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Thread: Geneva GVL Cardinal review

  1. Geneva GVL Cardinal review

    It’s been a busy year trying to find the right euphonium…

    Wessex Sinfonico was returned after a bell fault…
    That was replaced with a Sterling virtuoso, great euph, but after a second bout of Covid which has diminished my lung capacity, it was becoming to much, couldn’t get though an 8 bar phrase without having to gasp a recover my breath… This I believe has led me to develop some weird embouchure issues compensating for the resistant the Sterling has especially in the middle range, double attacking notes, delayed attacks, I feared a focal dystonia with it being localised to one range, so I tried a last ditched attempt decided to see if a different Euphonium with less resistance could help.

    Long story short, it did reduce the issue, down to a strange buzz, this gave me some hope and a further change of mouthpiece to one with a very flat rim has all but removed the issues. As I readjust and retrain my embouchure I am already seeing a path to recovery.

    Now the bit that you came for:

    Trying the Geneva Euphs in all the configurations:

    GVL nickel flare lacquered: Least favourite, while it was responsive with crisper cleaner articulations the tone seemed to lack something, I have heard Daniel from Black Dyke play this version of the Geneva live and wasn’t a fan of his sound, but technically he is extremely impressive. I believe this configuration is best for those that favour a crisp and easy to produce articulation. I would have described the sound as like a beefed up modern baritone, Daniel was able to make it sing over the band and disappear/blend when needed, it seems to me that getting quieter is the new ambition within British brass bands at minute. 10 years ago these bands were extremely loud, and didn’t do the level of quiet that is occurring now…

    GVL nickel flare silver plated: sound is better more like the Sovereign or Prestige, and I was very tempted to take this one home, perhaps the way silver bonds helps blend the yellow brass with the nickel flare helped overcome what I thought was missing as it sounded closer to what I hope from a Euph, the advantages of the extra ease and clarity was apparent, disadvantages were that the sound was markedly changed/improved when the dynamics were pushed, I can see some liking it exactly for that change, adding colour, but I preferred more evenness across my sound.

    GVL nickel bell silver plated: I left with this one and am keeping it. I had concerns about the repair side with lacquer and the Geneva rep said it would last longer in Silver and easier/cheaper to repair small dents that will inevitably happen over its lifetime. Sound wise darker/warmer than a virtuoso, but clearer cleaner articulations.

    GVL nickel bell lacquered: sound is darker/warmer than the silver version, I loved the sound and it being slightly lighter was even easier to play, but the thought of having to possibly re-lacquer

    I have tried the Symphony, kinda reminds me of a sovereign not as clear on articulations as the GVL, and a Rose belled Cardinal was similar again to a sovereign, but cleaner on articulation, but these test were at trade stands so not as extensive as the GVL version, neither were enough to tempt me from what I was getting on the Sterling at the time.

    Comments from the wife (a sop player):

    When compared to the Sterling: The sound isn’t better so much, but different in a nice way, it still sounds like you. But it is way cleaner, you can hear all the notes in faster passages and the articulations are way more distinct.

    To be honest, the new mouthpiece recommendation of a flatter rim solved more of my embouchure issues than a new instrument, so if I wasn’t having the issues I probably would have not have been frustrated enough to see if a different instrument could help. Having tried the new mouthpiece in the Sterling it was 60-70% improved embouchure wise, so the winning points for the Geneva in the end were clarity and ease of playing, via not needing as much air, particularly in the mid range which makes it feel less stuffy to play.

    As I am sure many members are finding with Adams Euphs the options are something personal to each player, different materials used are having a tremendous impact on the sound, so what is good for the goose might not be good for the gander.

    They are all well built, as to be expected with the price, the engravings are something to be seen in the flesh as the website images are not the best at showing that off.

