Do you use a metal A string?
I have tried a metal A, quite a while ago - but I wondered how many people do? Oistrakh made a wonderful sound and he used one.
Many people used/occasionally use steel core A & E, and something else for the other two. It has to do with many things. The most common I have personally heard is eaither a different approach in tone (two treble strings and two "bass" strings, somehow like a 4-voice choir, or a better tone from the instrument with a steel core A, improving the "tonal" and "power" gap between the D and the A, and the A and the E. If the latter is the issue, it seems to me more as an unaddressed setup issue, or a not so correct string combination.
Glad to see you posting again Peter. I have considered trying a steel A for quite some time since Warchal Strings started advertising them in the never ending quest for a better sound. It seems that a lot of people who do use a steel A use it with a separate fine tuner which I do not want to add on the tailpiece.
Just as I have a problem relating to the steel E, I hate the steel
The Warchal A I have used and you don't really need an adjuster. It's pretty good, and I "might" consider it again.
I've never tried Steel A and E with synthetic G and D (never tried gut strings). I much prefer synthetic As on both violin and viola. I hate the metallic sound of steel viola As. I like the sound of the steel violin E, though.
I do. The Warchal Russian-style A is decent, but the Avantgarde E (which uses the spiral that the Amber E has) is fantastic. I match it to medium-gauge Passione or Warchal Brilliant Vintage on the lower two strings.
Occasionally I substitute a steel A and E for their usual gut counterparts, a typical instance being a few days ago when we started rehearsals for Beethoven 9, which we're performing in June. The combination of 2 steel + 2 gut works well on my old violin, but I'll revert later on in the year. I suppose one answer would be to get another violin for all-gut playing.
I don't use it regularly, but I keep an Avantgarde A as an emergency string in my case. I prefer the sound of a wound gut A, but for emergency situations the Avantgarde is almost instantly stable. And for a steel string it is very good.
I use a Helicore A. I like the response. Currently using it with Obligatos which you would think was a weird match but I find it fine.
I have used a set of Pirastro Permanent strings on one of my violas. They are very good (regardless of the core material), however because of some idiosyncrasies of that viola I have switched out the A and C strings to lower tension strings.
I've used a Spirocore A for a really long time now and love it. Works with most sets, since it's sufficiently round sounding. Keen to try the Avantgarde though.
I'm using Warchal (steel) A & E and PI D & G. Sounds fine. (to me, anyway)
The other day the A string of my Tzigane set started to break in the area of the bow pressure and I changed it with Warchal Avantgarde.
I've decided to continue with the PI synthetic A string and not go back to the metal one at least for the time being, as I'm quite happy with the sound of the PI A,D and G. (Thomastic - Peter Infeld).