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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all, I am back with another video review! This is the D'Addario Reserve in the D155 facing, another classically oriented mouthpiece. This was released last summer and has slowly been getting traction throughout the year.

Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nV0vrY7XXzs

Yanigasawa's new classical mouthpieces will be my next review, stay tuned!
 

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Good review. Thanks. After you've completed this round of reviews of various new-ish classical mouthpieces, it might be helpful to do a summary of your reactions that discusses how they all compare with each other.

I understand your decision about the test reed, but I'm not sure that I agree with it. The basic question is whether a review is more useful when it compares the optimal performance of two items of equipment, or the performance with all potential variables held constant, even if that might handicap one of the test items. E.g., "We are going to compare mouthpiece A, using a reed that's perfect for it, with mouthpiece B, using a reed that's a little too hard for it." Of course, one can go overboard trying to optimize everything -- switching horns, or even brands of reeds, clearly would be a mistake. But reed strength? It's not obvious to me what the best approach is. Maybe demo all three: baseline mp w/standard reed; new mouthpiece w/standard reed; and new mouthpiece with strength-matched reed.

I personally play the D155, which from what I can tell is the D'Addario mouthpiece that is best tailored to the Series III alto. For example, I found the D150 to play with less resistance, but with a brighter, somewhat looser tone quality that I didn't prefer. Generally, the level of resistance on the D155 seems fine to me, because the Series III is a low-resistance horn, but sometimes I wonder whether it might be possible to get both the dark tone of the D155 and a slightly more free-blowing feel in another piece, such as one of the new offerings on the market.

Why do you use the S90 rather than the Concept, which was (until the Delangle Signature) Selmer's newest and most refined classical mouthpiece? What does the S90 do that the Concept doesn't? I believe you stated in a previous video that you prefer square chambers, but why?

Btw, are you also going to review the Delangle mp?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Good review. Thanks. After you've completed this round of reviews of various new-ish classical mouthpieces, it might be helpful to do a summary of your reactions that discusses how they all compare with each other.

I understand your decision about the test reed, but I'm not sure that I agree with it. The basic question is whether a review is more useful when it compares the optimal performance of two items of equipment, or the performance with all potential variables held constant, even if that might handicap one of the test items. E.g., "We are going to compare mouthpiece A, using a reed that's perfect for it, with mouthpiece B, using a reed that's a little too hard for it." Of course, one can go overboard trying to optimize everything -- switching horns, or even brands of reeds, clearly would be a mistake. But reed strength? It's not obvious to me what the best approach is. Maybe demo all three: baseline mp w/standard reed; new mouthpiece w/standard reed; and new mouthpiece with strength-matched reed.
I ultimately decided to make the mouthpiece the only variable here in order to best demonstrate, all things being equal, how the mouthpiece's intrinsic characteristics affect the attributes of the sound and playability. I am a reed-first player when it comes to configuring my setup and it would be disingenuous for me to change my approach to cater to one particular mouthpiece. The reed is the most fickle and unpredictable part of any setup so if I find something I like fairly consistently, I am going to do everything I can to avoid changing it. Furthermore I would argue the resistance/darkness is a feature, not a bug, therefore I should not compensate to mitigate it.

I personally play the D155, which from what I can tell is the D'Addario mouthpiece that is best tailored to the Series III alto. For example, I found the D150 to play with less resistance, but with a brighter, somewhat looser tone quality that I didn't prefer. Generally, the level of resistance on the D155 seems fine to me, because the Series III is a low-resistance horn, but sometimes I wonder whether it might be possible to get both the dark tone of the D155 and a slightly more free-blowing feel in another piece, such as one of the new offerings on the market.
Fun fact, the D150's primary design consultant was Kristen McKeon, the Reserve mouthpiece's product lead; it must be a great gig when you can design a mouthpiece for yourself! I imagine a lot of other players with similar tastes and approach will also enjoy the D150. Also, the primary design consultant for the D155 was Dr. Nate Nabb, who happens to a play a gold plated Series II but with a Series III neck. I work with him during the summer, he sounds incredible with his horn and D155 (as does Kristen with her Yamaha EX and D150).

Why do you use the S90 rather than the Concept, which was (until the Delangle Signature) Selmer's newest and most refined classical mouthpiece? What does the S90 do that the Concept doesn't? I believe you stated in a previous video that you prefer square chambers, but why?
I do not believe that Selmer Paris designs new mouthpiece lines with the intent of them being direct replacements or objectively more refined than their predecessors. The only instance of this I can remember is the S90 vs the S80, but this was more to accommodate for the tonal characteristics of the Series III vs the II and earlier. Plain and simple, I really enjoy the tone and feel of the S90. I find that it is stable enough to be reliable in the moment but flexible enough to provide a range of colors. The Concept is a very pleasant tone and easy to play, but I find it is too dialed in and suffers many of the same fundamental limitations as the AL3. Also, Claude Delangle plays anything at any moment. When I played for him in a masterclass in 2017, he was playing an old soloist-style C* rather than the Concept he was plugging at the time. He also matches his reeds with a variety of mouthpieces and will change depending on the gig or a whim. Claude likes to experiment in order to avoid settling into one tone color and achieve greater "embouchure flexibility" (in his words) and subsequently does not subscribe to a "one mouthpiece to rule them all" approach. Having said that, most of his students do the opposite, funnily enough.​


Btw, are you also going to review the Delangle mp?
Conn-Selmer is currently sending me Yanigasawa mouthpieces and ligatures, which will be reviewed. The Delangle mouthpiece will be released in France this fall and generally takes a few months to make it to US retailers... once Conn-Selmer has a limited batch of review copies, I'll get one of those too.
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Another excellent review.

I don't think the difference in your sound was all that obvious, which is a testament you controlling the sound so they both sounded like "you". To me, the D155 sounded warmer and the S90 sounded "cleaner", but the differences were VERY slight.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Another excellent review.

I don't think the difference in your sound was all that obvious, which is a testament you controlling the sound so they both sounded like "you". To me, the D155 sounded warmer and the S90 sounded "cleaner", but the differences were VERY slight.
Thank you for your kind feedback!
 
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