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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi All,

Well, since Al's mouthpiece comparison was so popular, I decided to check out what I had in the drawer - after my initial disgust at how many pieces I actually own, I decided to record some clips myself.

The mouthpieces are (in random order):

- Morgan 9E
- Link STM EZ'd to .110
- Tenney Berg 108/0
- Bob Ackerman Guardala (looks like a trad/bebop inside?)
- Guardala LT SuperKing
- RPC .120B
- Saxscape Red River w/ Powell reface to .110
- Ponzol M1-S .115
- Vandoren V16 T75 w/ Norbert Satchel reface to .110
- Dukoff Brass D4 opened to .105

The clips are not in the same order as above... as with Al, I'll post the mapping after a day or two. For each mouthpiece I played a few scales and arpeggios to get a sense of the evenness of the scale, followed by a few bars of a Giant Steps transcription (done badly at half speed), followed by some subtoning (from "Chitlins con Carne"), followed by some pentatonic noodling, to try and present a few styles for each mouthpiece. In all cases I'm using a RJS 3S reed and a rovner-style ligature (except for the STM where I used a stock lig) on a Buescher 400 TH&C tenor. Recording setup is dry into a SM57Beta mic with a cheap tube preamp without much gain on, no EQ. The playing is a mess in spots, but, well, that's me! ;-)

http://www.schlap.com/music/mpc1.mp3
http://www.schlap.com/music/mpc2.mp3
http://www.schlap.com/music/mpc3.mp3
http://www.schlap.com/music/mpc4.mp3
http://www.schlap.com/music/mpc5.mp3
http://www.schlap.com/music/mpc6.mp3
http://www.schlap.com/music/mpc7.mp3
http://www.schlap.com/music/mpc8.mp3
http://www.schlap.com/music/mpc9.mp3
http://www.schlap.com/music/mpc10.mp3

EDIT: if you just want to skip the guesswork and go to a page with the clips labeled with the mouthpieces used, you can go here:

http://www.schlap.com/music/mpcanswerkey.htm


Cheers,

Pete
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2011
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Hi Pete - as for Al, I first want to say thanks for doing this.

Next, I want to say that what I get out of these comparisons is that on all pieces you sound
... like yourself

And finally, as for Al, I want to say that the most important thing about all the mouthpieces is: which one do YOU like the most? What is it that you like about it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well, I won't say which one it is, but I prefer the RPC. I feel like I can do anything with it, and it feels like "home". I should add, it is by far the most free-blowing of all the pieces (when I say that, I mean that it seems to want a lot of air, not that it's hard to get sound out or is unresponsive at all, it just begs for you to put some gut into it.) and is the piece I play the most by an order of magnitude. They are all great mouthpieces, some I'm more comfortable on than others, but the RPC is just different... and doesn't feel like it has many shortcomings. The one being that it is a bit too much mouthpiece for me to play very quietly for extended periods of time. I use the STM for that as it is very efficient and I feel I can play it very quietly with a good, classic tone.
 

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Wow. Now THAT is some very useful information. Thank you.
 

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IMO, it's a tossup between #3 and #10. The both have an evenness of tone that I don't hear in the others. I think #10 has a more natural presence while #3 has a little more subtlety and nuance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You know it's interesting - the difference in the recorded clips seems fairly subtle, but the difference live sounded/felt much more obvious. And the playability of the various mouthpieces was significantly different, but it's not that apparent listening to the clips. There's a couple of pieces that just aren't a good match for me and I really struggle with, but it's not as apparent as I thought it would be.

Hoping more people can comment....
 

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7 is my favorite. Which one is it? Which one, which, which, which...??? Some mouthpieces play sharper / flatter than others from one clip to another though and I guess it could influence the choice for a favorite as sharper supposedly means more lively...
And yeah, for some unknown reason I couldn't listen to #1. Can you imagine the impact on my fragile mental health if I come to realize the one I picked as favorite is dethroned by sample #1???

Victor.
 

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you'll know which you like best....you sound great on all of them (possible exception of 8)
but if i have to.....either 3,4,5 or 7. whichever feels right. You seem very comfy on 1 but i don't think it has the tonal potential of the others i've named.
 

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This is a perfect example of the player sounding pretty much the same on any gear in my opinion. pretty much sounded just like you on all of them.subtle differences Id just stick with the one that gives you the easiest playablity. #10 sounded like it was easier to get the altissimo notes out.
 

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I think this is because you, as the player, are also hearing the sound that is transmitted to your ears via vibrations through your skull.
With this in mind, what is the best way to hear ourselves as others do? Recordings seem like a bad medium because you lose some things in the process, although its not far off IF done well. I know personally the recordings I've heard of me all sound so much darker than what I'm hearing when I play.

Also, I'll have to edit this later with response to the clips - no headphones(my Sennheisers broke and can't find others) and roomie is still asleep.
 

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IMO, it's a tossup between #3 and #10. The both have an evenness of tone that I don't hear in the others. I think #10 has a more natural presence while #3 has a little more subtlety and nuance.
Ditto.

I made notes on each mpc as I heard them and realised after a while that you just like a certain buzzy sound - so I quit writing "buzzy", LOL.

Did not like #8 (like Selmer) and wasn't fond of #1 and #2. Oh, I should add, when I listen to such tests, I try to characterise the mpcs, not necessarily what I want for myself. I thought #4 was similar to #3.

I also appreciate the way you did this. Keeping each track short and using the same material. I thought that was a much more accurate comparison. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Very interesting responses so far. I don't want to give much away just yet, but I will say that, despite the different experience you receive in the pilot's seat (and I very much agree with Mojo's conclusion), people's ears seem to roughly correlate with my "feel".

Keep 'em coming!

Pete
 

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Hey man, first of all I want to say thank you for this post, it's very very useful!!
Personally I absolutely loved number 1, but followed closely by number 3 and then number 2. I think the first has that buzz and eveness of tone that I like so much. Once again, thank you so much!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hi Orbit, I thought I put it in the original post, but it's a Buescher 400 top hat and cane model, in the 355xxx serial range (a pretty late one).

Pete
 

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This is my favorite mouthpiece shootout yet! They are all mouthpieces I gravitate towards and I like the format you played the clips (short, several styles on each).

I eagerly await the post detailing which mouthpiece matches which clip.

Very cool! I like 3, 9, 10
 

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7 is my favorite. Which one is it? Which one, which, which, which...??? Some mouthpieces play sharper / flatter than others from one clip to another though and I guess it could influence the choice for a favorite as sharper supposedly means more lively...
And yeah, for some unknown reason I couldn't listen to #1. Can you imagine the impact on my fragile mental health if I come to realize the one I picked as favorite is dethroned by sample #1???

Victor.
Sorry. reread your post. Mine was just going to agree w/you, and couldn't figure out how to delete...:)
 

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I liked 1. I thought it had a "wow" factor that the others did not quite have. I mean, some others did sound similar, but 1 had the most bam! factor.
 
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