Strong range with good intonation
Easy to play
Well-made, tight values/rotors
Dents more easily due to thinner metal
The 668II the newest incarnation of Yamaha's Kruspe-style French horn. While they have not managed to surpass the Conn 8D in popularity just yet, professionals regard them more highly than post-Elkhart 8Ds. But even vintage Elkhart 8D fans may have met their match with the newer 668II, which wins praise from professionals for its dark mellow tone combined with good flexibility. The 668II's success may steam in part from being a more literal copy of the original Kruspe horn vs. the Conn 8D. The thinner metal, slightly larger bore and consistent construction are some of the qualities that may contribute to the playing differences vs. the Conn 8D. Areas where the 668 II excels include focused low range and along with greater smoothness through range transitions. The high register on large bore horns can be a little tougher to get out, and like the Conn 8D, the 668II will require some more effort in that range especially above A.
Due to the thin metal on this horn, it may not be ideal for beginning students or those playing in a rowdy school band. But build quality is strong and Yamaha horns have an especially strong reputation for manufacturing high quality rotors -- an added benefit when comparing with the arguably less consistent and stringent standards of competing brands in this price range such as Conn. This also means used Yahama horns hold their value well.
Cost: The Yamaha 668II sells for $4,426 new.
While priced at the advanced student level, the 668II can be found in professional settings where players are seeking the original Kruspe-style horn without risk of shoddy manufacturing and cut corners. If your budget can go a little higher, we also recommend the similar Hans Hoyer's Kruspe-style horn, the 6801/6802.