I recently got an email from a representative of XO Brass, announcing their new (and first) French horn model.
While I don’t know much about XO Brass, these seem to be in the “professional” category. They won’t have the price of custom (really, “handmade”) instruments, but they are likely a level above the Jupiter/Allora/Holton mid-range instruments.
It definitely looks like a promising addition in a segment of the market dominated (at least in my opinion) by Yamaha, so I wanted to bring it to the attention of any interested horn players.
The New XO Brass French Horn
XO announced two different French horn models last week: the 1650 and 1650D. These are both essentially the same horn, but the “D” model has a detachable bell.
The XO 1650 is a Geyer-wrap double horn, with yellow brass tubes and nickel-silver slide ferrules. The valve caps are gold (or at least gold-plated), with brass valves and phosphor bronze bottom caps.
XO advertises “improved resistance to wear and corrosion” as the reason for the phosphor bronze bottom caps – I don’t know if they also have a bit more mass than a standard brass cap would have, which could have some interesting (positive) effect on sound and playability.
For comfort, the trigger and the pinky hook are adjustable (this is something all horns should have standard). All the valves (including the trigger) feature string linkage and articulated levers.
You can find out more information at XOProHorn.com and you can check out the XO French horn brochure here. The brochure also shows the included case, and the detachable bell case looks pretty slick – I wouldn’t give up my Wiseman, but it looks like it will be relatively compact.
Note: If you look at the brochure, you’ll also see that there are a few more models on the horizon – the model 1651 which is a Kruspe-style horn with a larger bell throat. This also looks like it will also be available in a “D” model and either in yellow brass or nickel silver.
If you’re a horn player and you’ve not heard of XO Brass, they are not one of the fly-by-night companies that you see on Amazon or eBay.
They are a part of KHS America, a collection of music brands that includes some brands you’ve probably heard of:
- Altus Flutes
- Hercules Stands
- Hohner Musical Instruments
- Jupiter Instruments
- Sonor Drums and Orff Instruments
- And several others
XO Brass is their “professional” line of brass instruments, and while XO Brass is a relatively new brand (founded in 1995), their trumpets, trombones, and low brass seem to be very well-regarded as quality instruments.
Upcoming Horn Review(?)
While I can’t make any promises, there’s a chance that I’ll be able to get a review unit of this horn to try out.
If I can, I’ll certainly do another blog post (and maybe audio/video recording) discussing its quality and how it compares to other Geyer-style horns.
Is there anything you would want me to discuss specifically – you can either leave a comment below or contact me here.