Dillon 410 vs. Miraphone 186 Bookmark and Share

The bulk of the musical talk
Forum rules
Reminder: "Go fund me" requests are not allowed and should be reported. All requests will be deleted.

Dillon 410 vs. Miraphone 186

Postby adsteve » Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:46 pm

I am sure this has been discussed ad nauseam, so I do apologize if anyone is offended by double posts.

The title says it all, I am trying to decide between a new Dillon 410 186 clone and a used Miraphone 186. What are your thoughts, is the latter worth the extra money? If so, what are you getting with the Miraphone that the clone would not provide. Thanks in advance for your input.
adsteve
bugler
bugler
 
Posts: 48
Joined: Tue May 04, 2010 8:26 am

Re: Dillon 410 vs. Miraphone 186

Postby bloke » Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:59 pm

Ask Matt Walters, the tuba specialist at Dillon Music.
He'll give you an informed/honest/unbiased opinion and information...free of gobbledygook - as contrasted with that offered by the TubeNet Freak Jury.

Image
Last edited by bloke on Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
bloke
musician/technician/innovator
musician/technician/innovator
 
Posts: 40367
Joined: Sat May 08, 2004 6:04 pm
Location: western Tennessee

Re: Dillon 410 vs. Miraphone 186

Postby adsteve » Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:01 pm

Noted, I am planning on chatting with him this afternoon.
adsteve
bugler
bugler
 
Posts: 48
Joined: Tue May 04, 2010 8:26 am

Re: Dillon 410 vs. Miraphone 186

Postby Sousaswag » Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:26 pm

If the 186 has no/small issues, (dents, lacquer wear, etc.) buying used is nearly always a better choice than Chinese imho. It will *probably* last you longer and have less problems. I have read that Chinese horns, particularly rotary ones, have lots of linkage problems. Nothing that can't be worked out, but it's there. Plus, it's a Miraphone 186. Seems to me that lots of people consider them the best rotary BBb. Good luck in your search :tuba:
VMI 3302 BBb
Besson 'New Standard' 968 euphonium
User avatar
Sousaswag
bugler
bugler
 
Posts: 110
Joined: Sat Oct 14, 2017 6:12 pm

Re: Dillon 410 vs. Miraphone 186

Postby Three Valves » Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:44 pm

bloke wrote:
Image


What kinda Kangaroo Court is that, fella?? :shock:

Oh, to me, the answer is, if there is anything suspect about the used Miraphone;

Go Clone!!

:tuba:
Who needs four valves??

Mack Brass Artiste
MackBrunner 210L
Bach 12
Kelly 18
User avatar
Three Valves
6 valves
6 valves
 
Posts: 2833
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2015 10:44 am
Location: The Land of Pleasant Living

Re: Dillon 410 vs. Miraphone 186

Postby royjohn » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:50 pm

Be aware that the used Miraphone will hold its value, whereas a new 410 will lose 30 to 50% of its value once used. Also, at a fair market price the Miraphone will be easier to resell than the clone. That said, there's a difference in price between the used Miraphone and a new 410 and even more of a difference if you can find a used 410. So available funds have something to do with it, possibly. You probably need to play some of each...some folks feel the Miraphone sounds better and some don't see that much of a difference.

Sounds like a trip to Dillon's or one of the other tuba meccas would be in order, if you're located right. :D :D :D

royjohn
royjohn
royjohn
3 valves
3 valves
 
Posts: 390
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 12:13 pm
Location: Knoxville, TN

Re: Dillon 410 vs. Miraphone 186

Postby BBruce107 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:47 pm

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.
Brandon Bruce
Alma Symphony Orchestra
BBruce107
bugler
bugler
 
Posts: 242
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2014 4:24 pm
Location: Michigan

Re: Dillon 410 vs. Miraphone 186

Postby toobagrowl » Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:50 am

^ You are not alone, BBruce. Also not a fan of the modern Miraphone 186 or really, most of the modern 18X series. I can recognize they are good tubas and many ppl like them, but they are just too generic/ho-hum for my tastes. I do like the vintage Mirafone 186 better. But even then, there are several other comparable rotary tubas from other makers that I prefer even over a vintage 186 :!:
toobagrowl
5 valves
5 valves
 
