I'd been meaning to pick up a cornet to trumpet mp adapter, figured while I was at it I could try some new horns. I own a ytr 4325s, ytr 632, conn 20a flugel, jw york and sons perfectone, and a "bessons" pocket trumpet. I also recently owned a ytr 2320, which sits atop a shelf at my cousins' house waiting for his infant son to get off his ass and practice.
First off, the bob reeves adapter is fantastic. Intonation is a bit more difficult, and projection is reduced with it, but I find it much more forgiving and open than using a tpt mp of similar depth/width. It is fantastic for warming up. With a deeper mp it pairs very well with a harmon, the slotting is slipperier. Multiple mouthpiece guys will know what I mean. "Legit" guys can disregard. Seriously, the adapter setup is plenty playable and even advantageous in some circumstances. I didn't even notice the intonation quirks at first, it just seemed so much easier to lip. Highly recommended for anyone with a stash of cornet stuff.
Next I tried a P. Mauriat 700 in silver. About 6mths - 1yr ago I tried the unlacquered against my 4325s and was blown away. This time I tried it against my 632. Not blown away anymore. Where previously it seemed to have a breathy lightness and ease of slur, now it seemed pitchy and thin compared to the warm openness of my copper belled 632. It didn't seem like a bad horn, not at all. I was just not blown away. My vintage 632 was bought at a rock bottom price but even at the same price as a new P. Mauriat, I'd rather be playing the 632 (keeping in mind that mine is in very good condition).
Then I tried a used Shilke s22, possibly gold plate. I didn't inspect the valves, but they felt worn. It was listed around $2500 cdn, call it over $2000 usd. It was much warmer than the silver mauriate, very stable, lots of core, not breathy, but not for me. It felt like I was trying to rally race a vintage mercedes convertible.
Next I tried a new Jupiter 516 pocket trumpet. It was not nearly as good as any of the previous horns. Not even close, but it is also not a $2000 trumpet. It isn't even a $1000 trumpet. Quite frankly, it was priced equivalently to a good student horn. It played like a good student horn, a very good student horn, better than my ytr 2320. In many ways better than my Perfectone, not that it is a fair comparison. The Perfectone is 96 years old and i use the high pitch slide on it (pulled out). The Perfectone is for vintage sound, not ease of play (though it is surprisingly good).
I know it would be contrary to etiquette to bring a Jupiter pocket trumpet to introductory band class, but hell - it is IMO the best student horn. There is no frigging way I'd buy a brand new student horn, but one of these in good shape used would definitely hold their value. It is the only student horn that I could see myself owning for the rest of my life. It doesn't have that nice resonant quality that some types of music need... but student horns and mind blowing tone do not go hand in hand, nor does band class and good tone as I recall.
I also bought a K&M folding trumpet stand finally - I've wanted one since the friggin 90's.
PPS - here are the 632, perfectone and 20a flugel: