Conn CAS280R Alto Saxophone

This sweet soundin’ horn has to be one of the best that has ever crossed my desk. And it’s been a while since we’ve had the pleasure of seeing a new Conn. But going on what this alto has to offer, it’s certainly been worth the wait. Made in Taiwan (like the Mauriats), this Far Eastern factory certainly knows how to put a good horn together. Looking not unlike a Selmer Series 2, the finishing on the silver plating is flawless and the dark felt pads set against the silver add a nice touch. Indeed, this horn oozes elegance. The overall build quality is excellent and it’s always good to see metal reflectors on the pads.

The 280 has a very positive action and is very responsive – you can fly down the keys with ease. And there is no clanking whatsoever. I particularly liked the palm key positions, added to which, the bottom table setup is really nice – the springing isn’t too hard, so it’s easy on the little finger. The top ‘F’ also works really well, as does the octave key mechanism. But here I would have really liked to have seen the stylish original underslung Conn rather than the ubiquitous Selmer standard.

Sound wise, the dynamic range is outstanding – all the way through. The 280 is a free and easy blower, that asks for little while it offers so much. Intonation is spot on, the altissimo range is easy to pitch and the bottom notes really do sing. Seriously though, this is a horn that I would recommend to any player. And because of its remarkable dynamic range, it would be equally suited to either classical or jazz. It all comes in a zippered leather case with a plush lined pre-formed interior, two zippered face pockets, two soft padded grab handles, two adjustable padded shoulder straps and a fully adjustable encased padded back harness.

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