My studio is located in the basement of our home. Although it does not have any windows (my wife's studio is also in the basement, but it is on the walk-out side with plenty of sunlight), it is almost entirely soundproof. It feels very cozy, and I can play pretty much any time during the day or night. I try to keep it fairly clean, but certain things have been going on to keep it quite messy during this weekend.
After months of very busy performing schedule, I finally have a week or so to sit back and relax. So I decided to try some new mouthpieces. Several colleagues told me their positive experiences with Vandoren M30D. My wonderful friends at DANSR kindly sent me some samples to try over next few weeks, and they arrived just in time!
Although the "D" models are Boehm system mouthpieces adapted to the German or Reformed Boehm clarinets, they do work fine with regular Boehm system. I went with M30D, which according to Vandoren has "a good balance between timbre and roundness."
Upon my first few minutes of trial, I immediately noticed they are very different from my current set up. I had to come down significantly on reed strength (from V12 3.5+ to V12 3 or 3.5) and use a ligature that is much freer. Silverstein ligature, one of my recent acquisition, seems to accommodate it fairly well (the string-inspired design also seems to be right fit for these German mouthpieces). Vandoren flyer recommends "56 rue Lepic" but I still prefer the sound and control I get from V12 (I tried samples of rue Lepic 3-3.5+ and V12 3-3.5+ that I received before coming to the conclusion).
These are some of my early observations:
- Noticeably consistent and uniform sound throughout registers
- A very refined tone (darker than my order setup but with lots of high frequency ring) but maybe too "artificial" for my taste
- Very easy blowing
- Incredible improvement on the intonation. Although the mouthpiece is set for A=441Hz, I seem to be able to manage it for both A=440 and A=442 without much problem.
- The altissimo register seems to suffer the most. I hope this is something that I can overcome after some time getting used to the slightly adapted embouchure.
I picked three that I liked the most out of the eight I received and plan on trying them out in the "field" during next couple weeks. Fortunately, I have rehearsals and concerts that would test this new set-up to a great extent (principal part for Kodaly's Dances from Galanta, Brahms Symphony No. 4, Stephan Krehl's Clarinet Quintet, and various WW quintet music). I am very hopeful as the early result is rather promising. I will post some follow up thoughts in few days.
Yay (or sigh) for more mouthpieces!