~$450 to spend, help w/initial list, please?

Discussion in 'Stringing Techniques / Stringing Machines' started by Redflea, Oct 31, 2006.

  1. Redflea

    Redflea Hall of Fame

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    ~$400 to spend, help w/initial list, please?

    I've done some basic research in this forum, and was hoping for some help to get me to the next phase of my search...

    If I was looking for:

    - 6 pt mounting
    - Fixed clamps
    - Crank or drop weight...(prefer crank)
    - Up to about $400

    Would it be possible to get a machine that fits above that is good quality at that price point? I'm OK w/used, and am not in a rush so I can wait to find it for sale on auction sites if they come up occassionally...

    I am not doing this to save money...I won/t be doing any stringing for $, and my own stringing volume for my family will be pretty low...this is strictly so that I can play w/different setups on my and my son's racquets w/out having to go through the local shops - basically want more flexibility/speed on string changes.

    So...any advice is appreciated. I can do more research once I have a few names, but am having trouble getting an initial list going....

    BTW...I expect I might hear a few "If you just spend a little more..." suggestions. :) I really don't want to increase my budget any more than above...this is a purely frivolous/fun spend for me, and $400 of frivolity in this one area is enough...and spending less than $400 is fine too, of course. I'm not buying for prestige...no one in my family is going to be impressed either way. ;)

    Thanks for any help!
     
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  2. theace21

    theace21 Hall of Fame

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    You have a good idea what you want and budget. If you are going to spend that much I would really get a crank. As you figured out, the cranks are going to send you closer to 600...

    You might take a look at the Pioneer DC Plus from Alpha. It has all the features you asked about, and it is under 400 (ok, 399)...
     
    #2
  3. LttlElvis

    LttlElvis Professional

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    #3
  4. varuscelli

    varuscelli Professional

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    If they ever get them in stock, you might consider one of these drop-weight stringing machines from LaserFibre:

    The MS200TT-ECO configuration
    $399 with flying clamps. Limited upgradeability
    $449 100% upgradeable to fixed clamps and Premium version

    Prices on these go all the way up to $929, but from what I understand you can start with the lower price range models and if you want to upgrade you can do so (slowly and as you see fit, if desirable to you in the long run).

    http://www.laserfibre.com/MS200_ECO.html
     
    #4
  5. andrew_b

    andrew_b Rookie

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    Ok, I'm sure I'll be flamed, but here goes.

    [Nomex]

    In the price range you've set, I'd go with a drop weight over a crank. Why? While a crank may be faster, a drop weight is the closest you'll get to a high-end constant-pull device. I'm not including the Laserfibre in this, as it's unique design makes it truly a constant-pull.

    You may have read about the difficulty in use or the variety in tensions because you need to get a drop-weight's arm level. However, basic math shows that the degree of accuracy is not really an issue. THIS POST has a table showing the differing % values as you vary from "true" horizontal. In a nutshell, if you can get the arm within 10 degrees of horizontal, you'll be within 98.5% of the true reference tension. 5 degrees, you're within 99.6% of reference. This translates to around 3" off level for 98.5% accuracy, and 1.5" off for 99.6%. The real benefit is the fact that the machine will provide constant pull. Quality drop weight machines provide consistently tighter stringbeds closer to the reference tension. Low-cost electronics (in the $1000 range) typically will re-pull a string when the device senses a loss of 2-4 pounds. Higher end machines lower that to as little as .5 pounds. A drop weight pulls constantly. Ask most experienced stringers, and they will say that to match a reference tension of a dropweight, they'll increase the tension if using a crank.

    Downside? It is a bit slower. But you already said you're not stringing frames all day, is it really an issue if it takes you an forty five minutes to an hour to string a frame, compared to 30 minutes? And, FWIW, you can get pretty fast with a good dropweight with practice.

    Another benefit of a dropweight is that they need little to no maintenance, and they will maintain accuracy over time (cranks and electronics need to be periodically calibrated).

    In your selection, I'd say to focus on the following:

    - Sturdy stringing table. Any flex in the table results in inaccuracy or even frame damage.

    - fixed clamps - you already identified this one, and good fixed clamps will make getting consistent results easier.

    - solid frame mounting - 6 point is nice, but there are other solutions that also work work well. Key is that the mounting system hold the frame/hoop in such a way that it doesn't deform (for instance, the Laserfibre/Stringway solution is sort of a hybrid 5-point system. It has a center post at the top, with two inside supports a few inches away on either side, and 2 supports at the bottom).

