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Alan Baer's PVAK

Postby Bartok » Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:37 pm

Hi, guys!

I've just ordered this PVAK for testing it, and I would like to know if some of you had tested it, and your thoughts about...

I think it will be a bit noisy, because I think the O-rings will made noise, won't you?
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Re: Alan Baer's PVAK

Postby Ken Crawford » Tue Mar 13, 2018 8:57 pm

My subjective opinion is that they are not too noisy. They do a great job of maintaining consistent valve alignment over time. Some of the claims about the voodoo improvements in playing characteristics are questionable, but every little bit helps I suppose, even a little placebo here and there.
Last edited by Ken Crawford on Thu Mar 22, 2018 4:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Alan Baer's PVAK

Postby Bartok » Wed Mar 14, 2018 7:21 am

I think noise on PVAK depends on your hand articulation, too... If you use to lift up the piston it would be noisier than if you don’t do it, for example...

About price, it is very expensive...
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Re: Alan Baer's PVAK

Postby MikeMason » Wed Mar 14, 2018 10:52 am

Loved the feel,but too noisy for me
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Re: Alan Baer's PVAK

Postby Ken Crawford » Thu Mar 22, 2018 4:16 pm

If you want to give hard spacers and o-rings a try for about $5, head down to your local hardware. For my Wisemann 900/PT6P I bought 8 rubber o-rings that were .135" thick with a .25" ID and 4 nylon spacers, .06" thick with a .25 ID. Different tubas will have different spacing requirements, but with a little ingenuity you can figure it out. I didn't have to alter the spacers or o-rings and alignment was right on, verified by endoscope. If you like what you end up with and still want to spend $180 so that you can say you have a real Baer PVAK kit installed go for it. Or keep the cheap system that does the same thing. If you dislike what you end up with, you saved some money.

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Re: Alan Baer's PVAK

Postby rascaljim » Sat Jul 07, 2018 10:33 pm

Any thoughts compared to using the Kraus or Valentino synthetic pads?
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Re: Alan Baer's PVAK

Postby bloke » Sun Jul 08, 2018 11:06 am

I'm trying to phase out mailing out those that I stock (as the labor time to bill/gather/mail/record-the-sale exceeds what I charge for the items)...which are made of (if you're familiar with it) a material very much like (same thing as?) the Allied stick-on water key "corks". They feature air pockets, and are three densities (fewer-and-fewer air pockets, but none that are solid rubber, as are - too-loud-for-music, imo - neoprene O-rings).

As very few tuba piston bumper washers are thinner than 3mm (SAE equivalent: 1/8"), it seems to me that combining those Besson synthetic washers (which seem to combine fibers with rubber ...??...and are all 1/8" thick) with some sort of spacer ring (to make up any required difference) would be ideal.

A low-tech version (simply) would be to cut CORK washers to GO WITH the Besson 1/8"-thick washer to achieve 3.5mm, 4mm, 4.5mm, 6mm, etc.
Decent-grade CORK shrinks very little and (as long as it is cut accurately in-shop) is easy to work with. Another solution (to ADD TO the Besson synthetics) would be those plastic film flute pad washers that are available (thinner than this...also, but... .004", .006", .008". and .010" thicknesses, in roughly 3/4" diameter (with a hole in the middle which may require enlarging).

To me, the Besson synthetics - combined with the plastic flute pad washers - is a really good solution. just fwiw, the flute pad washers that are .010" thick are right at 1/4mm thick, as 1mm = 0.0393701"...so (as an example) if you needed a 4mm washer, you would use the 3mm-thick Besson plus FOUR of the .010" plastic flute pad washers underneath the Besson bumper.
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Re: Alan Baer's PVAK

Postby the elephant » Sun Jul 08, 2018 11:52 am

I have never seen these Besson bumpers. Got a link or a part number? Lots of stuff on eBay that *sounds* like what you describe, but I need to see an example if a part number is not available.

Since you don't seem to want to mail out your magical bumper material would you please divulge your source? I have tried twice to buy some from you and you always sort of blow me off. I have no idea what it is or where to get it and would like to make my own bumpers from it. Is it from McMaster-Carr or some other industrial place, or is it this Besson material?

I took one to Granger and they could not identify the material.

I used some bronze bushings to make my own cork replacements for my Holton and several other horns where a lot of cork is needed. I used some petroleum-safe O-rings (like Mr. Baer's) that fit my stems and cut the bronze to fill the remaining gap. And yes, the O-rings pretty much suck. I hate them. I am using the bushings with normal felts and thin cork shims to take up any slack. That works pretty well. I like the stuff on the 2165 quite a bit, though, and would like to use that instead. My stuff is all oddly sized so I want to stamp it out myself, and I want to make several sets of differing sizes for several horns. I am looking for like a 6" or 1' square sheet. I just cannot identify the exact material so I can shop around.

Again, since you do not want to mail it out because that is a loser for your bottom line, why keep it a secret?
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Re: Alan Baer's PVAK

Postby bloke » Sun Jul 08, 2018 2:34 pm

Image

...and yeah, they're percussive.
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Re: Alan Baer's PVAK

Postby djwpe » Mon Jul 09, 2018 2:17 pm

bloke wrote:I'm trying to phase out mailing out those that I stock (as the labor time to bill/gather/mail/record-the-sale exceeds what I charge for the items)...which are made of (if you're familiar with it) a material very much like (same thing as?) the Allied stick-on water key "corks". They feature air pockets, and are three densities (fewer-and-fewer air pockets, but none that are solid rubber, as are - too-loud-for-music, imo - neoprene O-rings).

