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Saxophones New Alto SeleS

Chilli

Barista
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390
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Southwest of France
Sorry, I wanted to express that - when I record - there may always be a little difference in angle and distance.
Possibly David can do that better.

Cheers, Guenne
Sorry, I misread your post...

I was really wondering if something was different but now have my answer:
The recording setup was as near identical as it could possibly be.
Thanks. Then, I felt the Seles was a bit less powerful as well as brassier. But it doesn't pale much compared to the Ref, IMO.
 

Ivan

Undecided
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6,547
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Peeblesshire
I much prefer the second, which I agree is brighter

This listener will say the difference is emotional...

The first had me thinking about ending it all

The second made me realise there is something to live for
 

Alphorn

Member
Messages
326
Location
South of Munich
Disclaimer: My and David's playing are a zillion worlds apart. Iam no reference by any means.

Having said that, triggered also by David's report I had an Axos here for 2 weeks on trial. Will post it tomorrow to go back. It is a nice horn that can compete within its price range. It sounds slightly fuller than its competition. I have been to a local music store 2 days ago where I had a chance to blow another Axos against a series 2 and a Yani AWO1, AW02, 991. The results are highly subjective. Sound and feelwise series II beats the Axos by a mile. It is significantly fuller, the keywork feels more substantial and smooth. But, the Axos had a superb intonation, the one I had at home being slightly better than the one in the store. It comes very close to Yamaha or Yanagisawa. There is one thing that really bugs me. Both Axos had an unacceptable loose fit of the neck.No matter how hard you locked the tenon screw you could turn the neck with the slightest touch of your finger. I was told in the store that they had this problem with every sample of their batch. Pardon me, but Selmer is expecting you to pay 2500€ and they don't care to fix the tenon fit before shipping?

What is my conclusion: The Axos is a fine sax to consider. Recordings may not reflect your experience when testing it yourself. Go out and give it a blow. Personally i would go for the series II if it is only tone. Within the price bracket of the Axos considering sound, intonation, build quality and keywork the AWO1 is my winner.
Considering David's acomplished playing and his fabolous sound I recommend that you trust his review rather than mine. I just had a different experience and relize saxes are very personal.

Alphorn
 

Guenne

Senior Member
Messages
888
Location
Austria
No matter how hard you locked the tenon screw you could turn the neck with the slightest touch of your finger. I was told in the store that they had this problem with every sample of their batch.
So why didn't they fix it before displaying it?
You can't play on a horn with a loose neck, you can't judge it. Sound and response get so much worse.

Cheers, Guenne
 

David Roach

Senior Member
Messages
612
Location
London
Here is my final assessment of the SeleS Axos alto.

Thanks everyone for the comments on the comparison recording. I realize Soundcloud does rather squish the tone of clips, so please bear that in mind.

My alto for the last 10 years has been a Reference 54 chosen in Paris in 2005.

I don’t intend to give you much description about the Axos, this is a personal take on the instrument, but there’s a very good resource online about the Axos here: SeleS Axos Alto Saxophone Review ~ The Diligent Musician

SeleS Axos

Keywork:

The keywork feels good and completely solid; just like any other Selmer. I understand that Selmer outsource the keywork manufacture to other companies, fair enough, no big deal. Making keywork is not difficult in these days of CNC engineering. But Selmer do all the bodywork, strapping, pillars and assembly in house. Having only really played Selmers for years, the positioning and feel of the keys were immediately comfortable and I have no criticisms on that score. I would probably have a bit of work done on the spring tensions, but nothing major. It’s to be expected. I have had no issues with the neck tenon such as @Alphorn described.

But having spent £50.00 getting it set up, it still was not covering perfectly. Grrr. I have never had a Selmer from new that did not need repeated visits to a good tech to get it working flawlessly; so, situation normal again. I am a bit perplexed by this attitude though, and frankly it does not surprise me that a lot of customers would rather buy Asian horns which are often much better set-up ‘out-of-the-box’.

Having said that, set-up is something I could deal with even if it cost me. However, I do wonder about the resilience of the mechanics over a period of years’ hard usage on the Axos, considering the price. Time alone will tell if the Axos remains road-worthy after heavy use.

Intonation:

I think the intonation of the Axos is second to none amongst modern Selmer altos. Yes, really. Although the bore is ostensibly that of the Series 2, the intonation is more linear and the octaves are better balanced than any S2 or S3 I have either owned or tried.

