Overview of synthetic core strings
Pirastro synthetic core strings:
- Pirastro Aricore for violin and cello: the first synthetic core strings of Pirastro and a Dominant counterpart, so somewhat alike Dominants in sound. They are mainly characterized by a darker sound, certainly in the low registers on the cello.
- Pirastro EvahPirazzi for violin and viola: very popular string set that is characterized by an open, brilliant sound that still allows for nuances. Evah Pirazzi strings have a higher standard tension, making them powerful and able to open up duller instruments. Their life span is however shorter (sound quality decreases relatively quickly) in comparison to other synthetic core strings. Evah Pirazzi cello strings consist of metal strings.
- Pirastro EvahPirazziGold for violin and viola: a pretty recent string series that quickly conquered many hearts. The tension is somewhat lower than standard Evah Pirazzi strings, which allows the strings to have a warmer sound. The gold wound G string is recommended and gives extra warmth and depth. The string set is characterized by a good balance across all four strings. Very sought after, but with a rather steep price tag. Evah Pirazzi Gold cello strings consist of metal strings.
- Pirastro Obligato for violin, viola and cello: strings with a composite core (rather than a nylon/perlon core) that tries to immitate the sound of gut core strings, rather successfully. The sound is darker, with a lot of overtones. On some instruments they risk sounding a little bit dull, but Obligato strings have with reason become one of the most popular string types amongst many string players, certainly on violin and viola.
- Pirastro Perpetual for violin: the most recent addition by Pirastro. They have a very powerful, direct, projecting sound that will mainly appeal to solists. The tension is very high, but the responsiveness remains relatively easy.
- Pirastro Synoxa for violin, viola and cello: perlon core strings that compete with Thomastik's popular Dominant strings. Synoxa strings sound pretty open without sounding shrill.
- Pirastro Tonica for violin and viola: strings with a pretty low tension that sound rather dark. They are relatively cheap and therefore very suitable for student instruments, but professional players sometimes use them as well. They were recently reintroduced with a new formula that improves tuning stability and sound quality (less noise).
- Pirastro Violino for violin: low tension strings. They are described as the sweetest strings in Pirastro's line-up, with a very pleasant feel to the fingers and a good response. Ideal for instruments with a sharp sound by nature.
- Pirastro WondertoneSolo for violin: clear, brilliant strings with punch that stabilize very quickly. They try to combine the sheer power of Evah Pirazzi strings witht the more complex and bround sound of Obligato strings. They may sound metallic at first, but this disappears rather quickly. They produce very little secondary noise. Very useful to spice up the sound of your darker instrument!
Thomastik-Infeld synthetic core strings:
- Thomastik-Infeld Dominant for violin, viola and cello: the first ever synthetic core strings and still by far the most popular. Dominant is often the standard choice for students, but professional players like to use them as well. Dominant strings have a perlon core and a rather powerful, full sound. They have a relatively low tension and are therefore suitable for a larger number of instruments. The price is very attractive, but the life span might be somewhat reduced due to unraveling of the metal windings (mainly the aluminum wound strings). They need to be replaced at regular intervals to maintain sound quality. They might have a metallic sound at first, but they break in pretty quickly and open up nicely.
- Thomastik-Infeld InfeldBlue for violin: Infeld Blue and Red are further developments in the Dominant range. The Infeld Blue set produces a more powerful, focused sound and doesn't have the metallic secondary sound that Dominants can have at the beginning. They break in quickly and are ideal to spice up duller instruments. They can easily be combined with Infeld Red strings.
- Thomastik-Infeld InfeldRed for violin: Infeld Blue and Red are further developments in the Dominant range. The Infeld Red set produces a warmer, more subtle sound with a broader range of overtones. They are suitable to temper shrill instruments with too much power or focus and can easily be combined with Infeld Blue strings if needed.
- Thomastik-Infeld PeterInfeld (PI) for violin and viola: a recently developed string set that gets a lot of praise. They offer a very good mix of power/volume and more subtle, colourful sound with many overtones. The E string is the first string to have been wound with platinum (although E strings with gold and tin wounding are also available). Very good tuning stability and a soft feeling to the fingers. In the professional world these strings are rising to the top quickly and are used more and more as a lower tension alternative to Evah Pirazzi (Gold) strings. They are also more attractively priced than Pirastro's upper segment.
