Many words could be used to describe some of the newest additions to The Vibe…Luxury, High End, Weird, Ingenious, Whimsical, Space Age, Pointless, Worthwhile, Kooky, Bizarre.
Well, which words apply…??
Trying these accessories, I did at times think all the words applied. From opening the new delivery and seeing all these amazing little boxes, like precious pieces of jewellery perfectly packaged, I instantly thought, OK! this is a luxury product. Opening the box, you find a velvet drawstring bag, the suspense mounting, inside I found a Bell with a weird looking curved cut out….at this point, I say “how can this work?” surely that defeats the object of the bell, to focus the sound, there’s a bit missing! Well the proof of the pudding as they say…. so I tried it. Sceptically I was imagining it to be pointless and just a gimick, but actually, I was incredibly surprised. It worked!
Playing a Buffet RC and testing the same study (from 80 graded studies book 2 that someone had left in the room), along with scales, arpeggios and chromatic scales at varying dynamics. I try the original bell that comes with the clarinet, and yes, it is what I expect from an RC, warm, responsive, lovely.
I then, place the Florian Popa Concert Cut Bell on. The first thing I notice is how light it is. It goes on incredibly smoothly, no struggling whatsoever. Looking at it, it’s just bizarre (there’s a bit missing!!). Still slightly dubious, I play the same study, scales, arpeggios and chromatic scales, experimenting with dynamics and articulations as before. My initial reaction, is WOW, it’s different!
The sound similar to what I’m used to, but I don’t need as much effort to get the response I want and the chalumeau register is clear and warm.
…Now something definitely from the space age. The Power Sound, a small magnetic crystal ,which attaches to magnets around the barrels or bells in the range. This is ingenious! I was even more skeptical about this tiny pyramid, but especially when I attached it to the Concert cut ebony bell, all of my qualms dissipated and I was left with a focused, clean sound which enable me to play with complete ease and consistent intonation across the entire range!
Without even moving on to the rest of the product range, I am hooked and want to try more…different combinations of bells, barrels, ligatures, power sound (or no power sound) there are many possibilities and I’m really spoilt for choice!
Here are the three products I tested with my Buffet RC:
…If like me you are unsure as to whether this is something that would make a difference, it’s definitely worth a try. Yes, being a luxury, high end product they do have a comparable price tag to match. Some of the products in the range are a bit kooky and whimsical in design, but when weighing up the pros and cons, I felt there was a noticeable difference when playing, they are definitely worth a try, I can’t wait to see what Dr. Popa comes up with next!
About Dr. Popa:
Dr. Florian Popa a professional and researcher clarinettist specialising in acoustics and music phenomenology (which in itself sounds impressive!!) with more than 25 years of research behind him. He has created a product range with science and logic at the forefront. Looking into the use of each customisable part of the clarinet (bell, barrel, ligature, mouthpiece, reeds) he aims to create the ‘perfect timbre’, something he says the barrel is responsible for.
In order to achieve the sound with greater resonance and harmonic richness, providing velvety timbre, maximum amplitude of sound and extended flexibility of a dark, symphonic timbre. He guarantees that each of his products encompass three factors; futuristic concept, exclusive design and materials which match with acoustic criteria.