See post #2 for more info about my game and a few other string thoughts. The reference standard that all multis aspire to (but not necessarily my favorite string): Wilson Natural Gut 16
1. Discho Microfibre 16 or Signum Pro Micronite 16
2. Babolat XCel Premium 16
2A. Prince Premiere Attack White 16
2B. Dunlop DNA 16
3. Tecnifibre X-One Biphase 16
3A. Gamma Professional 16
4. Tecnifibre MultiFeel 16
4A. WeissCannon SuperCable Pro 16
4B. Isospeed Control Classic 16
5. Wilson NXT Control 16
6. Prince Premiere LT 16
6A. Genesis Thunder Blast 16
6B. Prince Premier Touch 17
7A. Discho Acura Control 17
8A. Pro's Pro Gutex Ultra 17
9. Mantis Comfort Synthetic 16 or Pro's Pro Hi-Tec Multifibre 16
9A. Discho Microfibre 17
9B. Ashaway Dynamite Tough 16
10. Tecnifibre DuraMix 16
10A. WeissCannon Big Fantum 16
10B. Tier One Triumph 16
11. Babolat Addiction 16
11A. Klip Venom 16
11B. Wilson Sensation 16
12. Dunlop Hexy Fiber 16
12B. Wilson Sensation Control 16
13. Head FXP (Control) 16
13A. Solinco Vanquish 16
13B. Volkl Gripper 16
14. Tecnifibre NRG2 16
14A. Tecnifibre XR1 16
15. Mantis Comfort Synthetic 16 Mains/Head RIP Control 16 Crosses
15A. Kirschbaum Touch Multifibre
16. Polyfibre Gutex 16
16A. Boris Becker Pulse 16
17. Yonex Tour Super 850 16
17B. Gosen TecFlex 16
18A. Wilson NXT 16
19. Head Intellitour 16
19A. MSV Soft Control 16
20. Head Rip Control 16
21. Wilson Shock Shield 16
22. Head RIP Control 16 Mains/Mantis Comfort Synthetic 16 Crosses
23. Tourna Quasi Gut 16
23B. Volkl Power Fiber II 16
24. Pro Supex Maxim Touch 17
25. Isospeed Control 16
25B. Volkl V-Twist 16
26. Genesis Xplosion 16
27B. Klip Excellerator 16
28. Gamma TNT2 16
Here are my current string rankings based mostly on playability for me. These rankings do take into account durability and consider tension maintenance as secondary factors. The majority of the strings were put in my Babolat Pure Storm Tour Plus (non GT) with a leather grip and two strips 3 inches long of 1/4 lead tape at 10 and 2. I switched sticks in the summer of 2011, so items with an "A" after the number were tested in a Pro Kennex 7G with no modifications except head tape. In October of 2012, I switched to the Prince Exo3 Tour [16 x 18] with no modifications. Those reviews will be marked with a "B". I play with heavy spin on most shots at a 4.5 level and 95% of my matches are on Har-Tru. Note: strings below the dashed line just did not work for me at all for one reason or another. If I forgot to go back and update the tension maintenance, that means it held until breakage. Tension loss readings from RacquetTune provided are the last one measured.
TTW user KCraig and I have fairly similar string tastes, so strings that he has tried and not liked I'll be skipping. These include Dunlop Comfort Synthetic and Prince Synthetic Gut Multifilament. I hit with Dunlop Silk for a few minutes and as others have reported, it plays rather stiff. WeissCannon Xplosiv is very similar to Mantis Comfort Synthetic so I'll skip this one as well but I have used it as a cross.
