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Well, unless the color means anything to the performance (and I believe it doeesn't), it certainly sounds like La Voz and Rico would meet MY definition of "same reeds with different markings".

Unfortunately, considering what's happened to all my gigs since Covid, the 20 or so boxes of La Voz baritone reeds I got from a friend back in '98 or so, are promising to last the rest of my life it appears. I committed to Vandoren on everything else 30+ years ago, so I guess I won't be doing any further digging into the subject.
 

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Prompted me to research...
D’Addario Soprano Jazz Reeds @WWBW (US):
Rico Orange, 5 bins (1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5), $22.99/10, $2.30 each
La Voz, 5 bins (S, MS, M, MH, H), $24.99/10, $2.50 each
Select Jazz, 9 bins (2S, 2M, 2H, 3S, 3M, 3H, 4S, 4M, 4H), $26.99/10, $2.70 each
[...]
Three products of jazz reeds may well be simple package branding and product stratification by D'Addario--pricing for perceived value rather than any quantifiable metric.
Note that the Select Jazz are not the same cut, only the La Voz and Rico Orange are the same (and Royals are the same, but with a filed bark).

If you listen to Dr. Wallace's podcast episode linked in the OP, he talks about some of the differences between the Rico/La Voz and the Select Jazz. Physically, the most obvious difference is that the Select Jazz use obviously thicker blanks. In fact, I've had ligatures that consistently fit one but not the other.
 

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Just goes to show how powerful perception can be, I have been biased against orange box as I think of them as only reeds I give to my beginning students. La voz (in my head) always seemed like a step up from that, although this seems illogical reading this info now.
But La Voz ARE a step up! The step being $0.20 per reed...
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
Just goes to show how powerful perception can be, I have been biased against orange box as I think of them as only reeds I give to my beginning students. La voz (in my head) always seemed like a step up from that, although this seems illogical reading this info now.
Same. In high school I avoided the Rico OB because I associated them with beginner reeds. Instead I played Rico Royal which (as Dr Wally also points out) is the same as Rico OB except it is filed.
 

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Whew! I've had a wonderful laugh reading (mostly the earlier) the posts from those that can just tell that the reeds are not the same. The power of suggestion is so strong that a different label or color of packaging can convince someone of something that really isn't true. I remember debating folks on here about the merits of putting a heavy mass screw on the horn. In order to be objective I had to buy one and put it on my horn to find out it made no discernible difference. But, it wasn't a total loss of $60, because it looks cool.

Truth be told I never believed that any one brand of reed was better than another. Yeah, I do seem to get more playable reeds from Java green box reeds, but I can be just as delusional as the next guy. I think as far as reeds go they tend to vary from batch to batch, that's why sometimes you get a new box of favorites and they just suck. There are a lot a factors that go into making reeds and some are dictated by nature and there is nothing we humans can do about it.
 

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My first teacher recommended La Voz to me and I believed him, played them for years then I played Rico Royals, couldn't really tell the difference but the name told me I was playing quality, then I played all sorts of others and the results tended to be the same, some played, even most of them, but it didn't matter really I sounded just as bad on all of them. These days I'm much more sophisticated thanks to the internet so I've been playing Rigottis for years, and doing fine, but, you know some play, even most of them, but it doesn't really matter, I sound just as bad on all of them. Now I have a new mouthpiece and the reeds in my drawer just don't work the same so I've started the tedious trawl of all the usual reed suspects, and there are an awful lot more of them than there used to be, and I thought maybe I should try La Voz again, thanks to this thread I've saved myself some time and a chunk of money. Thanks.
 
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According to Dr. Wally in his latest Pod Cast -- nothing. While discussing reeds with a representative from D'Addario it was revealed that the only difference is the packaging and strength labeling. Otherwise, they are the exactly same reed. The La Voz branding was intended to address people who prefer "French" reeds. He discusses this in his latest Pod Cast entitled "Summer Saxophone!". The reed discussion starts around 15:05.

Saxophone Summer!
Wow. I've used LaVoz for years and have found Rico orange box to be unusable. I'll need to do some blind tests. LaVoz prices have doubled in the last few years, so maybe I'll switch to orange box reed, if the two don't differ. Edit: Orange box prices are up too. Too bad.
 
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Wow. I've used LaVoz for years and have found Rico orange box to be unusable. I'll need to do some blind tests. LaVoz prices have doubled in the last few years, so maybe I'll switch to orange box reed, if the two don't differ. Edit: Orange box prices are up too. Too bad.
I did blind tests over the past two months on whole boxes of 12 different cuts (orange, LaVoz, 4 Vando, and 6 Rigotti). While I don’t find the orange completely unusable, I think on the whole they’re inferior compared to LaVoz: thin and buzzy, with no core. Yes, I’m aware of the posted proofs. I also believe in my ears after a 10 box and a 3-card up against two 5-packsof LaVoz. They might be the same cut, perhaps the cane selection is the key. I’ll play a LaVoz MH on a gig anytime if I can’t get my usuals, but not an orange 3.5.
 

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I did blind tests over the past two months on whole boxes of 12 different cuts (orange, LaVoz, 4 Vando, and 6 Rigotti). While I don’t find the orange completely unusable, I think on the whole they’re inferior compared to LaVoz: thin and buzzy, with no core. Yes, I’m aware of the posted proofs. I also believe in my ears
Exactly.
It's funny how people can be strongly influenced simply by reading that OB and LV reeds are exactly the same, when ears just prove that they are obviously not the same. Open your ears!
 

