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Discussion Starter #1
"The Nearness Of You" MPC comparison of five vintage Otto Links – small tips versus big tips

Hi all,

I recently recorded five takes of 'The Nearness Of You" to compare the sound differences between five vintage Otto Link mouthpieces. These ones are used: an Early Babbitt 8* (1974 model), a Florida no USA 10* (1950-1960 model), a Tone Master 5* (1940-1950 model), a New York Double Ring 4* and a Master Link 6 (1930-1935 model). I played the small tips with a La Voz medium hard reed and the big ones on a La Voz medium reed.

I just compiled a long track out the five takes and uploaded it to YouTube with a picture movie behind it showing which mouthpiece is played where in the clip. By opening the detailed description under de video you get a time index, which makes it easy to jump directly to a certain part of the recording. Here is the link:

- "The Nearness Of You" MPC comparison clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EmRpys9GwU

I also posted the original five takes on my SoundClick page:

1. The Nearness Of You take 1 - Otto Link STM Early Babbitt 8*: http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=10983675
2. The Nearness Of You take 2 - Otto Link STM Florida no USA 10*: http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=10976911
3. The Nearness Of You take 3 - Otto Link Master Link 6: http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=10983682
4. The Nearness Of You take 4 - Otto Link Tone Master 5*: http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=10983684
5. The Nearness Of You take 5 - Otto Link STM New York Double Ring 4*: http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=10976915
(All posted before in the Beginners/Intermediates thread here on SOTW.)

Just posted these clips here for information. Please don't bother to much on my playing, I'm just an intermediate player who likes to make these kind of (silly!) comparisons.

My conclusions are that I sound quite simular on all pieces and prefer playing big tip mouthpieces with a medium reed above small tip mouthpieces with a hard reed.

Peter.
 

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Re: "The Nearness Of You" MPC comparison of five vintage Otto Links – small tips versus big tips

Hey bro!
Good job and thanks for posting all these for us to hear.

I like in order:
1. The tone master
2. The master link
3. The double ring
4. The 10*
5. The eb 8*

...you like the bigger tips pieces, but i prefer you on the smaller ones. Its all subjective, and there are no right answers.

Very nice playing. Hope you are well!!!
 

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Re: "The Nearness Of You" MPC comparison of five vintage Otto Links – small tips versus big tips

I did like the Tone Master 5* a little better, but the Early Babbit sounded quite nice as well.

Not a bad thing to have a few options that work, nice luxury. Really pretty tone and vibrato on the melody...

Shawn
 

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Re: "The Nearness Of You" MPC comparison of five vintage Otto Links – small tips versus big tips

I prefer the 8* Early Babbitt. Why? It seemed you got more core tone out of it and less hiss. It sounded to me like this one was a better opening for you or maybe the facing is better. Some of the others sounded like the opening was too big or the reed was too hard. The Tonemaster 5* was my second choice. Last place is the 10*.
 

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Re: "The Nearness Of You" MPC comparison of five vintage Otto Links – small tips versus big tips

Well, now for a completey different opinion: I liked you best on the Florida STM 10* - it seemed that you could play your style of music the best on that one, with a truly vintage sound. Tonemaster 5* was my least favourite. Funny how appreciation of tone works. Nice playing throughout, mr peebee.
 

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Re: "The Nearness Of You" MPC comparison of five vintage Otto Links – small tips versus big tips

I guess this proves -once again- that we sound like ourselves no matter what mpc we pick. For me mpc selection is not about sound, it's about comfort. For it to be comfortable, it has to be flexible enough to express what I hear. Different designs leans towards specific tendencies.

Cool sound. I hear you more comfortable on smaller tips too. I play mostly alto, and I'm using a Bergonzi .105 on tenor, and it's tough for me. Regarding your recordings, I did a quick listening to your first phrases to compare... I kinda like the Master Link, I like that tubbyness and velvety tenor, that I'm sure you can "open" it and take it to another zone if needed.

