Rath R2 vs Shires Michael Davis +

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ttf_anonymous
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Rath R2 vs Shires Michael Davis +

Post by ttf_anonymous » Mon Dec 18, 2017 6:39 am

Hello Tromboneforum,

I need some opinions on the Rath vs Shires debate but need to investigate even a little further into 2 specific models.

I currently own a Rath R2 (.510 bore) with a nickel silver bell, a yellow brass bell & a nickel silver slide. I'm perfectly content with my R2 and is a monster. Does everything I ask it to.

My concern is that a while back I bought a Michael Davis Shires and loved just about everything about it except for it being a little too small for my taste since it is a .495 bore. It definitely played larger than a .495 bore but was still just too small for me so I ended up selling it and getting the R2.

Since the R2 is a perfect fit for me as far as size goes, I am now curious in the Michael Davis + (.508 bore) and whether I should possibly give the Shires a try up against my R2 or is it worth the hassle of trying it out?

I've got an offer for a pretty awesome deal on a brand new MD+ but don't have approval from the wife to keep both the MD+ and my R2 with my 2 bells. It's one or the other and don't know if I should even try the Shires since I feel it is probably going to be a wash between the 2 but also want to see if the Shires really does have something to offer me the Rath can't. Also, in this instance, the Rath is modular, the Shires isn't.

I've heard mixed reviews of both brands and from what I've heard the most popular Rath vs Shires argument is that Rath tends to outplay the Shires in some regards to versatility and taking everything you throw at it but that the Shires will most likely sound better than the Rath. Some just plain don't like the sound of Rath over Shires. I remember really liking the Shires sound especially blending with trumpets but since I didn't have them both at the same time I don't know which sounds better, the Rath or Shires from first hand experience.

Wanted to see who out there has played the R2 similar to my setup as well as a Michael Davis + and what there thoughts are on the differences between the two.

I'd appreciate any insight you can offer before I make my decision on what to do.
ttf_Chris Fidler
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Post by ttf_Chris Fidler » Mon Dec 18, 2017 7:28 am

If it ain't broke don't fix it!!!!

Stick with the Rath Image
ttf_sabutin
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Post by ttf_sabutin » Mon Dec 18, 2017 7:51 am

Quote from: thepianoman04 on Dec 18, 2017, 06:39AMHello Tromboneforum,

I need some opinions on the Rath vs Shires debate but need to investigate even a little further into 2 specific models.

I currently own a Rath R2 (.510 bore) with a nickel silver bell, a yellow brass bell & a nickel silver slide. I'm perfectly content with my R2 and is a monster. Does everything I ask it to.

My concern is that a while back I bought a Michael Davis Shires and loved just about everything about it except for it being a little too small for my taste since it is a .495 bore. It definitely played larger than a .495 bore but was still just too small for me so I ended up selling it and getting the R2.

Since the R2 is a perfect fit for me as far as size goes, I am now curious in the Michael Davis + (.508 bore) and whether I should possibly give the Shires a try up against my R2 or is it worth the hassle of trying it out?

I've got an offer for a pretty awesome deal on a brand new MD+ but don't have approval from the wife to keep both the MD+ and my R2 with my 2 bells. It's one or the other and don't know if I should even try the Shires since I feel it is probably going to be a wash between the 2 but also want to see if the Shires really does have something to offer me the Rath can't. Also, in this instance, the Rath is modular, the Shires isn't.

I've heard mixed reviews of both brands and from what I've heard the most popular Rath vs Shires argument is that Rath tends to outplay the Shires in some regards to versatility and taking everything you throw at it but that the Shires will most likely sound better than the Rath. Some just plain don't like the sound of Rath over Shires. I remember really liking the Shires sound especially blending with trumpets but since I didn't have them both at the same time I don't know which sounds better, the Rath or Shires from first hand experience.

Wanted to see who out there has played the R2 similar to my setup as well as a Michael Davis + and what there thoughts are on the differences between the two.

