The SYOS Originals Smoky, Steady and Spark Model Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece Review

Today, I am comparing three new SYOS Originals series soprano saxophone mouthpieces.  SYOS mouthpieces has released this new Originals SYOS line of mouthpieces this month to give saxophone players a simpler way to order a quality mouthpiece at a more affordable price point (about 185 US dollars at the time of this review).

The SYOS Originals series comes in three models for tenor, alto and soprano saxophone. There is the Smoky model soprano sax mouthpiece which is describes as a dark sound, ample and warm.  The Steady model soprano sax mouthpiece which is described as balanced and flexible across all registers and the Spark model soprano sax mouthpiece which is described as free-blowing and bright with great projection. All three soprano saxophone mouthpieces that I am reviewing today have a 7 tip opening.

SYOS Originals Series Smoky (Blue), Sparkle (Orange) and Steady (White) Model Soprano Saxophone Mouthpieces

The SYOS company hit the saxophone mouthpiece scene a few years ago and immediately caught the world’s attention by producing these really bright colored 3D printed saxophone mouthpieces made of plastic at a more reasonable price than conventional saxophone mouthpieces.

Although today’s review is of mouthpieces in the colors of white, blue, and orange, you can order SYOS saxophone mouthpieces in almost any color you can think of.

Syos now has three series of saxophone mouthpieces that you can order:

  • The New Originals SeriesSyos Originals embodies the finest in Syos acoustic expertise, a streamlined collection of easy-to-play mouthpieces for every type of saxophone. Pick a dark (Smoky), balanced (Steady) or bright tone (Spark) and get the sound that was promised immediately.
  • The Signature Series-Discover the Syos signature selection: we developed each of these saxophone mouthpieces with a Syos artist. If you find their style of music matches yours, you can order the same mouthpiece design as your favorite artist plays.
  • The Custom Series-Get a 100% custom mouthpiece made with you and for you.

Here is a few comments about the brand new SCAL3D material SYOS mouthpieces are made from in case you are curious:

Syos debuts innovative SCAL3D material and new Originals collection

Over the last two years, Syos has worked tirelessly with leading French experts in additive manufacturing technologies to develop the ultimate material for premium quality 3D printed mouthpiece production.

Today we are proud to present a revolution in 3D printing materials: SCAL3D. Mouthpieces made in SCAL3D are of unparalleled quality, with a flawless table and pristine finish. Unlike ebonite, SCAL3D does not contain sulfur, the chemical element that turns mouthpieces green and can become toxic over time. SCAL3D is certified free of endocrine disruptors, is impact-proof and scored the highest in our accelerated aging study.

Creating this new material gave us the opportunity to design our own colors, deeper and more elegant than the ones before. We hope you’ll find them as compelling as we do!

Since 2016, Syos has come to be known for the precision and repeatability of its mouthpieces. Along with this new material comes a fully upgraded production facility, allowing us to set new standards in manufacturing accuracy.

SYOS Originals Smoky Model Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece

First, I’ll start with the darkest of the three SYOS Original series soprano saxophone mouthpieces.  This model is called the “Smoky” model.  The Smoky soprano sax mouthpiece has “Smoky” engraved on the side of the mouthpiece as well as the SYOS symbol engraved on the top of the mouthpiece.  On the inside bore of each mouthpiece is engraved “Made in France” as well as what looks like a serial number.

The table, tip and rails look fairly even and the mouthpiece table has a bit of a texture to it that you can see and feel when you rub your fingers over the table. This texture does not effect the sealing of the reed on this mouthpiece or any of the other SYOS saxophone mouthpieces I have reviewed to date as they have all sealed fine when applying the suction test.

SYOS Originals Smoky Model Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece

The tip rail matched up fairly well with the Vandoren Java #3 soprano sax reeds I used on it.  The #3 Java reed was a good strength for the 7 tip opening which measures to .070.

The three SYOS soprano sax mouthpieces that I received to review came with one slide on SYOS round ligature (three would have been nice, but I’m not complaining….).  You just slide the round ligature over the mouthpiece with the reed on it as far as it will slide on and it holds the reed tightly to the saxophone mouthpiece.

Although the ligature seemed to work fine, I found it was a bit of a pain to get off and on each mouthpiece once I had it firmly placed.  I chose to use a Rovner fabric saxophone ligature I have that fit the diameter of the SYOS soprano saxophone mouthpieces so I could adjust the tightness of the ligature how I wanted it.

