Sphinx780's Multi-Quest

Discussion in 'Strings' started by sphinx780, Nov 9, 2011.

  1. sphinx780

    sphinx780 Professional

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    Moving on to a new stick, lead me to try out some new string set-ups and with how much I love Mikeler's ongoing Multi Thread, this is set up in homage to his.

    So a little about me:

    Racquet: Boris Becker Melbourne (18x20 98sq in)
    4 5/8, two wilson overgrips on bare pallet

    Playstyle: 4.5 NTRP aggressive baseliner/all courter preferring to close out at net. Serves flat and hard with a mix of slice and kick. My game is based on holding serve quickly and pressuring my opponent for the break.

    It's been about 15 years since I've dealt with Multi's in any fashion so my reviews will be highly relative initially and will be subject to change after I string up a few more. I play solely on hard courts medium/fast paced and indoors most of the year. (Update 7/3/12...still highly relative to my game and experience)

    For now, Volkl V-Feel is my current string of choice, unless I run into shoulder issues again: I've now ordered these in terms of my preferences -

    1a. Volkl Gripper 16 54/51 Power and Feel
    1b. Volkl V-Feel 16 55/52 Control and Accuracy
    2. Discho Microfibre 16 54/51 Control
    3. Pro Supex Maxim Touch 16 54/51
    4. Klip Venom 17 50/48
    5. Tecnifibre MultiFeel 16 54/51
    6. Babolat Addiction 16 54/51
    7. Head RIP Control 16g 54/51 (brown, white)
    8. Isospeed Control 16 56/53



    What did our threads guest reviews say?

    DParis:

    RIP Control 16g, black (and white) 56/54 and additional thoughts
    Gamma Pro 16g 55/52
    Isospeed Professional classic is a 17g 58/55 pre-stretched

    sansaephanh:

    Hexy Fiber 16 58lbs
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2013
    #1
  2. sphinx780

    sphinx780 Professional

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    Isopeed Control 56/53:

    General: I found this string to be a great blend of power, spin, touch and control but due to it being the first time with this racquet it's hard to separate the string characteristics from the racquet itself, after trying a few other strings, I feel I have a better gauge on this one. My initial impression was that it was a little trampoline-y on slices but I now think that was getting used the the stick, not the string.

    Serve/Return of Serve: Both Serves and Returns are excellent. I would call it controlled power. I never felt as though I was lacking the punch I needed yet I also didn't have to worry about shots flying on me. I felt it did lack a little precision on seconds as I couldn't confidently kick the ball around the box as accurately as I would prefer, but again, this could have been racquet acclimation. 8.5/10

    Groundstrokes: Again, great. I felt like the string really added to the cupping action of the racquet allowing me to really rip the ball with precision. 9/10

    Volleys: Again, this just felt right but with this racquet, I have a hard time separating the string from the stick, this stick volley's as well as anything I've tried so it'll be hard for a string to screw it up. 8/10

    Touch shots: I missed a few of my go to slice lobs in doubles but the droppers and touch at net were good but occasionally short as well, this is probably my one issue with the string albeit minor. 7/10

    Stiffness: I found this one very soft, for a multi, I'm going to go 3/10 to set a baseline for my comparisons.

    Tension: May come back to this one, I didn't have this string from a fresh stringing so I can't fully comment.

    Durability: I cut it out to try the next one but saw no issue with this lasting me until I would want to move on.

    Movement: Like any multi, there was movement, but nothing exceptional or annoying

    Conclusion: I could see myself trying another set of this fresh to give it a complete review, as I write this, the more I'm thinking I want to give this one a second shot down the line...for now 7.5/10
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2011
    #2
  3. sphinx780

    sphinx780 Professional

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    Pro Supex Maxim Touch 54/51:

    General: When I think of a multi, this is what I perceived seeing/feeling and I will most likely experiment with a few tensions on this one to see how it plays. 56/53 was too high, no cupping or dwell, making it inconsistent but 54/51 corrected that.

