I did a review a few weeks back of the new Theo Wanne Gaia 2 soprano sax mouthpiece and have had a few people ask if I could make a comparison between the original Gaia mouthpiece and the Gaia 2 soprano mouthpiece. I have been playing the original Gaia for about seven years now and it has been one of my favorite soprano mouthpiece for volume and ease of play (I have also been playing the Gerber LC soprano mouthpiece for when I want a sweeter and warmer sound on the soprano sax). That being said, the Gaia 2 has me questioning my loyalty to my original Gaia …… So, this comparison is as much for me as it is for those of you that have asked me for it.
First up is the original Gaia soprano mouthpiece. For the sake of this review and comparison I am calling it the Gaia 1. My favorite reed on this mouthpiece has been a Vandoren Java 3 1/2 soprano reed. I have been using those for years and have been pretty happy with them on the Gaia 1.
For this comparison, I am making two clips of each mouthpiece and playing similar ideas. One clip is with a Vandoren 3 1/2 reed and the other is with a Vandoren 3 reed. This comparison is a bit skewed because even though both mouthpieces are 7 tip openings, the Gaia 1 feels most comfortable with the 3 1/2 reed while the Gaia 2 feels most comfortable with the 3 sized reed. I decided that even though the Gaia 1 feels too soft with the 3 reed and the Gaia 2 feels too hard with the 3 1/2, that I would include those sound clips in this comparison also so that you could hear how the differences in reed strength effect the sound on both mouthpieces.
In the past, I have recorded my soprano clips with the mic pointed straight at the bell but many times that can sound overly bright and edgy when recording soprano so this time I recorded with the bell of the sax off center and a couple of feet away from the mic. I think the recording is much better.
Feel free to listen to the clips below and please let me know what you think in the comments. I have my own thoughts and observations but would love to hear what others think. Thanks, Steve
Theo Wanne Gaia Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece
Theo Wanne Gaia Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece -Java 3 1/2 Reed(preferred reed)
Theo Wanne Gaia Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece-Java 3 Reed (feels too soft)
Theo Wanne Gaia 2 Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece
Theo Wanne Gaia 2 Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece-Java 3 1/2 Reed (feels too hard)
Theo Wanne Gaia 2 Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece-Java 3 Reed (preferred reed)
To be honest, I woke up this morning and was going to send the Gaia 2 back as I have been happy with the original Gaia for the last 7 years. At the last minute, I decided to record them side by side. Although the original Gaia is easy to play and has loads of power, many times I find it a bit edgy and bright in the upper register. The Gaia 2 seems warmer and fatter sounding to me. It gives up a bit of the power of the original Gaia but now that I listen to the clip it sound much more pleasant and warm to me. At this point, I am leaning towards keeping the Gaia 2 and replacing my Gaia 1. What do you think?
The main comparison to make is the Gaia 1 3 1/2 reed compared to the Gaia 2 3 reed. Those are the clips I am most comfortable on with both mouthpieces. Thanks, Steve