    - customer service - can you get in touch with support? Are they helpful? Personally, I think this is an important consideration with a purchase like this.

    I'll recommend Gamma, simply because I've owned one one of their Progression 200 dropweights for over 10 years and it's performed flawlessly. In addition, any time I've had a question, I've gotten great support. I'd look at the Gamma Progression II 602FC, or the X-6FC. The Laserfibre looks very cool, and I'm actually thinking about one, but there seems to be a bit of distribution delay with them right now (besides, with fixed clamps I think it's out of you price range).

    Besides a Laserfibre, unless I was buying a high-end electronic (Babolat, etc) I think I'd stick with a good drop weight. But I'm not stringing for money or speed.

    [/Nomex]

    play well,
    Andrew
     
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  6. BstonBruin

    BstonBruin New User

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    Eagnas Flex 840
     
    #6
  7. TonyB

    TonyB Hall of Fame

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    If I were in your shoes, I think I would get the Alpha Pioneer DC Plus. I think it's around $380 less shipping. I looked for exactly what you're looking for, but my budget was smaller, so I chose the Mutual Power Hercules 610.

    I am very pleased with the 610, but I am GUESSING that the quality on the Alpha DC Plus is a little bit higher. So if you have the money, I would go with the Alpha. Or let me just say that you can't go wrong with the Alpha.

    If you want to save some money, you could go with the Mutual Power, as I did, but there is SOME risk that it might not meet your expectations. However, it certainly met mine, and I've gone over the machine with a fine-toothed comb. Haven't really found anything wrong with it yet, and I've strung probably a dozen racquets or so on it already. It works great and gives very consistent results.

    Good luck.
     
    #7
  8. andrew_b

    andrew_b Rookie

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    TonyB, if that's the machine I'm thinking of it is also a nice candidate. I've heard good things about Alpha machines. Where can I find more info? A quick Google didn't turn up a web site.

    thanks,
    Andrew
     
    #8
  9. varuscelli

    varuscelli Professional

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    Not to jump right out there and interrupt, but I've been looking at the Alpha site. Here's a link to their stinging machines page. You can see it from there.

    http://www.alphatennis.com/machines.html
     
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  10. varuscelli

    varuscelli Professional

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    Side Note: Mark from Alpha e-mailed me just a little while ago and let me know that the Alpha Revo 4000's were in. They've been on order or something and not in stock for a little while, but they're in now.
     
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  11. DANMAN

    DANMAN Professional

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    If the budget is the $450 that the thread title states, I would suggest the fully upgradeable Laserfibre MS200 Eco. I shot a bunch of emails back and forth and almost got one as a second machine.
     
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  12. Koz

    Koz Rookie

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    I personally would get a nice dropweight machine. I was in your shoes several years ago, but with a lower budget ($300, so dropweights were the only choice). However, I really think a *quality* string job will take about the same on a dropweight fixed clamp machine as it will on a crank machine.

    IMO the *quality* includes how close the tension actually is to reference tension, and how uniform the tension is over the stringbed.

    I think the actual tension is closer to the reference tension on a dropweight, as shown in the link above.

    On a crank, once the spring stretches do the desired tension, the tensioning force is removed, and the string is free to continue stretching, thus dropping tension. I think I've read that tensions produced by cranks can be 10% less than reference tension (54 lbs instead of target of 60lbs).

    On a dropweight gravity doesn't turn off, so the tensioning continues even while the string stretches. If the string stretches too much, you'll see it in the lever arm. On a dropweight with a ratcheting tensioner, it's an easy fix. Just turn it one or two clicks and it's back to horizontal.

    If it were my money, I'd buy a dropweight. Gamma or Laserfibre (probably the Laserfibre, but either will do a great job).
     
    #12
  13. Redflea

    Redflea Hall of Fame

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    All the feedback above is just great, really useful stuff, and I appreciate it. I think I'm sold on a drop-weight...the small number of string jobs I'll do, the lack of a time/speed issue, and the lack of any calibration need.

    I'll be reviewing info on the Gamma, Alpha, and Laserfibre...I've been thinking I'd stay away from Eagnas, given the comments on CS that I've read. That's important to me on any item I purchase...the Eagnas Combo 810 had caught my eye, but it's $50 over my budget (which is really $400) as well as the CS issues.

