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Thread: Vandoren Optimum AL4

  1. #1

    Default Vandoren Optimum AL4

    For you guys using the AL4 (NOT the AL3), does your piece feel like it won't take in the air or produce any serious volume? I know it comes down to the tip opening as well, but maybe the facing curve could be an issue? I don't know, it just feels like I can take the piece somewhere but it's clinging to the floor or something. It just doesn't want to follow suit.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Vandoren Optimum AL4

    When I was playing the AL4, another player asked me if I was holding back. I said, "no". Then he said I sounded muffled.

    When I replaced the AL4 with a Meyer 5M, I immediately had an increase in both edge and volume by at least double. I didn't tell my instructor about the change and it took him less than 5 seconds to notice the HUGE difference.

    I'll stand by my assertion that the AL4 is a great replacement mouthpiece for anything that comes with a student horn . . . but that's it.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Vandoren Optimum AL4

    Quote Originally Posted by realljazzguy View Post
    For you guys using the AL4 (NOT the AL3), does your piece feel like it won't take in the air or produce any serious volume? I know it comes down to the tip opening as well, but maybe the facing curve could be an issue? I don't know, it just feels like I can take the piece somewhere but it's clinging to the floor or something. It just doesn't want to follow suit.
    I am not sure what your expectations are, but the Optimum is not meant to be a balls-to-the-wall mouthpiece...the Meyer mentioned is a LOT louder but it is not usually meant for classical work. You might try experimenting with reed strength, what size are you using right now?

    I do see your name and you are a jazz player, the mouthpiece will definitely feel a lot more restricted and takes a lot more focusing of the air stream if you are coming off of a jazz mouthpiece that might have a more open tip...

  4. #4

    Default Re: Vandoren Optimum AL4

    I play classical just as much jazz. The name was the first thing that came to mind :/

    I'm not asking for a screamer, but a classical player needs volume from ppp up to fff just as much as a jazz player needs his volume. I'm not looking for some ballsy screamer, I'm just acting if it feels like the AL4 seems prohibiting. There are pieces that just don't get that loud, and there are pieces that you put 60% of your air into and it goes a certain volume, and 61% to 100% yields identical results. That is an impeding piece as far as I'm concerned. I'm just wondering if I got a dud. Got if off ebay for $50 so no serious complaints, but it just seems like the dynamic range is "clipped"

  5. #5

    Default Re: Vandoren Optimum AL4

    Quote Originally Posted by realljazzguy View Post
    I play classical just as much jazz. The name was the first thing that came to mind :/

    I'm not asking for a screamer, but a classical player needs volume from ppp up to fff just as much as a jazz player needs his volume. I'm not looking for some ballsy screamer, I'm just acting if it feels like the AL4 seems prohibiting. There are pieces that just don't get that loud, and there are pieces that you put 60% of your air into and it goes a certain volume, and 61% to 100% yields identical results. That is an impeding piece as far as I'm concerned. I'm just wondering if I got a dud. Got if off ebay for $50 so no serious complaints, but it just seems like the dynamic range is "clipped"
    Hi,

    My thoughts are very similar. Sometime ago I wrote a post about this issue.

    I find the Optimum models a middle of the road between Selmer S80 and Vandoren V5. Easy to control as Selmers and near the tone and versatitlity of V5 series. But only near: not the power, versatility, projection ..................................... of the V5 series.

    I get the best with my A27.

    Regards,
    Anselmo
    Alto: Selmer S-III S/S, Toneking Special: Vand. A27, RPC 90R, Cheong "Custom Made".
    Tenor: 10M RTH, SBA, Ref. 54: Vand. T20, Freddie Gregory M-II/IV 7**.
    Sop: Selmer S-III, Yani SC900u: Vand. S25, RPC. Bari: Ybs 61: Vand. B35/B75.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Vandoren Optimum AL4

    Im happy with my vandoren A20 when i got new vando reeds on. I tried a friends AL4 and i didnt like it. it was less free blowing than my A20. apparently the A28 are good but also the A20 is good
    YAS 62II, [Eugene Rosseau NC4],
    Choosing open holed flute or not: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=108257

  7. #7
    Distinguished SOTW Member/ Forum Contributor 2011
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    Default Re: Vandoren Optimum AL4

    Lots of people seem to drop a 1/2 strength when they move from an S-80 to an AL4. (as in S-80 using a Vandoren 3.5 to AL4 using Vandoren 3.0). If you think that might be applicable, it's worth a try before you go on a mouthpiece hunt.
    The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way. - Bertrand Russell

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