Holton H178 Review

4 Overall
4.4 Users (2 votes)

Easy to play
Solid pitch
Strong high range


Limited tonal flexibility


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.

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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.

Tone quality
Value for money
What people say... 2 Leave your rating
A highly-underrated bargain
This horn is a great all-around workhorse for playing in a variety of settings. Not nearly as taxing to play as something like an 8D, it still blends decently well with larger Kruspe wrap horns in a section, or with a section of smaller open wrap horns. I've had the lacquer stripped off of mine, the bell cut, some stress relieved from the bell taper, and a Cantesanu leadpipe added and I'm really happy with how it plays for a fraction of the price of a handbuilt horn. My horn tech is a nationally recognized figure and he even made sure to tell me what a great horn this is (even adding that he never cares for Kruspe-wraps)! The valves are fussy though and do require frequent maintenance with high-end oil and the high Bb can sometimes be a challenge to hit cleanly, but other than that - the horn is great through its range. I'm very happy with this investment.
August 15, 2019, 1:45 pm
Tone quality4.5
Value for money5
Holton h178
Play first chair on this horn in my high school band. It's great for high notes.
April 4, 2015, 2:00 pm
Tone quality5
Value for money4
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