    Thanks very much...the folks on this board always impress w/their knowledge and willingness to help!
     
    #13
  14. Redflea

    Redflea Hall of Fame

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    So where do you guys buy the machines online...I'm finding very few vendors when I google, and the Alpha Tennis web site doesn't even seem to have a link to find out who their authorized retailers are...

    And, does this on the Laserfibre site on the MS200 Eco mean that you can order it w/fixed clamps?

     
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  15. varuscelli

    varuscelli Professional

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    Hi, Redflea. Here's some info from the last couple of weeks that I've dug up and others have helped me to find.

    See the thread on Alpha Sellers: Are They All in Texas?

    You'll see that Alpha has their own internal distributor and I listed several others I saw there. I'd suggest the Alpha internal distributor, New Tech Tennis. But you'll also see a couple of more options listed.

    See this thread for some rather extensive info that LaserFibre sent me: LaserFibre MS200TT ECO and Premium Cost and Upgradeability

    That might help you sort out some of the available configurations (in part, anyway).

    If you go with Alpha, call Mark (Alpha direct guy) or Greg (who I think answers the e-mails for New Tech Tennis portion of Alpha), but they're both Alpha guys. For LaserFibre, e-mail and phone numbers for them are on the main page of the LaserFibre site. I'm guessing direct contact with either of these companies would be the best way to go to buy one of their stringers or to ask questions.
     
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  16. Redflea

    Redflea Hall of Fame

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    Thanks...that's very helpful. Appreciate the links and suggestions.

    BTW, love your sig, and as someone who came back to the game after a long layoff, feel exactly the same!
     
    #16
  17. hadoken

    hadoken Rookie

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    I would go used if you are patient...your budget can probably get you a used 2 pt crank fixed clamp machine from Gamma, Winn, Alpha, etc. They don't come up often...you'd probably need to check auction weekly, but I think you'll get one probably in 3-4 months max.
     
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  18. varuscelli

    varuscelli Professional

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    You're welcome. If it saves you a bit of digging, then great. :)

    Yeah, the sig sounds a bit corny but it's the truth. This is the second time in my life that I've come back into the game after a long layoff and I wouldn't be telling the truth if I said it didn't feel like a sort of rebirth into the game. If you're a tennis player -- if you've got it in your blood -- and you come back into it after a long time away, it can affect your life on a lot of levels. Doesn't matter what level of tennis you play. It's how it makes you feel when you're out there and when you're anticipating being out there or when you've just come in from playing. How you feel physically and mentally from playing regularly. And even the feeling spiritual uplifting, some might say. Seriously. But I think you already know what I mean. ;)
     
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  19. Redflea

    Redflea Hall of Fame

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    That's the key, isn't it - patience. :) I'm going to watch auctions as I continue to read/research. Now that I've decided that I want to do this, whether I will have the patience to wait it out is a good question. Once I've decided to get one, waiting for toys has never been my strong suit... :)
     
    #19
  20. andrew_b

    andrew_b Rookie

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    I'm the same way :D

    Thinking more abou this, I think if I was in you shoes at this point I'd get a Laserfibre, even if the fixed clamp option was immediately out of reach budget-wise.

    Flying clamps aren't that bad, and the any-position drop weight looks awfully cool. The no-penalty-cost to upgrade approach is nice as well.

    Gamma was offering free shipping, but I think it ended. There are places you can get free shippign on them anyway, I think. And if you ask, some places may honor the online coupon for a while yet. FWIW, the Gamma Progression II 602 (and maybe the X-6, not sure?) can both also be upgraded to fixed clamps if you decide to go with flying clamps first.

    play well,
    Andrew
     
    #20
  21. varuscelli

    varuscelli Professional

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    If I were going with LaserFibre and wanted to stick to the $400 budget, I'd still try scrap up an extra $49 to extend the budget to $449 and go with the second item under ECO because of its full upgradeability:

    The MS200TT - ECO configuration
    $399 with flying clamps. Limited Upgradeability

    $449 100% upgradeable to fixed clamps and Premium version
    $629 with the 360-degree double action clamps. 100% upgradeable to Premium version.

    The MS200TT - Premium configuration
    $799 with the double action, 360-degree swivel clamps.
    $929 with the single action, 360-degree swivel clamps

    But, of course you still likely have to deal with shipping on these and that's probably another $40-$50 with weight alone (just guessing).
     