I'd appreciate any insight you can offer before I make my decision on what to do.

Let me establish out front...I am a Shires guy. However, I have nothing but admiration for what Mick Rath has done. Maybe if I could drive to the Rath factory as easily as I can to the Shires factory I'd be a Rath guy. I don't really know. But I do know that I have played any number of Raths of all sizes and have also sat next to many really fine players in trombone sections as they switched to Raths from other brands. I can hear the differences.

That said...as a general overall take:

1-Shires horns tend to have a more "complex" sound...more overtones (or at least different ones)...than do Raths.

However...

2-This is a two-edged sword. I think that Shires horns generally require more effort to play, and I also think that...at least on the inside of large jazz ensembles...the Raths tend to blend better with the trumpets and also seem to "jump out" over forceful rhythm sections more than do the Shires. They are also a little quicker in response,too.This is something that I have noticed for years with good King horns as well. They are a "simpler" sound than say Bachs or Conns...not a bad one, by any means...and seem to be able to dominate ensembles and rhythm sections with less physical effort than do Shires horns. I really don't know if this holds true in the audience, though. First of all, I'm rarely in the audience, and secondly...one main reason that I like my Shires...is that I can hear the sound coming off the back wall of almost any venue if I put my mind to it. Some horns just do not project backwards, and others do not project forwards. Players say that some horns are "easier to hear" when they are being played. Like dat.

Now to the R2/MD+ contest. I believe that Shires has been somewhat moving more towards the Rath sound and blow model over the last several years. I find the MD smaller bore very Rath-like. But...I am also a big fan of the MD+. I think that it strikes a great balance between the blow and sound of a fine King 3B or many Rath .508 bores and the sonic complexity of most earlier Shires horns. If I wasn't playing so much big band lead I would be very tempted to sell my older Shires .508...I set it up as my small group horn and it's a little dark for real lead work...and get an MD+...maybe with a trigger. It's a real "everything" horn as far as I am concerned. The R2s I have played and heard...especially the lighter weight and nickel silver options...seem to me to brighten up a little quickly in the dynamic range, but bear in mind that I have years of tuba playing, more years of listening to J.J., a huge Jimmy Knepper influence  and many years of playing classic '30s/'40s/'50s Conns and Bachs in my own approach to the horn. Your results may vary.

Dassit...that's all I know about the two axes.

Good luck. Try them both...in blindfold tests, if you can. (I wear ski mittens or gloves during blindfold tests so that after about 20 minutes of switching I can't really tell which horn I am playing. A little...extreme? Yes. But it works.)

Later...

S.
ttf_anonymous
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Post by ttf_anonymous » Mon Dec 18, 2017 8:09 am

Quote from: Chris Fidler on Dec 18, 2017, 07:28AMIf it ain't broke don't fix it!!!!

Stick with the Rath Image

But what if I just can't resist a good deal and another opportunity to buy a trombone? Image
ttf_TromboneMonkey
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Post by ttf_TromboneMonkey » Mon Dec 18, 2017 8:13 am

In broad terms, a Rath R2 to me plays more-or-less like the ultimate Bach LT16M.  A Shires MD+ plays more like the ultimate King 3b. If you know you prefer one design to the other, go with that.
ttf_anonymous
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Post by ttf_anonymous » Mon Dec 18, 2017 8:16 am

Quote from: TromboneMonkey on Dec 18, 2017, 08:13AMIn broad terms, a Rath R2 to me plays more-or-less like the ultimate Bach LT16M.  A Shires MD+ plays more like the ultimate King 3b. If you know you prefer one design to the other, go with that.

Thanks for the analogy! I'm pretty sure I've played both those horns so that gives me a better idea what to expect. Now I just need to figure out my preference.
ttf_Chris Fidler
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Post by ttf_Chris Fidler » Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:36 pm

Quote from: sabutin on Dec 18, 2017, 07:51AM many Rath .508 bores

Just to clarify, Rath don't do a .508 bore. The R2 is a .510 bore.
ttf_sabutin
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Post by ttf_sabutin » Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:42 pm

Quote from: Chris Fidler on Dec 18, 2017, 02:36PMJust to clarify, Rath don't do a .508 bore. The R2 is a .510 bore.

