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Thread: Wessex Sinfonico - Reviewed with Pictures and Videos

  1. #1

    Wessex Sinfonico - Reviewed with Pictures and Videos

    I received the Wessex Sinfonico Euphonium a few days ago. I, along with several others, will be evaluating the Sinfonico and reporting results here on this forum.

    The horn arrived packed well and with no visible damage. It is quite a stunning horn to look at straight out of the box (and case). I have decided against taking pictures of the horn as I usually do, since there are excellent pictures of the horn on the Wessex site. Go here for pictures:

    https://wessex-tubas.com/collections...nfonico-ep600h

    The horn feels more compact than other 3+1 compensating euphoniums. If you look at the horn from the side, it is narrower than most others. It is easy for me to hold and play. The finish on the horn is very well done. It is silver plated with copper highlights on the valve caps, tuning slides and on the inside of the bell. I can't recall ever seeing copper as a trim color before. You may or may not like the copper, but it is certainly unique. My gold plated mouthpiece that I used exclusively for the evaluation (a Demondrae Warburton mp) did not exactly match, but no worries.

    There is a very nice Wessex Logo and engraving done on the bell. And the tops of the valve buttons are also engraved.

    The tuning slides all move well, and the tolerances are very close. It takes a bit of effort to pull them out and push them in, but this probably eases up with use (and cleaning and greasing). Regarding tuning slides, the Sinfonico comes with the standard main tuning slide and another main tuning slide that is about an inch or so longer. I found when playing the horn and using a tuner, the standard main tuning slide needed to be extended to its maximum pull for the horn to play in tune (and using my mouthpiece on the large shank receiver). The longer main tuning slide I believe would be the appropriate slide for this horn, however the one that was shipped to me did not fit in the horn (the alignment was off a bit, and I did not want to force it).

    There are three spit valves, one on the 1st valve slide, one on the 3rd valve slide and one on the main tuning slide. They all have a rubbery sleeve on the part you push, and this keeps the spit valve lever from scratching up the slide, a nice touch. The spit valve levers on the 1st and 3rd valve slides are aligned in the usual direction, however, the one on the main tuning slide seems reversed to me. Most horns have this valve lever pointing in the opposite direction of the 1st and 3rd spit valve levers. Also, if I were to use the longer main tuning slide, the position of the spit valve lever places it almost touching the bottom bow of the horn, particularly when removing the slide. I would highly recommend to Wessex that the spit valve lever on the main tuning slide be reversed and more on the side of the slide as opposed to being along the bottom. With the horn's side profile being narrow to begin with, the main tuning slide and bottom bow are close, especially with the longer main tuning slide.

    The valves appear to be very well machined. They were expectedly a bit sluggish when I first started playing, but after a couple cleanings and fresh valve oil, they were working very well. The valve guides are nylon. And surprise, the valve caps screw back on easily, which is a big deal! No worries about cross threading. There are no nipples on the bottom valve caps as there usually are. I was concerned about this at first because most 3+1 euphoniums have a tendency to drop water through the bottom valve cap holes (on your horn or on you!). That is why so many people use grime gutters on the bottom nipples of their horns. But, after playing this horn for many hours, I didn't see much of anything on the horn or me.

    The Sinfonico comes with three exchangeable receivers (small, medium and large). This would allow various mouthpiece shank sizes to fit. I only used the one on the horn (large). I did at one point unsrew the receiver that was in the horn, and it was hard to do. I would recommend a "T" tool to be included with the horn so that you could easily remove the recievers. I can see a receiver becoming really stuck if allowed to be in the horn for a long period of time.

    There is no lyre box on this horn. I don't see that as a fault, and a lot of high end horns don't have lyre boxes on them either.

    The 4th valve has a latch to hold down the valve for storage. It works like many others, however when you open it (slide the latch away from the valve cap), the latch only goes away a little bit, and then stops before going all the way to the side of the horn like most do. So, the latch ends up sticking straight out. See the picture on the top row, 4th from the left, on the Wessex site (link is above). I would definitely recommend that this be changed so that the latch moves to the side of the horn. With it sticking straight out like it is, you can easily bump it while holding the horn next to your body. Especially those players who use a lot of body movement when playing. And if you bump it good enough, it will come loose and fall back on the valve stem, which you certainly don't want to happen while you are playing.

    The case that comes with the horn is very nice, and less puffy than the case my Dolce came in. Has room for the mouthpiece only on the inside. Other supplies go in the outer pouch (which almost fits my band folder) attached to the outside of the horn case.

