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Wessex vs. Mack Brass vs. Schiller Elite V

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  • frazier4996
    Junior Member
    • Jul 2016
    • 2

    Wessex vs. Mack Brass vs. Schiller Elite V

    So I'm in the market for a euphonium and a little torn.

    The cheapest of the horns I'm considering is the Mack Brass, which I've heard good things about. The Wessex is about $200 more, but has some noteworthy upgrades from the Mack Brass, though I've heard they are otherwise essentially the same horn. The last one I've been considering is the Schiller Elite V. I've heard it too begins as essentially the same horn, but the big difference is the addition of a trigger, but for about $500 more than the Mack Brass. I guess my question is which one is most worth the money. Are the Wessex upgrades worth $200? Is the trigger on the Schiller worth an extra $500? I want to spend as little as possible, but get myself a horn that will last me through college and beyond. I'm not an instrumental major, so it isn't my primary focus, but I'd still like a horn that will serve me well.
    Wessex Dolce EP100
    Schiller Elite V
    Mack Brass EU-1150
  • davewerden
    • Nov 2005
    • 11138

    Welcome to the forum!

    Sorry, but I can't take the poll - the question is too complex.

    For me the first decision is easy enough. I think Mack and Wessex are both good, but Wessex has the improvements you mention plus better quality control processes. For me, that is worth the extra money. (But keep in mind that several of our folks have had very good experience with Mack horns, and especially with customer service.)

    But the Elite is tougher to answer. The Chinese horns as a group are sharp on the 6th partial (but probably not as much as the old Bessons, for example). If you are not comfortable lipping down, or if you don't want to use alternate fingerings when required, AND if you are playing in a group with the other brasses won't be sharp on the same notes, then the trigger might be a good buy. BUT (told you it was complex) a trigger on any horn requires more maintenance. You need to keep the slide itself lubed well (trombone slide cream works nicely) so it moves freely and so you get a night air seal. The mechanism itself need oil now and then, but it's no big deal (I used synthetic because it lasted longer). Also the trigger mechanism is somewhat fragile compared to the rest of a euphonium. So you would need to take a little extra care with the horn (not that extra care is a bad thing, but you need to assess you own likelihood of doing so). It also makes the horn heavier. With those caveats, a trigger can be handy. Is it worth the extra cost and trouble to you?
    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


    • frazier4996
      Junior Member
      • Jul 2016
      • 2

      Thanks for the quick response, and I understand why you didn't want to vote on the poll. I learned on a non-compensating, and have wanted to make the transition over to a compensating horn. I have played some on a compensating horn to get a feel for it, but I'm ready for my own now. I played on a four valve non-comp Accent horn through high school, and certainly had to learn how to adjust for some intonation issues. I was leaning most toward the Wessex, but thought I'd inquire about the value of a trigger, as I've never used a triggered horn before. For the extra upkeep and price, I don't think it would be worth it for me personally, I'm comfortable enough lipping down. I've heard and read many similar things about the quality of the Wessex horn for the price, so I think that's what I will stick with. Thanks!


      • John Morgan
        • Apr 2014
        • 1885

        I agree with your own assessment of the Wessex. I bought one in Dec 2015 and used it exclusively for almost 6 months while waiting on a custom horn to be built and delivered. It performed great and was a very pleasant surprise to me. I played several solos with a band I play with, and it performed flawlessly. I like it so much, I am keeping it even after getting a custom made horn that I play primarily. Just don't think you can go wrong with a Wessex for the quality, service, and overall value.
        John Morgan
        The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
        Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium,
        1973 F. E. Olds & Son Studio Model T-31 Baritone
        Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
        Year Round Except Summer:
        Kingdom of the Sun (KOS) Concert Band, Ocala, FL (Euphonium)
        KOS Brass Quintet (Trombone, Euphonium)
        Summer Only:
        Rapid City Municipal Band, Rapid City, SD (Euphonium)
        Rapid City New Horizons Band (Euphonium)


        • EuphGuy
          • Apr 2007
          • 105

          I have a Mack and it has served me well for four years or more now. I have had no issues except for the minor annoyance of the first valve cap being hard to thread on some occasions. It's more of a quirk than anything. This issue has likely been resolved by now in terms of manufacturing. It's a great bargain IMO.

          That said, my vote is for the Wessex as I think the improved leadpipe angle would be worth the extra cash. The angle of the one on the Mack is not "bad" and I quickly adjust when picking up that horn, but I would prefer it to be more like the Wessex. My Mack requires me to hug the horn a bit more than I like.....but that's just me.

          Either of those horns would be a great choice.

          regarding the Schiller.....the regular "elite" horn is the same clone as the Mack and Wessex (or used to be). I'm not so sure about the "elite V" or "custom shop" models. The trigger model appears to be a different horn altogether looking at the wrap, valve caps, valve lock, etc. just be aware that the triggered horn may be an apples-to-oranges comparison. Even if my Mack had a trigger, I doubt I'd use it as the intonation is quite good overall IMO....the Wessex would probably be the same way.

          Good luck!


          • ghmerrill
            Senior Member
            • Dec 2011
            • 2385

            You're asking a question that only you can answer -- and that's evident even in how you pose the quesiton.

            In my own case, the Mack Brass euphonium was the best choice FOR me since I got it at quite a low cost but with a higher sense of reliability and customer support than I would have for a cheaper horn from Laabs. And I don't use it heavily (though there's no reason why I shouldn't). Yet when I bought my bass trombone, my criteria were somewhat different, and I bought a Schiller from Laabs.

            In the case of my EEb tuba, I wanted very much again to buy from Mack (he was still selling them at that point), but ended up spending about $700 more for the one from Wessex because it had the raised lead pipe.

            All of these are probably fully "worth the money", and none of them are likely less worth the money than the others. But they're different instruments and different amounts of money. You pays your money and ... The bottom line is that if you can AFFORD to purchase each of these horns, then you can AFFORD to get the one you really want -- and whether it's the one that's "most worth the money" isn't a fruitful question to even attempt to answer.
            Gary Merrill
            Wessex EEb Bass tuba (DW 3XL or 2XL)
            Mack Brass Compensating Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J9 euph)
            Amati Oval Euph (DE 104, Euph J, J6 euph)
            1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba (with std US receiver), Kelly 25
            Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K10/112/14 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
            1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)