Euphoniums continue to play a big role in the production of sweet soothing music. Never heard of a euphonium? Well, worry not. Euphoniums is a type of a valved brass sound instrument. It produces the tenor pitch and looks almost like a mini tuba. Finding the best euphonium is not as easy as you may think. Having many alternatives and companies producing euphoniums makes the choice even complicated. However, famous euphonists such as David Childs or Stephen Mead know the value of these instruments and only use the best.
While finding the ideal euphonium may not be an easy fete, we are pretty sure you will get something if you follow our guidelines. During our research, we sought to look at and focus on the most important features. These include the general bodywork, number of pistons and the bell and bore sizes. Other essential features are the types of material of the euphonium, accessories, keys, and valves. We also mention something about individual company warranties that you should definitely consider.
Top 5 Euphoniums Review 2020
It has taken us several weeks to conduct the research, bring all the pieces together and to present you with this comprehensive review. During the research, we spoke to accomplished euphonists, music producers, and a few reputable manufacturers. In the review, you will find a comparison table that outlines the products we shall discuss followed by an in-depth review of each product. Lastly, there is a buying guide that lets you know what to consider when choosing the reviewed products.
Ravel REP204 – Editor’s Choice
- Materials: yellow brass bell, rose brass lead pipe
- Bore: .568’’
- Key: Bb
- Bell: 11.8’’
More features: nickel pistons and tuning slide, lacquer finish, large mouthpiece, polishing cloth and case included
Ravel REP204 tops our list of the best euphonium for good reasons. After doing our research that took us several weeks, we realized this item has outstanding features. Perhaps, that tells you why we consider it our editor’s choice.
For instance, think of the product’s nickel pistons. With these pistons, you are able to entice your crowd with soothing jazz music all night long without the fear of your euphonium losing its strength.
The large mouthpiece is another reason why this product stands out. Many euphoniums in the market today have small or medium mouthpieces. The result is they produce a high-pitched sound when indeed they are supposed to produce a deep sound.
This musical instrument is designed with a yellow brass bell. The interesting part of this bell is that it doesn’t fade even with the passage of time. However, you may ask, why the name Ravel? According to the manufacturer, by naming the euphonium, Ravel, it is a unique way to honor all-time Frenchman Maurice Ravel. The soft music enthusiast not only inspires young musicians but also motivates them by giving them quality euphoniums.
Ravel REP204 comes with a clear lacquer finish, which gives the item an outstanding look for those interested in how a musical instrument looks.
Although we really love most things about this product, we observe it weighs a whopping 21.4 lbs. This is something that many deem heavy. Nonetheless, it measures 35” x 18” x 23”.
It comes with a 1-year warranty that assures you of quality customer service upon manufacturer defects.
- Quality low sound
- Does not fade
- Big bell size
- Made in the U.S
- Comes with extra accessories
- Seems big thus hard to carry around
Yamaha YEP-321 – Best for Professionals
- Materials: yellow brass body
- Bore: 0571’’
- Key: Bb
- Bell: 11’’
- Warranty: 5-year limited
More features: silver-plated, 48 mm mouthpiece, small shank, hard case included
Are you looking at a euphonium that gives you a staggering 5-year manufacturer warranty? This is a product you don’t want to miss. Why does the company give such a generous assurance? Well, the reason lies on the core values of the company. After looking at this product, for sure we love most of its features. The bell measures 11 inches.
We love the upright position taken by this euphonium. Besides, the silver color, which covers the whole body, is a sure way to ensure your audience keeps staring at you when performing before them.
This item is fitted with Bb Bore type of key with .571”. In addition, it comes with nickel plated valves, has a yellow brass bell that covers around 11 inches.
Although from the onset the euphonium seems smaller, the lacquer/silver finish makes it hard for many people to actually tell the instrument’s potential. The 48Mmouthpiece shank closes the deal.
Thanks to its small shank, which produces a powerful sound, Yamaha YEP-321S is widely used by professional composers. Students too find the instrument easy to use thanks to its versatility and response.
Because most professional musicians need quick action they take advantage of the instrument’s advanced valves.
