Ashaway MonoGut ZX Pro & ZX Playtest!

Discussion in 'Strings' started by TW Staff, Apr 22, 2013.

  1. SteveI

    SteveI Legend

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    "There is no doubt that we take these test seriously. However, it is obvious by the reviews that they are swayed by the comments already posted. Many of the reviews refer to comments already made."

    The bottom line is that the string is pretty much a stinker and most of the playtesters agree that the they would not buy it or play it. It missed the boat. I respect many of these playtesters and trust they are conducting the testing with as little bias as possible. The fact that we are not agreeing with you should really drive the point home. Most of the playtesters have strong opinions and like to doing the playtesting because we think our results are important. There are some very strong egos here (if you have not noticed) and we like our results stand on their our merits.

    I agree a true double-blind playtest would be the best. TW and Ashaway have already told us the name of the string and pretty much how to string it.. and the packaging has marketing info posted. So... it is not perfect to begin with.
     
  2. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    Opinions are opinions. But if you have a background as evaluation engineer, then you'll know that a single test cannot be absolute, so I'm not sure how you can say this string is a 'stinker'. The vast majority of the testers from the RSI test for example, were generally postiive about the 1.27. Less so about the 1.22.

    This string does seem to be particularly tension sensitive and its playability will be affected by the method of stringing and the racquet used. At a tension that was less than optimal for the string/racquet, I couldn't find confidence in the way the string played.

    At higher tensions in a different racquet, it was a very different story. Playability changed during the time that I tested it. 5 full sets at different tensions and several more hybrids and its played beautifully at times, not well at all at other times. But its still the same string....

    Have you tested the string across different gauges, at a range of tensions and in different racquets? Have you taking into account playing styles?

    It's not only ZX. I originally tested Silverstring 1.20 in a 6.1 18x20 at 52CP and hated it. Same string in a PST at 50CP and it was really quite nice. Same string in a BLX JP didn't like it. Same string in a BLX JP as the mains with a soft/springer poly cross and it played quite nice at 51/53. BHB7 - bit springy but loved it from the baseline in a YT Prestige MP. Just couldn't get the same string to work well in the 6.1 18x20 (3 sets, 2 gauges, 2 tensions).

    I've been through 8 or 9 sets of the 1.27mm and have to admit that I'm still confused by this string. The only thing I can definitively say is that it does seem to work well as a cross with poly mains if you want soften / add more power to an otherwise full poly stringbed, again, subject to tension (though it does make for a more expensive string job compared to synthetic gut crosses).
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2013
  3. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    wouldn't a poly/syngut hybrid be softer and more powerful than a poly/Zx one?

    Is Zx hard and slippery? If so, it would be a good candidate for a gut/Zx hybrid.
     
  4. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    With regards to your 1.27 mm versus 1.22 mm performance, I will say that I find most 17g multis to be springier and offer less control than their thicker big brothers. I suspect the same thing is happening with this string. Most of the reviews are for the 1.22 mm sample. I've got the 1.27 mm string so that could certainly account for the differences I'm experiencing with the other playtesters.
     
  5. AR15

    AR15 Professional

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    I don't care if other testers agree or disagree with my personal results. My opinion on the thread swaying testers' opinions has nothing to do with my belief that other reviewers found similar or opposite results than I found. I simply believe that compiling the results in this method is virtually worthless because not only are testers reading reviews prior to testing, they are reading the constant dribble of opinions (outside of the official reviews) in this thread.

    If you don't think the posted reviews could sway tester opinion, than why do you think the threads on racquets are so popular here? Don't you agree that people read racquet threads to gather a consensus of opinion prior to purchasing or testing frames.

    if you read a couple of dozen negative reviews, prior to testing this string, wouldn't you go to the court with this bias in your mind?

    I very much enjoy these string test. I take the testing seriously and objectively. The point I am trying to make here is that for every tester that reviews unbiased and objectively, there are more that are probably swayed by opinion. So, in the final census of opinion for the test is diluted by subjectivity. A good analogy would be educated voters (in our political system) being out voted by uneducated voters.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2013
  6. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    Existing reviews can have the potential sway, but you assume that if several people say X, those who follow will also say X, and can't exercise independent thought. I'm not so sure that there are sufficient factors here for people to feel under pressure to conform to that extent (See Solomon Asch and his social psychology experiements on conformity).

    A number of people say that they quite like Luxilon 4G. I wouldn't choose to play with it even if you gave me free reel of the stuff. Some say its comfortable. I find it arm shredding. Even if everyone on these forums were to say that its arm friendly I'd still disagree because after 2 weeks of hitting with it, my arm would still feel like its had chilli pepper rubbed into it.

    Why would you change your view of a string just to conform? The string is for you, not for anyone else. If you genuinely like it, you'll play with it no matter what anyone else says. And vice versa.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2013
  7. SteveI

    SteveI Legend

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    I can't speak for the mass public or anyone else. I know I am not swayed by others reviews here. I might demo a product based on good reviews, but I am not a weak-minded soul looking to jump on the band wagon for any product, issue or anything else I encounter. I did this for a living and my job depended on making the right picks based on data and other factors.

    I am out...end of story for me. Sell your theory to someone that is weak-minded..
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2013
  8. SteveI

    SteveI Legend

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    I was one of the few that hated the 4G. I know how it played for me and the results were posted here. All sorts of folks loved it.. I was not one of them.
     
  9. PBODY99

    PBODY99 Hall of Fame

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    Zyex Mono is not a poly substitute.........

    I have used this string since fall 2012. Full bed of 1.27 wheat, played like a powerful multi
    which I expected. This string is not a poly, the comparison is flawed IMHO.
    It resists poly mains better than any multi I have tried, while maintaining the playability of the hybrid.
     
  10. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    Interesting. So u are using it as a cross with poly mains? Have u also tried it as a full bed?
     
  11. PBODY99

    PBODY99 Hall of Fame

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    Yes, I have used this string since fall 2012. Full bed of 1.27 wheat, played like a powerful multi
    My racket choice is not one that most on this board would use, and my game is built around 1960's style strokes.
     
  12. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    [​IMG]
     
  13. SteveI

    SteveI Legend

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    Just fell out of my chair...

    Great stuff :)
     
  14. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    Yes, I did. It's the squealing sound and crunchy feel that I was talking about. It does not feel normal, nor particularly inviting.
     
  15. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    It is an odd sound, I think you nailed the description with crunchy.
     
  16. AC Tennis

    AC Tennis Rookie

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    My review

    Hey folks. I'm a 47 yr old 4.5 all court player with 1hbh. Play singles and doubles.

    Gauge & color received: 17g black

    Tension used for playtest: 55 lbs

    Regular string set up: Prince Beast XP 17g & 16g at 50 lbs.

    Racquet brand and model used for test: Yonex RDiS 300

    Power of test string: This string was pretty powerful. At times almost trampoline like. More powerful than Beast XP, which in my opinion is a pretty powerful poly.

    Feel: Depends. It felt good on contact. I had good feel on shots that were slow, ie coming at me with moderate to slow pace. Those I could feel my shots and place them pretty well. But when the shots came at me with pace, I felt like the string lost feel and became a bit unpredictable.

    Spin: Spin was pretty good on both topspin and slice.

    Comfort: very comfortable. No arm pain at all for me.

    Durability: Seems pretty good for a multi like string. I've put about 8-10 hours on it and it is holding up pretty well. But then again, I am not a string breaker.

    Playability Duration (share thoughts on if/how the playability changed over time): The string has not lost much tension. In fact, it has become more predictable over time. I think when it is new, the string needs to stretch out a bit before it settles. As it is stretching, the control is inconsistent. And I did the 10-15 second pulls while stringing, but still had quite a bit of settling when hitting.

