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Saxophones Taiwanese alto saxes shootout!

Mellowman

New Member
Messages
22
Hi folks

I recently had the pleasure of trying out some of the better Taiwanese altos on the market, and I've compiled a little summary of my thoughts, complete with sound files.
Hope you enjoy it, and all comments are welcome :)
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,680
Very interesting, thanks for posting. I was particularly interested in your comment about the Mauriat's finish. A few years ago I went shopping for a tenor, as a 'sax for life' and tried loads of high end saxes. I also had a blow on a couple of Mauriats, and although I liked the way they played, was put off by the finish. The engraving, in particular was very rough. Interesting to see this is still the case despite their prices going up, and their supposed move up market.
 

Mellowman

New Member
Messages
22
To be fair, I believe the engraving on unlacquered horns does look a little rougher anyway, but I've uploaded examples of what I mean - you can perhaps judge for yourself!

It's these little details that add up to an overall feeling that they haven't quite reached the quality of the big four, hence the comments on pricing. However, I still parted with my own money for the Mauriat...it really had 'that sound' for me.







 

daveysaxboy

Big ruff Geordie bendy metal blower
Messages
3,312
Great test there.I must say i love my TJ Raw XS tenor.Sound is fantastic and build.I agree there more in the MVKI vibe.Mauriat do have that big hollow spread Conn sound.I'm not a fan of the more expensive BW models.They have a strange sound for me and i cant push hard into them without them shutting up shop.
 

Mellowman

New Member
Messages
22
Great test there.I must say i love my TJ Raw XS tenor.Sound is fantastic and build.I agree there more in the MVKI vibe.Mauriat do have that big hollow spread Conn sound.I'm not a fan of the more expensive BW models.They have a strange sound for me and i cant push hard into them without them shutting up shop.
I think I would have plumped for the Trevor James Custom Signature Raw if it wasn't for the squeaks! I tried six different instruments 'cold' and the only one I squeaked on was the TJ. As sax isn't my only instrument, I wanted something I could pick up and just play. Having spoken to Dave Farley at Frankfurt I know they lavish great care on their instruments, even more so with these top models, so the problem was a mystery. I hope to try another one, perhaps at this year's Musikmesse, and will report back...
 

daveysaxboy

Big ruff Geordie bendy metal blower
Messages
3,312
I think I would have plumped for the Trevor James Custom Signature Raw if it wasn't for the squeaks! I tried six different instruments 'cold' and the only one I squeaked on was the TJ. As sax isn't my only instrument, I wanted something I could pick up and just play. Having spoken to Dave Farley at Frankfurt I know they lavish great care on their instruments, even more so with these top models, so the problem was a mystery. I hope to try another one, perhaps at this year's Musikmesse, and will report back...
Before i got my Raw XS direct from Dave Farley made to order for me through Pete Scaddan at studio saxophones i tested a normal Raw in a local shop and it had a few leaks.I was still very impressed ,enough to order 1 through Pete though and knowing it was getting made for me was a nice touch.Mine took a few weeks to build and it came playing sweet as a nut.Not had to make ant tweaks my side.Action and setup is tops.
 

Mellowman

New Member
Messages
22
Before i got my Raw XS direct from Dave Farley made to order for me through Pete Scaddan at studio saxophones i tested a normal Raw in a local shop and it had a few leaks.I was still very impressed ,enough to order 1 through Pete though and knowing it was getting made for me was a nice touch.Mine took a few weeks to build and it came playing sweet as a nut.Not had to make ant tweaks my side.Action and setup is tops.
That's interesting. I assumed that part of the Custom Signature deal was an impeccable set up - perhaps it had gone out of adjustment from other play tests? Having said that, I was wanting to move away from a Selmer 'core' sound, and the TJ had a really nice mixture of a fast response and fullness of tone, with a less nasal sound than the real deal - more versatile without a doubt, and good intonation.

Mind you, if I'm in the market for another tenor I'll look again. I'm currently playing a Guardala tenor (B&S era) which has bags of character and a monster sound!
 

daveysaxboy

Big ruff Geordie bendy metal blower
Messages
3,312
That's interesting. I assumed that part of the Custom Signature deal was an impeccable set up - perhaps it had gone out of adjustment from other play tests? Having said that, I was wanting to move away from a Selmer 'core' sound, and the TJ had a really nice mixture of a fast response and fullness of tone, with a less nasal sound than the real deal - more versatile without a doubt, and good intonation.

Mind you, if I'm in the market for another tenor I'll look again. I'm currently playing a Guardala tenor (B&S era) which has bags of character and a monster sound!
I've heard other Raw players praise there setup and finish.Must of just been done in transit or off other people.Mine was superb.I blew a black nickel DG horn years ago.I liked it alot.I've owned many many many top horns and vintage stuff and i can see why theres so much hype on there new Signature custom Raw horns.Funny your wanting to get away from the Selmer vibe,i'm enjoying getting back to it after having a bunch of yamaha 82Z's,61's,Borganis,Mauraits,Yani the last 9 years.I had a killing Selmer silver plate serie III in that time but my last MKVI went a good 10 years ago.The Raw has that selmer core but as many say more power,i agree.
 

jazzdoh

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,287
That's interesting. I assumed that part of the Custom Signature deal was an impeccable set up - perhaps it had gone out of adjustment from other play tests? Having said that, I was wanting to move away from a Selmer 'core' sound, and the TJ had a really nice mixture of a fast response and fullness of tone, with a less nasal sound than the real deal - more versatile without a doubt, and good intonation.

