Hans Hoyer 6801 & 6802 Review

4.8 / 5 Overall
{{ reviewsOverall }} / 5 Users (7 votes)
Pros

- Centered tone with variety of colors
- Plays much like an original Kruspe
- Thumb key movable for different hand sizes

Cons

- Comparatively heavy

Summary

The Hans Hoyer 6801 and 6802 Heritage horns are copies of the original Kruspe horns, like the more widely known Conn 8D. Kruspe horns have achieved legendary status in the horn world for their beautiful tone quality. But since production discontinued, there are very few working Kruspe horns in existence today. Conn 8Ds made pre-1969 now carry on the Kruspe horn legacy, but even these Conn horns are getting too old to play and maintain. And whether it is perceived or reality, the consensus is newer Conn 8Ds don't have the same magical tone quality.


The Hoyer 6800 series horns endeavor to emulate the now legendary Kruspe sound but with the added benefit of more modern manufacturing and consistency. The owner of Hans Hoyer, Gerhard Meinl, set out to make this Kruspe copy by working closely with regarded professionals including Myron Bloom and Vince DeRosa who play in the Krupse horn style. The result is a very well made horn that to many is a truer copy of the original Kruspe than even the best Conn 8Ds. This especially comes out in the upper register, which sings more on the Hoyer 6800 horns and is easier to play in. The lower register is also strong, especially on the F side of the horn. The Bb side can be a little stuffier down there.


As a German made horn, the 6800 series horns sent to America are given a longer tuning slide to account for the lower pitch that US-based orchestras tune to. If you are an American horn player purchasing from Europe or vice versa, we suggest you make sure the tuning is in line with what you expect before buying. Buying a Hoyer 6801 used can be a challenge due to both the dearth of horns in circulation and high demand, but this also means the horn will hold its value well if you do choose to buy new.


An added benefit of the 6800s is the adjustable thumb trigger. Many players with smaller hands complain the 8D's thumb trigger is placed in an awkward position. On the Hoyer you can adjust to better fit your hand size.


The difference between the 6801 and 6802 is that the former has mechanical valve linkages while the latter has string. While some horn manufacturers have rather noisy mechanical linkages, the Hoyer horns are very quiet. Hans Hoyer also manufactures a 7801 and 7802 version of this model, the only difference being more specially made value caps and bell. We recommend the sticking with the 6800 series unless money is no object to you.


To hear the 6802 being played, see this video from Hans Hoyer featuring a Hollywood solo artist featured in a recent Star Trek movie.


Cost: The 6801 sells for $5,379 new.



Also consider: The Yamaha 668II is a similar Kruspe-style horn that is slightly less expensive than the Hoyer.


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Conn 6D Review

4.1 / 5 Overall
{{ reviewsOverall }} / 5 Users (8 votes)
Pros

- Good value for the money
- Eastlake models are well made
- Easier to play than Conn 8D

Cons

- Not considered a "professional horn" like the 8D

Summary

The Conn 6D is designed similarly to its more popular Kruspe-style cousin the Conn 8D, but the horn is a bit smaller and about 25% less expensive -- making it a popular choice for younger students who find the 8D too unwieldy and out of budget. Because of the smaller size, the horn can feel easier to play and respond. This is particularly helpful when playing quick passages where the notes need to come out right away, or in smaller ensemble settings where an 8D's sound might come across as too big and "woofy". While the 6D does have more of a student reputation, it should not be overlooked by even more advanced players seeking a more controlled tone and ease of playing. In fact, back in the mid 20th century the 6D was considered a more professional level horn. The original Star Trek movie solos were recorded on Conn 6Ds.


As with all Conn horns, you need to be careful about buying used. Manufacturing problems plagued Conn in the 1970s and early 80s when their plant moved to Texas. Any horns made prior to that time in Elkhart are extremely valuable. And those made after 1986, in Eastlake, are generally of better quality. There are many great used 6Ds on the market for a careful buyer at good value.


Bottom line: Because the 6D has not enjoyed the same professional lime light as the 8D, it is perceived as less valuable in the marketplace. Discerning players should use this perceived weakness to their advantage and pick up a well made horn whose ease of playing and strong sound belie its 25% price discount compared to the 8D. The 6D is featured on our list of best cheap horns.


Cost: The 6D sells for $3,300 new.


Comparing used horns? Check out our Used Horn Deal Tracker

Also consider: The Holton H379 is a comparably priced intermediate horn with a good reputation for consistency and playability.


