Conn 8D Review

4 Overall
4.4 Users (7 votes)
Pros

- Big "Hollywood" sound
- Used by students and pros alike
- Good resale value

Cons

-Can be too large for smaller players
-Out of fashion in professional world

Summary

First manufactured in 1937, the Conn 8D is a Kruspe-style horn that quickly established itself as one of the top models for professional hornists in America. Especially renown for its prominent role in Hollywood soundtracks, the Conn 8D has a distinctive tone quality that counters what its evangelists consider the more stuffy Geyer style horns. If you hear a big silky, soaring horn line in the next big block buster film, chances are it was played on an 8D.


Horn players generally agree that the earlier "Elkhart" models--manufactured in Elkhart Indiana between 1937 and 1969--are of superior quality, especially compared to those made in Texas from 1970 to 1986. And that the newer versions, while improved over Texas-made models, don't quite compare. But you'll be increasingly hard pressed to find an Elkhart model in good working condition. Whether due to these manufacturing changes or general shifts in taste, the Conn 8D is starting to lose some of its stature in the American horn world -- with many players moving to custom-made Geyer horns at the professional level. But it still has its hardcore loyalists and remains one of the most popular American horns.


While many Conn loyalists are caught up with the Elkhart models, the truth is that newer 8Ds, made in Eastlake Indiana can be decent horns -- but not for every style of player. Because of their large bell, we would not recommend an 8D to a student starting out due to the large volume of air required to sustain it (younger horn players should check out our Conn 6D and Holton H179 reviews). But for high school players looking for an upgrade to a professional level horn, the Conn 8D can be a great choice if you love the traditional big, dark American horn sound.


Cost: The Conn 8D sells for $4,469 new.


Comparing used horns? Check out our Used Horn Deal Tracker


Also consider: Alternatives to the Conn 8D include the Yahama 668II and the Hans Hoyer 6801/6802. These horns are known for better manufacturing consistency and have a similar sound quality.


Tone quality
Playability
Construction
Value for money
What people say... 7 Leave your rating
Best horn I've ever played.
I had to use one of the school owned Conn 8Ds from the earlier Texas series (1972) where they were still using parts from the Elkhart factory. The horn sounded phenomenal, and while a little hard to play, was a fabulous horn. My only problem was the wire in the bead on the bell was loose and rattled when you played certain notes. Other than that, I would absolutely buy one.
September 14, 2017, 4:27 pm
Tone quality5
Playability3.5
Construction3
Value for money5
0
0
Feels like home
I recently purchased a brand new Conn Vintage 8D, which I find to be amazing. It has a gorgeous sound and feels just right. Supposedly it was modeled after the Elkhart 8D, and plays better than the regular 8D's. A bit more expensive, but well worth the price. It definitely requires more air, and isn't for beginners. As for physical looks, it's absolutely beautiful.
November 28, 2016, 5:29 am
Tone quality5
Playability4
Construction5
Value for money4
0
4
Love/( not hate, but not entirely sold)
I love to play my old 8D, but truly doubt I could make it work if I played in a high-quality orchestra anymore. The Geyer trend has pushed the 8D out but for Cleveland and some individual players who still love them. That said, I think I saw one played in the Toronto Symphony this summer and I felt happy for a bit.
November 7, 2016, 2:45 am
Tone quality5
Playability4
Construction4
Value for money4
0
1
Huge sounding
The sound is definitely losing favour at the moment, with the current trend to brighter and less thick sound. Quality wise, it is decent. Bb and F 3 valve slides are too long for use. Be prepared to spend some money to modify the horn for better playability.
July 1, 2016, 11:59 am
Tone quality3.5
Playability4
Construction3
Value for money4
0
2
Gorgeous sound
I pretty much stole mine for $2,800. It's the best horn I've ever played on and I say it's the bomb digggity
March 1, 2016, 7:08 pm
Tone quality5
Playability5
Construction5
Value for money5
0
2
Hollywood sound
I love the horn sound in movie soundtracks, which pretty much all feature the 8D. It gets that big, creamy sound that at the same time can be haunting and beautiful. You do need to use air support with this horn, but that's true of all horns.
April 5, 2015, 1:14 pm
Tone quality5
Playability4
Construction4.5
Value for money4
0
3
awesome
This horn projects beautifully in a concert hall. It may take a little more effort to play, but it's worth it. Good all round horn!
March 1, 2015, 1:57 pm
Tone quality5
Playability5
Construction4.5
Value for money5
0
3
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