Besson Prestige V Neo Cornet

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by nighttempla, Dec 2, 2014.

  1. nighttempla

    nighttempla New Member

    I'm considering buying one of the above, and would really value any thoughts from players who have tried either instrument.

    I've got a couple of questions as well:

    1) What's the difference in sound between the gold and yellow brass on the Neo?
    2) The Prestige I'm trialling at the moment has a certificate in the case from R Webster dated 2011. I've heard there have been quality issues with the Prestige historically. Can anyone tell me if there have been any revisions to the model since 2011, or have I got old stock?

    I've tried a Sovereign, Xeno and Geneva and got it down to one of these two

    Thanks in advance for any help.

  2. DS2014

    DS2014 Active Member

    North West
    I am sure that some on here will know the science of gold vs. yellow brass. But when I was researching new cornets, leaving aside the promotional bumpf from Yamaha, one keeps coming across reliable individuals who say that they can't honestly detect a real difference, and that the difference is more mental: i.e. one knows that the instrument is gold brass and therefore expects a warmer sound and, sure enough, a warmer sound is perceived (or, even, produced). The general consensus is that the difference in sound production, if there even is one, is so slight as to be barely noticeable. Where differences are perceived, in, for example, stories where an individual has brought along a colleague to listen to them trial both types, the difference in sound production wasn't great enough for them to reliably conclude that it was the metal that caused it. I think the fact that Yamaha charges the same price for both variants suggests that there is not a massive difference either.

    Regarding the Prestige, most concerns have been about the English-built ones which are, usually, considered inferior to the French-built ones. The 2011 variant you are looking at will be French-built, I am sure (it should say so on the bell). That said, that doesn't mean it will be problem free either, and Roger Webster's signature won't certify what might have happened to it in the intervening three years since it left the factory. He is supposed to personally trial each one, but I do know of several instances where folks have had to send them back (a problem that may not be limited to Besson, either, but I haven't heard of any about the Yamahas).

    Leaving aside those who have encountered physical problems with the Prestige, some who have it think it divine, others find it a big beast: I've seen a few remarks that it feels bigger in the hand, and I have to agree that the spread required in one's left hand in order to use both triggers does feel bigger on the Prestige than the Yamaha.

    I bought a second-hand Prestige (English-built) which was in immaculate condition...immaculate, that is, until I belatedly discovered it had had a botched valve-job done on it which degraded quite quickly through constant use. I should have spotted it, but didn't. My point, however, is that it must have had valve problems in the first place in order to warrant somebody taking on the valve-job.

    Best of luck with you choice and your new cornet, whatever you choose....exciting times!
  3. Bbmad

    Bbmad Active Member

    The yellow neo is the best
  4. cjwood555

    cjwood555 Member

    Hi OP,

    Did try and reply a while ago but have had to wait for account activation.

    I currently play on a gold-bell neo. I've had a couple of 927 sovereigns before. Clearly there's a difference in bore size between the two which perhaps means it's not a straight comparison.

    Generally, I find the Neo to be a much better built instrument than 80's 927s I had previously. Whether Besson has upped its game, I don't know. One would expect that the Prestige being a newer model at a higher price-point is of comparable or better quality to the Neo.

    Valves, slides and triggers are great. The fit of the valves is super close - to the point it was pretty much impossible to remove them for the first few months of use. A consequence is that they perform best with a good quality, lightweight, synthetic oil. The Yamaha supplied stuff seems inferior to Hettman Light, and Holton oil ruined them! In terms of character, I found them to feel a little 'damped' at first - I changed to metal valve guides from a Yamaha trumpet but can't say whether it was this change or simple bedding in that has freed them up. I'd give them an 8.5 out of 10 (I'd place the Sov's valves about 7, and my '76 Getzen pic at 9.5).

    In terms of playing, it is (to me) a very open blow and errs on the side of flexibility vs tight slotting. Intonation is generally very good - less trigger required on a bottom D than on a typical Sov, maybe a little more on A, your mileage may vary. Upper register sings nicely but rewards a technical approach - you I think you need to be good, secure player to get the best ouf of it. From my point of view, on good days it's rewarding instrument to play, but on bad days it can frustrate. More so than an ML-bore Sov.

    The oft raised issue of blending I personalyl think is overstated. Tone colour is easily adjusted through mouthpiece choice and by the player during a performance. Our principal cornet player, Rob (aka 4thmandown on here) can give a third party perspective on tone.

    One practical issue is that the bell diamater before the flare seems larger than a Sov (probably one of the tweaks to warm the instrument up vs. maestro/xeno) - this means that mutes go a LONG way in. A H&B cup mute hits the bell and is badly out of tune. A DW straight mute fits ok but again tuning is bad. I've recently bought some extra corks to experiment. Fibre straight mute, DW adjustable cup and DW harmon fit and play fine.

    I got mine second hand from Jenny @ Cash4Brass / Duchy Brass. Having owned it for a little over a year now, I'm happy to say I wouldn't have minded paying new prices for it.

    Hope that helps a little!
  5. hobgoblin

    hobgoblin Member

    Surely endorsees of both brands could settle this with a public cornet playing competition at Butlins. Perhaps a cage fight, vib contest, or even man v cornet v burger on the Friday night would work? I see the Neo superstars are already sending a 10 piece that looks pretty handy - surely Besson could send in their big guns too?
  6. Andrew Norman

    Andrew Norman Active Member

    The Sunny Isle of Wight
    That should do the job !
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