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Thread: Practice mute general impressions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    San Antonio, TX
    Posts
    15

    Practice mute reviews!

    PRACTICE/TRAVEL/WARM-UP MUTE GENERAL IMPRESSIONS

    EQUIPMENT USED:
    WILLSON 2900BS (DECEMBER 1985)
    KARL HAMMOND 11L

    DISCLAIMER: THESE ARE MY OPINIONS BASED ON HAVING SPENT MANY HOURS ON EACH MUTE. YOUR EXPERIENCE MAY BE DIFFERENT, AND YOU MAY DISAGREE.

    1ST PLACE: BEST BRASS WARM-UP MUTE - $167 Shipped
    First impression from several weeks ago: Very even response. No major tuning issues. Blows very well. Super light and compact enough!

    • Fairly even response
    • Thins out in low register
    • Upper register is fairly resonant
    • Metallic sound, but not too buzzy
    • Tuning issues include slightly uneven octaves, but overall fairly even. Ab3 to D4 a little flat compared to mute sharpness, but not unbearably as in the Wick Travel
    • Very light, almost in-bell compactness (200 Grams/7 Ounces), weight is well-centered on the instrument
    • My Willson 2900BS still fits in a gig bag AND its hard case with the mute in. The mute sticks out about 1 inch/25MM.
    • Reduces decibel level by about 15dB.
    • Wrapping 2 layers of self-grip athletic tape on the neoprene creates a warmer tone, reduces sharpness by a few cents, reduces decibel levels maybe another 3dB, but does not significantly affect overall performance.
    • Another method is to add something dense inside the round dimple (I used a small quarter-sized piece of wall mounting putty). This reduces the volume by 5dB, but causes Eb3 & 4 and E3 & 4 to have a very live buzzy presence. I'm going to continue working on this dampening method.
    • Almost 2nd place. I like it just as much as the Silent Brass, and it is my top choice because of it's compactness and even-ness of blow.

    IT IS MY OPINION THAT THIS IS THE BEST COMPACT PRACTICE MUTE FOR EUPHONIUM.

    2ND PLACE: YAMAHA SILENT BRASS PM2 (DISCONTINUED MODEL) About $80 used.
    First impression from years ago: a little stuffy, well muted, but I was very impressed with the evenness of the blow. Kinda heavy, and a hassle to put it in and take it out. I HAVE NO EXPERIENCE WITH THE NEW DESIGN.

    • A little back pressure, but very even response throughout full range in blow and pitch center
    • A little thin in the upper register.
    • Hollow sounding in low register
    • Generally a warm sound
    • No major tuning issues aside from being sharp, slightly uneven octaves
    • Very top heavy, not compact, (800 Grams/1.8lbs),
    • Reduces decibel level by about 20dB
    • My favorite, except for the weight, so this is 2nd place.

    IT IS MY OPINION THAT THIS IS THE BEST FULL-SIZED PRACTICE MUTE FOR EUPHONIUM.


    3RD PLACE: STEVEN MEAD TRAVEL MUTE - $150 Shipped
    First impression from 3 months ago: a little stuffy, kinda metallic, very uneven, and pretty concerning pitch issues. Super light and compact.

    • Surprisingly free-blowing, but very uneven response throughout full range in feel and pitch center
    • Thin upper register above F
    • Tinny lower register, a challenge to center
    • Generally a metallic sound, but not buzzy.
    • In-bell, compact, light weight (200 Grams/7 ounces), weight is well-centered on the instrument
    • Low Bb and below, very sharp unless you reshape mouth
    • Ab3, A3, Bb3, B3, C4 very flat relative to muted sharpness unless you reshape mouth
    • D4 is dead and unresponsive
    • Very uneven octaves
    • Reduces decibel level by about 15dB
    • Not my favorite, but love the compact-ness. 3rd Place!

    SOLD IT AFTER 2 MONTHS. I DID NOT ENJOY PRACTICING WITH IT.

