Practice mutes can cause many problems for brass players. Often, the mutes create too much resistance or a stuffy sound. They can also be heavy to use. Yamaha has found the solution to these problems with its redesigned SILENT Brass systems, available for French horn, trombone, flugelhorn and trumpet.
Yamaha originally developed SILENT Brass in 1995. It included a microphone and sound module connected to a mute that amplified the sound of the instrument through headphones, giving the user less resistance and a clearer sound. Recently Yamaha worked with designers in Japan to redesign SILENT Brass to make it even better—and lighter.
“We identified that the new product had to be a very great practice mute,” says Jonathan Goldman, product manager. “It had to quiet the instrument to the point where you couldn’t bother your neighbors, but it also had to be more free-blowing. It had to have less resistance than previous and current practice mutes. It had to play well as a mute, and it had to be extremely lightweight.”
Generally, practice mutes add a lot of weight to the front of trumpets, trombones and flugelhorns. The new SILENT Brass is “by far the lightest practice mute that I have experienced amongst other practice mutes,” Goldman says.
Yamaha also incorporated a new technology called Brass Resonance Modeling, which involved sampling brass instruments to create a realistic model of the resonance and articulation of the instrument. “We recorded live players from the perspective of the player and also the instrument,” Goldman says. “It kind of works like noisecanceling headphones where it takes the sound created by the muted instrument and cancels the muted instrument out and replaces that with 21st century brass modeling technology. When you attack a note, the representation you hear in the headphones is very real.”
This technology and the lightweight design prevents the musician from feeling overblown or fatigued while he or she is playing. “The sound technology is so true and realistic,” Goldman says. “We achieved the goal of making SILENT Brass a real practice tool as opposed to a warm-up tool or something you only want to use for 10 or 15 minutes.”
Visit usa.yamaha.com to learn more about the new SILENT Brass.