10mFan Generation II Robusto Ultem Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece Review

Today, I am reviewing a new tenor saxophone mouthpiece from 10mFan sax mouthpieces.  This is a generation II Ultem Robusto 7** orange tenor saxophone mouthpiece. (Yes, I wrote “orange”!)  I reviewed a first generation hard rubber Robusto 7** tenor sax mouthpiece a few years ago that I still have in my collection of favorite tenor saxophone mouthpieces so I was very curious to try these new Ultem generation II 10mFan Robusto tenor sax mouthpieces as well.

Although this review is of a Robusto tenor mouthpiece made of Ultem, Mark at  10mFan.com still offers his German bar stock hard rubber versions of all his mouthpieces as well. The hard rubber mouthpieces ($375) can be ordered at 10mFan.com and because the Ultem mouthpieces ($299) are limited edition, you have to contact Mark to special order one of these.

The new 10mFan Robusto tenor saxophone mouthpiece I am reviewing today is made of Ultem.  If you are like me, you have no idea what that is and might be starting to Google it.  Let me save you some time: “Ultem,  is a semi-transparent high strength plastic material that can operate in high service temperature environments. Ultem is so resilient to abuse and outside forces that it is used for the production of  aircraft components.” 

Although resilient and tough, Ultem is also beautiful to the eye.  It has a semi-transparent orange color to it as you can see by looking at the photos below.  (I think some of the photos are really cool as you can see the green of the grass and leaves through the semi-transparent mouthpiece)

10mFan Generation II Robusto Ultem Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

I asked Mark Sepinuck about his new Generation II 10mFan Robusto tenor saxophone mouthpieces and this is what he wrote:

“The new Generation ll pieces are simply better than I ever thought possible. I have a new craftsman who has transformed these great designs and taken them to a new and exciting place. I am a big believer in customer feedback, so I appreciate all of the feedback I have received, because that has truly made these pieces into something very special.

The facing curves are sensational and the feedback so far has been exceptional. The feedback has been unanimous across the board from players who have the original versions and got the new Generation ll versions. The Robusto has a warm and fat sound but can also be punchy and very powerful. More powerful than a Link and not gruff like a Berg. It offers you immense flexibility and versatility to be able to get both of those vibes with an all original design. It’s nice to have a piece that can be fat and warm or punchy with more brightness and bark. We have adjusted the side rails and tip rails so they are no longer super thin like they were before. The changes made have allowed the pieces to sound smoother and more even top to bottom. Excellent intonation and excellent altissimo. The articulation is beautiful and the parameters of the sound are tighter, which gives these pieces a bigger core. These pieces can be played to a whisper, or as loud as you can push it. When you push harder, the sound goes forward and out to the audience, rather than getting wide or wild. Everything is so locked in on all of the models now. I truly could not be any happier.  This Ultem material feels great in the mouth and sounds fantastic. It is my pleasure to be able to offer high end mouthpieces at an affordable price.   All of my designs are at their peak, and all of my prices have permanently come down, to allow more players to experience my mouthpieces.” -Mark Sepinuck

The 10mFan Ultem Robusto tenor saxophone mouthpiece came in a well packaged box.  Inside, amidst the packaging was a clear tube. Inside the tube, was a velvet looking bag with gold trim that protected the Robusto saxophone mouthpiece while shipping.

As I took the sax mouthpiece out of the velvet bag, I could see the orange semi-transparent color of it shine out.  It has the usual 10mFan engraving that is on all of the 10mFan mouthpiece but the orange glow and transparency really catch your eye.  The more light is around, the more the orange colors light up.  It is pretty cool!

10mFan Generation II Robusto Ultem Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The new 10mFan Robusto sax mouthpiece has the traditional three rings on the shank that all of the 10mFan saxophone mouthpieces have.  It also has “10mFan” and “ROBUSTO” engraved on the top of the mouthpiece.  On the bottom corners of the mouthpiece next to the table is engraved “U.S.A.” and “7**”.

As you can see in the picture below, the table, rails and tip look flat and even.   The baffle is a slightly curved side to side baffle that extends about an inch into the mouthpiece before it runs into a curved edge.  After the edge, the baffle then declines into the chamber at a greater angle.  The length of this declined slope has a curved side to side baffle also.

