The Adams Sonic Euphonium is a fully professional horn at an excellent price point, hand built in The Netherlands. The Sonic euphonium is finished in bright silver plate, which is long lasting and is favored by the discerning player. The Sonic is a non-compensating euphonium based on the classic Adams E1. The 3+1 non-compensating valve set helps to keep this instrument light in weight, responsive and fairly priced.
Can I Even Play Non-Compensating?
Yes. A non-comp euphonium is like a single rotor bass trombone. Plenty of music can be played and any note can be lipped in tune. The euphonium also has several slides that one can pull to prepare for an exposed note that otherwise might be less in tune with only valves. For a low Eb that must be right on, if 1-2-4 does not spark joy, pull the 4th slide and play it 1-4. Your adjacent C and F notes can be played 1-3. For low C near the pedal BBb pull 3rd and it's 1-2-3-4. Low B, no one really writes those, but you can fake it 2-3 and be stronger for it. Or play it up an octave.
Though some non-compensating euphonium players and tuba players may be more used to the 4-on-top and all right-hand valves, this 3+1 setup reduces the struggle with awkward fingerings by moving the 4th valve duties to the left hand. Once you get used to it, things may be easier. Example: low Eb to low F with 4th slide pulled as above: 1-4 to 1-3. This is easier with 3+1 than 4-on-top.
Belgian tuning is the term I learned long ago for a brass instrument tuned with the third valve as two whole steps. I don't know if it's the correct term, but we'll roll with it. Those who who are old and who know old euphoniums remember the long third valve slides. These were so long, the slides would get stuck easily. Besson and Yamaha and everybody did it this way. It's not done like this anymore to reduce stuck slides, and with most euphoniums having compensating valve systems, it's not really needed. But on a non-comp euph it is needed. Non-comp euphs like this Adams Sonic are the reason for a long third pull: tune the third valve to two whole steps: 2+3 but played as 3. You can do it on the fly, just like a bass trombonist might pull the F-attachment to E. Tuned this way with a long third slide, a low C is played exactly in tune 1-2-3-4 on a non-compensating euphonium. The Adams Sonic has this long slide pull, and that makes it cool. Ein Heldenleben? No problem. What's difficult about Strauss with a non-comp euph? Nothing when you have Belgian tuning, because you only use the third valve on the first note.
The Adams euphonium mouthpiece receiver is adjustable so you can find the perfect insertion depth with any mouthpiece. If you experiment for a few minutes, you'll find the sweet spot where the instrument resonates and responds better. It's quite remarkable and you'll be pleased when it happens. Why not have this exclusive Adams advantage?
Compared to What?
The Adams Sonic costs about $1000+ more than the King 2280SP or Yamaha YEP-321S. That's some cheddar, but you get flawless European craftsmanship, adjustable receiver, Bauerfeind 3+1 pistons, Belgian tuning and a beautiful Marcus Bonna fiberglass case. It's still about $3000 less than the Adams E1.
Adams Sonic: Why I like it:
Adams Sonic Series instruments are the outcome of combining artisan craftsmanship with advanced manufacturing technology. The instruments are intensively play-tested by professionals to meet the standards of advanced level players and professionals. The entire line of Sonic instruments offer great projection and subtle control in every dynamic and range.