Top 3 comfort multis for me:
1. Mantis Comfort Synthetic 16 (Pro's Pro Hi Tec Multifibre seems like the same string to me)
2. Babolat Xcel 16
3. Pro Supex Maxim Touch 17
Top 3 spin multis for me:
1. Head RIP Control 16
2. Dunlop Hexy Fiber 16
3. Tecnifibre X1 Biphase 16
Top 3 power multis for me:
1. Pro Supex Maxim Touch 17
2. Tecnifibre X1 Biphase 16
3. WeissCANNON "The Big Fantum" 16
Top 3 durable multis for me:
1. Head RIP Control 16 (I did not play until breakage but it looked barely used after several hours)
2. Discho Microfibre 16 (I think Signum Pro Micronite is the same string)
3. Prince Premiere Attack 16
And the multifilament that plays closest to natural gut for me...Tecnifibre X1 Biphase 16
Below are some reviews for prototype strings. All were bad:
A. TW Wilson Prototype
B. TW Solinco Blind Test String
A review written in my format by djNEiGht of Tecnifibre TGV 17: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showp...postcount=5689
Reserved for Isospeed Control 16 Review...
I pulled this string out for half of my warmup and then put it back. After going down 4-0, I figured what the heck, let's try something different. It felt a little bit stiff for the first few minutes of hitting, but then it was very comfortable. The power level was a little lower than my current setup. For those that care about string movement, it does not move very much. I did not notice any notching after 11 games and 10 minutes of hitting. Spin creation seemed about average. All in all, this seems like a pretty good string. Nothing really floored me though. I'll report back if I have anything new to add and on the durability I get.
I ended up cutting this string out after 4 sets to try the Head RIP Control 16. There was minor notching at this point but the string looked like it had plenty of life left on it. TW offers this for $10.99 per set.
OK, here is my review in the TW format of the Mantis Comfort Synthetic 16 or the Pro's Pro Hi Tec Multifibre. I can't tell the difference between these 2 strings. I'll will call it MCS since most people are familiar with that.
It is very easy to string if you don't have too get through blocked holes. If you do, it can be tough because the string is so soft.
Tension it is strung: 60 pounds on a lockout machine full bed
Your regular string set up: Discho Microfibre 16
String pattern of your racquet: 16 x 20
Power (or lack there of): Low powered multi
Feel: Good feel not great
Tension maintenance: Breaks well before tension drops
Price: $9.00/set, $90/reel for MCS but the Pro's Pro is cheaper
Overall comments and feedback: See below
General: I used almost a reel of this string coming back from an elbow injury. It is the only multi that I can truly say feels as soft as gut to me. The difference is that it is much lower powered.
Serve/Return of Serve: I always seemed to serve well with this string even though my 2nd serve did not feel like it was extra spinny. Just seemed easier to hit the corners but I find that with most thinner strings. This is a 16g string but stretches a lot and thins out a lot too.
Strokes: Nice muted feel to the string. Depth control is very good and spin is probably slightly below average for a multi.
Volleys: Soft strings are not made for net play but it does OK there.
Touch shots: I always enjoyed this string for this type of shot.
Softness: The string softness does not correlate with the RSI stiffness rating.
Tension: Perfect for my game.
Durability: Once the initial coating comes off, the string is close to breaking. I typically got 4 or 5 sets of singles out of it before it snapped.
Movement: String movement is all over the place after a few sets. Not good for the anal types.
Conclusion: If your arm hurts, this is the string for you. If you like low power, this is a great string. If you don't break strings, you might like it too.
Old Review: Reserved for Mantis Comfort Synthetic 16 Review...
I strung this up yesterday and it is a very interesting string. Hands down the easiest string to work with as a home stringer. The string is very soft but the outer coating allows it to stay stiff enough to get through the holes easily. Looking forward to hitting with it on Wednesday. This string seems thinner than the Isospeed. It looks more like a 16L gauge. There also was a very gluey smell to the string which I have not smelled since I used to play with Gamma synthetic gut (a favorite of mine).
