- Open sound with ease of control
-Strong low register
- Lower cost alternative to custom Geyer style horns
- Inconsistent manufacturing quality
- High Bb is hard to produce
The 11D is a medium sized Geyer style horn that provides a bit more openness of tone compared to its small-bell cousin the Conn 10D. Both of these "open wrap" Geyer horns by Conn contrast with the more widely known and larger "closed wrap" Conn 8D, emphasizing tonal focus and ease of control over the large sound produced by the 8D. Within the price range and style, the Conn 11D and 10D's key competitors are the Yamaha 667 and the slightly more expensive Hoyer G10. So how does it stack up? Conn's Geyer style horns--a design that's increasingly popular across all manufacturers-- have not gained the same popularity as the Yamaha 667 Geyer horns, in part because the Conn 8D overshadows them as Conn's legacy brand.
But they have developed some traction. Canadian Brass hornist Bernhard Scully plays on a gold plated 11D because Conn is now the official instrument sponsor of the Canadian Brass (just as Yamaha before them), we'll may see younger players gravitating towards these horns. If they're good enough for the Canadian Brass are they good enough for any professional? While the horn design is solid and quite similar to much more expensive horns, players say the build quality is hit or miss. Some have reported some sloppy manufacturing practices, as highlighted in this video from Houghton Horns.
Typical of Geyer-style horns, some notes in the high register are squirrely - a sacrifice many are willing to pay for other benefits. On this horn, the Bb above the staff can be difficult to produce with the standard trigger + 1 fingering. But lower horn players should be pleased with the 11D's comparatively open and clear sound below the staff, which is better than many higher priced Geyer-style horns. Learn more about Conn horns.
If transitioning from a Kruspe-style horn, we recommend trying the rose brass bell version which offers a more similar dark sound than the yellow brass.
UPDATE: As of 2015, the 11D has been replaced by the 11DE. Improvements include a redesigned F branch, offering a more open sound. Other cosmetic improvements a new adjustable pinky hook (a big plus for players with smaller or larger than average hands) and two spit values. Once we have a chance to play this redesigned horn and get player feedback, we'll update this review.
Cost: The 11DE sells for $4,459 new.
Also consider: A similar horn with fewer manufacturing complaints, the Yamaha 667 is a very popular Geyer style horn.