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Miraphone 190

Postby dasanchezr » Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:51 pm

Hi,

I am just wondering if someone has a Miraphone 190 CC or know about this instrument since I am pretty curious about the instrument.
It looks comparable to size with something like a rudy 5/4. Does it play in tune? any information is good I just want to know more


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Re: Miraphone 190

Postby the elephant » Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:49 pm

IMHO it is a very old design that never had all the bugs worked out, pitch-wise. The BBb is pretty good but the old CCs were a bear to play well. I have not played any of the current generation. Perhaps they have fixed some of the problems, but truly, it is just a really big tuba. I would look elsewhere if you want a really playable Kaiser tuba. There are many Kaiser tubas out there that play well, and a number of them are in the key of C. But since the US market is geared toward CC and (currently) front pistons, it seems the real R&D money (which is not much) is going into new, large BBb tubas.
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Re: Miraphone 190

Postby bloke » Tue Dec 05, 2017 9:07 pm

The recent re-release has smaller diameter rotors (appear to be 186 rotors scooped out to the .835" bore...which makes them even lighter-weight - and faster than - regular 186 rotors).

The pitch of recent re-release (CC version) is greatly improved as well.

All of that having been said, it does not suit my personal taste.
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Re: Miraphone 190

Postby the elephant » Tue Dec 05, 2017 9:09 pm

Do you have a part number for one of those scooped out 186 rotors? That sounds like something I ought to have half a dozen of for projects...
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Re: Miraphone 190

Postby bloke » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:31 pm

If you just order .835" bore rotors from Eva, I couldn't imagine them sending you anything other than but what I described...
I guess (??) they would be OK (along with tubing) for add-a-5th-valve projects.

It's interesting how Miraphone's bore sizes are rarely even mm's...
ex: 21.2mm (.83464567")
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Re: Miraphone 190

Postby the elephant » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:44 pm

Yeah, it is like the guy who selects sizes is drunk-typing at his AUTOCAD terminal, heh, heh... "HRRMMUUHH, let us now try zee .806432791" rotors to see zee effekz ahn zee ohvuhtohn zeriez..."
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Re: Miraphone 190

Postby bort » Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:44 am

dasanchezr wrote:Hi,

I am just wondering if someone has a Miraphone 190 CC or know about this instrument since I am pretty curious about the instrument.
It looks comparable to size with something like a rudy 5/4. Does it play in tune? any information is good I just want to know more


Daniel


I tried a new 190 a few years ago, and it didn't do much for me. It was hard to play well, and all around took a lot of effort. Perhaps there is just a learning curve, but after about 10 minutes, I wasn't looking forward to more time on the tuba. It was NOT at all like a really large 188 or 186. Totally different.

The Rudy 5/4 seems far larger to me, and while it is also a little difficult to reign in... the sound is amazing, and seems more worthy of the effort involved.
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Re: Miraphone 190

Postby dasanchezr » Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:44 am

Thanks a lot All those comments are really helpful I will take note of them, I am not thinking on buying it but since I prefer rotary tubas (although I don't mind pistons) the 190 catched my eye. So assuming for what I am reading than the compact 5/4 miraphone like the 1291/2/3 and the bruckner are probably more reliable horns. Do you think in the same way?
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Re: Miraphone 190

Postby bloke » Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:40 pm

Since I posted in this thread, please do not assume anything from me regarding opinions of any other models.
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Re: Miraphone 190

Postby the elephant » Wed Dec 06, 2017 3:48 pm

bloke wrote:Since I posted in this thread, please do not assume anything from me regarding opinions of any other models.


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Re: Miraphone 190

Postby joh_tuba » Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:17 pm

bloke wrote:If you just order .835" bore rotors from Eva, I couldn't imagine them sending you anything other than but what I described...
I guess (??) they would be OK (along with tubing) for add-a-5th-valve projects.

