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Accessories Saxmute One tenor saxophone mute review

Hello,

Here is my full review of the new Saxmute One for sax tenor.

Playing sax can be problematic related to neighbourgs tolerance. It’s a loud instrument, and us players have to practice a lot, many hours per day everyday to have good skills. Some appartments don’t even allow to play pianissimo, everybody will hear you because of resonance. In the past, I had an isolated booth but had to sell it because of space in the appartment for my children. To be honest, it was efficient for isolation, but wasn’t that good for acoustics with harsh and short reverb and lot of disturbing stationnary waves. Even practicing scales and arpeggios was sometimes odd and uncomfortable because of those resonating notes, and recordings were hard to mix well because of those colorations. A good acoustically corrected isolated booth is around 8000 euros, which is a big budget BTW.

So since a while, I play outside which is perfect for tone practice, as you can play as loud as you want. But as I have to take my car to go playing, I play only one time per day. Biggest issue is if it rains there is no music, if it’s cold no music too. So here in France, playing outside will be 4 months per year… not acceptable solution.

I tried the sponge mute you put in mouthpiece, neck and bell. Works OK for pianissimo playing but not that efficient, still a lot of resonance, and too big alteration of playing techniques when returning to normal playing.

So I’ve started thinking about plastic enclosure systems. The Japanese mutes available seems to be efficient enough, but with weight, hands position, and low notes playing issues.

Then I’ve found on the net a new thing : Saxmute One, from Russia.

Saxmute ONE - Saxophone Mute

Saxmute ONE saxophone mutes


A new plastic mute with improved concept. The whole thing is in two part which are assembled with ingenious magnets system, with a sax holder inside. It’s pretty easy to put the sax inside. The mute itself is mounted on a speaker stand, which is stable and leaves your neck and shoulders free of any weight. The mute has lot of space inside, so your hands have room and it’s easy to play all notes even palm and side keys. Space allow for more easy playing of bell low notes too. The mute looks nice with a cool shape, it’s classy. There are mount and hole for mic/wire, and a hole to hold a lyre for reading music. Intelligent conception.

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I play with this mute since one month now. The isolation is impressive. If you play at normal volume, no neibourghs will hear you. Even my wife and daughter in the appartment barely hear me when I play in the kitchen and they’re in other rooms. If you play pianissimo, I can play even until 11 pm or midnight. If you play very loud FFF during the day, it’s more noisy but totally acceptable, no neibourghs nor family have complained yet. So it’s a total winner here. It cuts low and high frenquencies a lot, and sound core pretty much too, so much resonances are removed in the room where you play. You can practice only with the mute your scales, arpeggios, studies, and have fun. You can play as much times per day you want, so it’s better than car/outside solution in this sense.

I’ve mounted a clip-on mic inside the mute. The idea is to correct low and high frequencies and add a physiological compensation by monitoring system. I’ve mounted a SD systems SX-1 without the original metal mic holder, directly between two pyramidal foams inside the mute. It stay here and allow for angle adjustments. The SD systems adjustable preamp is holded with a velcro strap on the sax/mic holder. The wire go through foam and wire hole, with no to little modification. Then I’ve mounted a car smartphone holder on the side of the mute. I use a mic/headphones adapter, CTIA norm, 2 euros on amazon. This allow me for direct monitoring on 5 euros Garageband app on my Iphone. For novices, I can hear the sax in headphones while playing. Using simple Earpods give better results than any studio heeadphones I had, because you want to hear your natural sound from the mute as much as possible, so any close or semi-open cans will cut too much your natural sound. The goal is truly to have your true sound and mic sound mixed together in a natural way. The sound I get from this system is very good and fun to play, very close to my real sax sound unmuted. You will have a great control on your tone, as you will hear it better with low and high frequencies close to reality. And it allows you to play quieter, because you don’t have to overcompensate the mute effect by playing louder. You will play really quiet.

Other good things mic/headphones/Iphone allow is playing on some playalong, like Aebersold series. It’s quite fun and useful to practice improvisation. And you can record yourself with surprisingly good results. I suppose it’s explained by foam and space/shape of the mute, but the tone recorded is pretty natural and warm. It’s a huge and unexpected bonus, and allows for real homestudio recordings with your own music.

