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Re: Mr. Olka, so which wins?

Postby Ian1 » Sat Mar 17, 2018 4:12 pm

Those demo/review videos are superb. Great to see such a well respected and knowledgable proper 'pro' give his opinion and all of us the chance to hear what a great sound he makes on those tubas!

It doesn't matter how much someone talks about it, hearing it is what it's all about!

Keep up the excellent work Jon. I don't believe that many work as hard as you to give people opportunities to play quality instruments they may not have been able to afford in the past.
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Re: Mr. Olka, so which wins?

Postby bloke » Sat Mar 17, 2018 5:29 pm

just fwiw...

I think the Bb (at least through his microphone into his recording device, filtered by youtube, uploaded via my service, delivered to my laptop, and sounding through my earphones) sounds the best of the three.
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Re: Mr. Olka, so which wins?

Postby bort » Sat Mar 17, 2018 7:27 pm

I agree. It also seemed the hardest to control. I'd also like to hear some videos and impressions from shitty tuba players like me. That might be more practical.

Otherwise, it's like that scene in the Blues Brothers where Ray Charles shows them there's nothing wrong with the piano he's selling. Of course he can make it sound good!
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Re: Mr. Olka, so which wins?

Postby Ken Herrick » Sat Mar 17, 2018 7:46 pm

bort wrote:I agree. It also seemed the hardest to control. I'd also like to hear some videos and impressions from shitty tuba players like me. That might be more practical.

Otherwise, it's like that scene in the Blues Brothers where Ray Charles shows them there's nothing wrong with the piano he's selling. Of course he can make it sound good!


This reminds me of the birthday party for Karl Geyer on his 80th.......

Will Scarlet and Bud Herseth both wanted to take possession of an old sidewinder trumpet which was really a POS. NOBODY could play it worth a D..... Except those two, who both made it sound brilliant!!!
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Re: Mr. Olka, so which wins?

Postby Voisi1ev » Sat Mar 17, 2018 7:52 pm

Super interested in this Bb versus the future compensating Bb.
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Re: Mr. Olka, so which wins?

Postby Ken Crawford » Sat Mar 17, 2018 11:12 pm

bort wrote:I agree. It also seemed the hardest to control. I'd also like to hear some videos and impressions from shitty tuba players like me. That might be more practical.

Otherwise, it's like that scene in the Blues Brothers where Ray Charles shows them there's nothing wrong with the piano he's selling. Of course he can make it sound good!


Mr Olka definitely threw in some sugar coated criticisms of the BBb. The negatives summed up are that it's an overweight dump truck that lacks projective prowess. A lightweight handmade version would do wonders for the execution of this model. To have success with this instrument you better be a really solid player playing in a solid low brass section. Otherwise your plume of sound isn't going to make it off the stage.
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Re: Mr. Olka, so which wins?

Postby Wyvern » Sat Mar 17, 2018 11:21 pm

Ken Crawford wrote:I think a lightweight handmade model would do wonders for the execution of this instrument.

That is on its way, but will obviously be in a higher price bracket. We are giving people options here and they can buy what best suits their budget and playing requirements.
See our fantastic new website at www.Wessex-Tubas.com

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Re: Mr. Olka, so which wins?

Postby Ken Crawford » Sat Mar 17, 2018 11:32 pm

Wyvern wrote:
Ken Crawford wrote:I think a lightweight handmade model would do wonders for the execution of this instrument.

That is on its way, but will obviously be in a higher price bracket. We are giving people options here and they can buy what best suits their budget and playing requirements.


It is what it is. I've spent quite a bit of time at the helm of a similar BBb. I thought of it like driving a cement truck. Projection was lack luster, but man it felt good under the bell.
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Re: Mr. Olka, so which wins?

Postby MikeMason » Sun Mar 18, 2018 8:45 am

Has he reviewed the Wessex Bb yet,or are you referring to the miraphone?
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Re: Mr. Olka, so which wins?

Postby bloke » Sun Mar 18, 2018 10:04 am

Some of the best examples of Holton 345 BBb tubas (as some were "dogs" out of the box, and many of the rest of them have been badly abused and/or oddly altered) really put on the sound (one in particular certainly comes to mind, which I dragged my feet prior to selling), but some might benefit from a rod to push out the tuning slide for some of the 2nd (lower Bb) and 6th (upper F) partial pitches.

They were supplied with Holton 52 "Revelation" mouthpieces - which are huge (length & girth), and similar to the old Conn "Chief" and 1 mouthpieces - but those tubas resonate more with something smaller. Those mouthpieces were cut from a 4" long x 2" round cylinder of brass, and used every bit of both of those dimensions.

:arrow: Again, as Mr. Okla has run through roughly half of Chinese 6/4 piston tubas with a video camera running, someone might as well hand him off the other half... BMB (C and Bb) and ZO.
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Re: Mr. Olka, so which wins?

