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Discussion Starter #1
I went to a tech guy today and told me that the best pads for selmer Mark VI (tenor) are the ones with plastic resonator. I read a lot on the web and seems not to be an agreed point of view about plastic vs metal resonators.

Can you give me an advice about that? I prefer the vintage sound of the selmer for jazz playing.

Thanks a lot!
 

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Dr. Pauline Eveno's study proved there to be no acoustic difference between metal and plastic reso's the same size. To date there have been no studies conducted concerning resos with "topography" like the Noyeks and others. I would say go with what you like the look of. Some of the older metal resos did have a tendency to rust making the plastic a better choice.
 

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IMO plastic is a heap better than a nickel plated steel reso that might rust, damaging the pad.
Selmer (Paris) used these rusting resonators quite recently. I don't know if they still do.

Of course some of the metal ones will be stainless steel.
Hopefully they do not have sharp, pad-damaging edges where they were press-cut from flat metal!
 

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Also as a lot know, there are choices for metal resonators such as gold plated, silver plated and a few other finishes if someone didn't want to go with bare brass or metal if concerned about the rust or corrosion situation. Iv'e had my tech Paul Maslin, who has his own resonators install a set of metal in my old VI when I owned it and had the horn for about 8 yrs after he did it without any issues. He's going to be doing the same to my Shadow in upcoming months as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
So as you mentioned there is no change in the color of the tone. You think there will be a change in the volume?

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
BTW thanks saxoclese for this amazing study!
 

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Dr. Pauline Eveno's study proved there to be no acoustic difference between metal and plastic reso's the same size. To date there have been no studies conducted concerning resos with "topography" like the Noyeks and others. I would say go with what you like the look of. Some of the older metal resos did have a tendency to rust making the plastic a better choice.
+1 ... at least this one thing was finally put to bed.
 

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I prefer the original-type pad set with brown nylon tone boosters. MK VI pad sets had varying thicknesses - they weren't all the same. Like a few noted sax repair specialists, I like keeping a fine sax as close to original as possible, with the assumption that you like it as it is. The pads you can get now are different from the originals in one way, and the importance of this difference is debatable, but while they may look exactly like the originals, the tone booster is attached in the current fashion - the shaft on the back sticks through a hole in the pad and is melted down to secure it. The original method had a threaded shaft on the back of the booster that was affixed to the pad with a flat-headed brass screw. Technically, the current method is better because it reduces the weight of the key for faster action/less bounce.

Having found a tech who likes to do things like original, and having more than a full set of the boosters and screws from my saxes of the past, the next time I get pads the sax will be returned to original configuration. Actually when I got it in 1998 it still had more than half of its original pads so I'm not really expecting any big improvement. However, considering the MK VI is still regarded by many as the ultimate sax, its hard to argue with returning one to original set-up. Plus, with my sax, its not a big change, as I have always used only real cork and felt anyway although I have been using the modern replacement pads for a long time.

The very early MK VI did have metal boosters but that didn't last long as they replaced them with the nylon ones for several reasons, of which 'tone' probably was not one. The metal ones are heavier and tend to corrode. Personally, I think the current fads of gold and silver-plated boosters and boosters with special designs are silly. When you have a good, responsive sax, if you need more power you look at reeds/mouthpieces, not 'special' tone boosters. The whole idea of the tone booster is to replace the soft, sound-absorbing area of the pad inside the tone hole with a more reflective surface to reflect the sound back into the horn instead of being absorbed. Material and shape changes to the boosters have very little effect on the sound or playability.

BTW, the reason Selmer still uses thicker pads (.180, .185) is so the sax seals up better with minor irregularities like tone hole rims and/or the set-up. Thinner/harder pads only make leak elimination harder and contribute nothing to the sound or playability.
For me, this is a big deal because NOBODY puts a file to my tone holes. Nothing has changed on them since the sax was new. If they're not perfectly flat, live with it. Put the thick, soft pads on it like it originally had and the tone holes will be no problem. I do not like to lose a molecule of brass off my VI that I don't have to because it is irreplaceable.

So, there; how do you like those reasons for keeping the simple, plain brown tone boosters?