    Control (predictable trajectory? performance on different strokes and swing speeds?): This was the worst factor in this string. As noted before, slower paced shots were fairly easy to control and direct and had good feel. But when shots came at me with pace, the strings were inconsistent. Some would go back where I wanted and some would fly. and I don't think that it was a reflection of my mechanics. Two shots hit in the sweetspot would react differently. This lessoned over time.

    Compare to the string you use most often: I have to say that I like my Beast XP better in almost every category. The only thing this string does better is comfort. Spin and predictability are better with Beast. Comfort and power, though hard to control power, is better with Monogut.

    Tension recommendations (after hitting it, would you recommend a different tension? Why?): I would try to go up a few lbs to 58 or so. Though I noticed that they do not recommend stringing over 60 so have to be careful here.

    List any final thoughts.: An interesting string with a unique feel and attributes. Not something that I would use regularly but I enjoyed the playtest. Thanks TW!
     
  17. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    I've always wondered how he can control the mind of a 'stormtrooper'. Isn't a stormtrooper a robot? If so, shouldn't he be plugging in a USB cable and controlling it through his Jedi tablet, rather than using Jedi magic. Not plausible!

    (obviously getting things to levitate and lifting a plane out of a swamp just by imaginging it isn't plausible either, but hey....)
     
  18. Doubles

    Doubles Hall of Fame

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    They're clones, so he could control their mind.

    That's all I have to contribute, I haven't been following your guys posts.

    Anyway, for a tl;dr, are we (mostly) in agreement for the most part that this string was bland, to say the least and not worth $15?
     
  19. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I so want to talk Star Wars, but I can't ruin Julian's thread. :)

    I'm still standing by my theory that thinner gauges don't work great for multis or this string. The only two sets of singles I've lost so far were 7-6 and 7-5, not a cakewalk for my opponents. If I were working for Ashaway, I'd redo this playtest and send only the 1.27 mm version out.

    Definitely going to have to decide between this string and B5E/insert best multi cross of NVY for my "goto" setup. Barely any signs of wear on this string. I'm also going up to DC where it will be a little cooler to play some TTW folks up there. Maybe I'll let McLovin hit with it for a few minutes. So I've got 3 more matches before the end of May and then I'll write a full report.
     
  20. alexgeorge

    alexgeorge New User

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    hey travlerajam its Alex again, how you going. Its awesome that your checking out these strings and what works best, I wish you the best with that. you can make the future of tennis change strings for overall performance from your research if its actually better than the usual natural gut performance.

    I needed to ask you something because I was testing out all these types of strings and now Im just about to string a Kevlar ashaway 18 with a yonex poly tour polyester.

    the thing is I dont want to damage it, but I do want a good combo for it so, do you think poly mains and zyex for crosses would be softer and better than the kevlar mains and poly crosses for the frame? and would it play better?

    its very dense 22x15 crosses and I was told that putting a kevlar in the mains with a poly as the crosses would destroy the frame of the racket.

    I heard about the zyex being good and you mentioned zyex in the crosses and poly in the mains.



    Thanks traverlerjam
     
  21. alexgeorge

    alexgeorge New User

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    ahhh sorry I think I posted to the wrong person
     
  22. alexgeorge

    alexgeorge New User

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    Alex









    hey travlerajam its Alex again, how you going. Its awesome that your checking out these strings and what works best, I wish you the best with that. you can make the future of tennis change strings for overall performance from your research if its actually better than the usual natural gut performance.

    I needed to ask you something because I was testing out all these types of strings and now Im just about to string a Kevlar ashaway 18 with a yonex poly tour polyester.

    the thing is I dont want to damage it, but I do want a good combo for it so, do you think poly mains and zyex for crosses would be softer and better than the kevlar mains and poly crosses for the frame? and would it play better?

    its very dense 22x15 crosses and I was told that putting a kevlar in the mains with a poly as the crosses would destroy the frame of the racket.

    I heard about the zyex being good and you mentioned zyex in the crosses and poly in the mains.

    But you also mention that Kevlar and Zyex is very good.



    Ill do it simple



    1) Kevlar mains + poly crosses

    2) poly mains+ zyex crosses

    3) Kevlar mains + zyex crosses

    From testing them, which do you think is the least damaging and which is the best overall for play.



    Thanks traverlerjam
     
  23. alexgeorge

    alexgeorge New User

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    I might go kevlar mains and Zyex for crosses



    but do you think a 17 gauge MonoGut ZX pro would be better than Ashaway MonoGut ZX 16 if i had a dense stringbed
     
  24. aced_Tezuka

    aced_Tezuka Rookie

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    Gauge & color received
    tan~ish color 16g (ZX Pro)

    Tension used for
    playtes
    t 55lbs

    Regular string set up
    Lux Big Banger Alu 16

    Racquet brand and model used for test
    Gamma RZR 98 (non modded)

    Power of test string
    I really liked the pop. It felt very nice like a soft poly. But it went long and wide a lot due to its power.

    Feel
    Not crisp like the way I like. Not what I like in my string. I did not do very well with slice, topspin, or drop shots with this string, but flat shots felt nice.

    Spin
    This string isn't spin-oriented and spin players shouldn't look into it. Flat hitters are welcome.

    Comfort
    Comfort levels mirror soft poly's. Did not cause me pain at all. Just right for me.

    Durability
    Strings didn't stay in place and did notched quickly. Strings popped after a week.

    Playability Duration
    I played this string for about 6 hours. Atleast an hour per day for 5 days. In the beginning I did not like it but as it settled I got more used to it and started it liking it.

    Control
    The control was lacking here. I couldn't predict where my balls were going unless I was hitting flat (which I switched to hitting in order to keep majority balls in with predictable and consistent end result). Best with high speed and flat shots. Worst with most spin shots.

    Compare to the string you use most often
    I liked Luxilon Big Banger Alu more. It was more crisp and better with spin than Monogut

    Tension recommendations
    I felt like the string could be better with a lower tension, but the control would suffer this way. So, I would recommend it to stay under 58 and over 53.

    List any final thoughts.

    The string was not bad. It did not meet my expectations of its similarity to gut. I would not buy this again due to it being 16$ for a set and it's average experience I had.

    C+
     
  25. alexgeorge

    alexgeorge New User

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    WHat if you used kevlar mains with monogut. would that be better than using poly in the crosses
     
  26. aced_Tezuka

    aced_Tezuka Rookie

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    I can't say. I didn't use this in a hybrid so I don't know if it will be better than a poly.

    Also, I never used kevlar before and heard it's really stiff and could hurt my arm. Maybe you should try it and report back?
     
  27. alexgeorge

    alexgeorge New User

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    Yes I will, I am about to test the ashaway kevlar and zyex
     
  28. TeamHumphrey

    TeamHumphrey New User

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    broken string - klippermate dropweight machine

    Broken on stringing machine, but brief court experience...

    String: Monogut ZX Pro 1.22 brown straw color
    Tension: 54lbs
    Regular string set up: Pacific nat gut mains @ 56lbs, MSV cofocus cross @ 52lbs
    Racquet brand and model used for test: Mantis Pro 295
    Power of test string: Good, perhaps a little more pop than my usual setup
    Feel: Very Good -- I did not feel like I lost any feel at net or on groundies compared to normal setup
    Spin: Good to Average - not close to the spin of the gut/poly hybrid however
    Comfort: Unknown
    Durability: Poor
    Playability Duration: N/A
    Control: Very Good
    Compare to the string you use most often: Comparable in power and feel to gut/poly hybrid, perhaps slightly less control, but hard to judge due to stringing issue. Less spin.
    Tension recommendations: Not enough data
    Comments and final thoughts:
    I strung this on a Klippermate drop weight machine and it broke during stringing -- more on that later. I really wanted to try this string, so I did a little around the world type of move and ended up with a three piece string job with two knots on one main. And of course it broke near the two knots on the main, so one shouldn't read anything into the early break during play.