    Serve/Return of Serve: Love the power of this one on flat serves and it had a very good bite for seconds. The tougher one to get dialed in on was a good slice serve but kicks were excellent. 8/10

    Groundstrokes: Access to spin was great when needed but it's not an overly spinny string. Power was a little less controlled than Isospeed but after a few balls it was easy to gauge and dial in for control. 8/10

    Volleys: No issues here but no outstanding attributes either 7.5/10

    Touch shots: This was surprisingly good...accuracy and bite. 8.5/10

    Stiffness: Not as soft as the Isopeed but what I would expect most multis to be so on my patent pending Multi scale I'm going 5/10

    Tension: As I'm only hitting the courts 2-3x with a string set thus far I can't say I'm going to notice tension maintenance as much as other reviewers, I didn't see any issues with it.

    Durability: As durable as I'd need or want, no noticeable fraying or notching after 6-8 hours on court.

    Movement: A little less than the Isopeed so for a Multi, I'd say good.

    Conclusion: Until doing this review I was thinking I'd have no problems using this as my main string. In a week or so I'll have my second Melbourne so it'll be easier to compare side by side and even though I think this is a decent string, I'm pretty sure it won't be my final choice at this point. 8/10
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2011
    #3
  4. sphinx780

    sphinx780 Professional

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    Babolat Addiction 16 54/51:

    General: I loved how this one strung up, and how it felt when hitting out, it's definitely a stiffer string though, in many ways it felt like using a lower strung poly.

    Serve/Return of Serve: Returns are where this shined due to the level of spin you could add to control the ball, First serves were located well with plenty of pace second serves had good bite but the stiffness limited the cupping action of the racket, which kept me from really moving the ball around the box. I'd still put it slightly above Maxim touch in this category 8.5/10

    Groundstrokes: The access to spin created some amazing angles with pace. Controlled power is the only way to put it, I loved what could be done from the ground on both wings both in power and variety. 9/10

    Volleys: In doubles I can't say I'm in love with this set up but in singles when closing out a shortball this set up is brilliant. It's all about how well the string reacts to having all of your weight moving through the ball. 7/10 reaction volleys, 8.5/10 aggressive putdowns.

    Touch shots: Pristine drop shots, but touch volley's were a little harder to reign in properly 7/10

    Stiffness: 7/10 on the multi scale. I have a hard time seeing any other multi being stiffer but I have a very low test base.

    Tension: Held well, I don't see tension loss being an issue. I would probably string this one lower if I used it again due to the stiffness though.

    Durability: A full 90 minute ground stroke session and then a 2 hour singles match...no noticeable wear, I would assume this is as durable as you could ask for.

    Movement: Very limited movement, not quite poly like but darn close.

    Conclusion: If my shoulder hadn't felt sore post match, I would be in love with this one and learn to adapt to my minor quibbles. It's a great string all around and is a definite contender for a great Multi. I'd give this a 9/10 if it wasn't for the stiffness affecting the body 8.5/10

    Long term prospects (7/3/12 update): First two hitting sessions were great so 8.5 stands if you are mr. moneybags (or Ms.). Played a 3rd match and even though tension felt fine, the elasticity was gone...similar to a poly going dead. Spin and Control were a fraction of what they were. I'd say this is good for 3 dubs matches or 2 singles matches at most for a hard hitter, after the 6 hour mark this is a 5/10. Still very little fraying so it'll last a while in an 18x20 but holy crap did the playability change. Pro Supex is leaps and bounds ahead over the long haul at this point. Long term playability or lack thereof kills the overall value for me....7/10
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2012
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  5. SlapShot

    SlapShot Hall of Fame

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    Really sounds like I might like Addiction - have you tried Xcel Sphinx? That so far is the spinniest multi I've ever used - too bad it's so pricy.
     
    #5
  6. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    It does have pretty good spin for a multi. Addiction is right behind it. RIP Control and Hexy Fibre have the most spin of the multis I've tried.
     
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  7. sphinx780

    sphinx780 Professional

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    I haven't tried Xcel. I may down the line depending on how the other test runs go over the coming months. Right now I've got Volkl Gripper, RIP control and Multi Feel on hand to try.