Oh, almost forgot - why did Selmer go with the metallic boosters for the 80 Super Action? They did it because the original Super Action, which was right before the MK VI, had metallic boosters, and metal boosters by this time had achieved legendary status because of being used on the early Selmers. In my view metal boosters are merely hype and never deserved such a fanatical following.

And just for you, Gordon, notice I have spaced my paragraphs!
 

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Everyone has a right to his/her own opinion and tastes. Having played on firm (not hard) pads perfectly seated over level toneholes for years, I would never go back to pads that one can feel the tonehole sink into the surface of the pad forming a deeper seat. I also like the look of silver seamless dome resonators in white roo pads for silver plated saxes, and gold resos in chocolate roo pads for lacquered horns.

Chocolate roo pads with gold resos.jpg
 

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Matt Stohrer whose work is very well respected as a restorer, uses the B52 (or is it B54? I don't remember) from Ferree's. These are, I think, Pisoni pads that are just like the original Selmer pads with nylon resonators. They aren't the hardest of pads, but definitely not soft, mushy pillows either. They work fine in Mark VI's. That's what got put in my Mark VI when it was overhauled a few years ago, and it feels just fine. (It wasn't Matt, but Lee Kramka that overhauled the horn.) If I were a repairman that's what I would use too :)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
@JunkDude:

Thanks for sharing that amazing part of your experience! I really see it clearly: if the resos don't have impact in the sound, they do have on the mechanical part of the sax. It makes all sense that if the pads are lighter, not also the instrument will be, but also the keys will suffer less and you can avoid some bumping.

Is interesting that Eveno's study doesn't make any reference to the shape or size of the resos, only about the material. Another thing about the study is that they could have been done it on a larger sax where the resonators of the pads are more significant like a Tenor or even a Bari.
Searching the web I found the comments of jbtsax that prepared seems to prepared the resos for the test and also all looks the same size (http://www.woodwindforum.com/forum/index.php?threads/interchangeable-resonators.24117/).


Wrapping up: there is lot of interesting info that you are sharing about this point. For me, is a good point to bear in mind that not is only the material involved but also the size and the shape. It makes me complete sense the words of Ralph Morgan, and next change of pads will return to the original ones!
 

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Actually, the study says "the pad resonators have been shown to have a measurable effect on the acoustics of the saxophone." In fact the other study it keeps referring to proved a measurable difference between plastic and metal resonators concluding that stiffness was important. What this study shows is that our perceptions are unreliable when it comes to that difference.
 

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i have three tenors, a 1963 mk6, mauriat 66r, and recently a 875 with plastic resonators. at first, i had a problem with the perceived reduction of volume that my mk6 and 66r has but, i appreciate the balance or roundness in tone.
by the way, i totally disagree that resonators have no effect on tone!......
 

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Matt Stohrer whose work is very well respected as a restorer, uses the B52 (or is it B54? I don't remember) from Ferree's. These are, I think, Pisoni pads that are just like the original Selmer pads with nylon resonators. They aren't the hardest of pads, but definitely not soft, mushy pillows either. They work fine in Mark VI's. That's what got put in my Mark VI when it was overhauled a few years ago, and it feels just fine. (It wasn't Matt, but Lee Kramka that overhauled the horn.) If I were a repairman that's what I would use too :)
I think Lee at Saxworx is using MusicMedic pads (made in Wilmington NC) now! :) No matter, both techs above do fine work and their overhauls should feel great no matter what pads they use.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
@greyoboe: do you have the other study you mentioned? You are right with the frase you are quoting "the pad resonators have been shown to have a measurable effect on the acoustics of the saxophone", according to the study, even that there is no sound difference between the plastic and metal, there is a huge difference between the sax without resos and the others with resonators
 

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Selmer pads are original from Pisoni, they are Pisoni Pro pads.
They just use a different type of colour for the leather (darker) and the resonators installed are custom for Selmer horns (some resonators are larger, expecially for the upper toneholes).

Pisoni has two level for the stiffness of the felt: medium and medium-firm.
(The "medium" ones are alreary quite stiff... the "medium firm" are very stiffer).
You can choose between the two if you buy "Pisoni Pro" pads.
The pads branded "Selmer Paris" have the stiffest felt inside.

