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Product Review: Larsen Il Cannone Cello Strings

Product Review: Larsen Il Cannone Cello Strings

Want to learn more about our thoughts on the Larsen Il Cannone Cello Strings? Read on!

The overarching qualities of the Larsen Il Cannone Cello strings are playability, clarity, warmth and openness. They offer a wide dynamic variance with excellent bow response.

The new and patent pending Direct & Focused A string combines qualities of several of Larsen’s popular A strings: the singing quality of the Arioso A, the edge of the Magnacore A and the sound body of the Soloist A. The testing cellists reported very easy playability and sound response plus considerable durability.

The Il Cannone Warm & Broad A string adds distinctly more warmth and body and is the ideal choice for very bright sounding instruments needing these qualities from the A string. The optimum result here would be combining the Warm & Broad A & D. Alternatively, combine the Warm & Broad A with the Direct & Focused D to open up the sound and to add greater clarity.

The Il Cannone Direct & Focused D string delivers a clear and projecting sound. Its character is close to Magnacore Arioso D, but at a lower string tension level. This strengthens the A string in its projection and makes the sound more open. The Warm & Broad D string has a beautiful almost saturated warmth as with the Magnacore D Medium yet offers more clarity in sound and is more powerful than the Magnacore without an increase in tension.

The Il Cannone G strings are designed to partner and support the other strings in the set, especially the new C strings. In comparison to the popular Magnacore G strings, the Il Cannone G variants solve one issue: there is no potential metallic sound when playing open strings, the sound is uniform across all positions. Another difference to the Magnacore G is the flexible construction of the Il Cannone G. This provides easier playability and a faster response. However, players preferring the resistance of a string to bow and finger will probably prefer the Magnacore G and observe them to be faster in response. Again, Il Cannone is a great and versatile add-on to the Larsen portfolio and not necessarily a better replacement.

The main difference between Il Cannone C string in comparison to Magnacore C string is a distinct, defined and long lasting core sound which provides a more focused sound. This applies to both Il Cannone C variants.

The Magnacore C strong provides the most focused C in the Magnacore family offering a somewhat broader, less centered core basis than the Il Cannone. That being said, major artists such as Gautier Capuçon and Daniel Müller-Schott still prefer their beloved Magnacore strong. Il Cannone is a new and versatile add-on to Larsen’s portfolio rather than a superior replacement. Different rather than better, subject to personal preference.

The Direct & Focused C offers a sound not known from a Larsen C before whereas the Warm & Broad C approaches the Magnacore C medium. Warmer and broader but with the new core basis.

The second difference is ‘playability’. The Magnacore C Arioso, because of its low tension, offers the easiest playability in pianissimo in the Magnacore family. The Il Cannone C strings get very close to this level despite the higher medium tension.

“It doesn’t matter if I am playing classical or progressive rock on my cello. The possibilities of colour, shapes and power in Larsen strings are sheer endless! And when I think it can’t get any better – they always take it one step further!” Concert cellist, Matthias Bartolomey. 

View the Larsen Fact Sheet here.

Michael, our resident cello string reviewer, tried the Larsen Il Cannone Cello strings on a variety of instruments, including his own Jay Haide Montagnana 7/8 cello.

“Very powerful strings, very loud, but can play with a wide range of dynamics very well. Great along the full length of each string. Quite well balanced across the set. My first test was with ADG Direct/Focussed, Warm/Broad C. Very pleasant and good tone, not a lot of intimate character but perfect for solo performance. Using the promotional set, I had Il Cannone Direct and Focussed D&G with Warm and Broad A&C strings. Adding these two strings added a rich complexity of tone to the whole instrument. These strings are very comfortable to play, with an easy response to the bow, excellent dynamic range and a very good overall sound. In a sense they had a similar effect as putting Magnacore Arioso on the cello, but with a different character. 

Just played through the first 3 Bach Suites to acclimatise to them. They get better as you go, and as you adjust your bowing. Very good to play on, expressive, the Direct and Focused variety maybe a little too bright for the Suites, so I’m looking forward to mixing them up. 

These are a welcome addition to the range of available cello strings. I can see them growing in popularity very quickly! Larsen lovers should be falling over themselves to try these. They are great strings and fantastic value for money.”

Michael’s review of the Direct and Focused set.

“They were settling very well as I continued to play. They felt rough and sounded too bright at first but as I played them in and adjusted myself to them they got better and better. Any good string will do that of course, but I was surprised how much I liked them. They’re very un-Larsen strings. Sort of like Spirocore with beauty, and the playability of Versum but brighter. You won’t find these ones boring!”

Here are some thoughts from one of our customers who trialled the set on their instrument. 

“I’ve just put them on and wow, they are a power house! Love the sweet from warm and broad A. C warm and broad is very different from focus and direct, it rings on and on and I love how it feels under the finger, not that thick and chunky like a typical Larsen C.

G and D is also good but I notice they crack easily with normal pressure, might need to learn how to work with them a bit more. 

G and D direct and focus might not be the best for my cello but I’ll take my boy to local luthier to have a look as its set up favours dark tone, so now the middle range is quite muddy under my ear. Once I see the teacher again I’ll have him play it for me and vice versa for the real projected sound. I recently shortened the soundpost as the previous one is on the longer side. My cello was powerful but doesn’t have any other colors in its sound. So I have the post replaced, shorter one to reduce the tension on the too plate, also swapped my Belgian for French. I still prefer Ill Cannone D direct and focus over Medium Original specially when pared with warm and broad A, they blend in together so well. Yet G is still a thing that I’m not satisfied with. I’ll wait for the warm and broad G.

I also notice when playing F or FF, we don't need that much arm weight like on Magnacore, Larsen original medium or Thomastik Tungsten C and G but if there is access pressure, G and D start cracking.”

The Larsen Il Cannone Direct & Focused A String uses a unique material core that is currently being patented. The Warm & Broad A string has a solid steel core, both D Strings have a solid steel core and both G & C strings have a steel rope core.

The Direct & Focused A string uses a unique material winding that is currently being patented. The Warm & Broad A string has a stainless steel winding. Both D strings have stainless steel windings and both G & C strings have tungsten windings.

The Direct and Focused and Warm and Broad sets are designed to be mutually compatible and fully interchangeable, to help find the “ideal set” by mixing and matching, to suit a greater number of individual cellos. They are currently offered in full size strings (4/4) only, but they can be used successfully on 7/8 size.

Shop the Il Cannone Range with free and speedy delivery Australia wide!

About the Cello String Library 

Simply for Strings has created a trial ‘String Library’ for cellists to visit on appointment and try different string sets and/or combinations, so that we can help with their search for the sound and response they need. Here you can try before you buy, with our guidance and assistance. In this appointment, we’ll have a discussion with you before we start fitting up to three different sets on your cello. We let you trial the strings in-store to determine which strings may suit you and your needs best. And if you need, we can play your cello for you, so you can hear it as both listener and player. It’s an obligation free appointment, all you need to do is bring your cello, and prepare to fall in love with some new strings!

Read more about our Cello String Library here and visit our blog for more cello resources.
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