- Thomastik-Infeld Spirit for violin: good entry level strings for students. They offer a warm and soft sound at an attractive price.
- Thomastik-Infeld Vision for violin and viola: strings with a very focused and powerful sound. They are ideal to give smaller instruments (also viola's) more strength and duller full-size instruments can benefit from their qualities as well. No focus on warmth. Vision strings are known for their durability.
- Thomastik-Infeld VisionSolo for violin and viola: a further development in the Vision range that retains Vision power, but adds some warmth and complexity. They became popular very quickly, although they may sound somewhat one-dimensional on some instruments. Very attractive pricing.
- Thomastik-Infeld VisionTitaniumSolo for violin: Titanium variety of the Vision Solo set. They again try to find somewhat more of a balance between power and warmth, and produce a more carrying sound with more overtones. The E string is titanium wound, giving them extra depth instead of just force, and prevents whistling of the E string.
- Thomastik-Infeld VisionTitaniumOrchestra for violin: Very much alike Titanium Solo, but with less tension and more warmth in order to mix more with other instruments in ensemble playing (instead of towering out over your colleagues). Meant for chamber music and orchestra musicians.
Savarez-Corelli synthetic core strings:
- Corelli Alliance for violin and viola: synthetic strings with composite core. Because of this composite core, they sound pretty full, with a lot of rich overtones, yet also powerful, without becoming shrill. They lean towards the sound of Pirastro's Obligato strings, but with slightly less warmth.
- Corelli Crystal for violin and viola: in sound they are somewhat like Pirastro's Aricore strings. Their sound is pretty dark, yet they have more punch than Aricore strings. Attractive pricing, so often also used as a darker alternative for Dominant strings.
- Corelli Cantiga for violin and viola: a recent set of strings that is gaining popularity. They have a focused, powerful but rich sound and in their development stage a lot of attention went to the balance between the strings. They allow for a lot of sound variations, have good responsiveness and touch. Very stable tuning.
Larsen Strings synthetic core strings:
- Larsen Tzigane for violin: a very special and unique kind of strings that requires some getting used to, but with lots of advantages. They are very useful on instruments that sound loud by nature. Because of their low tension, they sound very warm, even dark, but with a very good resonance that also gives them the necessary power. On some instruments the low tension may cause some responsiveness issues.
- Larsen Original for violin and viola: a pretty natural set of strings that is a good alternative for Dominant strings, with a little bit more warmth. The popular cello strings are metal core strings.
- Larsen Virtuoso for violin and viola: strings with low tension, so ideal for older instruments. Despite their lower tension, they have a large and focused sound with a lot of overtunes. They became popular very quickly because of this unique combination. Very good on instruments with a darker side that could use some punch. The E string is made of carbon steel for extra power. For viola a Virtuoso Soloist version is also available, with some more spice.
- Larsen Il Cannone for violin: offer a sound that is rich in harmonies, with great projection and a spicy sound with unmatched responsiveness. This regular version is milder and warmer than the Soloist version.
- Larsen Il Cannone Soloist for violin: offer a sound that is rich in harmonies, with great projection and a spicy sound with unmatched responsiveness. This Soloist version has a very direct, big sound.
D'Addario synthetic core strings:
- D'Addario ProArte for violin, viola and cello: budget nylon core strings, mainly aimed at students. They are a good competitor for Dominant strings, but warmer in sound. They break in quickly and are unaffected by temperature changes.
- D'Addario Zyex for violin and viola: warm string with lots of overtones and projection because of the special zyex core. They risk being slightly less responsive in higher positions on some instruments, but they are a budget friendly solution for shrill sounding instruments.
- D'Addario Kaplan Amo for violin and viola: a recent set of strings, with a very good balance between power and warmth. They have a zyex core that provides them with the necessary power, yet because of the many over- and undertones they also sound incredibly rich and full. The higher tension might make them slightly less responsive on certain instruments, but they compensate this with their incredible sound quality. Warmly recommended!
- D'Addario Kaplan Vivo for violin and viola: just as their Kaplan Amo brothers a recent string set with a very good combination of power and richness in sound. The Vivo strings have a more brilliant and focused sound than the Amo strings and are truly little sound bombs!
Jargar synthetic core strings: