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 Behn Sonos mouthpiece and Aria reeds.
Author: Caihlen 
Date:   2018-03-08 07:02

I'm an enthusiastic amateur hobbyist. I play a Backun Alpha with Protegé barrel and bell, and until recently I used a 5RV Lyre Profile 88. Until recently I also used V12 reeds. There was a post a while back about Behn Aria reeds and because the value proposition of V12's is so sketchy I thought I'd give them a try. Every single reed in the box was far and above the V12's. Every one played well out of the box and with a little tinkering played brilliantly. This started a conversation with Brad about mouthpieces and resulted in the purchase of a Sonos mouthpiece. The Sonos makes the Vandoren seem like a toy. Brad is incredibly helpful and gives thoughtful and what seems to me objective answers to questions, and both products far exceeded my expectations. I've never actually met Brad in person but I wholeheartedly recommend his products and services without reservation.

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 Re: Behn Sonos mouthpiece and Aria reeds.
Author: AAAClarinet 
Date:   2018-03-08 22:03

I agree completely. Brad is a great person to work with, very helpful and a genuinely nice person. His products are top-notch.

AAAClarinet

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 Re: Behn Sonos mouthpiece and Aria reeds.
Author: kaiserthegreat 
Date:   2018-03-08 23:50

"[T]he value proposition of V12's...?" I'm not sure I get what that means. Too expensive? Too many bad ones in a box? As a beginner, I have eyed his overture mouthpiece. Cheap and well reviewed, though so far I've stuck with the Yamaha 4C that came with my horn. I'd say it's "working" but I'm not sure how one determines such things at my skill level and having never compared it with any other mouthpieces.

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 Re: Behn Sonos mouthpiece and Aria reeds.
Author: GenEric 
Date:   2018-03-09 00:01

One thing I regret is not having a good student mouthpiece when I was just starting to play. I taught myself many bad habits like biting and tonguing with the middle instead of tip of the tongue. If you have the money, I would highly recommend the Overture!

As with vandoren reeds, they're too inconsistent. Not only do some not play well, some are 1 strength softer than the box strenth and others are like playing 2x4s. Try out a box of behn reeds and see what you think.



Post Edited (2018-03-09 00:54)

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 Re: Behn Sonos mouthpiece and Aria reeds.
Author: nellsonic 
Date:   2018-03-09 01:35

kaiserthegreat wrote:

> So far I've stuck with the Yamaha 4C that came
> with my horn. I'd say it's "working" but I'm not sure how one
> determines such things at my skill level and having never
> compared it with any other mouthpieces.

There are a few folks who like the Yamaha 4C, but I think among those who actually know the majority opinion is that it is sort of the best of the not-so-good beginner mouthpieces. You could always order a Fobes Debut online and return it if you don't like it. The Behn Overture or Ridenour Encore are other good choices. I should say that I don't have personal experience with the Overture, but several trusted colleagues do. I keep meaning to order the Overture....

I do have the Ridenour and Fobes in my studio and almost all my beginning-intermediate students end up playing the Fobes. Nobody's ever sounded worse on it, and almost everyone has sounded better, often MUCH better. I have rank beginners start on it to help avoid bad habits and to develop a decent sound from very early on. A good mouthpiece is essential in developing properly as a clarinetist. Plus, when you sound good and the tone is produced easily, it makes you want to play more! Articulation and intonation are also important factors that are greatly influenced by the mouthpiece.

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 Re: Behn Sonos mouthpiece and Aria reeds.
Author: dorjepismo 2017
Date:   2018-03-09 02:00

There are players who sound fantastic on anything. I'm not one of them, and have only really been happy with something from a well-known individual maker like Behn. Had good luck with Arias, and look forward to trying one of his mouthpieces after my French bore horns arrive. Really wish I'd taken the setup more seriously when I was in school!

