Evah Pirazzi vs. Kaplan Vivo? So Similar!

Edited: March 13, 2018, 6:48 PM · I know I've been asking a few string questions this last week or two, however I promise this this will be my last!

With a big performance quickly approaching, I am down to two string options after conducting lots of research and speaking to many of you here.

I have a tough time deciding between evahs and vivos: partly because they are similar: as both manufacturers recommend you switch from the latter to theirs.

Can anyone offer crucial points on sound, projection, complexity, durability, and fell (under fingers) of these two products?

Thank-you all very much. This will be my last string post!

Replies (13)

March 13, 2018, 7:15 PM · I would avoid Evah Pirazzis (the regular "green" EPs, as opposed to the Golds) for concerto performances. As a friend of mine once put it, "they sound like a trumpet". Loud under the ear, but not complex, which means that they don't carry well over an orchestra -- projection is much less impressive than you'd think. If you want more projection, use the EP Golds.

If you don't like EP Golds, you'll probably like regular EPs even less. EPs feel much like EPGs under the fingers. They are higher in tension, and slightly less responsive than EPGs. They have the same short lifespan as EPGs.

I haven't tried Vivos, but my expectation is that if they sound like EPs, they also won't be good for a concerto with orchestra.

March 13, 2018, 7:45 PM · I suppose it's each players own opinion on the strings. I mean, we can technically compare the Green EP to the Kaplan Vivo and the Gold EP to the Kaplan Amo.
March 13, 2018, 8:59 PM · Don’t limit yourself by saying it’s your last string question. Chatting about strings takes up a good portion of the forum here.

Get the Vivos, try them out. You won’t know until you try. And then they will wear out and you can try something else.

I play viola, and though I
Liked the Vivis quite a bit, I play viola for a darker sound, and thus currently use the Amos

Edited: March 14, 2018, 2:33 AM · I do like both EPG and Kaplan Amo; they work well for my instrument. After it was brought up in the other thread, I went to visit my local shop and got a couple sets of Thomastik Rondo. It's a very appealing alternative to all these "fuzzy texture power" strings. :)
March 14, 2018, 5:25 AM · Alex...

This need not be your last string post as Craig said

Now I have only used the Evah Pirazzi in the past. What would describe my experience could be summed up as a string set that was relatively neutral in terms of brightness/darkness, reasonably complex and really powerful. Both under the ear and far away. (I realised the latter not only when playing in orchestra, chamber sessions etc, but when other folks in the house and in the neighbourhood -yes in the neighbourhood- pointed that out. But this happened with an already projecting and powerful instrument).

However with Evah Pirazzi there are several things to consider. First their tension is higher than the average synthetic (lets say the Dominant) which could work with your instrument or could not. You could end up with an instrument that works great or it could choke it (it's not a fault of the string, that's why strings come in models and more important, gauges. I have only used the medium gauge). Another thing is that they change a lot in the first weeks. I recall that they took about a week to stabilise in terms of tuning, and after that they started going more mellow sounding (without lacking in power) for about a month. They last a lot, BUT they COULD loose part of their initial "ringing" and "brightness". If you are ok with that, they should last more than other synthetics without going false or silent.

Hand feel: In the left hand they are less pliable than some other synthetics, but not harsh (my experience with some daddario models was harsher). In the right hand that's a different story. They are designed for solo playing, and can handle tons of bow pressure. They respond to small nuances but somehow I got the impression that they worked better if you would dig in with your right hand.

Another thing that I found out is that I liked the whole situation more with darker and stickier rosins. The Oliv-Evah Rosin by Pirastro was a good combo

From what I hear from different people, especially professionals it's a love them or leave them situation. You'll never know till you try them. The fact that many string manufacturers create new synthetics targeted to compete with Evah, says a lot. But you know such things are also a hype.

Anyway, at the moment I've stopped using them but the main reason was that I did not personally like paying such a price for a synthetic set of strings.

