Posted by Klaus on May 31, 2000 at 06:27:07:
In Reply to: Re: Re: Conn's 14K and 20K: Why so great?? posted by Rob Perelli-Minetti on May 30, 2000 at 21:50:43:
Rob has been very helpful for me, when I 3 months ago was doing some research before the acquisition of my 40K. So I am a bit sad to correct him both on basis of his original information to me and on the basis of reality.
The 40K is not the monster Conn. It is the 4 valve version of the 38K. Not having tried a 20K I still do understand that the acoustical proportions of the 20K/24K and the 38K/40K are the same. Only the smaller model numbers are for the short stroke versions, the larger numbers are for the regular/long stroke versions.
My hands are huge, so I do not miss the short stroke feature on my 40K, which is more or less non-standard in that is has a 24" bell against the more normal 26". And the instrument is gold plated overall, not only with a goldwash inside the bell.
Musically I am very satisfied with the 40K. It is very agile because of its precise intonation at least up to Bb’ (3rd line treble clef). Linguistic descriptions of the sound of an instrument is a problem, but I would say that the 40K has a good bass punch because of the very low set of formants.
I have not had the chance to test how loud it can play, but so far I am rather confident that the "break-up" point is at a rather loud level.
The 4th valve could be seen as superfluous, but I do feel uncomfortable on 3 valve bass instruments without triggering or compensating.. So for me it is the real thing.
The only drawback of the 4 valves with the attached long tubing in combination with the heavy gauge brass used in the pre-WWII golden age of US tuba/sousa production is the weight. I would not be able to march with a 40K. And even in seated band and practise situations I am very happy for the special sousachair. One more benefit of that chair is its function of relaying the vibrations to the floor. It almost could be compared to the function of the peg of a string bass.
I also own a 26K Eb sousa. Very good, but not quite on the level of the 40K in the low range, maybe because of the missing 4th valve. And intonation is a bit suspect above the 9th partial F.
Also I have tried a lightweight Conn sousa without model number inscribed. BBb, 24" bell, only 2 fastening screws, small bore, thin gauge brass. It was very easy to handle. Also musically, because the intonation was very controllable even on the 1+3 and the 1+2+3 combinations. Fake notes were almost at the level of the real notes. And that was the core of the problem with that instrument. It did not come close to the dignity and the punch of the 26K and 40K.
In another tuba forum there has been a discussion of the new Conn tubas. It was told that the integration of the tuning slide of the 20/24/38/40K had been a benefit. I did compare the tuning slide of my .734 40K to that of my .750 York Master tuba. The slide of the 40K had a narrower 1st branch, but a wider 2nd branch. That just to satisfy the acoustical detail freaks of this forum. No harm intended, as I am one of them.
My mpc is a PT 50 with an augmented backbore for all my tubas/sousas
Sorry for the long post.