    Well, now for the important part. How does this horn sound and play? In a couple words, "great" and "great". It has a bit more heavy sound than my Adams E3. Some real similarities to my previously owned Miraphone M5050. Great resonance, I can "feel" notes resonating with this horn. Great response. A nice high B natural!! Good upper and lower range sound. I played probably 10 hours or more on this horn. It is just plain nice. I think this horn could play in virtually any type of ensemble, to include concert/wind band, orchestra, brass band, quintet, tuba/euph quartet, solo work, church work, and more. For those wondering about brass band use, I played my Miraphone M5050 in the Las Vegas Brass Band, a very good group, a few years back. It seemed to work well, I had a couple solos, and got good comments on the horn.

    I liked this horn so much, I made a bunch of videos. This tells you more than any explanations. I did these mostly in one sitting. I just played tunes I knew, no music. Sort of whatever came to mind. I also included a clip I did on the Dolce recently for some frame of reference. It is the first one below. All the rest are on the Sinfonico.

    Morceau Symphonique on the Wessex Dolce:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnlQS0AgtkE

    All of the following are played on the Wessex Sinfonico Euphonium.

    Warm-Up Clips (just a few snippets I sometimes play during warm-up):
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KVuSoJsY9c

    Greensleeves and Carnival of Venice Excerpts:


    Danny Boy (last phrase missing) and Solo from Holst Second Suite in F:


    La Mandolinata Excerpt and The Lord's Prayer (final part):


    Over the Rainbow and Sleepsong from The Secret Garden:


    Summary: The Wessex Sinfonico is a very, very nice horn. If someone were to give me one of these horns and tell me this is the only euphonium I could ever have, I could be very happy with it. It plays great, it responds well, and with the longer main tuning slide (or the standard one pulled all out), it plays remarkably well in tune. Wessex has built a real keeper in the Sinfonico. I am amazed that you can have such a high quality, professionally worthy horn for under $3K. If you are euphonium shopping and your budget is in this neighborhood, this horn should get some serious consideration.
    Last edited by John Morgan; 06-18-2021 at 11:24 PM.
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Wessex TE-360 Bombino Eb Tuba
    Rapid City New Horizons & Municipal Bands (Euphonium)
    Black Hills Symphony Orchestra (Bass Trombone), Powder River Symphony, Gillette, WY (Tenor Trombone)
    Black Hills Brass Quintet (Tuba)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    West Palm Beach, FL
    Posts
    3,425
    Great and thorough review John! In listening to all your recordings it sounds to my ears like the Sinfonico's intonation is excellent. Don't hear any sharp tendencies even for the 6th partial concert F.

    Excellent playing John!
    Last edited by RickF; 06-07-2021 at 10:37 AM.
    Rick Floyd
    Miraphone 5050 - Warburton Brandon Jones sig mpc
    YEP-641S (on long-term loan to grandson)
    Doug Elliott - 102 rim; I-cup; I-9 shank


    "Always play with a good tone, never louder than lovely, never softer than supported." - author unknown.
    Symphonic Band of the Palm Beaches
    Russian Christmas Music (Alfred Reed)
    El Relicario (Jose Padilla; arr. R. Longfield)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Hidden Valley, AZ
    Posts
    805
    Gee, John, that is really great to hear. Jonathan has been working hard on making a euph with superior quality and a buyer's price.

    You make it sing, and that is 90% you. The rest is a good deal for the $.

    As time permits, please give is a real rundown on the 'stuffiness' quotient in the bottom register. To me, that is more important than a few intonation quirks I can overcome.

    Many thanks!

    Dennis G.
    1966 Besson 181 highly modified New Standard
    1918 Hawkes & Son euph 3&1 original
    1915 York Bb tenorhorn original

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by RickF View Post
    Great and thorough review John! In listening to all your recordings it sounds to my ears like the Sinfonico's intonation is excellent. Don't hear any sharp tendencies even for the 6th partial concert F.
    Thanks, Rick! You are correct on the intonation. Once I had the main tuning slide where I wanted it, the horn played very well in tune. I checked it frequently with the tuner, especially when playing slower pieces. I elected not to do an in depth review of the tuning, as a couple of the other reviewers will probably elect to do that.
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Wessex TE-360 Bombino Eb Tuba
    Rapid City New Horizons & Municipal Bands (Euphonium)
    Black Hills Symphony Orchestra (Bass Trombone), Powder River Symphony, Gillette, WY (Tenor Trombone)
    Black Hills Brass Quintet (Tuba)

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by highpitch View Post
    Gee, John, that is really great to hear. Jonathan has been working hard on making a euph with superior quality and a buyer's price.

    You make it sing, and that is 90% you. The rest is a good deal for the $.

    As time permits, please give is a real rundown on the 'stuffiness' quotient in the bottom register. To me, that is more important than a few intonation quirks I can overcome.

    Many thanks!

