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Darkest, warmest,yet most complex sounding non-gut strings available..


Roosje Urbach
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Relatively recently we have seen the introduction of new synthetics besides nylon and perlon in violin strings.

The most notable is the use of P.E.E.K.  If I study the online literature I can only find Pirastro (violino/obligato and Evah Pirazzi) and D'addario (Zyex) confirming their use of this material.  However I see many other manufacturers claiming to use "modern synthetic materials". 

I suppose these are also P.E.E.K. related, but never know for sure, and can understand the legal position of manufacturers. At the same time I deplore this, because as users (luthiers and players alike) this is just a legal reason to cloud our vision of what is physically going on with different strings on the market today.  The reason for posting is this: I have a very promising young violin player as a client. He is asking for a very dark and complex sounding set of strings, but they may not contain any animal material, so gut is out of the the window here.

I know a lot of gut types, but are lost in the modern synthetic types..   Do I need Larsen Tzigane or Corelli Alliance Vivace?  And how do these compare to Pirastro Obligato?  (or to Pirastro Eudoxa for that matter?).  I am sure Thomastik also has some sets of interest here, but I am not sure which to choose.

What is, in your diverse opinions, the most gut like synthetic out there?  And which one has the darkest and/or the most complex sound?

 

I would appreciate some help and (technical) clarification on this one!

 

 

 

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Pirastro Obligatos are among the darker synthetic yet projecting strings. Corelli "alliance" is also a viable choice for deep sounding strings. Anyone with a decent sounding instrument would look into more conventional choices such as:

Pi, Rondo or Dominant (PRO) from Thomastik

or

Evan Pirazzi, Gold, or Perpetual from Pirazzi  

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2 hours ago, Flattmountain said:

I second. Closest to evah and half the price. I might even switch permanently:huh:

I'd 3rd the Warchal's. Bohdan post's here on occasion, and has some very good information.

Beyond the fact that he put lots of time and research into the engineering of the strings , he himself is very competent, may I say extraordinary soloist himself and has quite a career in Slovakia where he is very engaged in playing and so he certainly knows strings from a more intimate players perspective....which probably has a lot to do with why they are so good. 

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32 minutes ago, Flattmountain said:

I second. Closest to evah and half the price. I might even switch permanently:huh:

And @jezzupeCan you compare them to Versum? I put on the Rondo strings because a dealer gave me a set and I wasn’t in the mood to spend 350 bucks for some more Versum so I put them on.

But I’m happy to try something new, especially if I can save some $$$, which, of course, will no longer be spent on auction stuff…

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4 hours ago, Roosje Urbach said:

Relatively recently we have seen the introduction of new synthetics besides nylon and perlon in violin strings.

The most notable is the use of P.E.E.K.  If I study the online literature I can only find Pirastro (violino/obligato and Evah Pirazzi) and D'addario (Zyex) confirming their use of this material.  ...........

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyether_ether_ketone  Tough stuff.  As I previously reported, https://maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/348048-how-does-dominant-pro-compare-with-rondo-only-available-from-dealers/#comment-923081, I've been testing a set of Evah Golds (with, however, a Warchal E).  At just short of a year now, I've still got them on my Salustri, playing around 3 to 5 hours a week (average) on them for that period.  The strings show no perceptible visual or operational wear, and seldom need any retuning (I also use Wittner Fine-tune Pegs on that violin).  I find them to be bright, rather than warm or dark, but the violin could have a lot to do with that.  I couldn't be happier with the strings.  At this point, I have no idea how long the strings will last, but as yet, there's no reason to change them. :)

 

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1 hour ago, PhilipKT said:

And @jezzupeCan you compare them to Versum? I put on the Rondo strings because a dealer gave me a set and I wasn’t in the mood to spend 350 bucks for some more Versum so I put them on.

But I’m happy to try something new, especially if I can save some $$$, which, of course, will no longer be spent on auction stuff…

Strings to me are such a personal "minutia" type thing that all I can suggest is that you try them out and see, I do feel that strings are "instrument" dependent where Evahs may sound good on that violin, but not that one, for example. I do think Warchals offer a very good product at a very good price. The only gripe I would have that is because they are a younger and not as big brand name they can be hard to find locally, but they are pretty easy to find online. I think as time goes by you'll see their distribution grow.

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Here, just , well, because. I really like their interpretation and particularly tempo's . I think he's a really very good soloist, keeping in mind these are from when he was a much younger man, but well, this is the kind of guy I want making my strings , ya know, vs a former used car salesman

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zc6g6J7ZULQ

 

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I think it's rather hard to get all these qualities in a synthetic string, plus reasonable projection.

Amber is a good option, it isn't the darkest sounding but it is warm with a good approximation of gut string texture. 

Obligatos and Vision solo strings are both very dark, but at the expensive of most of the high frequency texture.

Infeld Red is Thomastik's option for what you want.

Actually the new Perpetual Cadenza strings are the most complex synthetic strings I've heard, although they are more warm than dark - vision solo is one of the darkest, but it is so focused that is a bit like a black hole on my violin, which is already rather dark.

Tzigane I have less experience with but I think would also be a good choice.

I would recommend trying Amber, Tzigane, and Perpetual Cadenza first and Obligato and Infeld Red if budget allows (I think the first three, which are more recent strings are likely superior).

 

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10 hours ago, Roosje Urbach said:

What is, in your diverse opinions, the most gut like synthetic out there?  And which one has the darkest and/or the most complex sound?

 

Frankly, IMO nothing comes even close to stiff oliv strings and in particular the G string. 
 

For the cheapest version of not-so-plastic-sounding strings Zyex is good (and IMO much underrated compared to Dominant)

Otherwise the vision titanium solo strings are a kind of ok, low strings are pretty dark but complexity, I don’t know, they make me always feel like playing in a freezer.

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35 minutes ago, Andreas Preuss said:

Frankly, IMO nothing comes even close to stiff oliv strings and in particular the G string. 
 

For the cheapest version of not-so-plastic-sounding strings Zyex is good (and IMO much underrated compared to Dominant)

Otherwise the vision titanium solo strings are a kind of ok, low strings are pretty dark but complexity, I don’t know, they make me always feel like playing in a freezer.

Many strings are underrated compared to Dominant!

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I like, in the direction the OP was pointing, the Vision Solo strings, but (at least in my experience) they set is not balanced (in particular, the G is more muffled).

Instead, recently i'm using a Savarez Corelli Cantiga medium set and it's warm, balanced, and satisfying. I don't know if you have access easily to that brand ......

 

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4 hours ago, David Burgess said:

If "dark" means fuzzy and lacking in focus, I can agree that Obligatos are about as far as one can go in that direction. Never liked 'em, personally.

Exactly... can't imagine anyone would want them but there are pretty bad sounding instruments out there where the strings need to compensate

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