Posts: 1134
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2010 3:12 pm
Location: USA

Re: Dillon 410 vs. Miraphone 186

Postby royjohn » Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:42 am

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.
royjohn
royjohn
3 valves
3 valves
 
Posts: 390
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 12:13 pm
Location: Knoxville, TN

Re: Dillon 410 vs. Miraphone 186

Postby adsteve » Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:51 pm

Anyone know anywhere I can try one of these in the Chicago area? Obviously it would be better to drive to the factory, but I won't have the time to make a long trip for quite some time.

Thanks everyone for sharing your input!
adsteve
bugler
bugler
 
Posts: 48
Joined: Tue May 04, 2010 8:26 am

Re: Dillon 410 vs. Miraphone 186

Postby the elephant » Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:21 pm

adsteve wrote:Obviously it would be better to drive to the factory...


To drive to the factory you will need one of these.

Image
Click here for a look at the best 6/4 now on the market...
User avatar
the elephant
Papa Legba
Papa Legba
 
Posts: 13467
Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2004 8:38 pm
Location: 404 Not Found

Re: Dillon 410 vs. Miraphone 186

Postby cktuba » Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:33 pm

One of these would get you there faster...
Image
Image
User avatar
cktuba
6 valves
6 valves
 
Posts: 2207
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2004 1:17 am
Location: A department store freeing a man trapped inside what I believe to be a "Martin Mammoth."

Re: Dillon 410 vs. Miraphone 186

Postby bloke » Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:35 pm

When is that pair of bridges (40 mi. + 30 mi.) going to be built...??
...you know with the two islands in the middle where (SNL's ignorance aside) Russia can easily be seen from Alaska... Image

Image
Last edited by bloke on Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
bloke
musician/technician/innovator
musician/technician/innovator
 
Posts: 40367
Joined: Sat May 08, 2004 6:04 pm
Location: western Tennessee

Re: Dillon 410 vs. Miraphone 186

Postby adsteve » Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:36 pm

Do they make a Chinese version of the Bond Submarine car?
adsteve
bugler
bugler
 
Posts: 48
Joined: Tue May 04, 2010 8:26 am

Re: Dillon 410 vs. Miraphone 186

Postby the elephant » Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:25 pm

adsteve wrote:Do they make a Chinese version of the Bond Submarine car?


I would put money on it that this has been done... :mrgreen:
Click here for a look at the best 6/4 now on the market...
User avatar
the elephant
Papa Legba
Papa Legba
 
Posts: 13467
Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2004 8:38 pm
Location: 404 Not Found

Re: Dillon 410 vs. Miraphone 186

Postby bloke » Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:38 pm

the elephant wrote:
adsteve wrote:Do they make a Chinese version of the Bond Submarine car?


I would put money on it that this has been done... :mrgreen:


Would you choose to ride in the Yamaha one, or the Jinbao one?
User avatar
bloke
musician/technician/innovator
musician/technician/innovator
 
Posts: 40367
Joined: Sat May 08, 2004 6:04 pm
Location: western Tennessee

Re: Dillon 410 vs. Miraphone 186

Postby the elephant » Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:41 pm

bloke wrote:
the elephant wrote:
adsteve wrote:Do they make a Chinese version of the Bond Submarine car?


I would put money on it that this has been done... :mrgreen:


Would you choose to ride in the Yamaha one, or the Jinbao one?


Me? I wouldn't have opted to drive. Or even go, truth be told.

There is nothing for me in China that won't end up for sale in our local Walmart in the next month or so.

Except for one of those 6/4 Eastman horns.