Postby groth » Sun Mar 18, 2018 10:19 am

At the end of the day, the horn that wins here "should" be the one that blends the best in your individual situation (whatever that is). I think we or some of us are caught up on how this thing plays solo in a huge room or concert hall, but let's hear samples of it being filmed from the back row of the Orchestra Hall during a concert and then pass judgement. Sounded good under the bell is one thing, off the stage and rows back is another..we learn this very quickly with electric basses and monitors (at least we got a sound guy to help custom tailor what the audience hears).
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Re: Mr. Olka, so which wins?

Postby Donn » Sun Mar 18, 2018 11:26 am

bloke wrote:They were supplied with Holton 52 "Revelation" mouthpieces - which are huge (length & girth), and similar to the old Conn "Chief" and 1 mouthpieces - but those tubas resonate more with something smaller. Those mouthpieces were cut from a 4" long x 2" round cylinder of brass, and used every bit of both of those dimensions.


I've been using a Conn 1 on my Holton 109 lately, and it seems like the right combination for me. Interesting with other tubas, too, but particularly fine with the Holton. (I think the 109 - 105 with short action valves - is mainly congruent with the later 340 etc., at least as much as with other big BBb tubas.) I would hardly call it less resonant; maybe purer. The difference isn't really gigantic, after all it still seems to be up to me for the most part to make the sounds, not the mouthpiece, but I was reminded of your notion that the BAT came along as a brass substitute for a string bass. Pizzicato, I assume. It would again be mostly up to the player to get that sound, but I think the Conn 1 gives me a leg up on it, if I'm interested in pursuing it.

I guess this might be another example along the lines of, what's the point of a 6/4 tuba. You'd think, who would want such a big, expensive variation on the tuba, just to sound like any other tuba? So it seems foolish to judge it by the same standards as any other tuba. You'd have a different expectation for it, and you'd work towards that - perhaps even recognizing that an ordinary tuba might have advantages in some situations.
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Re: Mr. Olka, so which wins?

Postby bloke » Sun Mar 18, 2018 11:39 am

Donn wrote:
bloke wrote:They were supplied with Holton 52 "Revelation" mouthpieces - which are huge (length & girth), and similar to the old Conn "Chief" and 1 mouthpieces - but those tubas resonate more with something smaller. Those mouthpieces were cut from a 4" long x 2" round cylinder of brass, and used every bit of both of those dimensions.


I've been using a Conn 1 on my Holton 109 lately, and it seems like the right combination for me. Interesting with other tubas, too, but particularly fine with the Holton. (I think the 109 - 105 with short action valves - is mainly congruent with the later 340 etc., at least as much as with other big BBb tubas.) I would hardly call it less resonant; maybe purer. The difference isn't really gigantic, after all it still seems to be up to me for the most part to make the sounds, not the mouthpiece, but I was reminded of your notion that the BAT came along as a brass substitute for a string bass. Pizzicato, I assume. It would again be mostly up to the player to get that sound, but I think the Conn 1 gives me a leg up on it, if I'm interested in pursuing it.

I guess this might be another example along the lines of, what's the point of a 6/4 tuba. You'd think, who would want such a big, expensive variation on the tuba, just to sound like any other tuba? So it seems foolish to judge it by the same standards as any other tuba. You'd have a different expectation for it, and you'd work towards that - perhaps even recognizing that an ordinary tuba might have advantages in some situations.


They have a use...I apologize if my own biases projected that I view those mouthpieces as "useless".
I do not view them as useless, and - as a matter-of-fact - when I sell a restored Holton 345, I try to include a perfect-condition Holton 52 with it.
A Holton 52 "Revelation" (perhaps a reasonable analogy...??) is sort of a tuba-equipment version of an old (genuine/vintage) Ampeg tube bass amplifier, and - additionally - with knobs tilted significantly towards "bass".

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Re: Mr. Olka, so which wins?

Postby dasanchezr » Mon Mar 19, 2018 2:42 pm

I don't think Mr. Olka made those reviews to tell you which one of these tubas is the better one. He is doing enough by making this service for the tuba community by letting us know what he think, what you can probably expect and showing what he was capable to do with these instruments. He is putting his experience and his time so you can make a judgement by yourself. If you are buying without trying there is enough information in those videos for you to pick what you want.
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Re: Mr. Olka, so which wins?

Postby doublebuzzing » Mon Mar 19, 2018 3:20 pm

dasanchezr wrote:I don't think Mr. Olka made those reviews to tell you which one of these tubas is the better one. He is doing enough by making this service for the tuba community by letting us know what he think, what you can probably expect and showing what he was capable to do with these instruments. He is putting his experience and his time so you can make a judgement by yourself. If you are buying without trying there is enough information in those videos for you to pick what you want.


