I have a Gaia 7 HR. Pros: It is a large chamber, rollover baffle and has a wonderful dark, lush sound. Cons: The beak is engraved on top to accept a patch, I find this annoying as I don't use patches. Also, they could save the buyer some bucks by offering the MP without the lousy "Enlightened" ligature.
NY Bros. 7 (original issue) alto. I actually have two of them. One is my main, the other my back-up. I have to say that my two do NOT play/feel exactly the same. Not that they should, but no matter how much computer design/finishing is used on these mouthpieces, I can confidently say that they blow slightly different and one is definitely "fatter" sounding. Having said that, I love my main one. Not that the back-up is bad, but it just doesn't have what my main one does.
I have had an original Gaia 6, it played too bright for my taste and was more open than I like. I had a NY brothers 6, it was ok, but not as focused as I like, recently got the same in a 5 and it doesn’t really work for me. I have a bunch of Wanne tenor mouthpieces that I really like, can’t say the same for his alto mouthpieces that I’ve tried.
I agree with JGreiner. You can have several pieces of the same model and each piece will be slightly different. That was my experience having played three Gaia HR alto pieces and three Durga metal alto pieces. All of the pieces that I tried played well. But I could hear a difference between each piece of the same model.
I have the TW NYBros 2 in 7, the Gaia 2 in 7, and the Durga 3 in an 8. All of them are outstanding pieces and play as you'd expect for their class. The NY Bros is the most traditional, has a rich core, and just sings in the upper octaves. I have a few other excellent pieces (Drake NY Jazz, Aizen NY, Vandoren V16 A7 in M and S+...all in similar tip openings) and for my preferences, the TW version has the best blend of attributes. The main thing for me is the rich core that has an excellent balance of focus and spread whilst still allowing me to get as bright as I need up top.
Compared to the NY Bros, the Gaia 2 is a bit more spread down low and a tad brighter on top...a little more modern sounding than the NY Bros. It's an outstanding piece as well and I'm looking forward to v3!
The Durga 3 is a fantastic contemporary piece that never gets shrill and has outstanding projection with great core and body. I recently acquired a 10mfan Showboat that I absolutely love and it sits somewhere between the Gaia and Durga on the brightness level. The Showboat has an excellent core (focus/spread balance reminds me of the NY Bros) and can scream up top...is easier to blow than the Gaia or Durga, guessing because of the more medium-sized chamber and slightly smaller tip opening. The Gaia and Durga have a little more spread and full bottom end. They are all excellent pieces with precision craftsmanship and the only thing to consider here would be personal preference on the sound and balance of frequencies - they all play.
Also, regarding TW customer service: I had a tip opening issue with a backup NY Bros (v1) I purchased online and sent it to TW to take a look at (and open up, as it was a bit closed for a 7) and they replaced it no questions asked with a v2, which I greatly preferred. TW has outstanding customer service and commitment to the craft and I would highly recommend any of these pieces!
I spent some time with 10Mfan’s showboat 7 and daddy o 6 recently and I thought they were both really nice, but I couldn’t get settled on either one as both felt a little more locked in than I preferred. I like the flexibility the Gaia has based on first impressions. But I’ll need to play it quite a bit more before I know for sure.
More locked in = more focussed, for many.
If you like a little more flexibility, go with a piece that is a little more spread. Too much spread, may feel too loose for someone.
Some guys prefer more focused because the sound feels more locked in and not getting away from you, and some guys prefer more spread, in comparison.
The horns you play on make a big difference with what you enjoy for a mouthpiece also. If you play a Conn 6M alto which has a beautiful spread to it, you may like a spread mouthpiece because it’ll keep that big huge spread sound going, but for others it may be too spread with the spread mouthpiece. Some will prefer a mouthpiece that has more focus on the spread horn to kind of balance it out. There are lots of scenarios and one mouthpiece that you enjoy and one horn, you may not enjoy as much on another.
There’s something out there for everybody to enjoy.
Theo Wanne is briliant. I have had many different mouthpieces. I decided to buy a Theo Wanne Mindi Abair mouthpice. What a work of art. You might say it is to bright. I play it on a YAS 82Zii. Then you might go further and say even brighter. I am able to play bright and edgy as well as a touch of darkness to the sound. It is extremely versatile. Yes it is ment to be bright. Stick with it and you will find out what you can do with it. I can recommend any of Theo Wanne’s mouthpiece. They guy is amazing.
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