SYOS Dayna Stephens Signature Model Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece Review

Today, I am reviewing the Dayna Stephens signature model 7 soprano saxophone mouthpiece from SYOS mouthpieces in France.  This is my first soprano sax mouthpiece from SYOS that I am reviewing and I have to admit that I am pretty blown away by this Dayna Stephens soprano mouthpiece.   I literally took this mouthpiece out of the bag today, put a random “used” BSS (Boston Sax Shop) 2 1/2 soprano reed on it, played for about 2 minutes and then hit record.  I loved the sound and playability of this Dayna Stephens soprano mouthpiece so much that I didn’t even feel the need to practice on it any longer.  Actually, the truth is, it sounded so awesome I was afraid if I didn’t record it, then I would lose the moment.

This SYOS company hit the saxophone mouthpiece scene not too long ago and immediately caught the world’s attention by producing these really bright colored 3D printed saxophone mouthpieces made of plastic.  I remember thinking they were strange looking and looked like something one of my fourth grade saxophone students might have walked into their sax lesson with.

I must admit, that at first, I was very skeptical when I received my first SYOS mouthpiece months ago.  First, these bright colored sax mouthpieces looked like Legos to me.  Like something I might give my nephew, who just turned one year old, as a toy he could play with.  Secondly, they look like plastic.  I have been reviewing mouthpieces for about 14 years now and if it’s one thing I know, it’s that sax players like their sax mouthpieces made of costly materials like hard rubber, gold plated brass, stainless steel, ebony, silver plated brass and sterling silver.

SYOS Dayna Stephens Signature Model Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece

If you haven’t heard of Dayna Stephens before this, check out his impressive bio on his website at daynastephens.net.  There are some great Youtube videos and a multitude of recording available that I am going to check out more thoroughly after this review.

But then I reviewed the Chad LB SYOS Signature model mouthpiece for tenor sax, the Tivon Pennicott Signature model mouthpiece for  tenor sax and the Godwin Louis Signature model mouthpiece for alto sax. All three of these mouthpieces were excellent as you will see in my reviews.  The SYOS Dayna Stephens Signature model soprano sax mouthpiece is just as impressive in my opinion.

SYOS Dayna Stephens Signature Model Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece

I have had a bunch of requests over the last few months to review other SYOS mouthpieces but with the whole COVID-19 pandemic going on, I decided to take a break from mouthpiece reviews.  I took about four months off and then couldn’t take it any longer!  I emailed SYOS and asked if I could review the Steve Kortyka alto mouthpiece (Steve is a burnin’ sax player with Lady Gaga that I first encountered on Facebook), a Michael Wilbur tenor mouthpiece, a Lorenzo Ferrero tenor mouthpiece and this Dayna Stephens soprano mouthpiece.   SYOS also sent a Knoel Scott alto mouthpiece to try as well.  I will be reviewing all of these mouthpieces in future reviews.

SYOS Dayna Stephens Signature Model Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece

Before we get to the playing of the SYOS Dayna Stephens soprano sax mouthpiece, let me share  a few tidbits of info from the SYOS website on these sax mouthpieces.

First of all, you have two choices when you visit the SYOS website and order a sax mouthpiece.  You can order a “SYOS Signature Mouthpiece” which is basically what the mouthpiece that the player whose name is on the mouthpiece plays.

If, however, you want to be unique and are on a quest to find your own unique sound, you might want to pick the second choice of ordering a custom mouthpiece from SYOS which I have to say looks like a pretty cool process.  Here’s what you do on the SYOS website:

  1. First, you choose what saxophone you play. Soprano, Alto, Tenor or Bari Sax
  2. Second, you choose whether you are a beginner, intermediate or professional sax player
  3. Third, you choose what type of music you play (you can pick more than one category)
  4. Fourth, this is the coolest part, you choose your sound preferences.  There is a slider for tone that goes from very dark to very bright.  You can choose where in that tone spectrum you feel you would like to be.  There is also a slider to choose how powerful you want to be.  The slider goes from soft to powerful.   Now here’s the coolest part because as you are reading this you might be confused about how you might choose what you want or you might be confused about what your preferences are.  SYOS gives you a bunch of examples with sound clips!   How cool is that?  The following list of player are listed and rated for tone and power. Ben Webster, Chris Potter, Coleman Hawkins, Dexter Gordon, Joe Henderson, Michael Brecker, Sonny Rollins, Stan Getz and Wayne Shorter. (Can I just point out at this point,  how awesome Chris Potter must feel about being included in this list!)
  5. You click “Submit” and wait by your mailbox for your custom mouthpiece that will answer all your dreams to be delivered.

