The science of sound
SYOS process is based on the combination of two different disciplines: musical acoustics and psychoacoustics. SYOS mouthpieces were developed after 5 five of research in these two domains. Today, SYOS offers an infinity of new geometries to the musicians, which allows to shape the sound aesthetics regardless of the material used to make the mouthpiece.
How does the material influence the sound of the instrument?
Terms related to materials are often used to describe the sound of musical instruments: a brassy sound, a metallic sound, a woody sound... In order to have a complete understanding of the material influence, the best way is to class musical instruments in two categories: wind instruments and other instruments (strings and drums). Why? because for wind instruments, the sound is created by the air column, whereas for strings and drums, the sound is created by the instrument body that vibrates (sounding board, drumhead...). The material is then very important for these instruments, because his properties will directly influence the way the instrument is vibrating and thus the timbre of the resulting sound. For wind instruments, the story is not the same... The video on the right shows that what we call a "brassy" sound is not necessarily related to the material: a simple garden hose can achieve that!
What determines then the colour of the sound?
For wind instruments such as saxophone or trumpet, the material in which the walls are made doesn't have any influence on the sound provided that it is rigid enough is rigid enough, in a way that the acoustic waves are reflected and not absorbed. It is the shape of the air volume inside the instrument and thus the internal geometry of the instrument that determines the sound properties. This geometry has a crucial impact on the global intonation of the instrument. For a part of the instrument which is closer to the mouth of the musician, the influence of the geometry on the produced timbre is stronger.
However, the material is often related to the geometry: the different materials do not all have the same mechanical properties, some of them are more difficult to work with than others, which will generate differences in the final geometry. For example, different metals adopt different shapes when they are formed on the same mandrel. Finally, the musician psychology is involved in the timbre judgment: a sound produced by a metallic mouthpiece will be more easily qualified as bright or metallic than the same sound produced by an ebonite mouthpiece, even if the sound signals are the same: it's the psychoacoustic effect.
What are the materials used to make SYOS mouthpieces ?
The customization of SYOS mouthpieces consist in finding the appropriate geometry according to the musicians' expectations in terms of playing comfort and sound aesthetics. Because the material doesn't have any influence on the sound, SYOS uses 3D printing to make unique, accurate and reproducible mouthpieces. The material that we use is ABS plastic.
Usually, saxophone mouthpieces are made in ebonite which is a plastic material made of hard rubber in which sulfur is incorporated. Metal is the second most used material to make mouthpieces, because it is quite easy to shape with the appropriate tools. ABS plastic used by SYOS has been certified non-toxic in laboratory (EN71 and CE 1907/2006 standards). With this material, an infinity of new geometries became available which offers musicians a new set of sound colors. The following videos of some of our ambassadors demonstrate the sound quality of SYOS mouthpieces.