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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello all!
Sorry to see the thread on the Amma got off topic and ultimately closed. I have been promising a comprehensive review and clips of my Amma and Theo Wanne Custom Link.

The entire review can be found on SaxShed.com (as soon as my webmaster posts it.) In the meantime, here's the beginning of the review and a link to 3 audio clips. #1 is the Gold Amma. #2 is the Silver Amma and #3 is my Theo Wanne Custom Link.

"Theo Wanne of MouthpieceHeaven.com has long been a gifted, talented and sought-after mouthpiece refacer. For about five years many of us have eagerly awaited the arrival of his production pieces. Much time has been spent developing and perfecting a mouthpiece to follow and surpass the Custom Links for which he is so well known. Theo has done just that. He has now unveiled his remarkable and unique new mouthpiece – The Amma.

If you are a fan of vintage mouthpieces and Links in general, you will likely be a big fan of the Amma. In my own experience I found the Amma to be very complimentary to the feel of my Theo Wanne Custom Link STM 7*NY. The new Amma plays much like the beautiful pieces Theo previously customized for me. The same familiar feel of Theo’s craftsmanship made me immediately comfortable with the Amma. What makes the Amma special is that it feels and plays great, yet retains that robust sound of a vintage Link..." - Skip

Oops! These clips will be reposted with a new set of reeds.
Sorry for the confusion.

Skip
SaxShed.com
 

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I agree on both fronts.
The gold plate seemed to be a little brighter to me, but only the tiniest ammount.
The Theo modifed link was actually my favourite.
Lovely Skip, thanks for sharing it with us all.
 

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Benny said:
The gold plate seemed to be a little brighter to me, but only the tiniest ammount.
The Theo modifed link was actually my favourite.
Hate to say it but I kind of agree...had this...deeper...warmth? to it I think...not a huge difference...don't even know if I'm describing it right...eh whatever.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
CountSpatula said:
Wow,not a huge difference to me...great playing though Skip!
I agree. They all sound "like me". The difference on my end is that I need to hold back on the Link with the wedge to create that sound. On the Amma's I can blow freely and not hold back to create the sound. In the end, not a huge difference but I'm happy to get rid of the annoying excess edge the custom link can create. Don't get me wrong. I think they all sound good. Take your pick on what you like.
Skip
 

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Could you post a clip playing a regular stm, maybe an hr link as well.

I would be worth it to see if it changes your tone and adds more weight to the sound.

Honestly all three sound the same to me. An audience wouldn't be able to tell the difference.
 

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Definitly no differences for me ... It says much ...
 

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The differences I heard were, in the same order as posted, a decreasing brightness and edge to the sound. If I was going to buy a Wanne Link I just saved myself some coin because for my taste #3 had the best sound; a little fuller and richer. But then that's because I don't like that bright, buzzy kind of sound that sounds like it comes from the tip of the mpc and not the fullness of the entire mpc and horn. Personal, I know.

Another observation. It makes me wonder what differences there are at all between using an AMMA vs other mpcs of the same type and sound. In this case, what would seem to me most important, by comparison to other brand mpcs, is the mpc's response and playability; meaning, does this mpc give a quicker and more agile response than others that might sound the same but be, by comparison, a bit sluggish.

And of course, there's the ultimate test and that can't be demonstrated in such sound bites as above, and that's what it sounds in various ensembles and, importantly, what you are hearing when you are playing it in an ensemble. For example, I prefer #3 but if I was in a setting that was typical of the kind of blowing I would do, would I be able to hear myself on #3 as well as on #2 or #1.

At any rate, thanks for taking the time to give this pre-review and make the recordings; much appreciated.
 

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Thanks, Skip, for taking the time and effort to help us all out with your impressions and examples. I thought the first Amma really sounded the best, even though, as everyone else says, it's very very close. But the gold Amma just seemed to have the most color and stability. The silver seemed to thin out a bit hearing it in this close comparison. The Amma sounded more like a great Link even than the Link!

Thanks for that terrific playing, too.
 

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Thanks skip for the great recordings. It gives me a direction of the AMMA´s sound. But I think no more GAS for me. I´ll stay with my guardala MB.
 