Mind you, if I'm in the market for another tenor I'll look again. I'm currently playing a Guardala tenor (B&S era) which has bags of character and a monster sound!

I own a RAW alto and its one of the first saxes i have bought that didn't need a setup after purchase,i bought it on a saturday and it only came into the shop the day before and was built by Dave Farley a week or so before that so the one you tried might have gone out of adjustment depending how long the shop has had the horn and how many people have tried it.

The RAW is a fine horn,better than my Mauriat System 76 and the best Taiwanese i have tried.
 

daveysaxboy

Big ruff Geordie bendy metal blower
Messages
3,312
I own a RAW alto and its one of the first saxes i have bought that didn't need a setup after purchase,i bought it on a saturday and it only came into the shop the day before and was built by Dave Farley a week or so before that so the one you tried might have gone out of adjustment depending how long the shop has had the horn and how many people have tried it.

The RAW is a fine horn,better than my Mauriat System 76 and the best Taiwanese i have tried.
I'm now more in the thinking of the Sig custom Raws as more a UK horn due to its great build up and setup here.Of course the parts are Asian but you can really see and feel the great job Dave Farley and his techs do here in the UK.
 

Di in France

Senior Member
Messages
619
A really interesting review, thanks. I don't know if it's just me, but I can't access the mp3's, the pages just don't load.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Really interesting, thanks. I too preferred the Mauriat sound. Hope you're happy!
 

Mellowman

New Member
Messages
22
I'm now more in the thinking of the Sig custom Raws as more a UK horn due to its great build up and setup here.Of course the parts are Asian but you can really see and feel the great job Dave Farley and his techs do here in the UK.
Even though I had problems with the TJ, all of the horns tested had clearly been tweaked and adjusted beyond what I've experienced in the past. The pad heights were lowered and levelled, the spring action lightened, and any free play adjusted. I've realised that most of the saxes I've bought in the past have never had this done before sale, perhaps because the shops assumed that Yamahas and Selmers play perfectly out of the box?

I was originally also very interested in the Hanson and Monarch saxes, but never got to try them. I see their Monarch range is also going upmarket and boldly stating they're the best in the world - I'd love to do a shootout between a Monarch, Mauriat and TJ Custom Sig!
 

Mellowman

New Member
Messages
22
Really interesting, thanks. I too preferred the Mauriat sound. Hope you're happy!
Glad you agree! I was after a more complex and interesting sound, and was intrigued by the lush, wider sound heard on the YouTube videos.

I used to play on a Beuscher True Tone, and afterwards a Conn 6M, before I got my Mk VI, so it was great to recapture a little bit of that sound with a modern in-tune horn, that also had a bit more flexibility than those old saxes.
 

daveysaxboy

Big ruff Geordie bendy metal blower
Messages
3,312
What did you think to the A9932Z sound in comparison? I was surprised by its fullness at the bottom, and how crystal clear it was at the top.

I think the Yani makes a great pure classical sound.It has less depth of tone to me.Very strident top end.The Mauriat sounded great as they all do and i was surprised at the selmer conn which was very nice but the TJ Raw just had that boxy,woody thick core sound for me and thats my winner.They all had a nice sound though.We are so spoilt for choice these days and its all down to each persons likes,dislikes in the end but the Raw for me has everything going for it.
 

Di in France

Senior Member
Messages
619
What did you think to the A9932Z sound in comparison? I was surprised by its fullness at the bottom, and how crystal clear it was at the top.
You have a lovely tone!
The Yani sounds, to me, sweeter and more focussed than the mauriat which you chose, but not a lot to choose between them all (not sure that you can trust my ears on that one though).

I'm interested in how they felt to play compared with the 9932Z? I've been wondering with all the advances in these new horns, whether the top four can continue to demand their high prices, especially these special horns like the 9932Z.
 
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Merryfisher

Member
Messages
265
I've heard other Raw players praise there setup and finish.Must of just been done in transit or off other people.Mine was superb.I blew a black nickel DG horn years ago.I liked it alot.I've owned many many many top horns and vintage stuff and i can see why theres so much hype on there new Signature custom Raw horns.Funny your wanting to get away from the Selmer vibe,i'm enjoying getting back to it after having a bunch of yamaha 82Z's,61's,Borganis,Mauraits,Yani the last 9 years.I had a killing Selmer silver plate serie III in that time but my last MKVI went a good 10 years ago.The Raw has that selmer core but as many say more power,i agree.
my TJ SC RAW played sweet as a nut straight out of the box, and has continued to do so ever since, and is my main gigging horn. I still keep my two YTS's (a 61 & 62) cos they are just fantastic horns both in tone and build quality, and i could never part with them.

previous to the TJ i had a Mauriat 86 PMST UL - it was really not very good. the build quality was dreadful and the action awkward to say the least. infact, the Mauriat 86 that Steve Howard has reviewed on his site is infact the very one that i owned before i sold it. I think he is very polite about it. anyway, having got the TJ RAW i have found happiness!
 

Mellowman

New Member
Messages
22
We are so spoilt for choice these days and its all down to each persons likes,dislikes in the end but the Raw for me has everything going for it.
I agree - there's not a dud amongst them, which is great news for people agonising over what they can afford. I'm looking forward to trying out more saxes at the Frankfurt Musikmesse and will report back...
 
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