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 Re: Behn Sonos mouthpiece and Aria reeds.
Author: donald 
Date:   2018-03-09 08:48

Re the 4C- here in NZ there are so many CRAP student mouthpieces supplied with student instruments that when we see them come into the room with a 4C it's a case of "thank goodness". However some on this forum strongly dislike them- your assessment of them exactly fits "our" (or my) situation ie the best of a bad lot.
That said- I've refaced them a couple of times... and found facings that greatly improve the 4C and 5C (though still with limitations). The student offerings by Behn, Fobes and Lomax are streets ahead- I used to also rate the Hite student mouthpieces, but in recent years have found these to sound pretty bad, to be honest.
I currently have a Behn student mouthpiece that really plays very nicely- I'm hoping to encourage the dominant chain store here in NZ to stock them (hopefully supply them with their rental clarinets!)
dn

[just pulled out that Behn and played for half an hour, significantly better "core sound" than the various Vandorens in my kit, I'll bet that SONO sounds GREAT!]



Post Edited (2018-03-09 12:24)

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 Re: Behn Sonos mouthpiece and Aria reeds.
Author: kaiserthegreat 
Date:   2018-03-09 23:14

Okay so I'm using the best of the worst. And since the grass is always greener, I went an ordered the Fobes Debut. Of the three consistently recommended, that was the only one on WWBW and at $10 off the listing on Fobes. Plus WWBW is offering 10% off on single mouthpiece purchases...and of course free shipping.

(Also Clark Fobes' education and professional life is between Fresno and SF and I was born and raised in the Bay Area and currently live in Fresno, so sticking with my people as that matters musically.)

I'll follow up as to whether I can feel or hear a difference, and then of course if I'm happy with it, I'll replace my horrible Yamaha ligature (THIS I actually do hate and have wanted to change) with a Fobes Rovner ligature...and then get some Debut reeds...and a Fobes t-shirt...start drinking Fobes water...etc.

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 Re: Behn Sonos mouthpiece and Aria reeds.
Author: gavalanche20 
Date:   2018-03-10 00:44

If you find a good deal on that auction site they have 20% of almost everything at the moment, but it's today only. I wouldn't be so down about having a 4C, you certainly could have done far worse. Also Fobes does not make the Rovner ligature.

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 Re: Behn Sonos mouthpiece and Aria reeds.
Author: nellsonic 
Date:   2018-03-10 05:53

gavalanche20 wrote:

> If you find a good deal on that auction site they have 20% of
> almost everything at the moment, but it's today only. I
> wouldn't be so down about having a 4C, you certainly could have
> done far worse. Also Fobes does not make the Rovner ligature.

Thanks for letting us know about this. I just picked up a couple of mouthpieces I've been eyeing but couldn't quite justify without the discount.

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 Re: Behn Sonos mouthpiece and Aria reeds.
Author: Dan Shusta 
Date:   2018-03-11 20:10

Hi everyone,

I sent a personal email to Caihlen on the 9th and asked him if he wouldn't mind telling me "what was it that convinced him to buy the SONO"? I felt that a personal email was necessary because, IMO, this thread had drifted entirely off topic and I wasn't sure if he would see my inquiry.

I did receive his 2nd review which I thought was extensive and very informative. Yesterday, I requested written permission from him to share it with all of you.

This morning, I did receive written permission and here it is word for word:

"Dan,
At first I was intrigued by the idea of the A-frame baffle. I was also really intrigued by the O-ring design. I've been looking for a new mouthpiece, and I knew that a custom was my only option. I've been playing the Aria reeds for a while and am really impressed. I reached out to Brad and we started talking about mouthpieces. His integrity and enthusiasm sealed the deal. It's really a spectacular mouthpiece. It's dark, yet has some zing, and it plays easily and free. I feel like it opened up the instrument for me and lets me play stuff I couldn't before. The altissimo is clear and the chalumeau is resonant and precise. A lot of this has to do with the material, I think. I hope this is helpful."

My thanks goes out to Caihlen for allowing me to share his review of his new SONO clarinet mouthpiece with the clarinet community.

I have intensely searched the Internet several times and have not been able to find any other reviews. So, I believe Caihlen's review might very well be the first.

Feel free to comment...



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 Re: Behn Sonos mouthpiece and Aria reeds.
Author: NBeaty 
Date:   2018-03-12 19:34

The Sono mouthpiece may be the most underrated mouthpiece on the market. It sometimes falls into obscurity between the zinner line and the "flagship" Epic option.

I've worked with Brad at his booth at ICA and TMEA probably 8 or 9 times in recent years, which allows me to experience playing through the entire table of mouthpieces and have a keen understanding of what each line offers.

