Stage 1 Review

Discussion in 'Horns' started by Heavens2kadonka, Dec 28, 2004.

  1. Heavens2kadonka

    Heavens2kadonka Forte User

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    Well, I just recently finished my leg of the Stage 1 tour, and I must say that I am very impressed!

    First Impression: Well, its the usual impression someone would have when they get to try a "special make" horn like this. "WOW!"

    The first thing to catch the eye is the engraving. I'm sure Felix will chime in and agree that that was in my opinion the most appealing piece of eye-candy the horn had to offer! The engraving started at the logo, near where the bell flares, and goes down to where the bell begins to crook. the engraving was leaves in a zig-zag style, very much like what would be seen on an old conn sax! There were two names also engraved, in a style like the "BLACKBURN" on a Blackburn trumpet. one was "Vayser Felix," located in the back of the bell near the crook. The other was the European tester (I forget his name, forgive me Felix!). It was located near the bell flare. Again, I have to say the engraving was GORGEOUS!

    The horn at first glance appears much larger than normal trumpets, but it was due to two things. One: The heavy caps, which really make the trumpet just appear huge. Two: The bell crook comes out about 1/4 of an inch further than the leadpipe, which gives the horn a much longer appearance. Little things really do matter when it comes to a trumpet's appearance. For instance, my Kanstul 1503 appears to have a larger valve section than my Strad, but where the strad bottom caps can hold a dime, the Kanstul caps won't!

    Sound: Alright, now for the more important things about the trumpet: how it plays!

    The sound was gorgeous. Being a heavy horn, with heavy caps and lacquer bell, it had the dark, lush sound that I like from a trumpet, yet when I would end the note, I could hear the ring in the trumpet, and feel the ring in the room. I have NEVER played a horn that could do this! All other dark, heavy horns I've played on would have a thick, fat sound, but the light horns would just ring like the trumpets in heaven (sorry, couldn't think of a better simile). Like you can feel the note from a light horn vibrating your bones (Thats better)! I have been weighing between heavy or light sounds since I played a really awesome 43 Strad. This horn had the best of both worlds in it's sound.

    I will finish on intonation and anything else I missed tomorrow.

    Van
     
  2. Seinman

    Seinman New Friend

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    Nov 9, 2003
    Derby, UK
    Van,

    There is something about playing the Stage 1 I could never put my finger on. But you have eloquently described that lovely ring you get from the bell. Looking forward to the rest of your review.

    Ron
     
  3. NYTC

    NYTC Forte User

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    Nov 1, 2004
    Brooklyn,NY
    Yes Van, the engraving is very unusual on our horns. Furthermore, each horn will be engraved uniquely; therefore, every horn is an original.We will only be making 15-20 instruments per model a year.

    Felix
     
  4. Anonymous

    Anonymous Forte User

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    Oct 21, 2003
    Who makes these trumpets :?:
     
  5. Heavens2kadonka

    Heavens2kadonka Forte User

    Age:
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    Lebanon, TN
    Hehe, every single email I sent Felix the week I had the Stage 1 mentioned me being in love with the engraving...

    I was just about to post the finishing review, when it was erased (BTW, NEVER open another topic in a new window while posting. It makes you have to re-login, and you lose the post...)

    Van
     
  6. NYTC

    NYTC Forte User

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    Nov 1, 2004
    Brooklyn,NY
    Stage 1 is hand made in Germany by Erwin Schmid.I have had a very specific design in mind for a while, and with great help from Master Schmid, we made the horn.It had taken us a very long time to build it and test it.
     
  7. Anonymous

    Anonymous Forte User

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    Oct 21, 2003
    Sounds great. So are you making a Bb trumpet only or are there other models such as a C trumpet? Are there different models with in the Bb line or is it just one horn!
     
  8. NYTC

    NYTC Forte User

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    Nov 1, 2004
    Brooklyn,NY
    Right now we are only making the Bb horns.We have 3 different models:The "New York","Classic" and "California".The "New York" is the model that is being tested on tour right now.The "Classic" and "California" models will be officially launched at the Music Fair in Frankfurt,April 2005.

