Rico International companies Grand Concert Evolution Clarinet Reeds
I am a long time Vandoren user. Usually I play V12 reeds #3.5 or 4 strengths. I have recently tried Evolution and Grand concert thick blank reeds. As players go I get a lot of compliments on my tone ( as opposed to how fast or loud I played) reviewers seem to use the beautiful word a lot so it's a part of my playing I take pride in.
To test them out fairly I mixed Vandoren V12 3.5 and 4 and Evolution and Thick Blank 3, 4 and 4. I wet a few at a time (wetting cut part only) and played them, trying not to notice which reed I was putting on.
Physically they are not too far off. Both have very thick blanks. The Evolution sre thinner (side to side) at the but end and do not have the line cut across where the bark starts. The Evolution reeds sound darker to my ears and have more ring. Quite noticeable is the shape of the sound, wider with the Vandoren, finer with the Evolutions.
Like other Rico reeds you want to start out with them a bit on the hard side as I noticed that they softened up quite quickly. Strengths are are quite close to the V12's, eventually I will get my measuring tools out but for now I can say that I often take the reed off and am quite surprised when I look at the back of it. The tone however has a lot more harmonics in it and I am getting better consistancy as well.
Out of 16 reeds that made it to my reed case 15 were Evolutions or Thick blanks. This reflects my personal preference for a smooth clear centered sound with a ring around it. I gave my 3 top students "some" Evolution reeds to try 2/3 have asked me how they can get more of "those reeds you gave us"
Since I first wrote this I have continued to play on Evolution 3.5.