    Dennis G.
    Thanks, Dennis! Unfortunately, I have my recording gear put away, and the Sinfonico all boxed up and ready to ship tomorrow to the next reviewer. But I can tell you that I did play in the lower register. I forgot to record Old Man River, nuts, I meant to do that. But the horn plays nicely in the low range. I compared it to my Adams E3 in the low register. I would call my Adams more open and easy blowing for the notes below low concert Bb (in the clef). But the Sinfonico played nicely from low Bb down an octave. It plays a little heavier and less open, but the notes in this range are quite playable and sound good.
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Wessex TE-360 Bombino Eb Tuba
    Rapid City New Horizons & Municipal Bands (Euphonium)
    Black Hills Symphony Orchestra (Bass Trombone), Powder River Symphony, Gillette, WY (Tenor Trombone)
    Black Hills Brass Quintet (Tuba)

  6. #6
    Sounds great! Thanks for taking the time to review it. It's a bit unfortunate that it feels to me like the community in general still struggle to accept China-made instruments (especially the ones with control like Wessex and JP), reason that I've often heard was on their lifespan, which is valid, I guess. But definitely great to see more higher quality and options are opening up to players when it comes to horn hunting!
    "Never over complicate things. Accept "bad" days. Always enjoy yourself when playing, love the sound we can make on our instruments (because that's why we all started playing the Euph)"

    Euph: Yamaha 642II Neo - 千歌音
    Mouthpiece: K&G 4D, Denis Wick 5AL

    https://soundcloud.com/ashsparkle_chika
    https://www.youtube.com/user/AshTSparkle/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Farmington Hills, MI
    Posts
    316
    First of all, terrific playing! Second, yes the intonation sounds great. I did notice a few times when you used 3rd valve for the 1,2 combination. Was that just reflex? Last, you got a huge dark sound out of the Sinfonico. Impressive. The Dolce has a lighter sound.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by ChristianeSparkle View Post
    Sounds great! Thanks for taking the time to review it. It's a bit unfortunate that it feels to me like the community in general still struggle to accept China-made instruments (especially the ones with control like Wessex and JP), reason that I've often heard was on their lifespan, which is valid, I guess. But definitely great to see more higher quality and options are opening up to players when it comes to horn hunting!
    Thanks, Chrissie!! For sure there is still a struggle on some fronts in accepting Chinese made (and, in fact, other foreign made) musical instruments. But what is coming out of China nowadays, for some makers, are vastly improved musical instruments.
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Wessex TE-360 Bombino Eb Tuba
    Rapid City New Horizons & Municipal Bands (Euphonium)
    Black Hills Symphony Orchestra (Bass Trombone), Powder River Symphony, Gillette, WY (Tenor Trombone)
    Black Hills Brass Quintet (Tuba)

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelSchott View Post
    First of all, terrific playing! Second, yes the intonation sounds great. I did notice a few times when you used 3rd valve for the 1,2 combination. Was that just reflex? Last, you got a huge dark sound out of the Sinfonico. Impressive. The Dolce has a lighter sound.
    Thanks, Michael! I use 1,2 and 3 both a lot. When playing the G in the staff, I will usually use 3 if the note has much length to it. When going fast, I tend to use 1,2 most of the time. Sometimes, like you suggest, my brain just decides one way or the other without much conscious thought on my part.

    I would characterize the Sinfonico as a darker leaning horn. The Dolce is definitely lighter and a bit brighter. I use a fairly good sized mouthpiece, the Warburton Demondrae Thurman signature piece. I have been attached to that for about 10 years now. So, that probably has some bearing on the overall sound.

    I wish I had better luck with recording. These were all done with my CamCorder using the built in mic (not a truly great mic, but serviceable I suppose). And the mic doesn't seem to pick up dynamics very well, even though I know I played some stuff loud and some stuff not loud. I had the audio set on manual adjust, and I thought it would pick up dynamics (as opposed to having it set on auto which I am told equalizes the audio so that everything sounds the same volume - kind of like what it sounded like set on manual like I had it).

    Hopefully the recordings were good enough to capture the sound and tone of the Sinfonico, which was my ultimate goal.
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Wessex TE-360 Bombino Eb Tuba
    Rapid City New Horizons & Municipal Bands (Euphonium)
    Black Hills Symphony Orchestra (Bass Trombone), Powder River Symphony, Gillette, WY (Tenor Trombone)
    Black Hills Brass Quintet (Tuba)

  10. #10
    That horn sounds very nice indeed.

    When I played the prototype, I thought it felt like it leaned heavily toward Willson/Hirsbrunner/Miraphone in terms of concept of sound; it sounds like you agree.

    It's really incredible what you can get for 1/3 the cost of a new British/German horn. There may be a longevity issue, but if I had a "serious" high school student, or was a "serious" college student on a budget, I wouldn't think twice about recommending one of these. The wessex is about $300 more than a yamaha 321 non-compensating horn.
    Mike Taylor

    Illinois Brass Band
    Fox Valley Brass Band

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