The diameter of these SYOS soprano sax mouthpieces is a bit larger than other brands of soprano sax mouthpieces.  My Theo Wanne Enlightened soprano saxophone ligature was too small for these SYOS mouthpieces and my Vandoren Optimum soprano sax ligature just barely fit on them.  The table that holds the reed with that ligature was holding the reed at a weird angle with the rear of the plate not even touching the saxophone reed.  If you don’t end up using the SYOS circular slide-on ligature you might have to dig through your saxophone ligature collection to find a good fit.

SYOS Originals Smoky Model Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece

As you can see in the photo above, the baffle of the Smoky model soprano sax mouthpiece is a long rollover baffle that rolls over all the way to the rear of the chamber where the bore of the mouthpiece starts.  The rollover looks to start gradually and then descend at a quicker curve closer to the mouthpiece chamber.

I would describe the mouthpiece chamber of the SYOS Smoky soprano sax mouthpiece as a medium large chamber compared to my Theo Wanne Gaia soprano sax mouthpiece which I consider a large chamber.  Of the three SYOS Originals soprano sax mouthpieces, it does look to have the largest chamber of the three soprano mouthpieces.

The sidewalls of the mouthpiece feel like they are scooped out as they head towards the chamber and the roof of the chamber looks to be an average thickness (see photo below)

SYOS Originals Smoky Model Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece

The SYOS Smoky soprano sax mouthpiece played easily with the Vandoren #3 reed and gave me a darker, warmer, fat sound on the soprano saxophone. The tone seemed more spread than focused to me. I felt like the notes had a beautiful soft roundness to them that I really loved.  Even at a loud volume that soft roundness was still there.

The intonation was good and what I would expect on the soprano sax.  The tone was even and smooth throughout the range of the soprano saxophone.  I could play fast with no problem on this SYOS Smoky soprano sax mouthpiece and all the notes blended well together as you can hear from all the fast lines I am playing on the sound clip below.

Besides the fast lines, I also tried to play a variety of melodies so you can hear how this mouthpiece sounds when playing simple melodies as I feel that is the best way to judge the tone of a saxophone mouthpiece.  I thought the SYOS Smoky soprano sax mouthpiece sound killer on the slower ballad melodies I played.

You can hear the sound clips below.  I have posted a clip that was recorded “dry” with no effects or reverb as well as the exact same clip with reverb.  I personally like the clips with reverb the most just because I like to add reverb to the soprano sax when I play it on gigs just to fatten up the sound.  Also, there is nothing better than playing a soprano sax in a huge church or hall and hearing it bouncing around the room.  I love that……..

SYOS Originals Steady Model Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece

The second SYOS Originals soprano saxophone mouthpiece to review was the Steady model.  This mouthpiece also has the same engravings on the mouthpiece except of course that the model engraving reads “Steady”.  This mouthpiece is white which I really do not like.  I find white mouthpiece just so hard to place a saxophone reed on with my fifty year old bad eyesight.  They are also incredibly hard to take good photos of for the record.  (Note to SYOS: Please do not send me any more white mouthpieces…….)

SYOS Originals Steady Model Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece

The tip, rails, table and baffle look even and have the same texture of the first mouthpiece reviewed above.

The baffle of the SYOS Steady model soprano sax mouthpiece looks to start at the same angle as the Smoky model soprano mouthpiece but then looks like it has a few stages of baffle that descend at a greater angle than the Smoky model mouthpiece (you can see these stages in the photo above).

There also seems to be less baffle in the Steady model soprano sax mouthpiece before the chamber and in the floor of the chamber than the Smoky model mouthpiece has.  Even though the Smokey model mouthpiece looks to have a bigger chamber than the Steady model mouthpiece, that lower baffle floor entering the chamber in the Steady model, probably increases the chamber a bit. I’d be curious which soprano mouthpiece actually has the bigger chamber between the two of these soprano sax mouthpieces.

SYOS Originals Steady Model Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece

You can see in the photo above, that the Steady mouthpiece chamber looks a little bit smaller than the Smokey model soprano mouthpiece.  The sidewalls are scooped out similarly.  The outside of the Smoky and Steady soprano saxophone mouthpieces look to be exactly the same in length and diameter.

