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

Today, I am reviewing and comparing three new SYOS Originals series tenor 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 a few months ago.  Today, I will be reviewing the SYOS Originals SMOKY, STEADY and SPARK tenor saxophone mouthpieces in an 8 tip opening.

SYOS Originals Series Smoky (Black), Steady (Gray) and Spark (Red) Model Tenor Saxophone Mouthpieces

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

SMOKY MODEL Combining a step baffle with an extra wide chamber, the Tenor Smoky is the perfect tenor saxophone mouthpiece to get a dark, velvety sound effortlessly.

STEADY MODEL The combination of a medium step baffle and medium-sized chamber makes the Steady for Tenor a true all-rounder. Versatile and easy to play, you can switch between a dark or bright tenor saxophone tone on the fly.

SPARK MODEL No metal is needed to get a very bright and powerful tenor saxophone sound. With a high step baffle and medium chamber, the Spark for Tenor is free-blowing, with a clear sound that travels far!

SYOS Originals Series Smoky (Black), Steady (Gray) and Spark (Red) Model Tenor 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 tenor 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: Although all three mouthpieces sealed with the reeds used on them, the STEADY mouthpiece had the shortest seal at a fraction of a second.  The SMOKY and SPARK had an average sealing time like other mouthpieces.  Interestingly, I could not use the same tenor saxophone reed on all three SYOS mouthpieces which was rather frustrating.  If a new reed worked well on one mouthpiece, it would not seal on the next mouthpiece I was playing.  I had to use new reeds for each mouthpiece I played.  This tells me that each mouthpiece has a different landscape to the table that the reeds were forming to which then made the used reed unable to get a seal on the next mouthpiece.  Although this is a pain when reviewing multiple mouthpieces, I don’t think it would be an issue when just using one mouthpiece.

The tip rail matched up fairly well with the Rigotti Gold tenor saxophone reeds I used on it.  The #3 Light Rigotti Gold reeds worked well on all three mouthpieces but I only chose to record the clip of the SMOKY model mouthpiece with this 3 Light reed.  I preferred a Rigotti Gold 2 1/2 Strong reed on the SPARK and the STEADY but this size reed was too soft for me on the SMOKY model mouthpiece.

I especially loved the 2 1/2 Strong Rigotti reed on the SPARK mouthpiece as the slightly softer reed just seemed to give the SPARK some more brightness, sparkle, clarity and flexibility to the sound in my opinion.

SYOS Originals Series Smoky (Black), Steady (Gray) and Spark (Red) Model Tenor Saxophone Mouthpieces

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

SYOS Originals Series Smoky (Black), Steady (Gray) and Spark (Red) Model Tenor Saxophone Mouthpieces

As you can see in the photo above, the baffle of the SPARK model (red) tenor sax mouthpiece is the highest and longest baffle of the three mouthpieces.  The STEADY baffle is a bit shorter and slightly lower than the SPARK mouthpiece baffle and the SMOKY model is the shortest and lowest baffle of the three tenor sax mouthpieces.

Each mouthpiece baffle starts fairly flat and travels in an angle until it encounters a straight edge where the angle of the baffle becomes greater as the baffle heads to the rear of the mouthpiece chamber in what looks like a straight line.  This straight descent of the baffle on all three mouthpieces is scooped from side to side.

Due to the fact that the angle of decent starts at a greater distance from the tip of the SPARK and STEADY models, the descending baffle takes up more of the chamber area of the SPARK making it a smaller medium chamber than the SMOKY and STEADY.   The STEADY has  more of a medium chamber of the three models and the SMOKY has the largest chamber of the three models.

The sidewalls of the three SYOS Originals tenor mouthpiece models are scooped out as they head towards the chamber and the roof of the chambers looks to be the same average thickness (see photos) for all three mouthpieces.

SYOS Originals Series Smoky (Black), Steady (Gray) and Spark (Red) Model Tenor Saxophone Mouthpieces

The three SYOS Originals tenor saxophone mouthpieces vary in length as you can see in the photo above.  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 my neck cork.

SYOS Originals Smoky Model Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece Chamber

The three SYOS Originals tenor saxophone models played exactly as their baffles would indicate.

The SYOS SMOKY mouthpiece was what I would consider a middle of the road tenor sax mouthpiece between dark and bright.  It was warmer sounding and had less high brightness in the tone than the STEADY and SPARK mouthpieces, while still having a nice focused sound.

The bottom range of the saxophone sounded more spread to me while the higher end of the saxophone range sounded more focused.

The intonation was excellent and within normal parameters. The articulation was clean and crisp and the altissimo popped out nicely without getting overly bright and edgy.  You can hear how easily the altissimo lines pop out on the sound clip below.

As far as power, the SMOKY still had ample power and volume when pushed even though it had the lowest baffle of the three SYOS Originals tenor saxophone mouthpieces.  The baffle of the SYOS SMOKY tenor mouthpiece is still a higher and longer baffle than many tenor mouthpieces like most Otto Links and other similar tenor sax mouthpieces, so keep that in mind.

