Cryogenic Freezing

Discussion in 'Trumpet Repair and Modification' started by rdt1959, Nov 12, 2003.

Cryogenic Freezing?

  1. I think it does something.

  2. I think it is a scam.

  3. I had this done to my horn and it works!

  4. I had this done to my trumpet and it did nothing!

  5. What are you talking about?

  1. rdt1959

    rdt1959 Pianissimo User

    Oct 31, 2003
    I think it is a scam, but I would still like to try it on my ex-wife! :lol:
  2. Uncle Albert

    Uncle Albert New Friend

    Nov 12, 2003
    I cryo treated my Bb and my Piccolo trumpet at the same time.

    No noticable difference with the Bb,
    but quite an improvement with the pic.

    Overall sound quality was more pleasing; smoother, less edgy.
    intonation seemed better & slotting of the notes above f,g was easier.
    Played next to other 2 horns, same model after treatment, the differences were apparent.

    that is my story and I'm sticking to it.
  3. Mikey

    Mikey Forte User

    Oct 24, 2003
    I had Wayne freeze my P5-4. Very noticeable difference; made the horn much better.

    More core to the sound; more lower frequencies.

    As far as the larger horn, I have not had any done.

  4. BamaJPB

    BamaJPB New Friend

    Nov 16, 2003
    Cryo Freezing is a scam "article in NY times"

    I had this article sent to me by a friend.



    This article from

    Hot Sounds From a Cold Trumpet? Cryogenic Theory Falls Flat

    November 18, 2003

    Without, er, fanfare, two Tufts University engineering
    researchers announced results of a study last week
    rebutting a popular myth among some trumpet players that
    deep-freezing the instruments will change the sound for the

    Rather, they told the Acoustical Society of America meeting
    in Austin, Tex., that scientific testing of cryogenically
    freezing 10 trumpets showed minimal differences when the
    instruments were thawed and played by six musicians. After
    two years of research, Dr. Chris Rogers, an engineering
    professor, said that he and colleagues determined that
    freezing trumpets did not make them sound better.

    "One of the great things about studying musical
    instruments, though, is if the player believes it will make
    a difference, he or she will play better, so it acts as a
    sort of placebo," Dr. Rogers said.

    There has been growing interest among musicians in these
    treatments for brass instruments of all kind. In
    experiments, the instruments were cooled with liquid
    nitrogen to minus 321 degrees Fahrenheit, and then slowly
    warmed, all in the belief that they would become easier to
    play. A major flute manufacturer uses the process, and
    small storefront businesses have popped up for the sole
    purpose of freezing the instruments.

    Chip Jones, a Tufts graduate student involved in the
    research, said he had recruited six trumpeters ranging in
    skill from a former high school musician to a New England
    Conservatory player to member of the Boston Symphony

    They played the same sequence on trumpets that had been
    frozen and those that had not, and then rated the
    instruments. They were also asked to identify which trumpet
    matched the sound that "people say is brighter,
    freer-blowing or that had more `presence,' " Mr. Jones

    Differences in the answers, he said, were statistically
    insignificant. "There was more difference from trumpet to
    trumpet and from player to player than in the results from
    treatment of the instruments," Mr. Jones said.

    The research was requested by Selmer Musical Instruments, a
    wind instrument manufacturer, which was considering whether
    to offer the cryogenic treatments for new instruments sold
    from the Vincent Bach Stradivarius trumpet line. As a
    result of the tests, the company has decided to forgo the

    But others who have tried the deep-freeze say there is a
    difference in ease of playing and in the range of "color"
    in the tone.

    In Arlington Heights, Ill., Wayne Tanabe, owner of the
    Brass Bow music repair shop, said his advertising was by
    word of mouth. "Otherwise, people think you're talking
    about voodoo," he said.

    He has a tub-size cryogenics tank where he can fit a tuba
    and several trumpets. His freeze technique costs about $200
    and takes 35 to 50 hours. As Mr. Tanabe explained it,
    cryogenics accelerates what seems to happen to brass
    instruments as they age. Sound quality improves because
    resonance is clearer, he said.

    Mr. Jones said studies had shown that while steel, for
    example, did undergo change through freezing, brass did
    not. Heating, by contrast, does soften metal, potentially
    changing its acoustics.

    The trumpet research is part a musical instrument
    engineering program at Tufts.
  5. Mikey

    Mikey Forte User

    Oct 24, 2003
    Sh*t, save yourself the $200 and spend a winter in Minn-e-so-tah!

