- Yellow Brass: Elegant, bright but rich, smooth tone colors from sweet to extremely brassy. The most versatile alloy. Those with an embouchure producing a naturally dark tone should choose brass. For approximately 80% of horn players yellow brass is the right choice.
- Gold Brass: A bit smoother and darker, but clear, round, and rich. Not as many tone colors are possible as with yellow brass. More resistant to corrosion and red rot than yellow brass. Some prefer gold brass simply because of the noble tone color.
- Nickel Silver: Contrary to the name nickel silver contains no silver. The nickel portion of the alloy gives it its color. The sound is very dark in piano and very bright in fortissimo. This is recommended only for wide and Hollywood Sound bells. In Europe the sound of nickel silver is not considered as noble as the other alloys. In America there is a tradition of nickel silver horns, which is steadily decreasing. Nickel silver is permanently resistant to saliva.
- Sterling Silver: Contains 92.5% pure silver; the rest is copper. Engelbert Schmid is the only one, up to now, who has been able to produce thin-walled sterling silver bell flares with a width of 310 mm. The sound is especially round so that the Golden Cut (medium) size is sufficient for most horn players. Sounds noble and doesn’t get too aggressive or edgy in fortissimo. It speaks very easily in piano with a rounded sound, ideal for lyrical passages. In fortissimo the sound stays round but is more tiring to play than the other alloys. It is resistant to saliva and the only alloy resistant to sweat. Beautiful to look at, especially with a gold brass garland.
- Medium: Elegant, clear, and stable, with a slight advantage in the high register over the Wide bell.
- Wide: Full, stable, and sonorous. With a disciplined hand position (straight and not too far out) you can compensate for the slight disadvantages in the high register.
- Hollywood Sound: Extremely round and full. Ideal for 4th horn. Everyone knows the traditional Kruspe horn sound of Hollywood movies. Our Hollywood Sound bell flare is an exact copy of the Kruspe Wendler model that Hermann Baumann used for his recordings.
- A size for the Engelbert Schmid Vienna Horn is also available upon request. (It has a smaller bell ring, so is not compatible with the rest of the range.)
With a weight of only 60 grams, the tastefully decorated garland from Engelbert Schmid does not deaden the sound. The garland causes a bit more resistance, and a somewhat rounder sound that gets brassy later, but more suddenly. Without the garland the transition to a brassy sound is more even. About 20% of horn players sound better with the light garland from Engelbert Schmid.
Engelbert Schmid hand-hammered bell flares are cut out of one piece of metal, bent into shape, then soldered with one seam. They are then hammered into symmetrical shape. Only during the final are they put on the press and, by turning and pressing, fitted exactly onto the bell mold. Because of the necessary stretching of the material due to the flare of the bell it becomes thinner towards the edges. At the screw ring it stays thicker than a spun bell and therefore is more resistant to sweat.
Because hand-hammered bells without a garland can bend easily, you should not lift the horn by the edge of the bell. With Engelbert Schmid bells it is no problem to straighten a bent bell edge. Stability was probably the original reason for adding garlands, not sound. Hand-hammering stresses the material to a great extreme, which changes the structure, and definitely changes the sound a bit. The crucial factor is that the material becomes thinner towards the edge, farther from the player, and therefore vibrates better with the sound. A hand-hammered bell sounds more old-fashioned and darker than a spun bell. The thin end of the bell produces a very warm center to the tone in piano, and at the same time a more pleasant brassiness in fortissimo. The hand-hammered bells are available with or without garland.
Even an increased thickness of 0.05 mm makes the instrument harder to play and less flexible. A hand-hammered bell must be very thin. Just about everyone who has a chance to compare prefers the hand-hammered bell to the spun one.
With a thickness of 0.02 mm, this coating accounts for approx. 10% of the total material of the bell flare. Engelbert Schmid feels that lacquer dampens the high overtones, and also the extraneous noise in the sound, which causes the horn to sound clearer, and for some brighter, although it is acoustically darker. In his experience, the difference is minimal and more than 50% of horn players sound better on a lacquered instrument. It also prevents your hands from turning green. However, the deciding factor should be the player’s concept of sound.