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Re: Tiger Plastic Tuba review

Postby bloke » Fri Feb 27, 2015 10:20 pm

I would have been glad to have bought the "don't-work-at-all/embarrassment ones" at the show...if they were cheap enough. :P

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Re: Tiger Plastic Tuba review

Postby Lectron » Wed Mar 04, 2015 4:32 am

Hahaha

Great vid :D
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Re: Tiger Plastic Tuba review

Postby LoyalTubist » Sat Mar 07, 2015 7:37 pm

It's not to be a "primary" tuba if you're professional. But, so long as you keep the color conservative (like gold, gray, or black), it would be nice to take on car trips. I noticed they took down the pink one from the website. (Yeah, I'm a stright guy who likes pink. Want to make something of it?) I may seriously consider buying one of these in the next few weeks. I like the black one, to be honest.
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Re: Tiger Plastic Tuba review

Postby PaulSchmidt » Mon Apr 06, 2015 5:30 pm

Hello all

I bought one of the Tiger tubas in February (2015). I paid via PayPal on the Rheinsound Music website, I think the amount was around $900 US, plus roughly $300 for airmail shipping (not a bad price from Beijing to Chicago). I would like to share some of my experiences and answer a few questions about this instrument; hopefully it will be helpful to others.

I also recently posted a 48 minute demonstration and in depth review of the Tiger tuba:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04Jx_xCZOLw

or, search YouTube for "Tiger Plastic Tuba - Demonstration & Review"

While I am just an amateur tuba player, I do like my oddball instruments, and when I saw that this tuba was available, I had to have one!

I first tried to find a dealer, or convince a dealer to carry them. Tried all the major ones in the States, but nobody was interested. At that time, Rheinsound Music's website 'contact us' portal was not producing replies to my attempts at contact, but I had a friend in Beijing call them and soon after, I started getting helpful email communications with 'Zhong' at Rheinsound, and I have found that email communications with the manufacturer have been good since that time (thanks, Zhong!). I see that Zhong has also participated in this thread on this forum.

I made my purchase using PayPal on Rheinsound's website. Zhong advised that the black color I chose was not in stock, but that I would not need to wait long. Three days later I received an email saying that my Tiger had just been handed over to the Chinese postal carrier, and I was given a tracking number. A couple days after that, I checked the tracking and saw that the Tiger was already at JFK airport in New York, and had been handed over to US customs. Five or six days later, the post office's truck pulled up with a large cardboard box, and the Tiger had arrived. The Tiger was inside its included gig bag, which was just inside the cardboard box with just a few piece of foam padding here and there. I had to remember that this is a light weight horn made from tough ABS plastic, and since denting was not a possibility, it would have been a waste to put lots of padding in the box. So, very quick shipment and delivery!

The Tiger is made from molded ABS plastic pieces, glued together and painted with what I think is a lacquer finish. The finish seems durable enough if handled reasonably, but being paint it can scrape off, but then it can also be touched up. Rheinsound says that they will provide replacement parts, repair parts and glue, and finish touchup stuff upon request.

I was very worried about the valves, thinking "how can they make plastic valves that work well"? As it turns out, the valve casings have an internal brass sleeve, sort of the way that aluminum car engine blocks still have steel cylinder sleeves. The brass sleeve is glued inside the outer plastic shell of the valve casing. The valve rotor appears to be machined from aluminum (I have read that the rotors are stainless steel, but these are so light weight that I think aluminum is more likely. It appears that the valve rotor has some sort of surface treatment, as it is apparently not plain unfinished metal, but I don't recognize what the finish actually is. It might be plated or anodized or something like that.

Except for the aforementioned metal parts in the valves, the only other metal on the Tiger is in the valve springs, valve linkages, and water key spring.

The Tiger weighs almost exactly 65% of what my Mirphone 186 weighs, but feels like it is a third of the weight.

I am very pleased with how the Tiger sounds, and its intonation is in line with other good mainstream tubas. I find that it plays easier in the high register than any other tuba I own, and is about the same on the low end.