    I am thinking about doing that to my best Bb; just leave it in your trunk overnight...


  6. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    I'm not voting because my "option' isn't there. I don't *think* that it does anything other than the placebo effect. I have always believed that the structure of Brass is significantly different from that of steel in that steel has carbon atoms throughout it. Heat treatment of various types (whether hot or cold) have the effect of getting those carbon atoms to move either into the steel grains or into the spaces between the grains. In addition the treatment changes the shape/size of the grains just as it does with brass. HOWEVER, those moving carbon atoms are VERY significant in steel. Also do not forget that there is a significant amount of lead-based solder in a horn and it will have it's own way of reacting to cold/heat.

    I would rather see a horn heat treated and then slowly cooled so that the stresses inherent from the rapid and uneven cooling that goes along with MASS PRODUCTION can be removed. Hand made horns that are soldered "one joint at a time" are far less likely to exhibit these built-in stresses which can inhibit the natural resonance of the horn. Personally I believe that this "one piece at a time" approach is why horns which have undergone severe rebuilding frequently play better than when they first came off the 'production line'.

    Just my take on it....I do know that steel subjected to extreme cold becomes EXCEPTIONALLY can literally shatter like glass depending upon how it was previously heat treated when it is at extreme sub-zero temperatures (and, "No...the -10 F forecast for here tonight does not qualify"...)

    I would love to see one or more of the custom builders comment on this one......Andy? Leigh?
  7. eclipse trumpets

    eclipse trumpets Piano User

    Oct 24, 2003
    I have spoken to Wayne when i was exhibiting at the Franfurt Music Fair.

    He seemed a very nice genuine person who does have 100% faith in the service he offers.

    However! I do not personally think it makes a significant difference when freezing a piece of brass.

    I do think it has the effect of being a placebo, but i want to make it clear that this is JUST my opinion and does not for one minute mean that i am correct of course.
    The important thing to remember here is that the reason for having this process carried out on your horn is to apparently de-stress it.

    I would never subscribe to this treatment on any of my Horns ,as stress is not an ingredient that i put into mine in the first place.


  8. dauminator3

    dauminator3 Pianissimo User

    I was talking with my chemistry teacher, and she explained a little of what happens when you cryo freeze an instrument...

    She said that all metals have small imperfections in the layering and stacking of the atoms. When frozen, the movement of the atoms decreases, allowing these bumps and grooves in the atom layering to settle in. Now the atoms in the horn are more properly aligned and such resulting in better harmonics, maybe.....

  9. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    For what it's worth.....and all that jazz.

    When you freeze a material, atomic motion does decrease. However...for a material to actually have it's atoms or molecules actually move in to fill out voids, etc., it is necessary that you heat the thing so that the activity INCREASES; this increase in activity allows the material to smoothen out the bumps (or discontinuities in the crystalline structure)... No, we're not talking about scratches and stuff...we're talking about the actual shape of the crystals of the parent materials (ferrite, carbon, so forth and so on).

    You then slowly cool the material so that the crystals are allowed to "settle in" to their new, lower energy (or lower stress) locations. This is called "annealing".

    I've heard it said (can't find the reference right now) that super cooling does have an effect on steels....but steel is vastly different from brass in that the carbon in steel does not actually "blend" with the ferrous but rather sits in the spaces between the ferrous "crystals". It is the movement and location of the carbon that affects how "hard or soft" a steel will be. (In conjunction with the grain SIZE of the ferrous crystals).

    Brass, on the other hand, is a very homogenous mix of copper and zinc with NO carbon involved. And don't forget that brass instruments also are soldered which introduces a different variable...the tin and lead in the solder.

    I once found a neat website that had all kinds of information on annealing etc. and included microphotographs of a brass structure with different degrees of annealing applied. If I find it I'll add it to this thread.
  10. stchasking

    stchasking Forte User

    Jun 11, 2006
    The Brass alloy does not have transition temperatures as low as cryogenics treats. Cryogenics does nothing.

    The liberty ships in wwII were welded and the weld to base metal did have a transition at temperatures around freezing. When the ships entered the North Atlantic the steel weld alloy transitioned which caused microcracking at the flux inclusions. After several trips across the pond some of the ships split along the hull welds. This is classic metalurgical history. You should be able to find some info on this on the www.

    I asked the same question to a metalurgist at my employer. He said, "Not brass."

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