The side walls are slightly carved out on each side as they lead into the medium large sized chamber.

The material is really cool looking like I mentioned before.  Where it is thicker, it has more of an orange glow to it.  Where it is thinner, like at the tip, you can see right through the mouthpiece to see the color in the background. Everything about the 10mFan Ultem Robusto mouthpiece looks well proportioned and balanced.

10mFan Generation II Robusto Ultem Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

So how does the new Generation II Robusto 7** saxophone mouthpiece in Ultem play and sound?  Well, first of all, it has a warmer sound than the baffle would make you think.  The tone is focused and direct but has a warmth and fullness to it that is beautiful.  I start the clip out with a little bit of the melody of ‘Round Midnight and I think it handles the depth of timbre and tone incredibly.  The tone is focused and full of character in my opinion.

After the ‘Round Midnight segment, I run into a few faster jazz lines like I usually play in my reviews.   The Ultem Robuto sax mouthpiece is smooth and even throughout the range of the horn and the fast lines are easy to play smoothly.  The intonation is great and the range of the horn from the bottom to the top is clear and easy to play.

10mFan Generation II Robusto Ultem Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

I play a bunch of jazz lines including “Moose the Mooche” and a slow “Donna Lee” (which I try to play in all of my sound clips as a way to compare the different clips).  At the end, I play a variety of jazz lines including a short rendition of rhythm changes and some bluesy lines.

Throughout the entire sound clip, I feel like the 10mFan Ultem Robusto tenor sax mouthpiece retains a warmth and smoothness to the tone without clipping into a tone with edge which is really nice in my opinion.

10mFan Generation II Robusto Ultem Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The second clip is just the first clip with some added reverb added to the clip.  Recently, I like adding a few clips with reverb as many listeners don’t have a full understanding of how a sax mouthpiece might sound in the studio with some added reverb added to it.

The third clip is just a short soft recording of me playing a ballad called “If I Should Lose You” which is one of my favorite ballads.  I don’t get very far into it but at least you can hear how the 10mFan Robusto Ultem sax mouthpiece performs at softer volumes for me.  I felt like the Ultem Robusto had a beautiful delicate lightness to the tone at these softer volumes.

10mFan Generation II Robusto Ultem Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

Lastly, I include two clips of  a “Louder, Bluesy, Funky, Altissimo Lines” sound clip for those of you interested in that kind of playing.  The Ultem Robusto tenor sax mouthpiece sounds great on the louder altissimo lines.  The tone is clear and vibrant while still being thick and full and the intonation seems really locked in to my ears.

How does the 10mFan Ultem Robusto perform with these types of lines?   I think it sounds great!  It has a great focus and core to the sound that I loved.  It also had a lot of volume and power to it when you pushed it without getting too bright and edgy sounding.  At the same time,  the tone has enough highs and brightness in those lines to carry the sound through the mix when playing a solo.

10mFan Generation II Robusto Ultem Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

If you like the sound and look of the 10mfan Generation II Robusto Ultem Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece, you can order one of them from Mark Sepinuck at connsaxman@comcast.net.

These mouthpieces are not available on the website to be ordered one at a time, as they are being made on a limited “as-made” basis. Mark is asking that players who want one, just contact him letting him know whats on your wishlist, and when he gets a large enough group of that same size and model requested, he will do a run of those. The price is only $299 which is a great price for a tenor sax mouthpiece of this calibre that is an all original design and hand finished.

Mark has made it clear that he wants players of all levels to get into his mouthpiece designs, so he has priced them at this great price. He has also lowered his regular prices on his German bar stock hard rubber mouthpieces for all players. If you are interested in any of the new Generation II 10mFan mouthpieces at these new lower prices you can check out his site at 10mFan.com.

If you have played or end up playing a 10mFan Generation II Robusto Ultem Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece or have any other thoughts or comments about this review, I would love to hear what you think in the comments below.  Thanks,  Steve

*To hear the most detail from these clips it is best to listen to them from a computer with nice audio speakers or headphones rather than from an iPhone or laptop speakers.  It makes a world of difference!

