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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all,

I've been playing on a Vandoren AL3 for the last few months and although I've enjoyed some aspects, I just don't think it's the right mouthpiece for me.I was wondering if any of you had any advice on the D'addario Reserve alto mouthpieces- they are stocked at my work and I would normall be able to play test, but... COVID. All three are readily available, I just want to see what other people thought of them if they had tried them, what your thoughts were, reed/lig setup changes and whatnot.

Thanks much!
 

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We had a very extensive discussion of the Reserve mouthpiece here: New D'Addario Reserve Mouthpiece (Classical).

I played the D155 regularly for almost two years. I still use it on occasion (I do a lot of mouthpiece experimenting). On the whole, I like it more than the AL3 (used that for a while too), which has a pleasing sound but lacks projection and flexibility. The D155 is a very good all-around classical mp; its only possible drawback is a little more resistance than the other two Reserve models (others are D145 and D150). You might try all three if you get the chance.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
We had a very extensive discussion of the Reserve mouthpiece here: New D'Addario Reserve Mouthpiece (Classical).

I played the D155 regularly for almost two years. I still use it on occasion (I do a lot of mouthpiece experimenting). On the whole, I like it more than the AL3 (used that for a while too), which has a pleasing sound but lacks projection and flexibility. The D155 is a very good all-around classical mp; its only possible drawback is a little more resistance than the other two Reserve models (others are D145 and D150). You might try all three if you get the chance.
I spoke to Dr. Nathan Nabb and he said the exact same thing- he loves the 155, but has to play on a softer reed because of the resistance. I have all three at my shop and thankfully they are samplers, so I should be able to try and buy, which I thought I would not be able to do.
 

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Hi Ben, check out this review by @CarlHeanerd
Joshua Heaney ("Carl") is an example of an S90 player who tested the Reserve D155 and stuck with the S90. An example of an S90 player who tested the D155 and then switched to it (on alto) is Steven Banks (Ithaca). He has a comparison on his blog, with his sound samples of both mouthpieces. What do you think? Mouthpiece Comparison: D'Addario Reserve D155 vs. Selmer S90 180 Steven Banks. Unfortunately, he doesn't discuss his evaluation afterward, but he did make the change. Equipment | Steven Banks. He apparently still plays the S90 on tenor and baritone.
 

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By the way, I should add that although it's been a long time since I personally have played an S90, so I can't really do a direct comparison, I can say that I think I prefer the D155. However, I never played the S90 on the Series III, because I didn't have this horn at that time, so the scope of my comment is limited.
 

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Joshua Heaney ("Carl") is an example of an S90 player who tested the Reserve D155 and stuck with the S90. An example of an S90 player who tested the D155 and then switched to it (on alto) is Steven Banks (Ithaca). He has a comparison on his blog, with his sound samples of both mouthpieces. What do you think? Mouthpiece Comparison: D'Addario Reserve D155 vs. Selmer S90 180 Steven Banks. Unfortunately, he doesn't discuss his evaluation afterward, but he did make the change. Equipment | Steven Banks. He apparently still plays the S90 on tenor and baritone.
Thank you for sharing that. I ordered a D155 to test play based on these two reviews and especially the second review. This is tough for me because I don’t think D’Addario takes its woodwind division seriously enough (opinion is only based on Google search results not revealing the woodwind elements). But I want a darker classical sound, so here we go. (And no, I’m not just going to adjust the S90 mouthpiece—I want it to play a certain way out of the box.)
 

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All this D155 action has induced me to put one of mine up for sale, since I have two. See the Marketplace if interested.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
After I got all 3 for a play test:

This was just a personal preference, but I found the 150 to be so easy to play on... maybe a bit too easy, but I loved the sound. The 145 was rough and was not really my thing, but the 155 was a mouthpiece I feel like I could work with and could eventually sound better on than the 150. I'd have to fandangle with my reed sizes (I already play on a 3.0 D'addario Reserve so I don't really want to go down more,) But the 155 is just a bit too resistant for me at the current moment.
 

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After I got all 3 for a play test:

This was just a personal preference, but I found the 150 to be so easy to play on... maybe a bit too easy, but I loved the sound. The 145 was rough and was not really my thing, but the 155 was a mouthpiece I feel like I could work with and could eventually sound better on than the 150. I'd have to fandangle with my reed sizes (I already play on a 3.0 D'addario Reserve so I don't really want to go down more,) But the 155 is just a bit too resistant for me at the current moment.
Thanks for your review. Does it feel the Vandoren AL4 next to the AL3 in terms of resistance? If you’re familiar with those two, that is. I used to play on an AL4 with 3.0 reeds on my EX for added depth and color, but what I found was I was just tiring myself out. So I switched to the S90 190 with 3.5 reeds. But the 190 is pretty brilliant for my type of classical piece, especially on the Yamaha.
 

