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

Today, I am reviewing and comparing three new SYOS Originals series alto saxophone mouthpieces.  SYOS mouthpieces has released this new Originals SYOS line of tenor, alto and soprano saxophone mouthpieces to give saxophone players a simpler way to order a quality saxophone mouthpiece at a more affordable price point.  I have already reviewed the SYOS Originals soprano saxophone line and the SYOS Originals tenor saxophone line.  Today, I will be reviewing the SYOS Originals SMOKY, STEADY and SPARK alto saxophone mouthpieces in a 6 tip opening.

SYOS Originals Series Smoky (Dark Blue), Steady (Light Blue) and Spark (Magenta) Model Alto Saxophone Mouthpieces

Here are the descriptions of the three SYOS Originals alto saxophone models from the SYOS website:

SMOKY MODEL The Smoky alto saxophone mouthpiece offers a warm, dark sound and is easy to play thanks to its large chamber and low baffle.

STEADY MODEL A curved baffle and large chamber give the Steady model for alto saxophone the versatility and ease of articulation to perform effectively across all registers.

SPARK MODEL With its high baffle and medium chamber, the Spark mouthpiece for alto sax gets the job done! Perfect for outdoor playing or achieving a bright sound with maximum projection.

SYOS Originals Series Smoky (Dark Blue), Steady (Light Blue) and Spark (Magenta) Model Alto 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 black, gray, and red; 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.

Each of the three SYOS Original series alto saxophone mouthpieces has the name of the SYOS model engraved on the side of the mouthpiece as well as the SYOS symbol engraved on the top of the sax mouthpiece.  On the inside bore of each mouthpiece is engraved “Made in France” as well as what looks like a serial number.  The tip opening number is engraved into the bottom side of the shank underneath the mouthpiece table.

The table, tip and rails look fairly even and the mouthpieces 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 is a byproduct of the 3D printing process.  This texture does not seem to effect the sealing of the reed on these 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.  *Note:I played all three mouthpieces with the same Rigotti Gold 3 Light alto saxophone reed.  The reed sealed great on all three mouthpiece when performing the suction test.

The tip rails matched up fairly well with the Rigotti Gold alto saxophone reeds I used on the three mouthpieces.  The #3 Light Rigotti Gold alto sax reeds worked the best on all three mouthpieces.

SYOS Originals Series Smoky (Dark Blue), Steady (Light Blue) and Spark (Magenta) Model Alto Saxophone Mouthpieces

The three SYOS alto 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 Vandoren Optimum alto saxophone ligature that fit the diameter of the SYOS alto saxophone mouthpieces so I could adjust the tightness of the ligature how I wanted it.  The diameter of these SYOS alto sax mouthpieces is similar to other brands of hard rubber alto sax mouthpieces like hard rubber Meyer alto sax mouthpieces.

SYOS Originals Smoky Model Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece Baffle

As you can see in the photo above, the baffle of the SMOKY model alto sax mouthpiece looks to be the lowest baffle of the three alto mouthpieces.  The STEADY baffle is slightly higher initially than the SMOKY mouthpiece baffle and the SPARK model mouthpiece has the highest and longest baffle of the three SYOS Originals alto saxophone mouthpieces.

The SMOKY and STEADY mouthpiece baffles are long rollover baffles. To my eyes, it looks like the SMOKY  baffle continues longer than the STEADY baffle but the chamber of the SMOKY looks larger than the chamber of the STEADY.  The SPARK baffle is the only baffle of the three mouthpieces that is a shelf baffle.  The baffle of the SPARK hits the edge of the shelf and then the baffle travels down and through the medium-small chamber at an angle.

The SMOKY has the largest chamber of the three mouthpieces. Then the STEADY has a slightly smaller medium chamber and the SPARK has the smallest chamber of the three mouthpieces.

The sidewalls of all three SYOS Originals alto mouthpiece models are scooped out as they head towards the chamber and the roof of the chambers of each mouthpiece looks to be of average thickness with the SMOKY chamber roof being the thinnest roof of the three to accommodate the larger chamber size.

SYOS Originals Smoky Model Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece Chamber

The three SYOS Originals alto saxophone mouthpieces vary in length like the three SYOS Originals tenor mouthpieces I reviewed.  The higher the baffle, the longer the shank of the mouthpiece.  This helps each mouthpiece to be placed in approximately the same area on the cork regardless of the height of the baffle and size of the chamber.  I like this feature just because I don’t like my higher baffled mouthpieces sitting way out on the end of the saxophone neck cork.

SYOS Originals Steady Model Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece Baffle

The SYOS SMOKY alto saxophone mouthpiece was what I would consider a middle of the road alto sax mouthpiece between dark and bright.  The SMOKY is in no way what I would consider a “dark” alto sax mouthpiece. The SMOKY mouthpiece has a fat and full sounding tone and had less high brightness in the tone than the STEADY and SPARK mouthpieces, but still had nice highs and sparkle to the tone of the notes at the high end of the saxophone.  I felt like the SYOS SMOKY had a fatter more spread tone as compared to the more focused STEADY model and even more focused SPARK model.

