Topic: I choose you, Marigaux.
I played oboe in high school on a student Yamaha that my parents found for $400. It was basically a fancy kazoo. Now as an adult, I've gotten back into playing and now want to invest in a professional oboe. I recently decided to pull the trigger on purchasing a used (year 2009) Marigaux model 2001. In the course of my search, I tried about ten different Lorees of various combinations, Kreul, Marigaux, Yamaha, Jarde, Cabart, and Bulgheroni. While each make/model had its strengths, it boiled down to Loree and Marigaux for me.
Nearly everyone I talked to tried to gently steer me towards a Loree. I really wanted to love the Lorees, but only one of them ever sparked my interest - a C series from the 70's. It had a beautiful sound and I liked it tremendously more than any of the newer Lorees I played. But I really wanted an instrument in better condition, so I landed on a new Loree AK bore as my option if I chose to go with Loree.
And then came the Marigaux oboes. Of all the oboes I'd tried, these consistently made me feel something. It's hard to explain, but when hearing a solo on the Marigaux, I consistently had an emotional response. I recorded my teacher playing a solo on a 2009 Loree AK and a 2009 Marigaux 2001. I played these recordings back to back for my significant other. I played the Loree first and he thought it was pretty, nuanced, and had a voice-like quality. After about 15 seconds of playing the Marigaux 2001 recording, he stated, "That one! Hands down!" We both agreed, the Marigaux 2001 sound elicited the strongest emotional response. This is all purely subjective. If there is one thing I have learned in this process, it is that picking an oboe or even using adjectives to describe them varies wildly between individuals.
For me, I choose Marigaux. Every Marigaux I tried had a slightly unique voice, but it clearly had the same genes as the others. Across all of the Marigaux I tried, I would describe the sound as consistently warm, inviting, and rich. Within the Loree family, there was a much wider variation in voice, particularly across generations but less amongst models of similar year. I recently reached out to Marigaux's home office with some questions and they were extremely friendly, helpful, and provided resources. Your mileage may vary, but as someone re-entering the oboe world after nearly two decades, I think Marigaux are one of the most innovative and consistent makers with the most lush and desirable sound quality (for my tastes) of the sample.