    The valves seem to respond better than my 2015/6 Sterling did, though I think I am hearing this more in terms of the clarity, which might have nothing to with valves physical speed and more to do with other factors…

    Ease of blowing means dynamics are increased at the lower end PP is a whisper, and FF is certainly loud without breaking up, the Wessex tone broke quite easily when pushed, especially when trying to balance with the forte of a British brass band, but neither the Sterling of Geneva do without trying to give yourself a hernia…
    I mean you can break both Euphs tone if you push too hard to but normal reasonable and balanced playing in a band wouldn’t do that realistically.

    Slotting of notes is narrow and secure, still enough freedom to manipulate for tuning, but because it feels closer I am sometime pitching D and hitting F and even top A sometimes ends up a top C# (concert C to F and G to B) long term advantages it makes top C (concert Bb) seem like a much lower note than other instruments, overall my extreme high range has improved tone….

    Tuning is very good, comparable to the Sterling which was already excellent, though it seems any modern manufacturer is better than Besson in this regard.

    The GVLs come with a red leather case that is hand made in Italy, with a useful shoulder strap, it’s really compact, which I like, but no room for storage of much else. Visually it’s Italian, so very striking, especially when compared to the muted designs of Besson or Yamaha etc.

    The week trial is a confident sales tactic, I was able to try all the variations before making a choice within that week as well, excellent customer service with that regard.

    If anyone wants to know any more ask away…

  2. #2
    Hello Jharris,

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on the Geneva GVL Cardinal Euphonium with us. I was rather curious to ask why you went for The Geneva GVL Cardinal Euphonium with the full nickel bell rather than for example a Besson Prestige 2052-2 Euphonium? I am rather intrigued to hear your thoughts in regards to both instruments if this is ok?

    I recently tested The Geneva Oldroyd Cardinal Euphonium and The Geneva GVL Cardinal Euphonium and I was really impressed with both instruments and I am trying to find out a little more information in regards to both instruments.

    I was wondering if you had any clips of you testing the instrument that you could share with us if this is ok?

    I cannot wait to see pictures of your new Geneva GVL Cardinal Euphonium.

    Best Wishes,

    Micah Dominic Parsons
    Best Wishes,

    Micah Dominic Parsons

    Website - https://mdpmicahdominicpar.wixsite.com/my-site
    Blog - https://theblogofabrassmusician1994.blogspot.com/

    Facebook Account - https://www.facebook.com/Micah-Domin...05492345484536
    Twitter Account - @MicahDParsons94
    Instagram Account - @MDP.Micah.Dominic.Parsons
    Youtube Account - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRj...KljG3JLcuMs60A

  3. Why not the much more bank account friendly Prestige? Because the playing characteristics were to similar to what the Sterling were, which meant my playing issues were not alleviated, if anything the Prestige made the double note production issue more pronounced…

    Million reasons for that, non of which are a fault with the instrument, I already explained the residual Covid related issues and suspect that I had developed a small bad habit on returning to playing that worsened and then once it was in my head I increased the issue physiologically…

    I quickly walked away from the Prestige fearing I would have to become a cornet player… as I didn’t have the issues when playing my wife’s Bb

    I tried the Geneva and the problem was reduced immediately, then with a little bit of blowing it reduced further to a buzz.

    The Geneva is smaller which allows more manipulation of how it is held, that plus easier to blow it what I suspect is the winning combination.

    Why the Nickel?
    I played it, the Geneva rep played it and the wife played it, so I heard it from the player and audience perspectives and I and my wife preferred it… the Geneva rep preferred the silver plated flared nickel bell, which was a very close second place… I hated and I mean HATED the sound of Nickel flare when lacquered though it did have a pronounced improvement when silver plated…

    Micah, I am still in recovery mode, perhaps when I have built back some confidence I might post something… the recordings I made on a phone when I played them back I was horrified… the wife assured me however that not what it is like in real life thank god… but pics I can do…

    The mouthpiece seems to have made the bigger difference as previous issues were reduced with the Mercer and Barker mouthpiece in the Sterling… but the difference in clarity was night and day according my wife… so ultimately the Geneva has been kept.

