Generally I would not review a reed because of the inherent variability that comes from natural products. This variability can make one box of reeds a winner while the next box could be filled with duds. Not to mention that some reeds match and perform better with some mouthpieces. Lastly, depending on your sound concept the same reed can be too thin sounding or to tubby sounding to different people. With these caveats in mind I will touch on the quantifiable aspects of these reeds.
Reed Strength: 2.5
Reed Cut: Jazz
|Manufacturer||Tip in thousands of Inch|
|Brancher||0.005 – 0.007|
|Hemke||0.006 – 0.008|
|La Voz||0.0045 – 0.005|
|Fibracell||0.0085 – 0.010|
|Rico V3||0.005 – 0.0065|
|Rico Royal||0.0055 – 0.007|
**** I measured these thickness at the very edge of the reed and at a point where my probes point is just behind the tip. ****
Unfortunately measuring at the heart is more difficult due to the difference in cuts and my inability to accurately locate the center of the heart as some of the reeds are cut off center. I also found it difficult to accurately measure the side rails of the reeds as well. I am currently working on a multi-point chart for measuring reed rails and will update this posting when complete.
My sound concept leans towards the center to darker end of the spectrum with enough buzz to be heard. I also prefer a very focused tone with medium spread. Denis DiBlasio (Vandoren V16), Bruce Johnstone (Drake Ceramic Mpc), and Alex Harding (RIA) just to name a few. I find that these reeds match pretty well to my Yamaha 5C mouthpiece and really gives the buzz to be heard. On my Otto Link STM it’s not a good match. The mouthpiece does need to be worked on to even the rails
TAKE AWAY: These reeds behave and give a similar mouth feel to Rico Orange Box V3’s. To my non-musician mate there was only the slightest of differences in tone between reeds. For the money I would continue to use Rico Orange Box V3’s but at a price point of sub $10 a box it is worth it to buy Branchers.