Re: modern saxes
Minefield ahoy..... ;-) I play a mix of vintage and modern-ish saxes, and have messed about on a lot of new ones. I really do prefer vintage saxes - more tone, more character - but more difficult to play. One thing I do know is that the sax which is best for you is a purely individual choice. Of all the modern saxes I've played, I prefer Yani's - don't get on with Selmers, Keilwerths don't like me and Yams and I don't get on at all. But. It's all a case of personal taste - the real questions are budget and quality.
I'm going to get into trouble here for saying this, but a lot of saxes are just overpriced. The distinction between student, intermediate and professional saxes didn't come into place until very recently. I have a student horn which I can play just fine - there is about 10% difference between that and the professional horns I have in terms of sound quality. The old adage is - 85% you, and the remaining 15% is down to mouthpiece and sax. There's also the school that Selmer Mark VI good, everything else rubbish... which you can ignore. If you like it, buy it - play a lot first and get a feel, and if you're brand new, get a student horn, play that, play others, sell the student horn at roughly what you got it for and effectively make an expensive decision later...... when you've had a chance to improve and try more saxophones.