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I have used Fibracells, Legeres and even Bari reeds on gigs since the early 90's. I play mostly blues, rock, R&B style music but also have the occasional Jazz number thrown in. I find that at louder volume gigs, competing with the drums, keyboard, guitar and bass, a Fibracell handles the job most excellently. The tone coming out to the listener, after adding reverb is no different than when I use Vandoren ZZ's or Javas. I admit I prefer the above mentioned reeds when I'm doing a quieter type setting. One thing I sometimes have issue with with regards to Fibracells is the sharper edges. A cane reed with sharper edges is easier to smooth out. Out of the three synthetic brands listed above, I prefer the Fibracells.
When I make a home recording comparing Fibracell with cane, the difference is SOMETIMES noticable, but not really that much.
The main advantages have been mentioned- longevity and cost, reliability, not being effected by the weather(as in drying out) and actually giving a nice tone for the stuff I play.
Many times fellow sax players have commented that they had no idea I was playing synthetic reeds. I have been getting paid to play sax since 1976 so I too have something to say of relevance.
 

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"I find that at louder volume gigs, competing with the drums, keyboard, guitar and bass, a Fibracell handles the job most excellently."
I let the microphone and the PA handle that, no need to overblow.
You missed my point on that statement. What I was saying is that at very high volumes with input from other loud instruments, the difference in tone is negligable between a Fibracell and a cane reed. The audience can't hear the difference, and neither can anyone else. I wasn't talking about overblowing. In the genre of R&B, blues and rock, a Fibracell does quite well. At times I've used baritone sized Bari reeds on a Dukoff D7 and get a really great, big and flexible tone- perfect for the genre. I can play soft and pretty as well as growl with the best of them. The baritone reed actually facilitates the flexibilty. I don't LIMIT myself to cane. The synthetic reed has alot to offer the performing musician.
I'm glad you like cane reeds, Mr. Galt. For you, obviously, synthetic reeds won't satisfy you. That's okay. To me, cane v.s. synthetic is not worth arguing about and offending other people. I like both, and find a use for both.
Now, go make someone happy. :)
 

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I personally use and prefer Vandoren javas on all my mouthpieces and find at least 4/5 work well enough or can be adjusted to work well. I used to use Bari, then Fibracell, for years, tried Legere Studios and still returned to cane.
All that to say this.
A few days ago I heard a swing band playing and the tenor player was getting a really nice older kind of 40's sound, kind of like Illinois Jacquette sounds like on his recordings. Later on during the break I asked him about his set-up. He was on a late 50's mark VI using a Vandoren JUMBO JAVA and a hard Bari plastic reed. So, a high baffle piece and a plastic reed producing a very authentic big band era tenor tone. It worked for him! And that's one of the main points people have been trying to make around here regarding reed choice.
I went home, put on a Bari reed and still prefer the feel and tone of my Vandoren Javas. Use what works.
 
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