March 14, 2018, 6:35 AM · I would use EP Green Weich over EP Gold, simply because of the lower tension. Of course it's OK to disagree.

Not every soloist out there that uses EP green made the change to Gold. In fact, it's likely that the green is still the more popular of the two (I know that matters little, of course.) And as I have stated, at least with the green you have more options, rather than an "ideal" tension/sounding set.

Loud is not bright, and not all that is bright is nasty sounding. Brilliant is also not necessarily "bright". I think EP are more brilliant than truly bright. They are indeed loud under the ear, though, but that may not mean much, as real projection depends on bowing technique and violin fit (EPs *can* make a violin sound worse, though that can happen with other sets, to be fair.)

I agree with Mr. Papakonstantinou about EP. Not dark, not the brightest, and work better with lots of "digging in". I do find them "hollow sounding", but I am used to good gut strings, which I prefer over any synthetic option anyway, be it "solo", loud, "reference" (Dominant), or otherwise. The EP are practical and usable even in Mittel, even if they are not my choice and tend to lose their most amazing tone a bit too early.

Seems to me that Vivos were made to be bright, so they may be "less complex" than EP, but I have not used them, and the price is a bit too high for my taste (and for a synthetic technology.)

March 14, 2018, 8:01 AM · Vivo's are brilliant sounding, but they do not lack complexity. They are more powerful than Evah Green.

As far as durability, the Vivo set that I had tested I ended up giving them to an advanced student, and she had them on for nearly a year before they started to die out. She practices about 3 hours per day and performs regularly.

Edited: March 15, 2018, 9:18 AM · I would suggest Kaplan Vivo are NOT similar. I wouldn't even place them on speaking terms. I took mine off after 3 days because of the rough, guitar string like, texture. If you are unsure, I would stick with Dominants, as they work on many violins and you know what to expect. I wouldn't experiment before a big performance.
March 14, 2018, 11:04 AM · @ Jeff Are you referring to the Vivo's I guess?
March 14, 2018, 11:07 AM · You just never have any idea how strings are going to work on your particular violin. Descriptions and reviews can get you general characteristics, but how that manifests on your particular instrument is pretty much a crapshoot.

And you don't know what the wear characteristics are going to be, which is really no good at all if you have an upcoming performance.

Last year, I tried Larsen Tziganes on my violin for a solo performance with orchestra. (I tried MANY strings at a violin shop, courtesy of their tester library, before picking the Tziganes, as well.) They were awesome for two weeks and then suddenly died. I had time to switch string brands, buy new strings, and have the new strings break in properly before the performance, fortunately.

March 14, 2018, 2:09 PM · So which are more complex and can carry over an orchestra? Thanks for the information
Edited: March 14, 2018, 3:23 PM · Alex

in your other string thread I already asked you which other strings you tried and what you did not like about them. Along with what you do not like about your instrument right now might give us a better idea of the situation so we can "guess" properly. And I am using the word "guess" since all these string discussions besides stuff like durability, feel etc are extremely subjective and about to change in every different violin used by a different musician.

Having said all that I would like to point out that whether your instrument will carry over an orchestra is much more a matter of the violin itself and its setup, rather than string choice. Most strings would not do something extremely weird in an already projecting instrument in terms of projection, but they may sound different under they player's ear.

So, a full history of what strings you have used with your current instrument, what you did not like etc will be useful.

March 14, 2018, 5:29 PM · Factors in projection, in concerto situations, most important to least important:
(1) the player's technique
(2) the violin
(3) the violin's set-up
(4) tonal match between violin and bow
(5) strings

Also, you have to remember appropriate match of sound-production technique to repertoire, and how that affects your choices.

For instance, you're playing a Mozart concerto. That means it's going to be inappropriate to really dig into the instrument. You want a free, easy ring. So high-tension strings that encourage you to dig in -- or require you to dig in -- are almost certain to be a bad idea. (And by the way, this is one of the reasons that you have to give yourself time to adjust to playing on different strings.)

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