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Thanks Skip, nice playing on "Confirmation", BTW. I like all three clips, and of course, because they are all you, they are very similar. I think it's interesting that the silver-plated piece is darker than the gold-plated piece; I always thought that it was the other way around.
Your comments on the pieces, and Gary's observations as well, highlight that there is a difference between hearing the sound of the mouthpiece from an outside source and hearing it as you play, especially at the gig. Listening to someone else play, it's really all about the tone, but when you're the one playing the piece, it's about whether it works for you or not. To my ear's it's all good; I think Theo is on to something.
There's a store a half an hour from my house that is keeping a 7* AMMA as a demo, (they worked out being a dealer with Theo. The first?), so I am going to try it out later this week............daryl
 

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Guys I really didn't hear anything in the clips that made this come off as the product of a lifetime.

And as far as the plating goes. We all know, or at least we should know by now that the plating on the mouthpiece isn't going to do anything to the tone. These are two different mouthpieces, the same models, but two different pieces and as such they are going to sound a little different.

Did I hear $650 worth of tone improvement with the Amma. Not really. I'd just assume stay with a more traditional mouthpiece, those are tried and tested designs that have stood the test of time.

Actually I think Skip did the best service for all this Amma business, by showing us that no matter what you play it's still going to sound like you.

To tell you the truth I sort of like the clips on the SaxScape mouthpiece site. Those you can really tell the difference with the various models. Playing three of the same models essentially makes it almost impossible to discern what makes the amma so special.
 

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He's playing 3 very similar, if not nearly identical mouthpieces. What would be slightly more telling is how does it sound compared to a standard link or other types of mouthpieces.
 

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Thank you for doing this.

THe fact that you admitted that you had to "back off" on the last mpc, points out the problems one can encounter making comparisons like this truly "scientific". Its hard.

When making something like this, alot of times, we end up with a sound in our heads, and begin subtly adjusting, when playing the other pieces, therefore emphasizing the similarities. (I esp. think this happened between the gold & the silver)

If you'd like my opinion, they all sound too bright & edgey to me, possibly its your concept, which, seems a little Brecker-like, which is emphasizing the highs.

Possibly you could make a sound clip with a darker mpc, maybe a Slant or something (if you have one), so we can hear what you sound like on a darker piece, for a better contrast & to judge if the brightness we hear is coming from your concept or the mpc's themselves.

Great playing, thank you very much
 

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Nice playing! And a very nicely done comparison as well.

I didn't hear a difference in the gold and silver plate pieces that couldn't be caused by reed variation. I don't think the plating makes much difference.

The third piece was my favorite as well but all three were ultimately more focused than what I'm after. It's a personal preference thing.

skipsax said:
If you are a fan of vintage mouthpieces and Links in general, you will likely be a big fan of the Amma. In my own experience I found the Amma to be very complimentary to the feel of my Theo Wanne Custom Link STM 7*NY. The new Amma plays much like the beautiful pieces Theo previously customized for me. The same familiar feel of Theo’s craftsmanship made me immediately comfortable with the Amma. What makes the Amma special is that it feels and plays great, yet retains that robust sound of a vintage Link..." - Skip
I do respectfully disagree with the above however. To me, with your playing, on your horn and on that recording, all the pieces remind me more of a good Berg than a vintage Link. Nicely focused with good core but not overly bright. The most focused Links I have, an early Babbitt STM and a "highly tuned" Florida STM still seem to me to be more spread than the AMMA. I don't mean that as a criticism, just an opinionated observation.

One thing I would have liked to have heard in the review clips would have been more long tones in the left-hand stack and palms. Many horns (esp. Selmers) tend to get thin up there and I'd like to hear how the AMMA does. That's probably my biggest single complaint with my early Babbitt piece . . . the timbre does change toward the thin side on my particularly dark-sounding SBA.

Again, very nice work!

P.S. Yes, a recording on a "control" piece (i.e. stock Link) would be very helpful as well!
 

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heath said:
Actually I think Skip did the best service for all this Amma business, by showing us that no matter what you play it's still going to sound like you.
This might be true for accomplished players but not for less experienced ones. I sound different with a Tone Edge or a SR Tech Fusion, no doubt.

I think we are not taking enough in account the ease of playing of the mouthpiece, rather just comparing how somebody else SOUNDS. And since he's a top notch player who I guess has found "his sound" already, the conclusion might be that everything sound similar so gear doesn't matter.
However many of use choose the mouthpiece on the nearly unique base of how easy it makes their playing. Or is that just me? Isn't it said that the best mouthpiece is the one that makes you forget about how to play and just focus on the music?

Given the return policy of Theo, I think the AMMA, which certainly won't be a "chop-in-a-box" tool, is still worth a try to decide whether it's worth FOR YOU the substantial money it goes for (unless you are perfectly satisfied of what you have already).
 

