A very practical solution!
Kornflakes on 2014/02/16
I've been looking for some time for an effective way of practicing my saxophone but with the advantage normally only associated with brass players using 'practice mutes'. Lets face it even guitarists and keyboard players have the facility to play with head phones but the saxophone presents an engineers nightmare when it comes to finding a way of silencing the beast!
I must confess when I first saw this device I was very skeptical, i've seen the alternative mutes available and lets be honest they are a joke but this e-sax mute appears to be the first real genuine contender for doing what sax players want. My saxophone is a Yamaha YAS62 and it slotted into the e-sax case with little difficulty. There are 3 rubber inserts inside the case which you have to slot 'Lego' style to your saxes optimum position...once in position you close the case and then insert your hands into the two gel padded openings and off you go.
Observations, you will over blow to begin with BUT then when you add the headphones you start to pull back on the volume because you hear yourself very clearly. I own a professional noise meter, I noticed I could play around 65db, normal conversation is about 70-75db. A quiet office about 55db. At these volumes the likelihood of someone hearing you practice in another room is extremely unlikely unless they have a glass and ear to the wall! The e-sax also has some really cool features, a built in metronome and a various echo button. Just be careful with the e-sax mute, its quite robust but its built with plastic so if you dropped it, it would crack quite easily I think. I use mine sitting down, I think its easier to play that way due to the extra weight. I use my regular saxophone neck strap but perhaps a sax harness would work if you preferred to stand when practicing.
Conclusion, its a win! It actually works. Its pricey but if you have the need to play and difficult circumstances to practice this will be your best port of call. I note Thomann sell this unit quite a lot cheaper than other companies in the UK.....hence I bought it from Thomann.
Update May 2014
So now I've had this saxophone mute for a few months I wanted to add an update. I'm still pleased with the mute. I've nicknamed it 'the storm trooper' for obvious reasons :-) In terms of playability. Its good for about short 30-40 sessions but then needs to breath. It builds up condensation. Playable range tends to be fine for altissmo, high range, mid range but notes below bottom C don't really happen and I suspect this is because their is not enough space for the air to move on the lower notes. I still find it a very practical solution particularly when you need to play with backing tracks.