SYOS Originals Steady Model Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece Chamber

Next up was the STEADY model SYOS tenor saxophone mouthpiece.  While the SMOKY seemed to prefer a Rigotti Gold 3 Light tenor saxophone reed, the STEADY mouthpiece seemed right at home with a Rigotti Gold 2 1/2 Strong tenor saxophone reed.

The STEADY model had more of a middle of the road brightness to it that gave it more power than the SMOKY model.  The STEADY mouthpiece has more of a “in your face” power and presence in the recording below when compared to the SMOKY sound clip.  Intonation was great and as to be expected and the scale was even throughout the range of the saxophone.

The STEADY model tenor sax mouthpiece seems to get exponentially more focused when pushed and more spread in tone when I played at lower volumes.

The altissimo seemed to have more presence and volume than the SMOKY model which had a more refined and pretty altissimo whereas the STEADY started leaning in towards a more aggressive altissimo sound when pushed.

SYOS Originals SPARK Model Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece Chamber

Lastly, the SYOS SPARK tenor saxophone mouthpiece was the brightest and more powerful of the three SYOS Originals tenor sax mouthpieces.   Although is is brighter, I don’t think it is as bright as the SYOS Chad LB model that I reviewed a few years ago.

As well as being brighter and more powerful, you can clearly hear on the recording that the SPARK has more of a 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 “live” modern commercial type gigs where you need volume (although I think the STEADY and SMOKY mouthpieces could hold their own as far as volume on these types of gigs as well).

Although the SYOS SPARK tenor sax mouthpiece is brighter, I didn’t find it annoyingly so.  Being deaf in one ear and having some hearing loss in my good ear tends to make me a bit overly sensitive to bright and loud mouthpieces but the SYOS SPARK was bright and powerful without triggering my annoyance factor which is a good thing.

The altissimo of the SPARK model tenor saxophone mouthpiece was excellent and seemed really easy to lock in as far as being able to produce it but also in regard to intonation.  The high notes were bright and loud but still had a round consistency to the notes that made them easy to listen to.

I have provided a second sound clip of the SYOS SPARK below where I took some of the altissimo clips from the first sound clip and added some reverb to them.  I really love the quality of this second clip.  I’m not exactly sure why, but there is a quality in the tone of this clip up in the altissimo that sounds really cool to me.

SYOS Originals Spark Model Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece

SYOS really did a great job with this new line up of the Originals series tenor saxophone mouthpieces.  Check out the sound clips below.   If you like the sound and look of these new Originals tenor 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 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 Tenor Sax Mouthpiece Comparison

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

SYOS Originals Smoky 8 Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

SYOS Originals Smoky Model Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece-Rigotti Gold #3 Light Reed

SYOS Originals Steady 8 Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

SYOS Originals Steady Model Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece-Rigotti Gold #2 1/2 Strong Reed

SYOS Originals Steady Model Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece-Rigotti Gold #3 Light Reed-Short Clip with Reverb Added

SYOS Originals Spark 8 Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

SYOS Originals Spark Model Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece-Rigotti Gold #2 1/2 Strong Reed

SYOS Originals Spark Model Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece-Rigotti Gold #2 1/2 Strong Reed-Short Clip with Added Reverb

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. Steve do feel that the Spark was brighter than the Chad LB model?

    • Angelo, I don’t think so. I write in the review that I thought the SYOS Chad LB mouthpiece was brighter as I remember it.

  2. Avatar Giuseppe C. says

    Hi Steve,
    Who knows if even these plastic mouthpieces sound different depending on the color used for the various shades, as I think I have read, except for errors, it happened for those made with dentin, the GetASax?
    If I remember correctly, I hope I am not mistaken, I have read that GetASax preferred to make them white and not black having found that the sound, without black tint, was better.
    Actually, aesthetically, I would prefer a black one.
    I guess you will answer me to ask SYOS …
    Haven’t you noticed any differences in the sound depending on the color?
    Giuseppe.

    • No, there is no difference in sound because of the color of the mouthpiece that I can detect. How could the color of something possible effect the sound? I don’t think that is possible except maybe having an influence on us psychologically.

      • Avatar Giuseppe C. says

        Thanks Steve,
        Your practical experience of not detecting differences between the various colors of this brand is important.
        I too had thought of a possible psychological suggestion, even if I have never tried them.
        I had the doubt why:
        1) regarding the GetASax mouthpieces, I remember reading somewhere on the internet – but unfortunately I can’t track it down, although I think I can’t remember wrong – that they build white mouthpieces after trying with the addition of a black tint which, however, seemed to slightly penalize their sound;
        2) some brands of mouthpieces build “marble” pieces by adding color; those who try them claim to find their sound different.
        Probably any difference in sound depends on material to different material.
        Giuseppe.

  3. Avatar Giuseppe C. says

    Strange, while for the alto models I prefer the Smoky sound, among these for the tenor the Steady seems better to me …
    They should be tried.
    Giuseppe.

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