The Super Bowl of Clarinet Tone Tests. Tosca VS R13 VS Selmer!

All the following clarinet tone tests were recorded in a large church sanctuary, the site where I will record the upcoming CD in May.

(Last week's instruments were 1- R13 and 2- Tosca)

The acoustic you hear is all natural. In excerpts B, C and D, the microphone was on a chair because I did not have a mike stand. In those, the buzz of the clarinet is more evident.

The first excerpt, however, was with the microphone held high, where it will be for the recording. It was held kindly by my recording engineer, who came to listen and recommend which clarinet sounds best in that hall.

There are 3 clarinets: 1, 2 and 3. There are 4 excerpts for each clarinet: excerpts A, B, C and D.

Excerpt A-

1 A-

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2 A-

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3 A-

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Excerpt B-

1 B-

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2 B-

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3 B-

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Excerpt C-

1 C-

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2 C-

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3 C-

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Excerpt D-

1 D-

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2 D-

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3 D-

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19 comments for “The Super Bowl of Clarinet Tone Tests. Tosca VS R13 VS Selmer!

  1. Zack Buchillon
    November 14, 2011 at

    I found number 2 went flat often, but that it had a better airstream with the lower dynamics, as in excerpt D. Number two’s pitch was the best, I think, but I also believe that the pitch on number two could have been controlled… Perhaps the performer was more accustomed to number 3 when performing the excerpts? Anyways, number 1 was consistent, but did not have any strong points, and I felt it sounded as if it were overblown on the higher dynamics. I think that with enough comfort with number 2, it had the best potential. That being said, number 3 would be easier to get used to playing with, and it had a very nice tone (as did the other contestants).

    • Zack Buchillon
      November 14, 2011 at

      Looking back, I’d say that number 2 definitely fell short on the first 2 excerpts, where number 3 really shined with pitch. This is confusing, however, because number 2 (In my opinion) carried its pitch better than number 3 in the latter 2 excerpts. I don’t really like these recordings, and I’m sorry for so much input, and even more sorry if some of it sounds wrong.

  2. September 11, 2011 at

    Actually I saw on their website they make both french and german. Yes please keep me informed.

    • Anthony
      September 12, 2011 at

      The pictures on flickr give you a good idea of the quality of the instrument and the many possiblities.

  3. September 10, 2011 at

    Hello

    My choice … i am curious to see the results but definitely don’t like the 2 … too old french school sound 🙂

    Have you ever tried the Schwenk & Seggelke clarinet ? http://www.schwenk-und-seggelke.de

    They a “hybrid model” with several really interesting features … i owe this “hybrid model” for several months (i was the first to get this model so i am quite proud 😉

    The most interesting on the M1000+ model is the fact that there is a sib mechanism like http://www.schwenk-und-seggelke.de/englisch/infopopups/popup_m3000_g_detail1.html so there is no issue about the weak Bb and medium intonation … the clarinet is almost perfect in tune …. hand made … 1 year waiting delivery.

    Have a nice day

    • September 10, 2011 at

      Interesting new German clarinet. I’d like to try one someday. Can you send me a playing sample with you playing the new clarinet?

  4. January 27, 2011 at

    I’m coming a little late to this party, but I too prefer #3, although they all sounded wonderful. There is a sweet quality in the tone that just melts me. I fell in love with the tone of the Tosca, when I was recently Bb shopping, but just couldn’t justify the price. However, I found a wonderful Festival. It fits me and I preferred it over the R13s (at Taplin-Weir Canada). The Festival has most of what I liked in the tone of the Tosca. I’d prefer to have an intonation key for the low F rather than a left Ab/Eb key.

    • January 29, 2011 at

      Hi Nancy, you are the first person who actually likes that funky low F intonation key. I’ve never tried a Festival. At this point, the Selmer is what I’m sticking with. It was #3.

  5. John Peacock
    January 21, 2011 at

    Hi David. Never mind the sound, what do you think of the Tosca’s keywork? I really dislike the special RH vent key for low F: I’m always in danger of hitting it when going for C above the break. Apart from being awkward to play, it also offends me as a matter of principle: it seems ugly that they couldn’t find a nice solution for the instrument’s acoustic without needing this kluge to fix one note.

    • January 26, 2011 at

      John, just saw this comment of yours. I agree, the Tosca extra key is ridiculous and useless for the most part. They should lower the price by a thousand and leave off the key. but it also indicates a desperation to “correct” an inherent tuning problem caused by moving the register hole a bit higher. Although this corrects some issues with wide 12ths on clarinet, it creates a flatter long B and C.

  6. January 17, 2011 at

    So far, #3 is clearly in the lead.

  7. Ed
    January 17, 2011 at

    While there are certainly good qualities in each, I found I preferred #3. It seemed to have a nice clarity and resonance. I generally liked the color and balance of overtones better.

  8. January 17, 2011 at

    2 and 3 are close……..maybe 3 has slight edge over 2.

  9. John Peacock
    January 17, 2011 at

    Tricky. I had different preferences between excerpts, and even within them: excerpt 1 seemed to change character half-way through.

    A (1st half) 1 3 2 (best to worst)
    A (2nd half) 3 1 2
    B 3 1 2
    C 2 1 3
    D 2 3 1

    2 was significantly less nice in the first two slow pieces, but I preferred its resonance and uniformity in the more punchy extracts. I’d be relieved if you said the clarinets weren’t always in the same order!

    Anyway, over the 4 rankings, awarding 3 points for top, 2 for middle, and 1 for bottom, the scores are 9 for 2, 10 for 1, but 3 wins by a nose with 11.

  10. Gretchen Roper
    January 17, 2011 at

    #3 all the way! Had the most “vocal” quality of all 3. 2 was my second favorite, followed by #1, which just seemed to spread more than the other two clips.

  11. January 17, 2011 at

    1 and 3 sounded the best to me. 2. I didn’t like. K

  12. January 17, 2011 at

    I like #3 the best. If you do this again, I suggest that you mix them up. Once I decided (on the 1st excerpt) that I liked 3, there was no changing my mind.

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