metalite vs vintage level air metal for alto tenor bari

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    Default metalite vs vintage level air metal for alto tenor bari

    Has anyone played both metalites and vintage brilhart level airs and which did you like better?

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    Distinguished SOTW Member 1saxman's Avatar
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    Default Re: metalite vs vintage level air metal for alto tenor bari

    Okay, I have played original Level Air on alto, tenor and baritone starting in 1963 up to 1989 (baritone off and on until 2010). I tried one Metalite for baritone but could not use it. Given the choice, I don't see the Metalite as a serious mouthpiece compared to the 'Designed By Arnold Brilhart' Level Air.

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    Default Re: metalite vs vintage level air metal for alto tenor bari

    Thank you for the reply. i did play a level air on tenor back in the 1980's for a while. I am playing the metalites now. They seem to work okay. I don't know if i would want to spend the money for 3 level airs alto tenor bari? I can make the metalites work on all 3 horns. I am sure that you know that Arnold Brilhart designed the metalite? What did you not like about the baritone metalite compared to the baritone level air?

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    Forum Contributor 2016 musekatcher's Avatar
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    Default Re: metalite vs vintage level air metal for alto tenor bari

    I've got Metalite's and 'Designed By Arnold Brilhart' Level Air's for all three. Even though both are designed by the same fella, they are very different mouthpieces in design and practice. The Metalite does what it was intended to do, which is provide a step baffled sound, albeit somewhat unique. Some will like the unique, some will not. Without pinpointing why, I tend to prefer the Level Air for all three.
    Best, Jim

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    Default Re: metalite vs vintage level air metal for alto tenor bari

    Quote Originally Posted by musekatcher View Post
    I've got Metalite's and 'Designed By Arnold Brilhart' Level Air's for all three. Even though both are designed by the same fella, they are very different mouthpieces in design and practice. The Metalite does what it was intended to do, which is provide a step baffled sound, albeit somewhat unique. Some will like the unique, some will not. Without pinpointing why, I tend to prefer the Level Air for all three.
    I just acquired a Metalite 7 for baritone, and 30-odd years ago I had a LevelAir... was it for tenor or baritone? I can't remember, and I know that at the time I put it in a drawer - I just didn't like it. Now that's not to say it was a bad design... it may have just been not the best example of a LevelAir, may have had a bad facing, or could well have been that no one famous played one and I didn't want to be un-hip. Anyway, I opted for a Dukoff D7 or STM 7* on tenor and a Berg 120/0 on baritone (both Mk VIs).
    I like this Metalite I just got for baritone! That said, I'm just starting on baritone again after like 30 years, and I've put only a couple hours of playing into the Metalite.
    I played a LevelAir on baritone the other day and I didn't like it... but the facing looked terrible and it may not have been the original design everyone seems to prefer. Aside from that, I'd say the weird shape of it has always felt weird in my mouth. On the other hand, I have to say I don't think the Metalite will be my go-to piece for baritone even though I love the sound... Its external shape is also all wrong - it's way too fat and forces my mouth open way too far for comfort. My lips get stretched out too much for my best sound also.
    I'm convinced now that at least 75% of our sound/tone comes from us, our chops, our mind... and that sound is affected in a pretty minor way by mouthpiece. I think the biggest factor in a mouthpiece's contribution to sound is baffle, and in this case they both have the same general kind of (step) baffle... BUT, the first 1/8" or so of baffle is at least 50% of its effect, and the two are quite different in that area....
    So I think you should listen to yourself, feel them in your mouth, and decide for yourself. You probably need to also try several examples of each, especially the LevelAir (I think the mfg. process for the Metalites makes them pretty consistent piece-to-piece).

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    Default Re: metalite vs vintage level air metal for alto tenor bari

    For me the LevelAirs blow much brighter/edgier. I actually prefer the Metalite sound; it has more of the fundamental. I have a Metalite 7 for bari that plays quite well. Also a 9 for tenor on which the low notes tended to honk and were difficult to control until I had John Reilly lengthen the facing a bit. For me the tenor Metalite is quite wide in the mouth while the bari is not and is quite comfortable in size. The tenor one is a bit wider than a HR classical mp and the bari is considerably narrower, though a little wider than a typical metal "jazz" bari mpc.

    Metalites for alto did not work for me, along with many others on SOTW.

    My advice, if you are at all curious, invest the $25 or so for a bari Metalite.

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    Default Re: metalite vs vintage level air metal for alto tenor bari

    I am going to continue with the metalites-m5 on alto m7 on tenor and probably m7 on bari. I just tried some rico royal reeds 3 for tenor and am happy with the results. I will be trying rico royal 2.5 on alto and on bari I think I will use regular rico maybe 3? I don't know yet for sure. I think these mouthpieces are going to work very well for me. The nice thing about them if they work is you can buy back up one for cheap and they are all about the same. if I decided to go the level air route it would be impossible to buy a duplicate mouthpiece and you don't know what tip size you are buying not to mention the much higher cost. Thank you for the replies about the level air. There were also replies elswhere in the forum about kinks in facings on the level airs and which vintage might be better. nice to be able to find out about this before purchasiing a level air.
    Last edited by Matt Curtis; 08-19-2017 at 02:41 AM. Reason: more posting

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