Posted by bryan on February 08, 1999 at 17:24:27:
In Reply to: Hirsbrunner vs. Meinl Weston? Which is better? posted by Jon Piper on February 07, 1999 at 22:44:32:
The standard answer when you ask these kinds of subjective questions is something along the lines of, "Well, play both of them and decide which sounds better to you...the name on the bell doesn't matter." This is obviously sage advice. I assume that you are going to do that anyway, but perhaps you are also trying to get more information from people who own and have played these particular horns for a length of time and have formed long-term opinions. That is certainly valid as well. Let me respond in that vein as I have some experience with the exact quandry you are in.
When I was in the market for a new 4/4 CC, I narrowed down my choices to the Hirsbrunner HB-21 and the MW 2155. I play tested both horns extensively and eventually chose the Hirsbrunner. My impressions (which could be different than yours or anybody else's) were that the Hirs had a slightly better, more open sound. I liked the fundamental pitch to overtone ratio better than the Meinl. Some people might describe it as a little brighter, whereas the Meinl was slightly darker. I want to emphasize that had the Hirsbrunner never been invented, I would have bought the Meinl in a heartbeat and I'm sure would be happy to this day.
Another factor to consider is that you can buy the Meinl from a variety of sources and therefore enjoy some friendly price competition, whereas the Hirsbrunner is only available from Custom - unless you come across a used one, which you won't! What this means is that you are in all likelihood going to pay almost twice as much for the Hirsbrunner over a discounted Meinl. Is it worth it? Only you can answer that question.
Having owned my HB-21 for two years now, I can say that I like it even more than when I first got it. I have had to have some valve work done, mostly because I live in Texas with high heat and humidity which causes the pistons to stick sometimes. Right now I'm struggling with a bad rattling solder joint also. Other than those little things, I am a satisfied owner and would highly recommend the Hirsbrunner. Good luck with your decision and I hoped this helped.