I do agree it's a great service for him to provide. However, it is a little (only a little) frustrating that he hasn't said anything negative about the horns he has reviewed (except the Wessex BBb). I find it hard to believe that every horn that comes into his hands is damn near perfect in every respect. IF that is the case, I don't see why another Yorkbrunner, Nirschl, Yamayork, Baer 6/4, etc would ever sell again considering you can get just as good a horn at half the price or less. I do hope he will do a video telling us the difference between these Chinese 6/4s and the big money 6/4s I just mentioned.
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Re: Mr. Olka, so which wins?

Postby Donn » Mon Mar 19, 2018 3:35 pm

There may not be a big difference, that would show up in a review video.

I don't know if anyone does this any more, but back in the day, I'd read anecdotes like "went to [retail store], played a bunch of [tuba model]" - and never, in those anecdotes, did they all sound the same. I would venture to guess that every model of tuba that ever came out of a factory, is based on a prototype that sounded fairly good. One of the things you'd hope to get for your money, is a tuba that actually plays like that prototype. Another thing you'd hope to get, is one that will continue to play, trouble free, thanks to good quality materials and precise construction. What you get from a video review, doesn't cover the things that you would hope to get from paying for 1st world manufacture - there isn't any special 1st world sound.
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Re: Mr. Olka, so which wins?

Postby bone-a-phone » Mon Mar 19, 2018 4:08 pm

One of the things you get from professional reviews is that everything is positive. There are a lot of reasons for that. First, he might want to do another Miraphone or Wessex or Cerveny review in the future, and if he posts a negative one now, he'll probably not get the chance to do that. Second, what's a negative for one person may be a positive for someone else. He might say "not very dark" with a detrimental meaning, when someone else hears "brilliant" and it's positive. Stuffy vs resistance. Open vs air hog. Heavy vs solid. Light vs doesn't project well. So when He says that one bell size has more core and the other has more presence, Wessex set him up to ride the fence by giving him two horns that to some extent isolate with bookends a parameter spectrum, and he's doing it brilliantly. He's actually giving you the info you need, without the biased opinion. To me, that's a great thing. He compared the sounds of the two big Wessex horns side by side over and over. So you should have been able to hear on whatever equipment you have that one was more focused and the other more diffused. He even said he would choose each of them in different situations, and spelled out the situations. For his style, he would choose the more diffuse instrument because it balances out his aggressive style. I think that's a perfect review, and great information to have. He told you not to pick an instrument that matches your way of playing, pick one that complements it. That has nothing to do with the instruments, it was just free wisdom. I imagine it applies to selecting other instruments as well. So there's not really one that's "better" in an absolute sense, just one that's better in a specific situation, which is why a lot of us have multiple instruments - we play in a lot of different situations.
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Re: Mr. Olka, so which wins?

Postby Douglas » Mon Mar 19, 2018 7:06 pm

bloke wrote: :arrow: Again, as Mr. Okla has run through roughly half of Chinese 6/4 piston tubas with a video camera running, someone might as well hand him off the other half... BMB (C and Bb) and ZO.


Where would one even get the ZO?
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Re: Mr. Olka, so which wins?

Postby toobagrowl » Mon Mar 19, 2018 7:57 pm

I'd be surprised if Mr. Olka replies to this thread. He is not obligated to, and prolly doesn't want to show any favortizm, but instead just demonstrate these tubas to give us an idea what they play/sound like. Of course he sounds fantastic on all of them, but you can hear some differences between them if you listen multiple times, back to back.

I've listened to the 6/4 Wessex clips several times and they all sound like great 6/4 York-o-phones. Not that I'm interested in any 6/4 tubas; mostly just curious in how they sound. I personally liked the 20" bell Wessex-York CC the best. The big BBb may be a little darker/richer, but I felt the big CC tubas had the better sound color. The overtones/harmonic content in the sound of the CC versus the BBb is pretty clear if heard multiple times on good headphones. I always listen to any music on my computer with good headphones anyway.
The 20" bell Wessex-York CC had the color of the 18" bell CC, but with a bit more warmth/mellowness. Larger bells always 'mellow/diffuse' the sound. I think the 18" bell CC would be good for pops concerts or if you want more 'zing' in the sound. The big BBb, IMO, would sound better in a large band or wind ensemble than an orchestra. That big, dark, 'chunkier' sound may sound somewhat 'tubby' (esp. being a 6/4 York-style BBb) in the orchestra blend, but be perfect for large band.
The real test is to actually hear/use it in the ensemble. Harder to guage such things on solo recordings in a large room without context of the ensemble. :!:
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Re: Mr. Olka, so which wins?

Postby Stryk » Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:02 pm

Logic tells me the $40k horn is much different than the $10k horn, but I would like to know how it is different.
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