Maybe. :mrgreen:
Click here for a look at the best 6/4 now on the market...
User avatar
the elephant
Papa Legba
Papa Legba
 
Posts: 13467
Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2004 8:38 pm
Location: 404 Not Found

Re: Dillon 410 vs. Miraphone 186

Postby bloke » Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:54 pm

reminder:

For quite a while, the YCB-826S could be found offered for sale on walmart.com
User avatar
bloke
musician/technician/innovator
musician/technician/innovator
 
Posts: 40367
Joined: Sat May 08, 2004 6:04 pm
Location: western Tennessee

Re: Dillon 410 vs. Miraphone 186

Postby the elephant » Tue Jan 09, 2018 3:09 pm

bloke wrote:reminder:

For quite a while, the YCB-826S could be found offered for sale on walmart.com


https://www.walmart.com/browse/musical-instruments/tubas/7796869_1097884_2224206_2289832
Click here for a look at the best 6/4 now on the market...
User avatar
the elephant
Papa Legba
Papa Legba
 
Posts: 13467
Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2004 8:38 pm
Location: 404 Not Found

Re: Dillon 410 vs. Miraphone 186

Postby the elephant » Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:11 pm

adsteve wrote:stuff about the Dillon 410 186 clone and a used Miraphone 186.


From what I have observed and heard, the bell on the 410 is not a copy of the larger, newer 186 bell. I have heard from two different people, both very much "in the know" (but both probably incorrect since both cannot be correct) that it is a preexisting Jinbao bell from a copy of either a Yamaha YBB-641 (which I doubt) or a MW 25 (which looks like could be the case when I laid my 410 next to a 25 last year. (Perhaps MW has changed this bell over time. This was a 25 from 1982 or so.)

Regardless, the bell works very well but is sort of bland. Not in a bad way, but sort of devoid of personality, if you will.

The branches and the slide layout are a very close copy to a very fine example of one of the newer version, larger-belled 186 tubas. The linkage/lever system for 5th is a copy of an older Miraphone style no longer used. It is less complex and less robust but it works.

The pros and cons do not matter here. It is all opinion, and all the examples are still sort of inconsistent, so I will list observations I have made about the 410 model that are very general tendencies.

Intonation: This horn has stupid-good intonation. The scale is very good on most of these horns that were produced after about 2012. That is an arbitrary date, but it is where I read more comments about these being a "sleeper" tuba that owners were really pleased with. Prior to about 2010 you still can find a lot of negative comments about these horns. Something improved in that time at the factory. My personal 410 has really great intonation. Seriously good. (This is not the case with most Jinbao horns at all; the few you see imported regularly are the ones that are passable on up to the fineness of the 410.)

Slide alignment: Jinbao has discovered that if you make the main slide and 1st work really well then few will complain about horrible alignment on the others. Point in fact: My personal 410 has such good intonation that I have never needed to move any slides other than 1st and the main slide while playing. Top 5th is also good. Lower 5th, 3rd, 4th and especially 2nd are out of alignment enough to cause me to be pissed, but not enough to cause me to fix them here at my shop. So, once you get stuff dialed in properly you will probably not really worry about the cruddy alignment.

Valves: Okay, these suck, but not enough to really whine about. The bumpers need to be replaced right away, and a *very* thorough clean-out using a proper degreaser like mineral spirits (readily available) or trichloroethane (very nasty stuff and hard to get these days except as brake cleaner fluid, so very difficult to get enough to wash out a tuba) will be needed to get all the left over crap from buffing and assembly out of the ports between the valves and all four knuckles beneath the ferrules. Jinbao "fit and finish" is not good, generally. (Discussed below.) So there are usually large gaps between the valve knuckles and the slide tubes. These get overlooked by even the best of the importers so that this black gunk will slowly work its way back into the rotor casings in a lot of cases. (No, not all.)

Valve Linkage System: Junk, but very serviceable junk. Until very recently all these horns used yellow brass (softer, more easily bent) paddles and paddle rack that are nickel plated. They are flexy and get bent by players through normal use. These have seemingly hardened up over time. Wessex has just announced that ALL their horns now sport the much more desirable solid nickel silver for these parts. If this is the case (and it is only Wessex doing this upgrade and not something done by Jinbao for all horns) it make the higher price of a Wessex worth it to me. If all importers start selling 410s with real nickel silver parts in the transmission system this would be GREAT. However, my slightly bendable paddle system has not yet had any issues, and I use my horn several times a week for hours at a stretch; no issues so far. I just don't like the squishy feeling these give me when I play hard.

