Although there's some truth in calling these accessories "mutes," the name doesn't completely do them justice. Mutes do muffle or suppress an instrument's sound, but for many of them, the goal isn't to make the instrument more silent. Instead, a lot of brass mutes are designed to accentuate certain characteristics of the tone, or in some cases even add a completely new and unique sound along with it. Of course, if simple quietness is what you're looking for, you can find a practice mute that will do it. But there's so much more to the world of mutes that you might find something here to give your instrument a sound you never even knew it could have.
A good example of a mute that's anything but silent is the Harmon B Model Aluminum Trumpet Wow-Wow Mute. It doesn't change the pitch of the trumpet - instead, it gives you the ability to create a wah-wah effect by sliding the cup at the end of the mute. Think of it like the brass version of a guitarist's wah pedal. It's not the only unique mute, either; there's also the treble-accentuating Humes & Berg 103 Trumpet Cleartone Mute or the 1920s-inspired Humes & Berg 120 Trumpet/Trombone Derby Mute, to name just two examples.
If you're looking for the most straightforward type of mute to rein in your instrument's volume for practice sessions, keep your eyes peeled for the aptly-named practice mutes. For instance, the Trumcor Lyric Stealth Trumpet Practice Mute and Denis Wick DW5532 Piccolo Trumpet Mute are great choices to quiet down their respective instruments. Speaking of Denis Wick, if you're a frequent traveler you ought to check out their compact travel mutes, like the DW5582 for Tenor Trombone or the DW5587 for Euphonium. These models are compact enough to stay in the bell when you pack the instrument up in its case, which makes them super portable.
So if you thought that mutes only had one job, then think again! Not only do the conventional straight and practice mutes come in a few different types, but there are even exotic styles of mute that have their own unique effects on your instrument's sound. The best thing you can do is experiment, so go ahead and try some out: from bucket mutes to cup mutes to plungers and more, there's a ton to discover when it comes to brass mutes.