    I managed to get through a 30 minute warm up and a couple of games before it broke -- the string was very easy to adjust to, and I was very happy with the feel and power. The string grabbed the ball a bit more than my previous gut/poly job, but didn't seem to impart as much spin -- I wish I had more time with it, because I was enjoying the pocketing/grab and trying to understand how that changed the limits of what I could do when swinging out. The sound was a little odd, but not annoying. I liked the brown color in the racquet.

    I must admit to having tried to string the larger gauge previously and having it break twice on the stringer -- as a result, I was extremely careful...but still failed. The breaks were in different locations each time, and the locations allow me to rule out the clamps and the grommets as the root cause. If there is a single root cause, then I am left with the friction wheel on the tensioner arm, or not taking enough time on each pull.

    I believe it is my stringing technique. I suspect that the string is simply not stretching fully during the pulls, and residual stretch is building up and releasing, causing the string to snap during the miniscule fast movement. I certainly felt that I was very patient on the pulls, performing the each pull multiple times, very very slowly, and controlling the weight drop. While I have little doubt that it is technique, I do feel that, at least with a klippermate, the technique required to string this product properly is prohibitive due to time commitment.

    So, bottom line -- I liked the string in my limited play time, but I cannot string it myself.
     
  29. radigan

    radigan Rookie

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    MonoGut ZX Pro 1.22mm 17 gauge

    Gauge & color received- I received the 17 gauge in red which is my string color preference!

    Tension used for playtest- I strung it up at 52 pounds on the mains and crosses using an Alpha Revo 4000 lockout machine. Pulled and weaved nicely while stringing. I took the precaution of a slow pull and repull to accommodate the significant stretching.

    Regular string set up- I use Technifibre X1 Biphase strung at 56 pounds both mains and crosses

    Racquet brand and model used for test- For the test, I strung it up in a Babolat Pure Drive w/cortex

    Power of test string- I really enjoyed the power of the string on my serve. It really popped on a flat serve and overheads.

    Feel- Feel was excellent with great control on volleys.

    Spin- Spin was average and consistent with technifibre.

    Comfort- Felt soft with no discomfort during the playtest.

    Durability- No reliable way to measure tension loss but has lost significant tension in the two weeks since stringing.

    Playability Duration (share thoughts on if/how the playability changed over time) As the string lost tension, balls began to fly a little on me. Had to play safer on my groundstrokes

    Control (predictable trajectory? performance on different strokes and swing speeds?) Control was average for me. Control was improved as topspin was applied as you would think.

    Compare to the string you use most often In comparison with Technifibre Biphase this string was very similar at the start but as it lost tension, the control went as well. The control of Biphase I found to be longer lasting

    Tension recommendations (after hitting it, would you recommend a different tension? Why?) I would go up at least 3 pounds to offset some of the tension loss as I like to get more than a couple weeks out of a string.

    List any final thoughts. I love the color and the stringing was easily accomplished. As a fresh string job, it was great to play with but the tension loss effected the performance negatively. I did not experience any problems with tie offs or breakage. Try it out if you like the comfort and feel of a soft multi.
     
  30. SJSA

    SJSA Semi-Pro

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    String, gauge, & color received: MonoGut ZX, 17 gauge, Natural

    Tension used for playtest: 59 lbs

    Regular string set up: Wilson Natural Gut/Gamma Zo Tour @60/55 lbs & Head Rip Control 16g@60 lbs in full bed

    Racquet brand and model used for test: Prince EXO3 Tour 100, 16x18

    Power of test string: Moderate. It is between multifilament and polyester.

    Feel: So So. It feels like plastic with ping sounds. Ball pocketing and dwell time is lower than natural gut and multifilament.

    Spin: Normal. I don’t see any spin potential.

    Comfort: Excellent. This is the best part of this string. My elbow is very sensitive even after using multifilament or soft poly strings due to tennis elbow. I have no elbow issue and pain with MonoGut ZX. Its comfort is close to natural gut.

    Durability: Excellent. It is better than multifilament. I’m not a string breaker but have to restring my racket with multifilament in every 15 - 20 hours of play

    Playability Duration : It had no initial string movements but started to move around after 10 hours of play due to the tension loss.

    Control: Average, nothing particular

    Compare to the string you use most often: Compared to Head Rip Control, MonoGut ZX is more comfortable and durable. I still have a little elbow pain with my current string setup, natural gut/poly. I will try natural gut/MonoGut ZX next time to look for a better result.

    Tension recommendations: My racket is very flexible (52 RA) and I usually go for 60 lbs for multifilament and natural gut even I have tennis elbow. 59 lbs is just fine for MonoGut ZX but I will go for a couple of pounds lower next time for more power.

    List any final thoughts: MonoGut ZX is definitely for a player who disappoints with durability of multifilament and can’t handle for stiffness of polyester. However it is not a substitution for natural gut. MonoGut ZX should be around $10 to get popular.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2013
  31. tennisnj

    tennisnj Professional

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    String, gauge, & color received: MonoGut ZX, 17 gauge, Black

    Tension used for playtest: 52

    Regular string set up: Whatever's cheap or free, I always mix it up, but been leaning towards powerful polys lately.

    Racquet brand and model used for test: Boris Becker V1 OS

    Power of test string: Mid

    Feel: Eh--Like Volkl Cyclone which I am in the minority in not really likely its feel.

    Spin: No change whatsoever in my spin (most strings don't have a difference however)

    Comfort: Excellent but strings don't give me any troubles arm-wise as I play 2 hands on both sides usually.

    Durability: Excellent. I don't break strings unless they are say 18G syn guts, but being my own stringer I am constantly trying out new strings just for fun. Lately I've been playing & training with big hitters so I've tried to gravitate towards polys lately.

    Playability Duration : It moved ever so slightly after about 12 hours worth but I attest that more to heavy hitting than tension loss.

    Control: Not an issue for me so I didn't notice anything discernible.

    Compare to the string you use most often: I haven't used a consistent string lately so the 6 racquets I have all have different strings, compositions & tensions in it so I really can't compare.

    Tension recommendations: I'd go low if you can handle a little more pop.
    There was nothing good/bad about the string, just nothing special either way, & absolutely not worth $17.
     
  32. njsigman

    njsigman Rookie

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    String, gauge, & color received - Monogut ZX Pro - 17g, wheat color

    Tension used for playtest - 55 lbs

    Regular string set up - Donnay Syncore 16g, 58 lbs

    Racquet brand and model used for test - Donnay Pro One 97 18x20

    Power of test string - String had great power! Not to the point that I could not control it, but launched off my racquet. Groundies had nice depth. 1st serve was also very powerful so that felt great!

    Feel - Good feel. Provided nice touch on volleys and at the net.

    Spin - I normally hit pretty flat groundstrokes and use a western grip, but did have access to good spin when I adjusted my grip to more of an eastern grip.

    Comfort - Very, very comfortable. Almost gut like feel. Comfort on this string is probably one of the best I have ever experienced. Up there with Natural gut and perhaps a cut above NXT, X-One Biphase, etc.

    Durability – I have about 10 hours of use on the string and so far it seems to be holding up quite nicely

    Playability Duration (share thoughts on if/how the playability changed over time) The tension seemed to drop about 5% after the first few hours, but that appears to be normal. Power also seemed to increase after the initial break in period, but there was no noticeable difference in the control.

    Control (predictable trajectory? performance on different strokes and swing speeds?) Control was excellent with this string. It performed well with different strokes and swing speeds. It adapted to my needs whether I was going for power or finesse.

    Compare to the string you use most often – As of late, I have been using the Donnay Syncore string. Both are quite comfortable. However, the Ashaway is providing me even more comfort as well as more power. The gut like performance and feel is quite appealing to me. Tension maintenance also appears to be better with the Ashaway.

    Tension recommendations (after hitting it, would you recommend a different tension? Why?) I like this string at the 55 lbs that I strung it at. I don’t think that I could have found a more optimal tension in order to produce the power and control that I experienced at the 55 lbs.

