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Thread: Sound differences of Wessex Dolce, Mack Brass, and Schiller Elite Euphoniums

  1. #1

    Sound differences of Wessex Dolce, Mack Brass, and Schiller Elite Euphoniums

    I have been playing a Schiller Elite (nickel finish) I bought based on the general consensus on this forum three years ago or so for a "good starter horn". I chose it because of the good reviews (there didn't seem to be any others even in the running at that time) and the fact it is a 4 valve compensating horn - also recommended here.

    I really like the sound, but find I am now looking for something that is even a bit . . . I don't know, darker I guess. I love the rich full sound it has, but think it could be just a bit better. I have been reading all the posts recommending horns now and it seems to be: #1 the Wessex Dolce, something from Mack Brass (not sure of the specific model), a JP274 (Packer?), and the Schiller Elite now a distant forth.

    If I replace my horn it has to be another 4 valve compensating horn and I like the 3+1 format of the Elite. Now to my question, which, if any, of these horns has an even richer tone than my Elite? Or is there another horn that meets my wants that is less than $2000?

    Last edited by ricw; 01-04-2018 at 06:03 PM.
    Ric W :{)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    NYC metro area
    Quote Originally Posted by ricw View Post
    [snip]something from Mack Brass (not sure of the specific model), a JP274 (Packer?), and the Schiller Elite now a distant forth.
    Mack Brass makes it easy: they only sell one model of euphonium. It's the JinBao 1150 with stainless steel pistons. Wessex has modified the model 1150 with a few improvements to their own specifications. You may find the silver plating on the Mack Brass and Wessex horns will make a difference in the sound, and both companies are noted for their quality control. However, I think that since they are all based on the JinBao horn (a clone of the Yamaha 641 or 642), they may sound similar.
    Dean L. Surkin
    Mack Brass MACK-EU1150S, BB1, Kadja, and DE 101XTG9 mouthpieces
    Bach 36B trombone; pBone; Vincent Bach (from 1971) 6.5AL mouthpiece
    Steinway 1902 Model A, restored by AC Pianocraft in 1988; Kawai MP8, Yamaha KX-76
    See my avatar: Jazz (the black cockapoo) and Delilah (the cavapoo) keep me company while practicing

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Sacramento, CA area
    If I remember correctly, Schiller is also one of the labels or "stencils" applied to horns produced by the JinBao factory. So with all these brands, you are looking at basically the same horns. Yes, some of them have tweaks and improvements as required by the end seller. Some companies, like Wessex, are particularly valued for their improvements and quality control. So you will have to decide whether you are willing to pay extra for that. As always, your mileage may vary and the best thing is to actually "test drive" each horn and see what "sings" to you (smile).
    - Sara Hood

  4. Wessex has thickened the bell on the Dolce. Not sure if the others have gone that route. I would think that would give a bit of a different sound. Also, you have the option of a gold brass bell with the Dolce. When I played the 3 versions of the Dolce (lacquer, lacquer with gold brass bell, and silver) I much preferred the gold brass bell.

    Be Well! KKORO
    Last edited by KKORO; 01-05-2018 at 04:49 AM.

  5. #5
    What mouthpiece are you using?
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
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  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by davewerden View Post
    What mouthpiece are you using?
    Thought the same thing: going with a deeper mouthpiece will move the sound darker, as a general rule.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by davewerden View Post
    What mouthpiece are you using?
    I am mostly using the one that came with the Schiller Elite, but I also have a Denis Wick 4AL which I think improves the sound. However, it makes it a bit harder for me to play the higher notes - but on the other hand the lower notes are much easier with it. I went back to the original mouthpiece - it is just a bit smaller - thinking it would be better to try and get my lip developed more before going with the larger mouthpiece. But I really like the sound better with the 4AL.

    I am a converted trumpet player (played in elementary band). My band instructor said that if I wanted to play in high school, I would need to change to the "baritone" which I did. (He was also the high school band instructor.) I played all through HS and at graduation had to turn in my horn. Never played for the next 35 years or so. About 4 years ago, my wife encouraged me to get a horn so after reading everything I could find on this forum about inexpensive "good" horns I chose the Schiller Elite 4 valve compensating Euphonium which I bought from Jim Laabs. I have loved the horn, it is easy to play, and has given me the ability to play so much lower than I could with the 3 valve "baritone" (turned out to really be an "American" euphonium) I played in HS, which I really love, I mean hitting an octave below middle C (Yes I still play TC, just can't seem to learn BC, I keep turning it into TC in my head so I gave up), and being able to work my way even lower than that is amazing. And no, I don't want to switch to tuba! I like the euphonium.

    So, all that to say, I really like the deep rich sound of the lower notes I can now play, and what I can play of the higher notes sound good to, I just don't have the lip for them yet. But I want more. I want more of that richness. I might have the opportunity to switch to a new horn, so If I can, I want to get one that has an even richer tone than the one I have now. My wife has the silver and gold Schiller Elite from the Custom Shop. It is a REALLY nice horn, but the tubing sizes are slightly different than mine and the sound is just a bit brighter to my ear. She thinks they sound the same, and so far, when we play together in the church band, no one seems to be able to tell then apart.

    I know from my experience with the two mouthpieces I have how much they can affect the tone of my horn, but when (if) I get a new horn, I would like to start out with one that is as rich and dark (I think it the correct term you all use) as I can get with my limited budget. I can afford around $2000 which I know is not much for a supper euphonium, but I think the $1200 I spent for the Elite was a fantastic deal and am happy with what I got, I just want that little bit more now. And that is why I am asking about these three horns or if anyone know of another that would meet my requirements.

    I know that is way more than what you wanted to know, but thought it might help if I explained myself a bit more.
    Ric W :{)

  8. #8
    Ric, with all that you said, kudos to you for coming back to music. It's an enrichment that fulfills us. For one, I couldn't and didn't stop after school and now I've got all these instruments and not enough time to play them all.
    U.S. Army, Retired (built mid-Fifties)
    Adams E2 Euph (built 2017)
    Boosey & Co. Imperial Euph (built 1941)
    Edwards B454 Bass Trombone (built 2012)
    Boosey & Hawkes Imperial Eb tuba (built 1958)
    Kanstul 33-T lBBb tuba (built 2010)
    Shen 3/4 upright bass (who cares?)

  9. Dillon 967S. Better than the Besson prestige itís modeled after imo. Fits in your price range as well and has the classic Besson sound characteristics.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Anderson, Indiana
    I think that those who suggested trying out different mouthpieces to achieve the darker sound that you want (as opposed to buying a new and very similar instrument) are offering practical advice. A few months ago I tried out a Doug Elliott mouthpiece (103 rim, J8 shank, J cup). It was more "V"shaped than my Wick 4AL and I got a noticeably darker sound on my Adams E2. I don't remember if Mr. Elliott offers returns, but some brass mouthpiece retailers do. DF Music is one that comes to mind ( I'm certain that there are other mouthpieces out there that would achieve a similar end. It's worth checking them out before investing in a new instrument.

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