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 BD4 Throat Design?
Author: Bob Barnhart 2017
Date:   2021-09-05 23:15
Attachment:  BD4-Throat.png (739k)

I've been playing more on the BD4 over the last few months and am becoming more fond of its performance characteristics (resistance, response, tuning, articulation, etc.) although I find that I need to adjust reeds to get the sound that I want from it.

Now this may or may not be related to various qualities of the mouthpiece, but I have wondered about its rather unusual throat design in which the baffle drops below the opening of the throat (see attachment).

I've never seen this design before--only on the BD4s, and not on the BD5 or BD7.

Does anyone have any ideas on why this design was chosen and what its advantages/disadvantages might be.

Bob Barnhart

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 Re: BD4 Throat Design?
Author: farabout 
Date:   2021-09-06 02:05

The tone timbre must be darker than midnight?

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 Re: BD4 Throat Design?
Author: Max S-D 
Date:   2021-09-06 04:45

I haven't seen that on a Bb clarinet mouthpiece, but my Selmer bass clarinet mouthpiece (the old, pre-Concept/Focus design) does that. I don't think the older design Selmer Bb mouthpieces do that, at least not the ones I have.

Interesting that the new Selmer Concept for Bb and bass clarinets does the opposite: the floor of the baffle remains higher and steps down a tiny bit into the bore, creating a trapezoidal shape at the throat entering the bore.

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 Re: BD4 Throat Design?
Author: Jeroen 
Date:   2021-09-06 13:29

Strange, inside my BD4 I cannot see a baffle drop. It looks quite normal:
https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-UqB8MmYqxmY/YTXeBoRaDgI/AAAAAAAAF8c/n6lEm23Oxc8SWg77Mx5qnFzXoLfq-veGQCPcBGAsYHg/s1600/IMG_20210906_112114524_HDR.jpg
and
https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-KrJ_GuGYB-Y/YTXeBm-J17I/AAAAAAAAF8c/ujVq1fUUUhwXqlvfAqgo83apMcdnYb1BwCPcBGAsYHg/s1600/IMG_20210906_112130314.jpg



Post Edited (2021-09-06 13:58)

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 Re: BD4 Throat Design?
Author: Bob Barnhart 2017
Date:   2021-09-06 23:27

Jeroen,

Wow, that's surprising. I know that Vandoren mouthpieces may vary a bit because they are hand-finished (at least on the baffle), but your BD4 is REALLY different from mine--pretty much like my BD5 and BD7.

I have 2 BD4s purchased within the last 6-9 months and they both have a very dramatic ledge between the throat and the baffle--unlike anything I've seen in any mouthpiece.

When did you receive your BD4? Perhaps Vandoren has changed the design?

Perhaps I should order a couple more for evaluation.

Unlike a drop from the throat as the air moves into the bore (which I would imagine would result in a lowering of air pressure/speed), perhaps the raised ledge as the air moves against into the throat would increase air pressure/speed. My thought is that it might also introduce turbulence, which one might expect would have an adverse impact on the power/focus of the tone. However, the BD4 seems to have MORE power and focus, and a slightly more brilliant sound that either the BD5 or BD7.

Oh well, now I'm really perplexed...

Bob Barnhart

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 Re: BD4 Throat Design?
Author: Tony F 
Date:   2021-09-07 05:00

Maybe VD have serendipitously discovered a new and hitherto unknown principal of mouthpiece design.:-)

Tony F.

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 Re: BD4 Throat Design?
Author: farabout 
Date:   2021-09-07 05:16

Or it was simply a dud that somehow escaped their Pigalle QC.

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 Re: BD4 Throat Design?
Author: DaphnisetChloe 
Date:   2021-09-07 07:23

Bob, is yours a regular BD4 or a 13 series? The difference wouldnt be surprising if it is 13 series

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 Re: BD4 Throat Design?
Author: Bob Barnhart 2017
Date:   2021-09-07 07:46

Daphnis,

Ferry Interrrestinc! I have an early (Standard A442) model. Perhaps Jeroen’s is a 13-series?

Thanks!

Bob

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 Re: BD4 Throat Design?
Author: Jeroen 
Date:   2021-09-07 12:17

I have the standard model. I purchased it at least a year ago. May be Vandoren changed the design.

Interesting to try some new ones then. A stepped baffle can really make a difference in sound as is known from saxophone mouthpieces.



Post Edited (2021-09-07 12:23)

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 Re: BD4 Throat Design?
Author: John Peacock 
Date:   2021-09-07 12:34

I just recently got a BD4. Not sure I like it: from the description, I hoped it would be a little more free than the BD5, which I found rather dull and stuffy. But first impressions of the BD4 is that it's not so different from its stablemate, alas.

Anyway, I had a careful look for the feature described above, and I think it's possible it is a visual illusion. Traditional Vandoren mouthpieces had hand finishing on the baffle: a roughening of the surface that continued right down into the top of the chamber. The BD4 in contrast has what looks like machine roughening on the baffle. This stops abruptly a little short of the chamber, at which point the baffle becomes shiny. But then in the chamber itself the surface is a little rougher - presumably from where it was drilled out. So this leaves a small patch of material between top of chamber and bottom of baffle that is more shiny than the stuff above and below it. I agree it looks at first sight as though there is a dip at that point: but gently running the tip of a screwdriver over it, I don't believe there is.

As to why it's there, my guess is that whatever machine they're using to roughen the baffle just isn't clever enough to get round the corner at the bottom where it joins the chamber, and they're saving money by not having hand finishers complete the job in traditional style.

