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-   -   New Donnay X-Series - My Thoughts (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=370945)

Kal-El 34 03-03-2011 06:16 PM

New Donnay X-Series - My Thoughts
 
Alright guys - I've been meaning to do this for the last couple weeks. I haven't posted a racquet review in a long time, so you will have to forgive me if I am a bit rusty...

I have been doing some serious playtesting of the entire Donnay line, and will be doing some work with the company moving forward. I was absolutely in love with my Youtek Prestige MP's, but after about 10 minutes with these frames I knew I was hooked. My only problem with these frames so far is deciding which one I like the best. It seems that whichever one I am hitting with I feel is the best :) I get going with one and think it's the best, pop the strings, try another one and then think it is the best and so on. After a few weeks with the frames i am still back and forth between a couple models.

Before i get into each specific racquet, let me first talk about the line in general. I'm sure you guys know that these racquets are THIN... and I mean THIN. They are not hollow frames, as the xenecore material goes all the way through the racquets. This is what gives them their solid, control oriented feel. I have always played with pretty thin beamed frames, but these take it to a new level. I really like how easy these frames move through the air - almost knifelike. The top end sticks are pretty heavy, but since they are so thin they didn't feel as heavy as listed.

The cosmetics on the whole line are amazing. I really like the shiny smoke color that is on every frame, with the matte looking color that defines each frame. The whole line is really classy looking. I have had a ton of people come over to me to talk about the racquet I am using while i have been doing my playtesting... I have found that to be pretty cool

The customization kits are a really intriguing idea. It is nice to see a company taking some initiative to change things up a little bit. The interchangeable butt-caps are really easy to change, and come in 0, 5, and 10 gram weights. There is a key that comes with the kit that allows for the cap to be popped out with ease. i have tinkered around with the strips as well. I find them to be pretty accurate. Installing them is very easy. The one thing i did notice is after extensive play on clay court, the strips were at times difficult to get out if clay got stuck between the strips and the racquet guard. i also found it fun to take the strips from other color racquets, and put them in other frames to customize the colors even more.

Each frame sold retail comes with the customization kit - including key, standard, 5g, and 10g buttcap, and 1g strips. Heavier strips can be purchased through Donnay. They come with a set of Donnay poly, which i found to play pretty nicely, as well as 3 white overgrips. Not too shabby

I really think Donnay has put out a very quality product here. They are a little more expensive than a standard stick, but upon holding one they feel like they should be more expensive. Anyone that has hit with one may know what i'm talking about. Add in the string, kit, and grips and they really aren't that much more. top level players should take a liking to these immediately. Solid junior players should like the yellow, orange, white, or red 99. I've even had a few senior players and women switch from their power series racquets to the white 99. They offer a little somethin somethin for everyone :)

So with that being said, I will start writing my reviews of each frame, and start answering anyones questions as they may come up. NOTE***I am not a fan of leather grips, so all of mine have synthetics on them *** I am a Kirschbaum player, so have been testing all of the frames out with pro line II - my favorite of all polys. I have generally strung my racquets in the upper 50's / lower 60's. However, I have found most of these to play better when strung at lower tensions. On most I am somewhere around the 50-54 lbs. range. I have now hit with every frame, except the standard x-red 94. The red 94 i have been testing is the red 94 +, which is 330g. stock weight.

UPDATE: if you are here just for the reviews, i have posted some links to them so they are easier to get to. However, read the whole thread it is very good :)

Donnay X-Blue 94 Review

Donnay X-Blue 99 Review

Donnay X-Black 94 Review

Donnay X-Black 99 Review

Donnay X-Dark Red 94 Review

Donnay X-Red 99 Review

Donnay X-Red 94 + Review

Donnay X-Orange 99 Review

Donnay X-White 99 Review

Donnay X-Yellow Review

gh65721 03-03-2011 06:31 PM

Just curious if these new Donnay's are made in China? and hoping they are not

BobFL 03-03-2011 06:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gh65721 (Post 5463103)
Just curious if these new Donnay's are made in China? and hoping they are not

Of course they are made in China. That would be pretty much Apple story: engineered in USA/made in China.

Kal-El 34 03-03-2011 06:45 PM

Donnay X-Blue 94The first of the line that I fell in love with. I was instantly drawn to the x-blue 94 as it was so similar in weight to my Head YT Prestige MP’s. I have, in the past, been more of a fan of 18x20 string patterns as well. Such a nice looking racquet. The blue color really accents the rest of the racquet nicely. Throw some black stings in there and you really have got a nice looking weapon.