    List any final thoughts – The string is quite good. I plan on buying some. I love the comfort that it provides and love the power and control that it brings with it. I think it is better than other similar strings such as NXT or X-One Biphase. I think this one is a winner. Thanks again Ashaway and TW for the opportunity! :)
     
  33. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2010
    Messages:
    3,592
    Location:
    Baseline
    String, gauge, & color received: MonoGut ZX 1.22, Wheat.

    Tension used for playtest: Full bed, 55/53, pre-stretched, electronic CP stringing machine. Strung by an MRT who uses MonoGut ZX and is very familiar with the string. While attending the most recent RSS in Florida he had a chance to talk with the Ashaway folks about MonoGut ZX. He explained to me that extra care needed to be taken during the stringing process including allowing the string to rest between tensioning.

    Regular string set up: VS Longevity/IsoSpeed Black Fire @ 56/50. I also enjoy VS Touch/4G 1.25 for extra control at the cost of some spin potential.

    Racquet brand and model used for test: Pure Storm GT, 334g, 8 pts. HL, SW 322. I have three matched PSGTs and was able to compare full bed MonoGut ZX head-to-head with my regular string setup using matched frames.

    Ability Level: 3.5

    Power: Uneven or inconsistent. The center of the sweet spot felt extremely powerful while anything remotely outside the SS felt rather boardy. It felt more powerful than a typical, freshly strung multi and less consistent than natural gut. IMO it performed almost like a dying, springy polyester with respect to power level. All that being said, I would certainly rate MonoGut ZX at the upper end of the power spectrum and describe it as being both "lively" and "fickle".

    Feel: Plastic, muted, or "detached". It lacked the deep pocketing of a soft multi or natural gut. I felt detached from the string bed compared to my usual gut/poly hybrid setup. It was a rather "hollow" playing experience. But even here the experience was inconsistent, much like the power level. On impact with the SS during some hard hits, I felt a rather pleasurable pocketing, almost like a trampoline. But that pleasure came at the cost of control.

    Spin: Less than adequate relative to the power level. Certainly not as good as gut/poly or full poly and about the same as or less than many multi-filaments. Given the significant pop from the center of the string bed I felt that spin potential was insufficient for good depth control. In and of itself it wasn't bad, just not enough relative to the inconsistent power level.

    Comfort: Good. A little boardy outside the sweet spot but that's more of a feel issue than comfort issue. So, while certainly not uncomfortable, it was not a pleasurable hitting experience, especially when compared to full gut, a gut-based hybrid, or even a soft multi. The MRT who strung the frame for me is a retired fellow and he uses the string specifically because of the comfort.

    Durability: On court, perfectly fine except for a tendency to become dented and the surface ripples over time which seem to limit spin potential even more. My stringer noted that extraordinary caution must be taken during the stringing process but on court I had no issues. It didn't break after approximately 16+ hours of play. However, whereas I feel like I can hit hard with a gut/poly hybrid I was reluctant to hit as hard with this string due to control concerns. The string bed exhibited what felt like power "hot spots" of extreme contrast. Thus I hit far softer than usual which may have extended the life of the sting.

    Playability Duration: During the first hour or two playability was ok but nothing special. The string bed felt best to me during the 2-6 hour part of the test. Beyond that point the string bed seemed to lose what little feel it had and its "plastic" feel came to dominate the experience. This isn't a string you'd want to leave in your frame for an extended duration like natural gut or some of the better multi-filaments. In the interest of playability and consistently you'd probably want to re-string MonoGut ZX after 6-8 hours.

    Control: When hitting hard, very poor due to the inferior spin potential and what felt like power hot spots or inconsistent string bed response. This was exacerbated over time as the surface became dented and rippled limiting spin potential and the inconsistent power response seemed to become more pronounced. The PSGT is known for being a "control racquet" but it certainly didn't perform that way with MonoGut ZX. It was especially poor on touch shots. For example, drop shots often sat up too much using the frame strung with MonoGut ZX while my frame string with VS/BF produced better back spin to keep the ball low. MonoGut ZX's detached, plastic feel further prevented a connection with the ball on touch shots.

    Tension recommendations: If I were to re-do this test I would certainly string a little higher for control purposes in my particular frame, probably around 57/55. However, others have noted that the string loses even more feel at higher tensions. I believe this is a crucial weakness for the string. It starts with poor feel and control and the only way to improve control is to string at a higher tension thereby further degrading feel. Or, to enhance feel, one must string at a lower tension thereby reducing control. The string presents a real "Catch 22" for tension purposes.

    List any final thoughts: I've noted this earlier in the test and I think it bears repeating. MonoGut ZX isn't a bad string but it doesn't do any one thing better enough than other strings at a similar or lower price point and it presents significant and unnecessary "challenges" during the stringing process without a corresponding payoff.

    Natural gut can be demanding to string and the initial acquisition cost is high but it provides unparalleled playability, tension maintenance, and durability over the entire course of its lifespan. In other words, it remains perfectly playable until it breaks while MonoGut ZX provides erratic control and power over its entire lifespan.

    Polyesters, especially the newest co-polys, provide superior spin potential and control compared to MonoGut ZX. Some even provide a similar level of comfort when strung at low tensions and at the same or lower cost. Stringing a poly is also easier than the temperamental MonoGut ZX.

    Finally, multi-filaments are far easier to string, cost the same or less, and provide superior control and consistency.

    Compared to other choices on the market I just don't see a compelling reason for MonoGut ZX. Any product demands a clear problem/solution matrix with a unique advantage over competing solutions. Want a soft, arm safe string? Natural gut is more expensive but lasts longer and provides superior control and consistency. Want more spin? Polyesters provide more spin at the same or lower cost and without the stringing headaches. Want an inexpensive solution that provides reasonable comfort and control? There are loads of multis that do that at less cost and with fewer stringing headaches.

    Bottom line: In an attempt to be all things to all players MonoGut ZX actually falls between the stools and becomes a jack-of-all trades and master of none. Again, it's not a bad string. It provides decent comfort and lots of power. It's just not a better string that presents a compelling reason for investment compared to existing solutions, especially when one compares prices and stringing headaches.

    I was intrigued at its potential as a cross, perhaps with a gut or poly mains. But other TT members have reported that a gut/ZX string bed locks up as bad as any full bed multi. And I'm not a fan of poly mains due to their inferior feel compared to gut mains. So maybe even as a cross in a hybrid it might not present significant advantages compared to other solutions.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2013
  34. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Messages:
    19,659
    Location:
    Central Florida
    String, gauge, & color received
    Ashaway MonoGut ZX 16 Red

    Tension used for playtest
    56 pounds on a lockout machine.

    Regular string set up
    When my arm can handle it, Weiss Cannon Black 5 Edge mains with a multi cross.

    Racquet brand and model used for test
    Prince Exo3 Tour 16x18

    Power of test string
    Very high, similar to natural gut. First serves and overheads were wonderful with this string.

    Feel
    Good, but not as good as natural gut. PVAudio said it best when he mentioned the string has a crunchy feel.

    Spin
    Very good, same as a full bed of gut for me but still a little less than my favorite Black 5 Edge poly in the mains. It seemed like most of my opponents were making more errors or hitting short due to the spin I was generating.

    Comfort
    It feels more firm than natural gut or multis but never once bothered my arm which has been sensitive on and off for the last 4 years.

    Durability
    Excellent. I think I've got about 12 hours or more of singles play on it. It barely looks notched in a very open pattern racket and I'm a string breaker.

    Playability Duration (share thoughts on if/how the playability changed over time)
    This is a tough one. I played my best match of the year before I packed my stick to leave for Florida to DC. Once I got here, I warmed up with it both times but quickly abandoned the test string early in matches because the control was gone. Is the Zyex cold sensitive because I left my rackets in the luggage? I'm thinking so. UPDATE: I think I'm finding that I was just having trouble controlling shots with opponents who hit with a lot of spin.