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 Re: BD4 Throat Design?
Author: JTJC 
Date:   2021-09-07 16:22

I thought the BD5 was CNC and had assumed subsequent models in that line would be too. If that’s the case I’d have thought there’s no hand finishing, which is the case on all the other CNC mouthpieces I have (Behn, D’Addario EV10s, Backun Vocalise). Also, I don’t think hand finished VDs have a surface texture applied as such, other than from the manufacturing processes, such as the scratches on the baffle. CNC mouthpieces do have a surface texture which is clearly part of the design and the result of tooling. The exteriors are generally smooth (polished or matt) whereas with the interior you can see the trail pattern of the cutters with the surface left deliberately rougher.

Re the possibility of Series 13 Vs Standard explaining the bore/baffle anomaly. Is it possible a batch just had the wrong decal applied?

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 Re: BD4 Throat Design?
Author: Bob Barnhart 2017
Date:   2021-09-07 19:48

John,

Your suggestion that this might be an illusion seemed, at first, impossible, as it was so clearly a "ledge" at the interface between the baffle and chamber. However, I used a toothpick as a non-destructive probe and, by golly, I cannot feel what I clearly see!

As I run the toothpick over the interface between the baffle and chamber, I do feel a light "bump" but I think this is nothing more than the transition from the ground surface of the baffle to the smooth surface of the bore.

I have to say I'm both relieved and chagrined that this was an illusion!

Anyway, I wouldn't give up on the BD4. I find it to be sufficiently free, but with a nice degree of control. For me, it plays better with a slightly softer reed (i.e., "3.75" Pilgerstorfer Dolce) than my other favorite, a Zinner-based Kessler-Backun III which has a very similar facing but prefers a "4.0" Dolce. With the right reed, I can get a wider variety of sounds from it than either my BD5 or BD7, so (IMHO) it is a more general-purpose mouthpiece that suits a wider variety of music than its companions.

Thanks to all for helping to resolve this mystery!

Bob Barnhart

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 Re: BD4 Throat Design?
Author: Jimis4klar 
Date:   2021-09-09 23:45

I assume you all play V12 number three on BD4? Anyway, that's what I use but I tend to like the BD7 more(also using number three). I own both, going to one another, there are some advantages and disadvantages on both. BD4 has more immediate response but BD7 has even more projection and gives more flexibility to colour the sound. I can say they're both better than BD5, that's for sure!!

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 Re: BD4 Throat Design?
Author: Morrigan 
Date:   2021-09-10 11:44
Attachment:  6AE7B7DF-D44A-42D9-831B-BF37B09D7128.jpeg (706k)
Attachment:  DF9FF536-304E-467C-AB7D-7D16642FC37C.jpeg (844k)

I was very interested to read this post, I just switched to the BD4(13) after happily being a B40 player for several years. Something about my playing was changing, and the B40 no longer suited me.

The internal markings on my BD4 were odd, however it played very well so I bought it anyway. There’s quite a harsh scoring just inside from the rail on one side, much smoother on the other.

I’m not complaining, just posting for interest. I really love this mouthpiece so far!

_______________________________________________
Principal Clarinet, Band of the Royal Air Force Regiment, London
Masters Graduate, Royal College of Music, London
https://soundcloud.com/tieraci

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 Re: BD4 Throat Design?
Author: JTJC 
Date:   2021-09-10 13:50

Re Morrigan’s photos. Looks to me as if VD still haven’t got the CNC milling quite right. I’ve seen this sort of thing before in CNCed mpcs at this price point and I can’t understand why the companies release them like that. They must be cutting quality control on the assumption CNC outputs are ok and meet spec. Or, perhaps this is the level of finish you get at this price point. After all, if CNC can cut and finish to a very fine tolerance there’s no need for the higher priced models, what would they add.

All that aside, if it blows satisfactorily and the owner is happy with the results it’s fine as it is.

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 Re: BD4 Throat Design?
Author: Luuk 2017
Date:   2021-09-13 11:53
Attachment:  IMG_20210913_094812.jpg (1986k)
Attachment:  IMG_20210913_094834.jpg (1555k)
Attachment:  IMG_20210913_095054.jpg (1127k)

Bought a BD5 yesterday, just looks perfect to me. See photo's.
The transition of the baffle surface finishing to the bore is perfectly smooth.

Regards,

Luuk
Philips Symphonic Band
The Netherlands

Post Edited (2021-09-13 11:57)

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 Re: BD4 Throat Design?
Author: John Peacock 
Date:   2021-09-13 12:36

Luuk: yes, that's the same abrupt transition from a grooved surface to a smooth one at the bottom of the baffle. With my BD4, there is the additional feature that the walls of the chamber are slightly less shiny, so that you get this strange feature of a small shiny patch at the bottom of the baffle. Your BD5 looks shiny thoughout the chamber, however.

Anyway, who cares how it looks: do you like the way it plays?

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 Re: BD4 Throat Design?
Author: Luuk 2017
Date:   2021-09-14 14:18

John: yes, I like it. I own it only four days now, but it sounds more even over the registers, and less bright, which was what I was looking for. Staccato is easy (which was not a problem, but comes as a bonus). I still have to find out if there are any intonation issues, but they must be minor or I would have found them already.

The BD4 and 7 where too heavy for me and the reeds I brought to try them (V12 3).

My former mouthpiece was a Viotto GI+4; clarinet Selmer Signature.

Regards,

Luuk
Philips Symphonic Band
The Netherlands

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