GROUNDSTROKES – 7/10

This racquet impressed me from the baseline. To me, it swings a bit heavier than my prestiges, even though it is the same listed weight. Control with the x-blue 94 is AMAZING. I literally felt like I could place a stack of dimes on the other side of the net, and knock them over at any moment. Spin potential was the other big thing I noticed with the racquets. I was getting WAY more spin than I normally get with my prestige. My forehand was coming off the strings extremely heavy. I felt I could just swing away on forehands and knew right where the ball was going. Backhands were my favorite part of this stick from the baseline. I really felt as if I could take enormous, aggressive cuts at the ball with this frame. I had people I hit with all the time making comments about how much bigger I was hitting my backhand. I don’t know what it was, but I really had the confidence to go for shots with this one. Return of serve was great with this too when I was getting around on the ball. Slice was also coming off with a ton of spin. Sharp and crisp - Very comfortable, and pinpoint control. The frame felt very stable on all shots, with no vibration on off center hits. I also noticed a rather large sweet spot for a 94 sq. in. racquet.
The only negative that I can see to this frame from the ground is how heavy it swings. I really didn’t feel like I could do a lot of customizing with it, without making it to heavy. I did find with a synthetic grip, I liked it best with the 5g cap, and no strips in the frames. The frame itself is pretty stiff – by far the stiffest of the whole series in my opinion. I did notice the frame to be a bit sluggish at times getting through the ball when playing against big hitters though. On shots where I had time to set up this stick was awesome. However I felt I really wasn’t getting a whole lot on defensive shots compared to other frames in the series. Compared to other frames in this series – power was lacking a bit. It was there to an extent. However it was like dating that hot chick that bores the hell out of you. You know that she’s out of your league and everything is good about the relationship – but something just isn’t there. A little more pop and this would be a perfect frame.


VOLLEYS 10/10

Volleys were one part of this racquet that really stood out as awesome. This frame is so stable, that control on volleys from all areas of the court is incredible. Feel is also top notch. Better than anything I have hit at the net. The weight of the x-blue 94 did not feel sluggish at the net. Moves very easy through the air so I could get aggressive on volleys when I wanted to. The stability of the frame made defensive volleys come off the strings with some pop as well. Very nice playing racquet from the net. I spent a lot of time at the net with this racquet as well. I felt comfortable feeding balls with it, as well as hitting volleys when players were taking giant cuts at groundstrokes at me.


Serve 8/10

Serves were also a pleasure to hit with the blue 94. I felt like I was getting some amazing control on every serve that I was trying to hit. My flat serve I felt lost a few MPH’s, but that wasn’t a concern with how much more confidence I had with the control. Spin serves were more effective, although lacking a few MPH’s. Kick serves were really jumping, way more than I get with my usual racquets. Slice serves were my favorite to hit. Crazy amounts of bite on my slice serve. I generally hit a flatter serve, but found myself really going for more slice and kick serves than I normally do.


Overall 8/10

Overall I gave this frame an 8/10. The weight and balance of the frame were right up my ally. It did feel like it swung a bit heavier than listed, and I did notice that at times from the baseline. Power was a bit lacking at times, especially on defensive shots from the baseline. However, the pinpoint control on groundstrokes, amazing performance at the net, and great access to spin on the serve make this stick a winner. Anyone that plays with heavy racquets, likes 18x20 string patterns, and enjoys the 80’s players racquets should give this one a try. It has that old school “thud” when hitting the ball, which I really enjoyed! Give it a go and let the board know what you think 

Kal-El 34 03-03-2011 06:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BobFL (Post 5463117)
Of course they are made in China. That would be pretty much Apple story: engineered in USA/made in China.

yes they are made in china. however, I have not noticed this to be a problem with this line of frames. The quality control is very good it seems as well. donnay is also willing to match all frames for you, with a barcode system each frame gets to keep track. I got multiple x-blue 94, 99, and x-red 99 and they were all matched exactly with their respective partner

Kal-El 34 03-03-2011 07:06 PM

Donnay X-Red 94 +

The + version of the red 94 is a bit heavier than the stock version. It is 330g stock. With no strips, and a 5g cap in the bottom however, I felt like it swung a bit easier than the blue 94.


GROUNDSTROKES 8/10

The red is a bit more flexible offering in the Donnay line. I really enjoy hitting groundstrokes with the red 94 +. The power level is a bit higher than the blue 94, and pretty similar to the black line. Usually not a fan of the 16x19 string pattern, I felt the opposite here. On the forehand side I was getting a nice blend of power and crazy spin potential. When I really want to go for a rip, the power is there. On off balance and defensive shots, I was getting more pace than I was with the blue. The control factor is still a major plus with this stick, as I have found with the entire line really. Backhands took me a little while to get used to. At first I was sailing the ball long. After spending some time with it and getting a feel for the flexibility, I was able to get things under control and really start taking cracks at the ball. I was getting more topspin than usual on my backhand, and I’m not sure my slice has been better. Return of serve was also really good as well. VERY stable on all shots, and I felt I could go down the line or rip crosscourt whenever I want to. With the red I noticed I was playing a lot more aggressively than I normally do. I was really taking to the offensive and taking more risks on shots, because I knew exactly where they were going every time. It was a very nice feeling. This frame is a beast from the baseline. I would also like to try the normal red 94 – which I will be doing in the coming weeks.