    Felix
     
  9. Heavens2kadonka

    Heavens2kadonka Forte User

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    MORE ON SOUND

    "Can the Stage 1 Peel Paint?"

    ....And by "peel paint," I'm guessing that means the LASER BEAM sound that you would hear on the marching field? No, this horn is not a piercing weapon, thank you very much :D .

    When I would push the dynamics, the dark, lush core remained, just sounded more open, broad, fat and full. The ringing also changed, but it slowed down, became a pulse almost. This horn refused to be anything but beautiful. From ppp to FFF (Or as close to those dynamics as I can hack it, lol) the horn never broke up, never changed. Some horns will open up or close off when pushed. This horn stayed open, and never changed; or if it did, I didn't notice it.

    Being the curious person I am, I decided to try the Stage 1 without the heavy caps. It was a completely different horn! The dark core was still there, but it felt like it took the backseat while the ringing, brilliant sound took center stage!

    "Would the sound then become TOO ringy at louder dynamics?"

    Well, what I thought was extremely strange was that the ring actually felt as if it was pulling back when I pushed the loud. Maybe it was because the ringing slowed and the darkness became more prevailant.

    I at first felt the horn fought me more without the caps, but I wound up deciding I liked playing without the caps MUCH better!

    When I describe sound I have these classifications:
    DEAD, Fat (Full), Dark, DULL, Brilliant, Bright, LASER BEAM

    The CAPPED words are the negative words, descriptions of the sound I don't like, and I think they make sense. Too dark is dead, too bright is laser beam. Too in-between is dull. This horn is unique in that it's in-between, but not dull in the least! I would best describe the sound as being "Dark, yet Brilliant" with caps, and "Brilliant, yet Dark" without caps. It was amazing!

    The environment the horn is best-suited for, in my opinion, is the concert hall. This horn is absolutely built for solos. This horn would be great for the solo trumpet in a concert band or smaller ensemble, when he would have to slowly come out of the group (Best kind of solo, IMHO). This horn would not conquer the group, though. It would seduce them.

    This is not a marching band horn, nor do I believe it is a jazz band horn, though I would be interested to see if it would work in an old Benny Goodman "Goodbye"-esque piece.

    I would of course try it on a Sammy Nestico work... :D

    I will finish on Intonation and mechanics, or how the bits and pieces worked.

    Van
     
  10. Heavens2kadonka

    Heavens2kadonka Forte User

    Age:
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    Jun 17, 2004
    Lebanon, TN
    INTONATION

    Well, would it be repetitive for me to say "AWESOME?" Yes, the intonation is excellent on this horn, and other than the C#s, low F#, and the 5th harmonics, I didn't even think of using the 3rd valve slide! When put against a tuner, I am normally around 20 cents flat on the 5th(W/o slides) on my Strad, and slightly more on my 1503. With the Stage 1, I was between 10 and 15, which isn't much change, but it was noticeable. On the C# (Don't laugh), I tend to get REAL wonky on the Strad, almost hitting a D on bad days, and I can actually do pretty good on the low F#. The 1503 I do a little better on, especially on the C# (It sounds almost like a note!).

    With the Stage 1, I again noticed an improvement of about 5 to 10 cents more towards the pitch.

    OH, and I forgot the 6th harmonics, which is the sneaky one. I actually control that best of all (Yeah, I know that the 6th isn't THAT bad out...), usually going 5 to 10 sharp. The Stage 1 almost always stay dead on on the 6th.

    "Hmm, can you still bend pitches?"

    Yes, though it takes a bit more effort to get there and a heck of a lot more to control it. I can't say much more though, because any non fingered glissandos and pitch bending past tuning C, I am ABYSMAL at.

    FUNCTIONALITY, OR ALL THE WORKING BITS

    Okay, first thing I will compliment on is the Amados. I will go ahead and tell you that I DESPISE Amados, hate everything about them. They're fragile, they look like tumors on a trumpet, and they make the sound spitty so quick it'll make your head spin...

    "Wait, I though you said you were going to COMPLIMENT the amados?!"

