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I've only had two experiences with (supposedly) the same design and model, with significantly different tips.

Meyer 5 vs Meyer 8, Tenor
Link 6 vs. Link 10, tenor

Both hard rubber.

I have to say that I didn't notice any big tonal differences. Of course there is a difference in the way they play/respond. To me the Meyer 5 sounds identical to the 8. The Link 10 is so far out of my normal range of tip size that I can't make any big conclusions but I didn't notice anything dramatic, at least.

A lot will also depend on what else is changed from the small tip to the large tip. If the baffle area just past the tip rail is just left alone, more or less as molded, and the more open facing is achieved just by removing more material, then that region will be closer to the reed on the open facing. On the other hand, if the manufacturer alters the baffle to compensate for the more open facing, then it might be closer, the same, or further away.
 

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We’d all love to hear your sound since everyone else is so dull and lacking in core…
To be fair, I've heard variations on this comment from several players, all of whom have been at least a couple of decades older than I am, and I suspect it has to do with age-related hearing loss.

People lose quite a bit of their hearing as they age, and it's not uniform; sensitivity for the higher frequencies degrades much more quickly than that for lower frequencies. So it's quite possible that what sounds good (e.g., not too bright or edgy) to younger players and listeners sounds bad to older listeners because they can't hear the high-end edge or sizzle unless it's overwhelmingly loud.
 

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To be fair, I've heard variations on this comment from several players, all of whom have been at least a couple of decades older than I am, and I suspect it has to do with age-related hearing loss.

People lose quite a bit of their hearing as they age, and it's not uniform; sensitivity for the higher frequencies degrades much more quickly than that for lower frequencies. So it's quite possible that what sounds good (e.g., not too bright or edgy) to younger players and listeners sounds bad to older listeners because they can't hear the high-end edge or sizzle unless it's overwhelmingly loud.
For sure. There’s also a small number of folks who frequently critique other forum members harshly and complain about how everyone sounds, but no one’s ever heard them play. I’m known to poke those bears. 1saxman is the head bear of that pack.
 

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For instance, all things being equal are larger openings darker? Does giving the reed a little more distance from any baffle on the mouthpiece cause a darker tone?
In my experience, all other things being equal, the answer is yes. I discovered this some years ago when I first started using high baffle mpcs (tenor). At first I liked the increased volume/cut of the high baffle, but eventually I found them too bright, even shrill. Until I contacted Ron Cuelho in search of an RPC. He told me I needed a wider tip with his high baffle pieces. I tried a 115 and a 120. Doesn't seem like that should make much difference, but the 120 was noticeably fuller, warmer, and darker. It had the increased volume and cut (still could get bright, but not overly so) but with enough 'body' to mitigate the extra brightness of the high baffle.

Since then, I've also found this to be true for other med to high baffle mpcs. I prefer a larger tip on them. Others on here have also pointed out that Links (low baffle) with smaller tips tend to play brighter than with larger tips. So again, with the caveat that there are other factors involved like facing curve and chamber size, I think there is some truth to this.

Strangely enough, I don't find large tip mpcs (again, on tenor) to be more resistant or harder to play. Maybe they take a bit more air, but I like putting a lot of air into the horn.
 

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The answer tends to be yes because of what has been said. Regardless of how you adjust the baffle there will be a small difference in chamber size. I think its more important to say that a large tip will sound DIFFERENT than a smaller tip. The reed hits the facing less times per second. It alters what we percieve as listeners and players. While you can compensate to some extent with more baffle on a bigger tip there will be some sonic difference due to per second hits. Additionally, I dont know that any makers alter the chamber size (aside from the baffle) as they alter facing. It would just be crazy impossible to run production in that manner. On top of that the difference after all that work would likely be extremely small.
 

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I noticed that most of you didn't mention any monster tip openings like 10 or 12. Those seem to be played by guys who need some volume, but I always wondered what players were searching for when they start experimenting with larger tip openings.
I do play tenor mouthpieces (Link) in that tip size range. I've played an 8* Early Babbitt STM for about 20 years, but at a certain moment (when I started as main soloist in a loud Big Band) it couldn't take all the air I wanted to push through, so I bought a 10* Florida no USA STM and play that one now for about 11 years.

It can take more air and the subtone is huge. The resistance is about the same as the 8*, but I use a slightly softer read on the 10*. The sound can be made darker too, but also bright, depending on the air stream speed.

Besides two above Links I have many more, ranging from a NY Double Ring 4* to an Early Babbitt 12. I've found that in the same models with different tip sizes the sound becomes darker (in general) for the bigger tip mouthpieces. I also agree with the things found and described by Lydian in post #5.

