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Discussion Starter #1
I see there are quite a few offers of the saxophone pad sets on eBay from China. Any sizes you want.
Are they any good at all? What are they made of? I've heard that most pads (from any pad manufacturer) are nowdays made from "pressed" leather. The same thing as almost all boots and shoes without exception are made of.

How would Chinese pads compare in quality to MusicMedic standard Precision pads?
Are all Chinese pads the same? I see the prices vary quite a bit: from $10 for a set up to $25 for a set.

Most of the pads however apparently come from the same source: they are marked 'Luxiumei Deluxe' on the backing. Like this one:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/2X-25-pcs-...ads-Orange-Sax-Pads-Replace-W2D1/202520617824
 

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I think they're the same quality pads that you find on Chinese saxophones they don't last very long. I've had a few but I'd rather pay more

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I found only a few listings where sellers honestly disclose that their pads are made from the faux "leather".
Like this one:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Various-Sp...x-Faux-Leather-Cushion-Parts-one/263901227546

Faux leather however can mean anything. As I mentioned earlier we now wear shoes from the faux leather (pressed and glued) and we live with it fine.
Are all sax pads these days made from the faux leather?
 

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Cheap price, cheap quality and cheap end result. My faves are certainly not the two that you mention above. The following are really great pads both in performance and ease of seating. They are Pisoni waterproof pads from Music Centre Itali.

View attachment 230002
 

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Discussion Starter #6
It's interesting, that one of our local techs who was not selling me anything and is not going to sell me anything mentioned that he didn't like Pisoni pads because he found them too thin and fragile while he suggested that brown Chinese 'Luxiumei Deluxe' were in fact quite good. No, he didn't say "They are great! They are the best!". He just mentioned that they last as long as any other higher priced pads and are fine, OK.
 

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It's interesting, that one of our local techs who was not selling me anything and is not going to sell me anything mentioned that he didn't like Pisoni pads because he found them too thin and fragile while he suggested that brown Chinese 'Luxiumei Deluxe' were in fact quite good. No, he didn't say "They are great! They are the best!". He just mentioned that they last as long as any other higher priced pads and are fine, OK.
Mmmm, "they last as long" is not what it's really about when doing a repad. It's about the fit, ease of seating, venting and how they feel under the fingers. The last long is just a matter of being serviced/cared for/looked after.
 

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I can't comment on the Chinese pads, but I can say that there are major manufacturers that use Pisoni Pads in their instruments, and that the Pisoni Pro and Pisoni Pro J pads are among the best in the industry IMO. I have used them with good success in several of my pro overhauls. I have never heard anyone say Pisoni Pads are too thin and fragile before this thread. I'm not even sure what that means.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I don't know if I should trust that tech regarding Pisoni after further research of the Chinese pad listings.
Finally I found information about the material used for those 'Deluxe' pads: 'Alto Pads Replacement Synthetic PU Saxophone Leather '
Here:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/3114-Alto-...Saxophone-Leather-Saxophone-Pads/312431546397

I salute that seller (and I found quite a few more of them) for honestly disclosing what those pads are: they are NOT leather, they are PU "leather". As such I doubt they will last for any reasonable length of time.

As to why I'm looking for cheaper alternatives now? - We are in deep @#$% in this country, believe me. I used to buy pads from MM but currently our domestic currency went severely down in value.

Are good quality pads still made from real leather? For instance - are Music Medic Precision pads made from genuine leather?
 

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Canadian dollar is .70 against USD. but Chinese pads are still not good enough MM for me

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... https://www.ebay.com/itm/3114-Alto-...Saxophone-Leather-Saxophone-Pads/312431546397

I salute that seller (and I found quite a few more of them) for honestly disclosing what those pads are: they are NOT leather, they are PU "leather". As such I doubt they will last for any reasonable length of time.
PU (polyurethane) is pretty tough stuff. Think floor varnish that shoes grind abrasive into. Think of the PU foam that is really difficult to tear. But in my experience it is inherently slightly sticky, which is the last thing you want in a sax pad.

As to why I'm looking for cheaper alternatives now? - We are in deep @#$% in this country, believe me. I used to buy pads from MM but currently our domestic currency went severely down in value.
That's life. Suck it up.

Are good quality pads still made from real leather? For instance - are Music Medic Precision pads made from genuine leather?
EVery good-quality. leather-like pad that I have encountered, including current ones, are some type of leather, with one exception. That is a very high quality, very expensive pad made by Music Center (Pisoni) with an extraordinarily tough, non-sticky, very flexible synthetic leather. They call it "Microfibre".
 

