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Discussion Starter #1
Hi there,
I have an Otto Link STM 6 on a tenor Yamaha YTS-61. I found the way it works for me I have a lot of high mid frequencies which I love for the note definition and presence compared to a lot of hard rubber mouthpieces. Although I see it is a bit short on the low-mid and low frequencies. It might be to do with YTS-61. Although I thought I check around to see if anyone recommends any mouthpiece that can have both the warmth of the lower frequencies and also broad-sounding enough to cover a good presence of the high frequencies as well. I saw a youtube video from CE Winds advertisement playing a YTS-61 with a Silver Shocka mouthpice which sounds warm with a lot of presence: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKNzzYP5WzE
I really like the dynamic range of it too. My Otto Link STM has a very good dynamic range which I found missing in some of the hard rubber ones I tried.
Do you think it is a good move from Otto Link STM to get the CE Winds Shocka mouthpiece? If not, what else is there that you recommend? Thanks a lot.
 

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I'd first try to get what you want through changing reeds or ligature changes. You are almost to what you want and these are much cheaper variables to test!
What are you playing now for reeds?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks guido for the reply. I play Rico Royal #2.5. I know they are a bit thin and perhaps too soft. Can I get a warm sounding reed that keeps the whole frequency range? Do I loose the softness? I like the fact that I don't get any hissing sound out of this. I found harder reeds create a hissing sound in this mouthpiece. I guess my embouchure muscles are not strong enough. Otto Link STM comes with their ligature. I thought the ligature is doing a good job but I'm curious to know what else is there that could improve the sound, and what's the rationale for that.
 

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From Rico Royals the obvious reeds to try include Rico Jazz Select, Vandoren Java, Java Red or ZZ, Alexander DC... If the 2.5 strength is working for you staying in that range is fine. Harder reeds are something to think about long term but nothing to dive into prematurely.

Some work to do, but enjoyable work. Make sure you break them in consistently so you are getting the most out of every reed.

The ligature effects how the reed vibrates. The variables include the shape and contact points with the reed, The contact points with the body of the mouthpiece and the dampening qualities of the materials the lig is made of. There are as many theories about what is the best lig as there are players but there are options if you want to explore.
 

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I'm not sure what you mean by "warm" sound. Might help to cite some players with a sound concept similar to what your looking for.

Based on your comments about something with a wide dynamic range and warm (not edgy), I'd think something with a large chamber and little baffle. Which of course is what you're playing now. A 2.5 reed on a size 6 opening seems a little soft. Maybe try a #3 rico royal and adjust the sides a little to free up the response down low. Or maybe something like a V16 #3...Regular Rico would be brighter sound, Rigotti Gold maybe a little darker...

Nothing wrong with trying other mouthpieces like a rubber Link of some sort (or copy like Saxscape etc), but I'm not sure that would be a whole lot different than what you're on now.
 

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From Rico Royals the obvious reeds to try include Rico Jazz Select, Vandoren Java, Java Red or ZZ, Alexander DC...

Some work to do, but enjoyable work. Make sure you break them in consistently so you are getting the most out of every reed.

The ligature effects how the reed vibrates. The variables include the shape and contact points with the reed, The contact points with the body of the mouthpiece and the dampening qualities of the materials the lig is made of. There are as many theories about what is the best lig as there are players but there are options if you want to explore.
+1 on experimenting with reeds. I use an STM 6* with Rico Royal 2.5s, mostly. I've been experimenting with RR 3s, Rico Select Jazz 2Ms and 2Hs as well. (Ricos just seem to like me!) I break in the 2Hs and 3s. Then, I've been very lightly sanding them to fine tune them. I'm using something like 2000 grit sandpaper. You don't have to go that fine but it's what I had lying around and works well, imo. The harder reeds help my upper end quite a bit. Doing just a bit of adjusting keeps them great down low. Not that the 2.5.s really thinned out up high, just the harder reeds seem to stay a bit more full bodied, if that makes any sense.

The lig can make a bit of a difference, YMMV. I replaced the stock lig with a Rovner EVO-5 and then a Star Series (mostly because I'm cheap). Whereas a lot of members report Rovners deadening the sound, I found they opened up the tone a bit, sealed the reed to the table better, and the horn responded better - go figure. It's not a "bright" set up by far. Not intended for contemporary sax sound at all.

If you really, really, just want to satisfy a mpc GAS attack, try an STM NY. It's supposed to have an even larger chamber than the STM and be less "bright" than same.
 

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You seem to be focusing on the material the mouthpiece is made of. It's the internal dimensions (baffle, chamber, etc.) that make the difference. All manufacturers sing the praises of their mouthpieces. After all, they're trying to sell them. It's always better for you to try many mouthpieces to find one you feel comfortable with, and like the sound of. If you are near a large dealer, making a visit is best way to go. If not, WWBW and Weiner both have fairly liberal trial policies. Frankly, within limits, a lot of the way you sound has more to do with you than the mouthpiece. Having said that, I think you are looking for a piece with a rollover baffle and medium to medium large round chamber. Take a serious look at the Morgan Excalibur, which is very flexible and which may give you what you're looking for.

