Dominant vs. Infeld blue/red

Dominant vs. Infeld blue/red

There has been so much discussion about fiddle strings in the past, but after rereading much of it there’s one thing that bothers me. If I remember right, Thomastik presents the Infeld blue/red as more or less comparable with Dominant, but then in a better version (please correct me if I’m wrong).
Yet few people on this board seem to be fond of the Infelds. If I try to make a summary I think I could expect longer life (!), shorter break in time, more volume.

All advantages. So what makes them less popular than the Dominants? It can hardly be the price, they are only slightly more expensive.

Other question: how is the reponsiveness when you compare these two?

regards

Henk

Re: Dominant vs. Infeld blue/red

Well I never got on with Dominants at all, and played on steel strings for years…. Thats all… Thomastic I avoid because of experiance with their guitar strings…

Re: Dominant vs. Infeld blue/red

I saw the bit about blues and reds and just had to say "Come on you City".

Re: Dominant vs. Infeld blue/red

most folks get along fine with Dominants with any decent set up.

Infeld red and Blues are a higher tension. I think they choke the sound on better fiddles. On lesser fiddles they can help some, but so can a good set up.

They are supposed to be a "mix and Match" type of solution, and were Thomastiks first "new generation" string.

Their Vision line of strings are nice, but again a slightly higher tension than Dominants. I prefer them to the Infelds, but prefer the Dominants to the Visions.

If you think you don’t like Dom’s, try different E strings. I use the Gold Label, but the Jargar Forte will make the strings sound totally different because of the difference in tension on the E string.

Re: Dominant vs. Infeld blue/red

Ditto what sunnybear says about the higher tension choking the fiddle. Infelds made my fiddle sound muddy and muffly. They were slightly quicker in response than Dominants, but that gain was lost in the diminished tone.

That said, the Vision Titanium soloist strings sound great on my fiddle—as responsive as Evah Pirazzis, but with a warmer tone. They are clearer and more focused than Dominants. I use a cheapo Lenzner Goldbrokat E string (about $1.35 each, USD) because all of Thomastik’s E strings suck. The Visions are more responsive than Dominants, and more durable. With the Lenzner E (much cheaper than the Vision E), I pay about $40 USD a set.

Recently tried a Helicore E and it too choked my fiddle, even with Vision G, D, and A strings. Went back to the Lenzner and the tone and volume came right back. String tension makes a huge difference.

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Re: Dominant vs. Infeld blue/red

I know of a well known luthier in Chicago who states that the best way to choke a fiddle is to put Infelds on it.

But I also know another luthier who swears by them

go figger

Will, also try give the Larsen E string a go.

Re: Dominant vs. Infeld blue/red

Dominants have been the staple brand of string, for decades. There are better brands out there, but they’re so well established at this point, that it takes genuine effort to avoid them in music shops.

I think most of their popularity is due to people growing up with them, and never really bothering to switch, and stores knowing that if they are going to stock one brand of string, it should be dominants.

Re: Dominant vs. Infeld blue/red

I’m just trying Infeld Reds for the first time - I’ve never liked the way Dominants sounded on my fiddle, but the Infelds aren’t bad- they’re louder than Obligatos, less bright (and slightly quieter) than Evah Pirazzis, but start out sort of brash sounding. I think I’m starting to like them though…

Re: Dominant vs. Infeld blue/red

Any support for Will’s vision on the Vision? I overlooked them so far, but your remarks sound interesting, Will. Sounds like ‘compares to Evahs, but less expensive’.

Re: Dominant vs. Infeld blue/red

Lazyhound, wake up! ;-)

Re: Dominant vs. Infeld blue/red

I’ve stuck with Infeld Blues for the last couple of string changes, and I think they are loud and brilliant-sounding, good for noisy sessions. Reds are supposedly "darker" but I’ve used them a while ago and they’re fine (it was the fiddle-playing that was the problem then, but it’s improving, honest!) One of my fiddles is a large Maggini copy, and the Dominant G string is too short for it, and I don’t like the Dominant E - it’s too quiet. No problem with Infeld Reds and Blues though, and I really like the Blue E. However, I’ve just treated it to a set of Evahs because they really worked well on it last time I used them, though I did find they only lasted 3 or 4 months. Infeld Reds and Blues last forever. I’ve got a set of wound gut strings on the eBay fiddle I keep at work for lunchtime practice in the storeroom(!) - they’ve really improved the sound of that particular fiddle and I’m getting lots of valuable practice re-tuning by ear from the pegs!

Re: Dominant vs. Infeld blue/red

when I am looking at strings, I tend to compare the TONE of what I am looking for, not how loud they are…

I usually compare the tome against gut strings like Eudoxa because that is what I find pleasing to my ear.

I am not trying to turn my violin into a brass instrument by changing the strings (making it louder, brighter, harsher, etc)

so this is what I have found…I have tried most strings out of curiosity.

I can get the most tone color due to bow pressure and speed from Eudoxas.

The next closest thing out there that responds to bow speed and pressure are Dominants.

Re: Dominant vs. Infeld blue/red

"tone"

Re: Dominant vs. Infeld blue/red

Anyone tried the Tonicas?

Re: Dominant vs. Infeld blue/red

Hey Bunratty, my friend a luthier has put Tonicas on my old Mittenwald girl, but she’s still 2,700 kms away awaiting a rellie to ship her home. I’ll know when (or if) she ever gets back to me. Oh, golly seems I’m plastering the yellaboard with frowny faces tonight, but I’m always blue when she’s away :-( Boo hoo!