The intonation on the Axos is also better than on my Ref54. The Ref is a bit ‘squirrelly’ as they say: sharp in pitch on middle D & E as you would expect of any sax, but then progressively flatter up to top C to the point where I am consciously biting the upper B & C into tune in some circumstances. The top C# and upwards is very high in comparison and it needs huge concentration to play the palm keys in tune. The Axos is a breeze: open the throat a bit for middle D & E, retain a steady embouchure and the pitch up to the top is very linear indeed. Of course you still need to alter your vocal tract a little for each note as you do on any sax, and that top C# is a tad sharper than the C, but all in all once I had dialled it in the Axos was remarkably well in tune.

I have owned two S2s and a S3. I last played a Series 2 alto full-time in 2003 when I moved briefly to a S3 which I hated. The octaves were so wide on all those instruments and the notes immediately below the break so flat that at times it reduced me to tears, not to mention the instability of the upper G# which is a real deal breaker for me on the S2 & S3. This Axos is a fantastic correction of those tendencies. As spot on as any Selmer I have played.

Is the intonation of the Axos as good as a Yamaha or a Yanagisawa within the same price bracket? Possibly, although I’m not familiar enough with the cheaper Japanese horns to pass judgement. I played a Yamaha YAS62 in the 1980s which was very well in tune (but very light in tone) and an EX for a couple of years in the 2000s and that also had excellent intonation (and thicker tone), but the EX is £3500.00 +. I did audition a Yanagisawa AW10 (£2555.00) for a few days when it came out and thought it was OK, but I actually wasn’t over impressed because it seemed a bit stiff in the intonation department. The Axos is definitely more flexible than any of the Japanese horns.


Tone:

And finally the sound. Well, I’m pretty impressed by the tone quality of the Axos. It is absolutely, recognisably a Selmer horn tone-wise. I understand that the bell is now pressed out in halves and then joined together rather than hand-beaten, and that Selmer had to make some changes to the instrument to allow for the resultant difference in resonance. I think that the observation @Chilli made is correct, that the tone is ‘brassier’ than my Ref54 which is a little sweeter. On the other hand my Ref54 is quite a tight sounding horn whereas the Axos has quite a lot of the Series 2’s openness.

I was pleased by the sound, which I believe is also in part due to the Axos’ magnificent intonation characteristics. I believe that intonation is inseparable from sound quality - record a ballad out-of-tune and try telling me it doesn’t immediately make an instrument sound ghastly! My Ref54 sounds a tad thinner on the top B at the height of ‘My Romance’ because I am having to lift the pitch a little with my vocal tract and my lip, but I don’t have to do that with the Axos, yea! The G major scale I play on the Axos at the very end, from altissimo G to low D was a breeze and would not have come out as well on the Ref54. In fact, I will stick my neck out and say that because of the resolutions to the tuning, I believe that - in some ways - I personally sound better on the Axos than any other Selmer alto I have owned.

The tone is malleable and quite big, and dynamics are very good. However, despite its big tone there is also, from the driving seat, a definable sheen to the sound of the Axos which was evident to me immediately I first played the instrument and which made me feel concerned in a peculiar way. I thought this might ameliorate after a few weeks of playing (I had the Axos for a month) but it didn’t. In fact, when I played it on two Nyman gigs recently I felt that there was a definite lack of tonal thickness available at high volumes which doesn’t necessarily show up on the recording. The Axos had good projection but not so much solidity to back it up, whereas all my other Selmers have had that ability to keep going almost indefinitely at high volume without losing tone quality.

So, in conclusion:

My opinion is (and it is only my opinion of this one example) that the Axos is a really good proposition for:

a) someone who wants a really good step up from a student horn, or

b) someone wants a more characterful alternative to an Asian horn without breaking the bank, or

c) someone who wants a cheaper touring horn that has the familiarity of the Selmer brand, (in the days of heavy touring I could see rock n’ rollers buying two of these for road use), or

d) someone who just wants a Selmer that plays well with minimum fuss (for a Selmer!).


The Seles Axos is very good in a lot of ways and I was very tempted to buy it, not least because of the price tag of £2135.00 (get one before the Pound sinks any further!!). But it’s not quite up to a fully professional instrument and I am a bit peeved that Selmer has not gone the whole hog and made this into a fully professional horn with all that that entails. The intonation alone is a huge step forward for them, better IMO than on any other Selmer I have played. But, I am reluctant to buy what is a half-way house for me now that I don’t tour very much. Whatever Selmer's publicity may say, it's neither a student horn, nor a truly pro one either but something in between at a tempting price. But maybe that’s great news for students and semi-pros?

Am I being hard on the Axos? No, again, I think it’s excellent for the price.

