I have and still play on Vandoren products from reeds to mouthpieces to ligatures, and the list goes on. In the past, I had reviewed Vandoren’s line of products (Vandoren Product Review) and one of those products was the Vandoren V16 tenor and alto saxophone mouthpieces. Recently, Vandoren introduced the V16 S+ mouthpieces for alto saxophone which is the next evolution for the V16 line of mouthpieces. Michael Fenoglio, product specialist at Vandoren, was nice enough to send me a V16 A5 S+ and A6 S+ to test play. I will be providing a product overview as well as my thoughts on both the V16 A5 S+ and A6 S+ sound, response, tuning, and projection.
“Vandoren is proud to release the next version of the V16 alto mouthpiece, the S+ chamber. The newly designed S+ chamber optimizes airflow which allows players to use more air than typical small chamber mouthpieces, creating a sound with more body, depth, and flexibility while maintaining the free-blowing nature of the V16 family. The S+ chamber takes the place of the current alto S series mouthpiece and is available in all V16 alto facings, A5 through A9.” According to Michael Fenoglio, Vandoren Product Specialist, “Jazz alto players of all levels are going to love this mouthpiece.” “The response and tonal flexibility of this mouthpiece rivals anything I’ve ever played on, including highly sought after vintage mouthpieces. It has all the qualities I love about small chamber mouthpieces, but allows me to push more air, almost like a medium chamber piece.
I currently own a V16 A7 alto mouthpiece and switch between the A7 and either a Meyer or Marmaduke alto mouthpiece from time to time. Sonically, I found the V16 A5 S+ & A6 S+ to have a very focused sound that could be bright when pushed but at the same time maintain a very warm center. The S+ mouthpieces compared to the original V16 mouthpiece I found was more versatile when played at various dynamics and overall a bit warmer. I believe these characteristics are something many players are looking for especially those who are searching for a vintage Meyer mouthpiece.
The response was great. The S+ is a very free blowing and easy to control mouthpiece. Even with this small chamber, I was surprised how much air I could push thru the A5S+ & A6S+ mouthpiece without it cutting out or losing it’s focus.
Compared to the original V16 small chamber, I found the V16 S+ was easier to control thru-ought the entire range of the saxophone especially in the palm keys. Since I mainly play tenor, I found the A5S+ amd A6S+ were very easy to switch to and become comfortable right away.
I actually found my V16 A7 to project a bit more than the A5S+ and A6S+ but the S+ Chamber projected still projected well and would really cut if you were playing lead in a big band.
I personally think the S+ chamber is a great new addition or evolution to the V16 alto saxophone mouthpiece line. I preferred the larger tip opening on the A6S+ over the A5S+ but both mouthpieces were great. If you currently play on the V16 line of mouthpieces and have not tried the S+ chamber, I would highly recommend it. I want to thank Michael Fenoglio for sending me both V16 S+ mouthpieces to try and am hoping they introduce this chamber to the V16 tenor line of mouthpieces very soon.