I have a decent sample size (4) for the Schiller American Heritage Elite IV Horn. My school owns two, and I've had two students play them (one in nickel, all the others are lacquer) during the past five years. There are now some newer models which I have not tried playing, but the Model IV is still available.
First, the pros:
- inexpensive (around $700 when I got the two for the school)
- finish looks consistently nice
- adjustable fourth valve for different sized hands
- plays reasonably in tune
- valves and slides operate smoothly
- tone is solid
- came in a nice case with pockets on the outside
And then the cons:
- metal used on valve paddles is soft
- only reasonably in tune? my students have fewer issues with it than I do
In their years of use, I've had the following issues with these horns: broken string (easily replaced), bent paddle (I bent it back), and a couple joints came unsoldered (I'm not sure if the student was involved in that or not). I would be very hesitant to have a younger student or a less dextrous and responsible student playing on these because of the paddles, but the students I've had on the horns have not had any major issues with bending things (it's been my fault when I want to push the valves like I'm playing trumpet). I'm hopeful that the newer models have corrected this, especially since they run a few hundred dollars more.
Here is how it sounds.