If you live in an apartment, like to practice at odd hours, or travel frequently, a practice mute is a necessity. With plenty of options on the market, we’ll guide you though the best French horn practice mutes across different price points. Four of our favorite models:
Yamaha Silent Brass
While no practice mute is completely silent, the Yahama Silent Brass is as good as they come. But the silencing effect is the least interesting feature. Yamaha has developed a unique system that allows you to hear a very realistic-sounding amplification through headphones. Not only is this more pleasant for the player, it is a better way to practice. One issue with practice mutes is the distortion in tone can change a player’s perception of the correct sound, leading to bad habits. Yamaha’s sound reproduction makes it feel like the mute isn’t even there. Older versions of Silent Brass had issues with back pressure, however the most recent version has reduced this issue significantly. We recommend steering clear of older models on eBay.
Price: $$$ (check current price)
Playing quality: 5/5
The Bremner mute is a free blowing mute with minimal back pressure. Like many practice mutes, the Bremner is not perfectly in tune, but for basic back stage warm ups players will find this is a good value for the money. Made from a durable plastic, the Sshh mute is light weight and can handle rough treatment.
Playing quality: 3/5
This mute wins points for its light compact size and compelling price point. While tuning isn’t perfect, it gets the job done and is great for on-the-go practicing.
Playing quality: 3/5
Balu practice mute
Hand-crafted by Ion Balu, these popular mutes are known for their in-tune playing — something most other mute models cannot lay claim to. In addition to the strong acoustical properties, they are beautifully designed with a polished wood surface. Back pressure is moderate. Currently no new models are being made, so supply could be limited. Check availability here.
Playing quality: 4/5