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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greg Vail here and I did a fun test of a new Cryogenic process Yamaha has started. We did audio and video of before and after on 2 Custom Z Alto Saxes.

The video is up on Face Book - Yamaha Winds page. I know I am not the most slick TV interview guy in the world, but thought some of you might like to see and listen, and leave your thoughts on the sound of the saxes.

It felt like the post cryo saxes played freer and had more depth, but it was not until I got to listen to the video that I found it to sound better recorded too.

What do y'all think. The clip is on Face Book.
http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=138453509389

No script - a little rough but the sound of the saxes is the more important thing.

My BLOG has a little review I posted after the second day of taping, once the saxes had been cryogenic treated.

My Blog - http://www.saxplayersblog.com
Article link - http://saxplayersblog.com/2009/09/21/yamaha-cryogenic-sax-tests.aspx

I hope this can be friendly. Take a listen and let me know if you hear a difference. I'm very interested what other sax players might think.

thx
= SAXBOY Greg Vail
 

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Interesting, thanks for posting.

I did hear a bit of a difference, but listening through small computer speakers isn't the best way to judge. Obviously as a player you could make a better comparison, although some will surely say that it wouldn't be impartial.

Cryogenics is one of the subjects on this forum that tend to bring out very strong opinions, I also hope this thread stays friendly.
 

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Unfortunately, if there truly is any change in playing characteristics, you can't say for certain whether it's from the freezing or the new set-up a horn gets after the process. Any true experimentation would have to be done with keyless horns.
 

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I read this and paused, thought of Dr. G, and read the post again. Then I watched the video, and I thought, "Yamaha has an abundance (too much supply) of lacquered 82Z alto saxophones . . . so they are pitching a formerly frozen saxophone with a Los Angeles atelier set-up?" Okay, Yamaha is trying to sell saxophones, and Yamaha is trying to sell saxophones. Then I realized I just spent 15-minutes of my time watching Greg Vail and the woodwind atelier to the stars, Jeff Peterson, market a product that no one else is marketing. I love the ideal set-up, and I like the freezing; Jeff Peterson's glasses--what's up with those frames . . . but anyway . . .

Yamaha's marketing efforts should not go unnoticed. Yamaha saxophone marketing has struggled this year: 1) the 82Z soprano coughed; and 2) the Phoenix/Firebird alto crashed. Yamaha is like a stubborn step-child trying to define himself in the world of saxophone making. Yamaha is not Selmer (Paris), but Yamaha started moving in the right direction when they defined the history and development of the custom series--this laid the foundation. Then Yamaha added the videos on the 875EX and 82Z and their innovations to the list. Yamaha was gaining traction, and then the economy slipped. But Yamaha must not think in terms of quarterly sales; they must think in terms of historical legacy and continuously work to better their products and brand image. The 875EX and 82Z are wonderful instruments, so pretend you're selling your Custom/Xeno trumpets, Yamaha, and sell them the same way (East Coast style). Your saxophones are great--I've got that--but why should I buy your saxophones instead of Selmer's or Yanagisawa's saxophones. I know the price is better, but this is not your answer. History, development, innovation, technology, quality, efficiency of manufacture, eco-friendliness, sound, and brand image . . . these are what makes Yamaha saxophones great.

This cryogenic saxophone thing seems like good marketing . . . Yamaha's got this technology thing down, and they're showing us . . . great. But the custom set-up remains understated when it should be emphasized. Also, Greg Vail is okay, but Phil Woods and Otis Murphy together would be far better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hey - just realized I should re post the direct URL from the BLOG to read the review I wrote right after playing the Cryo Saxes. The blog moves things down the page and it seemed wise to get a better link posted - http://saxplayersblog.com/2009/09/21/yamaha-cryogenic-sax-tests.aspx

Also - The Yamaha Wind Blog shows the other little goodies they threw in on this promotion. That direct link is - http://yamahawinds.wordpress.com/2009/09/28/cryogenic-treatment-special-yas-82z-saxophone/

Raspberry 007 - I totally agree that I am no Phil Woods or Otis. (Saxboy is Greg Vail).
I would also agree they just want to sell saxes. I just want to sell CDs. I have tons of them and would love to find good homes for them! The fact is, they do keep trying stuff and learn from these things, and then use the good stuff in products. I guess it would be like saying, "He just used great sidemen trying to sell CDs!" To this I would have to answer - you got me! In fact that has always been the plan - sometimes better executed than others.

I am undecided on Jeff's glasses, but don't really have any suggestions as to a better frame for him - haha!

I was told they are going to post the locations these saxes are sent so y'all can go play one for yourself and see what you think. Thanks for watching and the great input!

SAXBOY ~ Greg Vail
 

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Wow Raspberry, that was rough. Personally, I believe continuous innovation and improvement is key. Can't get there without trial and error and continuous testing. I think what make the older horns great (and it's just a theory) is the continous playing that's been done on them. I believe the elements hot & cold internally from playing and externally from the elements breaks a horn in and eventually make it sing. It's just my theory and what do I know, with the exception that I've played for 35 years semi-pro and have broken in numerous horns. So perhaps with this new process, they take their Customs to the next level. I'm going to ask Jeff to do my G1 & G3 necks with this cryogenic process.