Being plastic, the whole horn has a lot of give and take, in terms of rigidity.....nothing on the instrument is very stiff.....but is has lots of bracing. Some people have commented that they don't care for the look of the large "H" shaped bracket that supports the valve levers, but due to the lack of rigidity I don't think the normal way of supporting these levers would work very well. The valve keys are plastic, but in this instance they appear to be molded from a fiber-filled composite material; these levers are the only plastic parts that are not painted, and they have a tan color.

Some had opined that plastic instruments don't project sound. I don't know where this comes from, since in my experience I have played outdoors with people using p-Bones and plastic trumpets, and could hear them just fine from a distance. I have been to ball games where opposing teams' bands used fiberglass sousaphones in one band and brass ones in the other band, and the difference in sound projection was not too great. I took my Tiger to a rehearsal of a large symphonic band and asked the director to comment on the apparent sound difference when I switched back and forth between the Tiger and my brass German rotary tuba, and he said the Tiger sounded fine to him, and even the French Horns came over later to complement the sound, and they sit on the other side of the group.

I do have a few reservations about some details on this instrument:

- My Tiger's valves were quite sluggish when I received it, and I shot some Hetman rotor oil down the slides, and put some Hetman bearing & linkage oil in the bearings. Rheinsound recommends Al Cass "Fast" oil (a petroleum piston valve oil) for the rotors, and Hetman #12 oil (actually a rotor oil) for the bearings. I took the valves apart (they come apart just like any other rotary valves), cleaned them and re-lubed them using Rheinsound's recommended oils; they then worked just fine. When I later did my YouTube video, I took the valves apart again and ended up using only Hetman oils (the lightest viscosity rotor oil and the lightest viscosity bearing & linkage oil on the bearings.

- My own research suggests that ABS plastic 'might' be negatively affected by prolonged exposure to petroleum based lubricants. I am not sure of Rheinsound is aware of this or not. I also communicated with Hetman, who agreed that there might be some long term damage to the horn if petroleum based oils and slide grease were used, but also suggested that Hetman products are not designed with plastic instruments in mind, either. It is my own guess that non-petroleum (synthetic) valve oils are the best bet for this tuba.

- The front and rear bearing plates on the valves are just holes in the plates, without the usual raised shoulders that provide a greater bearing surface area to deal with the side loads on the rotor spindles. This may result in premature wear on the bearing, but I don't have any expert insight into this, it is just my own thought. Ozwinds in Australia, who is a dealer, told me they are working with Rheinsound to possibly revise the design of the bearings. Having said all that, the valves on my Tiger are working well now.

Should this be purchased and somebody's primary tuba? I think not, unless the person has some physical issues that make handling a brass one either too heavy or risk of dropping the tube is too great.

But I think this instrument is a 'real' and useful one, for all sorts of situations.

Paul
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Re: Tiger Plastic Tuba review

Postby barry grrr-ero » Mon Apr 06, 2015 6:10 pm

I've listened to three different Youtuba postings now. Just going by these three guys, the horn sounds more secure and focused in the low register than in the upper register. The lower register seems to speak immediately, like a C tuba, and has a pretty beefy 'core' to the sound. Anybody else get the same impression?
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Re: Tiger Plastic Tuba review

Postby bisontuba » Mon Apr 06, 2015 6:24 pm

Very comprehensive review--thanks Paul!
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Re: Tiger Plastic Tuba review

Postby imperialbari » Mon Apr 06, 2015 6:39 pm

Could the rotors be hollow thereby allowing stainless steel to appear being light?

Klaus, who will watch the video later
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Re: Tiger Plastic Tuba review

Postby bort » Mon Apr 06, 2015 6:45 pm

Pot metal?

