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Because the OP tried changing every other variable already. Tip size was the only obvious thing left. It's a simple problem with a simple solution.
Thanks for that - again. If you have nothing more to offer, how 'bout you get out of the way of having a discussion?
 

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I wouldn't use one. I honestly can't think of one in the context of this thread that is relevant to playing the saxophone without oversimplying or going into irrelevancies. That doesn't mean there isn't one, but when you are thinking about the complexities of the combination of sound, tone, timbre, volume, dynamics, loudness and projection - it goes beyond one (small yet not insignificant) parameter of the piece of equipment that is involved.

Someone more expert than me can probably come up with a suitable analogy though.
This thread is about one thing - SPL. No regard to tone, timbre, dynamics, projection, etc. Again, with all other variables being equal, please explain how a larger tip would not result in a higher SPL. As I said before, I can take two mouthpieces identical in every way except tip opening, and I can play the larger opening louder than the smaller one by simply blowing harder, as every wind player knows how to do. Is tip opening the ONLY factor in volume production? Of course not, I never claimed it was. My only claim is that a larger opening will result in more volume when a given mouthpiece is pushed to its limits.
 

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You are correct (although I'm not even sure the diaphragm is actually "used" when inhaling, being a mainly involuntary muscle. I have often said "using" that it is more of a visualisation technique than something most people can literally control. Hence I said "I think of as diaphragm support." Although it actually involves other muscles that are less easy to picture and explain..
The diaphragm is definitely used for inhaling. It goes from a dome shape to a flat shape, in order to lower the pressure around the lungs so that the lungs expand.
It is passive when exhaling. (Like other muscles, it cannot "push")
It is involuntary during normal breathing.
It is most definitely voluntary when pushing something out of the lower half of the body.
It is definitely voluntary when I consciously take a big breath.
It is definitely voluntary when I use my stomach, pushing out, to put the bell on my clarinet.

There are no nerves in the diaphragm that report to the brain what the diaphragm is doing so I don't know what you mean by "visualisation technique".
However most people seem to think that their abdominal muscles are also called the diaphragm, in which case the erroneous image may be effective.

When forcefully exhaling, the abdominals press on the intestines. (We don't talk about intestine support!)
The intestines press on the diaphragm (which is passive) .
The diaphragm in turn presses on the thorax cavity, and that puts pressure on the lungs, which in turn pushes air out of them.
It is the abdominals (and intercostals) that are responsible for this. Hence abdominal support.
 

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This thread is about one thing - SPL. No regard to tone, timbre, dynamics, projection, etc.
That is the title of the thread, but so often we digress into related topics.

and I can play the larger opening louder than the smaller one by simply blowing harder, as every wind player knows how to do.
If you really want the thread to adhere strictly to the topic in the title, it would be best to stick to talking about SPL/volume, as opposed to bringing in loudness which does indeed involve the things I mentioned such as tone and timbre.

NB: (Just to clarify)

  • SPL is what we mean by volume - measurable in decibels
  • Loudness is our subject perception how loud a sound is. A sound with lower volume can sound louder to us if the dominant frequencies are in the area that the human ear or brain is more sensitve to. Or if there is some distortion. So adding a baffle can make a sound louder without adding volume, as can growling.

f course not, I never claimed it was. My only claim is that a larger opening will result in more volume when a given mouthpiece is pushed to its limits.
Nothing wrong with giving a simple answer, but as is so often the case people talk about the properties of a wider tip without taking facing length into account. This could be very misleading when you find that with a bigger tip that has alonger facing, pushing that mouthpiece to its limits would very like not result in more volume.
 

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The diaphragm is used only for inhaling. It is passive (or should be - Alexander technique) during exhaling. It is pushed upwards again during exhale by pressure from the gut which originates from the tension in the abdominals and intercostals. Contrary to misconception by many wind and singing teachers.
It is correct that the ab's and intercostals push the air out however the diaphragm is what controls the breath. It controls the rate at which the air is moved. The tension between the different muscles is key to good breath control IMHO.

With regard to the OP I thin all other things equal the gap and the baffle are the most involved with both actual and perceived volume. Bigger gap can be loud with even with a high baffle a smaller gap can be easily restricted or opened up but the shape of the baffle.
 

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It is correct that the ab's and intercostals push the air out however the diaphragm is what controls the breath. It controls the rate at which the air is moved. The tension between the different muscles is key to good breath control IMHO...
As I understand it, tightening the diaphragm during exhaling is contrary to "Alexander technique" - relaxing the muscles that are not necessary for what one is trying to achieve.
Tightening it would certainly counter the support offered by the abs and intercostals. Tightening the diaphragm certainly cannot add to breath support, only subtract from.
Singers go through a lot of training to not tighten any muscles that are antagonistic.