Played this morning with the Mantis. It's definitely a low powered multi. It almost feels like a poly without any stiffness. After a few games, I started really digging it. I hit maybe 10 balls long over 2 sets. That has been my big problem with Maxim Touch. The ball does not pocket very much with this string which I don't really care about. Maybe my serve was just on today, but it seemed like I could put the ball into the corners very easily on my serve. When I missed long it was only within a few inches of the service line. The lower power really helped on my forehand because I could take a full swing at the ball. String movement was minimal and this string feels softer than any I've hit with before. Spin creation was the only draw back I could tell, but I was still able to get more than enough on my strokes when needed.
I see why this string was the #3 rated string for comfort of all time by the USRSA. My gut tells me either this or RIP Control are going to be "the one". But maybe the Quasi Gut will prove me wrong. I may take an impromptu vacation next week. If that happens, it may be over 2 weeks until my next review.
After about 4 sets, I'm noticing some minor fraying on the strings. Looks like the outer coating is just starting to peel. This string broke in my bag after 8.5 sets. After 2 more uses, I only got about 5 long sets before breakage. String breakers beware! Good price on this if you buy a reel for $90. Sets are $9.
Reserved for Tourna Quasi Gut 16 Review...
Just opened the Quasi Gut package last night and cut my string lengths. This looks like it will be an easy string to work with on my stringing machine. I strung up the Quasi last night with no difficulties whatsoever. It looks more like a thin 16L gauge than 16g. I bounced the ball off it a few times afterwards and it had that nice muted feel.
I played almost 3 sets today. I was on and my opponent was a little hungover so it's tough to say if this is "the one". The stringbed felt very tight and I know the tension is correct because I calibrated my machine last night. I had a little more elbow pain today but I have not used my Flexbar in over a week, so I need to get back on that program.
The good: First serves were very nice with this string. I was getting almost an ace per game with slices and flat serves. Even though the RSI rated this string #7 overall in power, I feel this is really a control string. Most of my misses were because I hit the frame and not the string. Seemed to be a pretty good volleying string too but not quite as nice as the RIP Control. Drop shots were effortless with this string, maybe even better than the Mantis. The string does not move much and when it does, you can't move it back with just your finger. It really gets locked into place.
The bad: Had 3 or 4 rally balls that sprung off the racket and went way long but I can deal with that low number. The worst thing about this string is lack of spin potential. More like none! My 2nd serve had very little kick on it and if I was playing against a better returner, it would have been getting punished today. My consistency today made up for lack of spin. We'll see how it goes next time out with this string. TW offers this string for $8.95.
My game is heavily dependent on spin, so I cut this one out after the initial outing and due to the elbow issues.
Reserved for Head Rip Control 16 Review...
I strung this one up last night and what a bear it was to work with. Unlike the Mantis which just uncoiled perfectly, this string took me 10 minutes to cut the string for my 2 piece job. I've never seen a string have so many knots! It felt nice and stiff but still was a little bit of a problem with conflict holes. Weaving the string is almost comical how hard it is to do. Still, I ended up finishing the job in about as much time as it normally takes me. It just felt like such a battle! The string looks cool in my PSTs because I bought the black and white version. The string looks very durable. I bounced a few balls off it and it has that nice muted feel. I really hope I don't like this string because I hated the stringing process with it. I'll hit with it tonight and report back tomorrow. One more thing I forgot to mention is that I always cut my knots with needle nose pliers. This is the only string that I had to clip twice because I could not cut it off on the first try.
OK, so I hit with this string last night. It was in the mid-80s buy very dry so conditions were fast even on clay.
The Good: I averaged about an ace per game. This string is terrific for flat bombs and pretty darn good for kickers too. Spin potential on groundies is better than any other multi I have tried. For those that care about string movement, this does not move too much. It has a nice muted feel for those who like that.
The Bad: Like the Maxim Touch, this string has a tendency to be a rocket launcher on standard rally balls. I had several shots that landed 10 feet past the baseline.
The Ugly: I tried 5 drop shots the whole match. Four of them landed on my side of the court, the other one hit my opponent's service line. This had no feel for me on droppers.