    4TH PLACE: WALLACE M24C COMPACT WARM-UP MUTE - $140 Shipped
    First impression from a few weeks ago: It looked like it would get swallowed up by my bell, and I was right. The neoprene rubber gasket is too small. Mute top edge nearly touches (metal to metal). I fits a little better in Yamaha 321/421 and an older Besson I was able to try, but not my Willson 2900BS bell. I was able to create just enough of a seal to give it a try, but after a few moments it wiggled loose and started vibrating against my bell. I assume I would have to add a layer or two of neoprene foam sheet, or wrap several layers of self-stick athletic tape. Too much work for a mute I dislike for other reasons.

    • Okay response, fairly even blow, with a little extra resistance in the lower register. Resistance is supposed to be adjustable, but I am not sure how to do it.
    • Good muting, nice warm sound.
    • Pedal register responds very well due to extra resistance, but is a little sharp relative to mute sharpness.
    • Mute plays a whole step sharp, as indicated on their website. Tuning is mostly even from Bb2 to F4, relative to sharpness, but unlike other mutes, I felt like all my pitches were too high (because they were) and kept second guessing my pitch slotting. Then, F#4 and above are a half step flat relative to mute sharpness. I had to go up one fingering to fix it. So after F4 on a Bb major scale I was finishing with a B major scale fingerings.
    • Completely in-bell and very light (maybe a little lighter than 200 Grams/7 Ounces). Weight is well-centered on the instrument.
    • Decibel reduction is very close to the Silent Brass. About 20dB.
    • If it wasn’t for the poor fit, flat upper register, and the odd whole-step-higher tuning I would rank this above the Mead Travel Mute, but it is simply not useable on my Willson 2900 without modification.
    Last edited by euphobone1; 03-16-2021 at 08:30 PM. Reason: UPDATE!!!
    Raul Escobar
    1985 Willson 2900BS, Hammond 11L
    1974 King 4BF Silver Sonorous, Hammond 12ML
    1972 King Duo Gravis, Hammond 20BLL

  2. Useful. Thank you.

  3. #3
    Agreed, this is a very useful description of these three mutes, thanks!
    I have the Steven Mead travel mute and for what I use it for I like it. It is incredibly light weight, fits completely inside the bell, and does reduce volume a decent bit. The Mead mute is great in that it stays in the bell all the time and I just have to pick up my horn and start playing. I personally prefer the Steven Mead practice/travel mute to the classic Wick practice mute (the black one).

    I have noticed similar intonation tendencies with my mute, especially those very flat notes from Ab3 to C4. I play with practice mute fairly often out of consideration for other family members and this review has really made me consider the Silent Brass if intonation is so much better.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    San Antonio, TX
    Posts
    15
    I misread your post! I just noticed today. YES, I think the best in-tune mute is definitely the Silent Brass, but it's heavy. I have no experience with the new version of the Euphonium Silent Brass mute, but just looking at pictures of it on a euphonium annoys me with how much hassle it it seems to be to put in and remove.

    Overall, I would say the Best Brass is a better-in-tune COMPACT mute, relative to the sharpness practice mutes cause. I'm sure the flared mushroom-shaped top half helps. They are both comparable in regards to feel and blow. I think the Best Brass just edges past the Wick. I certainly was not happy with the Wick. I expect tuning issues, and response issues with mutes, but I just couldn't deal with the issues I experienced with the Wick. Just not working for me. I hope a sshhmute is developed. When I emailed Bremner about it, one was in the works, but Covid slowed it down indefinitely. I love the trombone sshhmute.
    Last edited by euphobone1; 09-16-2020 at 05:42 PM.
    Raul Escobar
    1985 Willson 2900BS, Hammond 11L
    1974 King 4BF Silver Sonorous, Hammond 12ML
    1972 King Duo Gravis, Hammond 20BLL

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