Finish: It sucks. However, it looks a lot better than a dented up, used horn, if that is important to you. And to be fair, buffing is getting to be more refined. My 410 looks like it was buffed using both Tripoli "cutting" compound and red rouge "color" compound using the same wheel, which is a no-no. Buffing inside inner branches is really poorly done. Lacquer it super thin and not all that well applied. Horns have lots of acid bleeds and end up with chipped and bare spots in no time at all. I have two runs in my lacquer and four large hazy areas. The bell and outer two branches are okay, save for the look of having been done wrong or incompletely. Don't look to closely and they are attractive tubas.

Fit: The term "fit and finish" is severely misunderstood here on TubeNet. Generally, if the tuba looks shiny and there are no bullet holes in the body people "oooh and ahhh" about fit and finish, thinking this is about how the horn looks. It is not. It is about the horn's internal joints and such, like the quality of the job of cutting and dressing each tube end (are there burrs, are the tubes cut perfectly perpendicular, are there gaps between tubes hidden by a ferrule, are there globs of solder all over the place? My horn is *okay* in this regard, however, a lot of tubes were not laid down in the assembly jig correctly (or, more likely, were assembled by eye) so that my 4th slide cannot be aligned properly and then soldered onto the two brass tubes that go to the rotor. It cannot be done. This is because the person who built this part of my horn put one of the two curved brass pipes from the rotor to the rear side of the horn in place and soldered it down so that it is FIVE MILLIMETERS OFF from where it needs to be so that the slide can work. The person who then assembled the 4th slide outer legs and brace to these two tubes had no choice but to solder the outer slide legs on using two braces (one to each other and one to the 3rd slide in the middle of the horn). You can see this misalignment from about 15 feet away. Unbelievable. Just unbelievable. Most of my other slides are off not due to the slide itself but due to the tubes they are attached to being off in this same manner. (The 2nd slide does not have these. The two outer legs solder directly to the rotor. My 2nd slide was simply screwed up.) Using a borescope through my horn shows zero solder globs, surprisingly, and no flash or burrs on tube ends. There are a LOT of big gaps, though.

The horn plays more like a Meinl-Weston 32 than anything ever made by Miraphone, IMHO. It took me a few years of playing this tuba to figure out what it reminded me of. It plays like a really good Miraphone, pitch-wise, but with the MW low register response and clarity. (Read: less tight than a 186) It has projection more like the MW, too. The real Miraphone project a lot better, but the sound can get ugly faster than the MW. The older, small-belled 186 would bark where this 410 is so smooth. However, when mastered, the real (older) 186 can project through a large orchestra on loud, thick material. The 410 is not so good at that. Big works are a challenge for is, but the tone has never one broken up on me. (I have one with the good brass bell, which helps. I think the yellow brass bell 410 tubas may be more Miraphone-like in this regard.)

The slides, craptastic as they are, work if you keep them well greased. The valves become stiffer and more sluggish over time and require some disassembly and work on occasion, but they generally work okay. They will never work like Miraphone rotors. They are heavier in feel and slower to rotate. They always have this "gummy" feel to them. So you will not be blowing anyone away with your dazzling technique with a 410.

However, mine has ended up becoming one of my main work horns in my orchestra. I would have never suspected this when I first purchased it on a lark. It is a very good tuba. I will eventually go ahead and fix everything. I am still curious to see how it works out of the box over the long haul.

The 186 is just a good 4/4 CC tuba with some of the best valves ever manufactured. Normally fit and finish of these is excellent, but they have been around for decades and not all of them were "the good old days". I distinctly remember disliking 186 tubas from two specific eras and would not buy one if the serial number placed it within one of those two brackets. (No, I will not share that. It is personal opinion and would not agree with a lot of other people.)

Continued below, due to board character count limitations...
Click here for a look at the best 6/4 now on the market...
User avatar
the elephant
Papa Legba
Papa Legba
 
Posts: 13467
Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2004 8:38 pm
Location: 404 Not Found

Next

Return to TubeNet

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Dan Tuba, Google Adsense [Bot], Tubajug and 28 guests