    The funny thing with the Addiction, it was harder on the arm than a full bed of isospeed baseline control (poly) at 48/45.

    But unlike the poly, the addiction still had the cupping action of a good multi. If you don't have a sensitive arm, then I think it's worth a try, it really is a great string!
     
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  8. SlapShot

    SlapShot Hall of Fame

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    Is RIP Control pretty muted? I'm looking for a possible alternative to a poly now that I've switched to the Redondo (which is pretty much a catch and release frame) to enhance that feel, but want to keep something pretty crisp in the bed.
     
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  9. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Addiction is one of the stiffest multis out there.
     
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  10. sphinx780

    sphinx780 Professional

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    It's probably why I liked it so much, now I just need to get me a robo-shoulder so I can stick with stiffer strings and life will be peachy.
     
    #10
  11. RyKnocks

    RyKnocks Semi-Pro

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    Always love these multi-playtest threads. Keep up the great work and looking forward to your options on RIP and MultiFeel. Once I run through this reel of Gosen, those two multi's are at the top of my list to try.

    I've tried XCel and it's an awesome feeling multi with great durability, but I'd like a little more spin. (I also wish XCel wasn't so expensive :p )
     
    #11
  12. BigT

    BigT Professional

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    Impressive durability from these multis....Do you hit flat off the ground also?
     
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  13. Up&comer

    Up&comer Hall of Fame

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    Yep. Second only to genesis thunderblast. Im sure mikeler remembers some others, but that's just off the top of my head.

    Oh, fxp tour if that counts, except i didn't really like the playability of it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2011
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  14. sphinx780

    sphinx780 Professional

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    I have a Flatter stroke but I mix it up. I use spin more for keeping my shots in the court than consistent play. I'd say I sheer the ball...so I'm finishing over the top of the ball as I'm going through it. I still employ the 90s style 2 ball 3 ball when I can. Hit it hard to the corner, then harder to the next corner...

    Last time I used a Multi I was all of 19 and would break a set of TNT 16 every 2-3 hours. But that was a 16x19 stick as well.
     
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  15. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    TNT2 was stiffer. Prince Premiere LT was close too.
     
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  16. sphinx780

    sphinx780 Professional

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    I figure it may help some others out as well as remind myself about the strings I've tried as time passes...
     
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  17. Steve Huff

    Steve Huff Legend

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    A couple of others you may want to try: Solinco Tru-Feel and TF Multifeel.

    The Tru-Feel is more textured. It has a plasticy feel when you string it, but it softens up when you play.

    The MultiFeel is just a good, all-around multi. I get good spin from it and it's easy on the arm.

    A couple of others that I've liked too: Alpha Sphere. It has a different, soft feel than the other multi's I've used. It may take a few more hits to get used to, but a very nice string.

    Head Fibergel Power. Hard to describe, but has good control and is also easy on the arm. Doesn't feel "mushy".

    Good luck with the playtests.
     
    #17
  18. sphinx780

    sphinx780 Professional

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    I appreciate it. I've got a set of Multi Feel that I'll be trying out. Depending on how these next few go, it'll be a great way to give me some direction going forward.
     
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  19. SlapShot

    SlapShot Hall of Fame

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    Sphinx - totally OT, but where do you usually play? Trying to figure out if we run in the same circles - my 4.5 team plays out of Public Indoor, and I sometimes sub in the Reed Sweatt men's dubs.
     
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  20. sphinx780

    sphinx780 Professional

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    Say hi to JB if you see him up there!

    I get up to Public Indoor for the after Thanksgiving hit but that's about it. Most of my time is at Wooddale on the far side of the world from PI.

    Other than the USTA matches, Fort Snelling and Read Sweatt are the two I am at most outside of Wooddale.
     
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  21. SlapShot

    SlapShot Hall of Fame

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    I was just thinking I should get signed up for the post-Thanksgiving hit. Not sure if I'll be allowed to do it this year or not since the other half and I are headed to Wisco for the weekend....
     