    Control (predictable trajectory? performance on different strokes and swing speeds?)
    I played really well with this string on all shots. Seemed very consistent to me.

    Compare to the string you use most often
    I love to try strings, so hard to answer this one.

    Tension recommendations (after hitting it, would you recommend a different tension? Why?)
    I don't agree with low tension on this string. It needs more tension to keep the ball in play. I'm glad I strung it relatively high.

    List any final thoughts.
    My original test set got lost in the mail. Thanks TW/Ashaway for sending a replacement. It appears this test was geared mostly for the 1.22mm gauge. What I received was 1.27mm.

    My extensive multifilament string testing has lead me to believe that 17g or less is too springy for soft synthetics. I like the thicker 16g versions in every case so far. It would seem from reading the 1.22mm reviews, that most people are experiencing the same thing I have.

    This is truly a unique string and I'm proud that an American company has come up with something so different that plays outstanding. I plan on using this full bed in the cooler months of the year when more power is needed. With the hotter weather now, Black 5 Edge poly mains just give me the control I need to keep balls from flying.

    I know this would cost money, but I'd like to see Ashaway redo this playtest in the fall with the cooler weather and the thicker gauge. I've tried a boatload of strings and I'm not finding very many negatives with this string like I'm reading in this thread.

    Thanks Ashaway and TW for allowing me to participate.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2013
  35. bigserving

    bigserving Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2004
    Messages:
    601
    String gauge and color - 17 gauge MonoGut ZX Pro, Reddish / Maroonish color.

    Tension used for playtest - Within the package recommended tension, a straight 50 lbs in both mains and crosses. Stringing was done very deliberately all by myself on a lockout machine.

    Regular string setup - Largely full set Dunlop Black Widow 17 gauge 50 lbs x 50 lbs strung by me on the same lockout machine.

    Racquet brand and model used - Dunlop Aerogel 4D 200 Tour (old school, I know).

    Power of string tested - Nice, crisp, useable, power overall. Not as powerful as gut, but more power than most polys and definitely more than Black Widow.

    Feel - A very unique feel. The string bed felt more stiff than my usual soft string, but still nice, not a dead feeling. The stiffer bed offered noticeably more power than polys with similar stiffness and feel. Seemed to have a bit of pocketing on serves, flat groundies, and volleys.

    Spin - Very adequate spin production available. The string bed seemed a bit slippery on non direct contacts like slices and kick serves. I was able to compensate using a later contact point on my groundstrokes in order to get the desired amount of top spin.

    Comfort - No noticeable extra string vibration. Not a boardy poly feel. Not a natural gut trampoline feel. Somewhere in between those closer to a monofilament nylon. I experienced no arm discomfort noticed during the test.

    Durability - The strings did not break during six sets of singles and two sets of doubles play over six days.

    Duration of optimal playability - The string settled in about the time of a friendly match warm up. They held up very well with no recognizable loss in tension or playability during the first three-set match. It felt as thought the tension and playability dropped but settled in at a slightly lower level during about the sixth set over a three day period.

    Control on different strokes and different swing speeds - Serve had very nice combination of power and control. Seem to have more power and less control than normal on my backhand especially my slice (maybe the user), the slight pocketing made for stiff, pinpoint volleys.

    Compare to Dunlop Black Widow 17 gauge - This string is both stiffer and more powerful than BW. BW creates more spin and has more control.

    Tension Recommendation - The packaging recommendation seems about right. 10 - 15% less than traditional nylon. I would recommend beginning with 'bout the same tension as a poly and making personal preference adjustments from there.

    Final thoughts - A very interesting string with a unique feel that will find a broad, diverse user base. This can be used as a full-bed, or a cross or main string in a hybrid. I think that in can be tension tweaked to work for any type of player. I personally like the way that it performed on hard, flat serves the best. With all of the playability characteristics, there is really no automatic downside to this string like there is with ploys and nylons. A very easy string to recommend, especially to players looking to try something new. The biggest thing that I did not like is the natural gut comparison by Ashaway. Big swing-and-a-miss with that reference.
     
  36. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Messages:
    19,659
    Location:
    Central Florida
    ^^^ Can we get all synthetic gut brands to stop using gut in the title as well? :)
     
  37. cluckcluck

    cluckcluck Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2010
    Messages:
    2,237
    Location:
    Between the baseline and netcord.
    String, gauge, & color received - Monogut ZX Pro - 17g, wheat color

    Tension used for playtest - 48 lbs

    Regular string set up - Full poly (various brands)

    Racquet brand and model used for test - Mantis Pro 295

    Power of test string - The string was decently powerful, not too much but also not lacking for off centered shots or mistimed swings.

    Feel - Extremely crisp, I didn't pre-stretch because I wanted more of a crisp feel to the bed.

    Spin - This was the strings worst characteristics, there was very little spin production. I could feel the ball pocketing nicely but the strings were not snapping back creating some of the spin. Even when I tried to get additional spin (by going more western and brushing up on the ball), I didn't get that much. I was disappointed that the string's power was not complimented with spin.

    Comfort - Very, very comfortable. Almost gut like feel. For a non-poly poly this was very easy on the joints. Felt like I was hitting with a very plush string.

    Durability – About an hour into hitting the strings started moving all over the place (mains). Perhaps I had used too low of a tension but it just felt like the strings became unplayable after 4 hours.

    Playability Duration (share thoughts on if/how the playability changed over time) Played great going into the playtest but like I said above, the strings dropped tension and began moving around too much. Control was out the window and was virtually unplayable after about 4 hours of hitting.

    Control (predictable trajectory? performance on different strokes and swing speeds?) Ball launch angle was high coming off the strings, I had to change my timing some to get the ball down. During initial tension, I could place the ball with ease and pace. The lack of spin allowed me to play very close the lines. Definitely a control orientated string.

    Compare to the string you use most often – I have been using full poly for years now and the comparison is apples to oranges. The polys produce much more spin and have more durability. The ZX offered similar crispiness but lacked the spin and durability that most polys I've used in the past have.

    Tension recommendations (after hitting it, would you recommend a different tension? Why?) At 48lbs, it's just too low. I should have gone 52+. At the lower tension the strings moved too much and the tension seemed to drop off the deep end pretty quickly and became unplayable. I would encourage players to increase +4lbs from normal tension to get some of the snapback and control the power of the string.

    List any final thoughts – The sting was nice, had I used a higher tension I probably would have enjoyed it more. I would use this again as a cross with a shaped poly in the mains. Also, like everybody has warned, be extremely gentle when knotting! I screwed up one knot as I was impatient, thankfully the knot held tension just fine.
     
  38. jonestim

    jonestim Professional

    Joined:
    May 30, 2011
    Messages:
    840
    Location:
    Bend, OR
    String, gauge, & color received - Monogut ZX Pro - 17g, red color

    Tension used for playtest - 50 lbs on a drop weight

    Regular string set up - Still working on it. Having most luck lately with Pacific Tough Gut 17 and a co-poly cross

    Racquet brand and model used for test - Prince Diablo Tour Mid

    Stringing - Use caution. I was careful not to nick the string and made sure I did not pull my knots too tight. Everything was going fine until the second to last cross. I lowered my weight slowly and while it was stretching it snapped at the grommet. This is the second string job on this grommet set and they are in fine condition. Not sure what happened here. I tied off the third to last cross then strung the last two with remaining string leaving me with a three piece string job and six knots.

    Power of test string - More power than I am accustomed to. I had problems with my topspin forehand going long and did not feel like I could swing out on it. On the flip side, I enjoyed the power while serving, when stretched out wide, and on my OHBH - which often lands a bit shorter than I would like.

    Feel - Feel was ok but nothing to write home about. Sounded a bit twangy? Most noticeable during mini-tennis warm up and less noticeable as I hit harder.

