Clavinets are a bit like Marmite. We love to own them, to play them, and to listen to them, but we hate storing them and maintaining them. (Digging out and replacing 60 tips that have decayed to gloop is no fun, believe me.) Perhaps that explains why there’s such a glut of Clavinet emulations on the market, ranging from the most basic PCM-based patches to the sophisticated physical models offered by some flagship workstations and software plug-ins. So, is there room for another?
The short answer is, ‘heck, yes’. I compared the Soniccouture Clav (which is supplied as an instrument for Kontakt 5) with both an E7 and the Clavinet in a Hohner Duo, and I was shocked at how aged and scruffy the originals sounded in comparison. That’s not to imply that Clav is in any way anaemic. Far from it… the various pickup and tone combinations are beautifully sampled, and it oozes a clean, lucent character in the way that you always hoped your Clavinet did when it first rolled off the production line in the 1960s or ’70s.