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Buffet Dynaction Alto: Mini-Review


Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Mostly from my old website, http://www.saxpics.com/buffet/dynaction.htm:

I owned a Dynaction alto and it was the all-around best horn I ever owned. The intonation was great, the action superb: slightly more cumbersome, but a lighter feel than the Mark VI. The sound was dark and lush.

I have had two other professionals, whose main horns were Mark VI's and had never played a Buffet sax, play my horn. Both said that my horn was "comparable" to their horns that cost thousands more. When I finally got my hands on several Mark VI's, I decided that they were right. This is kinda kewl because this model Buffet is supposed to compete with the Selmer Super Balanced Action horns -- the VI was introduced in 1954.

I had the opportunity a few years back to compare my horn (which was mostly mint: some relacquer and repair on the neck) with another Dynaction in a lot worse shape and I can conclude that the original setup of these horns included THICK flat metal, screw-in resonators. That not only gives these horns the traditional dark Buffet sound, but also provides a bit of projection.


BTB, I finally decided that the tone of these horns are Martin Committee combined with a "Big B" Buescher Aristocrat. Velvety.

There were a couple of negatives with the Dynaction.

1. This horn responded best with an older Selmer LT hard rubber mouthpiece (appx. 30 years old, now). My main 'piece has always been a Rascher and that made this horn a lot harder to control. Heck, for awhile I shelved the Rascher just because this horn played so nicely.

2. There were some odd intonation issues with the Eb and F# (IIRC). I had a tech look at it and he couldn't see any obvious leaks or any other problems. I believe I heard from a couple other folks that have owned these that they had similar issues.

3. I really liked the light, clarinet-like, feel of the keywork on the alto, but I think it might be too light for the tenor and bari. Never had the opportunity to try it, tho.

4. At one point, I had a really annoying buzzing when I played D and lower. I had no idea what was wrong, until one day one of those screws for the resonators fell out. Moderately annoying.

5. The horn's tone was ... quiet and tended to get a little lost in the mix. That was perfect for ensemble, but not really for lead.


What eventually happened to this horn: I think I traded it for my first bari, a Keilwerth-made Bundy. Considering bari's my main axe, it wasn't a bad thing.
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