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  22. sphinx780

    sphinx780 Professional

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    I haven't missed one yet...luckily my wife and I host our families so I get the free pass the day after.
     
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  23. SlapShot

    SlapShot Hall of Fame

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    Well, I got the go-ahead from the boss to play tennis, so I guess we'll be meeting up after Thanksgiving at the mixer....
     
    #23
  24. sphinx780

    sphinx780 Professional

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    Sounds like a plan to me, you can pretty much bet I'll be the only one with a Melbourne in hand.
     
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  25. sphinx780

    sphinx780 Professional

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    Okay, got a 3rd match in with Addiction, my review on this one for the long term is dropping...
     
    #25
  26. COPEY

    COPEY Hall of Fame

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    Great reviews, sphinx - looking forward to reading what you have to say about Multifeel.
     
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  27. sphinx780

    sphinx780 Professional

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    ^Well then I guess multi-feel will be up next :)
     
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  28. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    That's a great multi except for durability.
     
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  29. sphinx780

    sphinx780 Professional

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    It's your review of it that made it a must try for me.
     
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  30. sphinx780

    sphinx780 Professional

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    My first go with Multi feel wasn't so pleasant, it strung up very stiff, which surprised me when stringing.

    Gonna see how it plays a second time out and reserve judgement in case break in time changes things.
     
    #30
  31. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

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    I'm testing out similar strings too with my APDGT, so I thought I'd chime in with my recent experience.

    I just broke my RIP Control 16/MSV Focus Hex hybrid (55/50) today. The RIP Control broke with no warning. It lasted about 9 hours, which for me makes it good for a multi in durability when considering the textured poly cross. The setup had great spin, control was good too, but touch was lacking. The mains started moving after about 4 hours and lost a little bit of spin, but movement was not excessive and it was still very playable. I tracked tension with my RacquetTune iPhone app. It started at 45.3 pounds 24 hours from the stringer and ended at 41.4 just before it broke. That's an 8.6% loss after settling and 9 hours of play. For comparison, PSGD/Focus Hex (55/50) started at 44.9 pounds 24 hours from the stringer and ended at 38.6. That's a 14% loss after settling, and the string only lasted 6 hours and felt noticeably mushier and moved like crazy before it broke. RIP Control ran circles around it in my book.

    My other racquet was strung with full Babolat Addiction 16 at 55 pounds, so I switched to that in the same session. Based on other reviews I expected this setup to be more powerful, but that did not seem to be the case. Maybe it needs a little break in time, but for the first half hour I can say it felt a bit underpowered compared to my previous setup. I had to put more effort into hitting hard shots than I did before. Touch was an improvement with this setup. Spin was lacking in comparison, but I was able to get enough spin to keep the ball in. So far the sting hasn't moved, but I know it will after a few more hits. To me the stiffness was medium. I think my arm will be fine with it.

    I'm going to go all multi now as the weather gets cooler and I'm playing less often. My next setup will be full RIP Control. I'm tempted to buy a set of Xcel for $18, but I'm afraid I'll like it.
     
    #31
  32. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    Will be interested to hear your full RIP report.
     
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  33. sphinx780

    sphinx780 Professional

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    I'm quickly realizing that specific racquets will bring out certain aspects of these strings compared to others. My first go with the Multi Feel I could tell that there'd be a difference in performance in an open string pattern.

    With Addiction, it seemed to play really nice with recessed grommets, even for a stiffer string, I got both decent power and a lot of spin.
     
    #33
  34. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

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    I'll probably skip Multi Feel. Other reports seem to indicate that it has low durability. I hit with a lot of spin, and I'm pretty hard on strings.

    To me, the jury is still out on Addiction. I don't think I'll be cutting it out any time soon and I can still generate decent power with it. It might improve after break in.

    The RIP Control/Focus Hex setup was the second most spinny setup I tried yet. It seemed like it was almost as spinny as full bed Focus Hex at 35 pounds. Anything full multi I try after that is going to fall short on spin by comparison. As far as I can tell, Addiction has at least average spin for a multi and possibly higher than average. I was hitting a lot of long forehands with RPM/N.Vy but with Addiction they seemed to stay in.
     