I almost always start to play without monitoring to have a physical feedback in my body. After half an hour, I swith to monitoring. This way, I continue to get used to the mute. It’s winter so I don’t play outside anymore, perhaps one time per two weeks. No huge issues for mute/unmute switchching. Air column is still strong, the biggest thing is to adapt for neck strap and sax position, but it’s ok and don’t take too much time. When meteo will be ok again, I will use outsides and mute in alternance.

Some limits of this mute are bell notes. They are totally playable, but depending on the your mouthpiece/reed, they will be harder to reach, especially C and C#. At normal volume, they play well, but if you play pianissimo they will be unstable. Your embouchure position is important, you have to not put your upper teeth too close to mouthpiece tip. As I don’t take a lot of mouthpiece in the mouth, I have to move a little bit my low jaw forward and to widened my low lip for bell notes. Then low notes play well at normal volume. Another solution is to put a ball, like a golf ball in the bow. This allow for easy playing of C and C# even at pianissimo. But this alter resistance and tone a little bit. I use sometimes the ball for playing exercices. But for improvisation and recording I prefer playing without. Bell notes are colored and more muted than other notes, this is the nature of plastic enclosure mute. Altissimo play fine, a bit harsh but not that much. Growl is ok too like overtones. You can practice almost everything. I’m a kind of sax screamer sometimes, as a huge Pharoah Sanders fan. As playing that way is very loud and needs natural acoustic environment for low overtones acoustics reactions, it’s another limit. But I accept it, and will wait for the sun !!

About monitoring, the reason I’ve chosed IOS and Iphone is because of no latency capabilities. Android devices will have too much latency for proper monitoring. Those who don’t like this brand, can still buy a used Ipad or Iphone (5 minimum for proper performance) for 120/150 euros. Or you can go through little mixers solution, some are around 40/50 euros, or even laptops and audio devices. I’ll use my laptop for quality recording, but I like the compacity and convenience of my holder/Iphone system.

The mute arrived in two weeks. It’s selled now 369 €. You will add to this customs (I paid 50 euros), the speaker stand starts at 19 €, and add to this the whole monitoring system if you want/need it. Total Price if you need everything will be between 500 and 600 euros, but will be less if you have some devices. I had the mic and the phone/app, plus obtain a preorder discount so the whole thing costs me around 360 euros. It’s a good price for a very effective system.

Here are some sounds exemples, with Gear4music tenor and Lebayle LRII 8 * mouthpiece >>

First recording the day I received the mute, after two hours playing inside it with Plasticover reed :

Jean Rochat Saxmute One tenor improvisation.m4a

Sax only, after three weeks, better mic placement and gain setup, with Ponzol synthetic reed :

*m4a file you can listen on web:

Test Ponzol Proreed 2.5.m4a

*aiff file you need to download or compatible web app but much better sound:

Test Ponzol Proreed 2.5.aiff


An audio test of the Saxmute One efficiency. Living room TV is set at moderate volume, I play sax inside the mute at pianissimo to moderate volume in the kitchen which is just near the TV. The recording IPhone is on the living room table. I play at first with kitchen door closed sax is barely audible, you have to push volume or use headphones to hear the sax. At middle of recording I open the kitchen door and play again and it’s not even louder than TV. Sax distance to Iphone mic is 3 meter, TV is 2 meter:

Saxmute one test by janosax - Allihoopa


I’m in contact with the Saxmute One conceptor/seller, he’s a very kind guy. He works on some improvements like built-in ball for low notes, adjustable holder, improved molding techniques, easier stand solution and such things. He will send me a new exemplary of this improved mute, so he’s really a good seller IMO : )

This mute changes my sax practice life, nothing less.

Feel free to ask me any questions on my specific setup.

Jean
 
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Janosax

Member
Messages
320
The iRig Pro i/o audio interface with XLR inline -20db pad attenuator, now Inside the mute:

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The powerbank which provides power to iPhone, audio interface and condenser mic:

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The tBone SC400 large capsule compact condenser mic:

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The whole Inside:

IMG_2039 (1).jpg
 

Carter

New Member
Messages
4
Hi, I appreciate this thread is from a long time ago now, but I have just purchased a second hand sax mute one for my tenor. The stand within the mute to hold the sax is not very good and offers little support so I find that I have to balance the sax within it. Could you let me know if you had a similar issue and if so, how did you resolve it? Thanks!
 

