Obligatos vs. Infeld Reds vs. Viennese Melange vs. Dominant vs. Evah Pirazzi

January 14, 2008 at 10:12 PM · Could I please have comments on everyone's experience with the general tension, sound characteristics (bright, dark, rich, warm, brilliant, etc.), best match E strings or mixes, and string life comparison between the following sets:


Infeld Red

Viennese Melange


I've just gotten a new violin (2007, German, Guarneri Model), and I tried Evah's, but the tension hurts my right elbow and left hand, so I'm saving them for my senior recital in May. I remembered I have a random set of Xed student strings of Dominant G,D,E, and Obligato A. I much prefer the tension of these strings, and the Obligato, even after being as old and obviously dead as it is, sounds really complex and is full of color (even though it's not as rich, dark, or loud as it would be) by comparison to the Evah's.

Recommendations? (As best you can without hearing or seeing my violin or me...) Thanks so much in advance!

Replies (20)

January 14, 2008 at 03:28 PM · By the way, I'm looking for dark, rich, long-lasting & less tense.

January 14, 2008 at 10:38 PM · I use dominants, and i've been wondering about the Viennese melange set myself. It's a customized blend that combines the best of Thomastik and infeld strings.

January 14, 2008 at 11:02 PM · Tasha - you should ask your luthier for a recommendation. The strings which would produce the sound you seek on my violin will not necessarily work on yours because different strings sound different on different violins. Your luthier can listen to your violin with the strings you have and suggest strings likely to produce the sound you seek. Also, remember that you may not acheive this sound with the first set you try, and that more experimentation may be necessary.

January 15, 2008 at 03:44 AM · It sounds like you answered your own question. You said, "...the Obligato, even after being as old and obviously dead as it is, sounds really complex and is full of color."

Evahs have high tension, which some violins cannot handle, and brilliant sound, which not everyone likes. In contrast, Obligatos have lower tension and a darker sound (although some people suggest they are missing something).

Infield Reds are also a little towards the darker side, but not as much as Obligatos. In contrast, the Infield Blues lean a little to the brighter side, but not as much as the Evahs.

For what you are looking for, also consider the new Passione strings. Supposedly the Vision Titanium Orchestra strings are a little warmer than the Vision Titanium Solo strings, but they both seem to be on the brilliant side. Many players in the U.S. are eagerly waiting for the Vision Solo (non-Titanium) to reach the Western Hemisphere. Many players love the Larsen Tzigane, as a discussion at this website will detail if you search for it. And... gosh, what do I know...

The only solution is to experiment, and maybe mix and match, but be sure the string tensions are similar. For example, beware of matching Evahs with Obligatos.

January 14, 2008 at 11:40 PM · I've tried all the strings you mention except for the Viennese Melange, which I can't help thinking sounds like dessert! My observations:

Obligatos sounded wonderful for a week to ten days. Then it went downhill, fast. The response got slow, and they started sounding sloppy, for lack of a better term. I got sick of paying for strings that didn't last.

Infeld Reds were in the running for a while (I'm currently playing on Vision Solo - they aren't that dark, but the tension, overtones and response make them the best for me at the moment). I would characterize them (Infeld Reds) more as warm than dark. I didn't use their E string, but kept my Gold Label and it seemed to fit fine.

I don't like Dominants. Never did, and I keep trying them to see if I've changed. Just aren't my strings.

Hope this gives you some ideas. If you're unhappy with the way Pirazzis feel now, don't bother putting them on for a recital. Playing when you feel comfortable will do more for your sound than fancy strings!

January 14, 2008 at 11:55 PM · Try the regular Visions...

January 15, 2008 at 12:26 AM · Thanks everyone, for your suggestions! My luthier just recommended I experiment, because I know what sound I want and I can't quite describe it well enough for him. He said to stay within the same set (for tension/pressure/equalization) unless it's the Infeld/Dominant because they're interchangeable or just the E string. He nixed Crystals & Alliance Vivace, Titanium Solo, Zyex, and most steel strings because of my handling and sound preferences. I agree, given how much I've experimented with my previous violins.

I really don't like visions, I've tried them multiple times, and the only set I've liked is the Titanium Orchestral set, but I'm not willing to shell out the money and no other E string (which makes the set expensive in the first place) seems to work for the set for me.

I bought a set of Melange today (couldn't wait for everyone to respond...) hoping that the mix would help me define better what I'm looking for, or fix everything in the first place. I sort of miss the projection of the Evah's, and the G seems a little too buttery. I HATE the E -- I know it's the stark Vision E, but it's got to go.