    #21
  22. gotwheels

    gotwheels Semi-Pro

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    redflea / varuscelli, The Alpha Pioneer DC Plus is a very nice fixed clamp dropweight. Check it out at newtechtennis dot com or talk with Greg or Mark. It has good build quality, a great price, 30 day return/trial guarantee, reasonable shipping, a string package that allows you to select quality strings of your choice, and great customer service before and after the sale. The ratchet/clutch mechanism doesn't require holding/turning and releases easily. The machine handles the new soft polys well, something a lot more difficult with any non-constant pull machine. The mounting system and everything about the machine is solid and you get the firmer stringbed that you don't get with the lockout style machines. It is a little slower, but the results are great.

    The Laserfibre machine is a great machine with their one pull technology. However, by the time you get the upgrade and spring assist fixed clamps, you are at about double the price of the Alpha. If $ are not an issue, go upgraded Laserfibre. If at all possible, get a machine with fixed clamps.

    Good luck with your decision and as much as you love racquets and string, you will love stringing.

    Remember, anyone can string, but good stringing is an art and science!
     
    #22
  23. Redflea

    Redflea Hall of Fame

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    Andrew, Varuscelli & Gotwheels:

    Thanks....your points are well taken.

    My price target is one of those philosophical issues...$400 is supposed to be my budget, and I'm doing my best to stick with it...seems like there is always a good option that just costs a bit more than what you want to spend, and I'm trying to avoid the creep upwards for what is a pretty silly purchase for me in the scheme of things. I know I'll get a good machine at or under that price, and paying for "more good" won't likely make my life significantly better...

    I like the MS200TT - ECO w/the 100% upradable option, but that's breaking my budget, even if just by a little. The any-position drop weight does add a lot of sex appeal to it...that is the main reason I'm still considering it as an option in the $399 config. :)

    BTW, I called both the Laserfibre 888 number and the 401 number listed on the Laserfibre site, neither was answered. The 401 number message said the number was disconnected. Maybe they've killed off direct sales? Strange...

    LaserFibre, Inc.
    LaserFibre Direct Sales Div.
    PO Box 1767
    Kingston, RI 02881
    888.895.2350
    401.295.2350

    Gotwheels...the Alpha at $399 direct (no tax, $35 shipping) is looking like it may be my front-runner at this point if I buy new...I get the features I want at the price I set. I've seen very good comments on their customer service, and when I called them today to inquire about pricing/shipping, etc., the guy I talked to (Greg) was very helpful and courteous. I also think it would be easy to sell if I eventually decided I wasn't as interested in it as I think I'll be, as it includes an excellent set of features from a respected company at a good price.

    Seems like the Gamma X-6FC and 602FC are over my price new, but if I could find either used they look like good options as well.

    <singing>It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas... ;)
     
    #23
  24. pmata814

    pmata814 Professional

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    I'm new to stringing but I did a lot of research before I purchased my stringer. I remember reading that the any-position dropweight will not do much good if you are going to be using floating clamps, because of how inconsistent they are compared to fixed clamps. Better to go with regular dropweight and FIXED clamps (alpha) rather than constant pull(laserfibre) with floating clamps. However, if you can afford the laserfibre with fixed clamps then that would be the way to go. Again, this is just what I learned from research not from personal experience.
     
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  25. varuscelli

    varuscelli Professional

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    I've been thinking about getting a stringing machine for about six weeks now and actually "shopping" them for only about three weeks. I haven't been in any real hurry and wanted to wait for a while until I found the right deal.

    I had pretty much made up my mind that I was going to go with Alpha or LaserFibre and either pick a lower-end model of one of those and go with it or watch for something else that was too great a deal to pass up.

    At this point, I am very close to going with a Gamma because one of those really good deals came up for me. I really wasn't leaning toward Gamma on the lower end, but they've got some very nice looking floor standing models that I would have considered but for being out of my price range. Right now, I'm sort of surprising myself by being 90 percent sure I'm going to have one of those floor models in a few days. Slightly used (very slightly) but at a cost that will get me a really nice machine for much, much less that retail. Slightly over what I wanted to spend originally, but a lot of machine for the money.

    Once I actually have the deal done, I'll talk more about it. But my "patience" story here is that I had myself set up to wait for either one of the machines I that was on my list or watch for something that was higher end but at the right price. After only three weeks of "patience"( ;) ) something seems to have fallen into my lap. But we'll see.
     