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It’s been a long time since I played either and then I only tried a couple of the OBs because I thought they were poor quality, La Voz I remember as a good, reliable reed. So, maybe times and the reeds have changed, one used to better and one worse, now the poorer quality reed has improved or who knows what but there’s so that wrong with this picture.

I’ve seen occasional references to OBs being as good as other reeds, but not often, and I would have expected this to have been noticed by Rico/D’Addario players if it were the case. I don’t play them, I have a box of ancient Hard LVs and some 20 year old Jazz Selects, also too hard for the mpc I play today but have nothing to do a trial with and it seems to me that, if true, this just reveals that people are being conned and have been for years, which I would think isn’t a good look and not something I would want for my product.
 

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My first full-time job was as an electrician's helper for a firm that did industrial work. I have a vivid memory of, at 18, late1970s, working in a Union Carbide plant that manufactured what were then called penlight batteries -- AA's today. We were working on lighting, and below us the batteries would come down a conveyor, and a machine would install the sleeves that had the labeling. A batch would would run with the Eveready labeling, and then, while the batteries would continue to come down the line, they'd reload the bin of sleeves and the next batch would be a store brand, and the next the same store brand but "heavy duty," and etc., and etc.

I thought maybe the batteries themselves were somehow changing in co-ordination with the changing sleeves, even though I couldn't see how in the area we were working. So, I asked one of the plant workers if there was any difference between the batteries other than the sleeves, and he laughed and said, "yeah, what they cost when you buy them."

Lesson learned. That was actually one of the first of a lot of lessons learned by having a chance to observe first hand how industry works; when I did go to college and took economics courses, it was often hard to keep a straight face.

Maybe as sax players, the question is: are LV's stenciled OB's, or vice versa?
 

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Exactly.
It's funny how people can be strongly influenced simply by reading that OB and LV reeds are exactly the same, when ears just prove that they are obviously not the same. Open your ears!
So let me ask you:

Rico (D'Addario) charge MORE for La Voz than for Rico reeds. Why, then, would the company's own representative say publicly that there is no difference? What motive would they have for lying?
 

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So let me ask you:

Rico (D'Addario) charge MORE for La Voz than for Rico reeds. Why, then, would the company's own representative say publicly that there is no difference? What motive would they have for lying?
This is what puzzles me, in this case what motive would they have for telling the truth? Something or someone has something wrong or maybe it’s just a version of the battery story above.
 

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This is what puzzles me, in this case what motive would they have for telling the truth? Something or someone has something wrong or maybe it’s just a version of the battery story above.
So it's multiple people coming together on this 'lie'? Because it's not just one person making this claim....

Reed variance is always crazy and prevalent, especially with Rico/D'addario reeds in my experience. And expectation bias is powerful. I don't find that hard to believe at all. Look at the number of high level players claiming heavy mass screws and klangbogens impact the sound.
 

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The moon must be made of cheese. I mean, it looks like cheese to me, so it must be. All the people who have walked on it are either mistaken or lying.

Seriously though, we have multiple sources inside Rico confirming this story. Why is this so hard to believe? I've played hundreds, possibly thousands of La Voz and Rico reeds over the years. Decades ago, I preferred La Voz because they seemed a little more consistent to me. This could have even been around the color sorting period mentioned in the story. I don't recall them sounding any different on average. They sure looked the same as Rico. So to me, it's very plausible that La Voz would indeed just be a marketing gimmick.

Case closed as far as I'm concerned. But it's nearly impossible to upend long held beliefs with facts. So you doubters can keep buying La Voz at a premium, and I'll keep buying Rico as I have for the past 30 years, and we can both live in ignorant bliss.
 

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Discussion Starter · #58 ·
...I've played hundreds, possibly thousands of La Voz and Rico reeds over the years. Decades ago, I preferred La Voz because they seemed a little more consistent to me. This could have even been around the color sorting period mentioned in the story. I don't recall them sounding any different on average. They sure looked the same as Rico. So to me, it's very plausible that La Voz would indeed just be a marketing gimmick...
I believe that in the Pod Cast I linked in my OP Dr. Wally makes the comment that the La Voz might be more consistent because there was less of distance between strengths than the ROB reeds. (Or maybe it was the other way around.) Whichever one has the most strength classifications would have less variation within that classification.
 

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So it's multiple people coming together on this 'lie'? Because it's not just one person making this claim....

Reed variance is always crazy and prevalent, especially with Rico/D'addario reeds in my experience. And expectation bias is powerful. I don't find that hard to believe at all. Look at the number of high level players claiming heavy mass screws and klangbogens impact the sound.
You seem to have completely missed the point, if you are selling the same thing at different prices why tell people? I haven’t accused anybody of lying I just don’t see the logic in doing that. I’m happy enough to believe it, I don’t use either, I pay excessive amounts of money for other manufacturer’s reeds.
 

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There are basically four possible scenarios here.

1) The products are NOT different, and the company representative is telling the truth.
2) The products ARE different, and the company representative is lying, telling us that the more expensive product is exactly the same as the cheaper one. WHYYYY????
3) The products are NOT different and the company representative is lying, telling us that they ARE, so they can make more money on the "higher status branded" one. OK, except this isn't happening.
4) The products ARE different and the company representative is telling the truth and saying they are different. OK, except this one isn't happening either.

#3 and #4 are contrafactual.

#2 is counterproductive. Why on earth would a company's authorized representatives, more than once, do this?

And that leaves #1.
 
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