It's interesting how Miraphone's bore sizes are rarely even mm's...
ex: 21.2mm (.83464567")


21.2mm is also the bore size on a the Cerveny Piggy and other large horns. Perhaps there is a historical manufacturing reason why they both picked that size.
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Re: Miraphone 190

Postby toobagrowl » Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:28 pm

I like the look of the Miraphone 190. Usually, I can more or less tell if I will like a tuba by looking at it's shape/taper and tubing layout. That said, I've never had the chance to play a Mira 190 :( But ever since I've learned that Tommy Johnson used one back in the early 1980s in some films (E.T. being the big one), I've wanted to try one. He sounded AMAZING on that tuba :!: :tuba:

Some ppl here have claimed that it is a 'difficult' tuba to play regarding pitch and/or response, yet give no specifics. Like all tubas, you just gotta try and play it and decide for yourself. Just like mouthpieces, tubas are a very individual/personal thing.
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Re: Miraphone 190

Postby southtubist » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:32 am

Here's a video of me playing one way back in the day, back when I still played tuba seriously. Back before I went into a STEM degree that sucks up all my free time. . . This was back when I was between CC tubas and had to play literature too big for F tuba only. This is the CC version with the old 2 step 5th valve.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWCFyuSLX2c

Somewhere there is the rest of this concert where we played Overture to Kolas Bruegnon and Mark O'Connor's Improvised Violin Concerto. The violin concerto had a lot of low brass, and we were competing with an amplifier, so. . . There are other concerts out there where I used this horn, but I'm not sure where to find them.

It was a monster horn, definitely a 6/4 instrument by any definition. It looks normal sized because I'm a big guy, but trust me- it's a 6/4. The one I played was actually pretty easy to play. It took a lot of air, but the low register wasn't "dead" like a lot of 6/4 horns. The low G, F actually popped pretty well- better than most 4/4 tubas. The only problem note was the bottom of staff F. It never felt/sounded centered (and was very sharp without a long slide pull) from under the bell, but out front it sounded just like all the other notes. It's an odd problem that we never figured out. Response and intonation was great throughout the range, except for above middle C. It got sketchy above middle C, so I just used an F tuba for that stuff because I'm lazy. F tuba was what I did 90% of my practicing on anyway. The valves were annoyingly slow, but it didn't really matter in practice. This particular example was in poor shape when we found it in the instrument storage room at Interlochen. Nobody knew where it came from. In brass repair class we built a 5th valve linkage and did some general repairs/cleaning to make it playable again. I played it for almost an entire year, mostly in band or brass ensemble. The low register would go and go and go. . . Lots of grins from the trombone section. :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

That said, there was definitely a learning curve to playing it. This particular horn was extremely unforgiving to lapses in breathing/air technique. It would get edgy with a small mouthpiece, so I played it with the (pretty large) Bloke Symphony to help mellow it out. It was also my only CC tuba mouthpiece at the time. . . That said, I do have a very aggressive sound, so it could just be me. At that time I had serious issues with tension- I had extremely strong chops and a huge lung capacity, so I could compensate reasonably well. However, playing tense and muscling things will catch up with you, but that's another tangent for another time. . . The Miraphone 190 could hide some of that, more so than other horns I've played. I find my Alex to be extremely unforgiving to being muscled, so that habit kind of fixed itself with time.

I don't know if anyone else has performed on it since I graduated. Last I heard, one of my friends practiced (not performed) on it in order to be ready to play a 6/4 Nirschl that was to be provided by her future school. It worked well for her I guess- she's far surpassed me as a player.

As an aside, I think I had this particular Miraphone 190 in Bloke's shop. They let me take it home that summer because we had done so much work in the shop on it, and had just gotten it playable by summer. Maybe Bloke remembers? That would have been about 5 years ago. I'm getting old. . .

Hope that helps!
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Re: Miraphone 190

Postby southtubist » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:41 am

bort wrote:
I tried a new 190 a few years ago, and it didn't do much for me. It was hard to play well, and all around took a lot of effort. Perhaps there is just a learning curve, but after about 10 minutes, I wasn't looking forward to more time on the tuba. It was NOT at all like a really large 188 or 186. Totally different.

The Rudy 5/4 seems far larger to me, and while it is also a little difficult to reign in... the sound is amazing, and seems more worthy of the effort involved.


I mostly agree- the 186/188 are NOTHING like the 190 in any way! The 190 is way more open, and the response was not nearly as consistent across the middle range as in the 186/188.

It could be that the particular 190 I used was a good example? I was young/crazy back then and had no choice to deal with all the quirks. Also had the practice time to learn the quirks. . . I've only played a Rudy 5/4 for like 2 minutes, so I can't compare them.
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Re: Miraphone 190

Postby bort » Thu Dec 07, 2017 4:19 am

Lots of time behind the horn will fix just about anything. Better tubas just seem to reduce this amount of time and effort.