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Yamaha 567 Review

4.3 / 5 Overall
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Pros

- Small size ideal for students
- Well made
- Easy to play

Cons

- Tonal flexibility is limited
- Some notes require careful tuning

Summary

The Yamaha 567 is a Geyer-style horn designed for beginning and intermediate level students. Becoming increasingly popular with professionals, the Geyer design gives the horn a focused, compact and bright tone quality -- compared to the dark "woof" sound of Kruspe style horns such as the Conn 8D. These qualities can make the 567 easier to play than other horns. The smaller bell size is also an added benefit for younger students, whose hands can sometimes get lost in the larger bell horns.


While the 567 may be easier to play, every horn design has some trade offs. Some players complain the middle F on this horn is hard to tune and that the high range can be difficult to lock in on select notes. Additionally, the layout does not give the horn as much projection as a large wrap horn or more professional-level Geyer horn.


But within its price range, the 567 is a strong contender. With a level of durability that other models do not have, the 567 can last a good student through high school without major repair work needed. This build quality also extends to consistency in playability across these horns. Even the smallest manufacturing inconsistencies can alter a horn's playing dynamics, and Yamaha's manufacturing standards are among the best.


Cost: The Yamaha 567 sells for $3,350 new.

Buy it New           View on eBay >>


Also consider: we recommend Yamaha's step up from this horn: the 667. Within the same price range, we recommend checking out the Holton H379.


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Holton H379 Review

3.9 / 5 Overall
{{ reviewsOverall }} / 5 Users (2 votes)
Pros

- Easy to play

- Good value

Cons

- Harder to empty water vs. H179

Summary

The Holton H379 is the H179's less expensive sibling. In exchange for some relatively modest compromises, you can pay about $800 less for more or less the same horn. What are these compromises? Unlike the H179, the H379's auxiliary F slide is not removable. This can make emptying water and tuning a little less flexible, but most players will not notice it's gone. Additionally, there is no key built into the lead pipe to empty water from the horn. For more about playing qualities, see our review of the H179.


The H379 is recommended in our buying guide for students and their parents.


Cost: The Holton H379 sells for $3,450.


Also consider: The Yamaha 567 is a similarly priced horn, but with different playing qualities such as a brighter sound. For more on Holton French horns see our full guide.


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Holton H178 Review

4 / 5 Overall
{{ reviewsOverall }} / 5 Users (2 votes)
Pros

Easy to play
Solid pitch
Strong high range

Cons

Limited tonal flexibility

Summary

The Holton H178 is ideal for both beginning and intermediate players seeking a well-rounded instrument that responds well in the high register while keeping notes locked into the correct pitch. The bell and "throat" of this horn are a bit smaller than the more widely played H179, producing a brighter tone but retaining the warmth of the classic Holton sound. Because of the smaller size, the H178 is a hybrid of brass and nickel silver material unlike the H179 which is completely nickel silver. The brass helps the darken the bright edge that the smaller bell can produce. The medium throat and closed Kruspe wrap can make the horn feel more restrictive than larger closed wrap horns like the Yamaha 668II or Conn 8D, or open wrap horns such as the Yamaha 667. But for someone with more average air support and strength, the H178 is a great option that will feel much more natural and easy to play than the bigger horns. Holton also sells a paired down version of this horn, the H378, targeting students. A few bells and whistles are missing such as a separate Bb tuning slide, but the cost difference is likely worth it for beginners.


Cost: The Holton H178 sells for $3,349 new.

       View on eBay >>


Also consider: For players seeking a more focused sound like the H178, we recommend looking at the Yamaha 667. For more on Holton French horns see our full guide.


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Paxman 23 Reviews

4.5 / 5 Overall
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Pros

-Tone centers well
-Rich tone quality
-Strong projection

Cons

-Less flexible pitch

Summary

Paxman's interpenetration of the Geyer-style horn design, the 23 still retains some of the traditional Paxman horn design features including the "Merewether system" which allows air the flow in the same direction on both F and Bb horns. This hybrid design gives the 23 some of the best qualities of the Geyer horns while also compensating for some typical weaknesses of Geyer horns such as slippery slurring and volume limitations. The result is a horn with the typical solid, silky Paxman sound that some players may find easier to handle especially in the upper registers along with a great ability to center notes. Used professionally in many orchestras, the the 23 projects quite well without sounding sloppy at high volumes. One of its advantages is also a disadvantage for some players: the well-centered notes lock in, which may seem too limiting for the player seeking seeking more tonal flexibility. This horn comes in 3 size variations: 23M, medium; 23E, Europa; 23A, American (New World). Click here to hear a professional, Tim Thorpe, playing the 23.

