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Perceived loudness of various horn models

15 years 3 months ago #215 by Scott Hawkinson
Thanks so much for all the observations. I'd definitely like to try one of those Paxmans some time.

I discovered recently that by going to a slightly bigger inner diameter rim I could easily keep up with the 8Ds.

After noticing the cramped feeling while trying to play loud on a Moosewood M4 (17.5 mm ID) I tried a mouthpiece with an 18 mm ID. That one was too big for me; and I didn't like the flat surface of that particular rim. I asked Tom Greer to make me modified M4 with a 17.8 mm ID and now my dynamic range is greatly improved, especially on the loud end.

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15 years 3 months ago #216 by Jeff Broumas
I felt the same way with smaller inner diameter mouthpieces. I have been playing on a Stork Orval 6 (18.0) ID and it has been sensational. I just ordered a Laskey 80G from Ken Pope and I am excited to hear how the sound will change between the two.

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15 years 3 months ago #234 by Scott Hawkinson
I recently purchased a used Lawson nickle-bronze bell and screwed that onto my old 103. This is now my "big group" bell. It is much thicker and heavier than the original yellow bell. It's also a half inch taller at the ring. It has a brighter, more articulate sound that projects well in loud playing and can stand up to louder dynamics with good tone. Oddly, it is also very nice in big ensembles for quieter dynamics so it seems to have a wider dynamic range, although not a wider color range, compared to the yellow bell.

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12 years 1 month ago - 12 years 1 month ago #549 by W.G. Horst
If you want to perfect the best big, large, sweet,and farthest reaching sound ever heard on a french horn, the following suggestions may apply. 1st acquire a deep throated mouthpiece, mine was built by Carl Geyer in 1959 at his Chicago shop after a hand bored out Bach 12 and Conn 2. Of course endurance must be perfected to maintain the upper register.
2nd acquire a Conn 8D made from the years 1938 through 1959, they have doulble perfels on the female insert tubes for all the slides, and are all hand built with thin bells that produce the very near the same Kruspe Horner model sound that has never been copied since! The newer and heavier bell horns may produce a big sound, but not like the sweet, smoother and warm sound as the old Kruspe's and 8D's, for I've played on most of the new horns.
3rd take singing lessons to improve your breathing capacity, because a big sound requires putting a large amount of air through the horn.
4th and most important for the projection of the sound to the back of the auditorum, you must get into the habit of thinking the sound way out there in the back.
I currently have a 1954,1958 (same as my first 8D bought then),1959, H-series, and have had 2 other H's, an 1960 and a 70's model and haved played on many more over the years, including the newer ones and I am writing a dissertation on the early 6D's and 8D's as requested by several friends.
Why pay those "big" prices when, if you search patiently for a great old 8D that will warm the "cockles of your heart" and everyone that hears you!
Last edit: 12 years 1 month ago by W.G. Horst. Reason: added a horn

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12 years 1 month ago #550 by Scott Hawkinson
This post of mine must be 3 years old by now so let me share with you what I've learned in that time about playing loud. Doug Lundeen and was a great help on setting me on the right path.

I can play loud, high, and long now. I changed the following.
Breath support
Better horns

I'm using a single B-flat horn and a customized Yamaha 667 both by Jacob Medlin. I use Dave Houser's San Francisco model underpart with a H-Kote Nikki Cash rim.

Let's concentrate on the mouthpiece. My history in brief… I could never play high, loud or for very long unless I warmed up and practiced an absurd amount of time every day. Practicing was mostly about figuring out how to make the notes, not about learning the notes and making the music expressive. I could not play in the morning. Often, practicing seemed to make things worse, not better.

I have fleshy lips. I suspect, however, that most of the popular horn mouthpieces are meant for people with ordinary lips. Most of the rims have a broad or flat surface on them, and the "kessel" (inner diameter) is around 17 mm. Also, the mouthpieces are made of brass plated with gold or silver.

It turns out I have a sensitivity to traditional mouthpiece materials that causes swelling; every time I picked up the horn and put it on my face it felt different than the last time I'd done so. A stainless steel rim prevents this reaction. I also need a kessel of about 18 mm. I needed a rim that was round, not flat or peaked. All of this prevents swelling and gets my lips out of the way so that I can get the air into the horn consistently. As a result, I can now play extremely loud, and extremely quiet, with a big, robust tone with as much heat, color and power as I want.

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11 years 6 months ago #625 by Jeremy Cucco
There is a lot of debate and discussion about actual loudness versus perceived loudness, projection versus power, and bright versus dark.

Let's break down a little of this into some known laws of physics.

1 - Conservation of Energy Law. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed.
Energy can be converted to and from other varieties of energy, but not created nor destroyed.

2 - High Frequencies are more directional but more readily absorbed/more easily reflected. Low frequencies are less directional (or more omni-directional) and less easily absorbed/less easily reflected.

3 - All organically produced sounds are made up of fundamental tones and overtones. (Often sympathetic lower frequency resonances as well).

All of this being said, the basic principles above mean that for two people putting equal amounts of energy with equal amounts of efficiency into their instruments, the one that produces more content within the higher overtones (eg. the brighter one) will project better. This is assuming some level of intelligent concert hall design (relatively hard surfaces at the stage with softening surfaces in the hall).

The "darker" sounding player will sound much bigger up close. They may even have the effect of making you feel like you're fighting to be heard. However, because that energy (the lower overtones and stronger fundamental) are dispersing radially, versus directionally, their sound is going in more directions and being absorbed by a greater number of objects and surfaces. So any advantage they had over the more easily absorbed higher overtones is lost by the higher quantity of absorbing surfaces.

Well then...how do we deal with those pesky brightness issues? Easy. They're not really an issue. Again, those higher overtones project more, but they also tend to soften or degrade gracefully as they travel. The high frequencies roll off in the hall just as they do on stage. But remember, a well designed hall is going to have harder surfaces on stage (wooden shells, hard chairs, wooden floors) so the higher overtones don't get too rolled off. They get easily reflected out into the hall where denser, softer materials are used (curtains, soft audience seating, fleshy bodies, acoustic baffles, etc.). On the other hand, since lower frequencies don't reflect as well, that darkness doesn't really make it off stage.

The short version of this story -
If you have a bright sound that sounds tiny next to the huge sounding "big" horn next to you, don't worry. Also, don't over play! Your sound is making it out to the audience just as well if not better than the "big" guy/gal next to you. If you have a HUGE sound on stage, your audience hears mud. Pure and simple.

The only time these rules get turned on their heads is when we're playing in concert halls that aren't designed this way. Imagine a hall where the stage is surrounded by dense curtains, etc. Then all horn players struggle equally.


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