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Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, so this isn't scientific in the least but I wanted to do a post on my site for years playing the same mouthpiece design with different material to see if it makes any difference? I attempted to do that today with two Theo Wanne Gaia 3 tenor saxophone mouthpieces. Listen to the clips and see if you can hear any differences? I'm curious what you think? Please respond in the comment section at the bottom of the page on my site so we can see if I am crazy or if others hear a difference also.......(I already know what Mr. Barone thinks.....) Thanks, Steve

https://www.neffmusic.com/blog/2019...gaia-3-tenor-saxophone-mouthpiece-comparison/
 

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Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I wonder about how external shape affects embouchure/oral cavity etc ... since that can change too
I believe that is true but in this case both mouthpiece are the same shape and size. I did an experiment once where I put a bunch of mouthpiece patches on a hard rubber mouthpiece and tried playing it. I would swear on my life that the mouthpiece was way darker just because of that. You wouldn't think so as the baffle and everything else was the same but somehow the change of my embouchure and mouth position made it play so much darker to my ears. I should do that for an article and record it and see if it is the sound in my head or reality on the recording.
 

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Sounds like a great experiment. I wonder what other external changes you could play with.....something to make lower jaw drop...expand circumference etc
 

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I listened using headphones. I have to say the two mpcs sounded basically the same to me. Moreso than I would have expected. You did an amazing job of reproducing the same phrase on each comparison clip. The only difference I noticed were some slight tempo changes, but no difference in volume or tone.

I wonder if listeners who heard a difference would have made the same assessments if you had labeled the mpcs "A" and "B" without any preconceived notion of which was metal and which was HR.

In any case, I think the design parameters must be nearly identical to get such a similar sound, at least in the recordings; maybe in the same room, live, there would be a more noticeable difference.

Steve, when you speak of the differences you notice, is it based on how it sounds & feels to you as you play them, or are you describing what you hear in the recordings?

Just in general, even given two mpcs of the exact same design, I'd say for sure there is a difference in how a metal mpc FEELS compared to HR when playing it, but that may or may not translate to a difference in the resulting sound.
 

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Just in general, even given two mpcs of the exact same design, I'd say for sure there is a difference in how a metal mpc FEELS compared to HR when playing it, but that may or may not translate to a difference in the resulting sound.
You just beat me to that point. I tend to find metal slightly more uncomfortable and that MAY change the embouchure just enough to account for a slight difference. Even a minor difference in the tonguing can account for a change in timbre. And I was also using some studio-quality Sennheiser headphones
 

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Keilwerth saxes (S/A/T), Selmer clarinets (S/B), Altus Azumi flute
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Although I'm biased not to hear a difference, I did notice a couple of consistent differences across the clips.

1. The metal seemed to have more "sparkle" but only low/midrange notes, and only when you were playing in a more relaxed manner.
2. When you seemed to be pushing and playing more loudly, this relationship seemed to switch, with the HR sounding slightly brighter and with more sparkle.
3. In the altissimo range, your tone on the metal sounded rounder than on the HR.

Otherwise, they're pretty similar. My guess is that these differences come from your adjustment to the differences in the somatosensory feedback (e.g., vibrations, etc.) provided by the two materials.
 

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Great job here again Steve. To my ears they sound the same with an exception to the Body and soul. I believe your airstream there meets a point where the 2 mouthpieces take a slightly differrent direction , the HR more smokey and airish and the metal more projective and bright.
 

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Since you've shown a willingness to record and post a large number of samples for your comparison, allow me to make a further suggestion: For each excerpt that you use, post two recordings of it with each mouthpiece. I think it's almost inevitable that some listeners will notice small differences between Metal recording 1 and Metal recording 2, or between HR recording 1 and HR recording 2. Once it becomes evident that the exact same mouthpiece can sound slightly different at different times when playing the exact same thing, the important question will become whether any difference in sound between metal and hard rubber is more significant than the differences from one metal or HR recording to the next.

I've often thought that the double-sample approach would be a very useful testing procedure, but I don't think I've ever actually encountered it in use.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hey everyone, I'm running a test by putting up the lossless wave files on the bottom of Gaia 3 comparison page. If you have already listened to the mp3 sound clips could you try listening again to the lossless wave file clips and tell me if there is any difference? I'm just curious if it makes any difference when listening to minute details like the differences between two mouthpieces. Appreciate the help, Steve

https://www.neffmusic.com/blog/2019...gaia-3-tenor-saxophone-mouthpiece-comparison/
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hey everyone, I'm running a test by putting up the lossless wave files on the bottom of Gaia 3 comparison page. If you have already listened to the mp3 sound clips could you try listening again to the lossless wave file clips and tell me if there is any difference? I'm just curious if it makes any difference when listening to minute details like the differences between two mouthpieces. Appreciate the help, Steve

https://www.neffmusic.com/blog/2019...gaia-3-tenor-saxophone-mouthpiece-comparison/
This is mostly for you obsessive audio people. I'm not sure there is a difference but the wave files are like 7 time larger than the mp3 files so something has to be missing right? Maybe you guys with fancy headphones can hear the difference? Even if there is a difference, I am not sure I could afford to post the wave files as it would make my storage costs 7 times more expensive.......hahaha!
 

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Steve, have you tried lossless MP3 at Lame "insane quality" 320 kb/s ? The quality is almost indistinguishable from Wave files but the footprint is less.
 

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Steve, have you tried lossless MP3 at Lame "insane quality" 320 kb/s ? The quality is almost indistinguishable from Wave files but the footprint is less.
I agree (FLAC would be the other option, reducing size without losing any detail; mp3 cannot be made completely lossless).

FWIW, I did controlled psychophysical testing (i.e., ABX testing) on myself to decide on the necessary file size when digitizing my CD collection, and I found that above about 256 Kb/s the quality differences were effectively indistinguishable (for my samples of music at least).
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Steve, have you tried lossless MP3 at Lame "insane quality" 320 kb/s ? The quality is almost indistinguishable from Wave files but the footprint is less.
All my mp3's on my site are converted to 320 kbps. It makes the files bigger but when I tried converting to smaller bitrates the difference in quality was alarming. With 320 kbps it sounds somewhat close to the original although I do hear a difference I think........
 

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All my mp3's on my site are converted to 320 kbps. It makes the files bigger but when I tried converting to smaller bitrates the difference in quality was alarming. With 320 kbps it sounds somewhat close to the original although I do hear a difference I think........
Yes, indeed, alarming is actually an understatement but unless you have a direct comparison, it is not always possible to tell what you were using.
 

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I tried 2 identical mouthpieces refined perfectly by CNC machine (so not touched by hand).
One was in brass and the other in aluminum:
the difference was noticeable without doubts because the aluminum one has "less" sound in short.
Sounded like it losing vibrations.... difficult to explain but sounded "less" and the sound had less body
 

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the metal to me has more bite in the attack and more overtones in the sustain. more bark and body
Hey everyone, I'm running a test by putting up the lossless wave files on the bottom of Gaia 3 comparison page. If you have already listened to the mp3 sound clips could you try listening again to the lossless wave file clips and tell me if there is any difference? I'm just curious if it makes any difference when listening to minute details like the differences between two mouthpieces. Appreciate the help, Steve

https://www.neffmusic.com/blog/2019...gaia-3-tenor-saxophone-mouthpiece-comparison/
 
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