Close enough for jazz.

S.
ttf_SKAzz
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Post by ttf_SKAzz » Tue Dec 19, 2017 9:15 am

If there's something you don't feel is quite perfect with your Rath, have you tried a different neck, leapipe, or tuning bow? 

I found that once I swapped things around a bit, I found a great horn with my R1.  Better than I've ever had with King, Conn, Olds...etc.
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Post by ttf_harrison.t.reed » Tue Dec 19, 2017 9:22 am

Quote from: thepianoman04 on Dec 18, 2017, 06:39AM
I've heard mixed reviews of both brands and from what I've heard the most popular Rath vs Shires argument is that Rath tends to outplay the Shires in some regards to versatility and taking everything you throw at it but that the Shires will most likely sound better than the Rath. Some just plain don't like the sound of Rath over Shires. I remember really liking the Shires sound especially blending with trumpets but since I didn't have them both at the same time I don't know which sounds better, the Rath or Shires from first hand experience.

You've pretty much owned both brands. This is not what you need to be worried about. The only time other people's opinions matter on the X vs. Y debate is when they are listening to you and giving their opinion on what you sound better playing on.

What's up with your R2?
ttf_anonymous
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Post by ttf_anonymous » Tue Dec 19, 2017 10:52 am

Quote from: harrison.t.reed on Dec 19, 2017, 09:22AMYou've pretty much owned both brands. This is not what you need to be worried about. The only time other people's opinions matter on the X vs. Y debate is when they are listening to you and giving their opinion on what you sound better playing on.

What's up with your R2?

It's hard to put into words but the only little thing I can think of that sticks out to me when I'm using the nickel silver bell on my R2 is over long periods of playing on it, it starts to clam up a little bit at higher volumes in the mid/high register and I can't seem to push them past a certain point. This issue doesn't occur with my yellow brass bell.

I'm contemplating just selling my yellow brass R2 bell and, since I just sold my Rath R100, those 2 sales combined come pretty close to buying the new MD+ so I get the best of both worlds to keep both my R2 nickel silver setup and get the yellow brass MD+. The wife approves too!
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Post by ttf_anonymous » Tue Dec 19, 2017 10:54 am

Quote from: SKAzz on Dec 19, 2017, 09:15AMIf there's something you don't feel is quite perfect with your Rath, have you tried a different neck, leapipe, or tuning bow? 

I found that once I swapped things around a bit, I found a great horn with my R1.  Better than I've ever had with King, Conn, Olds...etc.

Everything about the R2 is perfect to me except the nickel silver bell issue I mentioned above. Other than that, it's a question of sound which, if I get the MD+, I'll have some bone friends of mine listen to me and see which sound they prefer the MD+ or the R2.
ttf_SKAzz
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Post by ttf_SKAzz » Wed Dec 20, 2017 8:04 am

If I was you, and i'm not...

I'd just change the bell and be done.  since you can do that on a modular horn.  rather than throw money at another boutique horn.

but you seem set on spending money.  so whatever makes you happy, no one else really knows what will do that.
ttf_blast
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Post by ttf_blast » Wed Dec 20, 2017 10:15 am

I hate to say this... but... no trombone is perfect... part of the joy of playing is to work at the aspects of the instrument that you find hard. Another person would not find the same things a challenge on the same instrument.
I spent time with Mick Rath a few weeks ago and said to him that I wished that I had not messed around with different parts so much in the early days. He laughed in a knowing sort of way. He asked me if I wanted anything done on my horns... of course I said no. I said that the only bit that needs working on is me.

Chris Stearn  Image
ttf_TromboneMonkey
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Post by ttf_TromboneMonkey » Wed Dec 20, 2017 2:36 pm

Quote from: blast on Dec 20, 2017, 10:15AMI hate to say this... but... no trombone is perfect... part of the joy of playing is to work at the aspects of the instrument that you find hard. Another person would not find the same things a challenge on the same instrument.