The SYOS Steady model soprano mouthpiece played great with the same Vandoren Java #3 soprano saxophone reed as I used on the Smoky model soprano sax mouthpiece.  In fact, I used the same exact soprano saxophone reed on all three of these soprano sax mouthpieces for this review and it worked great for all three mouthpieces.  I am assuming they have identical mouthpiece facing curves since I usually can’t use the same reed on multiple saxophone mouthpieces without encountering issues.

SYOS Originals Steady Model Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece

The SYOS Steady model soprano sax mouthpiece played slightly brighter than the Smoky model mouthpiece as you would expect with the smaller looking chamber.  The tone was still fat but I think it was a little less spread and had a bit more focus to the tone.

I did feel like the SYOS Steady soprano sax mouthpiece was a bit more easy to shape the tone with my airflow and embouchure than the Smoky model mouthpiece was.  I can best describe it as a faster response to airflow changes and bottom lip movement.  I notice this even more with the next SYOS soprano mouthpiece up for review, the Spark model mouthpiece.   I think the decreased chamber size seems to make the air flowing through the mouthpiece more concentrated so that the slightest changes effect the tone and response quicker.  At least that is what I’m thinking.

The intonation was within normal limits and the tone was even and smooth throughout the range of the horn.

SYOS Originals Spark Model Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece

Lastly up for review is the brightest mouthpiece of the three which is the SYOS Originals Spark model soprano saxophone mouthpiece.  This mouthpiece is bright orange which I think looks pretty cool.  The Spark soprano saxophone mouthpiece is pretty much the same as far as engravings and mouthpiece condition as the two mouthpieces I have already written about above.

SYOS Originals Spark Model Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece

The tip, rails, table and baffle all look nice and even with no sloppiness or imperfections.  The table has that same texture to it as the other two SYOS Originals mouthpieces but the Java reed sealed fine on it, so no worries.

The SYOS Spark soprano saxophone mouthpiece is a bit longer than the Steady and Smoky model soprano mouthpieces.  The bore length of the mouthpiece looks longer to me.  I guess this is because the Spark mouthpiece has a much smaller chamber and the extra length of the body makes it so the mouthpiece doesn’t have to be positioned way out on the saxophone cork to be in tune.  This was a smart move by SYOS because a lot of sax players, including me, don’t like a mouthpiece sitting way out on the end of our neck corks. Good job SYOS!

SYOS Originals Spark Model Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece

The baffle of the Spark model soprano saxophone mouthpiece actually looks a little bit lower than the Steady and Smoky model soprano mouthpiece baffles initially.  After the initial descent, the angle of the baffle drop is not as great as the Steady and Smoky model baffles and the baffle ends at a higher height right below a pea sized opening into the bore (see photo below).  I usually refer to these soprano mouthpiece chambers as pea-sized chambers.

SYOS Originals Spark Model Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece

The SYOS Originals Spark model soprano saxophone mouthpiece played great with the same Vandoren Java #3 soprano saxophone reed that I used on the Smoky and Steady model mouthpieces.   The tone of the Spark soprano sax mouthpiece was much brighter, more concentrated and much more focused in my opinion.

Above, I wrote that the Steady model soprano mouthpiece made it really easy to shape and manipulate the tone of the soprano with my airflow and embouchure and this is even more true for the Spark model soprano sax mouthpiece.  I could really feel a super fast response to airflow changes and bottom lip movement when I was using vibrato.   It was really easy to be expressive and play what I was imagining with that quick response.

I will admit,  I really do prefer this SYOS Spark soprano saxophone mouthpiece with reverb added to the recording. For me it just balances out the brightness and makes a brighter soprano saxophone tone more thick, fat and beautiful sounding.

The intonation of the SYOS Spark soprano sax mouthpiece was within normal limits and the tone was even and smooth throughout the range of the horn.

As far as volume, I think all three mouthpieces can put out some major volume on the soprano sax, but the difference between the three mouthpiece is more about the brightness and focus of that volume than the volume in my opinion.  I don’t think the Spark mouthpiece is louder than the Smoky and the Steady because I could put a whole lot more air through the latter than I could through that pea sized opening of the Spark mouthpiece.  That being said, the Spark had a lot more brightness and focus to the tone so those two ingredients put together usually mean a mouthpiece can cut through a loud mix pretty well.

