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Popular Euphoniums

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  • Msan1313
    Senior Member
    • May 2014
    • 263

    Popular Euphoniums

    I am curious what certain brands are known for:
    Meinl Weston
    Last edited by Msan1313; 06-30-2014, 10:20 PM.
    Marco Santos - Marcher and Performer
    Guardians Drum & Bugle Corps 2015
    Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps 2016, 20i7, 2018

    Adams E1
    Modified Schilke 52E2 by Justin Gorodetzky
  • BrassKwast
    Junior Member
    • Jun 2014
    • 1

    I play on an York, but I would like try Adams an Geneva


    • DaTweeka
      Senior Member
      • Jun 2012
      • 194

      The higher end York and Besson models are synonymous, although both have had varying quality control. They are very heavy, open-blowing horns that generate a rich sound (I played an English Sov 967-S for about 8 months, as first chair in a large 'wind ensemble'). I picked my horn over 3 other Sovereigns and a York Preference.

      The Adams are in a class of their own, with great response, intonation, ease of slotting and blow, and an exciting, mercurial sound. I've played a couple models (.50 brass and .55 gold brass) for a few hours total, mostly playing on the gold brass. I thought very seriously about buying one before my wallet reined me in.

      Meinl Weston has gained a reputation on this forum for being a bit of a dud. Described as heavy and wooden, those who play them professionally are revered doubly for working with a Meinl Weston. However, this is all hearsay.

      Miraphone's line sports both massive bores and bells. The 5050 has been called the tuba player's euphonium, and I heard a tall tale that Mr. Thurman developed his Signature model to find a horn he wouldn't overblow on. While the entirety of their horns demand a Herculean amount of air, the 5050 Signature seems to stand apart in giving the most bang for one's rather taxing buck. It responds quick as a whip, with excellent slotting, especially in the high range, with an eerily solid high B. Aside from picking this horn up for 45 minutes when I was still VERY green, this is all hearsay.

      Yamaha is well respected, their 'semi-pro' 642 being a very solid workhorse of a horn. I've played a 641 (smaller bell model) for the same wind ensemble mentioned earlier for about 6 months, and while mine was a bit of a beater, it was a very solid, workable horn. The top-of-the-line 842 has potential to be a great horn, but Yamaha has shown a lack of quality control with these horns that's very out of character for the company. My high school has an 842 Custom that I've hated and complained about for 2 years. There are some amazing 842s out there, but it can be hit or miss buying blind. There's also the very popular 321 student model, which I find to be rather bland. I played on a silver 321-S for a year, and kept it while I owned the Besson. Picking it up every now and then, I found a lot of the issues I was having on the Yammy were user errors, and that I could get a wonderful sound out of the horn when I knew how to blow it.
      In case you can't tell, I live in Yamaha country...

      Cerveny's horns are flashy and exciting, but have been reported as poorly made with a sound to match. More forum hearsay, though.

      JinBao seems to have shot up in quality over the past few years. A few companies have gained a great reputation stamping their names on horns modified to company standards. Wessex and Mack Brass spring to mind, as well as some of the horror stories coming from Jim Laabs/Schiller owners. Wessex now offers the Dolce Cantabile, with a tuning trigger and 2nd valve water key, albeit at a higher price than the less decked out Mack Brass. Mack also offers a full refund for the horn plus S+H if you're unsatisfied, and had zero returns for quite a while. The pricier ones seem to have surpassed expectations and can compete with the big boy horns, but this is all hearsay as well.

      Regarding Jupiter, I have a close friend who's owned a silver XO model for as long as I remember with great success (he's off to TTU). He's had some issues with the low range on his horn, as well as with some of the pistons. However, these issues seem to be isolated to his horn. Forum user BrandonJones has endorsed the 1270 XO over his Besson 2051. Some second hand stuff and more hearsay.

      Hirsbrunners have become legendary; velvety, well-made horns whose sound has been likened to rich chocolate. They're hard to find, and rather expensive, but very worth it. I almost got my hands on one a couple years back, but alas... I must entreat you with more hearsay.

      Sterling is a very British horn; a rich, warm sound likened to the Bessons, but with intonation to match an Adams and... hexagonal finger buttons or something. You know it's hearsay.

      I know nothing of Geneva but the price tag.

      There's also Willson, whose 2900 I picked up for 5 minutes and put back down. Though the sound had a certain sparkle to it, it seemed to play rather heavy-handedly.

      I'm also curious about the elusive Inderbinen, and I haven't been able to dig up much about it. Anything firsthand would be appreciated.