I love this.  One of my favorite things recently is to find old horns (non modular), and to see how they play as-is-- what makes them work?  Do they work for one thing or work for many things?  It's a game!
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Post by ttf_blast » Wed Dec 20, 2017 2:51 pm

Quote from: TromboneMonkey on Dec 20, 2017, 02:36PMI love this.  One of my favorite things recently is to find old horns (non modular), and to see how they play as-is-- what makes them work?  Do they work for one thing or work for many things?  It's a game!

Yes indeed. Different makes usually have 'house' quirks... I am at the stage where I have several makes pretty much understood.... and at an age where I don't want to get to know any more. Shires and Rath are poles apart in terms of the challenges they offer, so Shires players don't get the Rath vibe and Rath players don't get the Shires vibe.

Chris Stearn
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Post by ttf_johntarr » Wed Dec 20, 2017 10:53 pm

While I haven’t played either of those horns, I did have the good fortune to be able to travel to the Rath factory to have a “fitting.” How I was guided to find the parts and the system of how to test them was a fascinating and beneficial process. To really get the benefit of modular horns, you need competent help.

Before the Rath, I put together a Shires by myself at a music store in Germany that had some parts. While th Shires was a great instrument, it never fit me and the Rath was better, for me.

And, as has been said, there are benefits to finding a good horn and working through the quirks as a form of personal development.
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Post by ttf_Exzaclee » Thu Dec 21, 2017 8:50 am

I've played both for a small amount of time. I can give initial impressions of both but not much in the way of long term (and that would be personal anyway and may not apply to you.)

I love Shires horns. I traded a .508 with LW nickel tubes and yellow 2 bell in on a horn I needed that was a little less lively for a gig change at the time. I wish I'd kept that horn, it was everything I needed in a salsa horn. If Luis ever sells it I want it. It was a beast and perfect in every way.

The MD+ I don't like as much. It's not a bad horn and plenty of people rave over it. For me it's not what I'm looking for. Not as much meat to the sound I guess, felt a bit too light (strange because I love lightweight horns.) I know that's not a popular opinion of those horns - it's just me, although it could be the horn I played had a bum leadpipe. It just wasn't as special as I hoped. A student ended up with that horn and he loves it and sounds great on it so it's probably just me.

I played Bret Steed's Rath R2 with Nickel bell and I absolutely loved it. So punchy, so effortless, such a nice stable high range and a big middle. Great horn. If you sell yours you'll have no problem getting a fair price for it I'd imagine, those horns seem to hold value better than most.
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Post by ttf_anonymous » Thu Dec 21, 2017 8:58 am

Quote from: sabutin on Dec 18, 2017, 07:51AMLet me establish out front...I am a Shires guy. However, I have nothing but admiration for what Mick Rath has done. Maybe if I could drive to the Rath factory as easily as I can to the Shires factory I'd be a Rath guy. I don't really know. But I do know that I have played any number of Raths of all sizes and have also sat next to many really fine players in trombone sections as they switched to Raths from other brands. I can hear the differences.

That said...as a general overall take:

1-Shires horns tend to have a more "complex" sound...more overtones (or at least different ones)...than do Raths.

However...

2-This is a two-edged sword. I think that Shires horns generally require more effort to play, and I also think that...at least on the inside of large jazz ensembles...the Raths tend to blend better with the trumpets and also seem to "jump out" over forceful rhythm sections more than do the Shires. They are also a little quicker in response,too.This is something that I have noticed for years with good King horns as well. They are a "simpler" sound than say Bachs or Conns...not a bad one, by any means...and seem to be able to dominate ensembles and rhythm sections with less physical effort than do Shires horns. I really don't know if this holds true in the audience, though. First of all, I'm rarely in the audience, and secondly...one main reason that I like my Shires...is that I can hear the sound coming off the back wall of almost any venue if I put my mind to it. Some horns just do not project backwards, and others do not project forwards. Players say that some horns are "easier to hear" when they are being played. Like dat.

