Kaplan has released a few new viola strings. The Amo and Vivo follow the violin set in their design and the Forza is a rebranding of the original Kaplan viola set. The Amo and Vivo have a synthetic core and are identical to the violin cores (But altered for the viola's length and tone). The Forza has a metal core (Rope for the D, G, and C with a solid core A). The A is the same solid metal core across all three sets. Although for some people that are used to all synthetic sets this might seem like a jump in tone but it is becoming common for many violist to do this mix. The metal A gives a punch and clarity for solo passages with the lower strings having more richness.
All three come in the new packaging that look quite similar. The Tail ends are the white and black wrapping we have come to know from Kaplan but with the white replaced with a copper or silver in the Amo and Vivo.
When installed they all settled in quite fast. The Amo and Vivo took about 2 days to feel fully stretched while the Forza was settled within the day.
Under the fingers the synthetic ones are noticeably thicker. If you are used to synthetic strings these will feel normal but if you are used to a metal cored string like Helicore these will feel quite large.
As far as tone for the Amo and Vivo I need to pretty much copy and paste what I wrote for the violin review.
The only change I would make from that is that the tone is not as "punchy" on the viola strings. With the violin set I had students stopping in the middle of lessons to let me know how loud my strings were. Although these do give my instrument a boost it is nothing that has needed to stop a lesson to address.
The Forza strings have a similar projection but a much cleaner and brighter tone. I have always been a fan of synthetic strings but there are times when I would reach for the Forza over a synthetic. The first time I really came to understand sound being "muddy" is when I realized the benefit of metal cored strings. After performing the Forsyth viola concerto on the Forza strings I switched to a synthetic core and the passages were no where near as clean and precise as I was used to. Being a violinist first I was not used to having to alter my playing style to accommodate to flexibility obtained with synthetic strings.
All three of these sets are aiming towards a similar market. They are for people looking to project their sound as either a soloist or liven up a dull sounding instrument. I would categorize the Forza separately. although it has the projection similar to the Amo and Vivo it stands on it's own. For those who have always loved the clean sound of metal cored strings but want both a bit more projection and richness than many metal strings out there these would be perfect to try.
For the Amo and Vivo these will give a synthetic string lover a whole new view. Often many synthetic strings feel like just slightly different variations of the same thing. The core of these are not perlon or nylon and therefor have a flexibility, stability, projection and richness not easily obtainable in any other set.
Previous Spotlight Reviews
Leatherwood Bespoke Rosin
Standard vs. Harp Tailpiece
Electric Violin Comparison
NEW Fiddlerman Strings
Vision Strings (Thomastic-Infeld)
Kaplan Viola Amo/Vivo/Forza
Amber Viola (Warchal)
Evah Pirazzi Gold (Pirastro)
Capriccio Soloist (Dogal)
Avantgarde A (Warchal)
Russian Style A (Warchal)
Kaplan Amo & Vivo (D'Addario)
Red Label Pearl (Super-Sensitive)
Amber - Full Set (Warchal)
Amber - Forte E (Warchal)