Jupiter 1100 Series Entry Level Pro Clarinet

Jupiter 1100 Series Entry Level Pro Clarinet[JCL1100DS]

AU $1,999.00 AU $1,799.00
Date Added: Tuesday 28 April, 2020

by Philip Wheatland

Jupiter focusses on producing wind and brass instruments at the student and intermediate levels and doesn't attempt to encroach on the professional end of the market. In reviewing the Jupiter 1100DS we're looking at the company's top of the range clarinet.

Before even getting the 1100DS assembled, I was impressed by its case. Jupiter have avoided the backpack semi-soft cases used by other manufacturers at this level,* and have instead provided the type of case that typically comes with clarinets at a much more professional grade. This takes the form of a clamshell hard case surrounded by a soft carrying bag that you can either carry with its handles or over your shoulder with the supplied strap. This is an elegant and compact approach that allows you to determine how much protection your instrument needs on any given day. Unlike the Uebel Etude's case, the case is designed to accommodate both supplied barrels.

Unfortunately the impression of elegance isn't quite so convincingly maintained once the instrument is assembled. The unbevelled tenon rings come across as a bit narrow and their nickel plating doesn't quite match the silver plating used on the keywork. You might struggle to interpret the gold leaf logo; it looks like a circle that started out solid but which has started to wear off in random patches. I was also hoping that an unstained Grenadilla instrument might show a little more individuality and character in the woodgrain.

The presence of the left-hand Eb lever was unique among the instruments considered here, but the buffer cork fell off before I'd had a chance to try it. Corks falling off can happen to any new instrument, so I'm not going to condemn the 1100DS for this mishap, but more disturbingly I found that the lower joint keys were noisier than those on other instruments. The finish of the wood and silver plate were fine, although a few of the posts weren't particularly well plated.

As with all the instruments in this review, the 1100DS holds up well in its musical credentials with no weak spots evident in tone, intonation, ergonomics or response. I did notice a couple of notes standing out rather louder than their neighbours in the scale, but that's something that greater familiarity with the instrument can address. My only concern with the overall impression in playing the 1100DS is that the action made itself apparent through a certain abruptness. I suspect this might be because the buffer corks weren't sufficiently springy, and this shortcoming could probably be mitigated by a skilled technician.

Apart from the suave case and cover, the 1100DS comes with two barrels and a Vandoren Traditional 2½ reed.

A good instrument in isolation – and with the best case in the group – but the Jupiter 1100DS is priced out of the market here. It's no match for the YCL-450 overall and its musical capabilities aren't up to those offered by the similarly-priced E12F.

* This review forms part of a comparison of the following clarinet models:
- Uebel Etude
- Yamaha YCL-450
- Jupiter 1100DS
- Buffet E12F
My reviews of these other models may help you to evaluate this segment of the clarinet market.

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars! [3 of 5 Stars!]

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