Now to the R2/MD+ contest. I believe that Shires has been somewhat moving more towards the Rath sound and blow model over the last several years. I find the MD smaller bore very Rath-like. But...I am also a big fan of the MD+. I think that it strikes a great balance between the blow and sound of a fine King 3B or many Rath .508 bores and the sonic complexity of most earlier Shires horns. If I wasn't playing so much big band lead I would be very tempted to sell my older Shires .508...I set it up as my small group horn and it's a little dark for real lead work...and get an MD+...maybe with a trigger. It's a real "everything" horn as far as I am concerned. The R2s I have played and heard...especially the lighter weight and nickel silver options...seem to me to brighten up a little quickly in the dynamic range, but bear in mind that I have years of tuba playing, more years of listening to J.J., a huge Jimmy Knepper influence  and many years of playing classic '30s/'40s/'50s Conns and Bachs in my own approach to the horn. Your results may vary.

Dassit...that's all I know about the two axes.

Good luck. Try them both...in blindfold tests, if you can. (I wear ski mittens or gloves during blindfold tests so that after about 20 minutes of switching I can't really tell which horn I am playing. A little...extreme? Yes. But it works.)

Later...

S.

I went ahead and ordered the Michael Davis + and it should be here in a week.

In regards to your extreme blindfold tests, I will definitely give it a go and have my wife hand me the horn of her choosing to test both for my sake of which horn I think plays better and for her to tell me which one she thinks I sound better on.

I'll also take it one step further and have her back to me when I play so she can't be biased in her preference and just say Rath because... or Shires because... for non-sound reasons. Kind of like a Voice audition for my trombones. Image Will try my best to test based on sound not visuals or brand preference.

Will let you know of my results when I'm able to do the side by side test with my R2 yellow brass setup against the MD+.
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Post by ttf_Matt K » Thu Dec 21, 2017 10:40 am

Congrats! I think it makes sense, the two of them are very good horns that are different enough that I think you'd be hard pressed to find an application that one or the other won't work for.  I don't know what the specs are on the MD+ but I have a 1YM8 bell + T08LW that seems to play fairly similarly.  But the MD+ is probably going to be the first purchase I make when I pay of my student loans!

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Post by ttf_TromboneMonkey » Thu Dec 21, 2017 9:39 pm

Quote from: thepianoman04 on Dec 21, 2017, 08:58AMI went ahead and ordered the Michael Davis + and it should be here in a week.

In regards to your extreme blindfold tests, I will definitely give it a go and have my wife hand me the horn of her choosing to test both for my sake of which horn I think plays better and for her to tell me which one she thinks I sound better on.

I'll also take it one step further and have her back to me when I play so she can't be biased in her preference and just say Rath because... or Shires because... for non-sound reasons. Kind of like a Voice audition for my trombones. Image Will try my best to test based on sound not visuals or brand preference.

Will let you know of my results when I'm able to do the side by side test with my R2 yellow brass setup against the MD+.

If you really want to go for the full "double blind" experience, I'd 1- wear gloves to make identification harder, and 2- include a third (similar but different) trombone as a control. 
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Post by ttf_sabutin » Fri Dec 22, 2017 4:11 am

Quote from: TromboneMonkey on Dec 21, 2017, 09:39PMIf you really want to go for the full "double blind" experience, I'd 1- wear gloves to make identification harder, and 2- include a third (similar but different) trombone as a control. 

Indeed.

The more the merrier. Only when I am totally confused can I make valid judgements on equipment. The mind gets in the way. I have been surprised so many times by blindfold test results that now no result is a surprise.

S.
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Post by ttf_anonymous » Fri Dec 29, 2017 12:27 pm

Ok. So, I received my MD+ finally and here are my first impressions.

