Test driving pro horns

Discussion in 'Horns' started by gzent, Oct 25, 2004.

  1. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN
    OK, so I stopped in at a music store in Forest Lake, MN the other day.
    Its the only shop in MN that stocks Kanstul, sad to say.
    I was in the area and wanted to compare my Zeus G. with Kanstul horns.

    Well, they had about 100 guitars on the wall, but only 2 Kanstul horns, a 1500B and a CHI1001. That was a bummer. They also had a couple of Yamaha Xeno horns, a YTR-8335 and the YTR-8335RGS with a reverse tuning slide, so I played them also.

    All the horns were finished in silver. My Zeus G. has a round, braceless tuning slide from Kanstul. I used my everyday mouthpiece, a Warburton 3M.

    How did they play:

    Tuning - I checked them all with my digital tuner and they all played simlarly in tune except for the CHI1001 which had a few notes, staff D,E,F that seemed off.

    Resistance - the CHI1001 was the most open, followed by the Zeus, and then the rest.

    Range - same as resistance, although the Zeus locks in easier above the staff.

    Tone - the CHI1001 being the lightest was the brightest, almost harsh sounding in all registers. The 1500B and the Xenos sounded nearly the same in all registers and pleasant. The Zeus is the heaviest of the bunch and has a very warm low end. When it gets above the staff, however, it lights up almost as quick as the CHI1001.

    Valves - The Zeus, being 2 years old, has the best action, hands down. I don't remember any new horn being as tight as these. The CHI1001 was a little freer than the 1500B, but the Xenos were downright SLOW, even after oiling with the Yamaha oil in their cases. I'm not sure what the deal was, but I'd sure not spend that kind of money on a horn with SLOW valves!

    Flexibility - The CHI1001 was probably the hardest to play, in that it (like my Benges) had a few tricky spots that you had to watch out for, like slurring a staff G up to a staff D - too much of a snap! I didn't mind the Xenos so much, but there was something just not comfortable about those Xenos. The 1500B was my second choice and felt similar to my Zeus. But my Zeus is my cup of tea. The ability to get my sound and bend notes was so much easier.

    I can't say what exactly it is about the Zeus that makes it play so much better for me. I know the round slide makes a difference and I know I experimented with various mouthpieces for the best feel, but after spending an hour or so playing these horns back to back I don't think they have anything to offer me personally, especially not for the difference in price.

    Next on my list - the Zeus Olympus, the Wild Thing and the Eclipse. I'll keep looking until I find something that outplays the Zeus. So far only my friend's Mt. V. Strad is the only contender. When he retires hopefully I can buy it. :)


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