I'd bet a lot of our historical tuba heroes had some instruments that we would find VERY difficult to play well. They didn't really get much choice about what they wanted to use, so they simply figured out how to make it work.

I think we probably have all had "make it work!" situations in our development as tuba players. Mine was when I first started playing tuba, and had to use a tuba with a broken valve stem. I literally had to hold a broken valve stem on my valve 100% of the time. It was ridiculous, but it was either that or not playing the tuba at all. Easy choice!
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Re: Miraphone 190

Postby dasanchezr » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:13 am

Agreed as long as the player is strong and willing to figure it out it doesn't matter what instrument they have. I remember when I had only my MW32 and that did all I needed from Symphonie Fantastique to The Ride I just had to figure out how to make it work and after a while it became easy since I knew what to do.
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Re: Miraphone 190

Postby dasanchezr » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:19 am

southtubist wrote:Here's a video of me playing one way back in the day, back when I still played tuba seriously. Back before I went into a STEM degree that sucks up all my free time. . . This was back when I was between CC tubas and had to play literature too big for F tuba only. This is the CC version with the old 2 step 5th valve.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWCFyuSLX2c" target="_blank

Somewhere there is the rest of this concert where we played Overture to Kolas Bruegnon and Mark O'Connor's Improvised Violin Concerto. The violin concerto had a lot of low brass, and we were competing with an amplifier, so. . . There are other concerts out there where I used this horn, but I'm not sure where to find them.

It was a monster horn, definitely a 6/4 instrument by any definition. It looks normal sized because I'm a big guy, but trust me- it's a 6/4. The one I played was actually pretty easy to play. It took a lot of air, but the low register wasn't "dead" like a lot of 6/4 horns. The low G, F actually popped pretty well- better than most 4/4 tubas. The only problem note was the bottom of staff F. It never felt/sounded centered (and was very sharp without a long slide pull) from under the bell, but out front it sounded just like all the other notes. It's an odd problem that we never figured out. Response and intonation was great throughout the range, except for above middle C. It got sketchy above middle C, so I just used an F tuba for that stuff because I'm lazy. F tuba was what I did 90% of my practicing on anyway. The valves were annoyingly slow, but it didn't really matter in practice. This particular example was in poor shape when we found it in the instrument storage room at Interlochen. Nobody knew where it came from. In brass repair class we built a 5th valve linkage and did some general repairs/cleaning to make it playable again. I played it for almost an entire year, mostly in band or brass ensemble. The low register would go and go and go. . . Lots of grins from the trombone section. :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

That said, there was definitely a learning curve to playing it. This particular horn was extremely unforgiving to lapses in breathing/air technique. It would get edgy with a small mouthpiece, so I played it with the (pretty large) Bloke Symphony to help mellow it out. It was also my only CC tuba mouthpiece at the time. . . That said, I do have a very aggressive sound, so it could just be me. At that time I had serious issues with tension- I had extremely strong chops and a huge lung capacity, so I could compensate reasonably well. However, playing tense and muscling things will catch up with you, but that's another tangent for another time. . . The Miraphone 190 could hide some of that, more so than other horns I've played. I find my Alex to be extremely unforgiving to being muscled, so that habit kind of fixed itself with time.

I don't know if anyone else has performed on it since I graduated. Last I heard, one of my friends practiced (not performed) on it in order to be ready to play a 6/4 Nirschl that was to be provided by her future school. It worked well for her I guess- she's far surpassed me as a player.

As an aside, I think I had this particular Miraphone 190 in Bloke's shop. They let me take it home that summer because we had done so much work in the shop on it, and had just gotten it playable by summer. Maybe Bloke remembers? That would have been about 5 years ago. I'm getting old. . .

Hope that helps!




YOU SOUND GREAT ON THAT RECORDING!
The instrument sounds big but for what I can see most of the work is yours, when you switch to F is big too.
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Re: Miraphone 190

Postby dasanchezr » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:19 am

southtubist wrote:Here's a video of me playing one way back in the day, back when I still played tuba seriously. Back before I went into a STEM degree that sucks up all my free time. . . This was back when I was between CC tubas and had to play literature too big for F tuba only. This is the CC version with the old 2 step 5th valve.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWCFyuSLX2c" target="_blank" target="_blank

Somewhere there is the rest of this concert where we played Overture to Kolas Bruegnon and Mark O'Connor's Improvised Violin Concerto. The violin concerto had a lot of low brass, and we were competing with an amplifier, so. . . There are other concerts out there where I used this horn, but I'm not sure where to find them.

