Silent Brass by Yamaha
A traditional solution is the use of a practice mute. Inserted in the bell of the instrument, it significantly muffles projection. The downside is that practice mutes produce a lot of resistance that radically alters the instrument's natural playing characteristics. So in the course of reducing projection, they make it tough to really hear what you're playing, thus canceling out much of the benefit of practice. Yamaha's Silent Brass System elegantly solves these problems while delivering a set of features that will enhance and maximize your practice time. The System consists of the ST9 Personal Studio (the control unit), a Pickup Mute, a locking cable, and earphones. The step-up ST5 Silent Brass Performance Studio adds an array of effects plus practice tools and features that guarantee to make your woodshedding time a downright pleasure. Let's look at the System piece by piece. The Mute resembles a conventional straight mute. There are specific models for a number of brass instruments including trumpet, piccolo trumpet, flugelhorn, French horn, trombone, euphonium, and tuba. The mute houses a microphone that connects to the module via a cable with a screw-on connector at the mute end and a standard mini-plug on the other. The signal from the mute's microphone is processed by the ST9 Studio (or ST5 Performance Studio) which then feeds the signal to you through the earphones. This direct connection between the instrument's bell and the musician's ears means you can more easily concentrate on your articulation and tone without any of the self-consciousness that often accompanies audible practice. The Studio's simple controls consist of a volume knob and echo switch. Connections are equally straightforward. The aux in jack lets you combine external sources such as CD and cassette players so you practice along with your favorite music. The input jack connects to the mute for practice or to an instrument microphone for performance. Likewise, the output jack can be connected to headphones for private practice or to a sound system when you're ready to share your playing with the world. A handy belt loop strap is also included so you can be totally mobile when the spirit moves you.