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Fiberreeds – Carbon vs Carbon Onyx

By December 19, 2018September 14th, 2019saxophone reeds

The Carbon reed has been a long-time product from Germany’s Fiberreed company which manufactures a handful of synthetic saxophone and clarinet reeds.

I wrote a full review of this Carbon reed here. Basically, it was the second model of reeds that the company came up with. It’s made from 100% carbon fibers with hollow fibers blended in. So it’s these carbon fibers that make it sound louder (and brighter) than other reeds I’ve played.

I wanted to tell you where I’m at these days with the Fiberreed situation. I started using them about two years ago. My favorite has been the Carbon Onyx which is this black one. This is the second one Ive been through and like the one before, this one has gotten a chip in it. After about ten months or so it chipped and that was right around the time it started to soften up on me.

So what happened was, I had to go and do some playing and did order some more Onyx reeds but didn’t get them, before I had to leave town so I started playing on this Carbon Fiberreed. I have had this one sitting around for a while but last time I played it, it felt hard and a little stiff.

I ended up taking it with me and since I had only softer Onyx reeds with me I started enjoying this one more. The funny thing that happened was when I got back into town my Onyx reeds had come. I was exited and when I went to do some playing with the new one I actually started missing the Carbon reed because I started getting used to it and it was giving me a louder sound and I was playing some rock and roll on a pretty big stage so it just felt and sounded right, more so than the Onyx.

So, I just kept using the Carbon reed. I want to show you the difference in sound to see if you can hear it. I just put on my new Onyx reed. It’s a Carbon Onyx medium which is comparable to a number 3 in a numbered reed system.

It feels more powerful, this reed. For some situations I want that. Maybe at home in a controlled studio environment the slightly softer reed could be better . Depending on the setup you’ve got going for recording and the type of music you’re doing and the sound you’re going after.

People have not been differentiating between the  Carbon reed and the Carbon Onyx. Easy to do cause they both have the word “Carbon” in them. The Carbon Onyx is Fiberreed’s newer one that I’ve been bragging to you about and that I’ve been sold on for the last couple years. The Fiberreed Carbon is this louder one that I’ve just been blowing on.  So now you know.


To learn more about Fiberreeds click here.


  • J’utilise la Fiberred Carbon M depuis 1 an exactement, et je joue du sax environ 8 à 10h par semaine, elle tient encore un peu car elle devient fatiguée !!! Le mois dernier j’ai coupé 1/2 mm l’anche, car elle commençait à s’émousser, et c’est reparti pour encore quelques jours.
    Je vais en commander une nouvelle. Je trouve le son puissant, bien qu’un peu métallique. J’aime bien le fait de ne pas l’humidifier lorsque je reprend le sax en concert après avoir jouer d’un autre instrument (clarinette ou flûte). J’ai pris une Bari pour la clarinette, idem, pour ne pas avoir à l’humidifier !…
    J’ai également une fiberreed chanvre, mais que j’aime moins !
    Je ne regrette pas mon achat (en plus je la trouve jolie 😀 ). Je ne connais pas la Fiberreed Carbon Onyx

  • RockinRobin says:

    I too am using the fiber carbon medium soft reed more. I find the fiber carbon reed louder and sounding broader. Other people noticed when I switched to the fiber carbon.

  • Looking forward to trying out these reeds soon–seems like they’ll provide a lot more consistency vs cane reeds?

  • john says:

    well, my last 2 fiberreeds (which were the Onyx, I’m on my 3rd one) were consistent for about 10 months like I said in the video.
    For the first time in over 30 years I went on the road with 2 Onyx, 1 Carbon, and zero cane!

  • Cheers Johnny!
    Been playing with the medium soft Hemp reeds for the past two years and recently went in to purchase new once’s for my Alto and Tenor. They were out or didn’t carry the Hemp style reeds from Fiber reeds but they did have the Carbon reeds, so I purchase the medium soft (2.5) and wow. They are much louder/brighter than the Hemp reeds. In hearing the comparison between your carbon and carbon Onyx reed. The carbon seemed brighter or sharper than the Onyx but still they are both great sounding in my opinion. Johnny, question? what is the second sample part you played (arpeggios?) or something else?
    My childhood friend who became a pro-sax player (George Shelby) once played that same example on youtube, exactly what you played, just wondering what it was? Attended the 2019 Namm show and as always it was cool to see the new gear. Namm is good to visit for the day but not for more than that. Either way, I didn’t think you attended because i didn’t spot you. I’m always impressed when I view your playing on youtube for sure! Cheers from Los Angeles CA.
    Take care!
    Marc Justiniano

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