REVIEW: BRAND NEW DOUG ELLIOTT EUPH MOUTHPIECE MAY 2010 I normally play on an XT 103 I8, over the last few years I have amassed a large collection of mainly Wick 4AL sized MPs (mouthpieces) but have found my self coming back to my DE combination as my staple. I find it an excellent, well…compromise doesn’t do it justice, lets say combination of features. It’s excellent for me in the top register & very flexible & yet still has a lovely dark sound, albeit lacking a little bit of weight to the sound compared to some MPs (which would be less flexible). My MP search was originally started when Morgan Griffiths showed me that my 4AL 4AM & 4AY all had different cup sizes! When he put a 2 pence piece in them it fell to quite different levels! I’m a British Brass Band player & my ideal sound is classic Trevor Groom. In the last 6 years I have changed from my B&H Round Stamp to a Courtois 167II to a York Eminence to a Sterling Virtuoso & back, ironically, to my round stamp, deciding to buck modern trends & go for a dark yet more focussed less tubby sound. Due to fighting intonation on the round stamp I have recently moved onto a rare beast in the UK- the Willson 2900 with a large receiver, this has given me fantastic playability and focus but left my sound a little bright for my taste, so to combat this I needed to open the sound up- enter Doug’s new Euph series & 9 shanks….I now hope my MP merry-go-round has come to an end. Doug sent me the following to trial: Euph Series 103 Rim, Euph Series Narrow 103 Rim, Euph series I Cup, I8 shank, I9 shank, K8 shank (at my request). There’s a lot of fuss at the moment about the Wick Ultra, I personally think it is a very good MP across the board but sounds a little closed in the lower register. I believe the main criteria for Doug’s Euph series was to produce a dedicated Euphonium Mouthpiece combining the focus, core and playability of his own designs with the sound qualities and openness of the Ultra and others of that ilk (but still retaining an open lower register). My conclusions come from a combination of several weeks playing the new MPs, listening to recordings of my self, getting trusted opinions mostly from around the two brass bands I play with and time spent with Charlie Brighton (Highams), it’s a 600 mile round trip every time I meet up with Charley! Any way here’s my observations: Euph Blank The blank for the cup is a few millimetres thicker than my XT and Charlie’s LB (large bass Trombone) blanks- Therefore it adds some weight to the sound. I believe this is more that the Euph series has an average thickness in the walls of the cup and that the XT & LB are on the thin side. This to me helps me understand why my XT is so flexible but perhaps lacks a little bit of weight to its sound when compared to the larger brethren of Euph MPs (until you add a 9 shank!). Narrow Verses Standard Rim (both 103) Doug had me try a narrow rim before a few years back; my view is exactly the same now. It’s very comfy and very much more flexible to play on, but as dramatic as this is, the loss of weight to the sound is equally as dramatic, so it’s counter productive for me. However it’s worth a try as I remember Doug telling me that this is not always the case. Both the standard and narrow rims have exactly the same contact surface with your chops as the XTs, therefore although you need a Euph rim for the cup, there is no adjusting from the equivalent XT rim. Euph Series Cups The Euph series cup is more of a bowl shape compared to the XT’s funnel shape, but it’s relatively subtle. I made ‘Play dough’ casts of the inside (sad I know) and this shows that the Euph series has a little more internal volume. Comparing Cups using I8 shank (XT I Cup & Euph I Cup both with 103 Rim) XT Noticeably smaller sound to Euph in all registers Euph Bigger sound to XT, but marginally harder upper register. Comparing Cups using I9 shank (XT I Cup & Euph I Cup both with 103 Rim) XT Noticeably smaller sound to Euph in all registers Euph More pronounced difference in sound, darker/ bigger, again slightly harder in upper register but I think this is just acclimatising to the MP. Comparing I8, K8 &I9 Shanks (XT I Cup & Euph I Cup both with 103 Rim) I8 Smallest sound, but easier upper register. K8 Opened up sound from the I8. The only reason I insisted Doug send me a K8 is Charley had put me onto trying a Shank two letters bigger to open up the sound (Doug Doesn’t recommend it). It does work but the 9 has put paid to that! I9 Biggest sound, a very pronounced difference. I was expecting the K8 to be bigger sounding! I9 a little harder in upper register to I8, but I think mostly because I need to get used to using a little more air support for it. 103 Euph Series Versus Other MPs I did a direct comparison to some of my favourite MPs and they were beat hands down for me: Shilke 51D, 52D, 52E2, Wick new 4AL, old 4AL, 4AL Ultra, Bach 4G, Mega Tone 5G, Loud LM27, LM25, Mike Fin 55 C6, PS4, G&W Kadja, Rath 4, JK 4AL etc. For me the Ulta and the Louds came in second depending on the Instrument I was playing. Which combination for me personally with different Instruments? Doug told me he designed the Euph series to work with the 9 shank but personally I find it depends which Euph I’m playing. If it is a smaller sounding horn open it up with the 9 shank, if it’s a large sounding horn perhaps stick with the 8 shank. It depends how you play and what sound you want- use your ears to decide! -Willson 2900 Large receiver: 103 Euph I9 -B&H Round Stamp Sovereign: 103 Euph I8, the I9 was too big I sounded flat (LM27 a close 2nd) (Much larger sounding to modern Sovereigns) -Modern Prestige: 103 Euph I9, modern Bessons are brighter therefore need the 9 shank. (presumably also new Sovs ) -Cortouis 167 II: 103 Euph I8 again a big horn so don’t need larger shank. -Imperial: 103 Euph I9 -I’ve traded my Sterling & don’t have access to an Eminence at present but I feel pretty confident that it would be an I8 shank for both of these. Of course you’ve got to bear in mind I prefer a combination of a large but focused sound over pure volume and width of sound so it may be that others will be very happy with the I9 on the very large sounding horns. Either way round it means you can change your sound quiet dramatically by changing the shank. So to conclude Doug has produced a new dedicated Cup and rim for the Euphonium (shanks are interchangeable from the other series). The Euph series give more presence than the XT and takes very little adjustment from equivalent Number & letters. If you already have a DE set up & haven’t yet tried a 9 shank, try it- I was amazed! Going from the 8 to the 9 shank will take a little getting used to the extra air support needed but can make a huge difference. Going from XT to Euph will make a marked difference but will hardly take any adjusting at all! I now play a DE 103 Euph I9 – not many people can say that… yet!