The Buffet RC has already won over innumerable musicians throughout Europe, with its pure, sweet sound, easy response and great tuning response in all registers. Designed by the extremely talented chalumier Robert Carrée, the Buffet RC has given clarinettists great freedom of expression since 1975.
Buffet have now started to release their ‘new’ RC, which had some alterations and adjustments made at the very end of 2014. Buffet display on their website that; “the overall intonation of the instrument has been reviewed and enhanced to better adapt to the ever-increasing demands of the musician. It’s warm, centred tone, projection, and its improved evenness of response and intonation will give pure satisfaction to musicians”, and they have got it spot on.
However, we were intrigued to see exactly what Buffet had done, in order to improve the response and intonation of the RC so greatly. After consulting with Grégory Demailly, (Buffet’s Woodwind Department Manager), it turns out Buffet have been rather busy...
Buffet have replaced the previous bladder pads, with leather pads, other than the one cork pad on the register key. Leather pads are actually a key feature of Buffet’s top-end professional clarinets, as they seat better, and last longer than the previous traditional pads used. With regards to the one cork pad on the instrument, this is to prevent absorption and swelling, which is highly likely with regular pads (if playing frequently) around the most humid part of the instrument.
The bell of the clarinet has also been reshaped, with a slightly flatter base. This was a key feature of Elite clarinets in the past, and gives the Buffet RC more projection and brilliance in tone. Buffet now supplies the RC with 2 barrels, one 65mm and one 66mm, which are ideal for tuning in various temperature conditions. In addition, the F/C key now has a nylon regulating screw, as opposed to cork. The problem with cork is that it compresses over time, causing regulation issues and seizing. Using a nylon screw makes these keys more stable, more accurate, and quieter. In addition, it makes regulating the pad far easier for our technicians.
A badge with an RC logo has been added, bringing this model closer to the top-end professional clarinets, such as the Prestige and Festival, in terms of aesthetics, and a new banner can be found stitched to the inside of the case. Of course, these changes have no effect on the way the instrument sounds, but are nice touches all the same…if you’re into that sort of thing!
In terms of how we feel about the instrument, our resident Mouthpiece Specialist Professor Anton Weinberg’s (Click Here to see a video of Anton playing the new RC) thoughts on the new RC are as follows:
“The new re-think is not just about new pads and a new badge: the throat Bb is now clear as a bell and the fundamental in its tonal voice is ever stronger, with amazing projection, but still warm and mellifluous. Definitely now my first choice”
Personally, I do think that the ‘new’ Buffet RC is really rather wonderful. Having made improvements to an instrument which was already highly regarded within the industry, it could be argued that the new RC is now hot on the heels of Buffet’s top level professional models. The improved clarity and intonation of the instrument have left me so impressed, that part of me wishes I’d never tried the instrument…as now I’ve got to start saving for one!
Well, now you know what we think, why not come and have a go on one of these new RC’s yourself? You can blow through a selection of wooden instruments in-store or on 14-day home trial…if Maidenhead is a little too far to travel!
Hannah - Woodwind Specialist @ Dawkes Music
Anonymous review via Feefo
Great instrument with a lovely sound and tone