Conn 8D Review

4 / 5 Overall
{{ reviewsOverall }} / 5 Users (13 votes)

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


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


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 $6,201 new.

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.

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