    #25
  26. andrew_b

    andrew_b Rookie

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    You're welcome. It's kinda fun to shop vicariously ;)

    I'm notorious for doing this...I know exactly what you mean.

    I'd say that's a right-on approach.

    That doesn't sound good :(

    I've heard good things about Alpha, not just the machines but their CS. That machine looks very nice.

    Sounds like you're on your way!

    Oh, one other thing - in your original post, you said it wasn't really about saving money, but be assured in the end it will be (maybe not primary reason, but you'll end up saving is what I mean). For instance, if both you and you son have 2 frames and you string each once a month, that's 4 frames a month, and you will be saving anywhere from $10-30 per string job. It adds up very quickly.

    One bit of advice as you get started - keep a stringing journal, where you keep track of all the frames you do, the strings you use, tension, patterns, etc. It becomes an invaluable tool and reference.

    play well,
    Andrew
     
    #26
  27. varuscelli

    varuscelli Professional

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    Interesting. The LaserFibre guys been very good at answering my e-mails (fairly promptly, too -- just as have the Alpha guys) and in their replies to me have said that if I had any questions that I could call them at the 888 number you listed, above. The other number was not shown in their e-mail replies to me -- although I realize it's on their website. I've never tried calling them at either number, though. But I would sure want to talk to them directly if I were seriously wanting to place an order to find out what their delivery schedule is like right now.
     
    #27
  28. Koz

    Koz Rookie

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    I bought my Gamma from ATS Sports. Hope you enjoy your new machine!
     
    #28
  29. Redflea

    Redflea Hall of Fame

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    Yeah...somewhat disconcerting. I don't believe I was able to find any other numbers on their web site, so it didn't exactly build confidence. :(
     
    #29
  30. varuscelli

    varuscelli Professional

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    Did you try e-mailing them, by any chance? From the page where the phone numbers are listed?

    I sure have to say, though, that from the perspective of having a handle on all around communications and customer service response, Alpha seems to be well in the lead (between those two companies). I sure like the looks of that LaserFibre drop-weight, though, after doing all this homework.
     
    #30
  31. eunjam

    eunjam Rookie

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    fixed clamps with 6 points are such a HUGE bonus to have.

    it's not necessary......but just really really nice to have.
     
    #31
  32. Redflea

    Redflea Hall of Fame

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    Sent an email to Laserfibre asking about their phone numbers...we'll see what they say.

    Thanks, eunjam...that's sort of how I feel.... :)
     
    #32
  33. andrew_b

    andrew_b Rookie

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    I agree on the fixed clamps, but I think there are acceptable (equivalent) quality mounts out that are not 6 point (two that come immediately to mind are the new Gamma 2 point, or the Laserfibre 5 point). But a good mounting system is, indeed, critical.

    keep up the hunt and let us know about the Laserfibre contact issue!

    play well,
    Andrew
     
    #33
  34. Redflea

    Redflea Hall of Fame

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    I found another number on the Laserfibre site (401) 783-5412. No human answer, after many rings went to machine and said all agents were busy and leave name/number for call back. So far Laserfibre doesn't get a very high score in terms of just getting basic contact w/a human via phone.

    No reply on my email, but I only sent it last night...
     
    #34
  35. barry

    barry Hall of Fame

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    Is the parent company going out business?

    http://www.stringway.com/

    says the domain name is forsale.
     
    #35
  36. Court_Jester

    Court_Jester Hall of Fame

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    #36
  37. Redflea

    Redflea Hall of Fame

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    Must be looking to sell the domain to a distributor, maybe...interesting.
     
    #37
  38. Redflea

    Redflea Hall of Fame

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    OK...I'm just about ready to order...DECISION TIME!

    I know I said I'd be patient and see if a used machine showed up, but I've determined that if I wait any longer I might blow a blood vessel deep inside my brain, and that wouldn't be any fun, right? ;)

    Out:

    Eagnas - due to poor support/service, misc. comments linking them to Sauron and the Ring Wraiths.

    Laserfibre - due to pricing being too high ($449 just to get something that could be upgradable to fixed clamps later), and recent problems getting in touch w/them and phone numbers on their site not working, etc., didn't help, either.

    In:

    Alpha Pioneer DC (http://www.alphatennis.com/pioneerdc.html). The odds-on favorite. Price is $399, exactly what I want, shipping only $35, no tax. 6 pt, fixed clamps, good support, and good comments here and elsewhere.

