Superba/Toneking vs Yanagisawa S900/901

Results 1 to 16 of 16
  1. #1
    twocircles's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Auburn, AL
    Posts
    592
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Superba/Toneking vs Yanagisawa S900/901

    Please compare and contrast the Keilwerth Toneking or its stencil H Couf Superba versus the Yanagisawa S900/901. I am starting to shop, and I am deciding on directions to start looking. Have you played either or both of these?

    Apples and oranges? Or, descriptions of either would be great.
    Soprano: New soprano coming soon; Alto: Noblet (Beaugnier);
    Vintage C-Mel Tenor: Evette-Schaeffer, Buffet-Crampon Clarinet: Yamaha

  2. #2
    Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru milandro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    the Netherlands
    Posts
    30,193
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Superba/Toneking vs Yanagisawa S900/901

    Apples an Oranges, for mechanics & tone alike. Each too different from the other and “ sui generis” to be able to make a comparison.
    Life is just a bowl... some have cherries in it, some don’t. Those who have the cherries aren’t likely to share them though.

  3. #3
    twocircles's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Auburn, AL
    Posts
    592
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Superba/Toneking vs Yanagisawa S900/901

    Surely, they can be described individually and contrasted.
    Soprano: New soprano coming soon; Alto: Noblet (Beaugnier);
    Vintage C-Mel Tenor: Evette-Schaeffer, Buffet-Crampon Clarinet: Yamaha

  4. #4
    Ken's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Seattle, WA & Auckland, NZ
    Posts
    1,525
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Superba/Toneking vs Yanagisawa S900/901

    For me the Yanagisawa S901 has great ergo's and intonation but tonewise can sound a little harsh sometimes. I'm still getting used to my Superba but it has a fuller darker sound, not nasally or oboe-like at all.

    That said, I played the yani in a big band gig not too long ago and it sounded great as a lead horn.
    Ken

  5. #5
    twocircles's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Auburn, AL
    Posts
    592
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Superba/Toneking vs Yanagisawa S900/901

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken View Post
    For me the Yanagisawa S901 has great ergo's and intonation but tonewise can sound a little harsh sometimes. I'm still getting used to my Superba but it has a fuller darker sound, not nasally or oboe-like at all.

    That said, I played the yani in a big band gig not too long ago and it sounded great as a lead horn.
    So, are you telling me I need to get both?

    Does your Superba have inline palm keys? What is hardest to get used to on the ergos?
    Soprano: New soprano coming soon; Alto: Noblet (Beaugnier);
    Vintage C-Mel Tenor: Evette-Schaeffer, Buffet-Crampon Clarinet: Yamaha

  6. #6
    Ken's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Seattle, WA & Auckland, NZ
    Posts
    1,525
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Superba/Toneking vs Yanagisawa S900/901

    If I had to keep just one it would be the Superba.

    Mine doesn't have inline palm keys. It's a later model from the '80s. The inline models were earlier on I think. The Ergos are good. Sometimes miss the RH alternate F# key when warming up, and going from low B to low Bb is a little harder. Once I'm warmed up it's fine.
    Ken

  7. #7
    Distinguished SOTW Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Los Angeles County
    Posts
    13,014
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Superba/Toneking vs Yanagisawa S900/901

    Not too long ago I had an S901. Nice soprano, as are most Yanagisawa saxophones. For some reason, mine had a pretty shallow upper-octave vent inside the tube, so moisture running down the inside often gathered inside the vent and cut out the notes at A2 and above. I finally solved that by building a dam above the vent using vasoline, causing the moisture to run around the vent rather than into it.

    Other than that, the horn was nice. I am not familiar with Superba models but from my long-time association with sopranos (you know what's coming next . . .), I can't imagine them being any better - conical tubes all, and as long as the tone-holes seal well, it will sound like a soprano. The mouthpiece/reed choices will have more effect on tone than the horn, at least that's the way I see it.