    Spin - Meh. About on par with a typical 17g syn gut like Forten Sweet, but since it has more power than the syn gut I didn't find I could swing as fast. Slower racquet head speed meant I wasn't getting as much as I liked.

    Comfort - Great. This was the best attribute of the string.

    Durability – Good. Notched slower for me than syn guts and even a bit less than some polys I have used.

    Playability Duration - Great. Another strong point for this string. Tension held well and I haven't noticed a drop in performance yet.

    Control - Not a highlight. I like a bit lower powered string with a more spin.

    Compare to the string you use most often – Still searching for my "Most Often"

    Tension recommendations - I have been stringing syn guts (Forten 17 and OSGM 17) at 53 in this frame. A 10% drop would have been 48, which I thought would be too low so I strung at 50. I think 53 would have been better.

    List any final thoughts – I played this string on indoor fast courts and outdoor slow courts, singles and doubles, in temps ranging from 50-80. I liked it most when it was cold and I needed the extra power, and in doubles when I was not relying on my topspin forehand nearly as much. I found slices were dandy and ended up hitting more forehand slices than normal to compensate. I liked it least when it was warmer and when I was playing singles. Higher tension may have changed this.

    I can see stringing up one of my three frames with this starting in the fall to use on days where it is 50 degrees or less and I need the power and comfort. Since it seems to hold tension well I wouldn't be afraid of having it sit in the bag for weeks not getting used. I also play more doubles in the winter and given a bit more time to figure out the topspin forehand I would consider using it for that.

    Thanks to TW and Ashaway for the opportunity to test this unique string.
     
  39. jonnyjack

    jonnyjack Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2009
    Messages:
    381
    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    I played about 12.5 hours over 6 sessions. First on May 7 and then waited two weeks. Played with them again on May 21 and have played with them 5 times in the last week and half in practice and a couple of USTA matches.

    String, gauge, & color received
    MonoGut ZX Pro - 1.22mm (17g) - Natural

    Tension used for playtest
    55 lbs, strung on a Klippermate with no issues.

    Regular string set up
    Mains: Kirschbaum Super Smash Orange 17 at 52 lbs
    Crosses: Gosen OGSM 17 at 52 lbs

    Racquet brand and model used for test
    Yonex RDiS 200

    Power of test string
    Decent power on fast, flat strokes which felt eeriely similar to the Gamma prototype from last year.

    Feel
    Crisp feel, similar to synthetic gut in a full bed when I used to use that before switching to poly/synthetic gut hybrids. The ball didn't feel all that different from my usual setups upon impact with the string. I liked the feel as I prefer the boardy feel when used with a shock absorber.

    Spin
    Decent amount of spin. I compared the power of this string to the Gamma prototype which was terrible for spin so I'm glad I didn't experience the same spin issues here. I hit with a lot of top spin on both sides plus forehand slice and mainly slice serves and had no isses with my main shots. The spin either improved once the string settled or I got used to the trajectory as the first time I tried them out, my forehand slice would stay too low and kept going into the net.

    Comfort
    No discomfort at all. I've never played natural gut before so I can't compare with that. I kind of expected it to feel differently since Ashaway claims "gut-like playability" but maybe that's just an assumption on my part. No issues here and that's exactly what tennis players should expect from a string.

    Durability
    It usually takes me 25-35 hours before I break a string in my hybrid setup. I've actually never broken a poly main before as I usually break the synthetic gut cross first. When I use full bed synthetic gut, it breaks around 12-15 hours. The string is notching a bit and I've played about 12.5 hours with them.

    Playability Duration (share thoughts on if/how the playability changed over time)
    As I mentioned in the spin section above, I kept hitting my forehand slice into the net the first time out. Due to that and important league matches, I didn't use the string again for two weeks. After those two weeks, I've used the string each time I've played and it feels a lot better than the first time I hit with it and hasn't regressed so far.

    Control (predictable trajectory? performance on different strokes and swing speeds?)
    Pretty good control outside of my first hitting session. There is a lot of string movement though and that seems to affect the control slightly when compared to full bed poly or maybe that's just in my head. Normally I can control my spin shots on the slower swing speeds when I chip and charge but I was missing my target spots. Flat, hard shots were good though.

    Compare to the string you use most often
    Pretty similar to my hybrid setup. It just seems to do everything a notch below especially spin/control. I would say this is a better version of the Gamma prototype string as it has the same power but does a better job in the spin department. It also has the same string movement problem.

    Tension recommendations (after hitting it, would you recommend a different tension? Why?)
    No change even though the first hitting session wasn't the greatest. It felt good the rest of the time I've used it so I wouldn't change that at all.

    List any final thoughts.
    I've only hit with full bed synthetic gut, full bed poly, and poly/synthetic gut hybrid. I've never used natural gut or multifilaments. I definitely would have liked to have tried this as a cross with poly mains though. Overall, the string played well but not better than my current setups so I have no plans to switch. I do not like string movement either so that was definitely a minus for me. It was interesting to see how much it stretches during the stringing process as my dropweight would drop all the way to the table and I had to pull up all the slack. I was extra careful during the stringing and did not have any issues with it breaking and it didn't seem like I would so maybe I was just lucky. It's playing fine right now so I plan to keep hitting with it until it breaks or the playability is gone.

    Thanks again Ashaway and TW!
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2013
  40. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Messages:
    19,659
    Location:
    Central Florida
    ^^^ Jonnyjack, the feel section it looks like you left out some words at the end.
     
  41. pfchang

    pfchang Professional

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Messages:
    1,286
    Location:
    NY
    String, gauge, & color received: MonoGut ZX Pro 1.22, Wheat color

    Tension used for playtest: 57 lbs on a CP rotational gripper

    Regular string set up: BHB7 17 (or similar soft strings) @57 lbs

    Racquet brand and model used for test: Babolat Aeropro Drive 2013

    Ability Level: 4.0

    Power: The juice wasn’t really there for me at all. I definitely felt underwhelmed by this string, the only time the juice came was when I got the perfect setup with a sitter and was able to crush the ball away. But often times the power was not really there, nor was it forgiving on mishits. I have to disagree with the people who say that it has power, because it certainly did not for me. Could see it as a mediocre control string.

    Feel: Like what most of the posters have said already, it really feels like I’m playing with plastic. When you hit the ball it sounds like plastic, when you move the strings it sounds like plastic, it just really feels like plastic. And that is not a good feeling for me at all. I could not feel the ball as well as other strings, and this is coming from someone who lusts after a soft, mute, dead poly. Off center hits felt jarring and stiff. I have to say overall the string plays a bit rougher and stiff for me, however the one plus of this was when I was able to hit the perfect ball for a winner, it felt pretty good. The only problem is that I can’t go for every shot as a winner.

    Spin: The spin was there, not great, and nothing special considered to your Tour Bite or RPM blast, but sufficient. It was there when I needed it to be, especially on kick serves. That was the redeeming aspect of spin for me.

    Comfort: A little below average. I strung it a little higher thinking “soft multi” at 57 to tame the power of a multi. However, it seems that I strung it too high and as a result it felt a little stiff and boardy, especially on mishits. However like I stated earlier, it felt quite plush even on the perfect shot. Some polys I’ve hit with have been more comfortable.

    Durability: The durability of the string was fine, I played with it for close to 6 hours and while I haven’t broken a string in awhile due to me transitioning to a flatter game, but there was only minimal notching.

    Playability Duration: The string felt pretty poor at first, I had to get used to the feel and it was quite boardy. Once it started settling in, it started playing a little better, and this was after about 2 hitting sessions, so at the 2 hour mark. However, by the 6 hour mark, I had enough of the string, and I needed my racket back for a match so I had to cut it out. I’d say by the 6 hour mark it was on its way down in terms of playability.

