ZeuS ZCR 900 Cornet - Reviews and Testimonials


Here is a review of two ZeuS Cornets in Silver and Copper by one of Australia's leading brass players who wrote this review for an Australian music magazine which deals with brass playing. I don't personally know the reviewer but the ZeuS dealer in Australia had asked him for the review right after receiving the first two Zeus cornets.

ZeuS Guarnerius Cornet Review

During the past three years brass manufacturers worldwide have been making outstanding cornets that will meet the ever-increasing demands of current band repertoire. This applies to solo and ensembles alike. Of course the final decision will be personal but there are seven considerations; Tonal consistency, Ease of production, Intonation, Valves, quality of workmanship, Value for money and after sale service.

Instrument(s) played:
ZCR 900S Zeus Silver plate (ZS) ZCR 900RL Zeus Lacquered Polished Copper (ZC)

I will be using as a benchmark the Smith and Watkins K2 Lacquered Cornet (SW). Both ZeuS and Smith and Watkins' cornets have only one model in terms of bore size and I feel this allows for some consistency in current standings. ZeuS cornets have .464" bore and 4 " bell

Tonal Consistency:
Both ZeuS cornets were very even through all registers, this was especially impressive as I felt that it gave the pitching of notes more freedom The ZS was brighter in tone than the ZC. Both cornets were very responsive, especially in the softer dynamics. The mid range of the ZS and ZC was not as warm as the SW but he top register of the Copper was warmer in tone than the SW. Overall the ZS and ZC were very consistent in the quality of tone and evenness of tone produced throughout all registers. The ZC was by far the mellowest in sound throughout the entire range of all cornets played. Playing the ZS and ZC in the extreme dynamic range does tend to break up slightly below the SW. This dynamic response is still well above the level that players play, even at top A grade level.

Ease of playing:
The ease of playing of the ZS and ZC in the top register was spectacular. The ability of the ZeuS to slot into the correct note was very impressive. Movement through harmonics was also easy; the interval movement up to a 10th had an easy and effective transition.

No cornet ever made has been free of intonation worries. The usual culprits of D1, C#1 were sharp (slightly) and were also the F2. I personally like the 1st slide a fraction sharp as it tends to keep D2 in a higher position, plus it has the same tendencies then as trumpet. The usual Besson (and to a lesser degree SW) is quite flat on G2, generally to accommodate the # D1 and C#1. Overall it is going to be a compromise and what you are used to in other brasses. Personally the F2 is sharp on trumpet so I tend to favour this type of set up on a cornet.

Monel valves and brass guides give a lovely feel to the cornet. Valves sit a little high but I got used to this set up very quickly. As usual with the English style of cornet the valves are close to the player's face. Personally I like the SW set up as I feel more at ease in a less cramped position. Mother of pearl tops are a softer and direct feel for all players, the softer feel is preferred by many of my female brass students.

Quality of workmanship:
In one word excellent. ZS and ZC were well finished in plate and lacquer, the weight of the instrument is relatively heavy to a SW but the balance with the mouthpiece in the instrument felt very comfortable indeed. The two cornets supplied came with 1st and 3rd slide triggers. Cornets can be supplied with triggers or valve throws. The case is a made for the cornet to always sit vertically and the padding is such that the instrument does not move in the case.

Value for money:
The strong incentive to purchase this cornet is the value for money. The top ZC is $2440, compared to $4500 on a SW. From the above my impression is that this is a quality cornet and would be a line ball decision between a Smith and Watkins or a Besson Prestige. Considering the price (it may go down if the $A continues to climb) the ZeuS is well worth the money and at least a good blow from Williams Music.

I was impressed with the Zeus Cornet in all departments, particularly in terms of tonal consistency and value for money. The Copper is a brilliant finish in lacquer but I feel the lacquered Brass (not tested) could be worth a try as well. The Copper in a band situation could be a little too dense in a section. The Copper is a wonderful solo instrument and would take an experienced player to blend and maneuver this instrument in all situations. The case is an excellent idea but it could be designed with a music pocket down the side but perhaps the good old shoulder bag is also an option here.

Brian McGuinness, October 2003

Alex, I got the cornet today. Really nice horn. My wife loved it the moment she saw it. It plays really nice and the sound in sweet. This horn is going to turn heads with people I play with. I have never seen a horn like this in all the years I have played. You have a very unique product here. Keep it up.   Randy (OR)