I've always been drawn to curved sopranos - probably has something to do with my Rascherite roots. While I'm primarily a vintage horn player, I don't really care for the mechanics on vintage curvies. I've played probably 4 or 5 Conns, a few Bueschers & an Evette Schaeffer- not for me. This has led me to modern curved soprano quest which has gone on for approximately 6 years. I've played 4 Cannonballs, 2 Yanigisawas, and one Paul Mauriat. Of those, the PM won in terms of sound (by a long shot) & ergonomics (a little more comfortable to me than the Yani) But, the price wasn't ideal on the Mauriat & I wasn't crazy about the look of the pearls. I decided to take a shot on the Barone.
Glad that I did! Wow - this beats out all the modern curvies I've played. Here are some thoughts:
Intonation: For the most part, SPOT on with Phil's vintage 7*. The high C# is flat & I'm finding I have to really work to get it to where it needs to be. Everything else is spot on, including the palm keys. Altissimo is perfect. The overtone series speaks very easily & is perfectly in tune - always a good sign.
Tone: FULL sound. So often, I've found sopranos to sound thin. In it's lower register, it almost sounds big enough to be a tenor. It doesn't thin out drastically in the palm keys - still nice & robust. It cuts in all registers, but not in an obnoxious way. The sound is very round and warm.
Response: Best I've ever had from a soprano. The perfect amount of resistance. Low Bb purrs on this horn. I've never found ANY saxophone, let alone a soprano that speaks so easily in the low register. Every note pops out effortlessly - even altissimo.
Ergonomics: I feel I can't really do a good write up here because I'm used to the feel of my vintage Conns but I felt comfortable with this horn right away. Of the modern curvies I've played, it feels most similar to a Mauriat. It should also be noted that this horn is built like a tank. Very solid workmanship.
Look: You can judge for yourself from pics but it looks great to me. There are actually a few scratches on one of the braces & a few small spots here & there (typical of new bare brass instruments???) but I don't mind. It looks a ton better than my other horns
The only thing I've run across so far that is a problem the the low C# is a little sluggish to respond & I'll probably have to tweak things a little. No leaks - just a timing issue.
Another user who recently review the PB curved soprano mentioned he wasn't happy with the case - I think it'll do a fine job, personally. Yes, there is a little wiggle room for the horn - but nothing to be concerned about. If there was that amount of wiggle room in a gig bag I'd be worried - but this case is solid & the wiggle room is very little.
I'll try & get pics up soon!