      All in all, the pro horns all play about the same; a very stable, sure-footed blow, usually demanding a good quantity of air from the player. The biggest differences seem to be in how far one can stretch the timbre of the horn, and quality of sound in the extremities of one's range (the note is going to be there, but how well it speaks is another question). In buying, I suggest you play as many as you can; there's a good-sized market, and the differences between these horns are subtle. Bring a friend, and always listen.
      Last edited by DaTweeka; 06-30-2014, 09:06 PM.


      • davewerden
        • Nov 2005
        • 11138

        Sterling Virtuoso: a euphonium that keeps the British tradition (and is made in GB). Sound is similar to the older Bessons (that's a good thing). Some customization available.

        Adams: as DaTweeka said! Adams wants to be the best and they work very hard to keep improving the horns. Also it is very customizable. See this blog post for some detail:

        Miraphone: a long tradition of building quality horns. Tubas have always had a good reputation. In the USA the euphoniums did not enjoy much success until the 5050. They are a serious company interested in quality horns.
        Dave Werden (ASCAP)
        Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
        Adams Artist (Adams E3)
        Alliance Mouthpiece DC3, Wick 4AL, Wick 4ABL
        YouTube: dwerden
        Facebook: davewerden
        Twitter: davewerden
        Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium


        • DaveBj
          Senior Member
          • Oct 2011
          • 1064

          Watching this thread for further ideas, in case I ever get to be rich and famous. My own experience with the Jinbao 1150 has been extremely positive; I call it 90% of a Yamaha 642 for 20% of the price. The pros who heard me at the recent IET Festival and knew it was a Chinese horn that I was playing had very positive things to say about the sound.
          David Bjornstad

          1923 Conn New Wonder 86I, Bach 6 1/2 AL
          2018 Wessex EP100 Dolce, Denis Wick 4ABL
          2013 Jinbao JBEP-1111L, Denis Wick 4AM
          2015 Jinbao JBBR-1240, Denis Wick clone mouthpiece of unknown designation
          Cullman (AL) Community Band (Euph Section Leader)
          Brass Band of Huntsville (2nd Bari)


          • Msan1313
            Senior Member
            • May 2014
            • 263

            I'm going to add my input on Meinl because I've been playing the 451 and 551 for over a year now:
            I agree it has no place going against the pro horns, and think it deserves a high spot in the semi-pro category. I played a Yamaha 641 (whichever came before the Neo) for 8 months and it does not compare in sound. The Meinl takes alot, alot of air, (I can't say more or less than a 5050, I've never played one). I like the tone of the 551 better because it sounds darker with better intonation. Especially with a bigger mouthpiece, they tend to play bigger and darker. Talking with my lessons teacher, he thinks that Meinl's sound is like the Miraphone in ways, and he theorizes that's because they both come from tuba manufacturers.
            Last edited by Msan1313; 07-04-2014, 01:23 AM.
            Marco Santos - Marcher and Performer
            Guardians Drum & Bugle Corps 2015
            Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps 2016, 20i7, 2018

            Adams E1
            Modified Schilke 52E2 by Justin Gorodetzky


            • highpitch
              Senior Member
              • Mar 2006
              • 1034

              I play on a 50-year-old restored Besson New Standard model 181. I tried a lot of new horns (pre-Adams, tho). My wife said none of them made the tone I got from my old Besson, so it went to Oberlohs' for a 2-year long resto with floating large shank leadpipe & side actuated trigger.

              Thoughts about new horns:

              Most all of them take more air than I can make.

              The Kanstul was easy to play and good for the $$, feature-wise.

              The Prestige was twice what it cost to restore my 181.

              The MW was harder than usual to wrangle.

              The Nisrschl 4V comp was unbelievable for the $$.

              Left thumb triggers are inherently awkward & flimsy.

              The Wlllson valves were too far apart for my finger spread.

              The Mirafone 5050 Played nicely, but at the cost of too much air. Same with the Yammie 642 Neo.

              I tried an older Sterling, and if I didn't already have the Besson I'd get a new one.

              Horns (and mouthpieces!) are a lot like underwear...you find what works for you and stay with it

              Last edited by highpitch; 07-01-2014, 07:36 PM.


              • MichaelSchott
                Senior Member
                • Mar 2012
                • 474

                I can only speak to Willson as I've played a 2900 for over 30 years. It's the horn of choice in the major Service bands as the sound works well with a concert band. I find the tone to be rich and warm. It's a well made horn but heavy. The intonation is good but the third partial is consistently quite sharp (I use 1 and 3 or 4) and the A concert above that is flat.

                Bessons and Boosey's have the traditional British sound and work well in Brass Bands. The player next to me in our Brass Band plays a Hirsbrunner. To me it's a bit unfocused sounding but the intonation seem to be good. I've played but one Adams so far and it was a fairly basic model, no SS bell or any other options. The response and intonation were top notch but this model did not speak well in the upper registers. My Willson which of course I am used to is very good in that range.