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  35. sphinx780

    sphinx780 Professional

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    Tecnifibre Multi Feel 16 54/51:

    General: Easy stringing, based on the soft feel of the string I was expecting good things. I hit with in in cool/dry conditions (welcome to MN indoor tennis!) 60-65 degrees at best, it was one of the cooler clubs so there's a noticeable difference in ball flight and response, this could have something to do with my overall thoughts.

    Serve/Return of Serve: Topspin and kick second serves were more effective than any other multi I've tried in both placement and action, unfortunately, my flat first serve seemed to lack it's normal pace and location. Things tended to spray inconsistently. First, I figured my motion must be a little off, but then I hit groundies. 6/10 b/c of the value I put on my first serve. 8/10 on returns as my 2hbh was a vicious beast which was the only flatter stroke that didn't seem to spray inconsistently.

    Groundstrokes: Sans the bh return, I was once again left with a feeling of inconsistency, some shots seemed to do exactly what I wanted but then a great feeling stroke would yield a ball that didn't have the spin or would not locate well. I believe a big portion of this to be that I felt no cupping action with this string, the only way I could describe it would be 'brittle'. It actually reminded me of a cheap 1st gen poly...tecnifibre's polyspin...which I loved in my previous stick but it doesn't respond well to the Melbourne and is not what I would want in a Multi. 6/10

    Volleys: Here is where I felt it shined...the feedback to the hand wasn't quite what I'd want but the results were not affected...power/touch/placement, all right there....but I could do all of that with Polyspin so it may be my familiarity with that feel. Even so, 8/10.

    Touch shots: Again, here's a puzzler...at net: great including reflex volley lobs. Off the ground, droppers were erratic but a soft forehand roller to the netman's toes was pitch perfect. This string confuses me a bit but I think Stiffness will sum that up. 7/10

    Stiffness: In my stick, this felt as stiff as addiction but there is one notable difference. Addiction is stiff with the only real give felt in the ball cupping action. This had a full stringbed give with little or no cupping action...I think this one will breath better in an open string pattern and then feel softer. Because of that 6.5/10

    Tension: Tension maintenance was great, no issues noticed albeit only over one 2 hour hitting session (and doubles at that)

    Durability: Here's where I agree with everything I read...there was major notching after that one time out...for someone liking the feel and response of this string, you'll get ONE good hit. The more spin you impart, the sooner it will snap...if you want the durability and the same feel but a little less power....try technifibre polyspin...I'm dead serious. They felt and played pretty comparable impo. 3/10

    Movement: Limited movement...the least of any poly for me.

    Conclusion: Ugh, I'm not fan and would have liked to give this one another hit for a fair go and see if my impression changed but simply Life's too short. I wouldn't say it's a bad string...I can see where the potential is to be a very beloved string...but it's definitely not my cup of tea. I wouldn't be surprised if I take a little flac for this review but I stand by my thoughts on it.

    6.5/10
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2011
    #35
  36. sphinx780

    sphinx780 Professional

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    Up Next: Wilson Playtest String B and then Volkl Gripper 16.
     
    #36
  37. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Why do I like the organization of your review and this thread so much? Just can't seem to put my finger on it. :)

    I'm beginning to wonder whether they changed MultiFeel. It just seemed different when I went to try it as a cross a few months ago. The stiffness was what surprised me both as I was stringing it up and hitting with it. Keep in mind, I tested it as a full bed in cool temperatures last winter and I don't remember it being stiff like it was in warm temperatures as a cross. Just my 2 cents.

    Looking forward to the Gripper review for sure.
     
    #37
  38. sphinx780

    sphinx780 Professional

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    I figured, why re-invent the wheel? ;-)

    I think the only suitable explanation as it must have been changed from your initial play test because this one completely surprised me compared to yours and other older reviews. I kept trying to pinpoint if I was just having an off day but the more I looked back on it, I didn't see any attributes changing.
     
