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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Window shopping for a new metal tenor mouthpiece, I came across this great site that has nice short clips of 10 different metal tenor mouthpieces. I thought it would be fun if we reviewed the clips to see which were our individual top three preferences, if any. Also add any pertinent comments as to the reasons for your choices if applicable.

Of course, sound is a very personal thing, but I found that listening to these sample clips proved very useful in sorting out what kind of sound I was really heading towards. I found the exercise both interesting and instructive. The clips are here :

http://www.dawkes.co.uk/saxophone-mouthpiece-samples.php
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Okay let me lead off with my own comments.

Top three picks
1. Link NY 7*
This just sounds the best balance of all qualities to me. Good weight and heft to the sound, full tone but with some edge for cutting through. It also sounds the most familiar, since I have been playing my Florida STM 6* the longest among my several tenor pieces.
2. Link Vintage 8
This is a close second choice. In general, all the four Link samples there sound rather similar to me, with just differences in the brighter/darker leanings. This one is clearly darker than the NY Link and sounds just as good. Ultimately, I just felt the extra edge on the NY Link would make it a more flexible piece all round.
3. Ponzol MVSL
This is quite similar to the Link Vintage piece. Similar darkish tone, but the sound is just slightly less powerful as compared to the Link. Sweet sounding, and slightly mellower demeanour.

The Rest
4. Yani Metal 7
I was surprised at how good the Yani metal sounded. It is quite bright but not unbearably. I believe this is not a high baffle piece, as the sound is weighty and open sounding. It's like one of the brighter Link pieces, but it has more grunt to the sound. A very fine sounding piece.
5. Meyer Metal 7
This sounds similar to the Ponzol and the Link Vintage to me, but slightly more delicate again. I feel that it starts to lose too much grunt, and so becomes less interesting sounding compared to them.
6 + 7. The two other Links
Actually, these belong in the top 5 so to speak, as all the Links sound good to me, and all sound similar as well. Clip #5, which is described as a "Link Gold Plated 7*" is the brightest of the four Links, but still sounds great.
8, 9 +10. V16 T77, Lakey Aluminium and JJ DV 7
These three mouthpieces sound similar to me, and I believe moves us to high baffle territory. Comparing them to the pieces above, I can hear clearly that the sound gets more constricted and starchy. It's moving towards Tom Scott territory. I prefer them in the order listed.

The piece I was most interested in was the Lakey Aluminium, but after listening through the samples, it ranks near the bottom in this group of 10. Again, top of the list were the Link NY and Vintage, which are reminiscent of my own Florida STM. Which leads me to the inevitable concluscion that what I wanted to buy would likely be worse than what I already have...
 

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I preferred the Ponzol Piece
 

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Not a fair comparison.

All the Links are 7*=105 or 8=110 .

The DV is a 7=101.

A DV 7*= 108 would be closer to all the metal Links.

I could take those same mouthpieces and get a similar sound with the right reed for the right mouthpiece.

If the same reed or even the same brand of reed is used on all mouthpieces then the test may seem fair to some but not to me.

From my experience when I go to certain mouthpieces certain reeds perform better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I agree with some of the points raised by Equake about the comparisons, but overall I think Dawkes were pretty meticulous in making these recordings. The tip sizes vary, but at least they were all in the 7-8 size range, rather than say, ranging from a 0.08 to 0.130. Also in their recording notes, all recordings were done in 2 sessions by the same player, using the same horn, same reed, same place and equipment. I think they did a great job on these comparison clips, and I find them extremely interesting and useful to listen to. Demonstrator was also excellent and very consistent. But as they like to say, YMMV.

I listened on into the HR tenor sections. The first thing that struck me was that I thought I could hear a consistent character to the HR pieces compared to the metal ones, which underlines my own feeling that mouthpiece material does affect the sound quality. The metal pieces definitely have a bit more zing and resonance to their sound, while the HRs seem to dial back the brightness factor somewhat, to my ears. Compare the metal and HR V16s and see what you think. Both clips sound very similar, reflecting the common mouthpiece design, but the materials do add subtle differences to the sound IMO.

Anyway, from the HR section, the two that jumped out at me were the Link Vintage and the Selmer Soloist D, which is interesting as they sound quite different. The Link Vintage is much bigger sounding than the Soloist, and yet each has their own special quality that I like. In general, all the HR pieces sounded good to me - I think mainly because the player was good. Another personal observation for myself, is that I do not quite like the Meyer pieces on tenor, which is also what I found is owning one of these pieces before. Most of the clips sounds nice to me, proving that a good player can make almost any mouthpiece sound nice. Practice still trumps equipment.

Flicking back and forth between my favorites among the metal and HR mouthpieces, I'd have to say each has their attractive qualities. For myself, I would ideally like to have both types in my bag. Anyway, I find listening to these clips and comparing back and forth really helps me to refine my idea of what sound I am after. I'll be the first one to admit this is not something that is always clear in my own mind.
 

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Geez . . . sounded like tenors to me. I know I say that frequently, but it is true. Sure, the Ponzol sounded good as did the Yanagisawa (at least to me) but frankly, 10 seconds in, and I was comfortable with all of the sound clips. I did not bounce back and forth trying to catch each nuance, though.

I know to a player, this stuff is critical, but to the audience I'm not so sure. What they hear is a well-played tenor being played by a confident musician. One way to build confidence is to have faith in your equipment, so that's why it is critical to the player. I think we beat ourselves up too much over this stuff. DAVE
 

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1. Link NY: The player gets a big bright sound out of all these pieces. That combined with this darker piece turned out very nicely. This piece may be too dark for someone who doesn't blow as brightly naturally.

2. Metal Meyer: Nice bright but not very edgy sound. Reminds me of Joe Henderson a little. Very nice!

3. Jody Jazz: Perfect for R&B or rock. Nice big brassy sound. Bright but not nasal.
 

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I agree with some of the points raised by Equake about the comparisons, but overall I think Dawkes were pretty meticulous in making these recordings. The tip sizes vary, but at least they were all in the 7-8 size range, rather than say, ranging from a 0.08 to 0.130. Also in their recording notes, all recordings were done in 2 sessions by the same player, using the same horn, same reed, same place and equipment. I think they did a great job on these comparison clips, and I find them extremely interesting and useful to listen to. Demonstrator was also excellent and very consistent. But as they like to say, YMMV.
The player and the samples are so good that I used them when I made a decision on which mouthpiece to get 3 years ago.
 
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