SYOS Dayna Stephens Signature Model Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece

Here is a quote from the SYOS mouthpiece website on the specifics of ordering a custom mouthpiece from SYOS:

Syos is the first custom mouthpiece maker to use a high-tech process to design its products. It is different from all the other brands who only make standard series of mouthpiece models. Syos gives you the possibility to have your custom mouthpiece created on-demand according to your needs and preferences.

  • You are helped by an acoustic expert who will help guide you in your sound research.
  • You can test the mouthpiece(s) at home or in rehearsal without having to go in to a shop.
  • You can try your custom mouthpiece for 30 days, with the possibility of requesting adjustments on its shape to modify the sound, to get it even closer to your need.

Simply fill out the customization form on our online shop: you tell us about your saxophone level, the music you like, your favorite sound, which kind of sound you are looking for (bright? Dark? Powerful? Warm…) and we design your mouthpiece based on that. With Syos, satisfaction is guaranteed. If you have any question, we can answer you on the mouthpiece chat, or you can give us a call: we will help you define your requirements.

Here is a few comments about the material SYOS mouthpieces are made from in case you are curious:

We use ABS plastic to craft our mouthpieces: this material allows us to get the highest degree of precision, with an improved resistance and durability. And you can get that in 18 colors to build a perfect style on stage!

The plastic we use to make Syos mouthpieces has been certified non-toxic in laboratory (EN 71 and CE 1907/2006 standards). In fact, the same kind of plastic is used to make toys for children, which can be put in mouth without any risks. At the opposite, with the “ebonite” plastic, some sulfuric acid releases are observed when the mouthpiece is old, which gives it a yellow-green color.

And finally, here is a quote about the manufacturing process and how the minute details affect your tone which I found interesting:

For wind instruments, it’s the internal geometry of the bore that gives all the acoustic properties. We work at 1/100th millimeter to adjust the shape and the length of the baffle, the chamber section and size, the tip opening, the facing length… We study and compute the effect of all these parameters on the sound, to predict the timbre of each combination of them.

SYOS Dayna Stephens Signature Model Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece

Ok, so let’s get to the sax mouthpieces I received. The five mouthpieces came in a package and inside were five drawstring bags.  Each has a mouthpiece, ligature and rubber mouthpiece cap inside the bag.

I checked the mouthpieces each very closely and saw no signs of damage, nicks or abrasions.  They looked good to go. The Dayna Stephens soprano mouthpiece had a glowing neon pink color to it that I thought was cool so I decided to try that mouthpiece out first.

SYOS Dayna Stephens Signature Model Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece

The mouthpiece felt really light as you would expect a plastic soprano mouthpiece to feel.  The table had some texture to it that I could feel with my fingers.  Whatever process they use to make these sax mouthpieces does leave some texture marks on the mouthpiece.  You can see fine lines going across the table and fine lines going down the baffle as if the machine that cut the mouthpieces left these lines on the plastic.

The mouthpiece looks pretty well made.  The table, rails and tip look well made and conventional.  The rails don’t look perfectly straight but have a little waviness to them but this is really minor.  The baffle is a long rollover baffle that is medium high and straight until it rolls over as it nears the chamber.

I would describe the chamber as a large chamber for a soprano sax mouthpiece.  Actually, the large chamber size was the reason I asked to review this soprano sax mouthpiece.  I have a medical issue with high intracranial pressure in my head (Read my “Funny as a Brain Tumor” story if you want more details…..) and small chambered soprano sax mouthpieces with resistance tend to cause all sorts of issues with my health.  Soprano sax mouthpieces with a large chamber have no issues for me.  The minute I saw that this mouthpiece was advertised as having a large chamber I wanted to try it out!

The side walls are scooped out nicely.  Everything looks neat and tidy.  There is also a nicely engraved S on the top of the sax mouthpiece and a signature on the side of the saxophone mouthpiece which I assume is Dayna Stephen’s signature although I can’t make out what is written after the “D” at all.

SYOS Dayna Stephens Signature Model Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece

The SYOS soprano sax mouthpiece comes with a SYOS ligature which fits the mouthpiece nicely when it has a reed on it.  I was a bit skeptical of this ligature but it actually holds the reed on the mouthpiece pretty firmly when the ligature is slid all the way down and is tight around the reed. I recorded the sound clip with this ligature.  I actually tried two other metal soprano ligatures I had but preferred this ligature as it just seemed to have a bigger  and warmer sound to it.

