Torn Between Machines

Discussion in 'Stringing Techniques / Stringing Machines' started by kmartin, May 16, 2008.

  1. kmartin

    kmartin New User

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    I have convinced my wife I need an upgrade from my Klipper. My budget is not absolute, but I know once it hits 4 figures, it's going to get a lot harder to make the case for a given machine. Here's what I am considering, and the pros and cons I see for each:

    Alpha Apex II $1000
    -------------------

    Pros:

    1. Convertible to an electronic with addition of a Wise
    2. Turntable brake
    3. Clamps look like good quality
    4. Rolling casters
    5. Mounting system looks like good quality.

    Cons:

    1. Crank tensioner, not constant pull
    2. Have to hold on to crank while releasing tension. Is this true of all crank tensioners?

    Unknowns:

    1. It lists a 6 pt. racquet suspension system. As a practical matter, what does a suspension mounting system provide you that a non-suspension system doesn't?
    2. If add a Wise, do you lose the 360 degree racquet rotation?

    =================================================

    Silent Partner MAESTRO $800
    ----------------------------

    Does anyone have one of these? It looks comparable to the Apex II, but I don't have a trained eye like many of you.

    Pros:

    1. Convertible to an electronic with addition of a Wise
    2. Turntable brake
    3. Has stand

    Cons:

    1. Crank tensioner, not constant pull
    2. Not "prestigious" if I ever try to earn some income from stringing, clients may be put off

    Unknowns:

    1. 3 tooth clamps look good, but are they?
    2. Silent Partner build quality
    3. Mounting system quality & convenience
    4. If add a Wise, do you lose the 360 degree racquet rotation?

    =================================================

    Prince Neos 1000 $1100
    -----------------------

    Pros:

    1. Convertible to an electronic with addition of a Wise
    2. Probably stable supply of parts in future
    3. Fast, based on various posts
    4. Single action clamps
    5. Turntable brake
    6. Sturdy
    7. 2 point mounting - faster
    8. Has stand

    Cons:

    1. Glide bars not so good on fan patterns
    2. Crank tensioner, not constant pull
    3. Not portable
    4. 2 point mounting - less support?
    5. Lose 360 degree racquet rotation if use Wise per another post.

    =================================================

    String way ML100 $780 or $880
    ------------------------------

    Pros:

    1. Fast, at least for a drop weight - doesn't need to be parallel/horizontal to get proper tension
    2. Constant pull
    3. Has single action clamps available
    4. Portable
    5. 10 year warranty
    6. Outstanding racquet support - or so they claim, looks like decent support without blockage based on the videos at www.string_way.ro/index.php?D=3&cat=1&id=2 (remove the underscore)
    7. Alpha is the US distributor, so I take some comfort from that

    Cons:

    1. Expensive for a dropweight
    2. Not "prestigious" if I ever try to earn some income from stringing, clients may be put off
    3. No stand
    4. Clamps have been said to move on some forum threads

    Unknowns:

    1. Single action clamps each use a two glide bar mechanism. Video on their site makes it look pretty nice compared to the double action, but I was wondering if anyone had practical feedback on either double or single action clamps.
    2. Turntable lock

    =================================================

    Features common to them all (where applicable), so didn't mention above:

    Spring assisted base clamps or otherwise a good alternative
    360 degree racquet rotation
    Linear string gripper

    I'm really intrigued by the String_ways, but a couple of posts that mentioned clamp slippage have me really concerned. If it weren't for that, I'd probably already have one. On the other hand the Neos seems like a really safe bet. And Silent Partner might be the sleeper for that price.

    If anyone can fill in some of the unknowns, correct errors, note additional considerations or suggest worthy alternative machines, I'd be much obliged.
     
    #1
  2. YULitle

    YULitle Hall of Fame

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    I'd be between the Neos and the Apex. Personally, I'd get the Neos.

    You obviously know about the machines. The decision is yours to make.
     
    #2
  3. lethalfang

    lethalfang Professional

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    You spoke a lot about whether a machine is "prestigious" enough for your stringing clients. I wonder if your typical clients know anything about any of those machines at all.
     
    #3
  4. rscottdds

    rscottdds Rookie

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    Any reason for leaving Gammas (5003 or 6004) out?
    -Robert
     
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  5. Zhou

    Zhou Hall of Fame

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    I personally would go with the Apex II or Neos.

    Though I am biased because I own the Apex II. :)
     
    #5
  6. theace21

    theace21 Hall of Fame

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    You have done your homework. I have an Ektelon Model H, and over the past several years I have debated getting a new stringer. The glide bars are fast and easy, but I probably would get the Apex II or the Gamma 6004.

    Going from a Klippermate to an Apex II or a Neos - either way you will be in stringing heaven.
     
    #6
  7. sneekynyc

    sneekynyc Rookie

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    APEX II all the way...

    I own one also... hehe
     
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  8. Zhou

    Zhou Hall of Fame

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    I am pleased just like you said I would.
     