SYOS Originals Spark Model Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece

Wow! SYOS really did a great job with this new line up of the Originals series soprano saxophone mouthpieces.  Check out the sound clips below.  They run a little longer than my usual mouthpiece review clips but that is because I was having so much fun!  If you like the sound and look of these new Originals soprano saxophone mouthpieces by SYOS, you can find them at the SYOS websiteNeffmusic also gets a small commission from each sale when you use this link to purchase a SYOS mouthpiece which helps support this website, so thank you in advance! 

The other great thing about the SYOS Originals saxophone mouthpieces are the price point.  As of today, the SYOS Originals sax mouthpieces are at about 157.50 EUROS (Approximately 185 USD as of today), which in my mind is a great price for a saxophone mouthpiece that plays this well.

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

SYOS Originals Series Smoky (Blue), Sparkle (Orange) and Steady (White) Model Soprano Saxophone Mouthpieces

SYOS Originals Series Soprano Sax Mouthpiece Comparison-Reverb Added

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

SYOS Originals Smoky Model Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece-Vandoren Java #3 Reed

Here is a few highlights from the SYOS Smoky model soprano saxophone mouthpiece:

  • Bewitched 2:00
  • Fast Legato Tonguing 3:51
  • Moose the Mooche 3:59
  • Everything Happens to Me 4:11
  • I Can’t Get Started 4:36

SYOS Originals Steady Model Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece-Vandoren Java #3 Reed

Here is a few highlights from the SYOS Steady model soprano saxophone mouthpiece:

  • Green Dolphin Street Improv 1:26
  • I Can’t Get Started 2:07
  • Someday My Prince Will Come 2:57
  • Fast Legato Tonguing 3:17
  • Blues 3:24

SYOS Originals Spark Model Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece-Vandoren Java #3 Reed

Here is a few highlights from the SYOS Spark model soprano saxophone mouthpiece:

  • I Can’t Get Started :35
  • Green Dolphin Street Improv 1:11
  • Blues 2:24
  • Fast Legato Tonguing 2:33
  • Amazing Grace 3:24

SYOS Originals Series Soprano Sax Mouthpiece Comparison-Dry Recording (No Reverb)

SYOS Originals Smoky Model Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece-Vandoren Java #3 Reed

SYOS Originals Steady Model Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece-Vandoren Java #3 Reed

SYOS Originals Spark Model Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece-Vandoren Java #3 Reed

If you like the sound and look of these new Originals soprano saxophone mouthpieces by SYOS, you can find them at the SYOS websiteNeffmusic also gets a small commission from each sale when you use this link to purchase a SYOS mouthpiece which helps support this website, so thank you in advance! 

Disclosure:  I received the sample mouthpieces compared above for free in the hope that I would try them and perhaps review them on my blog.  I also receive a small commission when you purchase from the SYOS link 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
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. Hi Steve,
    I’m curious to know how you felt these SYOS Originals compared to the Dayna Stevens SYOS Soprano Mouthpiece? I really enjoyed your playing and sound on all and I especially liked the Smoky and also the Dayna Stevens.
    Great reviews!
    Doug

    • Doug, I feel like these SYOS Originals are the same quality as the Dayna Stephens model Signature mouthpiece. I know they are a little cheaper than the signature models but they play just as well in my mind. I no longer have the Dayna Stephens model to compare it side by side but I think the Dayna Stephens has a bigger chamber. I just looked at the photos I took of both the Smoky and the Dayna Stephens and it does look bigger to me in the photos. The baffles looks very similar to each other. They are very close in sound to one another but my remembrance of the Dayna Stephens mouthpiece was that it was a tad fatter sounding but very close in sound and concept to each other. Steve

  2. Hi Steve
    Not sure how much you get to play Soprano these days, but this has been really cool to compare all three of the SYOS models in one review.So first of all thanks for the high quality reviews and in this case, with time indications and generally, various reeds and effects comparisons or options. I suppose especially for people who have been listening to you for a long time.
    So like Doug, I have the same question about comparing the Smoky to the Dayna Stephens. I really liked your sound on the Dayna model and wondered if you kept it?
    cheers
    Paul

    • Thanks Paul. I just wrote Doug a response about the Dayna Stephens SYOS mouthpiece. Glad you like the reviews. I ended up selling the Dayna Stephens mouthpiece even though I had decided to never sell it. Like I wrote to Doug, I think the Smoky is in the same ballpark and the photos of the baffle look very similar if not identical to me. The chamber does look a little smaller to me on the Smoky in the photos when I compare them side by side. Steve

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