    As far as the in-line palm keys go, I've suffered those on various models over the years (old Conns and MKVI's) but concluded that when those notes speak well, all of the sudden the design of the palm keys becomes a non-issue. I once had a MKVI with an awful upper register - hated those in-line palm keys. Now I have two MKVI's with superb upper registers and the palm keys are just fine. DAVE
    Dave

  8. #8
    twocircles's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Auburn, AL
    Posts
    592
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Superba/Toneking vs Yanagisawa S900/901

    I don’t play only classical music, but I like a specific classical sound. Some horns lock-in to a narrow range of sound. I have one of those. It’s an inexpensive Asian sax, and I can hardly get the sound to budge no matter what I do. Unfortunately, it is not a sound I want, but it would fantastic for Dixieland jazz. Frankly, I think it is a little weird. My Noblet Alto, on the other hand, responds to changes in mouthpieces, reeds, embouchure, voicing and other oral cavity changes. I have always felt like it works with me. I am looking for something similar in a soprano. I’m not yet ready to buy, so I’m still doing research.

    Some reviewers have sounded a little less than enthusiastic about the Yanagisawa S900/901 models, like they were a little too locked-in. Lots of people love these saxes, and there is no question that they would get the classical sound I want. What have you done with yours?

    Anyone who has owned a Keilwerth Toneking, a Couf Superba or other stencil, do you think I would be fighting the Keilwerth to create the classical sound I want? Several jazz players think that these are among the best sopranos ever, partly because of their flexibility. I never heard of the later Keilwerth SX90 sopranos being used in classical circles, but were these earlier models?
    Soprano: New soprano coming soon; Alto: Noblet (Beaugnier);
    Vintage C-Mel Tenor: Evette-Schaeffer, Buffet-Crampon Clarinet: Yamaha

  9. #9
    Distinguished SOTW Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Los Angeles County
    Posts
    13,014
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Superba/Toneking vs Yanagisawa S900/901

    If you are asking ME what I did with MY S901 . . . I sold it a few years ago, as well as my S992. I got back into my vintage sopranos (and two MKVI's) and I am quite pleased with the sopranos in my closet. The only truly modern soprano I own now is a Yanagisawa SC902 curvy.

    I think you are putting too much emphasis on the brand of a horn and not enough on your mouthpiece/reed set-up and a horn's condition. Of all the sopranos I've owned and played over the years, it all comes down to how I play them, what mouthpiece set-up I use, and how well the horn seals. I seriously doubt if anyone listening to me could tell you what brand or even era of soprano I'm playing.

    AND, much of my playing pleasure and sound comes from how well the pads seal. My belief is that once you take possession of a well-made soprano and have it repaired so that all the pads seal well (and work as they are supposed to work), the horn will sound great and you will be pleased with the results. It won't matter whether it is a Selmer, Yamaha, Yanagisawa, JK, Conn, Buescher, Martin, Rampone (and I've owned all of those with the excepetion of a JK soprano)) or any of the other highly regarded horns out there. Those who think there is a huge difference among them all is nitpicking, in my opinion.

    I happen to be blessed with the horns I've been able to acquire over the years. But honestly, when I get them out and play them all one after-the-other, I could drive myself nuts trying to decide which one I like best. I'll probably never sell the ones I have now, even though there isn't any real difference among them - and they range from 1926 to 1972 (excluding the SC902). And, if I want to change the sound of any of them, I change reeds. DAVE
    Dave

  10. #10
    Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru milandro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    the Netherlands
    Posts
    30,193
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Superba/Toneking vs Yanagisawa S900/901

    I have no idea of what “ locked in” a saxophone could be and give the sheer size of the group of people whom play Yanagisawa they are unlikely to all be enamored with a name rather than the performances.

    Having said this and having owned both.

    JK ( I have had Toneking and SX90III) are both excellent saxophones with a very different sound. Loved both.

    The Yanagisawa is certainly warmer and mellower but the JK ( less comfortable mechanics ) has roundness with an edge.

    Some folks would have both, some would only go for one, which one of the two it is impossible for me to say. You have to find it out yourself. can’t do it on line.
    Last edited by milandro; 04-25-2017 at 06:23 AM.
    Life is just a bowl... some have cherries in it, some don’t. Those who have the cherries aren’t likely to share them though.

  11. #11
    DTExpress's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Long Island, NY
    Posts
    607
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Superba/Toneking vs Yanagisawa S900/901

    Roundness with an edge is an apt description, Milandro! I couldn't put it into words, but that's it.