    Control: There was no power for me, but that doesn’t mean it was a good control string. Like I stated earlier, I strung this a little higher in my APD thinking that it would be a bit powerful. However, the string just didn’t play well for me in the control department either. Sometimes on a flatter shot, the ball just sailed long. Combined with the feel of the string, I just couldn’t grasp where the ball was on the stringbed, and that did not help contribute to a controlled game. The directional control also wasn’t really existent either and a fair amount of balls were landing short.

    Tension recommendations: I would definitely suggest stringing lower, as it played poorly at a tighter tension. I feel like some of the stiffness would have disappeared and I would have regained some power. However like some people stated, it seemed too powerful at lower tensions.

    List any final thoughts: The monogut string did not click for me, I think (I hope so) that I strung it too high. One of the redeeming qualities of the string was that it really worked on the perfect big hit, but at the cost of a poor plastic and stiff feel and below average control.

    I can see how the string would be good string for some people, but it just didn’t work for me. I also wouldn’t pay $15 to get a string that is unconventional, much less this string.

    Anyways it was a pleasure as always getting to try and playtest strings from TWH. Thanks for the opportunity!
     
  42. ChadW

    ChadW Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2012
    Messages:
    114
    String, gauge, & color received
    Ashaway MonoGut ZX Pro 1.22 (Natural color?)

    Tension used for playtest
    56 pounds on a lockout machine.

    Regular string set up
    Tourna Big Hitter Black 7 @ 40/45lbs

    Racquet brand and model used for test
    Head Youtek Speed MP 16x19

    Power of test string
    Much higher than I'm used to. Good for serving. Took a while to adjust for ground strokes though. Once I got it dialed in, I was enjoying the additional pop!

    Feel
    Better touch than my poly on volleys, but the extra power made control tough to dial in.

    Spin
    For a non-poly, I was really happy with the spin generation. Usually I stay away from multis or syn gut because I don't get much spin response. I'd come back to this one for the spin.

    Comfort
    Just fine, but I've never had any sensitivity to any strings with my racquet set up.

    Durability
    Still going strong after 10+ hours. I see much less notching than my Tourna BHB7s usually have at this stage.

    Playability Duration (share thoughts on if/how the playability changed over time)
    Didn't see much of a drop, if any noticeable, in the playability. Kept the similar characteristics throughout play, and I still have them in.

    Control (predictable trajectory? performance on different strokes and swing speeds?)
    Once I figured out the extra power, I was able to control this string well. Not my most controlled set up, but overall, a satisfying experience.

    Compare to the string you use most often
    A different feel than co-poly, so it's tough to say, but I recognized the extra pop in the power, and didn't feel like I was sacrificing much in the spin area, so overall a fair comparison to my usual set up.

    Tension recommendations (after hitting it, would you recommend a different tension? Why?)
    I wish I had strung higher and given it a chance to feel more like a control-oriented set up. Would probably just try 59 or 60...

    List any final thoughts.
    I enjoyed this playtest a lot. It was a good string and if it's similar to natural gut, it gave me a chance to experience that 'feel' without the $40 price tag. A powerful, and spiny string with good durability.

    Thank you Tennis Warehouse and Ashaway!
     
  43. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2010
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    Sadly, no, it's not similar to natural gut. Not even close. Natural gut is powerful but it also provides far more feel, control, and consistent response compared to MonoGut ZX.

    You get what you pay for (well, sort of...with ZX you pay a lot for features provided at lower cost and with fewer stringing headaches by other products). For example, Prince Original Synthetic Gut is a better product at a lower price.
     
  44. jonnyjack

    jonnyjack Rookie

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    Thanks. I forgot what I was going to say so I just removed that half sentence. I started writing the review a few days ago in my email so I could save a draft.
     
  45. KoolTennisKid

    KoolTennisKid New User

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    *all categories except for durability and playability duration are only about the first 6ish hours with the string, because the characteristics of the string drastically changed after

    String, gauge, & color received-Ashway Monogut Zx 16g black color
    Tension used for playtest-50lbs
    Regular string set up-luxillon 4G 50lbs
    Racquet brand and model used for test-modified Wilson Prostaff Six one 95
    Power of test string-this string had very ample power, I really did notice my balls going faster than they normally would but at the same time I rarely hit a ball long; good ball pocketing
    Feel-crisp but soft, this is something I really liked about the string, it felt more like a syngut but did have a very small hint of that polyster feel to it, no real adjustment needed for the feel of the string
    Spin- good spin, I'd say its on par with various other polys out there, I didn't feel like it was less-spinfriendly like others did
    Comfort-VERY VERY comfortable, felt like my string bed was made of pillows, felt like I could've taken a nap on the courts on top of these strings
    Durability-I did notice early notching quite a bit, but so far this string has not broken, some major string movement was noticed after that 6ish hour mark, I hate string movement so that's something that really annoyed me
    Playability Duration (share thoughts on if/how the playability changed over time)-if I'm honest, I LOVED this string for the first 5-6 hours on court, I felt like I could've actually makes a switch, no joke, but then it went all down hill for me and the string were moving, spin production went down and for some reason I noticed that instead of the string becoming MORE powerful they became LESS powerful which was very weird to adjust to, this is one if not the only problem I had with this string
    Control (predictable trajectory? performance on different strokes and swing speeds?)-I kind of didn't like swinging slowly with this string for some reason because I felt like my balls would float across the net, but I did feel like I got less control with this string than my regular setup, it wasn't so much that I couldn't place my balls where i wanted to but, I wasn't really getting the right kind of shot I was expecting to get sometimes
    Compare to the string you use most often-if the playability would last just a couple more hours longer and would not move, I would be in love with this string, this string had better feel and comfort than my regular string which I liked but you can't beat the playability duration of Lux 4G
    Tension recommendations (after hitting it, would you recommend a different tension? Why?)- I actually thought i hit the spot perfectly with 50lbs, good power good comfort and great feel, probably would like to try relatively high tensions with this string just to see how much the characteristics if the string change
    List any final thoughts-depressed because the playability didn't last as long as my regular string :(

    Thanks TW and Ashway for the opportunity to be in this playtest!!!!!
     
  46. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    His experience is his experience. Whilst its not natural gut, it does have elements of how natural gut plays, along with element of a soft poly, a nylon etc.
     
  47. SteveI

    SteveI Legend

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    In general the string is a bust. Not really sure what the string is supposed to be, costs too much, too tension sensitive and it breaks on the stringer if the stringer is not careful. I think I hit all the major points.
     
  48. fgs

    fgs Hall of Fame

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    steveI,

    well i basically tend to agree in spite of the fact that i really enjoyed my 1.27mm natural one, BUT:
    - cost is a relative factor. i pretty much liked luxilon alu power rough, but then you see, for less than five hours hitting time, it costs too much too.
    - most of the strings are tension sensitive. i know of no string that you can just put in at a wide range of tensions and get along well each time. i had polys being awful at 21kg just to shine at 20kg and others that were crap at 21kg but really enjoyable at 22kg. that's about 2lbs up and down from my general reference tension, and my experience with the mgzx was pretty similar.
    - while natty gut is also very sensitive and needs good care while being installed, i have experienced (not often admittedly) also polys breaking at 21kg without having been kinked or mistreated by myself in any way prior to stringing.

    while i got about twice the time out of my mgzx mains as compared to my (still) reference poly, the mantis power polyester, the mgzx still comes in too expensive for me, but it might be a good option for a player that is not a chronic stringbreaker, sorts out the proper tension for his stick and technique and enjoys the low tension loss that occurs after the settling loss.
     
  49. scotus

    scotus Legend

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    scotus' Extreme Low Tension Playtest of Ashaway Monogut ZX Pro red

    String, gauge, & color received
    Monogut ZX Pro 17 gauge Red


    Tension used for playtest
    35 lbs on Stringway contant-pull foot-pedal machine.
    Yep, that's 35 lbs. Since everyone else has been testing it at high tensions but I have been playtesting various polys at extreme low tensions since the winter, I figured reviewing the string at an extreme low tension might make a valuable contribution to this forum.


