Dear Mr. Friedland,
You have written a lot about the Legere reeds. If I may make a suggestion, please try using Fibercell reeds instead of Legere. I and several others here have used them extensively on Alto, Tenor, and Bari saxes and I also use them on soprano clarinets. We find them superior to the Legere and much closer to cane reeds. They tend to be a little stiff for their strength rating and you may want to drop a half step from your cane reeds.
Just a suggestion!
I have received a couple of the Fibracell reeds and have tried them. They are actually quite close to Legere, I feel no better and they are very hard to get, especially the specific strength for which I asked: 2.5. I received one reply stating there would be a “long wait” for 2.5, and because I experienced no particular epiphany with the reed which does come in a neat plastic case, much better than the Legere plastic case folder, I gave up the quest. I am using cane reeds from Argentina presently and they are much superior to Van Doren or any of the French reeds. I haven’t as yet tried Rico Reserve, but will eventually. Plastic reeds are indeed synthetic, but they are also plastic, if you get my drift. Yes, I can play them and I think I can make the same sound, however there is a certain sensitivity which Ifeel is lost with plastic. Or, one may call it flexibiltiy. I don’t mean bending sound at all. Simply put they are thicker than cane and I think simplistically they are alo less flexible. These tests have been long expensie and comprehensive and plastic and cane are two different things. There are some players who do well, very well with plastic, Richard Hawkins is the best I have heard, and he is a superior player. But his mouthpieces are the absolute best I have ever played. I play one now and the sound is very beautiful. I feel he is very knowledgable with reeds as well , and believe he has worked with Legere on the Quebec cut, a better reed than the ordinary Legere, more flexible to put it more clearly.
Good luck and keep practicing , on any reed which pleases you.