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Holton H180 Review

3.9 / 5 Overall
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Pros

-Dark, resonant tone
-Good build quality

Cons

-Less responsive than H179

Summary

The Holton H180 shares the same design as the more widely played nickel silver H179 model, but its yellow brass construction makes it ideal for a player seeking a darker more resonant tone quality. But this advantage also has a disadvantage: while the sound may be darker, the horn is also a little less responsive due to the brass metal. Additionally, yellow brass horns can dent more easily. For this reason, we recommend sticking with the H179 for beginning students -- even if the gold color makes the horn look more appealing. But for a more advanced player seeking a more complex tonal quality, the H180 may be the better choice.


It used to be quite popular for more advanced players to purchase an H180 and upgrade its lead pipe and bell with higher quality materials from makers like Lawson. But due to price increases, the cost of upgrading an H180 would be not be so much lower than buying a new custom horn.


Cost: The Holton H180 sells for $4,349 new.

Buy it New           View on eBay >>


Comparing used horns? Check out our Used Horn Deal Tracker

Also consider: A medium sized alternative to the H180 is the H178. Also in yellow brass, its smaller bell may be more comfortable for some players.


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Yamaha 668 II Review

4.6 / 5 Overall
{{ reviewsOverall }} / 5 Users (4 votes)
Pros

Strong range with good intonation
Easy to play
Well-made, tight values/rotors

Cons

Dents more easily due to thinner metal

Summary

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.


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Conn 10D & 10DE Review

3.4 / 5 Overall
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Pros

Good value for money
Focused, compact sound

Cons

May not blend as well with a section of 8D horns

Summary

Not to be confused with its more widely-known sibling the Conn 8D, the 10D is very different horn for a player seeking a more "compact," bright sound vs. the 8D's large, dark tone. A copy of the famous Geyer wrap, the 10D may be attractive to players who find the 8D too unwieldy and tubby sounding. The Geyer-style horn is becoming increasingly popular in the professional world, and the 10D is priced more attractively than custom horns featuring a the same layout. Gene Standley, former principle horn with the Columbus Symphony, played a 10D. Pros say that with a little custom work the 10D can match the sound of the best Geyer style horns. A smaller bore horn, the 10D is also a great choice for younger or lighter framed players. For players seeking a somewhat more open sound, the Conn 11D is worth considering. It is the same Geyer layout as the 10D but with a larger bell resulting in less resistance and a more open sound. Unfortunately, Conn's manufacturing standards have slipped over time so these horns can be inconsistent in build quality, requiring some tune ups by an experienced workshop. Some players also complain about security of high register notes above A. Learn more about Conn horns.


UPDATE: As of 2015, the 10D is now the 10DE. Improvements include a redesigned F branch, offering a more open sound - likely to be particularly helpful on this smaller bell horn. Additional 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 10DE and get player feedback, we'll update this review.

Price & Specs           View on eBay


Also consider: the Yamaha 667, a comparably priced horn with a similar Geyer-like wrap that has more consistency in quality.

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Paxman 20 Review

4.4 / 5 Overall
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Pros

- Famous "British" horn sound
- Well made with good resale value

Cons

- Can lack some evenness between F and Bb sides
- Due to smaller bore, lower register can be more difficult

Summary

One of Paxman's most popular models, the 20 is a medium bore horn used widely among professionals in the UK. While many horn makers today produce nearly identical copies of the famous Geyer or Kruspe horn layout, the Paxman 20 is more unique, featuring the "Merewether System" which keeps the air flowing in the same direction on both the F and Bb sides of the horn. This helps to reduce the amount of disruption from the rotors.

The bore sizes on the F and Bb sides of the model 20 are both the same size, available in in medium or large. Some players may find the transition from F to Bb sides of the horn bumpy and the mid-low register a tad stuffy, issues Paxman's model 25 aims to solve. The 25 model uses a dual bore approach: a larger F bore opens the mid-lower range and matches the Bb side's resistance for a smoother transition. If you're a higher horn player, you may prefer the model 20 due to its ease and clear tone in the upper registers - on a level that most horns cannot match. If you're a 2 or 4th horn player, you may find the more balanced 25 model better meets your needs. To get a sense for the Paxman sound, listen to this recording of Radovan Vlatkovik playing Hayden's horn concerto on the model 20. Players seeking a more free blowing horn and compact tone may also be interested in Paxman's model 23, which is closer to a Geyer-style design but still retains the unique Merewether System.



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