So I have noticed a new trend forming in the music industry that makes me quite happy. We are seeing several brands starting to pay more attention to "hand time" as I call it. This is just as it sounds, more work being done truly by hand.
For manufacturing and cost reasons, more and more instruments had less and less "hand time" in their assembly over the past few decades. This of course helped bring quantity levels of good horns up, but over time, the quality has continued to slip.
Well, we are starting to see a change. In particular, I am finding a few instruments from makers like Conn-Selmer that are going back to the "roots" of instrument making. Products like the Bach Strad trumpets and the new Conn "Vintage 8D" models. These are examples of horns that once were truly done by hand and had gotten more and more mass produced over the years. Both now are using more hand assembly now. With the Vintage 8D french horn, it is completely hand assembled.
The downside to this is cost. More hand time means more employee hours meaning more cost to make the item. But the upside is in performance.
When instruments are truly hand assembled, there tends to be less stress at solder joints which frees up the vibration of the instrument thus producing more response and sound from the horn.
Its just nice to see in the day and age of mass production and computers, that even some of the big guys can still bring back old world craftsmanship.