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Discussion Starter #1

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The Runyon metal is their Smoothbore model and the Brilhart Levelaire is more like their Quantum model internally( the horseshoe shaped chamber in the Levelaire is larger.) I found the Runyon metal had a higher, thinner sound than the Brilhart Levelaire. As you probably know, the Brilhart is made by Runyon. I think the Brilhart is a better deal. It can sound dark enough if played w/o the baffles, but is a good Rock/blues piece either with or w/o the baffle. It plays the altissimo note extremely easily.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The Runyon metal is their Smoothbore model and the Brilhart Levelaire is more like their Quantum model internally( the horseshoe shaped chamber in the Levelaire is larger.) I found the Runyon metal had a higher, thinner sound than the Brilhart Levelaire. As you probably know, the Brilhart is made by Runyon. I think the Brilhart is a better deal. It can sound dark enough if played w/o the baffles, but is a good Rock/blues piece either with or w/o the baffle. It plays the altissimo note extremely easily.
OK, I didn't know which Runyon it was, it didn't indicate smoothbore at all. I can see how the smaller chamber of the Runyon would cause a thinner sound, I didn't know Runyon made Brilhart today, I figured Beechler did because the ARB (Arnold Ross Brilhart) models were made by beechler. Good thoughts. How do the baffles work? Is one bigger, or can both go in at the same time?
 

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One baffle is longer than the other. They are drop-off style baffles. I preferred the shorter one myself. You only use one at a time. They are like the plastic part of the Runyon Spoilers w/o the metal part. They have the word "up" on them so you know which side is up (the side you see) and you put the small edge of the wedge in the direction of the tip rail. At the time I bought mine back in the 90's they were about $50.00 cheaper than the Runyons, so that is why I said the Brilhart is a better deal. I see now they are comparably priced. You might want to order both on trial to compare. Also, the Runyon sizes read larger than say an Otto link. So an 8 Runyon or Brilhart is only about a .100" opening on tenor or the equivalent opening of a 6* Link. An 8 Link would be like .110"
 

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Discussion Starter #5
What mouthpieces (maybe just size of the baffle, perhaps not your sound) could you compare it without and with each of the baffles (so 3)
 

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The Brilhart with the short plastic baffle would resemble the type of drop off baffle you'd see in a Dukoff D7 but ending in a bullet shape chamber like a bullet shaped Berg. The side rails are a bit thicker than some mouthpieces which help give it a bit of a darker feel to the sound and the baffle that is built into the mouthpiece itself (non-removeable) is a long flat style which ends in a bullet like look to it- like Bergs with bullet chambers.The longer plastic baffle just extend into the chamber maybe 1/8 inch deeper or so, then drops off the same way to the bullet shaped area. They are not the cleanest looking mouthpieces in that you can see the circular grinding marks on the table and the lower end doesn't sound as easily as a mouthpiece which has been 'perfected' by a mouthpiece guy like Mojo, but they are quite workable and useful. No different in that respect than alot of off the shelf mouthpieces like Links. I used mine in blues type bands for about 10 years. It won't cost you more than shipping if you get them on trial with WWBW.
 

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I’ve got the Brilhart Level Aire mpc, which is very different (larger/wider) than the 70s Level Air “pea shooter” that’s in my retired mpc collection.

It’s comfortable, easy to play and I prefer the larger chamber so I don’t use either of the baffles. I get good results w/ what I’d describe as a “fatter” and slightly darker tone than my other metal mpcs. I play mine with a EDIT-BG Revelation Jazz ligature in the "Dukoff/Larsen" size (The "Link" size doesn't fit.)

The bore of the shank has one of the biggest diameters of all my mpcs, so I had to re-cork the neck on the horn that I use it with. The Brilhart (as well as the Runyon) is chrome-plated, which looks good, but is a bit of a “slippery pig” when it comes to setting the ligature and reed on it. I still really like it though, and am eagerly awaiting its return from a friend.:mrgreen:
 

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I've used the ligature that comes with it and also an Eddie Daniels Rovner and a metal Selmer two screw type. I prefer the one that came with it. You can always put some tape around the outside where the lig sits if slipping is an issue. This slipping hasn't been an issue except with the Eddie Daniels lig.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Now how about the Guardala King (or a berg 0)? Are they worth the extra cash?
 