10mFan Generation II Robusto Ultem Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece-Rigotti Gold 3 Light Reed-Jazz Lines-Dry Recording (No Reverb)

10mFan Generation II Robusto Ultem Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece-Rigotti Gold 3 Light Reed-Jazz Lines with some Reverb Added

10mFan Generation II Robusto Ultem Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece-Rigotti Gold 3 Light Reed-Soft Ballad-Dry Recording (No Reverb)

10mFan Generation II Robusto Ultem Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece-Rigotti Gold 3 Light Reed-Louder, Bluesy, Funky, Altissimo Lines with some Reverb Added

10mFan Generation II Robusto Ultem Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece-Rigotti Gold 3 Light Reed-Louder, Bluesy, Funky, Altissimo Lines-Dry Recording (No Reverb)

Disclosure:  I received the sample mouthpiece reviewed above for free in the hope that I would try it and perhaps review it on my blog. Regardless, I only review sax mouthpieces that I enjoy playing and believe will be good for other saxophone players to try also.     Steve

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Steve About Steve

Steve Neff has been playing and teaching saxophone and jazz improvisation around the New England area for the last 30 years. He is the author of many effective jazz improvisation methods as well as founding the popular jazz video lesson site Neffmusic.com.

Comments

  1. Thank you, Steve for your great review. You sound fantastic, and I am always appreciative for all you do for the saxophone community. Keep up the great work.
    All the best,
    Mark

  2. Thanks, Steve! I’m curious- Did you try any other reeds than your “standard for comparison” Rigotti Gold, in particular the Boston Sax Shop reeds?

  3. Steve, thank you for this review (and countless others!). Would you be so kind to compare chamber sizes of Gaia and Robusto? It seems they accomplish similar sound via different routes.

  4. Paul, the Gaia looks to be a larger chamber as it is scooped our more in the bottom of the chamber. Steve

  5. Karl, I didn’t try the BSS reeds on it yet. Steve

  6. beautiful warm sound with some bite and character, that doesn’t make it too bright. Ultem is that what Ted Klum Calls Amber?

  7. dammmmm this a a sweet MP i think it might be one of the best it sounds awesome and is friggen beautiful

  8. How does this compare to the 1st generation Robusto? Is it a pretty similar vibe?

  9. Oscar,
    As for the differences, the new Generation ll tenor pieces have a tighter core and an exceptional balance with the frequencies. They also have a beautiful fullness and smoothness to the tone and are very even blowing top to bottom. The first Robusto wasn’t as tight or even in comparison, and didn’t have as much warmth to the sound.
    Also, I am no longer using Eric Falcon and players across the board, including me, are loving these facing curves far more. The side rails and tip rails are no longer super thin like Eric had them. For me the pieces are really refined now and blow super easy from very soft to very loud.
    They’ve got all the power but the parameters of the sound are tighter, which really dials everything in.
    The feedback I have received so far with all of my updated models, has been outstanding.
    Listening to customer feedback has truly paid off because the pieces are absolutely at their peak right now.

  10. Avatar Jim Divers says

    Does this mean that the original Robustos won’t be available after they have been sold?

  11. Avatar Jim Divers says

    Sorry that’s not very clear, I meant to say will the hard rubber versions continue being made in the same form or will they be discontinued?

  12. Jim, From what I understand, the new hard rubber versions are Generation II mouthpieces. They have a different facing curve and slightly wider rails. The first edition of these mouthpieces will no longer be made so if you want one of those you would have to find one on the used market. I haven’t played a Generation II hard rubber piece yet but this Ultem piece played really great for me. I would imagine the hard rubber pieces are equally as great! Steve

  13. Jim,
    Al of my models have been updated so they are at their absolute peak. They are all Generation ll models.
    All of the models are available in hard rubber and they are better than ever.
    We also now offer all these models in the orange Ultem material. If you have any questions about anything feel free to email me.
    All the best, Mark

  14. Avatar Jim Divers says

    Thanks Mark and Steve, that’s good information. I’m in the UK so we are a bit behind the curve in terms of availability. I’ve been planning on trying a Robusto so will have to decide whether I try what is currently available locally or wait a while. I currently play an RPC with a similar baffle and it looks like the Robusto may be a good match for what I want.

    Best wishes,

    Jim

  15. Thanks Mark & Steve – love the sound of this mpc and now have one on order. Can’t wait to try it!

    Brandon

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