Plastic resonators (on Pisoni/Selmer pads) are really thick... and some technician can find annoying having a really "thick" resonator.
Metal resonators (both the ones with the rivet/Series II and the ones without the rivet/Series III) are much thinner: so that's why you can notice a certain difference between metal and plastic resonators... if we are talking about pads from Pisoni/MusicCenter.
 

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@JunkDude:

Thanks for sharing that amazing part of your experience! I really see it clearly: if the resos don't have impact in the sound, they do have on the mechanical part of the sax. It makes all sense that if the pads are lighter, not also the instrument will be, but also the keys will suffer less and you can avoid some bumping.

Is interesting that Eveno's study doesn't make any reference to the shape or size of the resos, only about the material. Another thing about the study is that they could have been done it on a larger sax where the resonators of the pads are more significant like a Tenor or even a Bari.
Searching the web I found the comments of jbtsax that prepared seems to prepared the resos for the test and also all looks the same size (http://www.woodwindforum.com/forum/index.php?threads/interchangeable-resonators.24117/).


Wrapping up: there is lot of interesting info that you are sharing about this point. For me, is a good point to bear in mind that not is only the material involved but also the size and the shape. It makes me complete sense the words of Ralph Morgan, and next change of pads will return to the original ones!
Just to make sure we are clear. Ralph Morgan and the engineers at Selmer found the MATERIAL of the resonator did not make a difference in the tone. The SHAPE and SIZE of the resonator did. There is nothing trivial about the arc or heigth of the dome of the resonator Selmer used in the 1960s. That arc reflects sound waves through the open tone holes and well as optimally moving it through the horn for closed tone holes. The weight of the resonator impacted the mechanics of the horn which is why they opted for the lighter nylon domes as opposed to the metal.
 

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@greyoboe: do you have the other study you mentioned? You are right with the frase you are quoting "the pad resonators have been shown to have a measurable effect on the acoustics of the saxophone", according to the study, even that there is no sound difference between the plastic and metal, there is a huge difference between the sax without resos and the others with resonators
Exactly. The "stiffness" of the material allows the energy of the soundwave to be reflected rather than partially absorbed. In fact, in another part of the study Dr. Eveno chooses to call the "resonators" (which have nothing to do with resonance) a more "acoustically neutral term" which is "pad covers". If one thinks back to the "concept" of a saxophone sound in the 1920's, it was mellow, sweet, and not very loud. Pads without "covers", large chambered mouthpieces with a short lay and small tip openings, and "soupy" vibratos all contributed to this sound. Buescher was the first I believe to add a "stiffener" to the center of the pad in the form of a "snap-on". Not to be outdone, Conn introduced the Res-o-pad that included a thin steel "washer" in the center, held in place with a rivet. The race to make a saxophone sound like a "chainsaw" had begun. :)

I embarked on a journey to try to measure "pad porosity" and its effects on saxophone tone and response with Dr. Eveno going so far as to take some acoustic measurements. Unfortunately she became involved in the SYOS project which took all of her time and attention. As far as we got was this colorful chart, which she was at a loss to interpret since the measurements were all over the map. She postulated that using a longer brass tube to measure the absorption coefficients may produce better results by reducing the effects of the "natural resonant frequency" of the tube.

Acoustic absorpton graph edited.jpg
 

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I would never go back to pads that one can feel the tonehole sink into the surface of the pad forming a deeper seat.
I have a 105 Mark6 tenor which also has never been in the hands of a tech with a file. When I repadded it, I used a set recommended by Ferrees as their best seller. I don't think I could ever make a statement that I can feel pad forming a deeper seat and the sax plays well - although you would insist it needs a $1600 overhaul, I'm sure.

It's one thing to have an opinion but yours is not based in fact. There are, of course, mushy pads and some techs use them to cover all sorts of problems. And maybe you've even found a few saxes with really soft pads. But that's not the reality of pads like MusicMedic thick/soft or Ferrees .185 Selmer pads.

Now, what I really don't like are thin hard pads that sound like a conga drum rim shot when playing.
 
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