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The Guardala King is CNC designed and made and the build quality is superior to either the Runyon or Brilhart. It played faily easily for me- the facing curve on the one I trialed was well done, however it had a bit too thin of a tone for me. It played more evenly for me but the lower register on the sax didn't quite have the fullness I like. I preferred the sound I got from the Ponzol mouthpieces, either a used brass M2 or a Stainless M2. I'm not sure if you are after a fuller, darker tone in the bottom range of the horn along with the brighter upper register or more of a thinner, brighter sound all the way through. A Berg 0 or any Berg for that matter is more of a crap shoot regarding quality control. The Guardala would be a more secure bet. Also, if you aren't against a high baffle/ non metal piece, I would suggest you try either a Vandoren Jumbo-Java, which internally is quite similar to the more expensive Guardala, but to me has a fuller tone, or even the very inexpensive Rico Royal Metallite which is also quite similar in tone and baffle/chamber construction. Both the Vandoren and the Metallite are a real bargain compared to the Guardala. The Metallite, despite its price, will give you pretty much what the Guardala will give you, tonewise. One last point: the Guardalawill feel smaller and thinner in your mouth compared to the size of the Brilhart. It is more in line with a thin bodied Berg.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I have the metalite, and the jumbo java for alto, so I know what value they have. It's just that band directors are requiring metal for whatever reason. I tried a Berg 1 and it wasn't quite edgy enough for me. I'm going for maybe moderately bright, not really a thin sound, but with plenty of edge. I see edge and brightness as two seperate qualities.
 

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Well, it wouldn't hurt to give the Brilhart or Runyon a shot. They can be edgy- by my definition. Is buzzy the same as edgy?:) I was getting an edgy sound on recordings using an Otto link 7* NY with an added wax baffle. Definitions of sounds can be somewhat confusing. Perhaps you have a Youtube example of the sound you are after. And, unfortunately, my experience on a certain mouthpiece may not transfer to you. That's why it's important to try out as many as you can to see which one suits your purpose.
 

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I’ve also got a Guardala King and a Link NY. You can’t specify the tip opening on the Guardala King. It is what it is—which to me feels too open—even though the opening is only 115. Maybe because it’s narrow it just feels really open (my very favorite mpcs are HR). After playing it on one of my Conns for an hour, I feel exhausted. That’s not the case with my Link NY 7—which had a little finishing work done on it to bring it up to spec. Based upon several posts that I’ve read, I guess that’s pretty common practice for Link owners.

My comments are biased by my strong preference for large chamber mpcs—which is why I don’t use either baffle with the Brilhart. I bought the Guardala King to have a piece that would noticeably contrast with the Link NY and Brilhart Level Aire—which it does—it’s just that I don’t enjoy playing it very much.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
So is a Brilhart more middle-of-the-road?
 

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I wouldn’t want to imply that it’s middle of the road quality. Brilhart has produced some great mpcs that offer a lot of value (i.e. they aren’t over-hyped).

I think that the interchangeable baffles in that one make it a mpc which offers the greatest range of tonal options for the player. I don’t use the baffles, but it plays just fine with them—it’s just not the sound I’m after. Even without the baffles, I can get a nice jazzy/buzzy tone when I play it—especially with a little “oomph” on the attack. (In this regard, I don’t think it would be a good piece for classical.)

I’m still trying to get mine back from my friend. I’ve offered to swap out my Guardala King for it, but he doesn’t seem too eager to return it.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I didn't mean middle of the road quality, I meant more sound-wise. It's not extremely dark like a caravan, not extremely bright like, say, the super king.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Are there any recordings somewhere? Just to get a better idea of the sound, I won't be able to tell what I sound like. There's nothing on youtube I think.
 

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I couldn’t find any recordings on the web. I did find a Steve Neff review of a Gary Sugal mouthpiece that he used to replace his Brilhart and he writes about what he didn’t like about the Level Aire (just to give you a balanced perspective). This may not be the same Level Aire that you're currently looking at. My late 70s “vintage” stainless steel Level Aire is an entirely different mpc.

http://www.neffmusic.com/blog/2010/09/sugal-super-gonz-copper-tenor-saxophone-mouthpiece/

He uses the term “blatty” which isn’t a word, but maybe an interesting descriptive for what I was referring to as its “fat” sound. Maybe if you send him a PM and request his comment, he can clarify his preferences/concerns. Steve Neff is Nefertiti on this forum.

My friend still has mine and wants to keep it for another couple weeks so I can’t post a recording for awhile.
 
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