It was a monster horn, definitely a 6/4 instrument by any definition. It looks normal sized because I'm a big guy, but trust me- it's a 6/4. The one I played was actually pretty easy to play. It took a lot of air, but the low register wasn't "dead" like a lot of 6/4 horns. The low G, F actually popped pretty well- better than most 4/4 tubas. The only problem note was the bottom of staff F. It never felt/sounded centered (and was very sharp without a long slide pull) from under the bell, but out front it sounded just like all the other notes. It's an odd problem that we never figured out. Response and intonation was great throughout the range, except for above middle C. It got sketchy above middle C, so I just used an F tuba for that stuff because I'm lazy. F tuba was what I did 90% of my practicing on anyway. The valves were annoyingly slow, but it didn't really matter in practice. This particular example was in poor shape when we found it in the instrument storage room at Interlochen. Nobody knew where it came from. In brass repair class we built a 5th valve linkage and did some general repairs/cleaning to make it playable again. I played it for almost an entire year, mostly in band or brass ensemble. The low register would go and go and go. . . Lots of grins from the trombone section. :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

That said, there was definitely a learning curve to playing it. This particular horn was extremely unforgiving to lapses in breathing/air technique. It would get edgy with a small mouthpiece, so I played it with the (pretty large) Bloke Symphony to help mellow it out. It was also my only CC tuba mouthpiece at the time. . . That said, I do have a very aggressive sound, so it could just be me. At that time I had serious issues with tension- I had extremely strong chops and a huge lung capacity, so I could compensate reasonably well. However, playing tense and muscling things will catch up with you, but that's another tangent for another time. . . The Miraphone 190 could hide some of that, more so than other horns I've played. I find my Alex to be extremely unforgiving to being muscled, so that habit kind of fixed itself with time.

I don't know if anyone else has performed on it since I graduated. Last I heard, one of my friends practiced (not performed) on it in order to be ready to play a 6/4 Nirschl that was to be provided by her future school. It worked well for her I guess- she's far surpassed me as a player.

As an aside, I think I had this particular Miraphone 190 in Bloke's shop. They let me take it home that summer because we had done so much work in the shop on it, and had just gotten it playable by summer. Maybe Bloke remembers? That would have been about 5 years ago. I'm getting old. . .

Hope that helps!




YOU SOUND GREAT ON THAT RECORDING!
The instrument sounds big but for what I can see most of the work is yours, when you switch to F is big too.
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Re: Miraphone 190

Postby Jay Bertolet » Thu Dec 07, 2017 10:25 am

southtubist wrote:Here's a video of me playing one way back in the day, back when I still played tuba seriously. Back before I went into a STEM degree that sucks up all my free time. . . This was back when I was between CC tubas and had to play literature too big for F tuba only. This is the CC version with the old 2 step 5th valve.

This particular example was in poor shape when we found it in the instrument storage room at Interlochen. Nobody knew where it came from. In brass repair class we built a 5th valve linkage and did some general repairs/cleaning to make it playable again. I played it for almost an entire year, mostly in band or brass ensemble. The low register would go and go and go. . . Lots of grins from the trombone section. :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

As an aside, I think I had this particular Miraphone 190 in Bloke's shop. They let me take it home that summer because we had done so much work in the shop on it, and had just gotten it playable by summer. Maybe Bloke remembers? That would have been about 5 years ago. I'm getting old. . .

Hope that helps!


I know that horn and its history very well, if it is the one I think it is. Back in 1982, Interlochen still had their college level summer program going. I attended that year and there wasn't very much for me to do so I mostly hung out with the high school tuba players. The top 2 that year were Heiko Triebener and an Israeli player named Ariel Sasson. These guys were polar opposites as players. Heiko used his F tuba exclusively, which he brought with him from Germany for the summer. Ariel was much less fortunate financially and was not able to bring any of his tubas with him from Israel for the summer. The camp reached out to their donors to try and find someone willing to donate a suitable horn for him to use and someone paid to have that 190 CC waiting for him when he arrived.

