Hard rubber is much more stable , reliable as well, very important in this day of depleted supplies of rare and easily workable and fairly stable woods.
I received my Arioso a week or so ago and have been testing it daily for the past week using a variety of mouthpieces, including two Zinner blanks, Van Dorens, and Selmers.Subsequently I received my Lyrique. All testing was done using Gonzalez reeds, they being the most stable and consistant reed available. Of course now, there are Forestone reeds which are better than cane, any cane, and certainly any other synthetic.
Briefly, the Arioso clarinet is a revelation and is better than any wooden clarinet I have played. So too, is the Lyrique. The material itself is about the same weight perhaps a trifle lighter than any of my grenadilla instruments but the response is superior and the registers are more consistant one to the next, and the tuning was very surprising indeed. On my instrument there was little variation from 440 for the A, and then throughout the clarinet, the low E being intune, the throat as well and the high register, all of the notes that I have come to take specialy care with, the high C, F, G are intune. This makes the horn really a revelation at least in my experience.
The sound of the Arioso is also darker in comparison with any clarinet I have played and the sound is more sustainable. The Lyrique is better than the Arioso in all aspects, if that is possible.It is a joy to play this horn, and it is a tribute to its developer, Tom Ridenour.
You must read “The Myth of Grenadilla” an essay he wrote,readily available on the net.
Mr. Ridenour has been active in clarinet design and in products for the clarinet. My last set of Opus Clarinets were sold to me by the principal of a major orchestra and those clarinets had been chosen for him by Tom Ridenour, and they were great. Ridenour was chief designer at Leblanc.
I felt that the Arioso is his finest achievement.That has changed now to the Lyrique. But the best clarinet he makes in my opinion, is his A clarinet This A exemplifies all that serious clarinetist needs in order to play anything.Further, it will not be long before the large companies will start to produce clarinets of this marvelously stable material, hard rubber. One must realize of course, that most of us already play on hard rubber mouthpieces. These clarinets have been thusfar a wonderful experience and I recommend that they be investigated by all. At the price, you should buy a set and a C clarinet, still underpriced (for all three )than one french instrument.Actually he should provide a triple case for the trio of excellence.
play well and stay well.