After this video, there should be NO questions about how these things are made. Thanks for taking the time (and money) to do this!
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Re: Tiger Plastic Tuba review

Postby PaulSchmidt » Mon Apr 06, 2015 7:48 pm

I am pretty sure that the rotors are not hollow. But they 'are' machined to have very little excess metal on them. The valve casings are very large, probably due to the larger diameter of the tuning coming into the valve from four directions (remember that the tubing is already a fairly large bore diameter, then add the thickness of the plastic tube walls, then you have to space those tubes further apart when they enter the valves, which means a larger rotor (diameter and depth) to accommodate the greater tube spacing, and hence fairly huge valve cases. If the rotors were simply that massive, they would have lots of inertia and not work very quickly. Rheinsound has taken these huge rotors and machined the living daylights out of them to reduce mass, and they seem to weigh less than smaller tuba brass rotors I have handled in the past.

Stainless steel is quite heavy, and I think that these valves would be heavier than they are if made from stainless.

Having said that, I think the Ozwinds website lists the rotors as being stainless steel, while when I had my friend in Beijing call Rheinsound, she told me that the rotors are aluminum. Zhong at Rheinsound told me that since they had started to make these Tiger tubas, there have been some changes in materials used for the valves, and this is illustrated in the 'valve maintenance' video that Rheinsound has on their website; it shows that the valve rear bearing plate is plastic (nylon or delrin or something like that), whereas my own Tiger uses brass for the back bearing plate. So maybe they tried stainless steel for the rotors originally.

For my own part, I think they would do better if they just used a brass (or bronze actually) rotor and machined it to remove excess material like they already do. In general, valves should not be the same kind of metal as the valve casings, or at least there should be plating, so it is not just brass-on-brass, for example. I have heard that aluminum is not the greatest choice for valve rotors, but having said that I understand that some Thayer valves are aluminum......
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Re: Tiger Plastic Tuba review

Postby imperialbari » Mon Apr 06, 2015 8:22 pm

Saw the video: Thanks for making it!

What I do not like about the sound is that the decay dies very fast, which in turn tells me that the tuba is not as alive in lower dynamics as I want it to be.

That could be a problem with the playing, but I also listened to the opening of your review of the Wessex Tornister BBb, where I heard a more alive & warm sound and less dying of the decay.

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Re: Tiger Plastic Tuba review

Postby Art Hovey » Mon Apr 06, 2015 11:57 pm

Guys, Stainless steel is less dense than brass. (Around 7.7 grams per CC for stainless, compared to around 8.4 for brass)
Also, the thermal expansion coefficient for stainless is much less than for brass; just a little over half as great. Seems to me that those properties make it a very good material for rotors.
I would not want aluminum rotors because it will corrode in a wet environment, especially in contact with brass or most other metals. Anodizing will only protect it temporarily, perhaps until the warranty expires.
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Re: Tiger Plastic Tuba review

Postby bighonkintuba » Tue Apr 07, 2015 7:57 am

Interesting and thorough review. Thanks Paul!
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Re: Tiger Plastic Tuba review

Postby MartyNeilan » Tue Apr 07, 2015 9:50 am

imperialbari wrote:Saw the video: Thanks for making it!

What I do not like about the sound is that the decay dies very fast, which in turn tells me that the tuba is not as alive in lower dynamics as I want it to be.

That could be a problem with the playing, but I also listened to the opening of your review of the Wessex Tornister BBb, where I heard a more alive & warm sound and less dying of the decay.

Klaus

If the tuba continues making a sound after the note stops playing then there is unwanted sympathetic vibration. I fail to understand how that is a benefit. Everything from heavyweight mouthpiece to heavyweight valve caps, extra bracing, "tone rings" to brass strips soldered to the bell has been done to reduce that on overly live horns.
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Re: Tiger Plastic Tuba review

Postby TBow » Sat Apr 18, 2015 7:40 am

For what it's worth there is a Dearship opening in Monteral in June. I found an email link on the Rhinesound Dealers web site and sent "Amy" an email. She responded they were planning on opening in June and would have at least one tuba! Montreal is only about a 5 hour drive for me so there may be a road trip in the works!
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Re: Tiger Plastic Tuba review

Postby Three Valves » Sat Apr 18, 2015 9:33 am

Tuba Shopping Vacation!!

:tuba:
Who needs four valves??