I have a great deal of respect for Greg's playing. Greg, you're an incredible player in my view and congrats on you successes, especially more recent. Super cool. And Jeff Peterson is a master. Moving to Yamaha .... what a privilege for Yamaha to have Jeff.
 

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I read this and paused, thought of Dr. G, and read the post again. Then I watched the video, and I thought, "Yamaha has an abundance (too much supply) of lacquered 82Z alto saxophones . . . so they are pitching a formerly frozen saxophone with a Los Angeles atelier set-up?"
;) I would think that Yamaha custom horns would benefit the least from cryo. Cryo, for brass, is used to relieve residual stresses. Given Yamaha's stated process of forming and annealing, I should think their residual stresses would be low. Further, the effect of residual stresses in a saxophone is in the noise compared to everything else that is going on in the horn.

I agree that the setup is the greatest influence on really dialing in a high end horn - Yamaha or other. My previous Selmer Ref 36 was a great horn out of the box, settled in very well over the first years of playing, and achieved its full potential after a setup from Randy Jones. My Borgani Jubilee was similarly the product of a compulsive setup (custom pads, springs, neck work).

I am sold on the concept of wringing out a horn by having a final setup from a real deal, dedicated saxophone technician.
 

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Hey - just realized I should re post the direct URL from the BLOG to read the review I wrote right after playing the Cryo Saxes. The blog moves things down the page and it seemed wise to get a better link posted - http://saxplayersblog.com/2009/09/21/yamaha-cryogenic-sax-tests.aspx

Also - The Yamaha Wind Blog shows the other little goodies they threw in on this promotion. That direct link is - http://yamahawinds.wordpress.com/2009/09/28/cryogenic-treatment-special-yas-82z-saxophone/

Raspberry 007 - I totally agree that I am no Phil Woods or Otis. (Saxboy is Greg Vail).
I would also agree they just want to sell saxes. I just want to sell CDs. I have tons of them and would love to find good homes for them! The fact is, they do keep trying stuff and learn from these things, and then use the good stuff in products. I guess it would be like saying, "He just used great sidemen trying to sell CDs!" To this I would have to answer - you got me! In fact that has always been the plan - sometimes better executed than others.

I am undecided on Jeff's glasses, but don't really have any suggestions as to a better frame for him - haha!

I was told they are going to post the locations these saxes are sent so y'all can go play one for yourself and see what you think. Thanks for watching and the great input!

SAXBOY ~ Greg Vail
Saxboy,
I have been following your homepage since 2005; I wish Yamaha's page was as thorough as your website--will you please talk to your Yamaha connections about this--Yamaha's website reads like an auto parts catalog.

Regarding Woods and Murphy, I was trying to paint the portrait of a dichotomy between old and the young, jazz and classical, so on and so forth, but as usual for me, I missed the mark! I emailed Jeff my comments as well. I opened my mouth, and inserted my foot just for the sake of it, though!

It was a tough pick among glasses, facial hair, and no discernible humor. I joked with Jeff regarding your pseudo-goatee . . . I didn't know what it is called, though. Thanks for posting this link, and if you get a chance, help Jeff with some glasses. :) (My wife is still trying to help me with my glasses, and Jeff's glasses are fine, I guess).
 

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I think what make the older horns great (and it's just a theory) is the continous playing that's been done on them. I believe the elements hot & cold internally from playing and externally from the elements breaks a horn in and eventually make it sing.
"Hot and cold" is relative - for brass, ambient conditions and stresses are never high enough to drive anything to move on the atomic scale.

It's just my theory and what do I know, with the exception that I've played for 35 years semi-pro and have broken in numerous horns.
Wearing in the bearing surfaces and seating the pads are what's happening there. That, and the gunk that accumulates in the neck to give it a lil' funk. ;)
 

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;) I would think that Yamaha custom horns would benefit the least from cryo. Cryo, for brass, is used to relieve residual stresses. Given Yamaha's stated process of forming and annealing, I should think their residual stresses would be low. Further, the effect of residual stresses in a saxophone is in the noise compared to everything else that is going on in the horn.

I agree that the setup is the greatest influence on really dialing in a high end horn - Yamaha or other. My previous Selmer Ref 36 was a great horn out of the box, settled in very well over the first years of playing, and achieved its full potential after a setup from Randy Jones. My Borgani Jubilee was similarly the product of a compulsive setup (custom pads, springs, neck work).

I am sold on the concept of wringing out a horn by having a final setup from a real deal, dedicated saxophone technician.
Dr. G, your points are outstanding. You sparked my recollection that Yamaha hydroforms the 82Z's bell and bow; they state this process reduces the horn's residual stresses--solid catch on that--how little stress can brass have?
 