Keep in mind the horn is supposed to include a counterweight but mine doesn’t have one at the moment. Contacted the guy I bought it from to see about getting one sent to me because I prefer the counterweight unlike Michael Davis and say John Fedchock who don’t use a counterweight.

So, at first blow on the MD+, the slide isn’t as smooth as my Rath R2 but is a very close 2nd. I’m sure breaking it in will help some. As for the Shires vs Rath sound, I gotta hand it to the MD+. I can definitely hear a difference in the sweeter tone it produces and it definitely has a bigger core to the sound whereas the Rath has a more “grit” or “sizzle” in the sound without even trying and is slightly more dull. Not necessarily a “bad” sound, just different from the Shires. The MD+ definitely blends better with trumpet IMHO and when I practiced with my wife (who plays trumpet) and we’re both locked in tune, the MD+ sounds like 2 types of “like” instruments whereas the Rath sounds like a slightly different blend of 2 different instrument types.

As for the only negative I could find in first playing the MD+, it wears my face out a lot faster than my Rath. It could be because I’m not used to the quirks of the MD+ like I am with my Rath’s. (my wife could even tell side by side when I was playing the Rath or MD+ just off the comfortability in my playing/intonation between the two horns)

So, hands down, the Rath wins in ease of playability and playing whatever you throw at it and not wearing you out as fast but the MD+ definitely wins hands down in the sound category. I will have to work at it to get more comfortable with it and improve my endurance on it but once that day comes I will be one happy guy and my Rath will be even more easy to play when I come back to it.

Now it’s gonna be hard to get rid of my yellow brass bell for my R2. Time will tell what I end up doing with any of my horns but I really feel I shouldn’t have any problem having a horn for every possible occasion for what gigs I play. I love having multiple options and I think I’m set with these 2 amazing horns. Props to both Shires and Rath for making such monsters! I’d agree the the MD+ is a King 3B on steroids or even crack and the Rath is like the best Bach 16M you can find.

Thanks everyone for chipping in! Keep the thread going if you have anything to add on this topic! I love coming back and reading what others have to say about it. (Whether you agree with my thoughts or not) Image


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Post by ttf_Matt K » Fri Dec 29, 2017 1:40 pm

I don't see if you mentioned using a particular pipe? Did it come with a 1 or a 1.5? They nornally blow a little "easier"
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Post by ttf_anonymous » Fri Dec 29, 2017 1:56 pm

Yea, the MD+ comes with a 1.5 for the tuning slide and leadpipe.
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Post by ttf_sabutin » Fri Dec 29, 2017 4:54 pm

Quote from: thepianoman04 on Today at 12:27 PMOk. So, I received my MD+ finally and here are my first impressions.

Keep in mind the horn is supposed to include a counterweight but mine doesn’t have one at the moment. Contacted the guy I bought it from to see about getting one sent to me because I prefer the counterweight unlike Michael Davis and say John Fedchock who don’t use a counterweight.

So, at first blow on the MD+, the slide isn’t as smooth as my Rath R2 but is a very close 2nd. I’m sure breaking it in will help some. As for the Shires vs Rath sound, I gotta hand it to the MD+. I can definitely hear a difference in the sweeter tone it produces and it definitely has a bigger core to the sound whereas the Rath has a more “grit” or “sizzle” in the sound without even trying and is slightly more dull. Not necessarily a “bad” sound, just different from the Shires. The MD+ definitely blends better with trumpet IMHO and when I practiced with my wife (who plays trumpet) and we’re both locked in tune, the MD+ sounds like 2 types of “like” instruments whereas the Rath sounds like a slightly different blend of 2 different instrument types.

As for the only negative I could find in first playing the MD+, it wears my face out a lot faster than my Rath. It could be because I’m not used to the quirks of the MD+ like I am with my Rath’s. (my wife could even tell side by side when I was playing the Rath or MD+ just off the comfortability in my playing/intonation between the two horns)

So, hands down, the Rath wins in ease of playability and playing whatever you throw at it and not wearing you out as fast but the MD+ definitely wins hands down in the sound category. I will have to work at it to get more comfortable with it and improve my endurance on it but once that day comes I will be one happy guy and my Rath will be even more easy to play when I come back to it.