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In my ears the Link is by far a richer, fuller mouthpiece with a more complex sound retaining its character and distinctive sound all over the range of the horn whereas the Amma seemed to have a big difference from the lower to the upper register (at least to what I can hear). The amma sounded thinner and didn't sound like a big chamber vintage mpc to my ears ( probably it is because of the baffle), too much buzz for my taste(especially the gold one). I heard the clips over and over again(really liked your playing and particularly
#2)and decided there is not a chance I will be buying the gold amma (ever).
thanx for your effort
Nikolas :)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
SaxMonkey32 said:
Thank you for doing this.

THe fact that you admitted that you had to "back off" on the last mpc, points out the problems one can encounter making comparisons like this truly "scientific". Its hard.

When making something like this, alot of times, we end up with a sound in our heads, and begin subtly adjusting, when playing the other pieces, therefore emphasizing the similarities. (I esp. think this happened between the gold & the silver)

If you'd like my opinion, they all sound too bright & edgey to me, possibly its your concept, which, seems a little Brecker-like, which is emphasizing the highs.

Possibly you could make a sound clip with a darker mpc, maybe a Slant or something (if you have one), so we can hear what you sound like on a darker piece, for a better contrast & to judge if the brightness we hear is coming from your concept or the mpc's themselves.

Great playing, thank you very much
SaxMonkey32,
You are correct I am of the Brecker mold. 20 years ago I sounded like a Brecker clone. It has taken 20 years to get me away from sounding completely like a copy and stop using all his cliched licks. I still love Mike's playing on a Link, on a DG MB - I played one for 14 years. My sound is brighter and edgier and I can't get away from that without sounding UNLIKE myself. Everytime I put on a HR or take away the baffle completely I sound like there is a rag stuck in the end of my horn.

The Amma will allow darker players to retain that and brighter players like myself to retain that as well.

The reed (one reed for all 3 pieces) was a Vandoren Java 3, rather broken in. That is pretty free-blowing and "clear" to me.

I will put on a harder, darker Vandoren ZZ 3 or 3.5 and record that for all here. It will not be MY concept of sound but it will likely appeal to many here.

In the end I hope I have demonstrated that the Amma is a quality piece worth checking out for yourself.

Skip
 

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skipsax said:
SaxMonkey32,
You are correct I am of the Brecker mold. 20 years ago I sounded like a Brecker clone. It has taken 20 years to get me away from sounding completely like a copy and stop using all his cliched licks. I still love Mike's playing on a Link, on a DG MB - I played one for 14 years. My sound is brighter and edgier and I can't get away from that without sounding UNLIKE myself. Everytime I put on a HR or take away the baffle completely I sound like there is a rag stuck in the end of my horn.

The Amma will allow darker players to retain that and brighter players like myself to retain that as well.

The reed (one reed for all 3 pieces) was a Vandoren Java 3, rather broken in. That is pretty free-blowing and "clear" to me.

I will put on a harder, darker Vandoren ZZ 3 or 3.5 and record that for all here. It will not be MY concept of sound but it will likely appeal to many here.

In the end I hope I have demonstrated that the Amma is a quality piece worth checking out for yourself.

Skip
I wouldn't bother changing my tone with another reed if I were you Skip; I think you playing a ballad with the same set-up would be interesting though.....to see what the sub-tones sound like and how the piece responds to a less aggressive style as opposed to the straight bop playing of the three current examples. BTW, 'love your tone! Big, fat and in your face......daryl
 

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SaxMonkey32 said:
Thank you for doing this.

THe fact that you admitted that you had to "back off" on the last mpc, points out the problems one can encounter making comparisons like this truly "scientific". Its hard.

When making something like this, alot of times, we end up with a sound in our heads, and begin subtly adjusting, when playing the other pieces, therefore emphasizing the similarities. (I esp. think this happened between the gold & the silver)

If you'd like my opinion, they all sound too bright & edgey to me, possibly its your concept, which, seems a little Brecker-like, which is emphasizing the highs.

Possibly you could make a sound clip with a darker mpc, maybe a Slant or something (if you have one), so we can hear what you sound like on a darker piece, for a better contrast & to judge if the brightness we hear is coming from your concept or the mpc's themselves.

Great playing, thank you very much
I mean no disrespect SaxMonkey32, but the info you're looking for will only come from playing one of these pieces yourself. Saxophone playing is subjective because it is based upon the relationship with the sax that a particular player has established through hard work over time. No one else is going to hear what you hear or have the same concept of tone as you do, and no one else can get away from their concept of tone either......IMHO.......daryl
 
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