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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Jharris View Post
    Why not the much more bank account friendly Prestige?
    Are you saying the Geneva was more than a Prestige over there? That surprises me a little bit, though I'm not sure why.

    Glad you like the horn.
    Mike Taylor

    Illinois Brass Band

  6. #6
    Hello Jharris,

    Thank you so much for your detailed message. I have to admit that I have developed a real interest in The Geneva GVL Cardinal Euphonium and I have been looking into what sways a player to either play on a Besson Euphonium, a Geneva Euphonium or even an Adams Euphonium.

    Thank you so much for sharing these awesome images with me. I really hope that you will be back to normal in the near future.

    Best Wishes,

    Micah Dominic Parsons
    Best Wishes,

    Micah Dominic Parsons

    Website - https://mdpmicahdominicpar.wixsite.com/my-site
    Blog - https://theblogofabrassmusician1994.blogspot.com/

    Facebook Account - https://www.facebook.com/Micah-Domin...05492345484536
    Twitter Account - @MicahDParsons94
    Instagram Account - @MDP.Micah.Dominic.Parsons
    Youtube Account - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRj...KljG3JLcuMs60A

  7. Yea, current price for Geneva is £8750 and the Prestige is £6500. Though prices vary wildly on the prestige depending on retailer… perhaps they have older stock?

    Micah, if you get chance go see Black Dyke live, their sound has changed with the move to Geneva but they also have gained dynamic range and clarity in the lower pitched sections, when you hear a similar quality band like Brighouse the runs just lack the same clarity.

    The fact my wife could hear the difference in clarity between the Sterling and the Geneva with my SHxTE playing says a lot in my books…

    My wife is on a Geneva Sop and has found the same with her playing IMO she sounds better than when we were at Uni, and I am jealous she has not had the issues with embouchure on her return to playing after 8 or so years of neglect…

  8. #8
    Interesting.

    How would you categorize the sound change at Black Dyke?

    Mike

    Quote Originally Posted by Jharris View Post
    Yea, current price for Geneva is £8750 and the Prestige is £6500. Though prices vary wildly on the prestige depending on retailer… perhaps they have older stock?

    Micah, if you get chance go see Black Dyke live, their sound has changed with the move to Geneva but they also have gained dynamic range and clarity in the lower pitched sections, when you hear a similar quality band like Brighouse the runs just lack the same clarity.

    The fact my wife could hear the difference in clarity between the Sterling and the Geneva with my SHxTE playing says a lot in my books…

    My wife is on a Geneva Sop and has found the same with her playing IMO she sounds better than when we were at Uni, and I am jealous she has not had the issues with embouchure on her return to playing after 8 or so years of neglect…
    Mike Taylor

    Illinois Brass Band

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MDP.Micah.Dominic.Parsons View Post
    Hello Jharris,

    Thank you so much for your detailed message. I have to admit that I have developed a real interest in The Geneva GVL Cardinal Euphonium and I have been looking into what sways a player to either play on a Besson Euphonium, a Geneva Euphonium or even an Adams Euphonium.

    Thank you so much for sharing these awesome images with me. I really hope that you will be back to normal in the near future.

    Best Wishes,

    Micah Dominic Parsons
    Micah I like your comment about what sways a player to choose a specific brand. It’s worthy of it’s own thread. I believe that many choose Besson for the traditional sound and the ability to compensate for the intonation issues with the trigger.

    I can’t comment on Geneva as I’ve never seen one in the US.

    I do like the fairly recent trend towards customization. We now see this from Adams, Shires and Geneva. Even Besson offers the gold plated Sovereign with floating lead pipe.

  10. The new Black Dyke sound?
    Like looking at a screen after the protective film has been peeled of, sure you could see everything displayed on it with the cover on just fine, but it’s just that tiny bit crisper.
    Or like a model that’s lost a few pounds before a photoshoot to capture more definition.

    Subtle but you only have to listen to pre 2020 recordings and then the more recent ones and you will hear a difference. Obviously it’s personal if it’s a direction you like or not though.

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