I do have the somehow strange privilege to have two rather rare altos currently on a concert tour and took the chance to take some pictures.
I nhave inserted the necks on the regular playing position to give you an idea of the angle that the saxophone follows while playing.
As an outspoken Dolnet fan, I like the M70 models the best of all Dolnets (even though this one needs an overhaul) but it would be a tough choice to choose between one of these two altos.
You can obviously see the design difference with the somehow "twisted" arrangement of the whole mechanic on the M70 to the left side - which does make sense in the end:
- The LH side keys and pinky cluster are very easy to reach (better than on the Buffet SDA with the S1 mechanic). The high f# key on the M70 model is very easy to reach next to the F# trill key.
- the neck bore is significantly more open on the M70
- note the tone hole diameters: the M70 has a VERY BIG low D tonehole and a larger low B tonehole than the Buffet, the placing of the toneholes is nearly congruent. - But in my opinion having this bigger tonehole on the low D and B really helps the response and intonation/balance of the low register
- Both of them have mother of pearl key inlays and on the key guards, both mdoels have a great individual engraving down the bow, the laquer is a bit more on the "honey" side on the M70 model.
- Bell - to - body brace follows a different concept
- the bell area from the bow appears to be more slim on the Dolnet
- when it comes to measurements, the M70 body tube is a bit more on the "parabolic" side - means (if I understand this whole issue correctly), it is a big thicker in the middle range of the tube than the Buffet model. In general the body tube of the M70 is a big longer, the neck therefore a bit shorter.
- bell diameter is the same
- the angle of the neck is a bit more "upwards" on the M70 model
- Playing wise: Intonation on both horns is a joy, totally flawless, no comaprison to any Bel Air model I have played where intonation was always an issue.
- Sound wise, sorry, but I prefer the M70 for its thick centred tone from pp to ff, there is a core sound that doesn´t change, certainly not as brilliant as the Buffet but it has a certain depth that I enjoy a lot. response on both horns is great and the Buffet is certainly one of the best Buffets I have ever played.
That´s it for now, if you have specific questions, let me know and I will try to measure...have the two horns for 5 more days together.