The string developed what I guess we could call micro frays after about 15 minutes of hitting. It had very tiny frays all over the string bed. This is a good string and I can see why it has developed a cult following. It's also a very soft string like the others I have tested so far. The lack of control on some shots was just too much for me though.
Played again last night with this string. I'm figuring out that to hit a drop shot, I need to just try and hit a short slice. The string is holding up very well after 4 sets with 2 big hitters. TW offers this string for $8.95.
I cut it out after the 2nd outing. Control just was not there for me.
Go ahead mate! Keep us posted.
Edited to Add Head Intellitour review:
I strung it up this afternoon the way they recommended so RIP Feel in the crosses. They say 22' and 18' for lengths. I think it is 22' for both. The strings are oily and I experienced friction burn doing the crosses. It is the ugly yellow version. I bounced a few balls off it and it felt very nice. I don't want to like this string because it is difficult to string which means I'll probably like it. I'll test it out tomorrow and post back.
I played two long sets this morning. Like the Quasi, first serves were good but I was lacking a big kick on the 2nd serve. The clay courts we were on were damp, so that did not help. Forehands were good and when I decided to rip the 1 hander on my backhand, this string was very good. Spin was less than the RIP Control but more than most multis. Touch volleys and drop shots were fantastic with this string. This is a very control oriented string with that nice muted feel.
I still like the feel of the Mantis and the spin of the RIP Control better, but this is a very good string that I probably won't be cutting out. Like the RIP, I noticed what I would call micro frays on the string but it looks pretty durable. This setup is definitely soft, I only had 1 or 2 shots where I noticed a twinge in my elbow. TW offers this string for $8.95.
I did end up cutting this string out, it seemed to lose some control after a few sets.
I look forward to the reviews but I only use 17g or 17L so Im a little disappointed, I am very interested in Quasi-gut, next for me is Ashaway Dynamite and Alpha gut 2k.
I found Head RIP to be VERY durable but not enough soft feel, pocketing, and power for my hybrid needs.
I went 16 gauge because Mantis only comes in 16g. I'd like to compare each string by gauge before moving back to 17g.
That's still not too bad for 17 gauge. I've read that RIP 16 is way more durable than 17. I only play 3 times a week so I may not get to RIP for another 3 or 4 weeks. But I'll get to it eventually.
Good to know. I think I'll pass on the 17g version in the future then. I edited the Mantis post just for a brief discussion of how easy to string it was.
Thanks for doing these reviews. I have been interested in these strings. I look forward to your write-ups.
I really like NXT but hate paying the price. Instead, I like to find a good multi to put in the mains (16 g) and then a less expensive syn gut in the crosses (currently its OG micro 17). I have been fortunate to find a couple excellent multis on sale in the past 6 months (k-gut and Xcel), but expect to see the day when I don't find the sale and need a good multi at a good price. Also, it would be nice to settle on one multi and not have to change. I am hopeful that your reviews will lead me to that string!
I did not mention in the initial post, but one of my goals was to find a value oriented multi preferably in reel form. Maxim Touch, Mantis Comfort, Quasi Gut and Isospeed all meet those criteria. RIP Control is the only that does not come in reel form but the price is still good.
Mike, this is off topic, but I too suffered from golfer's elbow, for 18 months. That's what got me using multis as well. I hope you're evaluating your technique to help prevent further injury and not just relying on soft strings.
What's the stringing pattern of the racquet you're using? 16x20?
I played for 4 years in high school taking about 1 private lesson per week along with some group lessons. Never had any elbow pain then. I played 5 years as an adult before I got GE. While I doubt I have perfect technique, my strokes are fairly orthodox.
It actually started as acute triceps tendinitis for about a year which I got from just hitting one first serve too hard with a very light/stiff racket. It did not just develop over time like many here have reported. The GE showed up about 9 months later.
After my ultrasound/electrostimulation therapy, the triceps pain went away but the GE has always reminded me that it is not ready to go without a fight. :)
That is correct. 98 square inches.
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