Hi mjharget, I think tone is down to the player then mouthpiece and reed selection, rather than just the sax. Why don't you do to the 'Doorbell' and introduce yourself, I feel sure more guys will be along to answer your question here.. Btw welcome to the Café
as Chris said, mouthpiece choice is important to make the sound, maybe look into a Meyer mouthpiece with vandoren reeds, that is a stable choice of set up for some softer sounding and classical style players i know.
Older horns: Selmer BA and SBA, Buffet Crampon, Martin Comm I and II, Kohlert (CZ), Couesnon Monopole (double octave vent), Buesher True Tone from the 20's, Conn m-models from the 20's, Martin HC from the 20's ..... .
As it goes for older vs modern saxes, Dr Paul Cohen wrtote about this subject in Saxophone Journal, Vintage Saxophones Revisted, " Pro Horns or Quaint Relics" pt 1 & pt 2, jan/feb & mar/apr 1999. He explain the mouthpice issue on older saxes as well. Send me a pm if you can't find the article on internet.
Thanks for mentioning my horn Fraser! I didn’t know that you did before of coming to this thread quite by chance.
Of course there are many good saxophones apt to play classical music and despite the fact that Selmers were abundantly used by Jazz performers they were always (and still are) produced with the classical performer in mind.
Mark VI ( which was designed following the advise of no one less than Marcel Mule and Al Gallodoro !) and Mark VII and the ubiquitous SA 80 II (also the III) are all very well suited to classical music as the Reference series.
That doesn’t mean that there are no other horns which wouldn’t perform very well with classical music.
The Rasherites of course would recommend the Bueschers and very rightly so, Buescher have a really beautiful and sweet sound.
Buffet S1 Prestige are very sought after especially here in the Netherlands by the followers of Arno Bornkamp (who by the way uses a Selmer Mark VII tenor).
But a number of less known saxophones would be suitable too: Leblanc, Couesnon, Pierret,........... you name it.
It really comes down to personal preference.
Aside from the sound, which of course is very important, the ergonomics are particularly important too, Classical music often call for intricate finger sequences which are not always equally well executed on all saxophones for everyone.
So, as usual, it is down to personal taste,
If can spend one word of praise for the Mark VI (and my horn is one;} ) besides being a great horn for all sorts of genres it is also one of the best investments that you are going to make.
They will always be more sought after (for whatever reason) than other saxophones.