D’Addario Orchestral has recently launched their new 'Ascente' strings for viola. Pronounced “ah-SEN-tay”, the new synthetic core viola set has been designed with the emphasis on aiding a wider tonal range and more sophisticated palette, increased pitch stability – plus longevity and durability. They have a sophisticated monel wounding which is more rust and wear resistant compared to other string sets on the market.
“For students starting on synthetic strings, Ascenté strings are cost efficient and will open up a new level of artistic expression while providing the most pitch stability and corrosion resistance of any synthetic core string,” Lyris Hung, Product Manager, D’Addario Orchestral.
We had our viola experts at Simply for Strings test these strings on a range of our violas. Here are their honest reviews!
"The first thing which caught my attention is the ease of response under the bow. I feel this would be great for teaching students the particular tone they should be looking for in their sound. They provide a fairly bright sound, but without being shrill. I like this roundness and clarity of sound; as a teacher; I feel this important in developing an attention to intonation. The play-in time seemed very short and the strings didn't change too much after playing-in. In terms of balance/consistency, the G sounded rather hollow and metallic; this could also be down to the instrument. I'd be be very happy to recommend these to students and developing players, but feel they lack the depth of colour and tone needed in professional playing." Shannon.
"They took a bit of time to play in tonally, but the pitch was stable in a short amount of time. I didn't like them at first as they sounded very metallic, more so than most strings when new, however when I came back to them after a week, I liked them a lot more! They have a very stable pitch production on a 15" viola and good tension. Some cheaper viola string sets can sometimes feel a bit "floppy" under the fingers, but these feel pleasantly responsive. The string takes a little bit of extra time to "speak" in comparison to more expensive string sets, but this is nothing unusual at this competitive price point. The rust/wear resistant monel winding is big plus for advancing students and is a great selling point. They offered a clear, well-projected sound, very even across all the strings, and a pretty good range of colours, particularly at this price point. I would definitely recommend these as an alternative to Tonicas." Kieran.
"The D'Addario Ascente strings are a fantastic string considering their price point of under $100. In my opinion, they have a rich, broad tonal pallet that provides you with that wonderful, stereotypical viola sound - quite dark, powerful and warm. This synthetic core string is also quite soft under the fingers and responds reasonably well to the adjustments I make when playing. Overall, I would definitely recommend these strings to anyone who is looking for an affordable yet high-quality string." Lachlan.