Posted by Jay Bertolet on August 24, 1999 at 20:50:01:
In Reply to: Re: Re: Re: Re: Tuba for my son... posted by Steve on August 24, 1999 at 18:50:34:
I went back and checked the Coulter survey you keep citing and actually, there are only 20 individuals on that list who own and use CC or BBb Miraphones. This is a case where I have to say that the figures don't tell the whole story. Only seven of those 20 players are doing a sizable amount of their playing in large ensembles and only a couple of those, to my knowledge, use their Miraphone as their primary instrument. As I said before, the Miraphone is a great solo instrument and is very workable in small ensembles as well. I'm just not crazy about their sound but their functionality in solo and small ensemble types of situations is unquestioned. My interpretation of those numbers is that alot of fine tubists use the Miraphone as a specialty instrument, specifically for solo and small ensemble work.
I really respect Gene's opinions as I consider him a consummate professional musician. However, his comments from the interview he did with the Instrumentalist notwithstanding, I don't see him using the Miraphone in his orchestral work. Maybe Gene likes to do more solo and small ensemble playing than large ensemble playing, I don't know him well enough to say one way or the other. I don't think this is some sort of lock step maneuver that tubists are all doing when they pull out bigger horns than the Miraphones. My biggest complaint about Miraphones is their lack of projection and the ease with which the sound tends to break up if you push the volume on them. I think people don't tend to use Miraphones in large ensembles because it is much more work and harder to project with them. In fact, my experiences lately have been that smaller tubas are in rather than bigger ones. Many of the conductors I work with seem to want smaller sounds rather than bigger ones. I believe many of our colleagues are using bigger equipment because it makes most everything you want to do easier when playing in large ensembles. For my tastes, you don't have to sacrifice this aspect of playing to get good solo and small ensemble performance. There are good tubas out there that don't have the Miraphone shortcomings and they cost less, like the VMI 103. Lets remember why we don't see more professionals using VMI 103's. Don't forget the budgetary issue imposed in the original recommendation. The VMI 103 is a very nice instrument but let's be honest! There are also many other tubas that are far superior to the VMI and have similar designs and strengths. They also cost alot more than $3000 to $3500! So saying that there are no professionals that use VMI 103's is also very misleading. Conn makes a wonderful sousaphone but I don't see any "professional clout" behind it either.
Thanks for a very refreshing discussion!