Al Ex

Member
Messages
65
I can't help you, sorry. I have the alto model and no stand built in the mute.

By the way, it's been a while since I last came here, so here's my take on this piece of gear.

I was quite enthusiastic at first, thinking I'd be able to practice whenever I wanted without disturbing anyone, but in the end this mute is almost useless for me and I feel really disappointed with it.

It arrived broken but still usable, and using it with a Hercules stand makes it almost impossible to make some fingerings properly. The magnet used for sealing the mute went off very quickly and has to be glued regularly. This and some other aspects make it unusable for me. I found my personal experience to be very different to what I expected when viewing some videos on the internet.

I've seen they make a new model and have been thinking I could give it a try, but considering the huge cost (almost 400€ with taxes) I gave up with this idea.

Again, this is only my point of view based on my experience and I'm not a very skilled player. I know others are rather happy with their mutes.
 

Janosax

Member
Messages
320
@Carter the sax holder inside the mute needs to be adjusted. Just bend the metal to make it much firmer on the sax bell. You will also have to adjust holder position to allow good sax placement in the mute, for your hands ease of playing, free neck lever movement, etc. The bottom part which can be made a metal holder of piece of foam will certainly need to be adjusted/trimmed too for proper sax height position. That is not RTP (ready to play!!), took me one hour for good adjustments the first time, and never touched it again after that. Also, it’s needed IMO to add some foam for the neck and a Velcro strap for the bow, your sax will be perfectly stable. See this #20 post quoted:

Here is my last track made with this Saxmute One : Madreeon

I improved my compact studio a lot, here are some pics.

Whole mute with sax Inside:

View attachment 10295


I added a velcro between mute bottom mount and sax bow:

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And some foam for the neck. Both mods improves ergonomy, as sax dont move at all Inside mute:

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View attachment 10299
 

Janosax

Member
Messages
320
@Al Ex sorry to read about your issues. Have you adjusted the holder for good hands placement like mentioned in my post above? The Hercules stand should not cause issues with fingerings. I also had some glueing issues with my model, and they sent me a new mute free of charge with no gluing issues. So I have two mutes :cool: That being said, the freedom this mutes gave me from start was such a joy that it wasn’t such or an issue for me. I can however understand your frustration. Perhaps try to adjust sax position, add microphone and headphones and see if your experience is different :) Still use mine almost everyday since nearly three years and still very happy with it.
 

Al Ex

Member
Messages
65
Actually, the alto mute I have doesn't have any sax holder inside, only a metal part that allows me to put the mute on the stand. Since the sax is held inside the mute by the Hercules stand, I cannot really set the proper height required for comfortable hand placement. Anyway that's not a problem anymore since I gave up trying tu use it long ago ;) .

I sometimes try to play with it again, thinking maybe I did something wrong with my previous attempts, but I always end disappointed, having to struggle with the two parts that never really fit one with another, glueing issues, and in the end insufficient (for my needs) noise reduction...

Maybe I have a defective model, too. I don't know.
 

Janosax

Member
Messages
320
@Al Ex You can always try to contact them about your issues, I had really good support. About noise reduction, past 11pm I like to have stronger mute power and use both sax mute one and Lebayle orange sponge mute inside the sax, that way with quiet playing measured dB at 1 meter with a sonometer is around 65 dB. I played yesterday until 2.00 am. With sax mute one only, my loudest note tend to be around 95 dB which is around 115 dB without mute. With no mute, my average level is 100/105 dB, and with sax mute one it’s 85/90. This is while playing without restricting myself. It’s like talking loud, which is ok during the day, this is why I add the sponge mute for night playing.
 
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Janosax

Member
Messages
320
Some evolution on my Saxmute One: I’ve added a ventilation system a few months ago!!

Cooler hands, less condensation on reed and in neck, less sticky pads:)

It’s a speed variable USB fan, powered by the powerbank which also gives power to audio interface and iPhone.

The fan sits in the mute foam for vibration absorption, with holes drilled in the mute plastic for air evacuation.

I barely hear the fan while playing because the fan is in the mute. With Intramic internal microphone and In Ear monitoring, I don’t ear the fan at all while monitoring my sax.

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Adrian63

Senior Member
Messages
2,174
So this is almost six months back and I wonder...
@Janosax : Bonjour Monsieur ; comment ca va ? So I wonder do you still have and moreso use this mute ? How are you finding it ?
I don't intend to get one ; price aside I imagine they are expensive but if they work I guess it is money well spent....
So yeah Jano : if you are still using it what are the positives aside from obviously being able to get in your practice sessions without disturbing the neighbours ?
If you no longer use it could you tell us why if you don't mind ?
An interesting thing for sure I have never seen the like ; beats a rolled up towel stuck down the bell...
Merci Jano..
 

Janosax

Member
Messages
320
So this is almost six months back and I wonder...
@Janosax : Bonjour Monsieur ; comment ca va ? So I wonder do you still have and moreso use this mute ? How are you finding it ?
I don't intend to get one ; price aside I imagine they are expensive but if they work I guess it is money well spent....
So yeah Jano : if you are still using it what are the positives aside from obviously being able to get in your practice sessions without disturbing the neighbours ?
If you no longer use it could you tell us why if you don't mind ?
An interesting thing for sure I have never seen the like ; beats a rolled up towel stuck down the bell...
Merci Jano..
Hi Adrian!!

I’ve ordered this mute 4 years ago and used it since that time on a daily basis. It’s a gear love affair, really :sax:

When I was a teenager I had a dedicated isolated room for sax. Then I bought as a young adult a 5000 € isolated booth and used it for years. Then, I had this 400 € mute when I returned to sax playing after a long break.

Best solution of course is isolated room.

When it comes to isolated booth, it’s nice but expensive solution which takes lot of place. It kills your ears because of sound reflections and has huge stationary waves issues (mine had some resonance when playing F, I was feeling it in my whole body and it was even recorded by the mic...). And it gets really hot inside!!!!

Sax Mute One was a big surprise. To me its full potential reveals with a mic, I never use it without it. BTW, playing sax with mic and in ear monitoring has became a second nature for me, it’s related to my mute use but also to my looping music for which I need it. But the added benefit is ear protection, as I suffer from hyperacusis: I can barely play sax more than 30 mn without ear pain, so in ear monitoring is a great fix, I can play for hours free of pain. Other added benefit is that I’m so used to play that way that I’m always ready to record properly, as I know how to play with that gear and know how to interact with my sax sound though it.

The mute itself is on a stand, so there is no back or neck pain. I mounted a PC USB fan inside which works really well for moisture evacuation. I use the iPhone and audio gear for discrete integration with the mute, leaving it mostly free of wires in feet and eyes, this helps focus on sax playing. Starting a session is as simple as putting reed on mouthpiece, phone on the mute, and IEMS in ears. I used some clip on and condenser mics, but I had best recordings with Viga Music Tools Intramic because it reduces totally proximity effect and keys noises. As it’s inside neck only air column vibration is recorded not sound reflected inside the mute, so recordings sound mostly the same inside and outside the mute with that mic. Perfect combo!!!

It’s a perfect tool for practicing, playing and recording. It’s not a toy nor a gadget.

It looks like on day one so it’s very durable.

Now on « cons » chapter:

Bell notes are harder to reach. Legere reeds helps, but that needs some long practice and embouchure specific skills.

It´s not like playing with a sax strap, sax balancing in hands is not similar. But with a good setup it’s good enough to not being such of an issue.

It’s not easy to set the sax inside the mute for proper position. Lot of adjustments are needed for good hands positions and playing posture. I suppose bad experience reported by some users can start here. It’s not a plug and play mute. Once well set, you don’t touch it anymore and can focus on playing/practice.

Magnets can fall apart, I’ve glued them again many times first year. But it was one of the first sample, they improved that.

All in all that’s a very good product and I love it :)

Most of my recordings are made in the mute, like the last one with Legere American Cut:

View: https://youtu.be/EvWO72iS3OE


Note that I use first model. Maxim from Sax Mute One just sent new model (same as recent Sax.co.uk video) for review purpose. It arrived last week. I still test it and will give a review later. I still play on model 1 for now because I’m more used to it.
 
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Adrian63

Senior Member
Messages
2,174
Hey Jano and thanks for that ;
Not really a lot to add : thanks for the lowdown ; it seems like its been a great investment...
What happened with your tenor ?
Have a good day man and be safe...
 
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