MORE photos here: http://www.picturetrail.com/sfx/album/slideshow/24366107
I've had my Buffet 400 Series Alto for three months now and I see no reason to change it. Having also had Jupiter 565-567, Yamaha YAS-275, Beaugnier Vito, the Buffet is a great horn with no bad habits and I'm really enjoying it.
So, along came an absolutely mint Buffet 100 Alto the other day, little used during its three year life-span.
I couldn't resist it as I'd been unable to find out much about the 400's sibling online and was curious.
Side by side there are few differences: The 100 has less engraving; no double arms on the bell keys; slightly differently angled Eb/low C keys; that's it! Case and MP are identical to the 400. Same semi ribbed construction.
Quality-wise, the 100 is as well made as it's big brother and looks great too.
Playing it I couldn't feel a difference in the keywork but the 100 has a slightly brighter tone to my ear. This was with my Yamaha 4C MP and no doubt could be made darker with a different MP. Unlike the Yamaha both the Buffet's allow me to bend notes using different mouth shapes, as does the old Vito. With both the Yamaha and Jupiter I found it impossible to stray from their focused type of sound but that's probably just my inexperience. However, as the 100 is aimed at the beginner's market it's good that it helps to encourage flexibility in how notes sound.
The 100 retails at about £550 which is 2/3 of the 400 price but isn't available in the matte finish. Compared to a Yamaha student model I'd have no hesitation in recommending the Buffet 100 even if the price were the same.
At half the Yamaha's price, it's a steal!