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Thread: Vandoren Optimum vs. A17

  1. #1

    Default Vandoren Optimum vs. A17

    Does anyone know what is the difference between the A17 mouthpiece (I think that's what Delangle plays) and the newer Optimum? I can get a warmer sound on the Optimum AL3 myself. But is it geared more to younger students?

  2. #2

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    I've been wondering the exact same thing. I too use the AL3 and am pleased with my sound for the time being. It does seem like it’s geared towards younger students: simply from Vandoren's marketing ads. Most of the descriptions I have read talk about how they are great for H.S. marching bands. All of the ads I've seen in the Saxophone Journal show pictures of high school students playing the Optimum series…

    I'm excited to hear people's feedback on this one.
    bronzZoot
    YAS875EX - AL3 - BG Traditional - Gonzalez
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  3. #3

    Default AL3 = Pro Mouthpiece

    Otis Murphy uses the AL3, and last I checked, so does his whole studio at IU. By the way Vandoren has recently released the TL3/4 with the SL3/4 and BL3/4 to arrive soon if not already out. I remember professor Murphy mentioning that he had played the TL3 and needed to adjust to the mp compared to the AL3. That’s all I know of his experience with it. Surprisingly, the Vandoren site has not mentioned the release. I've been hard pressed in finding them in the US. I know there’s a store somewhere in Australia that carries them.

  4. #4

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    Delangle's mouthpieces are so heavily modified that they bear little resemblance to a stock Vandoren. The AL3 is a long facing close tip opening mouthpiece with a similar concept to a Larry Teal, and it really gets your intonation on the rails, enabling easy articulation and control. I do find it lacks a bit of punch compared to, say, a Soloist.

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    Forum Administrator and Contributor 2009 drakesaxprof's Avatar
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    I found the AL4 to work very well for me. Bigger sound than the AL3, works well with Vandoren #3 reeds, and still very easy to control pitch and nuance. I'll be quite interested to try the tenor and soprano pieces.
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  6. #6

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    Someone asked if they were meant for younger players. Well, a beginner would take to the Optimum AL3 or 4 in the same way as a Yamaha 4C or Selmer C* is often recommended. However, it is also well suited to classical playing if you are using a hard reed and want a European type of tone - as opposed to the more restrained American style - I am generalising, but the Vandoren - certainly the AL4 - will suit you more if you are a Delangle fan than if you like most of the current US professor/performers.

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    Angel's Avatar
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    Also keep in mind that Delangle uses several different mouthpieces, and has for quite some time.

    Angel
    Concert Saxophonist ~ Artisan Barman
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    singlereed:
    it really gets your intonation on the rails
    Can someone explain what this means? I've never heard of the rails being influential in intonation of a mouthpiece?
    bronzZoot
    YAS875EX - AL3 - BG Traditional - Gonzalez
    YSS875EXHG - Caravan - BG Traditional - Gonzalez

  9. #9

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    I think he means that intonation is easier to control. Getting your intonation on track or on the rail.

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    I've been looking for the S series. Are they out yet in the US?

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    J.Max,
    I'm assuming you mean the Vandoren Optimum soprano mouthpieces when you say S series. I play a SL3 on soprano and I am pleased with my sound, but I had to bump up a full strength in reeds.

    You can get the full line of optimum mouthpieces here.
    bronzZoot
    YAS875EX - AL3 - BG Traditional - Gonzalez
    YSS875EXHG - Caravan - BG Traditional - Gonzalez

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    Quote Originally Posted by bronzZoot
    J.Max,
    I'm assuming you mean the Vandoren Optimum soprano mouthpieces when you say S series. I play a SL3 on soprano and I am pleased with my sound, but I had to bump up a full strength in reeds.

    You can get the full line of optimum mouthpieces here.

    Thanks! Too bad they don't let you return mouthpieces...

  13. #13

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    Prowinds also carries them. You might want to check with them about trials and returns.

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    EDIT: Never mind.
    Last edited by J.Max; 03-08-2006 at 03:58 AM.

  15. #15

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    ...
    Last edited by Rick; 03-09-2006 at 11:58 PM.

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    Never mind that comment that I made. There's nothing wrong with them. They're a very good dealer and I would recommend them. In fact, I've bought several things from them and they were very good to me.
    Last edited by J.Max; 03-12-2006 at 05:37 AM.

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    I also highly recommend Pro Winds. They have all Vandoren mouthpieces and BG ligatures in stock, with very competitive prices, and my favorite trial policy. I do business with Pro Winds before anyone.

    Angel
    Concert Saxophonist ~ Artisan Barman
    YSS875EXHGLAS • SG2RS • S27 • M/O • 4
    YAS875EXS • AV1AG • A28 • M/O • 3

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    I second Angel's recommendation. Always fast and with a personal email. I like 'em!

    Back to the topic.

    I have the Optima AL3 and AL4 and didn't care for them. But, that is just me i am sure. I have ordered an A17 and A27 so i will report back with my findings as the play on a Buffet Prestige and a Stering Silver Series III.

  19. #19

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    I tried an AL3 and an AL4 along with Rosseau's NC4 and NC5 and a couple Larry Teals, and for me the NC5 worked the best, then the Selmers, then the Vandorens. I feel on the Rosseau I get a rich, warm, focused sound that is extremely responsive in all registers and flexible for many styles of music (within the classical realm). The Optimums seemed a little too thin and airy, but as bronz alluded to maybe I should have tried them with a stronger reed.

    And a side note...I've been checking out Pro Winds and it seems like they're legitimate...they're across the street from IU and do a lot of business with them, they must be alright, one would think!

    However, when I mention PW to my private instructor or other professionals I feel an odd negativity and I never really get a straightforward response about their business. What's up with that? Feel free to send me a private message if you don't feel comfortable posting about it, as I don't mean to provoke anything harmful. Just wanna know the facts!
    Last edited by toepferMVI; 03-11-2006 at 07:31 AM.
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    Here's the deal with ProWinds, if you didn't know the story behind them...If anyone knows that I shouldn't tell this story, please let me know.

    ProWinds was started in 1993 by Dean and Leichen Foster. Leichen was one of Eugene Rousseau's very top students at IU (She was also my teacher in my first year there.). Her husband Dean was finishing his MBA at IU and helping Dr. Rousseau with his mouthpiece business. Under Dean, they began the E Rousseau line of reeds, expanded the "New Classic" mouthpiece series, and began importing the BG line of products. (Ligatures, etc) Initially, they worked out of a small office across from the Bloomington Mall as "RM Pro Shop". (I worked there for a little while inspecting mouthpieces which were made at the Babbitt factory). I believe that Dean received a small loan from Dr. Rousseau to open Pro Winds across from the IU School of Music. There was a serious need in Bloomington for a good woodwind/brass/repair shop, and Pro Winds filled the need to a tee. They started getting stuff that absolutely no one else in the country could get, and they expanded with the advent of the world wide web. (They also own the coffee shop next door, which I have heard is a big hang out for music students now. Heh.)

    I was their very first customer at the new store, which is how I know all of this! They are super legit, have excellent customer service, good pricing, and great shipping. The people that work there are wind players too!


    I'm going to post this in the dealer review section as well.

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