VOLLEYS 8/10

Not as good as the blue 94, which I still believe is the nicest volleying frame I have ever hit. However, the control here is still very good. I’ve always preferred an 18x20 at the net, but didn’t notice a ton of difference with this one. Very plus feel when the large sweetspot it hit, and still very comfortable on off-center shots as well. I was getting a lot more backspin on drop volleys and drop shots, which I found that I really enjoyed as well. Very easy to take a nice poke at a volley and get good power, but touch volleys is where this frame really excels. I was getting angles very easy, and like I said touch drop shots were extremely effective.


SERVE 8/10

I really enjoyed serving the red 94 +. This is the only part of my game where I noticed the extra weight of the racquet. At first I didn’t think I was going to be able to get the pop I have loved when serving with my prestige MP’s. Although the power was dialed down a bit again, the control was way up. My kick serve was extremely effective, getting some really nice jump. My slice wasn’t as nasty as it was with the 18x20 patterns, but it still had some really good bit. I liked the flexibility of the frame when serving as well. It provided a very comfortable ride, and better access to power as well.


OVERALL 8/10

I guess if I rated everything at an 8, then the racquet is an 8 haha. Groundstrokes were great with this racquet. Great access to power, with a ton of control and spin. Same old school thud when striking the ball as well. The frame is heavy, but I feel swung a bit easier than the x-blue 94 which is listed as lighter. Volleys were a pleasure as well. Great control, and touch shots are where this one really stood out. Get out there, and get aggressive! True players racquet fans will really enjoy giving this frame a go!

Kal-El 34 03-03-2011 07:08 PM

2 for the night is good :) hope you guys are enjoying the write ups. Feel free to post questions, comments, hateful comments, whatever is on your mind. I'm off to bed but will check back in tomorrow and get some more reviews up. next in line are: x-black 94 and x-dark red 94

bertrevert 03-03-2011 07:26 PM

Ooh do the White, do the white 99.

Great stuff Kal have enjoyed your reveiws perviously and really look fwd to praps making a purchasing decision (you won't find Donnays in Aust) based on your remarks.

Shangri La 03-03-2011 09:15 PM

Nice colorful reviews! I wonder how your x-white review would look like...

Fed Kennedy 03-03-2011 09:50 PM

I look forward to blue 99 review

trilix 03-04-2011 12:43 AM

nice read. thanks!! Can't wait to read what you have to say about the red-99

Overheadsmash 03-04-2011 03:27 AM

I love my red 99 - have it strung with lux bb ace 18 - really solid and comfortable. Great stick. I may get a white 99 too.

Leafitachi 03-04-2011 04:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BobFL (Post 5463117)
Of course they are made in China. That would be pretty much Apple story: engineered in USA/made in China.

I'm sorry to add to any confusion but, i recently just demo'd a Donnay X-Blue 94 Racquet from TW, it clearly said "Made in USA".

maxpotapov 03-04-2011 04:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Leafitachi (Post 5463611)
I'm sorry to add to any confusion but, i recently just demo'd a Donnay X-Blue 94 Racquet from TW, it clearly said "Made in USA".

?! The only thing comes to mind, graphite frames are made in China, final product assembled in USA

Kal-El 34 03-04-2011 04:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Leafitachi (Post 5463611)
I'm sorry to add to any confusion but, i recently just demo'd a Donnay X-Blue 94 Racquet from TW, it clearly said "Made in USA".

all of mine say engineered in the U.S.A, not made in the U.S.A.

i sent an e-mail to the company CEO for clarifiction on the production process. i will post it here when i get response from him

Kal-El 34 03-04-2011 05:07 AM

Donnay X-Dark Red 94

Alright so this is the enigma of the Donnay line to me. This was another of the Donnay frames I wanted to like. Cosmetically it looks great. The maroon color balances the smoke color very nicely. However, this was the only racquet in the line that I am not sure about moving forward. It is just too close to the other 94's but did not really stand out above the others in any category in my opinion.