Christian, I know you love Dominants w/a Jargar forte E, and I may have to try that...

January 15, 2008 at 02:25 AM · Greetings,

>I've just gotten a new violin (2007, German, Guarneri Model), and I tried Evah's, but the tension hurts my right elbow and left hand, so I'm saving them for my senior recital in May.

I am bemused by the goals and aspirations you associate with your senior recital ;)



January 15, 2008 at 02:49 AM · Oh Buri, you and only you could possibly understand... =P

All I mean is, they're loud, rich, and quick to respond. I've also noticed how forgiving they are of contact point, which would be good for my nerves...

January 15, 2008 at 03:00 AM · Did anybody try Dominants with Larsen Tzigane E?

January 15, 2008 at 04:01 AM · JOhn kim: I haven't tried that set before, but I hope someone has and can tell you. How many times have you posted that question now?

January 15, 2008 at 07:13 AM · I have the melange with a Jargar Forte E on one of my violins and it really helps out the sound. It's a sweet/bright sounding violin and this mix gives it some more range vs. Dominants.

I just tried Warchal Brilliants on my other violin and I've never had such a warm, full and powerful sound, especially on the G-string. Seems to have the power of the Evah's with more warmth and without too much tension. I haven't done a direct comparison with the melange, but I have used Evah's, Obligato's and Vision Titaniums on this violin also. The Warchal's (with a Westminster E at the moment) may be the best so far.......

January 15, 2008 at 01:55 PM · Where did you get the Warchals and how much were they?

January 15, 2008 at 02:05 PM · Hi,

I tried Evah's, but the tension hurts my right elbow and left hand, so I'm saving them for my senior recital in May.

Question: Why would you want to use a string that makes your arms hurt when you play? AND especially for your senior recital?

The Warchal Brilliant are a good compromise for those that want a string that combines the qualities of Obligato and Pirazzi. They are somewhere in between and if your violin can handle the new core types, then it may be an excellent option.

Strings are interesting in that your choice depends on many things, like the instrument, your style of playing (especially bowing) etc. You still have to try things to find what works for you.

As for me, after having some work done on the fiddle (especially the new soundpost that is now placed correctly), etc. I now use a combination of Dominants A, aluminium D and G, with a medium Goldbrokat E (I no longer use the Jargar). That combo works extremely well. My last E burst while giving a less the other day and I stuck an Oliv E on, and already the sound quality lost.

Choosing the right E is very crucial with Dominants, and it really depends on the setup of the instrument.


January 15, 2008 at 04:53 PM · Thanks for your interest Christian. Like I said before, I figured if I put the Evah's on a few weeks before my recital, it wouldn't hurt yet and I would get the soloistic sound with a very forgiving contact point. Maybe it's not worth it? My violin tends to be less sensitive to new strings as far as sound goes than any other violin I've owned.

I'll try the dominants with a goldbrokat E next. I tried the dominant/jargar on my old violin per your recommendation, but I didn't care for the Jargar or the dominants on that violin. I haven't tried it on this violin though, so I'll probably end up trying both.

Thanks again, everyone! I really appreciate how many responses I'm getting!

January 15, 2008 at 05:56 PM · Hi Tasha,

Quickly - the Goldbrokat medium works on my violin. It may or may not work on yours. I find with time that violins are quite sensitive to E strings, so you could experiment. Quinn Violins (check their website) use to sell packs of different E's for experimentation (all the standard ones). Could be a solution for finding one that works for you.

Personally, I wouldn't use a string that hurts for two simple reasons: Most likely you have to get tense to play it, which is why you are getting hurt. That tension can work more against you, rather than be more forgiving, in a concert situation.

Cheers and best of luck!

January 16, 2008 at 05:19 AM · Ok, I've asked my teacher, and he and I both agree... my new violin is both warm and bright. Go figure! How does one accomplish that? Anyway, in case it helps in recommendations...

January 16, 2008 at 02:36 PM · I think I'm just going to go all out and buy the Vision Titanium Orchestral set.

January 16, 2008 at 09:24 PM · I got the Warchals through ottomusica.com and they were about 39 for the set.

January 16, 2008 at 10:14 PM · Tasha- You said that you're going to try Dominants with a Goldbrokat E, I like Dominants and like many here on v.com found that the Wondertone Gold Label 'E' complaments very well. It appears to be one of the most common combonations I've read in the threads.

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