I will warn you that the ligature can move when you have to adjust the mouthpiece on the cork so if you need to adjust the sax mouthpiece for tuning,  it is best to grab it around the shank of the mouthpiece to move it on the cork.

SYOS Dayna Stephens Signature Model Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece

The first soprano sax reed I tried on the SYOS Dayna Stephens soprano sax mouthpiece played incredibly well and is the reed I used for the sound clip.  It was a used Boston Sax Shop 2 1/2 reed. It’s pretty rare that I put a random used reed on a mouthpiece and it just smokes but that is what I felt the SYOS Dayna Stephens soprano sax mouthpiece did. (Coincidently, when I reviewed the SYOS Chad LB tenor sax mouthpiece I had the same experience)

From the first blow, it just played with a strong clear soprano tone.  It was powerful and fat when pushed but when I played softer it was incredibly sweet and full of character to my ears. The tone had a lot more warmth and thickness to it than most soprano sax mouthpieces give you.  I was really taken aback by this and fell in love with it’s tone immediately.  Like I mentioned above, I only played the mouthpiece for a few minutes before I decided to record on it.  I never do that, but I felt like it sounded so good that I didn’t want to lose the moment.

I have to admit that most soprano sax mouthpiece sound too bright for my tastes.  When I listen back to the recordings or hear most other soprano sax players I tend to think their sound is just leaning too far to the bright side of things.  This SYOS Dayna Stephen’s soprano mouthpiece is really unique in that the whole time I was playing it, and the whole time I listened to the sound clip, I was never annoyed by it’s brightness.  It had what I considered a warm, fat and darker sound that was rich in overtones and character.  I absolutely loved playing it!

SYOS Dayna Stephens Signature Model Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece

The tone of the SYOS Dayna Stephens signature sax mouthpiece was even throughout the range of the horn and the intonation was excellent.   It subtoned really nicely also.

On the SYOS website,  the Dayna Stephens soprano sax mouthpiece is rated at 1.8 out of 10 for brightness and an 8.7 out of 10 for power.  This doesn’t surprise me as it sounded incredibly warm, dark and rich to me.  On the other hand the power available did surprise me.  Usually, when you make a mouthpiece warmer and darker you have to sacrifice a good amount of volume. Somehow SYOS was able to keep the power and punch.  I found it incredibly powerful.  So much so that at some points in the recording I blew a little harder and a note would jump out in volume in the recording.  This is no fault of the mouthpiece, but more the fact that I had only played it for a few minutes and am still getting used to it………

SYOS Dayna Stephens Signature Model Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece

If you like the sound and look of the Dayna Stephens signature soprano sax mouthpiece by SYOS, you can find them at  the SYOS website.  SYOS HAS AGREED TO GIVE READER’S OF THIS REVIEW 5% OFF THE PURCHASE OF A MOUTHPIECE IF YOU USE THE COUPON CODE NEFFSYOS WHEN YOU CHECKOUT ON THEIR WEBSITE. (Neffmusic also gets a small commission from each sale using this coupon which helps support this website).

The SYOS website has a ton of artists and signature models available so if the Dayna Stephens model isn’t your cup of tea, there are a ton of other sax mouthpieces  to choose from including the Chad LB and Tivon Pennicott signature model for tenor sax that I have already reviewed.

Or, like I wrote above, you can be courageous and go for a custom sax mouthpiece made specifically for you.  The amazing thing is that SYOS has a 30 day return policy which is unheard of in the sax mouthpiece industry.

The other great thing about the SYOS saxophone mouthpieces is the price point.  As of today, the signature model sax mouthpieces are at about 165.83 EUROS (Approximately 189 USD as of today), which in my mind is a great price for a sax mouthpiece that plays this well.  The custom model sax mouthpieces are 249.17 EUROS (Approximately 284 USD), which is still a great deal for a custom sax mouthpiece that is made to your preferences.  From what I read on the SYOS website,  you can send your custom sax mouthpiece back for adjustments if you want tweaks made to it also which is amazing.

If you have played or end up buying a SYOS Dayna Stephens Signature Soprano Saxophone mouthpiece make sure to use the promo code NEFFSYOS to save 5% and please come back here to tell us what you think.  This will be a keeper mouthpiece for me on soprano but I think you will really enjoy trying one of these if you like the sound clips below.

If you have any other thoughts or comments about this review, I would love to hear what you think in the comments below.  Thanks,   Steve

*For best results, it is best to listen to these clips with good speakers or headphones.