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  9. jcstennis

    jcstennis Hall of Fame

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    The 6004 has a nice mounting system, but the Apex comes with the 3 Teeth clamps, a nice feature! I wish my Gamma had those clamps!
     
    #9
  10. kmartin

    kmartin New User

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    I got the impression reading posts on here, that for the price range I was in, most people preferred Alpha to Gamma. That's really the only reason.

    Those do look like interesting machines. The only difference I see on those two (in the 2 point mount versions) on Gamma's site, is the 6004 has self-centering suspension mounting, and the 5003 only has 2 point quick mount. What does self-centering do for you? And is suspension mounting inherently better?

    Are there any other differences between those two that you know of?
     
    #10
  11. iplaybetter

    iplaybetter Hall of Fame

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    behind you, but i have to be somewhere else by the
    i own an alpha, and string a lot for a club with a neos, the neos is a better work horse, i realy like the neos clamps
     
    #11
  12. kmartin

    kmartin New User

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    So on the Neos, how do you do fan patterns like the [K]Zero when you get to the outside mains that are at a pretty good angle? Do you still use the fixed clamps, or go with floating clamps?
     
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  13. YULitle

    YULitle Hall of Fame

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    Gotta go with the floating clamps. Some fan patterns aren't fanned enough to warrant using them, but some are.
     
    #13
  14. Mansewerz

    Mansewerz Legend

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    What does self centering do?
     
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  15. iplaybetter

    iplaybetter Hall of Fame

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    behind you, but i have to be somewhere else by the
    you are supposed to use the floaters, but i just use the machine clamps becuase the guy i work for with the neos does not have the floting clamps, and he does not realy care
     
    #15
  16. SunDog

    SunDog Rookie

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    You can check my posts for a bunch of information on the ML 100 clamps, mounting system, etc. Also - String way has quoted some of my posts on their website.

    Briefly - I would put the clamps up against any out there (I have experience with Prince, Babolat and SP). I own both the SA and the DA - and I like the SA better - but both are great.

    The mounting system claims are valid with respect to support. I have docummented distortion measurments and posted them on G S S website.

    The old ML 100 did not have a turntable lock - but several S W machines developed since I bought mine do have one - so they may have been updated. My MS200DX has one and it is very secure and easy to use.

    The portability is real nice for tourney players - I have traveled extensively with mine.

    As for prestige - you will be fighting an uphill battle if you go this route. Your average playing associate will not be able to distinguish btw an ML 100 and any other drop weight. I had a pro stringer stay at my house during a recent USTA challenger - and though he was very impressed with the SW machines that I own - he said that they would never be accepted by the pros at any level of tourney - simply because they are unknown. He said that the electonic SW machines would fly. As you know - they have the same clamping system and essentially the same mounting system.

    Good luck.
     
    #16
  17. tguru

    tguru Rookie

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    K Martin, I am 20 year Certified with a Babolat Star 4 at one house and a Maestro at the other. Between the Neos and Maestro no brainer. Get the Maestro. Impressive build quality, clamps are fine and better mounting than Neos. Lower price also. Just tell them to pack yours better than they packed mine.
     
    #17
  18. kmartin

    kmartin New User

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    I appreciate all the responses. In case anyone is following this thread, I wanted to post some additional info I've discovered.

    In my initial post I stated that all the machines have 360 degree racquet rotation. I found out from two different sources that the Neos does not have that capability.

    And one of the unknowns was whether the Wise nixed the deal on the 360 rotation. It does in fact. An email response from Herb at **********.com stated:

    "We designed the 2086 so that it does NOT allow for a complete 360 degee rotation.
    And it doesnt seem to bother anyone.
    We want the gripper and the string bed to be totally level so that there is no
    angle in pulling string (up or down)
    Just spin the racket the other way"

    Thanks again for the info & opinions.
     
    #18
  19. daboogieman

    daboogieman New User

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    sorry to ressurect a thread but I am in just about the same boat as you kmartin. Which stringer did you eventually decide upon? Also, am I missing anything between the features of the maestro and the apex2? they look like they have almost the same features but the maestro is cheaper than either the neos or the apex 2. Being mostly a noob in regard to stringing I figure ppl here on the board could answer as to the small differences between the machines that aren't really easy to differentiate otherwise.
     
    #19
  20. !Tym

    !Tym Hall of Fame

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    How well does the Strungway table breaking system work for Prince O-Port rackets? That's the only reason I am considering replacing my base to the newer brake-equiped base.

    Also, the ML100 and MS200 actually have been used at a pro tournament before. The Bronx Challenger, the ML100 was actually used to string one of Michael Chang's rackets. Carl Chang was said to have been laughing because he couldn't believe the racket got strung on a dropweight, but he wasn't complaining about the actual string job quality. The ML100 was used to string runoff. I actually think the MS200 would fly at a challenger tournament if you explained its unique tensioning system. Hey...if it works, it works.
     
    #20
  21. Mansewerz

    Mansewerz Legend

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    The only difference between the SP Maestro and Apex is that the apex has a nicer brake system.