First, there are things that every one of Brad's mouthpieces, from his Overture model all the way to the Epic and Signature lines.

- Impeccably exact facing curve that is perfectly balanced. There's no person or machine that can get such a consistently exacting symmetry, as it takes an incredible amount of attention to detail as well as a standard for what is acceptable that is second to none.

- Predictable response, reed friendly, a comfortable blow-through that is balanced with great stability, all with an emphasis on a philosophy of less effort for increased result.

- A complex sound that allows for the upper partials to come through (the "ring" that he's well known for) without sounding brittle or shrill. While different models have more or less of the "highs" in the sound, it is an ever present quality that will help add ring to any sound, whether the player wishes to have more depth and/or cover ("darker") or a more brilliant sound.

- A unique and high quality product. There's just nothing on the market that equals, much less surpasses, Brad Behn. The Sono line of mouthpiece is made from Brad's less expensive Rod Rubber formulation (Behn Rod Rubber II), it is worth noting that this blank is of higher quality than the rest of the market. If the Vintage/Epic Rod Rubber I didn't exist, we'd be discussing this formulation as the highest quality out there. The Epic and Sono mouthpieces are unique designs that come from decades of refacing experience with just about any mouthpiece design imaginable. A process that spared no expense in time or investment to create designs that are uniquely Behn that he, rightly so, is very proud to stand behind.

- A true artist. I've spent time playing through every single mouthpiece he's brought to a conference many times (a process which takes quite a while) before the exhibit hall opens and I can say with 100% confidence and honesty that every single mouthpiece on the table looks like a true work of art. From perfectly even side and tip rails, to a uniform interior texture, to just making the mouthpiece look beautiful to show the care that went into every aspect of its design, construction, and final work.

It's very important to look at the Sono line of mouthpieces in the proper light. It would be a big mistake to look at them as a "poor man's Epic". They are a unique design that emphasizes the unique and high quality performance aspects of the Behn Rod Rubber II. First of all, there have been numerous times where I was noodling around on a Sono and forgotten that I wasn't playing an Epic! A few aspects of the Sono I feel are particularly good and unique (in addition to the aforementioned qualities):

-A velvety and luscious tone color. Clarinet sound has often been described as a "diamond wrapped in velvet". The Sono line is wrapped in perhaps a little bit more velvet than the Epic line to my ears, but retains clarity and brilliance.

-Due to the A-Frame, I feel they can take a lot of abuse in the more aggressive and demanding nature of much of the solo repertoire. It's important to note that it doesn't REQUIRE an increased quantity of air, but it will gladly accept it without losing stability or tonal center.



I'll end this post the same way I started it. The Sono line is both underrated and superior to any other offerings on the market, not to be overshadowed by the Epic line but should be thought of as simply a different design with different character.

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 Re: Behn Sonos mouthpiece and Aria reeds.
Author: dorjepismo 2017
Date:   2018-03-12 20:17

Thanks very much for the details on the two models! Besides the degree of velvet, are there other specific differences in tone or feel representing different concepts in the two lines? I don't get around a lot, but am surprised to hear the the Sonos might receive any abuse, as I've only ever heard favorable mention of Behn's mouthpieces. I play a Pillinger myself, and most of his mouthpieces seem to have some degree of A-Frame--mine's described as "medium"--so I wouldn't have thought of that as a source of controversy.

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 Re: Behn Sonos mouthpiece and Aria reeds.
Author: NBeaty 
Date:   2018-03-12 20:38

I think you may have misunderstood when I said "abuse". I didn't mean it in the sense that they're any less prone to damage if you drop them, for example. I meant that they're very capable of accepting a variety of playing styles and repertoire requirements than other mouthpieces without losing their tonal center or sacrificing stability. Perhaps there was a better word choice I could have made, but I think if you re-read my post now it may make more sense.

The A-Frame is essentially a compromise in design. It's a design that adds some of the advantages of a wider window (freedom in "blow-through", slightly larger scope of sound) without sacrificing the advantages of a smaller window (ease of focus, clarity, ring in the sound, etc.). Keep in mind that this is just one aspect of design and needs to balance with the rest of the mouthpiece.

Beyond the differences that I described, I think an email directly to Brad would help clarify your question further. Also, he has a very reasonable trial policy which is of course the best way to experience these mouthpieces for yourself.

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