I once recorded a compare sound clip (Just Friends) between my five Early Babbitt STM's (ranging from tip 8 to 12) and my 10* Florida no USA. I used the same La Voz medium reed on all (even while I prefer a 2 reed on the bigger tips). In the themes you can hear them when played with a lower air stream and can hear that the bigger tips sound a bit darker. In the solo's the differences are less because I played them with a faster air stream, getting a more bright sound out of all. The differences in brightness in the solo's also comes from the (slightly) different baffles on all of them. No Link is exactly the same, they all differ slightly (even in the same mouthpiece model).

 

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In addition to MrPeeBee's excellent demo, here's a really short one I just made using the same reed on a .095 and a .115. They sound similar, but the 115 sounds bigger to me. The 115 was also much easier to subtone on. The 095 felt more unstable.

Like MrPeeBee says, the more open piece has enough power to be heard over a loud big band. I can’t push the more closed one as hard.

 

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The answer tends to be yes because of what has been said. Regardless of how you adjust the baffle there will be a small difference in chamber size. I think its more important to say that a large tip will sound DIFFERENT than a smaller tip. The reed hits the facing less times per second. It alters what we percieve as listeners and players. While you can compensate to some extent with more baffle on a bigger tip there will be some sonic difference due to per second hits. Additionally, I dont know that any makers alter the chamber size (aside from the baffle) as they alter facing.
Fred Lamberson carves the interior of the chamber as he tweaks each piece.

It would just be crazy impossible to run production in that manner. On top of that the difference after all that work would likely be extremely small.
I agree.

As ever, a mouthpiece is an example of something that is greater than the mere sum of its parts. I truly appreciate a well-crafted, balanced mouthpiece from a master craftsman.

Disclaimer: I played Lamberson mouthpieces for 10+ years until discovering the Phil-Tone "Intrepid" when it came out (When was that? 10 years ago?), and now play Phil-Tone mouthpieces exclusively on sop and tenor.
 
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The only real apples to apples comparison I have is a Metalite M5 and M7 on alto. The M5 was too shrill but the M7 was very nice (too bad it didn't play as well as it could, I suspect the facing wasn't great).
 

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When I listen back to myself when I was playing a 10 star no USA with a soft reed, I hear a huge sound, great subtone, lots of tonal flexibility, but my intonation was very quirky. I hear this in other players using this setup as well. Lovano and Garzone and those cats of course being the exception. I'd like to try an open tip with a soft reed again sometime though. By the way, I have recently played gigs with a large chamber vintage Tonemaster 085 (not my usual setup, I use STM's) and had no problem unmiked. For me the jury is out, because there are so many variables.
 

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To be fair, I've heard variations on this comment from several players, all of whom have been at least a couple of decades older than I am, and I suspect it has to do with age-related hearing loss.

People lose quite a bit of their hearing as they age, and it's not uniform; sensitivity for the higher frequencies degrades much more quickly than that for lower frequencies. So it's quite possible that what sounds good (e.g., not too bright or edgy) to younger players and listeners sounds bad to older listeners because they can't hear the high-end edge or sizzle unless it's overwhelmingly loud.
There's some truth to that but its rather an inane comment. For example, if I listen to Arnett Cobb and hear that lucious fat tone with depth as well as overtones, then listen to a young player posted here recently with that 'dead' sound, you're saying now I can't hear the overtones?
 

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There's some truth to that but its rather an inane comment. For example, if I listen to Arnett Cobb and hear that lucious fat tone with depth as well as overtones, then listen to a young player posted here recently with that 'dead' sound, you're saying now I can't hear the overtones?
I'm not saying that you can't hear those high frequencies at all, just that they need to be louder (i.e., less subtle than younger players/listeners might find tasteful) for you to hear them. Of course, that's only part of it. A larger part of it is undoubtedly some version of a "Kids these days!" attitude, but I was trying to be charitable.
 

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When I listen back to myself when I was playing a 10 star no USA with a soft reed, I hear a huge sound, great subtone, lots of tonal flexibility, but my intonation was very quirky. I hear this in other players using this setup as well.
I recognize and have that same intonation issue Leon, especially when I don't play a lot (like last 1.5 years).
 

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@mrpeebee has hit on one factor - the kind of gigs you do. Playing in show bands in Nevada, I used more open pieces than I now play, and for similar reasons - I wanted to be heard and to hear myself in the overall din of screaming trumpets and over-amplified rhythm sections. Nowadays, gigs for me are more of the restaurant / night club variety, with just a couple horns, so I don't need or want higher volume.