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It's interesting, that one of our local techs who was not selling me anything and is not going to sell me anything mentioned that he didn't like Pisoni pads because he found them too thin and fragile ...
What utter rubbish!
There are two standard thicknesses and by special order you can get any thickness you like. The thicker one is too thick for 95% of saxes.
They are definitely not fragile. They are used by many of the top sax manufacturers and repairers, over a very long time period.
Kraus says that Music Center will make pads to any spec, and does this for both manufacturers and our suppliers. No doubt if you asked for really cheap pads then they could oblige by making them really nasty.

... while he suggested that brown Chinese 'Luxiumei Deluxe' were in fact quite good...
I cannot comment on that particular brand/model, but I have certainly encountered the extreme bad/cheap end of Chinese pads.
They looked fantastic. However the "leather" actually constituted a very thin layer of stuff resembling paper mache, with about the same strength as thin, soggy card. This was coated with something resembling brown cling-wrap, and about the same thickness as cling-wrap. It was very, very, very weak. Perhaps it was PU, which would be weak if it were thin enough!

"They are great! They are the best!". He just mentioned that they last as long as any other higher priced pads and are fine, OK.
That sounds really dodgy. Good pads can last a decade and more, even two depending on use. Have these Chinese ones been around that long? . I doubt it.

Is it good economy? ... Is it worth the risk? ... to spend all the time it takes to do a good repadding job, only to find that the pads start failing in a few months
 

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When I lived in China, I bought shoes that were supposedly made of leather but were actually some sort of convincing plastic. The giveaway was when I developed fungus infections. If you do get leather pads from a Chinese source, they probably won't be bovine (cow) leather but rather ungulate (pig). The Chinese don't raise much cattle, so there isn't much cow leather product to be found. The pig matures faster, so the preferred source of meat in China is pork, followed by chicken and fish.

It's a very good possibility that some Chinese "leather" saxophone pads are ersatz. Clarinet pads present less of a problem because the "skin" is made from sheep bladder and the felt is made from wool. Sheep are raised western China, so there's less possibility of fake product. But then again...

Has anyone actually seen a western pad production facility? I wonder where Music Medic's production facility might be. I've been to Wilmington, NC several times and MM's store.
 

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Pisoni seem very expensive and you have to get them from Italy...
You don't have to get them from Italy. Pretty much all of our USA pad suppliers (and probably UK too) include Music Center (Pisoni) pads in their range.
They don't wave flags to this effect, possibly to discourage buyers from then sourcing them direct from Italy.

However I don't think they are likely to be any cheaper via USA!

Canadian dollar is .70 against USD. but Chinese pads are still not good enough MM for me
New Zealand dollar is 0.68 against USD. But I am a long, long way from risking Chinese pads on my customers' instruments, even Chinese instruments!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
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Clarinet pads present less of a problem because the "skin" is made from sheep bladder and the felt is made from wool. Sheep are raised western China, so there's less possibility of fake product. But then again...

Has anyone actually seen a western pad production facility? I wonder where Music Medic's production facility might be. I've been to Wilmington, NC several times and MM's store.
I found one seller on eBay who sells pads directly from their Hebei factoty and he claims that their clarinet pads come in two varietie in respect to the skin:
- regular ones with the goldbeaters skin (or "bladder"... they call it)
- premium ones - made with the synthetic imported Italian "bladder skin"

I also wonder - where for instance MM get their pads? Could it be that they sell some premium Chinese made pads or on the contrary budget Italian made pads?
 

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The only problem I have had with Chinese pads is that they are often too thick. I bought many off Ebay in the past and found them to be of good quality.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
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New Zealand dollar is 0.68 against USD. But I am a long, long way from risking Chinese pads on my customers' instruments, even Chinese instruments!
Gordon - once I found about that PU-leather Chinese stuff I'm not after those pads. I'd rather pay 6 times more (which it is) and get some MM Precisions. However:

When our local "currency" against US currency used to be 0.03 against the US Dollar... no, it's not a mistake it's 0.03 - I was quite happy to buy everythyng from the US, including pads. Now our currency dropped to 0.015 against the US Dollar. Yes - I can "suck it up" as you noted above, no problem, but it's not easy psychologically to accept that, you know.

Just to give you some perspective: our local monthly average salary is around $300 - $350 in direct conversion to US Dollars. A set of budget MM Precision pads is $50 excluding shipping. When it used to be $600 to $700 against $50 I was "quite happy" as I just mentioned it above.
 

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I also wonder - where for instance MM get their pads? Could it be that they sell some premium Chinese made pads or on the contrary budget Italian made pads?
MM says that they make their own.
 

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I'd rather pay 6 times more (which it is) and get some MM Precisions.
Please be advised by the people here that have the experience and knowledge. Forget the Chinese pads and the MM Precision pads. Trust what is being said to you by people that have used both of the above mentioned pads and just get the Pesoni pads. You'll never look back, as you have been told, Pesoni are the best pads hands down compared to any Chinese pads and also the MM Precision pads.
 
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