Also, (blushes) I have to admit to you all that I have a new lover. I have fallen for a beautiful Italian; the truth comes out! Ah the body, the sweetness…….….Oh come on now behave! NO! Not Aldevis! (excellent friend that he is, of course). But, he IS responsible for introducing us! More of my new affaire in another thread to come.

So, for now, less au revoir, more caio baby!
 

Chilli

Barista
Messages
390
Location
Southwest of France
Thank you for the very thorough feedback. While I'm not in the market for an alto, let alone for a new one, I found it very instructive and have learnt quite a few things, especially regarding general Selmer drawbacks and also usual requirements for a pro player.
 

Guenne

Senior Member
Messages
888
Location
Austria
sharp in pitch on middle D & E
The story how I bought my Reference is pretty much the same as with my Limited Edition.
I went to Germany to buy a Mark VI....
I played several References, some laquered, some "sandblasted".
There was just one I liked soundwise, that played for me. Nevertheless I thought about selling it several times because I didn't like the way the keys felt. Too high, to sloppy. And also because of the "problems" with low C and B.
Last time my friend (he is a real Selmer expert) told me he had learned a lot what one can do or should not do in tuning the Reference.
He (we talked about that I think) lowered key height on the right hand, and I don't have a problem with D and E in the second octave.
What I want to say: Techs may know a lot about setting up a Mark VI, and tuning it to your needs, but not so much about the Reference.

Cheers, Guenne
 

David Roach

Senior Member
Messages
612
Location
London
The story how I bought my Reference is pretty much the same as with my Limited Edition.
I went to Germany to buy a Mark VI....
I played several References, some laquered, some "sandblasted".
There was just one I liked soundwise, that played for me. Nevertheless I thought about selling it several times because I didn't like the way the keys felt. Too high, to sloppy. And also because of the "problems" with low C and B.
Last time my friend (he is a real Selmer expert) told me he had learned a lot what one can do or should not do in tuning the Reference.
He (we talked about that I think) lowered key height on the right hand, and I don't have a problem with D and E in the second octave.
What I want to say: Techs may know a lot about setting up a Mark VI, and tuning it to your needs, but not so much about the Reference.

Cheers, Guenne
Interesting info Guenne, but it doesn't resolve the issue of the sharpness from top C# upwards on the Reference, which, IMO is more difficult to compensate.
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
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Also, (blushes) I have to admit to you all that I have a new lover. I have fallen for a beautiful Italian; the truth comes out! Ah the body, the sweetness…….….Oh come on now behave! NO! Not Aldevis! (excellent friend that he is, of course). But, he IS responsible for introducing us! More of my new affaire in another thread to come
So don't be a tease - tell us more.
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
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I had an email from Sax.co.uk last week trying to introduce me to an Italian lover. But I have one already and two would make life too complicated. I'm tempted though.....
It could be worse. Somebody on this forum already planned a saxophonic escape to Italy.
 

David Roach

Senior Member
Messages
612
Location
London
So don't be a tease - tell us more.
Yes, sorry. I have had to go to Singapore to assist an ailing relative and so my mind has been on other things.

But I am going back to the factory in late September with view to buying an alto. Frankly if I get back to the UK without having bought a sop and tenor as well I will be surprised!!! All the little niggles that made me hesitate before have either been sorted, like the refinement of the keywork - or are in the process of being refined, like the intonation curve on the tenor (which doesn't quite suit a classically based player like me).

I promise I will make a post about my visit, but it may be a little while before I can get it sorted.
 

Alphorn

Member
Messages
326
Location
South of Munich
...are in the process of being refined, like the intonation curve on the tenor (mwhich doesn't quite suit a classically based player like me).

I promise I will make a post about my visit, but it may be a little while before I can get it sorted.
Now that is intriguing. I thought intonation is either spot on (Yanagisawa, Yamaha..) or not so spot on as with some other makes od individual instruments as your Ref54. What is an intonation for a classical based player? How will they adjust it on the fly without changing the bore or placement of toneholes?

Alphorn
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
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"Intonation curve" is a different concept.
Think of a instrument sharp at the extremes: you relax your embouchure and have a richer high register and a subtoned low register.
Someone can prefer this arrangement (that can often be obtained with some mouthpiece exloration) but makes life harder tuning-wise.
 

Alphorn

Member
Messages
326
Location
South of Munich
Sorry for the confusion. I meant intonation curve. Which to me means that for a smooth curve you won't need much adjustment between notes. Sure you will need to voice a low d different to palmkey d, but for rather neighbouring notes adjustments should be minimal. In case of David it might mean a shorter neck as some classical players have a firmer embouchure? Iam speculating here and hope for an explanation by David.

Alphorn
 
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