    Is $200 dollars worth a disc lock brake system v.s. a Screw brake system (SP's looks more convenient than the alpha one because of the handle)? Well, that's up to you. I'd probably just go for the Maestro unless I had the patience.

    Plus, I like the red, silver color scheme. Both look like they have great cosmetics though.
     
    #21
  22. daboogieman

    daboogieman New User

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    Other than the disc brake vs screw brake is there not really much difference in the mounting system, clamps, or build quality right?

    This looks like it's coming down to the revo and the maestro since they both seem to be quality products and best bang for your buck offerings in the tabletop and stand stringing categories.
     
    #22
  23. Pathman

    Pathman New User

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    so what are you going to do w\ that Kmate?
     
    #23
  24. barry

    barry Hall of Fame

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    #24
  25. Mansewerz

    Mansewerz Legend

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    The Maestro does though, doesn't it?


    Do the silver knobs in that picture control the posts at 12 and 6 o clock too, or is there another knob?
     
    #25
  26. Il Mostro

    Il Mostro Banned

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    You are correct. The silver knobs are fore/aft controls for the pillars; each black knob operates a pair of side mounts. IMO, the "stacked" configuration is not a great design.
     
    #26
  27. kmartin

    kmartin New User

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    I went with none of the above, and bought a Revo. I made/am making some upgrades that put it on par with the Maestro price-wise. I am upgrading the clamps to the 3 tooth ones that come on the Apex 2. And I bought a nice Craftsman tool chest on wheels, with lockable ball bearing drawers. The Revo fits perfectly on there, and it is the perfect height for me. So for the price of the Maestro, I get about the same machine, but a stand with really nice storage. The machine is more portable, which for me is a nice feature. And if I ever decide to sell it, I think you tend to lose less money towards the lower end of the price range. If you read these boards much, you know selling a Revo would probably not be too difficult, unless Alpha ever gets to the point where they always have them in stock.

    If I decide to keep it long-term, I will probably get a Wise. So I would have a constant pull, with a lockout backup if the Wise goes south and needs repair.

    Someday, I'd like to have a constant pull that doesn't require electricity, and would be nearly as fast as an electronic constant pull i.e. a String way, the fabled Laserfibre Quantum, or something similar. But they cost so much, and I'd have to demo one in person before I'd spend that much on a more obscure stringer, for fear I'd take a bath if I didn't like it and sold it.
     
    #27
  28. Mansewerz

    Mansewerz Legend

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    It's really a shame that the string way machines have gotten so expensive. It's all because the "almighty dollar" has lost it's "almightyness" in foreign markets.
     
    #28
  29. daboogieman

    daboogieman New User

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    How much were the 3 tooth clamp upgrades for the revo? I think i'm leaning toward the maestro myself cause I think 200 extra is a good price for the upgrades over a revo (clamps, stand, mounting system). You are right though on resale for the revo on these boards tho hehe
     
    #29
  30. SunDog

    SunDog Rookie

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    It works beautifully for any racquet that requires the use of a lock. It is essentially a flick of a lever to lock the turntable - and it is metal on metal contact (spring loaded metal peg into a hole in some other metal) - so there is no chance of slippage.

    If I were responsible for a stringing room - and I only got to bring one machine into it - it would be the MS200DX. There is so much less that can go wrong on this machine - and the finished product is top shelf.

    I definitely would not put my eggs in an electronic basket - if that were the only machine that I had at my disposal for the week.

    At the Challenger that I worked (as a volunteer - cutting out strings, taking orders, bagging, etc.), when the pros started arriving - the first thing they asked the pro stringer was how his machine (Prince 4000) compared to the the Star 5 that was at the previous week's tourney. They just want to know what tension to ask for. If they walk into a room and see a familiar machine - then they are probably less likely to wonder about what they need to ask for.

    Interestingly, even though the pro stringer told those that asked that he thought the Prince produced a noticably higher SBS, a couple of them didn't seem to believe him - and on their next stringing - they went down in tension. Then (early in the tourney) the Prince machine crapped the bed (clamp base just plain wore out), and the stringer had to beg the University to allow the use of their Star 5.

    If that was not an option, he would have borrowed my MS200DX.
     
    #30
  31. 1012007

    1012007 Hall of Fame

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    SunDog have you still got your MS200?? I searched around and saw a thread in where you said you won one of e bay
     
    #31
  32. SunDog

    SunDog Rookie

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    I have two machines. An MS200TT with DA clamps on a Stringway Stand, and an MS200 Tour Pro with SA clamps - which is essentially the same as the MS200DX.

    At some point I need to get off my rear and sell the MS200TT - but I can't seem to make myself do it.
     
    #32
  33. topspin

    topspin Semi-Pro

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    I have the ML100 and recommend it fully. It really is a joy to work on. I have tried both the DA and SA clamps. I had ordered the machine with SA but Tim at Laserfibre sent me a set of DA to try out. I definitely preferred the SA.

    Clamps are amazing. The mounting system is the safest for racquets. It does take longer to mount a racquet though.

    I can't really talk about the other machines since I've not tried them. But the ML100 is worth every penny and then some.
     
    #33

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