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Piston Vs Rotors

Postby tubacharlie » Mon Feb 05, 2018 5:09 pm

OK I'm sure I'm going to stir up a bees nest here but here goes
Do you prefer piston valves or rotor valves and why?
Have you had any problems with rotors over pistons?

Thanks

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Re: Piston Vs Rotors

Postby Ken Crawford » Mon Feb 05, 2018 5:11 pm

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Re: Piston Vs Rotors

Postby adsteve » Mon Feb 05, 2018 5:15 pm

I prefer pistons because that is my preference.

Never really had a problem with either. I would say rotors probably require less oiling when I had one. I also thought the low range on piston horns was better, BUT, that is likely because of the piston and rotor horns I used. Not necessarily a blanket statement on all horns.

Bottom line, choose whatever you like better because it doesn't matter.
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Re: Piston Vs Rotors

Postby dgpretzel » Mon Feb 05, 2018 6:42 pm

Once more, with feeling!

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Re: Piston Vs Rotors

Postby lost » Mon Feb 05, 2018 6:46 pm

dgpretzel wrote:Once more, with feeling!

DG


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Re: Piston Vs Rotors

Postby Ken Crawford » Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:06 pm

The difference is perfectly illustrated by this informative video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuLbi5Qi1Dc
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Re: Piston Vs Rotors

Postby the elephant » Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:12 pm

I use both. I like the both. However, rotary valves are much harder to take apart and service, in most cases. Of course, the also require MUCH less service, so it balances out. You do not do so much work, but when you have to do it there is more of it and you have to know what you are doing.

Rotors also have the mechanical linkage system that requires service, too. Poorly done work to any of this will result in either very noisy or slow valves. However, the very best valves I have ever used have always been rotaries; they just need to be set up properly and maintained.

FOR ME (meaning perhaps not for you) rotary valves offer much smoother slurs, but a fast technique is slightly less easy to achieve. Pistons tend to have more bumps and burbles in slurred lines, but the technique is fast and easy. (I am speaking about UNVENTED pistons and rotaries.)

I really hate broken slurs, and with a piston horn I have more of them. I prefer to work up my physical finger technique and use rotors as this seems to give me the best overall results. I have lots of technique but a stiff embouchure, so this works better for me.

I have four piston horns and one rotary, however, because, hey, that is how it worked out for me. The tubas I wanted enough to buy ended up being piston horns, mostly. But when I have a chance to play a horn sold in both configurations I tend prefer the rotary version, which usually is the better payer. (The PT-6 v. PT-6P, Neptune v. Neptune piston, etc.)

Pistions are mechanically MUCH simpler than a rotary setup and offer a different "blow" or "feel" with different slur and technical characteristics. They need daily care and can be fussy; they must be kept very clean. But they offer a lightning fast technique if cared for a little bit every day. But servicing pistons is super easy compared to rotary valves.

Vented valves of either sort allow you to move a slide as you play but before you depress the valve. A hole in the rotor casing or the piston body allows the pressure in the sealed-off slide loop to stay equalized with the outside air. If you pull a slide you create a vacuum that causes a pop when you press the valve. Likewise, when you push it in you create an overpressure situation that also causes a pop when you depress the valve.

Further, on the slides you never pull or push, the air temp from blowing into the horn will differ from what is in the slide loops, so that there is almost always a tiny pop when you push all the valves if they are still very tight. This is not such a tragedy in a rotary horn as the design sort of allows this to release a bit more gracefully as you play. On some piston tubas, though, this can cause rougher slurs with all sorts of bumps in them. It is not constant or a big problem, but some people are really distracted by it. (I hate some piston tubas because of this effect.)

Venting the valves allows all the slide to remain equalized so that this popping sensation is minimized on some horns. (It does not always help, and sometimes it is not a problem in the first place.) Having all valves vented can make many horns play a bit more gracefully. And on some it makes no difference.

I side with rotary valves more often than not, but either type is just fine by me so long as they work very well and are vented (if needed).
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Re: Piston Vs Rotors

Postby humBell » Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:09 am

Last i paid attention, the RX-7 has the only commercially available rotary... (Good ol' Wankel!)

Admittedly i am not the most attentive spark plug, but i'm pretty sure pistons are ubiquitous...

Oh... Right. A tuba forum.

Yes, i'll take either. I ain't picky. I don't think i am refined enough to do something with one valve type i couldn't do with the other. Well, muscally speaking.
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Re: Piston Vs Rotors

Postby swillafew » Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:15 am

Hindsight being what it is, I should have bought a PT-20P when I had the chance. Aside from that, I have owned only rotary tubas.
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Re: Piston Vs Rotors

Postby Bnich93 » Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:22 pm

I prefer the ergonomics of a rotary valve tuba, as well as how easy they make it to play slurred or legato. All of the valves in a line makes spit removal a breeze. Rotors are also a lot less maintenance if they are working properly, but significantly more difficult to actually take apart. Alignment can also be a bit of a pain with the little rubber bumpers.

I basically only have a piston CC because they did not make yorkbrunners with rotary valves, though so far my only nitpicks are water removal and the 5th valve rotor having a shorter throw than the pistons.
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Re: Piston Vs Rotors

Postby Mark » Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:32 pm

Lacquer tubas should have rotary valves and silver-plate tubas should have piston valves.
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Re: Piston Vs Rotors

Postby bloke » Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:44 pm

Mark wrote:Lacquer tubas should have rotary valves and silver-plate tubas should have piston valves.


and all tubas with stainless steel pistons with at least three parts (ex: piston body, stem, button) should be played with stainless steel mouthpieces with at least three parts. :|
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