(what do I know, my 0.0002)
 

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Re: "The Nearness Of You" MPC comparison of five vintage Otto Links – small tips versus big tips

I preferred the ToneMaster. I think you got the fullest sound out of that piece. I can definitely hear the Texas tenor influence in your playing.
It sounds like you prefer a resistant set-up so a lot of the tone I can hear is down to the resistance. Sometime you might want to consider experimenting with slightly softer reeds for a more free blowing set-up which would give all those mouthpieces a completely different tone character. It may take you some time to get used to a less resistant set-up but I think you might enjoy the results also. Thanks for posting the comparison.
 

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Re: "The Nearness Of You" MPC comparison of five vintage Otto Links – small tips versus big tips

Another vote for the tone master!

Thanks for the video, that was very interesting to watch/hear!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Re: "The Nearness Of You" MPC comparison of five vintage Otto Links – small tips versus big tips

Thanks all for listening and the comments, your input is highly appreciated.

...you like the bigger tips pieces, but i prefer you on the smaller ones. Its all subjective, and there are no right answers.

Very nice playing. Hope you are well!!!
Thanks Mark, I'm fine and hope you're fine too. That's a very wise statement you made above :).

Not a bad thing to have a few options that work, nice luxury. Really pretty tone and vibrato on the melody...

Shawn
Thanks Shawn. Indeed I feel lucky having a lot of nice pieces to choose from (I own more pieces than played in this clip, as you probably know). But I always try to stay at one piece for a longer time under all conditions (except when recording these clips :bluewink:). At this moment that piece is my Florida 10*.

I prefer the 8* Early Babbitt. Why? It seemed you got more core tone out of it and less hiss. It sounded to me like this one was a better opening for you or maybe the facing is better. Some of the others sounded like the opening was too big or the reed was too hard. The Tonemaster 5* was my second choice. Last place is the 10*.
Good oberservations :). When I recorded these 'Nearness' clips I hadn't played for almost 3 weeks, so that gave indeed some issues with my embouchure. But I have to say that I like subtone and stuffy sounds very much (Ben Webster is one of my hero's), so some of that comes from the sound concept I prefer.

The EB 8* was for 20 years my main piece, but now it's the Florida 10* (bought from 10mfan!). Biggest advantage of the FL 10* over the EB 8* is that it can take all the air you can put in without closing down. In the practise room clips I post here on SOTW you often hear a lot of false air with the 10*, but when played in a louder environment (like in bands) that false air disappears in the surrounding sounds and then the strong core of the 10* comes through. You can hear that in the 'Q Big Band' clips on my YouTube page, where the sound of the 10* is much closer to the 'real' sound of it then in my practise room and comparison clips.

Well, now for a completey different opinion: I liked you best on the Florida STM 10* - it seemed that you could play your style of music the best on that one, with a truly vintage sound. Tonemaster 5* was my least favourite. Funny how appreciation of tone works. Nice playing throughout, mr peebee.
Thanks Reine :). I also think that the 10* fits my preferred style of playing (Texas Tenor) better then the others. In other styles other pieces can bring more, but like mentioned, I prefer to stay on one piece for a longer period.

Cool sound. I hear you more comfortable on smaller tips too. I play mostly alto, and I'm using a Bergonzi .105 on tenor, and it's tough for me. Regarding your recordings, I did a quick listening to your first phrases to compare... I kinda like the Master Link, I like that tubbyness and velvety tenor, that I'm sure you can "open" it and take it to another zone if needed.

(what do I know, my 0.0002)
I also like the Master Link, but found that it sounded a bit muted in this recording. I think that's because I used a Rovner lig here, which are known for killing the sound. With a metal Link lig it sounds more vibrant, open and brighter. I also didn't use the best reed for it (didn't have time to find a better one). That piece can scream under the right conditions!

I own some 'opened' old Links (Four**** in 8*, 9 and 10, a Tone Master 8, also the Master Link was opened from 4 to 6), but found that the real character of an old MPC seems to disappear when it's opened up too much. I guess that's because opening a piece will often create another and different baffle, which has a big impact on the sound of the MPC (making it less dark, especially when pushed).