GROUNDSTROKES 7/10

Groundies weren't bad with the dark red 94, but they just weren't great. Think mushy feeling Head Prestige MP. The weight and balance is so similar to the red 94, blue 94, and my prestige, but it felt just a little too flexible for my liking. Control was good, but I didn't have that confidence in my shots that I had with the other 94's to just go for a rip whenever I wanted. Both my forehand and backhand were solid when hitting normally, but against big hitters the frame seemd a bit dull and sluggish. Don't get me wrong, it is a great racquet and I am not trying to come off negative on it, but compared to the other 94's in the line - it is my least favorite. I did notice I was hitting a little flatter ball with this racquet as well. I was not dialing up the great spin on my forehand like I was with the black, blue, or red 94. Since I play a pretty big topspin forehand, this left me wanting more. My backhand is a bit flatter normally, and it was still very good with the dark red 94. The soft feel felt good when taking big crosscourt swings. However, my down the line passing shot (usually a big strength) was floating a bit on me. I think it was just a little too flex here.
Return of serve was still pretty good, but the racquet just felt soft against big servers. When I was working out one of my junior players return of serve was very easy. When I had time to set up and take a crack at it, the frame felt nice. But when hitting with my training partner, who serves 120+, I felt like the racquet lost some feel.

VOLLEYS 7.5 / 10

The dark red 94 performed pretty well at the net as well. On shots that I had time for I got really nice stick on my volleys. The "mushy" feel I got from the baseline helped with touch shots at the net. I was getting a very soft response at the net on touch volleys, which I did appreciate. However on reflex volleys I felt like this one lacked a bit of fell and control compared to others in the line. I liked volleys with all the other 94's better than I liked this one.

SERVE 8/10

Serves were what I liked most about the dark red 94. Serving with it really reminded me of serving with my prestige. The weight and balance are very similar, and both performed pretty similar on the serve. Big flat serves were booming off this racquet. I was not getting the giant kick or massive bit on my slice serve that I was getting with the other 94's, but I still felt a little more spin potential than my Prestige MP.

Overall 7/10

I don't have as much to say about the dark red 94 as I do other frames, because to me it was at the bottom of the 94 line from Donnay. I really don't see this frame in production very long, as it is just too close to the other 94's which perform better than this one does. For reference I played with all of the custom settings and liked this one with the stock cap, and the 3g strips at 9:00 and 3:00 the best. I still rate it pretty high because it is a good stick, but if I were going to shell out for a Donnay this one wouldn't be it. I would trade my YT Prestige for any of the other 94's in the line, but would probably stick to my prestige over this one. It does accell on the serve, and on touch volleys, so I guess if I were playing a ton of doubles I may consider this frame a bit more... However, I play more singles than doubles and like a more all court frame. If anyone else has given this frame a try I would love to hear their thoughts on this as well :)

10ACE 03-04-2011 05:23 AM

So far I agree with your write up. However- it's interesting that u r testing them all with a synthetic grip. I am almost sold on the Blue 99- but feel if I put a leather grip on the Dark Red 94 and the Red 99 I would Have liked them more- especially the Dark Red 94. I have decided to go up to the 99 from the 94 blue due to the amazing sweet spot the 99 has with out sacrificing control and feel. If My footwork was on point-or if I could have both :)- the blue 94 was like a scalpel to me after I adjusted to how fast it can cut through your stroke- amazing at all parts of the court and dissected volleys.

Leafitachi 03-04-2011 05:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kal-El 34 (Post 5463630)
all of mine say engineered in the U.S.A, not made in the U.S.A.

i sent an e-mail to the company CEO for clarifiction on the production process. i will post it here when i get response from him

I now have doubt on my memory, It would make sense to be engineered in the us instead of actually being made there.
I also agree with you review, I did like the X Blue 94 :)

Kal-El 34 03-04-2011 07:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 10ACE (Post 5463672)
So far I agree with your write up. However- it's interesting that u r testing them all with a synthetic grip. I am almost sold on the Blue 99- but feel if I put a leather grip on the Dark Red 94 and the Red 99 I would Have liked them more- especially the Dark Red 94. I have decided to go up to the 99 from the 94 blue due to the amazing sweet spot the 99 has with out sacrificing control and feel. If My footwork was on point-or if I could have both :)- the blue 94 was like a scalpel to me after I adjusted to how fast it can cut through your stroke- amazing at all parts of the court and dissected volleys.

possibly. even with the synthetic grip, couldn't you just add weight in the handle and get a similar weight? In my write ups you can see, even though I've had the synthetic, I've almost always been using the 5g cap in the handle as well. i REALLY like the blue 99. it doesn't feel that much bigger really. same great feel as the 94, big sweet spot, and the pop that i felt was lacking in the 94... GREAT stick, my write up on it will be coming soon

Kal-El 34 03-04-2011 07:14 AM

another thing i really like about these racquets are the serial number system. i copied this off the website, but I really think this is a great system.

Donnay™ Serial Number System
Donnay™ is the only tennis racquet manufacturer to use a serial numbering system to identify every racquet. Using this system you can place an order with us, giving us your current racquets serial number, and receive an exact duplicate of your current racquet down to the gram and millimeter. This is only capable with Donnay's strict quality control standards.

that way... 6 month down the road when you want another one, you can still get the exact same one you are hitting with


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