearsal last Thursday. The Sinfonico blended well with horns (French, not tenor), trombones, and tubas when I played it in rehearsal. Given the interchangeable receivers in the mouthpipe and the straight-shot tubing from the third valve into the fourth (see photos), the Sinfonico reminds me of a Hirsbrunner except for the smaller bell. The straighter third-fourth- valve tube in the Sinfonico should lead to smoother response in the compensating register. Conversely, the Sinfonico’s mouthpipe is more angular than my NEO; I’m not sure what the acoustic consequences of that are—if any—but I certainly didn’t feel or hear any consequence. I found the Sinfonico to be a well-developed concept.

    *CONSTRUCTION: An inspection of the Sinfonico exposed no visible solder blobs, misaligned slides, or plating issues. All slides moved smoothly and easily, but I did have a SLIGHT bit of difficulty with threading on the second and third valves, but was able to remove and replace the caps with a small bit of drag in a spot or two. I can confirm John’s experience with the fourth-valve latch not retracting all the way, and it did fall back on the valve stem once or twice. If that’s all I have to gripe about, then Wessex has a real winner here. I also noticed that there was no brace midway between the tubes of the long third-valve slide as there is on my NEO. There are, however, TWO braces connecting the third-valve slide to the body of the horn, whereas my NEO has only one. I felt no lack of resonance anywhere on the horn, let alone on the third valve. The Sinfonico’s mouthpipe is braced differently from my NEO as well. I have come to learn that bracing decisions can influence response, and the Sinfonico certainly responds admirably in all registers at any dynamic level. So the well-designed concept of the Sinfonico has certainly been well executed.

    *VALVES: Very smooth with no drag and no signs of poor machining. I also noticed that there are fewer/smaller “bumps” inside the caucades than I am accustomed to seeing. That HAS to help airflow through the valves and improve response.

    *TUNING: I found no egregious intonation problems with the Sinfonico; the “usual suspects” of quirky intonation were easily lippable. I found the high B to work ok—for me--with third valve and the D above it—for me--with force and 1-2. Tuning was fine from the pedal register up to double-high B flat. Compared to my NEO, the Sinfonico doesn’t appear to be terribly sensitive to mouthpieces; I used the included Wessex mouthpiece, a Wick 4AL, a Mead 3.5, and a DC4 (see picture). No one mouthpiece provided any significant advantage or detriment, and response/tuning remained constant across mouthpieces.

    *ACCESSORIES: Wessex is very generous in its inclusion of TWO main tuning slides and the three sizes of interchangeable receivers. While John preferred the longer slide, I found the shorter slide to fit me better, but I have needed to shorten MTSs on almost every one of the 856 compensating euphoniums I have ever owned. THANK YOU, Wessex, for this courtesy!! While John noted some difficulty in removing the receiver, I had no such difficulty (we had different horns to test). The included 4Y mouthpiece is in the 26mm class with a slightly larger throat than the 4AL or DC4. The 4Y’s exterior bears a slight resemblance to a “Dr. Young” tuba mouthpiece but (fortunately) does not duplicate its inner structure. See attached photo of DC4, SM 3.5, Wessex 4Y, and Wick 4AL. The case is well made and padded in the “soft hard case” style and holds the horn well; the outside pouch can hold music and accessories comfortably. John’s folio must be larger than mine, which fit ok into the exterior pouch.

    *CONCLUSION: The Wessex Sinfonico is an excellent instrument…it’s one of those instruments for which one is tempted to say “it’s a fine horn for the money.” NO. It’s just a fine instrument, period…well-designed and well-constructed. I second John’s opinion that the Sinfonico would serve well as one’s only euphonium. I also appreciate Wessex’s devotion to “kaizen”-style continuous improvement. Thanks to Jonathan and James for allowing me the pleasure of working with the Sinfonico!
    Last edited by Snorlax; 06-27-2021 at 04:48 PM.
    Jim Williams N9EJR (love 10 meters)
    Yamaha 642-II Neo, Wedge 103E, SM3.5
    Yamaha 321, Yamaha 621 Baritone
    Conn 50H trombone
    Blue P-bone
    www.soundcloud.com/jweuph

  2. #2
    Very nice review, Jim. I will avoid much elaboration at this point, until all 4 of the reviews are in. But I am happy to see that you found the Sinfonico to be a fine horn, as I did.
    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)

  3. Deleted
    Last edited by Richard III; 06-28-2021 at 04:43 PM.
    Richard

    1935 Conn 64I Baritone
    King 1130 Flugabone
    King 2280 Euphonium

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Summerville (SC)
    Posts
    284
    Hello Jim, thank you for the detailed review of Sinfonico!

