New Equipment: When considering new equipment, it's important to consider two, maybe three key points.
1. Does it sound good? Does the equipment that you're checking out give you the sound and clarity that you're looking for? Is it one dimensional? Does it give you a wide range of "colors" or is it just bright, dark, etc... There isn't anything wrong with one or the other... I'm only saying that it's important to know what sound/sounds you want to draw from the equipment. SO... have a clear sound conception!
2. Does it feel good? Often times we sacrifice physical comfort to achieve an extra "big/dark/weighted" sound. Big mouthpieces, heavy equipment etc, although very useful for some, is not useful to all. It's important to consider the first point that I made in conjunction with the physical requirements of your daily musical output. Consider those that use certain equipment for certain purposes and ask yourself...
"Where do I fit in here?"
If you primarily play jazz quartet gigs on the trumpet that last 4 hours, salsa gigs, or long wedding gigs.... you may want to consider NOT using the biggest, darkest horn you can find. Likewise, if you're playing concert halls and your gigs last about 75 minutes (Orchestra gigs, recitals, shorter intimate gigs)... you may not want to chose something that's brighter or compromises resonance just to make it easier to play. Balance is KEY! Know exactly what your "work load" is in conjunction with the basic sound you want.
Last point is this
Are you consistent? Have you been playing and practicing consistently on the equipment that you're currently using? If the answer is no... you likely will run into a brick wall with any equipment you chose. Prof (William Fielder) always said this....
"The trumpet is the mirror of the mind"..
Meaning that the sound comes from your aural conception and not just the equipment you use... SO.. in order to have a strong aural conception, you need to refine and reinforce that concept through constant daily practice. One of my favorite moments in the J@LC orchestra was when Wynton sat in on a jam session with my horn and he sounded EXACTLY like Wynton... How can he do this? He has a solid foundation and a clear conception that supersedes the equipment he uses... The tools that he chooses enhances what he already does, not creates it.
"On this day you can do anything, sleep, play in the take a walk, etc
1. Does it sound good?
2. Does it feel good?
3. Are you consistent with the equipment you have?
Three important things to consider when checking out a new toy!