The low notes were great to sub-tone and the tone was nice and full sounding down in the low end.  I will add that I found the low end on all three of these SYOS Originals alto sax mouthpieces to be not as fat and lush as lower baffled and larger chambered alto mouthpieces  I have tried.  This is due to the higher baffle profiles of these mouthpieces and I have found it common with all the higher baffled alto sax mouthpieces I have tried through the years.  When these low notes are sub-toned however, the sub-toned low notes sounds great to my ears.

The intonation was excellent and within normal parameters. The articulation was clean, crisp and immediate.

As far as power, the SMOKY had a nice reserve of power and volume when pushed even though it had the lowest baffle of the three SYOS Originals alto saxophone mouthpieces.  The baffle of the SYOS SMOKY alto mouthpiece is still a higher and longer rollover baffle than many alto sax mouthpieces like many of the Meyer and Otto Link alto saxophone mouthpieces I have played.

SYOS Originals Steady Model Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece Chamber

Next up, was the STEADY model SYOS alto saxophone mouthpiece.  The STEADY model had more of a  brightness to it that gave it more power and focus than the SMOKY model.  The STEADY mouthpiece has more of a bright focused “in your face” presence in the recording below when compared to the SMOKY sound clip that sounded more laid back to me.  Intonation was great and as to be expected and the scale was even throughout the range of the saxophone.

The STEADY model alto sax mouthpiece seemed to get brighter when pushed. The high notes were full and clear and the mouthpiece had a nice dynamic range to it where I could play full volume or down to a whisper when I wanted.

The range of the saxophone was very smooth and even when playing fast.  I especially enjoyed that quality when playing my faster lines on the sound clip.

SYOS Originals Spark Model Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece Baffle

Lastly, the SYOS SPARK alto saxophone mouthpiece was the brightest and most powerful of the three SYOS Originals alto saxophone mouthpieces.

As well as being brighter and more powerful, you can clearly hear on the recording that the SPARK has more of a concentrated focused presence on the recording than the STEADY and SMOKY mouthpiece sound clips.  This focused presence and brightness would make it a great mouthpiece for those who like to delve into the more “Sanbornish” realm of alto sax playing where more brightness and edge are needed.

Although the SYOS SPARK alto sax mouthpiece is brighter, I didn’t find it annoyingly so.  Even on my standard “Bird” alto sax lines the SYOS SPARK still sounded good on those classic bebop lines even though a tad brighter.  I actually loved the “pop” of the added brightness on the bebop articulation.

SYOS Originals Spark Model Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece Chamber

I have provided a second sound clip of the SYOS SMOKY, STEADY and SPARK below where I added some reverb to them (the first clip of each set is the clip with reverb).  I like listening to these clips with added reverb just to get an idea of what these mouthpieces might sound like in a hall or auditorium.

All three SYOS Original alto sax mouthpieces had a nice smoothness to them that I really enjoyed.  Even though I would consider these three alto mouthpiece to be on the brighter side, there was nothing in their tone that I felt was edgy or grating.  All three mouthpiece were able to be played sweetly and all three mouthpieces sounded killer on the bebop stuff in my opinion.  Which one you prefer is really a matter of how much brightness and focus you like in your alto saxophone tone.

SYOS Originals Series Smoky (Dark Blue), Steady (Light Blue) and Spark (Magenta) Model Alto Saxophone Mouthpieces

SYOS really did a great job with this new line up of the Originals series alto saxophone mouthpieces.  As I was writing this review, and listening back to the sound clips, I was trying to figure out which of these three SYOS alto saxophone mouthpieces I liked the best and I really could not decide.  Each of these mouthpieces plays in its own unique way and I enjoyed playing, as well as listening back, to each mouthpiece.  Check out the sound clips below and see if you have a favorite.

If you like the sound and look of these new Originals alto 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 around 189 USD, 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 of the SYOS Originals alto saxophone mouthpieces, I would love to hear what you think in the comments below.  Thanks,   Steve

SYOS Originals Series Alto Sax Mouthpiece Comparison

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

SYOS Originals Smoky 6 Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

SYOS Originals Smoky Model Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece-Rigotti Gold #3 Light Reed-Reverb Added

SYOS Originals Smoky Model Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece-Rigotti Gold #3 Light Reed-Dry Recording

SYOS Originals Steady 6 Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

SYOS Originals Steady Model Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece-Rigotti Gold #3 Light Reed-Reverb Added

SYOS Originals Steady Model Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece-Rigotti Gold #3 Light Reed-Dry Recording

SYOS Originals Spark 6 Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

SYOS Originals Spark Model Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece-Rigotti Gold #3 Light Reed-Reverb Added

SYOS Originals Spark Model Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece-Rigotti Gold #3 Light Reed-Dry Recording

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


  1. Avatar Giuseppe C. says

    For my taste, Smoky sound is better.

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