To help you manage the euphonium, Yamaha, the maker of this euphonium gives additional accessories. The package comes with a hard case and valve oil, which helps for easy actuation of the valves.
The most interesting thing about this brand is the fitting that exists between the instrument’s pistons and valve casings. Because of this ingenious design, no amount of air escapes, making the sound projection pure and uninterrupted.
- Quality sound
- The upright position projects sound
- Excellent bodywork
- High energy
- Exclusive sound intonation
- Easy to learn for students
- Generous 5-year warranty
- At 27 lbs, it is heavy
Jupiter 468L – Best for Beginners
- Materials: yellow brass bell
- Bore: .570”
- Key: Bb
- Bell: 11’’
- Warranty: 5-year limited
More features: removable valve section, case included, small shank mouthpiece, stainless steel pistons, lacquer finish
If you are a beginner, we advise you purchase the Jupiter 468L. The euphonium stands out for its ease of mastering its keys, how it works, and of course the impressive and robust bodywork.
One of the things young euphonium players treasure is how to handle new stuff with regard to parts of the instrument. Thankfully, this item will not give you problems. It comes with a removable section on its valves.
To ensure perfect playability, accurate scale, and to enhance looks, Jupiter, the maker has used lacquer finish on the body of this item. The technology behind the bodywork is not as simple as anyone could think.
There is another thing why this instrument is a choice of many amateur players – its pistons. The stainless steel pistons are remarkably smooth. It is for this sole reason playing Bb and key turns out to be fast, glorious, and fascinating.
When Jupiter was designing this musical instrument, they hard your best interests at heart. Look! Thanks to the removable section of the valve, repairing the euphonium is so easy. Today, maintaining euphoniums is not a simple thing. Besides, it is expensive. By designing sections of the valve to be dismantled and replaced, maintaining and repairing your instrument is easier, faster, and economical.
The item is build to last. During the time of service, the product produces a warm and deep sound, something that every musician wants of his or her band. The three stainless steel pistons, upright position, the 11”bell, and .570” bore make this instrument one of the best for students.
- Deep, warm sound
- Easy playability
- Quality bodywork build to last
- Smooth piston action
- Easy to maintain
- Economical to maintain
- It is quite pricey
Mendini MEP-N – Budget Pick
- Materials: rose brass lead pipe
- Bore: .566’’
- Key: Bb
- Bell: 12’’
- Warranty: 1-year limited
More features: nickel plated, silver plated mouthpiece, hard case included, tuner included
Sometimes, you may need something good, a quality euphonium but you do not have enough money. What do you do? Instead of relenting, and succumbing to guilty, do your research. Mendini MEP-N is perhaps the most affordable yet quality euphonium today.
For now, you will get this product for less $530. Although the price may not be a thing to you, think about something else. Mendini MEP-N’s lead pipe is made of rose-brass. Of all the shades of brasses we have seen, nothing comes near rose-brass in terms of elegance.
Although the maker deems it a bonus, to us we feel the 92-D chromatic tuner is a feature of the millennium. The string tuner is filled with metronome.
To help you clean and conduct simple maintenance routines on the euphonium, Cecilio has included a few additional accessories in the box. The accessories include two large gloves that can fit anyone, a piece of soft fabric to wipe the euphonium, and a pro-deluxe casing. You will use the later to carry and store the instrument when not in use.
It is good to mention that the instrument takes an upright position. Besides, it comes with 4 stainless steel pistons. The pistons are smooth and considered top action.
Apart from being our choice of the best budget pick, Mendini MEP-N is lightweight. The item measure 21 pound and measures 35 inches x 24 inches x 18 inches. In case the item brings problems, the manufacturer is willing to look at the defects within the first year of purchase.
- Easy to maintain
- Easy to clean
- Decent casing
- Perfect sound projection
- Some pistons do not release evenly
- The valves are made of plastic
Cool Wind CEU-200 – Best Plastic
- Materials: ABS
- Bore: .570’’
- Key: Bb
- Bell: 12.2’’
- Warranty: not specified
More features: soft gig bag included, 4 water keys
If you are the type of person that believes anything made of plastic is of poor quality, then you are far from being right. While a majority of plastic items don’t last long compared to their metallic counterparts, a few stand out. Cool Wind CEU-200 is one of the few plastic euphoniums in the market that continue to amaze multitudes.