SYOS Dayna Stephens Signature 7 Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece-BSS (Boston Sax Shop) 2 1/2 Reed-No Effects Added

SYOS Dayna Stephens Signature 7 Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece-BSS (Boston Sax Shop) 2 1/2 Reed-Slight Reverb Added

If you like the sound and look of the Dayna Stephens signature soprano sax mouthpiece by SYOS, you can find them at  the SYOS website.  SYOS HAS AGREED TO GIVE READER’S OF THIS REVIEW 5% OFF THE PURCHASE OF A MOUTHPIECE IF YOU USE THE COUPON CODE NEFFSYOS WHEN YOU CHECKOUT ON THEIR WEBSITE.

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.  I also receive a small commission when you purchase from the SYOS website using the 5% off coupon code NEFFSYOS above that helps to support this site.  Regardless, I only review sax mouthpieces that I enjoy playing and believe will be good for other saxophone players to try also.     Steve
Share : Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on GooglePlusShare on LinkedinShare on Pinterest
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. Avatar David Street says

    I found a video of Dayna playing the SYOS on soprano. It isn’t the sound I’m looking for. Personally I prefer the tone you are getting. Also I noticed he isn’t using the ligature that comes with it. https://youtu.be/En6A1UCpsEQ

  2. I found a video of Dayna playing the SYOS on soprano. It isn’t the sound I’m looking for. Personally I prefer the tone you are getting. Also I noticed he isn’t using the ligature that comes with it. https://youtu.be/En6A1UCpsEQ

    I love the sound he is getting in that video. Of course there are difference between players but there might be difference in reed brands and strengths. He might be using a harder reed than I used for my clip.

  3. Avatar Ryan Barber says

    Seems like you got on great with it. Sounds really good and suits your playing style too. I found this mouthpiece worked really well for me with bright reeds (la voz, vandoren java… even plasticover!). I ended up settling on something with a bit more focus and tad brighter, but I definitely see why this mouthpiece is popular – it’s surprisingly difficult to get an unpleasant sound out of this mouthpiece. Well, as far as sopranos go!

  4. Avatar Bob Rockwell says

    Hi Steve; I have been playing the Dayna Steven #7 SYOS for almost a year. It is really great. He uses Ligphone Classic Cut 2 1/2 reeds and I use the the same.
    The BSS reeds are pretty close that same response and resistance. I also have (among others), the Dayna tenor model a 10 also Ligaphone 2 1/2 Classic reeds. Great player also. Thanks for all of your fine work Steve!
    Bright Moments, Bob Rockwell

  5. Steve, how does this compare to the Theo Wanne Gaia 2 you reviewed in the past.

  6. Jacob, it’s hard to say without having the two side by side to compare. I am pretty confident the SYOS is darker, warmer and fatter sounding. I’m pretty sure it is the fattest sounding soprano mouthpiece I have played. The Gaia 2 was brighter and more focused as I remember. Both are great but it depends on the sound you want on soprano.

  7. Avatar Walter George says

    Steve,
    Thank you for this review and a treat that you reviewed this Syos first.
    It would sure be nice if you could try out all of the stock Syos soprano mpcs they make as a comparison to this one.

  8. Steve,
    Thank you for this review and a treat that you reviewed this Syos first.
    It would sure by nice if you could try out all of the stock Syos soprano mpcs they make as a comparison to this one.

    Yeah, that would be cool. I’m more resistant to trying soprano mouthpieces with a smaller chamber though. I played a well known brand years ago and was in love with the sound. It had a smaller chamber and quite a bit of resistance. I played it for about three hours one day totally in love with it and at one point looked in the mirror and my face was totally misshapen. My neck was puffing out way more than usual and the puffiness was going into my face area. I didn’t even realize it when playing. That night I got a huge headache and was sick to my stomach. I also didn’t feel right mentally. Had a lot of trouble thinking and speaking. This continued for the rest of the week and the headaches got worse. I went to the Neurologist the next week and he said my VP shunt in my head wasn’t working. They operated and it turned out it was blocked up. I can’t prove it, but I always wondered if the back pressure from playing that piece maybe pushed some matter into the shunt tubing and blocked it up. The face and swelling I saw in the mirror that day was like nothing I had ever seen before or after. If I play a soprano piece now and detect resistance like that I stop playing pretty quickly…….

  9. Avatar paul fessenden says

    Wow. That really sounds great. Very free blowing. I could hear you were really having fun with it. Not a big fan of those ligatures. Does the reed move. I don’t care for that. Disturbs me.

Speak Your Mind

*

Visit us on FacebookVisit us on TwitterVisit us on YouTubeVisit us on Linkedin