Now it’s gonna be hard to get rid of my yellow brass bell for my R2. Time will tell what I end up doing with any of my horns but I really feel I shouldn’t have any problem having a horn for every possible occasion for what gigs I play. I love having multiple options and I think I’m set with these 2 amazing horns. Props to both Shires and Rath for making such monsters! I’d agree the the MD+ is a King 3B on steroids or even crack and the Rath is like the best Bach 16M you can find.

Thanks everyone for chipping in! Keep the thread going if you have anything to add on this topic! I love coming back and reading what others have to say about it. (Whether you agree with my thoughts or not) Image

All I have to add is that...yes, a "bigger" sound is often more tiring to play. You can get used to it, but...you have to make a choice. I made mine long ago and far away. I personally would rather sound the way I really want to sound...bearing in mind that until I was in my 20s I was a tuba player who doubled on .525 bore trombones w/ 6.5AL m'pces...than have endless chops but to some degree not like what those chops produce.

It's all a series of compromises, really...

S.
ttf_sabutin
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Rath R2 vs Shires Michael Davis +

Post by ttf_sabutin » Fri Dec 29, 2017 4:54 pm

Quote from: thepianoman04 on Today at 12:27 PMOk. So, I received my MD+ finally and here are my first impressions.

Keep in mind the horn is supposed to include a counterweight but mine doesn’t have one at the moment. Contacted the guy I bought it from to see about getting one sent to me because I prefer the counterweight unlike Michael Davis and say John Fedchock who don’t use a counterweight.

So, at first blow on the MD+, the slide isn’t as smooth as my Rath R2 but is a very close 2nd. I’m sure breaking it in will help some. As for the Shires vs Rath sound, I gotta hand it to the MD+. I can definitely hear a difference in the sweeter tone it produces and it definitely has a bigger core to the sound whereas the Rath has a more “grit” or “sizzle” in the sound without even trying and is slightly more dull. Not necessarily a “bad” sound, just different from the Shires. The MD+ definitely blends better with trumpet IMHO and when I practiced with my wife (who plays trumpet) and we’re both locked in tune, the MD+ sounds like 2 types of “like” instruments whereas the Rath sounds like a slightly different blend of 2 different instrument types.

As for the only negative I could find in first playing the MD+, it wears my face out a lot faster than my Rath. It could be because I’m not used to the quirks of the MD+ like I am with my Rath’s. (my wife could even tell side by side when I was playing the Rath or MD+ just off the comfortability in my playing/intonation between the two horns)

So, hands down, the Rath wins in ease of playability and playing whatever you throw at it and not wearing you out as fast but the MD+ definitely wins hands down in the sound category. I will have to work at it to get more comfortable with it and improve my endurance on it but once that day comes I will be one happy guy and my Rath will be even more easy to play when I come back to it.

Now it’s gonna be hard to get rid of my yellow brass bell for my R2. Time will tell what I end up doing with any of my horns but I really feel I shouldn’t have any problem having a horn for every possible occasion for what gigs I play. I love having multiple options and I think I’m set with these 2 amazing horns. Props to both Shires and Rath for making such monsters! I’d agree the the MD+ is a King 3B on steroids or even crack and the Rath is like the best Bach 16M you can find.

Thanks everyone for chipping in! Keep the thread going if you have anything to add on this topic! I love coming back and reading what others have to say about it. (Whether you agree with my thoughts or not) Image

All I have to add is that...yes, a "bigger" sound is often more tiring to play. You can get used to it, but...you have to make a choice. I made mine long ago and far away. I personally would rather sound the way I really want to sound...bearing in mind that until I was in my 20s I was a tuba player who doubled on .525 bore trombones w/ 6.5AL m'pces...than have endless chops but to some degree not like what those chops produce.

It's all a series of compromises, really...

S.
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