Arizona State University, Academy Drum and Bugle Corps and the Irondale (Minn.) Marching Knights have a new sound. That’s because each of these marching ensembles has been field testing Jupiter’s new Quantum marching line.
Jupiter Band Instruments, Inc., officially introduced the Quantum instrument line this January. The Quantum Marching Project began as a collaboration among sister brands Jupiter brass, Majestic percussion and Mapex drums to create a full high-end marching and pit ensemble.
Because they are newcomers to the marching scene, Jupiter was able to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of a wide range of available marching instruments before they began working on the new line. “We got to choose what we liked and didn’t like in existing products and sit down and design,” says Edward F. Gobbel, Jupiter’s wind instrument product manager.
Top instrumentalists and consultants played an active part in the design process. For instance, some of the most renowned tuba players helped with the low brass design, according to Gobbel.
“We’ve completely designed everything from scratch, from the ground up,” Gobbel explains. “We designed everything together for a family sound. Everything goes together, which is a definite benefit of having Quantum from top to bottom in your program.”
Jupiter created this family sound by developing the brass section around their euphonium’s tone. The result was a low brass sound that “bleeds” into that of the high brass to create a warm and focused overall tone. On the drums and percussion side, designers listened to the battery and mallet instruments individually and then together with the brass products to ensure that the ensemble achieved a composite sound.
Majestic, which once focused solely on concert percussion, also made several changes to their products to fit the ideals of the Project. Majestic Quantum mallet instruments feature new resonators and bar materials, improved tuning methods and an ultra-modular heavy-duty field frame.
And the new Mapex Quantum marching drums are made of innovative combinations of different types of wood. Majestic introduced walnut plies on the tenors, for example. Though this wood isn’t typically associated with marching drums, it allows the individual pitches of the tenors to project through the ensemble, according to Chris Hankes, percussion product manager at Jupiter and head of Mapex Marching and Concert Drums, Majestic Concert Percussion and Ross Mallet Instruments.
“Marching drums are a whole new area for us,” Hankes explains. “We came into this project with an open mind, and worked hard to achieve a great sound while keeping functionality and durability clearly in sight.”
Before the Quantum products hit the market, several marching ensembles tried them out. The Arizona State University Sun Devil Marching Band in Tempe, Ariz., field-tested the new Jupiter Quantum marching trumpets and a full set of Mapex Quantum marching drums, and both the Irondale (Minn.) Marching Knights and the Academy Drum and Bugle Corps from Tempe, Ariz., have been playing Mapex Quantum marching drums.
Allowing marching students to test and critique the brass and percussion line before it was released was fundamental to the Project. In fact, according to Hankes, the Quantum instruments will continuously be updated based on user reactions.
“It has been, and remains indeed, a ‘Project,’” Hankes says. “It is dynamic, and we care a lot about doing it right. The ‘Project’ doesn’t end when the first instruments hit the field. It is ongoing. This means supporting our customers as well as our partner performing ensembles. It also means being responsive and adaptable as well as innovative.”