The first thing we love about this item is the color. The purple color that covers the whole body makes this product one of the most stunning musical instruments we have seen. This product comes with 4 high-powered pistons.
Although seemingly new in the market, the ABS plastic euphonium stands out with unique features. It features a 0 bore, 12.2” diameter bell, .57” to .66” Bore, and a Bb type of tuning. In addition, Cool Wind CEU-200 has a 310 mm mouthpiece, which is the reason why the euphonium produces a special tone.
It is true we love the color. That is not all we admire about the euphonium. All the 4 valves are made of metal. This explains why people who buy this plastic musical instrument do not complain.
The soft gig bag that accompanies the euphonium is an interesting bit. When most companies offer a hard case to carry and store euphoniums, Cool Wind gives you a soft fabric. This is isolated case is an advantage to those who perform in many places. Carrying the product is not a problem. In addition, the bag does not need a big space, as does the casing that other companies give.
- Elegant design
- Seductive color
- Durable metallic valves
- Extremely light
- Sound does not project out properly
Just as you would when buying any instrument, there are various things you have to look at before you finally decide to spend your money. For many people, the brand is the most important thing. To others, quality of sound would be the determining factor. It is the same with getting a euphonium. You have to look at very small but important things. This section is going to discuss some of the things you must consider before you say, yes!
Getting the best – how you decide on the best horn for you
The decision on which euphonium to buy is not an easy one. Remember, everyone wants the best. It is especially important if you are a professional band, which would want to beat competitors, win a Grammy Award, stay afloat and perhaps, leave a mark. To find the best horn, you have to look at all their features. No shortcut.
Euphonium vs baritone – which is which?
Euphoniums have existed at the same time as baritone saxophones. The difference between the two is so subtle that many people including professional saxophonists prefer one to the other. Nonetheless, our verdict is if you want to be a good instrumentalist, you can incorporate the two. Most baritones are a lot heavier than euphoniums. That explains why some professional instrumentalists prefer a euphonium to a baritone. But the biggest difference between the two is the tubing. The baritone tends to take a cylindrical shape while euphoniums take up a conical shape. The following video will help you get the visual distinction:
The sound of money
Money is everything. Without it, whatever you are dreaming to purchase is just that, a dream. For this reason, you need to have at least some money, the equivalent of what is required to purchase the best euphonium. Thankfully, you can now get a euphonium that goes for as little as $530. Mendini MEP-N, one of the high-quality yet affordable euphoniums is the budget pick on our list. However, you know that having a higher budget gets you more features with almost everything on earth. Same to euphoniums.
Consider the following features to choose the best euphonium
Before spending any money on a certain brand of euphonium, we advise you look at specific features. Euphoniums in the market do not look alike. Some take an upright design, others a different one. Every manufacturer wants to please and entice their clients thus be keen to see what each company offers.
Compensating or not?
It is very important to buy something that gives you value for your money. Suffice to say, some brands in the market just sell for the sake of making a quick buck. They don’t care what clients will get in return. A good policy would be to offer a quality euphonium that gets you the value you paid for. The other thing is if the manufacturer is willing to compensate in case the product is lost during the shipping period or if it has a defect.
What would be the need of buying a euphonium that does not have valves? That would not be a musical instrument. What matters most is the number of valves, the material used to make them, and how they are designed to work. Jupiter 468L’s valves are some of the best in the market. A section of the instrument’s valves is removable, allowing for easy actuation. Yamaha YEP-321S on the other hand, the best for professionals, has high-quality nickel-plated valves.
Bell and bore sizes
The size of the bell as well as the bore size is a key feature of the euphonium. A bigger diameter bell is likely to produce heavy quality sound, whereas a small bell will produce a thin projected sound. The choice is yours. Ideally, you need a bigger bell size like that of Cool Wind CEU-200, which stands out at 12.2 inches. A bore size of .570” is good for you. However, if you want something good and more than the standard bore size, Yamaha YEP-321S brings it on at .571 inches.
