How is a custom saxophone mouthpiece even possible?

Syos, designer and producer of custom mouthpieces, creates personalized mouthpieces based on each musician’s individual preferences… But what exactly does this mean? Here are some clarficiations about the way we work.


I - Who are we?

Syos was born of scientific research. Founded by Pauline and Maxime, two acoustic researchers and music enthusiasts. The company is the result of several years of research at Ircam, an institute of research in music and sound technology in Paris (just next to Centre Pompidou), one of a kind and world reference in this field.

Pauline Eveno acoustician founder of Syos saxophone mouthpieces

PAULINE EVENO

  • Research field : Music acoustics (study of the functioning of wind instruments and their acoustic properties)
  • Her instruments: Flute, bass, alto saxophone
Maxime Carron acoustician founder of Syos saxophone mouthpieces

MAXIME CARRON

  • Research field : Psychoacoustics (study of auditory perception, vocabulary used to describe different aspects of sound)
  • His instruments: Jazz piano, trumpet, accordion


II - What did we discover?

Musical instruments are no mystery! When studying physical phenomenons responsible for the production and maintenance of the sound, one can establish patterns allowing us to predict the sound properties based on the instrument's characteristics. (To learn more, read the article on music acoustics). We decided to work on saxophone mouthpieces because from an acoustic perspective, it’s the most important part of the instrument: its internal geometry (the baffle, the chamber, the tip opening, the facing length...) has a major influence on the sound!

Thanks to 3D printing we can craft an infinte number of saxophone mouthpiece geometries to validate our physical models, for more details take a look at : 3D printing: the future of manufacturing musical instrument?

Music acoustics and psychoacoustics allow the design of high-quality Syos saxophone mouthpieces

Our research in auditory perception has shown that we can easily describe sound properties with just a few well chosen words, and that it is possible to link these words to variables measured on the sound signal. (Read the article: Warm, bright, focused, dark..? Psychoacoustics brings some light! )


III - How does it work ?

The principle is simple:


You tell us what sound you’re looking for, and together we create a unique mouthpiece, whose internal geometry is designed to be best adapted to your requirements.


Step 1: the questionnaire

In order to help us better understand what you’re looking for, we created an online questionnaire (that you can find on this webpage). The nature and wordings of the questions are the result of many a session of psychoacoustic research with hundreds of sax players.

Step 2: manufacturing a custom mouthpiece

When our soundshaper (read Syos jobs: the sound shaper) has analysed your answers, they will determine what geometry you need for your mouthpiece. Then our designer (read also Syos jobs: the 3D designer) draws and makes the piece.

Step 3: time to try

You receive the mouthpiece at home and you have 30 days to try it out quietly in several places and situations. This will allow you to understand how the mouthpiece works, and to appreciate the subtleties of play. Then you give us a detailed report on your thoughts about the mouthpiece.

Step 4: adjustments

You have now tried out the mouthpiece, and you like it. But it is maybe a little brighter than you'd hoped? You also need more power in the lower register? This is why you can make adjustments! Keep the first mouthpiece, we will ship you a second improved version, taking your comments into account. Try it out this latest edition, compare it with the first… and if you still need adjustments, we continue until you have the perfect mouthpiece!

Step 5: mission accomplished

Here we go, your Syos mouthpiece is ready, you have found the one. Now you can ship us back the unwanted mouthpieces in a package. Everyone will be jealous of you with such a beautiful mouthpiece, made especially for you!

Sounds nice, doesn’t it? So here we go:

Create a mouthpiece

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Authors

Pauline Eveno
Pauline Eveno
Maxime Carron
Maxime Carron
Sylvie Leys
Sylvie Leys

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