    Well, with the Amados on the Stage 1, they do one MAJOR thing that changes my mind about them: THEY DON'T FILL UP AS MUCH! Gosh, being able to play through a two minute piece without having to empty the spit five times makes a heck of a difference about how you feel about something! In fact, these amados are more like round straight water keys! The whole time I had the horn, I never felt the spitty sound coming from there!

    There is a catch. The spit has to go somewhere, and it will go to the bottom caps. Every one of them. After a long time of playing, you will have to do a french horn-esque spit empty. That may not be everyone cup of tea, but it beats the heck out of the amado problem!

    Also, the Stage 1 Amado was fixed to look much more like a part of the horn, which was another problem I had with the things. It had to do with how the amado itself looked more like the mouthpiece reciever, how it had that jeweled-like look to it (The engraving/embossing of small dots).

    I don't want to test an amado for durability, so I have nothing to say about it.

    Slides

    Don't you hate slides that are either too stuck or too slippery? Its either hard to budge, or you have it so well greased that it feels like blowing air through it will blow it right off? I know I really despise that about the slides on horns.

    The Stage 1 has the absolute best slides I have ever....Well, slid. They stay in place when you move the horn, but applying just a minimum amount of effort, the slides literally slide. They don't jerk, they don't slip. The reversed main tuning slide gave me goosebumps because it slid so danged well, lol.

    When you remove the tune slide and look inside the leadpipe, the tubing looks so danged SMOOTH its almost MIRRORED. It looks like micro men could roller skate in there, lol. When you look at the inside of the other parts (As well as you can), it also looks as smooth. I would love to see comparison pics between the leadpipe inside of a Stage 1 and any other production horn out there. It may (or may not) have anything to do with sound, but it sure makes for some smooth slide movement.

    Another thing, when you work the slides of a new horn, theres the infamous black metal shavings that show up? Not on this baby. After a week of moving and sliding and button mashing, I detected not one metal shaving. And this is a new horn!

    I have to go ahead and say that the horn I had had a problem in the 3rd slide. After being pulled so far, it would stick. Felix said it just needed relapping, so I'm not going to complain to awful much. I'm sure if I had purchased this horn and it had such a problem, it could be fixed without much ado.

    I also had a problem with there being nothing to hold the 3rd slide. I think what would really look cool is an older-style stop-nut system (Like the Old Conn Symphonies), except upside down, since the 3rd is reversed! THAT would look AMAZING (Repetitive use)!

    Valves

    MY GOD! I'M IN HEAVEN!!!

    I have never in my life used valves that responded so well! They were amazing (repetitive use of the word, I know!)! You could press the button down, and remove it, and you would already notice how quick the buttons were to pop back up! And it doesn't pop up violently, like some Holtons I have been acquainted with (And never called back, mind you). It manages to feel smooth as glass, even with such speed. Oh, and there's little to no noise, and you hardly feel the valves vibrating the horn. To tell you the truth, I actually felt my dexterity improve with this horn. It may be true, it may be a mental thing, but nevertheless, the valves are really, really good. Only because I've heard so much about them, I would say the Eclipse valves are the only ones that would compete with the Stage 1 valve-wise. Has any Eclipse-owners played the Stage 1 yet? How would you rate the Stage 1 valves against the Eclipse?

    Final Thought (Yes, like Jerry Springer)

    This is beyond any doubt the best horn I have ever held in my hands and blown air through. Period. Mind you, I have not yet had the priviledge to try a ZeuS, Eclipse, Monette, Taylor, NY Strad, Mt. Vernon, or these other exotic trumpets (Although I have tried Blackburn) built for the well-paid player, or dentist (lol). However, I do think I've played enough trumpets long enough to get an idea in my head of how I want a trumpet to sound with me. This horn fits that category in every aspect. Though it may take me a few paper routes and a few more years, the next trumpet I am going to buy will be a Stage 1.

    Thank you all for reading this extremely long-winded review, and thank you Felix for the opportunity and priviledge to test this amazing (repetitive) horn.

    Van
     

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