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Re: Tiger Plastic Tuba review

Postby Wyvern » Sat Apr 18, 2015 9:52 am

I have tried both the Tiger tuba and euphonium at Frankfurt Music Fair. The tuba does not play too bad, although rather hollow sounding to me. However it looks awful to my eyes and I would never be seen playing one.

The euphonium intonation is bad and it does not play well - to be avoided.

There is also a piston valve plastic BBb tuba here. That does not play well. Difficult slotting and poor intonation.

I have considered Wessex selling the Tiger tuba, but don't think so. The value to price ratio is not good in my opinion.
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Re: Tiger Plastic Tuba review

Postby Ulli » Sat Apr 18, 2015 12:30 pm

I have also tried three Tiger Tubas at Frankfurt Music Fair. A yellow, a black and a blue.
The yellow: 4th. valve handle doesn't come back
One valve handle of the booth other tubas comes back slowly.
The rest of the valves works perfect.
Sound- in the noise of the fair hall- was good, but impossible to check the tune.

What kind of plastic is it? Becomes it brittle? Will it be available in silver- metallic or in gold- metallic?
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Re: Tiger Plastic Tuba review

Postby bloke » Sat Apr 18, 2015 6:13 pm

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Re: Tiger Plastic Tuba review

Postby Ulli » Sun Apr 19, 2015 4:57 am

Neptune wrote:The value to price ratio is not good in my opinion.


An Austrian Importer demands for the Tiger Tuba 1299,90 Euro. (incl. 20% import turnover tax)
I think, it is not too expensive...
Unfortunately he offers not a silver- metallic Tiger.
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Re: Tiger Plastic Tuba review

Postby PaulSchmidt » Sun Apr 19, 2015 9:04 pm

The Tiger tuba is made of ABS plastic, according to the manufacturer.

I have seen quite a few comments from people of forums about "plastic is brittle". Well, not to belabor the point, but "brass is malleable"! If you want a tuba that can survive a fall from a parade float, or which is being handled by kids who are not yet able to handle a large tuba with sufficient care, or being handled by and older person who might not be able to deal with the weight of a brass tuba, or who might be more prone to dropping it, you want the dent-proof plastic.

It is also UNTRUE as a general statement that "plastic is brittle". Nylon is a plastic, and nobody would call it brittle. If you get metal cold, it becomes brittle. Heck, if you stick your hand in liquid nitrogen, it becomes brittle too. There are many kinds of plastics, with all sorts of physical and chemical characteristics. In the case of ABS, my own research shows that it is a polymer made by combining three molecules; styrene for the hard impervious surface, acrylonitrile as a binder, and polybutadiene which makes the result resilient (not brittle) even at low temperatures, and basically this is a very tough plastic.

ABS is a relatively safe plastic to use in close contact with humans, including for storage of food. However when it is heated for molding, or when exposed to alcohol for extended periods, it gives off fumes which should be ventilated. ABS is considered so safe that nobody has a problem with the fact that LEGO bricks are made from it. Plastic recorders and clarinets and oboes are usually made from ABS.

ABS is most valued for its high impact resistance (again, not brittle) and overall toughness.It has excellent structural stability under mechanical load.

ABS is resistant to many acids and alkalis, concentrated hydrochloric and phosphoric acids, alcohols, as well as animal, vegetable and mineral oils (it should tolerate petroleum based valve oils and slide lubricants, but it is probably safer to use synthetics). ABS should not be used around anhydrous acetic acid (sort of a concentrated water-free vinegar), carbon tetrachloride, aromatic hydrocarbons, concentrated sulfuric and concentrated nitric acids, or esters, ketones, or acetone.

ABS breaks down if exposed to sunlight for an extended period, so it needs to be protected by paint; some formulations of ABS are more resistant to sunlight.

Back to the supposed brittleness, car bumpers, golf club heads, hammer movements on many pianos, computer keyboard keys, and most 3D printed items are made from ABS, so again not too brittle.

This all has nothing to do with whether you like the Tiger tuba and other instruments, but it should shed some light on some of the controversy regarding whether Rheinsound Music chose a good material.
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