Regarding the question of dark vs bright, I always end up choosing a mouthpiece that will help me get the sound I like, so it's not really an issue. I agree that, all other things being equal (they never are), a more open piece will be darker, but that's not really a good reason to choose a tip opening. I just want to be comfortable and have the piece accept the amount of air I am putting through the horn. And also be flexible enough to handle soft and loud, and subtone easily, and all those other things that we play long tones for...
 

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I'm not saying that you can't hear those high frequencies at all, just that they need to be louder (i.e., less subtle than younger players/listeners might find tasteful) for you to hear them. Of course, that's only part of it. A larger part of it is undoubtedly some version of a "Kids these days!" attitude, but I was trying to be charitable.
Don't patronize me or anyone else with your 'charity'. It also has nothing to do with 'kids these days' - its about mouthpieces and what they can do. However it is true that younger players' tone concepts have changed. Probably because they didn't come up hearing the 'greats' on the radio as we older ones did, so they really don't have good examples to listen to UNLESS they go looking for them.
 

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I guess I have the opposite idea of resistance than you. On my Berg 120 on tenor, the resistance is extremely low. In other words, it's like blowing through an open pipe. There is virtually no resistance. I play that tip opening because I can't get the same big, rich and flexible sound with big subtone that I would get on a C*. I've tried, and it's just not possible. A C* is perfect for a classical tone, but not for a huge Dexter Gordon type of sound. No offense to high school kids, but that's the kind of sound I end up with on a C*, if you know what I mean.

But as I said before, this really only applies to tenor for me. I play a .090 tip on alto and .075 on c-melody (smaller than alto). I play .067 on soprano, also on the open side, a .110 on bari which is medium open and .100 on bass (otherwise, I would hyperventilate).

I do find that big tips do increase pitch flexibility quite dramatically for me personally. I find it quite challenging to find the pitch center for each note on alto on a really large tip (.100+). I'm sure I would adjust with practice though. On tenor, big tips also require more embouchure strength for me. In my youth, a .120 was no problem. But now it wears me out. In my old age, I'm more comfortable on a .115 these days.

Having said that, it's all just numbers. The goal for me is not a number, it's a sound. Those are the numbers required to get the sound I want.
Oh wow, 0.100+ for alto (!)...that's really open (for alto)
 

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Oh wow, 0.100+ for alto (!)...that's really open (for alto)
You bet it is! That's why I was surprised to read I'm apparently the only one with pitch control issues on such a beast. Even with my 40+ years experience, it's a challenge. That's why I ultimately sold them in favor of a much more controllable .090.

I'm also surprised about the lack of feedback on the demo recordings posted. Nobody hears any difference in sound quality on more open pieces? Isn't that what the thread is about? Come on, give a listen and chime in. If they're terrible examples, say so. If you can't hear any difference, say so. It takes time and effort to post recordings, even short ones. Personally, I can hear the pitch flexibility, darkness and fullness differences. That's what draws me to more open pieces, which was one of the original questions.
 

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The answer tends to be yes because of what has been said. Regardless of how you adjust the baffle there will be a small difference in chamber size. I think its more important to say that a large tip will sound DIFFERENT than a smaller tip. The reed hits the facing less times per second. It alters what we percieve as listeners and players. While you can compensate to some extent with more baffle on a bigger tip there will be some sonic difference due to per second hits. Additionally, I dont know that any makers alter the chamber size (aside from the baffle) as they alter facing. It would just be crazy impossible to run production in that manner. On top of that the difference after all that work would likely be extremely small.
The number of times the reed hits the facing, the frequency, is the same for a given pitch regardless of the size of the tip. For a bigger tip, the reed has to travel farther, so will be moving faster, and need more pressure from the player.

I think that in general for the same reed strength on similar mouthpieces, the closer tip is brighter. Adjust to a harder reed, maybe not.
 

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Oh wow, 0.100+ for alto (!)...that's really open (for alto)
You bet it is! That's why I was surprised to read I'm apparently the only one with pitch control issues on such a beast. Even with my 40+ years experience, it's a challenge. That's why I ultimately sold them in favor of a much more controllable .090.
Your not the only one Lydian!

I can confirm the possible pitch control issues, playing a modern Otto Link STM 9* (0.110") on alto (about once every two years!).
 

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You bet it is! That's why I was surprised to read I'm apparently the only one with pitch control issues on such a beast. Even with my 40+ years experience, it's a challenge. That's why I ultimately sold them in favor of a much more controllable .090.
Your not the only one Lydian!

I can confirm the possible pitch control issues, playing a modern Otto Link STM 9* (0.110") on alto (about once every two years!).
And then there's Billy Drewes... A STM 10 tenor mouthpiece on alto.... with a #4 or 5 reed. But that's a whole nother level of madness...
 
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