Re: Dominant vs. Infeld blue/red

yes, Tonicas are great strings…probably one of the most overlooked strings on the market…I use the silver D as opposed to the aluminum wrapped D both with Tonicas and Dominants..synoxas are a little more focused than Tonicas…another great overlooked string…in fact, I may have to get a set of those again..

Re: Dominant vs. Infeld blue/red

Sunnybear, I really like the sound and feel of the dominants (been using them for the 1st time), but what really disappoints me is their short life. I guess the D was already ‘dead’ after two months of playing. And apart from the money there’s always this long break in time with dominants.
As far as you - or anyone else of course - can tell: how do Visions (titanium), Tonicas or Synoxas compare in this respect (life & break in time).

Thanks.

Re: Dominant vs. Infeld blue/red

I really do not have a problem with the life span of the Dominants…I keep a set for about 5-6 months or so, and play about an hour a day, give or take…

the string guys say you should get about 120 hrs out of a set of strings…

onicaas and synoxas hold up about the same as Dominants, in my experience. I have not kept a set of Visions on that long.

Re: Dominant vs. Infeld blue/red

Hey Will,
You were, if I remember, a long term advocate of Evah’s, and it was with regard to your observations that tempted me to break the bank and try them.
Never regretted it, though, i’ve always found them to be fantastic strings, ‘specially with the gold plated E.
I’d be really interested to learn of your thoughts on the Visions in direct comparison with the Evah’s. Any observations?
Thanks,
Andrew.

Re: Dominant vs. Infeld blue/red

Andrew, glad you like the Evah’s—they’re still one of my favorite strings. The Vision titanium soloists are every bit as responsive as the Evah’s, but are less bright. Their tone is warmer. And since I don’t like the Vision E at all, I can get the other three strings for less than $40 USD—significantly cheaper than the Evah’s.

I like the warmer tone for playing in sessions—my fiddle still cuts through, but it also blends more readily with the other instruments. And it’s just more pleasing to my own ear. The Vision G and D have no end to a sweet, clear resonance—so maybe they bring out the bass end of my fiddle slighty better than the Evah’s.

I’ve also tried the Vision Titanium Orchestra (not as focused as the Soloists), and plain (non-titanium) Visions (which are very similar to Dominants). All good strings—I would buy any Visions over Dominants—richer and more focused tone, and they last longer. I typically get 3 months at the most out of any string, playing somehwere around 15 to 20 hours a week.

Bear in mind—this is just what works on my fiddle, and for my taste in tone. YMMV.

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Re: Dominant vs. Infeld blue/red

P.S. I’ve also found the break in time with Visions to be very quick—I can put them on at noon and feel very solid with them for a session or gig that evening.

They’re also silky under the fingers, not as spongy as Dominants (thanks to slightly higher tension), and very stable.

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Re: Dominant vs. Infeld blue/red

Thanks Will, most useful.
I’m always a little wary when one talks about warmth in a string tone. I tried Obligatos, and they sounded dead on my fiddle, yet a lot of reviews headlined their warmth. I suppose what I look for is a strong, focused tone, but not harshness.
It’s the same with the Infeld strings, the blues were fine, but the reds sounded dead. Evah’s fit the bill at the moment.
I know that the adage," Ain’t broke, don’t fix" applies, but natural curiosity means we all think that there may be a better string.
All part of life’s rich tapestry I suppose.

Re: Dominant vs. Infeld blue/red

I tried reds on an impulse and love the way they sound on my fiddle—very warm and rich, like fine chocolate.

Interestingly, a dear friend had been trying out my instrument and had been raving about what a pleasure it was to play (very responsive—you almost feel like it *wants* to be played in her words) and what an incredible tone it has. The next day she and I were talking about strings and she went on a rant about how awful reds are until I told her that she had been playing them the other day…sometimes in just depends on the instrument.

Dominants make my instrument sound like a cheap child’s toy.

Re: Dominant vs. Infeld blue/red

Just got back to this one, and I do agree with Sunnybear’s comment after my post that it’s tone that is important -perhaps it sounded as if I thought loudness is the only thing that matters. I did have a fiddle that was very quiet though, and after trying Helicores and then Dominants, I put Infeld Blues on it and they seemed to wake it up and make it much more responsive and able to project. Tomorrow I’m looking forward to putting my new set of Evahs on the fiddle though. Incidentally, they came coiled in envelopes - is this a new thing? Previously they have always come unwrapped in a tube, and so have Obligatos.

Re: Dominant vs. Infeld blue/red

Coiling them into little packets makes it cheaper to ship. Not an entirely recent phenomenon, but seems like fewer and fewer suppliers still carry uncoiled strings. I sometimes uncoil mine and put them in the tube in my case for storage….

Andrew, I agree that "warmth" is a fuzzy word when talking about string tone. What I’m trying to get at, maybe, is that a string can be focused and clear while still producing a rich mix of overtones. To me, that sounds "warm," as opposed to bright or harsh or bell-like or muddy. The warm tone reminds me a bit of the reedy sound of a wooden flute played well, in contrast to the rather "cool" or bell sound typical of the metal flute.

And for all I know, the string itself just lets the "warmth" of the instrument come through more than another string. My fiddle’s tone is on the dark, woody, open end of the spectrum. So even a fairly bright string like Evah Pirazzi sounds less "bright" and more simply "focused" on my fiddle.

If that makes any sense.

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Re: Dominant vs. Infeld blue/red

Will,

Your experiences with the Vision Titanium made me do a search on the web for other opinions, and I’ve decided to give them a try next time I have to change strings.

If you leave out the E’s Evahs cost € 62.35 and Vision Titaniums € 35.45 ! Well worth a try for a string that is reported to be as responsive as Evahs, more durable and with a shorter break in time.