A few days ago I wrote to John Moses, a versatile and well known freelance clarinetist in the NYC area, asking his take on Legere vs Forestone reeds. I've dabbled with both a fair amount recently, and I am pretty settled now on Legere Signatures, with Forestone just not cutting it for me.
Here's his very informative and detailed response.
Nice to hear from David. I hope all goes well for you in Columbus, I've been there on tour a few times, it's a lovely town.
I did receive a selection of reeds from Forestone, which was very kind of them to send. They did not work for me in any of my many applications; commercial, B'way, or symphonic. So I thanked them and gave the reeds to some interested friends & students. No one seems to make them work here in NYC.
That said, I don't believe the Forestone reed is a bad product. It is one of many "experiments" in finding a replacements/improvements for our dwindling supply of cane reeds. I believe within a very short time, synthetic reeds will be widely used by most younger players, and even accepted by more "open-minded" older players.
The synthetic reeds are different, and respond differently than cane reeds. They take some getting use to. There is about a month "break in" time where they start to feel right & play consistently great. With patience, I believe they can work as well, if not better, than your average cane reed.
The Legere reed is by far the best synthetic reed I have ever played (and I've tried them all over the years) from FiberCane to FiberCell, Bari to Selmer Plastic Coated, etc. The people at Legere listen to professional players suggestions and have consistently improved their reeds over the past few years. Their new Signature is their finest example of those improvements, and they are terrific!
In NYC I am called upon to play many different styles of music in many different venues, so a flexible reed is essential. Before I began to use my new Signature Legere reeds, I was forced to constantly change my reeds day to day, to sound good at each venue. The few Legere reeds I regularly use now satisfy all my musical requirements, and are not affected by temperature, humidity, smoke, or any adverse conditions that had previously affected my best cane reeds. So I am now using my Legere reeds exclusively on all my horns. At WICKED on Broadway I use Legere reeds on my Bb, Eb, and Bass Clarinets & Soprano Sax. At the NY Pops at Carnegie Hall, I'll be using a Legere on my Alto Sax also on November 20th.
So to answer your question, yes, I think the new synthetic reeds will be the reeds of the future, and Legere is the leader of the industry. The other synthetic reed makers have their following, but I personally prefer the Legere Signature series reeds for right now. I hope to work with Guy & Helene Legere and Peter Randell & Tim Elvy at Legere in Canada to further develop their fine products.
Thanks for your interest in my opinion, I hope I've helped.