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The Nirschl tubas have also gone through a bit of change over time. The big thing that changed was the receiver. On the older ones (smaller engraving on the bell) the receiver was HUGE. This made those horns really mouthpiece sensitive and a lot of American shank mouthpieces would either go all the way in or just flat out bottom out. The newer ones (with the big engraving) have changed this and it helps a lot. I had Dan Oberloh make me a new leadpipe and receiver and it turned out wonderful (thanks again Dan).
As to the comment about "quirky intonation" I have found these tubas (both the HB and the Nirschl) to have very nice intonation. However, these being "wide slot" tubas they will put the pitch where you put it. If you have a good ear and buzz in tune these horns are great. However, if you have difficulty buzzing in tune a 6/4 tuba can be a nightmare.
I describe the Nirschl and most large and GOOD 6/4 tubas (MW 2164, Holtons, Conns do not fit this) are like really loud girlfriends. If you do something really well it will tell everyone how wonderful you are. But if you don't do something well it will tell everyone how awful you are at that all the time (we have all dated someone like that right?) These horns will NOT hide shortcomings. Some smaller tubas can, but 6/4 tubas won't (example, a thor can be a godsend for someone with low range problems compared to any 6/4 tuba)
As stated earlier "It all comes down to which one has the sound that makes your brain go "Ohhhhhhh, yyyeeeeaaaaaahhhhhh!". You need to experience them for yourself and draw your own conclusions." This is really the important thing, and the reason I play the horns that I do.
I can say the 4/4 CC Nirschl is very much the same. If you buzz in tune and breathe well without a lot of pressurization, then it really speaks with a lot of overtones.
If you don't have a good sense of pitch, it is not pleasant.
I've tended to prefer the warmth of the Yorkbrunners' sound... and hated the mouthpipe angle on the Nirschl. But, the Nirschl was effortless to play. YMMV.
I have no love for the "Big Valves". They come in with endless problems. My Kalison has a larger bore, smaller diameter pistons, and is completely problem free.
Principal Tuba, Opera Cleveland
Principal Tuba, Firelands Symphony Orchestra
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