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I seem to remember a thread about these when they first came out.......anyway, I suppose they can be a real help if you're in an apartment and need to practice without bothering you neighbors. And are desperate. I tried earlier incarnations of this thing years before and put together something like it while in an apartment about 20 years ago. It never worked for me. It doesn't feel anything like playing the saxophone so, IMO, only has limited applications for sax. It seems to work better for trumpet players....daryl
 

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If sound is an issue for you, try a cheaper alternative. I sometimes put a towel in the bell to mute the sound. Don't suff it in, just lay it in there so it's not completely blocked. It's not going to make it completely silent, but will help.
 

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this may seem funny and unrealistic, but when i practice in the morning, which is quite often when the family is asleep, I play as normal except I make sure my airstream doesn't actually vibrate the reed. Sounds weird doesn't it - but i've been doing this for years. you can't really hear much except for air flow but it's a good alternative and alot cheaper - but you can practice about everything except for maybe intonation .....
 

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stevesklar said:
this may seem funny and unrealistic, but when i practice in the morning, which is quite often when the family is asleep, I play as normal except I make sure my airstream doesn't actually vibrate the reed. Sounds weird doesn't it - but i've been doing this for years. you can't really hear much except for air flow but it's a good alternative and alot cheaper - but you can practice about everything except for maybe intonation .....
Exactly!!!

I use the Lebayle mute and a softer reed, just in case, but this is exactly what I do. You can get just the faintest of notes, almost a whisper of the note really. Enough, anyway, for you to know when you stuff up. :D
 

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Hey, Me Too!!!!
It's called 'Air Playing' in my house.
 

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Ah, Milandro my SOTW Coffee Guru, :D thanks for the link. I've seen them mentioned but not how to get hold of them or much more info. I've been very interested in that since I seldom have situations where I have to totally kill the volume when I practice softly, and I don't like the towel because it's limited.
Dog Pants said:
I use the Lebayle mute and a softer reed...
Dog Pants. A couple of questions:
- does that "mute" really reduce the sound 50%?
- does it affect the intonation?
- do some notes or registers speak worse than others?
 

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my alto E-sax review reposted

Here is the repost of my review of the alto version. I am going to try the tenor version on Tuesday next week. I know the tenor version has better/more versatile electronics than the alto version. Hopefully it won't have the same minor problems the alto has.

Here is my old post:

Randall said:
Ok guys, I got my hands on one of these things. Lo and behold, when I went in to the school to teach a lesson, I walked over to the store and there sat one in the display case!

First, to allay the fears of the poster above, it is anything but complicated.;)

The construction:
The case is really light, so unless you are suffereing from some serious back problems, I dare say you won't be affected by the weight.
The case is made of a tough plastic and inside the case is lined with a 3/4 inch thick, form fitting mat or blanket to absorb the sound. The case latches shut with 3 or 4 buckle type latches.

The sax rests on adjustable rubber supporters inside the case, so you can set the supporters to fit your sax. (I tried the mute with my Keilwerth alto and the bell fit, no problems there).

Inside the case is a small convex area near the bell that has a small mic imbedded in it, so the mic is not intrusive in the case.

After setting up the rubber supporters, I put my sax inside and closed the case. Closing the case is a little tricky as you have to get the two halves to line up and get the channels on the case lip to fit together exactly. This gets a little tricky because hinges are placed on the mute in the location corresponding to the front of the bell, thus allowing the lid a little more flex than you may want, ideally. I don't see any other place to put the hinges, however, due to the design of the case.

I put my mouthpiece on and then went about trying to insert my hands into the thing.
The hand inserts are made of a thick neoprene and the fit is snug but not uncomfortable and seals around your wrists well enough to keep the sound in.
I rested the edge of the mute on my chair, between my legs and noticed immediately that in this position (my usual in-front playing style) that the right hand side keys were a little hard to reach, due to placement of the neoprene hand hole. Not impossible, but not exactly easy. The left hand was fine.

First toot:
Well, it works! I have a BIG sound on alto and I let loose and it was very quiet. I could easily hear myself without the earphones, but it was not a sound that your neighbors will hear.
Put it this way, your TV is a LOT louder than you will be with this thing.
I went through the whole range of the horn and found that for some reason the low Bb motor-boated on me. I thought this was strange and then I asked another player who tried it and he had the same thing happen.
I finally got the Bb out, but it was not pretty.
I then tried the headphones. This was very surprising, because while the sound was more acoustic, what I heard in the headphones was not very seriously amplified. If you use the headphones, you should still be able to hear the doorbell or phone. Very interesting.

The electronics:
Very simple.
In jack for your CD player, out jack, and headphone jack.
Switch it on, you hear yourself thru the phones.

