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Protocol: A Guide to the Collegiate Audition Process for Trombone Book
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This instrument or product has been carefully played/used and returned to us in
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Yamaha SB39C Silent Brass System for HornThe Silent Brass system lets you play your horn anywhere you want, anytime you want, and with just the kind of ambiance you want. You can mix into the sounds of a CD player, a Silent Piano, an electronic keyboard or another instrument using the Silent Brass System, and output your playing into a tape deck or even an amp with speakers. Never again will you have to search for a practice room or have to stop because it's getting late. The system includes the Silent Brass module, pickup mute, locking cable, belt-loop/strap, button earphones, and 9V battery. The module has been redesigned. It is sleeker, smaller, the sound quality has been improved, noise reduced, and the controls simplified.
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Choose from the folowing Yamaha Warranties:
Overall, the product does what it advertises, allowing you to practice with much less noise while still clearly hearing the sound yourself via headphones. It certainly isn?t silent, but opens up many more situations where you can practice. When playing in my kitchen, I could still be heard in a bedroom down the hall with the door closed, but it wasn?t objectionable.
Some people have complained about the change in air resistance while others say it is not an issue. For me, the ?feel? is slightly different, especially on certain notes such as C and C# above middle C. So it took some getting use to. At first, it felt like I was playing the wrong note, due to the change in resistance. After playing for years, you get accustomed to how certain notes feel, and that was affected by the mute. If you?ve ever put down the wrong fingering but still pretty much got the right note by playing a different partial, that is how I can best describe the feeling. However, I got used to that after a few sessions and it hasn?t bothered me as much.
Another ongoing issue I have had is with extraneous vibrations. It takes a bit of fiddling around to get the mute perfectly seated in the bell so annoying rattles are not heard. Perhaps that is an issue with my particular horn (Conn 8D).
The sound is generally pretty good up to about a forte level. Once you start to enter into the ?brassy? sound, it is less satisfactory. A horn playing in that brassy range can be a magnificent and majestic sound. This doesn?t translate with the Silent Brass System. It sounds a bit distorted and weak. However again, you tend to get used to this after a while.
I found the electronics to be a little sub-par. It?s hard to get enough volume without distortion with some headphones I had, though the included ear buds do a decent job. The built-in echo/reverb effect is helpful to give a little sense of space, but you won?t confuse it with playing in a concert hall, or even a live bedroom. On short percussive notes, you can hear the flutter of individual echoes. I was expecting a little more from that.
This is probably obvious, but as with any mute, you lose the ability to control pitch with your hand. And of course you can?t practice stopped passages.
Sometimes I felt a little tangled up in all the cords, especially if you use the CD/MP3 input to play along with recorded music, which requires an extra cord. However, that just goes along with the territory and there isn?t much that can be done about that short of using wireless connections, which have their own issues.
All in all, the product is useful despite its limitation, though you will still need some ?normal? practice time. I would recommend it to anyone who is limited in their ability to practice due to the noise. It is a big improvement over standard practice mutes and much better than not practicing at all, which is of the alternative. Since there really isn?t any competition anyway, this is the best choice!
I must admit that I was a bit skeptical when I ordered this product about a) would the mute be quiet enough and b) how effective the electronic sound reproduction would be. Now that I have had a chance to try this over several weeks I would highly recommend the silent brass system to people who need to do some serious practicing while remaining as inaudible as possible.
The practice mute by itself is so quiet that the main thing the player can hear is from the mouthpiece and leadpipe (i.e. very little sound is escaping the instrument). For all that sound dampening there seems to be very little change in air resistance, so the playing characteristics of the instrument do not seem to be noticeably altered.
In fact the mute (by itself) is so quite that without the addition of the electronics and earphones you are likely to instinctively over blow to try to get more sound out of the instrument. That is something that has made practicing with other practice mutes frustrating in the past - they can create an artificial environment that may suffice for warming up quietly, but is in opposition to the normal horn playing experience, a significant part of which is based upon what reaches your ears.
The addition of the electronics is what makes this suitable for serious practice. The earphones let you hear the sound the instrument would be producing without the mute, so you are no longer fighting the natural inclination to play louder to meet your ear's expectations. What you hear through the earphones is what you expect for the volume you are trying to achieve - you do not have to try to mentally compensate - practice is much more satisfying and realistic.
This is a winner - kudos to Yamaha for a remarkable and high quality product.
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