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Dr. G, your points are outstanding. You sparked my recollection that Yamaha hydroforms the 82Z's bell and bow; they state this process reduces the horn's residual stresses--solid catch on that--how little stress can brass have?
How little? Well, you could go for fully recrystallized - little to no visible substructure in the transmission electron microscope. :shock: But then it would be dead soft as well. :( I think fully recovered is a good place to be and anticipate that that is where Yamaha's processing has it.

The only remaining place to induce residual stress is if they tweak it when they shove it together, it doesn't fit, and they have to leverage the bell brace into place. Ouch!

Would they to that??? I doubt it, hence my observation that Yamaha custom horns are among the least likely to substantively benefit from cryo processing.
 

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I think what make the older horns great (and it's just a theory) is the continous playing that's been done on them. I believe the elements hot & cold internally from playing and externally from the elements breaks a horn in and eventually make it sing.
"Hot and cold" is relative - for brass, ambient conditions and stresses are never high enough to drive anything to move on the atomic scale.

It's just my theory and what do I know, with the exception that I've played for 35 years semi-pro and have broken in numerous horns.
Wearing in the bearing surfaces and seating the pads are what's happening there. That, and the gunk that accumulates in the neck to give it a lil' funk. ;)
Dr G, I'm surprised that you missed a couple of obvious retorts:

From the first quote, the operative phrase is "I believe..."

Regarding the second quote, how many times did the horn go see a technician during the 'break-in' period. I have never met an 'out-of-the-box' saxophone that couldn't be made to play better. They just can't afford to spend the time.
 

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I am thinking, always dangerous, that if I wanted to test some metal state changing process out that may make a metal based instrument sound better, that I wouldn't select a saxophone as my test instrument.

How about a penny whistle with no holes?

We thus eliminate, the reed, the pads, and if we use a compressed air tank and a valve, maybe even the musician.

Just a thought.... now I am ducking out of this one.
 

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Ok guys, without divulging too much of a conversation I had in Europe many years ago, one famous instrument maker keeps its secret method of heating and cooling their brass (after forging and shaping, mind you) in a safe. The secret to the sound is in how they heat and cool the metal.

So we can apply all the scientific knowledge in the world, but the fact of the matter is, the instrument makers DO know that temperature, how quickly or slowly it is raised and lowered, is important to the sound quality of the horn. They know it so well that they base their fortunes on that knowledge and retaining the secret so they can keep an edge on the competition.

I know someone who worked at this certain company, and that person had access to the safe once and read the company secrets.

This person has also used the same process and attests to the accuracy of it.

Now don't ask me who or where or what....I can't say anymore than this.

But I too was once a sceptic, and now I am not.
 

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Ok guys, without divulging too much of a conversation I had in Europe many years ago, one famous instrument maker keeps its secret method of heating and cooling their brass (after forging and shaping, mind you) in a safe. The secret to the sound is in how they heat and cool the metal.

So we can apply all the scientific knowledge in the world, but the fact of the matter is, the instrument makers DO know that temperature, how quickly or slowly it is raised and lowered, is important to the sound quality of the horn.
... and that science is called materials science.

What the metallurgists of yore came to learn via the Heat & Beat method is now in the realm of science. Yes, we can actually characterize what is going on in the metal and know how to get there.
 

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As a materials scientist myself, I like to try and ratify all this stuff. If what Randall says is true, and this was done for the sound, rather than for the overall ruggedness yet maintainability of the horn (i.e. tradeoff between strength and ductility) then I would pose the following question:

Take, for example, a 40-year-old MkVI that has collected it's share of dents that have been repaired, and some solder work here and there, clearly the metal has been inhomogeneously work-hardened, and yet the Selmer purists would say that this horn is somehow superior because it has captured the aura of all who have blown upon it. If the state of metal seasoning was 'perfect' at manufacture, then how could it ever get better?
 

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Take, for example, a 40-year-old MkVI that has collected it's share of dents that have been repaired, and some solder work here and there, clearly the metal has been inhomogeneously work-hardened, and yet the Selmer purists would say that this horn is somehow superior because it has captured the aura of all who have blown upon it. If the state of metal seasoning was 'perfect' at manufacture, then how could it ever get better?
It didn't. It was good from the start - assuming a good pad job and well set up mechanics.
 

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Really good video Greg!

I think there's a pretty big difference between the Cryo and non-Cryo horns. I've tried several Cryo'ed horns with Jeff, a Gold EX, Unlacquered -Z, even a Student Model Tenor, and compared to the stock versions, they were just "more". The same basic sound, but just "more". You are getting more sound for the same amount of effort. In the hands of a pro these changes make a big difference.

Jeff and the guys in Buena Park have been working on the Cryo process for quite a while now. It's good to see they are ready for prime-time.

-James
 

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I know this is an old thread but, after listening to the video on good speakers, I have to say there is a big difference. Obviously, other variables could have come into play (different setup since the saxophone has to be disassembled and assembled again) but the cryoed saxophone does sound smoother, mellower and, in a word, better to my ears, based on the samples in the video. Interesting.
 
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