I preferred the ToneMaster. I think you got the fullest sound out of that piece. I can definitely hear the Texas tenor influence in your playing.
It sounds like you prefer a resistant set-up so a lot of the tone I can hear is down to the resistance. Sometime you might want to consider experimenting with slightly softer reeds for a more free blowing set-up which would give all those mouthpieces a completely different tone character. It may take you some time to get used to a less resistant set-up but I think you might enjoy the results also. Thanks for posting the comparison.
Good observation Liam, indeed I like a lot of resistance (probably more then I can handle with playing at average about 2-3 hours a week [rolleyes]). It's funny that most of you prefer the Tone Master 5*. I was also really surprised about it's sound. I have that piece for more then a year but never played it with a hard reed before this recording and this was the first time it responded well in the full range. Seems this piece doesn't like small or medium reeds. Indeed one has to learn how to play a small tip hard reed setup and I've never put much time in that. Would like to explore that further, but finding enough time is an issue in my life [rolleyes].

****

My own rating (before this thread!) was FL 10*, EB 8*, ML 6, NY DR 4*, TM 5* (I guess I have to reconsider the TM 5* rating now :bluewink:), but that sequence is defined on all aspects of the mouthpieces. Rating mouthpieces and sounds via clips is a very tricky thing, because lots of aspects you can feel and notice when playing a piece in different environments (studie room, jam session, big band reheasal, name it) can't be detected on a 'simple' sound clip. Also the personal taste and preference of the listeners can be quite different, so all those factors make a rating sequence very personal. Still I find it fun to make those comparison clips because it makes me more aware of what my different pieces can deliver for me and what I could try to do and learn to make it better. For another player testing my mouthpieces it could (and will!) be a complete different story.

Actually I like most of my MPC's very much as they have all something special to deliver, but the power and easiness of altissimo of the 10* wins for the moment (even while I seem to have more control over the smaller tip pieces). It just brings me the most of what I'm looking for right now. But not all, because in the end it's the player that makes the mouthpiece and not the other way around. And this player has his limitations [rolleyes].

Thanks again for the feedback and sorry for the very long response :)!
 

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Re: "The Nearness Of You" MPC comparison of five vintage Otto Links – small tips versus big tips

I am with Rennie on this. +1 for the Florida 10*.

You hit a sweet spot there.
 

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Re: "The Nearness Of You" MPC comparison of five vintage Otto Links – small tips versus big tips

Here's a repost from the B&I thread....


I'll listen to all just cause I like your playing :salute: Some thoughts...

MP 1. Focused with a bit of sweetness in the lower harmonics.
MP 2. Breathy and deep. Very old school cool sound like off a 78rpm record.
MP 3. Fluid and muted tone with slightly sluggish attack. I'm guessing it's resistant and needs more air to get the most out of it???
MP 4. Mid range tone color and focused. Not many harmonic overtones. Also very old school sounding.
MP 5. Brightest of all yet still on the darkish side when you not pushing it. This tip size must be like blowing through a coffee stirrer for you :mrgreen:

You sound great on all. The player shines through. My taste would put them in the order of 1, 2, 5, 3, and 4 last.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Re: "The Nearness Of You" MPC comparison of five vintage Otto Links – small tips versus big tips

Thanks Smokey613, jazzznbluezzz (nice to hit a sweet spot :mrgreen:) and TJ (replies already given above in #10 and in the B&I thread) :).
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Re: "The Nearness Of You" MPC comparison of five vintage Otto Links – small tips versus big tips

I own some 'opened' old Links (Four**** in 8*, 9 and 10, a Tone Master 8, also the Master Link was opened from 4 to 6), but found that the real character of an old MPC seems to disappear when it's opened up too much. I guess that's because opening a piece will often create another and different baffle, which has a big impact on the sound of the MPC (making it less dark, especially when pushed).
Those who are interested can hear some of my other mouthpieces here, here and here (all posted before on SOTW). Just open the details under those clips to get a time index per mouthpiece.
 
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