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Reeds Review: Marca American Vintage Soprano Reeds

Well, here goes!

The review of various soprano sax reeds was undertaken on my usual set up - BW Curvy, Soprano Planet Via Coro mouthpiece, Marc Jean Ligature.

First off I tried my various Vandoren Reeds - ZZ's, Java and V16 - all 2.5. The V16 had a good solid sound and was very good especially in the upper register. The sound had little buzz or sparkle, however, presenting a little too one dimensional. It was accurate and clear enough but not 'magical'. The Java raised the game somewhat - a brighter, livelier tone but still a bit too one dimensional. As you might expect the sound was lighter and had a percussive quality too, particularly in the upper register, when pushed a little. The lower register was more flexible than the V16, and the sound was more satisfying overall. Lastly the ZZ had good clarity and had a more pleasant tone in the lower register than the other two. The high upper register was not quite as confident as the other two, but I found it had the most flexible and dynamic sound of the three and was my favourite of the Vandoren's.

The next three reeds were the Alexander DC (Double Cut - filed), the Marca Jazz (filed) and the Marca American Vintage (unfiled)- again 2.5 strength. What was fairly obvious from the start was that all three were more responsive, and a pleasant three dimensional buzz and sounded louder and more dynamic than the Vandoren Crew. The Alexander DC had a lively slightly darker sound than the two Marca reeds, a medium weight tone and sounded very engaging throughout - some complexity and richness to the sound - good reed! Nex up was the American Vintage - had a slightly weightier sound than the DC's and was, if anything, livelier and more dynamic.

I thought that it was excellent throughout the register - good flexibility, but an engaging, fatter siound. I tried both these reeds on my Drake Son of Slant mouthpiece - a darker, large chambered piece, and it produced a beautiful mellow tone, especially the AV.
Finally, the Marca Jazz, my current favourite. THis sounded lighter and slightly brighter than the other two and slighly less buzzy, if anything. The clarity was on a different plane than all the others, producing a purer sound, but with a complex dynamic too.

Conclusion:

The ZZ was the best Vandoren IMO, and sounded good throughout. However, the other three reeds just had more life, dynamism
and natural volume. Of the others the Marca Jazz is my preferred reed when playing North European jazz and improv, but I would rate both the others very highly, especially for a darker, mellower, yet equally complex sound. Of these the Marca American Vintage was my favourite on my Drake Son of Slant mouthpiece, and is probably better suited to more typically American sounds, funnily enough. The Alexander DC's straddled the gap between the other two very nicely - slightly lighter in sound to the AV, but with a pleasing complexity.

1. Marca Jazz
2. Marca American Vintage
3. Alexander DC
4. Vandoren ZZ
5. Vandoren Java
6. Vandoren V16
 
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Fraser Jarvis

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,917
Interesting review Tom, and although I have never tried a soprano I am quite intrigued, do you have any sound clips for comparison?
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,215
Locality
Skabertawe, South Wales
Interesting review Tom, and although I have never tried a soprano I am quite intrigued, do you have any sound clips for comparison?

I'll see what is possible, if I have the energy and motivation............:shocked::w00t:;}
 

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