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Thanks for your review. Does it feel the Vandoren AL4 next to the AL3 in terms of resistance? If you’re familiar with those two, that is. I used to play on an AL4 with 3.0 reeds on my EX for added depth and color, but what I found was I was just tiring myself out.
I tried an AL4 briefly during my Optimum phase on alto (my favorite was the AL5). I'd say that the feel of the D155 is different. This model has a certain base level of resistance everywhere, I think due to the thickness of the rails. It's not a huge amount, but it's more than on some freer-blowing pieces. If you can tolerate it, or even prefer it, then you're good to go up and down the horn. The AL4 seemed to have increased resistance on the lower end of the horn, I assume due to its shorter facing. So for me, at least, the AL4 was noticeably harder to blow over part of the range, which I did not like. It wasn't just more resistant than the AL3; it was more asymmetric than the AL3.
 

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I tried an AL4 briefly during my Optimum phase on alto (my favorite was the AL5). I'd say that the feel of the D155 is different. This model has a certain base level of resistance everywhere, I think due to the thickness of the rails. It's not a huge amount, but it's more than on some freer-blowing pieces. If you can tolerate it, or even prefer it, then you're good to go up and down the horn. The AL4 seemed to have increased resistance on the lower end of the horn, I assume due to its shorter facing. So for me, at least, the AL4 was noticeably harder to blow over part of the range, which I did not like. It wasn't just more resistant than the AL3; it was more asymmetric than the AL3.
I completely agree about the AL4 and the lower end resistance factor. You could not have done a better job stating it. I was exhausting myself trying to bring homogeneity to the horn with the AL4. It’s been many years since I played that set up, but your summary brought back the frustration I experienced playing that piece. I also disliked how free blowing the AL3 was/is. I think I’m going to like the 155 from what I’m reading. Thank you for your excellent assessment.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I completely agree about the AL4 and the lower end resistance factor. You could not have done a better job stating it. I was exhausting myself trying to bring homogeneity to the horn with the AL4. It’s been many years since I played that set up, but your summary brought back the frustration I experienced playing that piece. I also disliked how free blowing the AL3 was/is. I think I’m going to like the 155 from what I’m reading. Thank you for your excellent assessment.
I haven't played the AL4, but the AL3 was definitely similar to the 150 in my opinion. The 155 definitely had resistance, but as I stated earlier it was a type of resistance that I could learn to play with. It was equally resistant across the horn, not just in the lower register, and with the right reed and lig combo I feel as if I could play the 155 very well.
 
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Discussion Starter #16
Joshua Heaney ("Carl") is an example of an S90 player who tested the Reserve D155 and stuck with the S90. An example of an S90 player who tested the D155 and then switched to it (on alto) is Steven Banks (Ithaca). He has a comparison on his blog, with his sound samples of both mouthpieces. What do you think? Mouthpiece Comparison: D'Addario Reserve D155 vs. Selmer S90 180 Steven Banks. Unfortunately, he doesn't discuss his evaluation afterward, but he did make the change. Equipment | Steven Banks. He apparently still plays the S90 on tenor and baritone.
Banks is a super incredible player and an amazing influence, so I'll shoot him a quick message and see what he suggests (as I am primarily a classical baritone player as well.) Thanks for sending that!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Just an update:

After a truly blind play test yesterday I ended up picking out the 155 out of everything. I think I still have some work to do on it (I will definitely have to soften my reeds just a bit, but probably won't go down a full size), but myself and my blind testing partner preferred the sound of it over the other options.
 

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Just an update:

After a truly blind play test yesterday I ended up picking out the 155 out of everything. I think I still have some work to do on it (I will definitely have to soften my reeds just a bit, but probably won't go down a full size), but myself and my blind testing partner preferred the sound of it over the other options.
That’s awesome; congratulations! I’m even more excited to receive mine now.
 

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The UPS driver dropped off my first D155 about 25 minutes ago, so I got about 18 minutes play time on the mouthpiece and ran some quick measurements. I played the mouthpiece with a Reserve 3.0 and a Selmer two-screw ligature. Regarding the mouthpiece's playability, there is definitely a built in resistance that is present across the entire spectrum of the mouthpiece. But the sonority of the mouthpiece is simply gorgeous. Regarding the facing length, it's 40mm/2 so it's not really short at all for an alto mouthpiece. The resistance is in the curve, which has a high elliptical ratio. I love the thickness of the tip rail, which is perfect for a legit piece. I don't think the oval chamber makes a difference in the piece's tonal quality. I have found that chamber volume is a most important variable in such and not so much its shape. Soon, I'll have a second mouthpiece to compare the playability and consistency of D'Addario's machining and facing. I'll then return this one to the WWBW.
 

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The UPS driver dropped off my first D155 about 25 minutes ago, so I got about 18 minutes play time on the mouthpiece and ran some quick measurements. I played the mouthpiece with a Reserve 3.0 and a Selmer two-screw ligature. Regarding the mouthpiece's playability, there is definitely a built in resistance that is present across the entire spectrum of the mouthpiece. But the sonority of the mouthpiece is simply gorgeous.
What kind of sax did you test with? A Yamaha? My impression is that one of the reasons for the differences among the three members of the Reserve alto mouthpiece lineup is to provide good fits for players of both pretty free-blowing and somewhat resistant saxophones. How does your horn fit into this spectrum?
 
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