    Regular string set up
    For the longest time I used gut/poly hybrids at very high tension but as previously mentioned, I have been playing poly hybrids at 30 lbs for the last 5-6 months.


    Racquet brand and model used for test
    Wilson BLX Five tail-weighted to 12 oz. The beam width may be too thick for most people, but comfort is second to none. Anyone with a sensitive elbow or TE problems should give this frame a try.


    Stringing
    The ZX Pro was very easy to string up. It had low to moderate coil memory and felt like a soft co-poly. The string tips were rigid rather than mushy and could be cut very sharp, which is always helpful when pushing the string through blocked holes. The string was round, so very easy on the fingers, and unlike some polys, finger-weaving the crosses was a breeze. But like co-poly strings, it is difficult to cinch a tight knot.

    One thing that struck me as odd was that the string was not stretching much, even though I let the constant pull do its work for about 15 seconds on each pull. Not once did I have to double-pull (which I often have to do for some multis and gut). Nor did I notice the constant-pull tensioner gradually move further away to compensate for the elongation. My suspicion is that the 35 lbs is simply not strong enough to pull this string much, or that ZX Pro behaves like a stiff string at an extremely low tension. The resulting stringbed felt stiff to me, just like a co-poly setup.


    The First Playtest
    When I playtest a new string, I like to compare it to my more familiar setup side by side. So here I had my 2 matched racquets, one strung with ZX Pro at 35 lbs, and the other strung with Dunlop Black Widow 16g mains and Solinco Tour Bite 19g crosses at 30 lbs. I felt the 5 lbs difference would be fair given the supposed differential in stiffness.

    What I immediately felt during the warm-up was that even at mere 35 lb of tension, ZX Pro felt stiff. Yes, stiff! I have a very sensitive elbow, so I can feel the slightest shock and vibration that players with healthy arms never notice. I kid you not. The Black Widow / Tour Bite at 30 lbs was far more arm-friedly than the ZX Pro at 35 lbs.

    Let me also point out another turn-off before I get to more important matters. The ZX Pro produces a very dull yet annoying plasticky sound at impact that simply cannot be silenced! Usually my Gamma Shockbuster is quite capable of deadening awful sounds, but even its Zorbicon-gel smothering of 8 main strings was powerless to stop this irritating noise!

    I found acceptable control and acceptable spin, but the gut-like feel was nowhere to be found. I have been using gut for over a decade so I should know what it feels like. And power was nothing to write home about.

    Then I picked up the Black Widow / Tour Bite hybrid, and there you go. Awesome spin, crisp feel, precise control, power on demand, and no annoying sound!

    Well, as you may have guessed, I played my 4 sets of doubles mostly with the poly hybrid that evening. Every time I grabbed the ZX Pro, I was losing points and wasn't feeling confident. With a quick change of racquets, I would be back in the game.


    The Second Playtest
    Three evenings later, I went out for a second test. Same sticks, same setup, the same strings that have been sitting in the bag for the last 3 days.

    This time the ZX Pro felt even stiffer. I could either cut this out and write up a highly negative review or do something to get more out of this string.

    Well, in hopes of reducing the stiffness, I put the racquet down on the court and stepped on the string bed for 2 seconds. That probably took off a few pounds of tension.

    Finally, the string began to perform. I felt comfortable hitting with this setup from anywhere. The groundies were nice with heavy spin, the volleys were well controlled, and I hit a couple of kick serves that went over the returner's head (okay, maybe it was just over the shoulder...)

    Now I was switching back and forth between ZX Pro and the Black Widow / Tour Bite setup seamlessly, feeling confident with both, and sometimes even favoring the ZX Pro setup, which still felt a bit tighter (the full poly setup must have lost more tension) and beefier (ZX Pro setup felt slightly heavier in weight).

    One thing that did not change is the annoying sound. Maybe the pitch was a bit lower but still the same dull plasticky noise that is 10X worse than that of MSV Hex.

    Also, it is still no gut. Not even close.


    I shall now fill out the rest of the review criteria based on the improved, reduced-tension setup.



    Power of test string
    I don't think I necessarily want a lot of power from my string, especially if it undercuts control. In comparison to my full-poly setup, I would say the ZX Pro has about the same power level.

    What I really like about natural gut (when coupled with co-poly) is that if I just want to have a topspin rally, it allows me to do that with ease, but if I want to hit a flat winner, it gives me that EXPLOSIVE power. I don't know how to describe it, perhaps more speed or accelaration without necessarily sailing the ball long? Whatever it is, I get that extra zip that adds to my racquet head speed.

    Does ZX Pro have that EXPLOSIVE power? No.

    Does it perhaps have that EXPLOSIVE power but to a lesser degree? I don't think so. I think what you put in is what you get out with ZX. No extra zip there.

    I should also point out that I didn't have a whole lot of confidence in going for flat winners because a few that I tried ended up sailing very long without any added zip. It could just be that I need more time with this string, but as of today, that's all I can say about it.

    Also, volleying with this string was very much like volleying with a co-poly. You can get precise directional control, but you need to generate your own power. It takes effort to hit those nice deep volleys. And those instances when you are totally stretched out and all you can do is get your racquet on the ball with little to no forward momentum, gut can often bail you out but this string won't.


    Feel
    I cannot describe its feel without being biased, because feel is by nature very closely associated with sound (much like how smell and taste go hand-in-hand), and you know by now how I feel about the noise this string makes.

    I would describe it as firm, not stiff (at the reduced tension, that is). Defintitely not mushy but not crisp either. But there's some solid beefiness to the feel that I kind of like.


    Spin
    Spin is very good to excellent. If I were to give my Black Widow and Tour Bite hybrid 9/10 in spin, I would give ZX Pro about 7.5 to 8 out of 10. For those who do want spin but do not want poly, the ZX Pro is a good candidate. Beats most of the multis and synthetic gut.


    Comfort
    Very good to excellent. But bear in mind that even during my second outing I still felt that the soft co-poly hybrid of Black Widow 16 g and Tour Bite 19 g trumps ZX Pro in the comfort department.


    Durability
    I apologize to TW for having only had 2 playtests. Due to a major injury, I was only able to start playing this week.

    But the string so far looks like a champ that would endure weeks of playing.


    Control (predictable trajectory? performance on different strokes and swing speeds?)
    The launch angle was absolutely normal. It responded best to spin-guided strokes, especially when going for the kill. I wasn't very successful with flat winners with ZX Pro.


    Compare to the string you use most often
    Thus far, I don't see a reason to switch from the polys that I have been using at extreme low tensions, which include Black Widow, Tour Bite Soft, Tour Bite 19, and Volkl V-Torque. All of these are extremely soft co-polys with very high spin potentials.

    ZX Pro doesn't seem to offer any improvement in comfort, spin, or explosive power that makes it a better candidate than any of the above co-polys, although being a string junkie that I am, I might start mixing up ZX Pro with the above-mentioned polys.


    Tension recommendations (after hitting it, would you recommend a different tension? Why?)
    Well, everyone is different. But if you are into extreme low tensions, this is a review you might consider. As for me, I strung this at 35 lbs. If I were to do it again, I would probably just go for 30 lbs.


    List any final thoughts.
    This string was a surprise in that it didn't behave like how I imagined Zyex would behave. At least in the context of extreme-low-tension stringing, it was every bit polyesque in its attributes with the important exception of tension maintenance. Come to think of it, using this string as a hybrid with a co-poly might allow the setup to last longer simply because ZX Pro is at least gut-like in its ability to maintain tension.

    Many thanks to TW for making me part of the playtest group, and thanks to fellow posters for putting up with this long, hastily written review.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2013
  50. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    I don't think that's a valid conclusion at all. You used one thin gauge at a tension that was lower than ideal, which is always going to result in less than ideal characteristics.
     

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