It was a real lesson in how equipment can both help and hurt you. Heiko was a typical F tuba player. He had great technique, amazing high range, and real command of his F tuba. Ariel was a more Russian style player, with a really big sound, lots of power in the lower range of the horn, and more focus on sound and projection than technique. He was a big kid so that 190 fit him and his playing style like a glove. As was the custom at the camp, every week the chairs were determined through a challenge system on the music being performed that week. Heiko and Ariel were the top 2 players that were competing for the chair in the World Youth Symphony Orchestra all summer long. That first week, the orchestra programmed Ride of the Valkyries. I sat in on the challenges and it was pretty fun to watch. Heiko did not have access to another horn and he played the Ride excerpt on his F. He did a pretty amazing job but, as you can imagine, a lot was missing. Ariel laid waste to the room and he went on to hold the WYSO chair for the entire summer. I would say Ariel was pretty lucky that none of the pieces selected that summer were F tuba specific. Still, it was a lot of fun interacting with those guys and watching them grow over the summer. When Ariel left for home, the tuba stayed at Interlochen. I often wondered about what happened to that horn. Ariel loved it! I'm glad it is still being used. They're not quite as big as other 5/4 horns, definitely so in size of sound, but they are far more agile. This particular one was very well in tune and easy to play.

Like any horn, try before you buy!
My opinion for what it's worth...


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Re: Miraphone 190

Postby southtubist » Thu Dec 07, 2017 10:49 pm

Jay Bertolet wrote:I know that horn and its history very well, if it is the one I think it is. Back in 1982, Interlochen still had their college level summer program going. I attended that year and there wasn't very much for me to do so I mostly hung out with the high school tuba players. The top 2 that year were Heiko Triebener and an Israeli player named Ariel Sasson. These guys were polar opposites as players. Heiko used his F tuba exclusively, which he brought with him from Germany for the summer. Ariel was much less fortunate financially and was not able to bring any of his tubas with him from Israel for the summer. The camp reached out to their donors to try and find someone willing to donate a suitable horn for him to use and someone paid to have that 190 CC waiting for him when he arrived.

It was a real lesson in how equipment can both help and hurt you. Heiko was a typical F tuba player. He had great technique, amazing high range, and real command of his F tuba. Ariel was a more Russian style player, with a really big sound, lots of power in the lower range of the horn, and more focus on sound and projection than technique. He was a big kid so that 190 fit him and his playing style like a glove. As was the custom at the camp, every week the chairs were determined through a challenge system on the music being performed that week. Heiko and Ariel were the top 2 players that were competing for the chair in the World Youth Symphony Orchestra all summer long. That first week, the orchestra programmed Ride of the Valkyries. I sat in on the challenges and it was pretty fun to watch. Heiko did not have access to another horn and he played the Ride excerpt on his F. He did a pretty amazing job but, as you can imagine, a lot was missing. Ariel laid waste to the room and he went on to hold the WYSO chair for the entire summer. I would say Ariel was pretty lucky that none of the pieces selected that summer were F tuba specific. Still, it was a lot of fun interacting with those guys and watching them grow over the summer. When Ariel left for home, the tuba stayed at Interlochen. I often wondered about what happened to that horn. Ariel loved it! I'm glad it is still being used. They're not quite as big as other 5/4 horns, definitely so in size of sound, but they are far more agile. This particular one was very well in tune and easy to play.

Like any horn, try before you buy!


Thanks for your insight!

That answers a lot of questions we were asking at the time. 1982 was a long time ago (certainly before my time), so I can see how equipment can just be forgotten about- particularly when you consider how vast that instrument storage room is. Also, I'm not sure if any of the current brass faculty would have been around in 1982. The Ride was fun on the 190, and the low E's were surprisingly easy to play with clarity on that excerpt, certainly easier than on my Alex. It would be interesting to hear that recording of The Ride with Sasson playing.

Interesting that you bring up H. Triebener- I play an MW 45k as my F tuba, the Triebener model. I've owned it for about 6 years and will probably never sell it. It's funny that you mention playing the Ride on F tuba; playing "CC excerpts" on F tuba was something I did a lot for fun. Never in auditions or performance, but certainly a lot in practice. I just like F tuba a lot, and I didn't do all that much chamber or solo playing. I never went to summer camp, only my junior/senior years in school at Interlochen. Most people go to camp at least one summer. Wow, this thread is making me want un-mothball my horns and start practicing again. I haven't played at all in almost a year. . .

(edit!)

Found the recording of Colas Breugnon from that concert. http://interlochenpublicradio.org/post/ ... ber-9-2013 I had a lot of fun with it. After this concert I switched to the Alex and played Nutcracker with it, and then a cycle in band. I then switched back to the 190 for the rest of the year.
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