You might think “a mute is a mute is a mute”, but actually the sound quality between the individual manufacturers and models vary greatly. The Soulo Mute Company has now put a new model on the market that sets new standards in design, sound and feel: the new Straight Mute with copper bottom. With its striking aerodynamic exterior and the brilliant sound Soulo Mute has made a real success! – by Markus bebek
The New Straight by Soulo Mute
The Soulo Mute Company has been long established as a manufacturer of trumpet mutes: Bucket and Cup mutes are successful models. Now the manufacturer has stepped into the elite realm of the Straight mute. There is probably no mute which is used more often, especially in the classical repertoire. There have always been many prejudices against the Straight such as – too heavy, shifts the centre of gravity of the instrument, it doesn’t allow free playing feel etc. so Elena and Mike Jarosz of Soulo Mute set themselves the task of creating the perfect mute.
Mike Jarosz is a professional trumpeter, composer and arranger and he knows from his own stage and studio experience what makes a good mute. In 2009, he developed the Soulo Bucket mute and this quickly became the mute of choice for many notable trumpeters, including Wayne Bergeron and Roger Ingram. Soon after, the Bucket was available and very successful for tenor and bass trombone. The next success for Soulo Mute in 2014 was the Adjustable Cup made from special fibre – this too was first developed for trumpet and is now also built for trombone.
The Straight mute is another innovative product which is convincing in its quality. The copper hemisphere on the bottom of the mute is probably the most noticeable feature of this Soulo Mute. There is hardly any model that offers this aerodynamic design. Crimped connections would lead to intonation problems and disrupt the free playing feel. They invented a process to attach the upper aluminum part to the lower copper part in such a way that there are no air disruption inside. A metal ring on the underside makes it possible to set the mute down and is also responsible for the robust tone of the mute.
The light weight of the mute is immediately striking- you would expect it to be heavier with a copper bottom. On the other hand, this sound with its elegance and song-like tone can only be achieved with a copper bottom.
The cork used is manufactured from a special neoprene mixture and the mute holds very well in the bell. It is not necessary to moisten the cork, and it can be inserted and removed quickly and quietly. To allow the musician tonal flexibility, the Soulo Mutes are offered with two different grades of cork – standard and thick. The thicker cork is recommended for instruments with a larger bell (including German trumpets) as this makes the sound particularly big and sonorous.
All in all, the new Soulo Straight Mute is a real asset in the everyday life of the professional trumpeter. The sound of this mute is as attractive in a solo setting as it is in an orchestra or ensemble and it does not change the pitch in any register. It is fun, easy to play, and it is even easy to forget that you have a mute in your bell. All notes, especially deeper ones, have a clear centre and most of all the mute is very well tuned. In conclusion: highly recommended!
The new Straight by Soulo Mute is, like other Soulo Mute products, available for about 60 Euro from www.soulomute.com and will surely soon be available from European specialist dealers.
Pros and Cons
+ Aerodynamic design
+ Very good intonation
+ Easy playing feel
+ Beautiful, crisp sound