As very few tuba piston bumper washers are thinner than 3mm (SAE equivalent: 1/8"), it seems to me that combining those Besson synthetic washers (which seem to combine fibers with rubber ...??...and are all 1/8" thick) with some sort of spacer ring (to make up any required difference) would be ideal.

A low-tech version (simply) would be to cut CORK washers to GO WITH the Besson 1/8"-thick washer to achieve 3.5mm, 4mm, 4.5mm, 6mm, etc.
Decent-grade CORK shrinks very little and (as long as it is cut accurately in-shop) is easy to work with. Another solution (to ADD TO the Besson synthetics) would be those plastic film flute pad washers that are available (thinner than this...also, but... .004", .006", .008". and .010" thicknesses, in roughly 3/4" diameter (with a hole in the middle which may require enlarging).

To me, the Besson synthetics - combined with the plastic flute pad washers - is a really good solution. just fwiw, the flute pad washers that are .010" thick are right at 1/4mm thick, as 1mm = 0.0393701"...so (as an example) if you needed a 4mm washer, you would use the 3mm-thick Besson plus FOUR of the .010" plastic flute pad washers underneath the Besson bumper.


Joe- I recall that you had at one time mentioned a pretty simple method of measuring/calculating the washer thickness needed. Is that something you could do a write up on?

I know what size the manufacturer thinks my instrument needs, and I've found neoprene sheets in acceptable durometer at McMaster Carr (not too soft, and not too loud) along with the punches to make the discs, but I'm not 100% sure they're exactly right.

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Re: Alan Baer's PVAK

Postby bloke » Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:58 pm

I've lazy...I also promised to show how to free stuck m'piece components.

If I had someone who could "produce" simple videos with me, those would already be done. :oops:
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Re: Alan Baer's PVAK

Postby djwpe » Mon Jul 09, 2018 8:14 pm

bloke wrote:I've lazy...I also promised to show how to free stuck m'piece components.

If I had someone who could "produce" simple videos with me, those would already be done. :oops:


If you want to 'splain it to me on the phone, I'll make a video.
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Re: Alan Baer's PVAK

Postby ouch » Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:53 am

Very informative! Maybe cutting cork and using that instead of the o-rings on the PVAK (with the correct thickness) will make the valve action not sound clunky? Or at least bring the noise down enough so I'm not slightly annoyed when playing, I like to use that Armando Ghitalla technique of "pounding the valves" when needed. (With the PVAK I feel you lose that option)
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Re: Alan Baer's PVAK

Postby bloke » Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:53 am

high-grade-cork solid cork discs (precision-cut to thickness) will outlast any natural felt 100-to-1, and will still (though sure: louder than natural felt) be more quiet than O-rings.

Other solutions (air-rubber and fiber-rubber hybrids) offer quieter-than-cork solutions (still: louder than brand-new natural felt) and long life.

If recording up close and exposed (solo recording), BRAND-NEW perfect-thickness natural felt is best, but (again) does not last very long at all.
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Re: Alan Baer's PVAK

Postby ouch » Wed Jul 11, 2018 12:09 am

Thank you Bloke!! I'll go off to do my homework now.

I did notice during a studio recording for a jazz sextet that the PVAK almost ruined ANYTHING I recorded on the big horn, it was a great learning experience to say the least. I ended up using the Eb because it's got the right sound for jazz or just the right sound for a group that small.
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Re: Alan Baer's PVAK

Postby Ken Crawford » Thu Jul 26, 2018 12:18 pm

bloke wrote:Image

...and yeah, they're percussive.


I considered that and found that it wasn't an issue. The top of the oring hits flat metal.
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Re: Alan Baer's PVAK

Postby bort » Thu Jul 26, 2018 12:43 pm

What material does Martin Wilk use for the alignment kits he sells?

Not looking to replicate it myself, more like "if I buy it from him, what am I getting?" and "he's a busy person, so I'd rather not bother him with this question if someone around here already knows."
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Re: Alan Baer's PVAK

Postby joh_tuba » Wed Aug 08, 2018 10:43 pm

I'm partial to the woven felts made by Yamaha. Hold their dimensions much better than other felt choices and much quiter than any option discussed above. Replace with new once a year when you pay your tech to clean your horn and you'll have the best of both worlds.
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Re: Alan Baer's PVAK

Postby Bartok » Fri Apr 26, 2019 10:44 am

Finally, I installed the original PAVK on my Yamaha YFB621. I asked for it to my orchestra and they let me try it...

My opinion about it: it is noisier than felts, of course, but I don’t think it is unbearable... On the other hand, the sound is brighter and cleaner (it has pros and cons), but, for the moment, I have decided to keep it after 6 months of use...

By the way, another cons for me was I had to re-learning a bit about digitation on right hand. The pistons go faster with PAVK than the felts, so I had to recheck very well every passage with double or triple tonging because fingers were faster than tonge! Hahaha.... :tuba:
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