    Borderline:

    Gamma Progression II 602FC (http://www.gammasports.com/Gamma.cfm?ProdID=266&secondary=254568). Price is $469, too high, 6 pt, fixed clamps, good support, good comments here and elsewhere. I got one comment that the Gamma base may be more stable, and the Gamma mounting system looks like it is more robust.

    Does anyone believe that the Gamma is worth the additional $69 due to better overall quality of parts/construction, durability, support, ease of stringing, etc.? I've decided I may be willing to pay the additional $ for the Gamma if I get some pretty strong comments about it compared to the Alpha. I'm not going any more than that, absolutely. It's the Alpha at $399 or the Gamma at $469.

    Why have I suddenly lifted my "immovable" $ ceiling? Well, my wife went out this weekend and bought $450 worth of future massage sessions for herself. So the gloves are (sort of) off, baby... ;)

    As always, greatly appreciate your help.
     
    #38
  39. andrew_b

    andrew_b Rookie

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    Woohoo!

    Been there, done that for sure!

    I'd have to agree. It's a shame about the communication issue on the Laserfibre, it's even keeping me from considering them and I was pretty much set on one.


    One thing to consider - can you get free shipping on the Gamma somehow? They JUST ended an offer withthat - just tried the old code, didn't work :( That would get the difference down to $34.

    As far as base and mounting, all I can say is the Gammas I've seen are rock solid. Again, haven't seen an Alpha, but the photos look good.

    I've had my Gamma Progression 200 for over 10 years, never a single problem, great, immediate support (with questions I've had), and the thing looks almost new. But I can't compare directly against the Alpha, as I said I haven't seen one in person, although I've heard good things about them. The one thing I'd want to know more about on the DC is the string gripper. I think it's one of the few (if not only) machines I've seen that has a linear gripper (as opposed to the drum) on a dropweight. Maybe someone who owns one could comment. I know the clutch/ratchet works very easily on the Gamma, and having never seen how the clutch works on the Alpha, I'd be curious to hear about it.

    heh. wives are smart that way sometimes...she knew you wanted a new toy, now you have "permission" to get one - and she got something as well!

    play well,
    Andrew
     
    #39
  40. gotwheels

    gotwheels Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Messages:
    402
    I have the Alpha Pioneer DC Plus and the mounting system and base are very solid. The mounting system, base, and clamps are the same as their more expensive lockout machines. The dropweight ratchet and linear string gripper are very easy and comfortable to use, better than the Gamma I think.

    I have had the opportunity to put my hands on the Gamma X-6FC, Progression II 602FC, and the Progression ST II and the Alpha is equal or more solid. I did like the slim profile clamps on the Progression ST II.The Gammas are very nice machines, but in my evaluation (wanted good clamps, mounts, and constant pull), I thought the Alpha Pioneer DC Plus was the better value and better machine and I have not been disappointed.

    I don't think you will be disappointed with either machine as your selection.
     
    #40
  41. varuscelli

    varuscelli Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2006
    Messages:
    1,231
    Location:
    Houston. Texas
    I agree, too. I was all fired up about maybe getting one of the MS200TT units, and it seems like they might have sold a number of them this in the last month alone (to TW forum members) if the machines were actually available. Whatever difficulties they are having might not be their fault, but I think that whatever it is certainly is hurting both their reputations and their potential sales.

    And even though I hate to look at it this way, it sort of begs the questions of "What if something went wrong with a newly bought LaserFibre machine and it needed a part or service? Would needed parts or service potentially be a problem in light of whatever their present difficulties are?"

    I dunno. It's a very puzzling situation. If I'm recalling correctly, wasn't there talk of a customs holdup in getting the latest shipment of machines into the United States, or something along those lines? Now I can't even remember who said that. :(
     
    #41
  42. Court_Jester

    Court_Jester Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
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    I used to have the MS200TT as my #1 choice and thought of buying one after the summer peak season but with them having difficulties filling orders, I decided to "settle" for my #2 choice: the Revo 4000. I should have gone for this a long time ago. An awesome machine, to say the least.

    Obviously, I don't own a Pioneer DC Plus (check newtechtennis dot com) but my old String Pal had the same linear gripper. If you don't see yourself using polys, both drum and linear grippers work well. But if you intend to use polys, I'd go for the linear gripper. With drum grippers, you have to bend the string at near 90 degrees. This is not a problem for syn guts and multis but for stiff strings like polys, the gripper will leave the deep crease on the string, making weaving crosses more difficult later on.

