Today I’ll be reviewing the new Carbon Pro Arté strings by D’Addario.
I’ve used D’Addario Pro Arté nylon strings for over 10 years now, especially on recording sessions. On concerts, however, I mostly prefer to play on carbon strings from other manufacturers like Hannabach or Savarez, because of their long sustain and the way they tend to project the sound in a concert hall.
That said, I still love D’Addario nylon strings, especially the Pro Arté EJ 46 model for their extensive range of colours and a beautiful vibrato tone.
By far the best carbon strings I’ve come across so far are Savarez Corum Alliance Hard Tension, so this is what I’m going to compare the new D’Addario Carbon strings to.
I’ll try to compare the bass performance of both cello-like singing bass melodies and shorter, articulated bass lines, vibrato melody in the trebles, performance of the highest notes both as free strokes and rest strokes, voice leading and separation, and lastly, the intonation of the strings at the 12th fret.
To listen to all the test samples at a high resolution, download the zip file below. Inside the folder all the files are labelled with letters A and B instead of D’Addario and Savarez to make this a fair test, but later you can check the result in a text file within the folder.
[gpp_button color=”green” url=”http://guitarise.com/files/download/daddario-carbon-review.zip” title=”D’Addario Carbon Review” icon_left=”cloud-download” target=”_blank” size=”medium” display=”inline”]Download audio samples[/gpp_button]
After playing the new D’Addario Carbon Strings, I must say I’m astonished with their sound quality.
The trebles are loud, rich, full and vibrant, and despite the high tension it is fairly easy to make a beautiful sounding vibrato. While Savarez trebles possess lush sound characteristics as well, the first string definitely has a thinner, more metallic sound, especially in the higher fret positions. Within a few days, this problem becomes even more pronounced. This issue is less prominent on the Normal Tension first string by Savarez, but it’s still there, while with the D’Addario set I don’t even notice this problem to begin with.
The basses of the D’Addario Carbon set are very familiar and feel basically the same as the Pro Arté EJ46 bass strings. While playing I felt like the Corum wound basses by Savarez are easier to play, especially with the alternation technique of the i and m fingers as opposed to the thumb. Interestingly enough, I thought Savarez bass strings seemed to have had a better sound to them than D’Addario while playing, but after hearing the recordings I changed my mind – I find the D’Addario basses more natural and less “nasal” sounding.
So, how would I rate these strings, you’ll probably ask. Well, on a scale from 1 to 10 I’d give Savarez Corum Allience an 8 an a half, whereas I’ll go with a 9 for D’Addario carbon strings. There is still room for improvement, but these new strings are definitely a pleasant surprise.
The one problem I have with these strings, though, is their price. In Europe they’re currently priced at 18,60 EUR, which is roughly 23 US dollars per set and this is a lot for a set of strings. I would suggest maybe lowering this price a little if possible.
Remember this is just my opinion based on how these strings perform on my cedar-top guitar by Michele Della Giustina. Never listen to advice of just one person and besides, the results may be totally different on your instrument.
The review clips were recorded at 2d Recording Studio using a pair of modded Oktava Mk-012 mics with MJE-K47H capsules.
Real world example
To really put these strings to test, we recorded two pieces by Antonín Dvořák with AirString last weekend – Humoresque n.7, op.101 and Song to the Moon from the famous opera Rusalka.
I made both flute and guitar arrangements specifically for our concert in Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic six months ago. The arrangements are available now on Baros Records.
The videos were recorded using my live multicam technique at 2d Recording Studio on 23rd November 2014, using two modded Oktava Mk-012 mics with MJE-K47H capsules, two additional Oktava Mk-012 microphones and Rode NT1A Michael Joly mod, run through Metric Halo and Focusrite preamps and converters. Mixed on Adam A7X monitors.