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Posted by Rob Perelli-Minetti on July 01, 1999 at 14:56:45:

In Reply to: Re: SOUSAPHONES, SOUSAPHONES, SOUSAPHONES!!! posted by Leland on June 30, 1999 at 16:03:29:

Leland: Cleveland was the H.N. White (King) intermediate line, not an Olds. The Cleveland BBb sousaphone had a 24" bell compared to the King's 26" bell, and was generally smaller (although a couple of pounds heavier than the Standard King 1250-A and a couple of pounds lighter than the Standard King 1250-B). No surprise that it would have sound characteristics a lot like the King.

Pan American was a Conn line, and while I know people who've had good luck with Pan American uprights (at least as far as 3 valve uprights can be good), I've never seen a Pan American sousaphone that I thought was any good at all.

What is it about the King you prefer to the Conn 20K? Is it the 'sweetness' and centered ness of the sound? I'm especially curious what you mean by:

"The pre-test odds favor the King, because I've never felt that the 20K's resulting sound never matches the effort put in..."

In the early '60s, my California high school had a mix of silver plated Standard Kings (all 3 valve) (probably 1250-A's) and Conn 20K's (mostly 3 valve, but one 24K with 4 short pistons). The 24K was always the choice of the 1st chair player, then the other Conns, then the Kings.

In my experience, the big Conns actually spoke more easily than the Kings (a phenomenon I notice also with Conn 2XJ tubas and the King 234x tubas) and have more easily centering both top and bottom registers. The Kings and Conns are pretty much equal in the 'cash register' between the G below the staff and the F in the staff. This was true using typical mouthpieces my high school had at the time, Bach 24AW's, or King 26's (King's then stock BBb mouthpiece) or Conn 2's.

An historical note: when I was in high school in the early 60's in California, all of the high schools I came into contact with used either King or Conn sousaphones, never any of the 'lesser line' Clevelands or American Standards or Pan Americans, even though for other instruments (french horns, trombones, trumpets, etc.) many schools did have those student line horns. [These were the days when the schools provided free instruments to all students and only really serious kids bought their own horns, usually maybe the 1st trumpet players had King Silver Symphonys or Connstellations or Bach Strads, the 1st trombones had King Liberty 2Bs, the 1st clarinets had Buffet or LeBlancs, the French horn players had Conn 8Ds and the top flutes had Powells or Haynes, private tubas were very rate, ususally Conns or Alexanders). Alsol, out there we didn't see Holtons, Yorks or Bueschers-- I didn't see them until I came to the east coast.

Two years ago, before I bought my own 20K, I borrowed a 20K from a friend for one parade and a typical King from the local middle school for another parade. My reaction to the horns was exactly the same as I had remembered it from similar horns 30 years ago and on the opposite coast, and using Bach 18's, Conn Hellebergs and Conn 2's.

I don't want to sound like I don't like the Kings, because they're fine horns and better than anything out there besides the Conns

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