I decided to check into the motorboating problem. I hypothesized that the rubber supports inside the case were affecting it.
So, I opened the case and took them out, put the sax back in and tried it again.
Low Bb WAS indeed easier and I could get it to play more consistently, but it still had the tendency to motorboat. I am not sure why this is happening but I am guessing that the close enclosure of the case is making this happen.

The verdict:
If you need to be quiet and to practice at home, this thing may be for you. If you want to hear yourself as you really sound, you may not be totally satisfied.
This product is not about sound quality, it is about sound suppression.

The quality of the product is high. It is clearly well made and seems good enough, but there are a few points I would like to see fixed.

1. The motorboating low Bb. I think this is probably due to a dampening effect of the rubber supports and the closeness/fit of the mute around the sax. My suggestions- a composite support that is made of hard plastic or wood with a felt cover to protect the sax from scratching AND make the case a little fatter so the horn can "breathe" inside the case.

2. Make the right hand hole a little more ergonomically placed. If the case were made a little fatter this would also help in making the side keys more accessible.

Would I recommend it? Yes, if you need to practice at home and are willing to sacrifice the low Bb.
Would I buy it? Yes, but I will probably wait until the issues I have listed here are rectified before I invest. Also, I have a lot of outside playing opportunities every week, so I get my practice in elsewhere. I am in no hurry, so I can wait.

I really think this device is a god-send for those who want to practice at home, despite the minor issues I have listed here.
 

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stevesklar said:
this may seem funny and unrealistic, but when i practice in the morning, which is quite often when the family is asleep, I play as normal except I make sure my airstream doesn't actually vibrate the reed. Sounds weird doesn't it - but i've been doing this for years. you can't really hear much except for air flow but it's a good alternative and alot cheaper - but you can practice about everything except for maybe intonation .....
Add me to the list of loonies then, cause I've been doing the same thing for years. I know a lot of the greats practiced their fingering silently with or without the horn, but I like to have more of a frame of reference like the ever so slight audible sound blowing into the horn gently produces.

I've been playing for so long, I find it hard to isolate the two coordinating tasks from one another.
 

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gary said:
A couple of questions:
- does that "mute" really reduce the sound 50%?
- does it affect the intonation?
- do some notes or registers speak worse than others?
The folks at Roberto's say it really dulls the response. I was really interested until I heard this.


I wonder how heavy the e-mute is?
 

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The folks at Roberto's say it really dulls the response.
Guido, that is kinda the idea, I think;) :shock:
 

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if you find the Purchasing button somewhere (as I did :) ;)) you will see that the alto is 1680 RMB for non members or VIP and tenor is 1880 RMB.
Now this is for buying this product on this site. Shop around looking for it on internet. It is a Chinese product after all, and bound to be offered by many sources at different prices. Good luck!
 

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Okay, I made the plunge and bought a tenor version from Rayburns in Boston. I (and the rest of the household/neighbors) are all VERY happy and excited about it.

It can be heavy around the neck but using the Neoprene neckstraps from neotech can reduce the stress.

The hand positions felt a little awkward but after experimenting with different postions of the support bars I found a combo that is really natural.

It is such a relief to be able to play at full steam. Pipe in some music or a metronome and blast away. With or without the headphones also. Low B and Bb can be touchy but I really find it help me to focus on my control of those notes as well.

All said, I think it's a fine investment. Cheaper and more portable than a practice room.
 

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Swampcabbage said:
Okay, I made the plunge and bought a tenor version from Rayburns in Boston. I (and the rest of the household/neighbors) are all VERY happy and excited about it.

It can be heavy around the neck but using the Neoprene neckstraps from neotech can reduce the stress.

The hand positions felt a little awkward but after experimenting with different postions of the support bars I found a combo that is really natural.

It is such a relief to be able to play at full steam. Pipe in some music or a metronome and blast away. With or without the headphones also. Low B and Bb can be touchy but I really find it help me to focus on my control of those notes as well.

All said, I think it's a fine investment. Cheaper and more portable than a practice room.
I just bought the tenor e-Sax too. I agree, it's great.

I find the left-hand palm keys a little hard to access, it's heavy, and there is certainly a degree of restriction when blowing... this is probably good for building your lung strength up anyway. But yes, I can get full range. The inclusion of an inbuilt metronome is excellent too.

Yeah, you can hear yourself pretty clearly without the headphones (well, it's muffled, but quite audible). If you live somewhere with paper-thin walls, the neighbours could still probably hear you, especially for low honkers and the higher range... but it's only going to be as loud as general living noise (tv, radio etc).

I paid $700 Australian to have it shipped from Japan, as noone sells it here. The device itself (material-wise) is certainly not worth that money, but the amount of practice I'll now be able to do IS worth the money.
 
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