But if I am lying on my back the ground, supporting somebody standing on my stomach, then I would most certainly use my abs and diaphragm.
(Also for forcefully pushing anything out of my lower abdomen.)

I can certainly make my abs and my diaphragm both very tight, with no air inhaled nor exhaled.

Imagine setting up a machine for blowing an instrument, as with the bellows of an organ, and incorporating something that opposed the pressure developed in the air
by the belows. Any organ experts here?

On the other hand, tiny pulses of the diaphragm is just one of many ways of creating vibrato. I think that is separate from breath support.
It works by opposing support, and is certainly not the normal way of creating vibrato on sax..
 

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As I understand it, tightening the diaphragm during exhaling is contrary to "Alexander technique" - relaxing the muscles that are not necessary for what one is trying to achieve.
Tightening it would certainly counter the support offered by the abs and intercostals. Tightening the diaphragm certainly cannot add to breath support, only subtract from.
Singers go through a lot of training to not tighten any muscles that are antagonistic.
Good points, but the way I think of it is that relaxing the normal breathing muscles when the lungs are full will cause exhalation in normal breathing. Just like opening a valve, letting go of the neck of an infalted ballon etc.

But in these situations there is no actual control. The way I think of it is that being able to increase or decrease the flow by using muscles is the way to do that. Most people use the top part of their lungs, and so the muscles in play are mostly around the chest area.

The reason I advocate yoga breathing and other exercises (that originally came form Sonny Rollins) is that you emply these muscles, but also those lower down that expand the lungs down to fill the void beneath when you use abdominal muscles (I think diaphragm but as mentioned that may or may not be what it really is). In addition muscles in your back and sholders, behind your ribcage, can also be brought into play.

So in this style of breathinw we do it in order: low, middle and top of lungs. This helps not only with lung capacity but also with control of airflow - and I believe it cannot be donwe by just relaxing - you have to use muscles.

But if I am lying on my back the ground, supporting somebody standing on my stomach, then I would most certainly use my abs and diaphragm.
(Also for forcefully pushing anything out of my lower abdomen.)
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This is not so simple, as it involves the reed mechanics, and is also partially dependent on baffle and rails, since those affect the way the tip closes via Bernoulli forces. Nor is sound pressure level everything, as timbre will have some effect on this, depending on the weighting of the measurement. It is highly dependent on how much air enters past the reed on every "puff" between reed closures. This is not only dependent on the opening, but the reed timing. I believe it is probable that *with the same strength reed* a larger tip opening will give more volume, but all bets are off if you match reed strength to the tip opening. I have seen charts showing that there is a range between where the reed starts to oscillate and thus produce a standing wave and the point where the pressure of the oral cavity becomes so great that it closes the reed. The latter is obviously the cutoff point for maximum volume. However a stiffer reed will accept more pressure before closing off, ostensibly creating more volume, but becoming much harder to play and control. So I am not at all sure that a more open tip with a reed that matches it will actually have a louder max volume as compared to a more closed tip with a reed that is stiffer to match it. And a lot will have to do with the curve of the side rails after the break, AND the scrape of the reed.
 

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It is worthwhile to actually use an SPL meter. I have two flutes, of which I perceive one as being much louder than the other. Imagine my surprise when I actually measured them and found no difference in actual output. Our perceptions of volume have a lot to do with the harmonic components of the sound, as well as the output/input. concerning the former, a sound with less fundamental and more harmonic content will always be perceived as louder. And then some mpcs/headjoints are more efficient, giving the impression that they are louder because they are louder for a given breath input, but this has little or nothing to do with the actual maximum output.
 

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I'm good. Just went in other directions for a while.
 

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It is worthwhile to actually use an SPL meter. I have two flutes, of which I perceive one as being much louder than the other. Imagine my surprise when I actually measured them and found no difference in actual output. Our perceptions of volume have a lot to do with the harmonic components of the sound, as well as the output/input. Concerning the former, a sound with less fundamental and more harmonic content will always be perceived as louder. And then some mpcs/headjoints are more efficient, giving the impression that they are louder because they are louder for a given breath input, but this has little or nothing to do with the actual maximum output.
Yes this seems true. It's similar to what Pete Thomas wrote above:

…it's worth bearing in mind the difference between volume and loudness. Volume can be measured as energy in decibels, loudness is the way we we perceive how "loud" and sometimes a sound with less volume can be perceived as louder, it all depends on the frequencies involved.
 