    But I agree with gotwheels. Both machines will give you excellent performance for the money.
     
    #42
  43. Redflea

    Redflea Hall of Fame

    Joined:
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    3,852
    As usual...you guys come through w/very helpful info.

    I will be using polys (more for my sons than me) as well as multis, gut, etc., so the linear gripper on the Alpha is a nice plus on the cheaper of the two, and gotwheels' comments on his comparison of the Alpha and Gamma is very useful. (Hey - why isn't there a "Beta" and "Omega" as well?! :) )

    I think I'm just about sold...on the Alpha Pioneer CD. Meets my price and feature requirements, and I just had a good feeling when I talked with the guy at Alpha (Greg?) on the phone. Going once, going twice....

    <Littleboymode>I AM SO EXCITED!</Littleboymode> :D :D
     
    #43
  44. MrBluefin

    MrBluefin Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Messages:
    100
    Location:
    So Cal
    This is an amazing thread. I thought I was the only one tormenting myself over the purchase of a stringing machine. I too have recently started playing again after a very extended absence. At $25-$40 per string job, it starts to hurt. I too set an approximate limit of $400 for a machine, when all the maybe's and what if's start creeping in.

    The Alpha and the Gamma have been on my very short list for some time. The others are out for the same reasons listed earlier. I'm still torn between the drop weight and the crank decision. I know for about $150 more, I can get the Revo. I know my playing partners will want their racquets done, so there is about 6-8 racquets that will need stringing every 3-4 weeks (that's about how long our string jobs are lasting). Is the time savings of a crank worth the extra $$$ ? If I buy the drop weight, will I be kicking myself for not spending the extra $$$ for the crank. These are the decisions that keeps me up at night!!

    Thanks for all the great info in this thread, and for listening (reading). I've been lurking for many months, and this site is a great resource.
     
    #44
  45. Redflea

    Redflea Hall of Fame

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    Group hug... :)

    I feel lucky now, my purchase decision variables are a lot simpler...
     
    #45
  46. Redflea

    Redflea Hall of Fame

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    You have it right. :)

    I'm lucky...we have established a great relationship after over 15 years of marriage...better than when we were first married. Plus, now she knows her string jobs will be "free." ;)
     
    #46
  47. pmata814

    pmata814 Professional

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2005
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    I originally purchased the Pioneer DC Plus (dropweight) and after a couple of frames decided to upgrade to a crank. I didn't want to wait for the Revo 4k so I went up to the Axis Pro. It is so much more enjoyable to string on a crank, in my opinion, than it is on a dropweight. Dropweights aren't bad but it does get kind of annoying to raise the bar over and over and over again. Also, when you are tensioning the first mains... the butt of the racquet ends up directly over the bar and it's cumbersome to move it slightly aside so you can raise the bar and get it perfectly level. I'm sure others with more experience have no problem with it but I'm very glad I upgraded.
     
    #47
  48. josephhkim

    josephhkim Rookie

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    California
    indeed, drop weights can drive people mad. Obviously, if theres a clutch, its much easier.

    If you'll be doing large quantities of racket, i absolutely recommend a crank or electric.

    However, if its only a couple every month, it probably isn't worth the money.
     
    #48
  49. whomprat

    whomprat New User

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Although Laserfibre has had trouble getting their new machines out (I believe Tim said it's usually the bases for the TT's that are short), once I received my machine, any problems, questions, or string purchases have been handled very quickly. I feel completely comfortable that if something went wrong on my machine (which there isn't too much that could break), it would be taken care of right away.

    whomprat
     
    #49
  50. varuscelli

    varuscelli Professional

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    I'm glad you threw that in there, with the comments I made and what kinds of things might potentially be read into my comments. In reality, I didn't intend to cast any doubt toward the quality of the products or service, but I have to admit that the ongoing problems with receipt and/or shipping out of their machines is at least on the surface making LaserFibre look sort of bad (at this particular point in time).

    And on the service comments, my speculation was really meant in terms of what if a part were needed that was not in stock? Could it mean weeks of waiting and downtime on a machine? But I understand your point (and I'm glad you commented) that if only keeping the bases in stock has been a problem, that the likelihood of a problem going unresolved is remote -- and indeed, there is probably very little that would go wrong in the first place. I certainly don't want anyone to infer from my comments that LaserFibre might be unreliable. Just wanted to clear that part up.
     
    #50

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