Under the microscope: our concert glockenspiel RGC 3030 "Blackline" in the "drums & percussion" test!

  • 22 Oct 2019
  • Isabelle Keck

The article issued in title 6/19 (drums&percussion):

 

THE BIG BLACK

The German instrument manufacturer STUDIO 49 has been in existence since 1949, so the anniversary comes with the "Black" edition of the three-octave RGC 3030 glockenspiel an exquisite instrument on the market.

STUDIO 49 mainly produces instruments of the Orff-Schulwerk and mallet-instruments in professional quality at the factory in Gräfelfing near Munich. Mallet instruments (Vibraphone, Xylophone, Marimba and Glockenspiel) are given the additional designation "Royal Percussion". We received the concert glockenspiel RGC 3030 for the test, in the "Black" edition, that is, with black "RGC 3030 ROYAL PERCUSSION"  "BLACK EDITION" by STUDIO 49: Black sound bars, black resonators and black struts. In contrast, the table is kept in light wood, which gives the entire instrument a very noble appearance.

Lush three octaves

The RGC 3030 is a pedal Glockenspiel, so it can be adjusted like a vibraphone with the foot. With its range of three octaves (f2 to f5), it belongs to the large chimes. The sound panels are made of specially processed silver steel, black anodized and 30 mm wide and 10 mm thick throughout. Their length varies from 93 to 182 mm. Unlike most other glockenspiels, the RGC 3030 uses a cord at both ends, just like vibraphones. This cord is not on overlays, but leads through manufacturer-typical, rubber-coated

Pins mounted on the spars of the table. As a result, the sound panels can not jump even with strong play.

Sensitive damping

The riveted, also black resonator rows of aluminum amplify the sound range from f2 to e4; in the higher note ranges, the playing table, which is closed on three sides, acts as a resonance chamber, as is usual with table glockenspiels. The resonator rows are pushed into the rubber shots at the deep end of the instrument, and at the upper end they rest on the sounding board. The table stands on a very sturdy metal frame and this in turn on four 7 cm large rollers, of which the front two can be braked twice. The RGC 3030 is very easily adjustable in height, in a range of 72 to 97 cm. The very precise and sensitively working damping has two springs on the table, one of which leads to the ironing pedal. This dampens the instrument very evenly throughout the entire sound range. On the pedal itself are two small rubber rings, so that it does not hit the ground when pedaling and thus possibly produces unwanted noise. In addition, there is a damping lock on the front of the console, with which you fix the bumper strip below the sound bars, so that they always sound.

Extremely clean sound

But now the most important, the sound: The RGC 3030 has a brilliant sound, as it is used to from STUDIO 49. It is no coincidence, that the instruments are among the most used and popular Glockenspiels - yes, they have become a reference. Hardly an orchestra, hardly a university (at least in the German-speaking world), in which or at which no "Royal Percussion" chimes can be found. Like that, the RGC 3030 is perfectly intoned and produces with every kind of mallets an extremely clean sound, which prevails in every situation. The sound is still not shrill and intrusive, but despite its sonority soft and pleasant. In the top octave, of course, the sound is a bit thinner or sharper and you hear a metal fret in narrow multi-tones, but that's quite normal in this area.

For the highest demands

In summary, the RGC 3030 can attest to absolute professionalism. The instrument meets the highest demands on playability and sound. However, this is reflected in the price, and from the petty cash is the RGC 3030 not even pay. The delivery includes a sturdy fabric cover for the table and two pairs of mallets.

 

Elegant appearance: the light wood of the table contrasts
to the black of the sound bars.

As with vibraphones, the sound bars are on cords stored and do not jump.