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Re: Dillon 410 vs. Miraphone 186

Postby the elephant » Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:17 pm

Part 2...

I would, without hesitation, get an older style 186-5U CC tuba (especially with the flat 23 5th valve) if I had the money and the right one showed up for sale. Even if I did not need it. I will never be able to say the same about the 410, however, most of my complaints about Chinese brass instruments have been addressed and more or less corrected in this one model, when built at certain locations under a floor manager who keeps up with his workers. (READ: I would buy another if I got to play test it first. I might get another sight unseen as I did this one, but I would probably drive out to test one before buying another. Not sure. And I probably will never need another one as I like the one I received from Mack Brass. (Dillon is just another importer of the same horn from the same place. I do not believe they order them with anything special or different beyond the bell engraving. I imagine, however, that the shop goes over them all pretty carefully, perhaps more so that other importers. I do not know and cannot speak to that at all. However, I am certain the 410 they sell comes from the same place that most of the decent 410s come from. I am pretty certain that 410 tubas are made in four or five factories to varying levels of quality. Our preferred importers here on TubeNet seem to source their stock from the same one or two places that do a decent job with assembly. Again, this is a fairly secretive business, so no one really knows unless they are actually selling them.

I hope you realize that many real 186 tubas suffer from some of the same problems, but few have all of them, and generally the flaws are much less glaring than what you see coming out of the Jinbao factories. I suspect this will continue to improve, just like Yamaha worked its way into the mainstream, as well as Jupiter. I do not think JB will ever eclipse Jupiter, however. I just don't. Personal opinion and experience, here; not fact.
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Re: Dillon 410 vs. Miraphone 186

Postby TheGoyWonder » Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:17 pm

is there not any SHAME in buying a chyna tuba, even if it did work? with its goofy made-up name emblazened on the bell and case for all to see and laugh at?
What happened to decorum??
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Re: Dillon 410 vs. Miraphone 186

Postby eupher61 » Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:08 am

BBruce107 wrote:I personally just acquired a Mack 410 with a gold brass bell and I like it better than the Miraphone 186. I am an odd one but I loathe the Miraphone 186.

yes, that is odd, since the only real difference is the material. Yes, the specifics of the valves and linkage are a little different, but all in all the design is pretty much identical.
Agreed that a 186 will hold value better. But, depending on the era of the 186, the Miraclone could be better. I'd certainly trust one from Dillon or Mack. Others, maybe not so much.
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Re: Dillon 410 vs. Miraphone 186

Postby joh_tuba » Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:14 am

Wade's assessment is good.

The German made horns *can* have problems but *never* to the degree or frequency of any Chinese horn to date.

If you buy a rotary chinese tuba just assume that you'll eventually have trouble with the valves and budget accordingly.

Something to think about:
It's common to open a chinese rotor and see jagged tubes that were cut with a hacksaw, never deburred, and sloppily soldered in place. The rotors themselves have MUCH sharper machined edges(far less finish work) that can and will catch and drag on calcification as the horn ages and sees more use. <--- THESE are problems that are inherent to the instrument and can not be readily addressed on the cheap by a repairman. You will need to get these horns serviced more often.

Something else to think about:
The cost of buying German made rotors and a paddle assembly will be more than the cost of an entire chinese made tuba. This is your cost prior to paying to have them installed. Just upgrading the linkage itself to Meinl Weston minibal(I personally prefer the larger more robust MW links to the cheaper Miraphone part) could easily run you a grand.

So sure.. The Chinese horns are pretty great for the money.. BUT you will never make it into something that is as good as the German equivalent.

Just go in fully informed and you'll be fine.
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Re: Dillon 410 vs. Miraphone 186

Postby eupher61 » Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:45 pm

Since the elephant won't divulge his preferences on vintage, I will mine. about 1967- 72 and after about 1996. When they started coming out with all the cool names instead of just numbers, things seemed to turn around greatly. the 18x are still workhorses without the sexiness of the newer ones.

Glancing at the Miraphone website, which I haven't done in a long time, it appears they now call it the "86" and the "90". Are the 184 and 188 things of the past?
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Re: Dillon 410 vs. Miraphone 186

Postby toobagrowl » Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:18 am

royjohn wrote:toobagrowl said
But even then, there are several other comparable rotary tubas from other makers that I prefer even over a vintage 186


And those are??? Inquiring minds want to know.


I'm a pretty big fan of Meinl/B&S tubas, particularly the rotary contrabasses, old and new. So, comparable 4/4 ish rotary contrabasses: M-W 32, M-W 20, M-W 25, PT-1(One I tooted on years ago was a sweet vintage 1980s great-condition B&S PT-1 BBb), PT-2, Sonora/Musica BBb & CC, etc. And I also like the Alex 163 BBb & CC, Rudy Meinl "3/4" CC. I even like the Cerveny 681/686 BBb and St. Pete BBb tubas at least as much as a vintage 186. Hey you asked :twisted: :tuba:

eupher61 wrote:
BBruce107 wrote:I personally just acquired a Mack 410 with a gold brass bell and I like it better than the Miraphone 186. I am an odd one but I loathe the Miraphone 186.

yes, that is odd, since the only real difference is the material. Yes, the specifics of the valves and linkage are a little different, but all in all the design is pretty much identical.


Well, Wade "The Elephant" states that the bell shape/taper is different on a Mack 410 than a real Mira 186. A different bell shape/taper can have a dramatic effect on sound :idea:
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