http://morganmouthpieces.com/tenor/excaliburml.html
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the info. I'll check the Morgan Excalibur mouthpiece. I started looking into reeds with darker sound as well. Still not quite sure where I'm supposed to sand to get what sort of result. Is there any online source out there to explain? Thanks guys.
The reason I used the word warmer is because I thought darker has less high frequency content rather than warmer that has both high and low frequencies. I'm not sticking to the mouthpiece material but I have experienced a few hard rubber and they all had less presented frequencies in the high mid range and I can hear more exaggeration of some low mid frequencies that are to do with the hard rubber / plastic resonation. I think the energy of the reed vibration naturally effects different amount of the attached mass differently. I imagine it would be awkward to make a hard rubber mouthpiece with the thickness that could equate the mass of a metal mouthpiece. This is my opinion based on my sound & engineering background. I'll be happy to learn more about the physics of the mouthpiece if you can recommend any source.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Just a quick update. I checked the local dealer in my town and ordered Gonzalez reeds and will try Otto Link NY #6. No Morgan available in my town and I don't like to buy stuff online without trying. Thanks everyone for the feedback. I'll let you know how the Gonzalez and Link NY are working.
 

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Be forewarned - many members report quite a bit of QC issues with late model Otto Link STMs and STM NYs. Therefore, since I have two of the better ones bought in the last 3-4 years, you might not get a good one on the first try. Just sayin, sorry I got'em! :bluewink:
 

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You seem to be focusing on the material the mouthpiece is made of. It's the internal dimensions (baffle, chamber, etc.) that make the difference. All manufacturers sing the praises of their mouthpieces. After all, they're trying to sell them. It's always better for you to try many mouthpieces to find one you feel comfortable with, and like the sound of. If you are near a large dealer, making a visit is best way to go. If not, WWBW and Weiner both have fairly liberal trial policies. Frankly, within limits, a lot of the way you sound has more to do with you than the mouthpiece. Having said that, I think you are looking for a piece with a rollover baffle and medium to medium large round chamber. Take a serious look at the Morgan Excalibur, which is very flexible and which may give you what you're looking for.

http://morganmouthpieces.com/tenor/excaliburml.html
I thought the Morgan Excalibers I played were pretty darn bright. I'm surprised you find them warm sounding. When I think of warm sounding I think of a Lebayle LR mouthpiece I tried on my site. I also have a gold Aizen large chambered piece that is very warm and has a nice presence to it.
 

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Good call , that video sound is all enhanced. You can get a great sound from an Otto Link NY.
I've been playing a NY Link all day today. The one I have was awful. I had to have Brian Powell race it and then I put my own slight baffle in it. Now it kicks serious but. It's a bit brighter though but that's how I like it. There's a clip of it on my website from some time ago somewhere.
 

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I thought the Morgan Excalibers I played were pretty darn bright. I'm surprised you find them warm sounding. When I think of warm sounding I think of a Lebayle LR mouthpiece I tried on my site. I also have a gold Aizen large chambered piece that is very warm and has a nice presence to it.
My experience with mine is it plays loud, but not particularly bright, w/ Gonzalez 2.5 - 3. I found the sound very flexible, if that makes any sense . Of course, mine is a very early version (Bilger -Morgan) and newer models may have had some changes.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
For the second night, I tried Link STM NY 6 versus Link STM 6 and found out although NY has a bit darker sound which is interesting but it lacks some of the high frequency magnifications (I don't know what the right term is in the sax techniques) when moving the lower jaw outward. Basically the texture is a good texture (more jazz suited character) but not very versatile. I use the exact same reed on both for this test. Also I found that the lowest level of the sound in STM NY is not as low as Link STM. Basically it has less dynamic range. I wish I could get that extra warmth without sacrificing the dynamic range or the texture versatility.
 

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Poor low end response in links is frequently due to adjustment issues in the mouthpiece. First rule out the player, reed and tip opening match. A good Link has a great low end...warm and resonant.
 

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I have a 6* STM and a 7 STM NY. I can not use the same reed on them. I can use Rico Royals 2.5s & 3s, Rico Select Jazz 2M & 2Hs on the STM. I need to soften the same size reed just a bit to use it on the NY. I just don't play the NY enough to step up the reed strength and get used to it. I don't have any issues with losing any frequencies when changing the dynamics, so, I'm thinking the NY you're using wants either a different reed as Sigund451 suggests.

You could also try a couple different sizes as well. The NY 6 may not be suited for you. Try up to a 7 or 7*. Not a huge jump in sizes but you will want to use a softer reed for the 7* and maybe the 7, YMMV.

Or, the larger chamber of the NY just doesn't suit your sound concept. In that case the STM may come as close as you're going to get and, again, as Sigmund said, it may need to be tweaked slightly to make it more responsive in the low end. In that case, consult one of the many refacers, of which Sigmund is one (hint, hint) to see what they would suggest in more detail. This is not an unusual situation.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I have a Link 6 STM. What reed do you recommend to match #6 tip opening on a Link STM?
What kind of retrofit improves the low end? Is it to do with polishing / shaping the interior or changing the table / face profile? How about the rails? I'm wondering if I need to do anything with the rails. I found that when I switch the reeds, majority of them don't seal properly and I have hard time getting rid of the hissing sound. I tried other mouthpieces and it seems that wasn't the case.
 

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My experience with mine is it plays loud, but not particularly bright, w/ Gonzalez 2.5 - 3. I found the sound very flexible, if that makes any sense . Of course, mine is a very early version (Bilger -Morgan) and newer models may have had some changes.
Ok. I found the Excalbers and the M chambers brighter. The L was darker and warmer for me in comparison.
 
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