Plating and finish
If you are a professional performer, you know why the choice of plating and finish of your musical instruments is important. The way your instruments look to the audience will either sell you or discourage the market. In most cases, a having a euphonium with clear lacquer finish such as Ravel REP204 will make your fans want to see you more and more. If you are getting a euphonium for a child, you can try a plastic euphonium whose valve action resembles that of a brass-based horn.
We cannot ignore this. Some companies have built a name for themselves in the industry over the years. Clients tend to associate themselves with reputable brands in the market. Without a doubt, when we speak of brand, Yamaha YEP-321S comes up in mind. The Yamaha Company is famed world over for creating quality musical instruments that include trombones, guitars, violins and many more.
Trigger and grip
You cannot have an effective if you do not have a firm grip of your euphonium. In other words, you should be able to conquer the stage with the way you hold your instruments. Ideally, your left hand should hold the horn well while the right hand operates the trigger. While some instruments have a large area, you can always find an ideal place to handle it when playing. We like the way Cool Wind CEU-200 is designed, to allow you trigger many functions and still have a firm grip of the instrument.
Sound and key
If you really want to choose your euphonium based on key alone, you must settle for Bb. It is true that most euphoniums in the market come with this key. However, when combined with a suitable sound, a euphonium with proper key articulation will go a long way. Our recommendation on this is Ravel REP204. The U.S made euphonium stands out in the balancing of key and quality sound.
Mouthpiece and water key
All euphoniums have mouthpieces. The difference is how big or small the mouthpiece is. The other major differences are if the mouthpiece or at least a section of the mouthpiece can be removed and if it is plated with any high-quality metal. Whatever the additions, a good mouthpiece should be to allow you blow the horn without difficulty. A small shank mouthpiece like that of Jupiter 468L is all you need. Although not a must, water key is necessary. You can take the advantage of Cool Wind CEU-200 that comes with 4 water keys.
We bet you love a company that, apart from selling you a euphonium, gives you additional stuff that makes your instrument adorable. Our research reveals that most companies are trying to impress their clients by giving them additional accessories such cleaning towel, valve oil, tuner, casing and others. Mendini MEP-N is one of the most affordable euphoniums today but it comes with many accessories.
When it comes to warranty, it is important you look for a company that offers a generous and unconditional warranty. Many top brands around the world would likely give you a 1-year warranty that is full of conditions. Thankfully, the Yamaha YEP-321S and Jupiter 468L come with 5-year warranties.
Before even testing the euphonium, it is imperative that you understand how these instruments work. It is advisable that you start practicing the euphonium in a large room. Why? You may ask. Well, it is not uncommon to find horns that have a large tone struggling in smaller rooms while shining in large halls. Here is what to do
- To test your euphonium, get any medium or large size room
- Be keen on the sound you get back from the room rather than the one from your horn
- Take note of the resonance of the room since more resonance offers better projection
If in a small room, you can try the Arthur ehman technique, which involves standing at the edge of a corner and facing the room to get a good listen of your instrument.
Most of the instrument come with the basic case that can be used to go to a gig bag, but won’t give much safeYes! A good casing would allow you to carry your instrument whenever you want and store it safely. You can find quality cases in the musical instruments pro store that do not let water in; they don’t rust and are durable.ty on a tour. You should try hard cases, like SKB Euphonium Case to be sure your instrument is securely hidden inside.
While we had a blast reviewing the 5 top euphoniums in the market, we eventually had to choose the top three.
At first place is the Ravel REP204 that we loved due to its unique lacquer finish, nickel pistons, and large mouthpiece. It also comes with a couple of accessories.
At second place is the Yamaha YEP-321S, a great euphonium for professionals. Among the things we love about this brand are the silver-plated body, 48 mm mouthpiece, small shank, and a hard case. Besides, the euphonium has a .571-inch bore. In addition, you have 5 years warranty.
Lastly, the Mendini MEP-N was the best budget instrument if you want to save some cash. It is one of the cheapest yet comes with many accessories and features including a tuner.
That said, you can now make an informed decision when getting the best euphonium.