    #38
  39. sphinx780

    sphinx780 Professional

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    I'd definitely say avoid MF if durability is a concern...and my two cents on addiction, if it's not painful for you to use, I think letting it break in a bit could really let it shine. Although that's just an educated guess...
     
    #39
  40. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    One of the problems with reviewing so many strings is that you forget what they feel like out of the package. It just did not seem to be what I remembered but I could be wrong.
     
    #40
  41. sphinx780

    sphinx780 Professional

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    I'm quickly realizing just how relative it all is.

    I couldn't compare a string to one I played months ago when the 4 I played in the past month are on the brain. I think that's part of the reason I liked you're thread so much, this way I have something to go back to when I forget.
     
    #41
  42. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, your thread will not only benefit the TTW community but I do go back and read my own reviews from time to time as I consider new string setups.
     
    #42
  43. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

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    Well, I gave Addiction another chance. It played better the second time around, but it still didn't impress me enough.

    So I started playing with the racquet that had full RIP Control strung at 55. Let's just say that for me, RIP is better. For my style of play, RIP seems to beat Addiction in all areas except maybe for the occasional flat ball going long, but if I hit the ball flat it's probably a mistake. I even thought RIP's feel was better on touch shots, but maybe that's because my touch shots are usually slices. It's definitely a spinner's string.

    I think I'm going to keep RIP in the mains for a while because it's durable and seems to fit my game. Poly crosses added more spin and better control to the setup, and I think I might go back to that when the season starts. Poly mains are too hard on my arm. Most other multis in the mains probably won't last me more than 6 hours...I know NXT in the crosses with poly mains lasted me less time than that. For only $6 I think RIP is a steal. I would definitely recommend it to players who like poly but want something more arm friendly. Classic style hitters with moderate spin who like soft gut-like strings might do better with a softer multi. I might experiment with some softer crosses to see if that further improves the comfort and feel. RIP is more comfortable than Addiction, but I'm sure a softer string like Xcel or NXT would be more comfortable and have better feel.
     
    #43
  44. COPEY

    COPEY Hall of Fame

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    No flac here - just reinforces how subjective string reviews are which is why I'm amazed when I see someone say "I'm waiting on your review to see whether or not I should buy a reel."

    I compared MF head-to-head with Maxim Touch (both strung at 62lbs in a Volkl V1 Midplus), and I much preferred MF. I had better directional control, generating spin was easier, and although I didn't think it was as powerful as MT, I could amp up the pace on command, and with better control.

    Anyway, again...great reviews - keep up the good work!
     
    #44
  45. sphinx780

    sphinx780 Professional

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    Ramon-

    That's good to know on both accounts. RIP is on my to do list (at that price I had to pick it up) but it doesn't sound like I'll love it...you never know...I purposely chose a variety of multis to better lead me to what I like or don't like.
     
    #45
  46. sphinx780

    sphinx780 Professional

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    Wholeheartedly agree. I really believe it's subjective to the reviewer, the gamestyle and the racquet, it allows for way too many variables to not differ from player to player. You and I definitely had opposite views on those MT and MF!
     
    #46
  47. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

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    If RIP was $15-20 I'd say don't get it if it doesn't sound like your kind of string, but for $6 I think it's worth a shot. You might be surprised. For me it's an excellent net game string and even reviewers who didn't like it as much tend to agree on that.

    Don't get it if the reason you like multis is because you want strings that fray, move around, and snap after 5 hours. :)
     
    #47
  48. sphinx780

    sphinx780 Professional

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    I have a set on hand, picked it up with the few others I decided to take for a test run when starting this thread. The price made it a no-brainer.

    It's my fear of straight lines that lead me to multis so I might have a panic attack if they don't move ;-)
     
    #48
  49. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Agreed. I get very nervous when people buy something on my review alone.
     
    #49
  50. sphinx780

    sphinx780 Professional

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    My hope is that by reading the reviews most can discern that individual experiences will vary.
     
    #50

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