    Yet, may I try to persuade you to record and post some clips.... Put Sinfonico through its paces across its range and expressivity with some of your favorite mouthpieces.

    Unfortunately, words alone cannot truly yield the character of a euphonium, no matter how excellent the review might be.

    Looking forward to hearing you playing Sinfonico… Best regards, Guido
    Wessex EP104 Festivo + DC4, SM4U

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Indianapolis area
    Posts
    909
    Guido,
    Please check out John's recordings, and I'm sure Dave will make a few. It doesn't get much better than that. My setup would most likely not present the instrument to its actual sonic quality.
    If I keep the instrument a day or two more, I might see what I can do, but I am anxious to get the horn to its next stop, and I assume the next person is
    waiting anxiously for its arrival. I've asked for the shipping label to send it on. I'm happy to answer any questions you or anyone may have about the Sinfonico.
    Jim
    Jim Williams N9EJR (love 10 meters)
    Yamaha 642-II Neo, Wedge 103E, SM3.5
    Yamaha 321, Yamaha 621 Baritone
    Conn 50H trombone
    Blue P-bone
    www.soundcloud.com/jweuph

  6. I'm going to apologize if I offend anyone. Someone telling me the horn sounds great has little value. I'm "up to here" with people raving about whatever new instrument they just bought. Also about the new technique that has resulted "amazing range and tonality." None of that matters when you can't hear it. Again, apologizing to anyone who might be offended, but, the world is full of people claiming all kinds of things. I want to hear what comes out the bell. I want to hear what comes out the bell of multiple players. If I hear a less than optimal sound coming from one player, I ask if it is the player, the horn and the recording method. If I hear non desirable sounds coming from all the players, I conclude that the horn in question is not the one for me. Obviously the reverse is also the case. Too many times everybody piles on with rave reviews and I wonder what they were hearing.

    I would very much appreciate a video.
    Richard

    1935 Conn 64I Baritone
    King 1130 Flugabone
    King 2280 Euphonium

  7. #7
    I appreciate the comments and the time it took to put this together. Given that this is being done for free and on Jim's personal time I appreciate it even more. If you look at some of the other posts about the Sinfonico you should see that there are some videos available. I appreciate it when anyone takes the time to share their thoughts and opinions. This is a hobby for most of us and a life long passion.
    John 3:16

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

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Indianapolis area
    Posts
    909
    Richard III:
    As I have stated, John Morgan has provided a marvelous set of pieces played on the Sinfonico. I most highly recommend them to your attention.
    Jim Williams N9EJR (love 10 meters)
    Yamaha 642-II Neo, Wedge 103E, SM3.5
    Yamaha 321, Yamaha 621 Baritone
    Conn 50H trombone
    Blue P-bone
    www.soundcloud.com/jweuph

  9. Richard, unless people reviewing the instrument have professional recording equipment and the knowledge on how to get a mix that matches what the recorder is hearing you aren’t going to get what you are looking for.

    My own recording were done on an iPhone, which is why it was compared to another instrument, also any short comings are definitely the player…

    Johns’s recordings were done with decent equipment, but, and I might be wrong, seemed close miked, that doesn’t always give you how it sounds within the room from an audience perspective, but again there are comparisons to the Sinfonico and the Adams, so you get like for like, kind of…

    I know that I have grown, and will continue to grow, more comfortable with the instrument with my usage, so my personal sound has improved further, will that be picked up on with an iPhone?

    I will try and post something up to appease you, but honestly buy it, try it for yourself and if you don’t like it, return it.

    That was my plan, and I haven’t returned it, and unlike the reviewers, who always intended to return it, my hard earned money was on the line, but weirdly, my experiences of it line up with the other reviewers.

  10. Thanks everyone.

    I would not purchase one of these, at least so far. John's recording of the Sinfonico did not give me the sound I'm looking for. Further, any maker who has to send out multiple slides to correct tuning issues makes me suspicious that the original design is flawed.

    I look forward to hearing more testers as they come out.
    Richard

    1935 Conn 64I Baritone
    King 1130 Flugabone
    King 2280 Euphonium

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •