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Thread: New Euphoniums on Trial - Gold Prestige, Silver Prestige and Geneva GVL

  1. #11
    Having played all three of these models at one point, I wouldn't say that the Geneva sounds like a baritone or really has a baritone-like quality. I've heard that from people before when comparing the Besson Prestige to other models of euphonium, and I think that misconception lies with the fact that the Prestige has a very specific sound profile. I think someone on this forum (maybe Don?) said at one point that a Besson Prestige is a great option if you want to sound like Steven Mead. Now, while I don't NECESSARILY agree 100 percent, I understand the sentiment. The Prestige has a very soft, "rounded corners" feel and sound, which I think can make any other model horn feel a little harsh when compared side by side. I personally prefer more brightness in my sound than a Prestige typically offers, but as always, it's up to the individual.
    Sean

  2. #12
    I currently own a gold lacquer prestige, a silver Sovereign with trigger, and a Geneva Cardinal (and played extensively on a GVL before the cardinal).

    I'm currently playing the gold prestige.

    For me, it was the best candidate among the horns, both in terms of sound quality I am after, and response. Yes, the 6th partial is very high. I go full trigger on that partial most of the time, unless it's the 5th of the chord or something and needs to be a bit high.

    In my experience, the Genevas play well, but the valves are impossibly stiff, even when broken in. The besson valves are just... buttery.

    I agree with the comments that say a 0AL is likely to be too large. I think it's going to be the wrong piece for these horns. Not saying you can't play something big, but boy, that's a monster even for a horn the size of modern euphoniums.

    Mike

    Quote Originally Posted by RobWP View Post
    Hi Everyone

    New to the forum, so please be gentle!

    By way of background: in my late teens, early twenties I sat in number two seats at Norwich Citadel and then Coventry City bands. Since then have played baritone, then back to euphonium, then Bandmaster (so not really playing at all), then a bit more euphonium. For the past three years, I've been on Eb Bass. Just back on to euphonium in the past couple of months. I have a Besson custom made euph that I bought from my brother in law, so no idea of model, etc!

    I am in the market for a new euphonium and am currently trialling the gold Besson Prestige 2052-8G, silver Besson prestige 2052-2 and Geneva Cardinal GVL models. I am also looking for a new mouthpiece having played on a DW 0AL for over 30 years!

    First impressions:

    Gold Besson Prestige is a beautiful instrument. It certainly sounds the most resonant (due to the floating lead pipe, I guess) with a slightly "understated" tone compared to the silver Prestige (perhaps due to the gold lacquer?). It does seem more of a blow than the other two.

    Silver Besson Prestige has a more defined tone than the Gold, but I'm finding it more difficult to pitch on this instrument (possibly only due to changing the instruments and mouthpieces so often in one session). I did manage a clean version of the beginning of The Call of the Righteous towards the end of my lunchtime session!

    Geneva Cardinal GVL seems the easiest to play. It is much easier to centre the sound of each note and have not so many of them fall over. But I do worry that it sounds more like a souped up Baritone than the Besson sound I am used to.

    Tuning on the Gold Besson was terrible, but almost spot on on the Geneva (I've just realised I don't think I tested the Silver for that).

    Mouthpiece-wise, I don't seem to be able to get away from the DW SM3U from a variety of DW classics, Alliance DCs and an SM3UX and SM4UXR.

    Would welcome any feedback and advice!

    Kind regards.

    Rob
    Mike Taylor

    Illinois Brass Band
    Fox Valley Brass Band

  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by spkissane View Post
    I think someone on this forum (maybe Don?) said at one point that a Besson Prestige is a great option if you want to sound like Steven Mead. Now, while I don't NECESSARILY agree 100 percent, I understand the sentiment. The Prestige has a very soft, "rounded corners" feel and sound, which I think can make any other model horn feel a little harsh when compared side by side. I personally prefer more brightness in my sound than a Prestige typically offers, but as always, it's up to the individual.
    I think it WAS me that said that. The Prestige has a strong characteristic sound (I like the word “diffuse”), but rounded corners is a great description also. This sound CAN be overcome (ref David Childs), but I feel like Roland Fröscher’s sound changed dramatically when he had to give up his prototype Meinl horn for the prestige.

    Don Winston

  4. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by spkissane View Post
    Having played all three of these models at one point, I wouldn't say that the Geneva sounds like a baritone or really has a baritone-like quality. I've heard that from people before when comparing the Besson Prestige to other models of euphonium, and I think that misconception lies with the fact that the Prestige has a very specific sound profile. I think someone on this forum (maybe Don?) said at one point that a Besson Prestige is a great option if you want to sound like Steven Mead. Now, while I don't NECESSARILY agree 100 percent, I understand the sentiment. The Prestige has a very soft, "rounded corners" feel and sound, which I think can make any other model horn feel a little harsh when compared side by side. I personally prefer more brightness in my sound than a Prestige typically offers, but as always, it's up to the individual.
    Yes Sean, I can totally accept that my preference with these instruments is based on what I am used to hearing. Most of the top players in the UK play on a Besson Prestige, and so I am somewhat indoctrinated into hearing the Prestige as the archetypal British euphonium sound. As I've played the Geneva through the week, I've come to see it as more like the sound of the round stamped Imperial or Sovereign I used to play in my teens and begun to appreciate it more. But I am finding it difficult to get past the Prestige sound!

  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by miketeachesclass View Post
    I currently own a gold lacquer prestige, a silver Sovereign with trigger, and a Geneva Cardinal (and played extensively on a GVL before the cardinal).

    I'm currently playing the gold prestige.

    For me, it was the best candidate among the horns, both in terms of sound quality I am after, and response. Yes, the 6th partial is very high. I go full trigger on that partial most of the time, unless it's the 5th of the chord or something and needs to be a bit high.

    In my experience, the Genevas play well, but the valves are impossibly stiff, even when broken in. The besson valves are just... buttery.

    I agree with the comments that say a 0AL is likely to be too large. I think it's going to be the wrong piece for these horns. Not saying you can't play something big, but boy, that's a monster even for a horn the size of modern euphoniums.

    Mike

    I have to admit that having tested out several mouthpieces this past week, I've begun to realise why playing seems to have been such hard work for such a long time! The 0AL gives a very large, round sound, but boy is it hard work! At the moment, I've settled on the SM3UX but I've asked my supplier (who sent a SM4UXR which is too small for me) if they can send me a SM3UXR to try too. I want to see if it helps further in the top register without too much compromise in the lower register.

    The Geneva valves are stiff. Interesting feedback about that still being the case once it's broken in. I asked the supplier about them and they said they had wanted to change the oil on them but ran out of time, but admitted they are still stiffer than the Prestige, as you say. Buttery would be the would be the word I'd use for them too.

    I am tending towards the silver Prestige at the moment. The gold is lovely, although it seems to require a little more air. But sound-wise it sounds more like a solo instrument to me. The silver is more of a band instrument. A little more brilliance in the sound just makes it a little easier to ride the band when you need to.

  6. Hello Rob,

    I have been following this thread with great interest. I would love to see a video of all three instruments being played to compare how each instrument is different. It is great to see that you have spent time testing all these instruments and I cannot wait to hear about which instrument you have chosen as the best instrument.

    Best Wishes,

    Micah Dominic Parsons

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF Bay Area, CA, USA
    Posts
    32
    Quote Originally Posted by DEF1 View Post
    Hi Rob,
    Can you get someone else to play them and you listen and see how the Geneva sounds to the listener compared to the Bessons.

    Good luck with your testing.
    Good advice to listen in front of the bell.
    My son tested three Adams, couple Yamahas, and a couple Bessons side by side.
    He strongly preferred the playing experience of the Adams E1 from behind the bell, but lined up a number of different instrumentalists to listen from “audience distance” in three different venues, and they all preferred the sound of the same horn (blind check - no one knew which horn he was playing, but everyone said, “that one”. It was a mixed lot of musicians, too: viola, clarinet, flute, trumpet, cornet, and a couple of euphonium players).
    He’s not that picky about his tool - figured he could get comfortable on any quality euph - but felt that his effort is for the audience, so he went with that priority (although he did have to think pretty hard about passing by the E1).
    .

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Summerville (SC)
    Posts
    273
    That's intriguing, Tokuno ... So, which euphonium (brand/model) did your son select?

    Regards, Guido
    Wessex EP104 Festivo + DC4, SM4U

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