  12. #12
    Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru milandro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    the Netherlands
    Posts
    30,193
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Superba/Toneking vs Yanagisawa S900/901

    Cheers, tried my best
    Life is just a bowl... some have cherries in it, some don’t. Those who have the cherries aren’t likely to share them though.

  13. #13
    Distinguished SOTW Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Los Angeles County
    Posts
    13,014
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Superba/Toneking vs Yanagisawa S900/901

    I have no doubt that others who report on a brand's general tonal qualities are accurately reporting what they heard when they played one (or ten) version(s) of that brand and model. But I believe that until one has played MANY versions of the same horn (and kept accurate notes about the experiences), that making overall, generalized statements about how a certain brand sounds is just incomplete. And, it helps to have them side-by-side when concluding about how one brand/model performs compared to others.

    I for one have not played enough examples of the various brands to reach any conclusions about how one will sound over the other. What I DO know is that with the similar examples that I HAVE played of say Yanagisawas, Yamahas, Bueschers, etc., that each one has certain sounds and responses that differed slightly from the other examples of the same model. That tells me that concluding how one brand will sound among several examples is inaccurate.

    It has been my experience that after about a minute on one example, I become acclimated to that's horn's sound and responses, and I play merrily along not giving much thought to how the horn sounds, other than it sounds like a soprano. Any hint of brightness or warmth or focus fades away as it becomes familiar to my ears. Of course I'm referring to well-made horns with good response throughout the range. Poor intonation or unresponsiveness will immediately overcome any pleasure I may take from playing the thing.

    My current crop of sopranos all have a "roundness with an edge" about them. This is not a challenge to milandro or others who believe in branding brands. It is just the way I see it and hear it. I think there is way too much parsing when it comes to the top soprano models out there. DAVE
    Dave

  14. #14
    twocircles's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Auburn, AL
    Posts
    592
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Superba/Toneking vs Yanagisawa S900/901

    Thanks for your responses. I am pretty happy with my mouthpieces and reed choices. I have been working on these for a number of years. That may have to be fine-tuned when I settle on a sax. But, getting a new-for-me sax is what I am focused on now.

    I am woefully aware of the problems with cheap horns, in my case Chinese, and the problems associated with leaks, not to mention things that drop off the horn while you are playing. So, I have no words to tell you how much I appreciate the notion that a sax needs to be well made, well setup, and has to seal well. I finally found someone to work on my horns, so at least, the leaking will stop. Even, with all of that, I am pretty happy with the sound I’ve developed and can get on two of the three horns.

    Other than two Yanagisawas, an S6 and an S990, that I played a few of times a long time ago, my experience with other instruments is limited to the three sopranos I have. They sound quite different from each other, but I have never figured out why. I have heard players say that their sax were limited tonally. That’s what I meant by locked-in. I thought that might be like one of my saxes. No matter what mouthpiece-reed combination I use, it always sounds the same. Perhaps this will change when it is no longer leaking.

    I guess a Yanagisawa is the surest bet. Even used, it is likely to be the most expensive sax on my short list. I was really hoping to find something less expensive, you are probably right that I am going to have to try these myself. I may take some detours along the way to try out some less expensive saxes if I think they will hold their value while I own them.

    I’ll consider dropping the Toneking from my shortlist. I don’t think I am looking for anything that always has an edge, round or not.
    Soprano: New soprano coming soon; Alto: Noblet (Beaugnier);
    Vintage C-Mel Tenor: Evette-Schaeffer, Buffet-Crampon Clarinet: Yamaha

  15. #15
    twocircles's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Auburn, AL
    Posts
    592
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Superba/Toneking vs Yanagisawa S900/901

    Duplicate
    Last edited by twocircles; 04-26-2017 at 05:13 AM.
    Soprano: New soprano coming soon; Alto: Noblet (Beaugnier);
    Vintage C-Mel Tenor: Evette-Schaeffer, Buffet-Crampon Clarinet: Yamaha

  16. #16
    Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru milandro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    the Netherlands
    Posts
    30,193
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Superba/Toneking vs Yanagisawa S900/901

    I have a S900 for sale, should you ever decide in favor od this...
    Life is just a bowl... some have cherries in it, some don’t. Those who have the cherries aren’t likely to share them though.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
VigLink badge