Anyone playing a Vandoren Optimum TL5 on tenor?

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  1. #1
    Forum Contributor 2010 & Distinguished SOTW Member qwerty's Avatar
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    Default Anyone playing a Vandoren Optimum TL5 on tenor?

    As of late I have been on a quest to find a more comfortable playing classical tenor 'piece. I had been recently playing new soloist D that had been opened up to .085, and had the facing lengthened. I have grown tired of the low register response issues on this piece, and had settled on an Optimum TL4 for a while. Then a Houlik. I recently purchased a TL5 and have been playing if for about 5 days. At first blush, i really like it. it seems to be reed friendly and low register response is quite a bit more do-able. Tone quality is quite pleasing, a little more robust that the TL4 and definitely a bit brighter than the others. I think I could grow to like this one.

    Any other opinions here?
    Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring production deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid. -- F.Z.

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    Default Re: Anyone playing a Vandoren Optimum TL5 on tenor?

    I have one and it's a great piece. Yes, reed friendly, excellent response across all registers, and excellent intonation. I wouldn't describe the tone from MY playing the TL5 as bright. Just a little more focused and clear rather than buzzy IMO.

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    Default Re: Anyone playing a Vandoren Optimum TL5 on tenor?

    Supposedly, the TL5 is a cross between the Optimum line and the V5 T20. (Vandoren itself makes this claim.) I've been meaning to try a TL5 because I currently play the T20, but so far I haven't gotten around to it.

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    Default Re: Anyone playing a Vandoren Optimum TL5 on tenor?

    I have both the TL5 and the T20.
    Both are great mouthpieces, and very similar.
    I have gravitated more to the T20.

    On recorded samples, i sound exactly the same on both, but the T20 is a bit less resistant to me.

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    Default Re: Anyone playing a Vandoren Optimum TL5 on tenor?

    I have one, but have been sidelined from practicing the past month and a half due to bronchitis. I have only owned a tenor (a Series III) for about six months, so my opinions should be taken with a grain of salt.

    I found the description of the TL5 being a hybrid between the TL3 and T20 to be pretty accurate. My first tenor mouthpiece was a T20, as that's what my professor played. However, since I had success with the AL3, I tried both the TL3 and TL4 out. Mind you, this was 2009-2010, so the TL5 wasn't out. I don't remember much about the TL4, just that I didn't like it as much as the TL3. The TL3 was excellent for ensemble playing, but I felt it didn't project enough for solo work. Thus, I went back to the T20.

    The Houlik I have projects more and has a darker sound. It is not nearly as reed-friendly as the Vandoren mouthpieces, however. The TL5, and all of the Optimum mouthpieces really, are very tonally homogeneous. This is good in that the timbre is fairly constant, but I've found it just not to be as "colorful" as the T20.

    Qwerty, have you found the TL5 to be brighter than the TL4? I know that probably sounds obvious, but Vandoren's numbering system can at times be quite arbitrary. The AL5 seemed to be marketed as an intermediary between the 3 and 4, although it has the largest tip opening of the three. However, the AL3 and AL5 have medium long facings, while the AL4 has a medium short facing.

    The facings of the TL4 and TL5 are both medium, while the TL3 is a medium short facing. So, on paper, you would appear to be correct in your finding.
    Last edited by CustomRam; 01-08-2017 at 05:27 PM.
    Series III Soprano, Caravan, D'Addario 4, Rovner Dark ligature
    Series II Alto, Houlik, D'Addario 4, Optimum ligature
    Series III Tenor, Vandoren TL5, D'Addario 3, M/O ligature

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    Default Re: Anyone playing a Vandoren Optimum TL5 on tenor?

    After a year or more of thinking about it (this thread has a clear predecessor: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showth...w-Vandoren-TL5), I finally acquired a TL5, and I'm very favorably impressed.

    The V5 T20 is an excellent mouthpiece. I think it was Vandoren's best classical tenor piece -- I think Vandoren knew that too -- and for me it was clearly superior to the Optimum TL3 and TL4 when I tested them all head-to-head.

    The TL5 takes everything good about the T20 and "Optimizes" it a bit, polishing up some minor edginess ever so slightly. I love the homogenous sound and the excellent response at both ends of the horn. For me, this is probably about as close to perfect as a tenor piece can get. Any further deficiencies are entirely my own.

    Some players may have a preference between the marginally different Optimum and V5 beak styles; I find both quite comfortable.

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