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A friend of mine who is a very accomplished clarinet player in the traditional jazz style told me of his recent experience with regard to "perceived" loudness. He took a new mouthpiece he purchased to his clarinet lesson with a university professor because he was excited that it was finally the one he was looking for that gave him more volume and projection. The teacher told him to stand across the room and play the same excerpt on each mouthpiece so he could hear and compare them. At the conclusion of the demonstration the teacher said that one mouthpiece was noticeably louder than the other, but it was his old mouthpiece, not the new one---the exact opposite of his perception. Then to prove it the teacher made a recording with the microphone the same distance away so he could hear for himself.
[In speaking with my friend he reminded me that he heard the comparison with a recording, not the teacher playing the mouthpieces. This post was edited with this correction.]


At least in this instance, the auditory feedback to the player was not an accurate measure of the sound transmitted across the room. I was at a complete loss to offer my friend an explanation within my current understanding of acoustics. Has anyone else had a similar experience, or any idea of why this phenomenon occurred?
 

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Chasing "tip opening" as the answer doesn't sit right with me. It's well known that certain mouthpieces are louder at the same tip opening and with the same blowing effort. High baffle pieces often have wider tips, but even at the same tip opening are characterized as very loud. Also, classical players can get extreme volumes out of very closed (by jazz standards) mouthpieces.

In the case of the high baffle pieces, this may be "loudness" rather than volume, but that doesn't explain the classical players. I've also found that I can get a lot more volume than I typically use out of every piece I own. The limit may be a function of tip + reed (and facing), as a soft reed on a closed piece can close off. But tip opening is not quite right. Tip opening has more effect on timbre, in my experience.

I think for a real test, a SPL meter would be absolutely necessary. If you want subjective loudness, I would say a metalite at .090 is going to be louder than an Otto Link at the same tip size. I wouldn't put any bets down on what the meter says, though.

All things considered, though, I think it's mostly unnecessary to pursue volume in and of itself. We all know that saxophones even played by unskilled players are loud enough to cause hearing damage. In an electric setting, a sax will always need a mic. That said, I would love to see actual tests.
 

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Chasing "tip opening" as the answer doesn't sit right with me. It's well known that certain mouthpieces are louder at the same tip opening and with the same blowing effort. High baffle pieces often have wider tips, but even at the same tip opening are characterized as very loud. Also, classical players can get extreme volumes out of very closed (by jazz standards) mouthpieces.

In the case of the high baffle pieces, this may be "loudness" rather than volume, but that doesn't explain the classical players. I've also found that I can get a lot more volume than I typically use out of every piece I own. The limit may be a function of tip + reed (and facing), as a soft reed on a closed piece can close off. But tip opening is not quite right. Tip opening has more effect on timbre, in my experience.

I think for a real test, a SPL meter would be absolutely necessary. If you want subjective loudness, I would say a metalite at .090 is going to be louder than an Otto Link at the same tip size. I wouldn't put any bets down on what the meter says, though.

All things considered, though, I think it's mostly unnecessary to pursue volume in and of itself. We all know that saxophones even played by unskilled players are loud enough to cause hearing damage. In an electric setting, a sax will always need a mic. That said, I would love to see actual tests.
Yeah, I'd also love to see some controlled tests. But it's clear that there are several factors that enter into it. First, there are different weightings of sound pressure level. Linear (Z weighting) doesn't really take into account the way humans hear. You can have extreme sound pressure in the lows, for instance, that are not perceived as particularly loud, as human hearing is biased for the midrange. I'm posting a link that explains that well.

My personal observation is that a "bright" sax sound (such as that produced by a high-baffle" mpc) is generally perceived as louder than a more classical or darker sound. It's certainly possible with A weighting (or in very loud situations C weighting) to get an accurate measure of SPL, but two equal SPL readings might seem very different in terms of perceived loudness depending on the frequency distribution within the sound itself.

https://www.noisemeters.com/help/faq/frequency-weighting/
 

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Another perspective:
Think of a 2-way HiFi loudspeaker with a large chassis for the lower frequencies and a small one for the higher frequencies. The large one takes 50 Watt, the small one 3 Watt. The bass frequencies draw the energy, that is why old-fashioned HiFi amplifiers had huge condensers. 100 Hz move a lot more air than 4000 Hz, bass peakers have a large membrane.
Let´s say the amount of energy that you can put into your horn shall be fix. Then you need much less of it to generate volume in the higher frequency range than in the lower one.
So when a mouthpiece has a large baffle, you can play loud easily = you have a lot of higher partials where you do not need a lot of energy.
With a lower baffle and less high partials, you need more energy to play loud, "blow harder", "proper breath support", ...
I am switching from a Berg Larsen type MPC to some Dukoff/Florida style type MPC now. And that is just what I sense, I need to put more energy in it to remain loud. This work pays off by a fuller, rounder tone, meaning less higher partials. Indeed, my Rock combo complained about me playing so loud (no mic), and they immediately noticed when I changed the MPC. I can still push, but what I get now is sound, not paint peeling off the wall...
Thinking about it, it´s loudness what I talk about. Well, that´s how I perceive the volume thing.
 
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