Pro-Arté strings from D'Addario have had an interesting history. When they came out they were around double the price they are right now. It seems that they were meant to be a competitor to Dominant strings by Thomastik-Infeld. From sources I have talked to the strings did not take off as well as they had hoped and decided to rebrand the set as a student string. According to prices on Amazon.com the price dropped around December of 2011.
The big question that I wanted to answer when testing this set is if it is a "student" string or if it can compete with the more expensive "professional" strings.
It took about a week for the strings to settle in, and only a few days to become pitch stable. The silk wrapping at the peg end is the standard they use for all of their strings. The tail end is blue and red.
The strings are quite thick compared to the steel E-string. Playing higher up on the E string is no problem with the lower tension. These are not low tension strings though. They are actually higher tension than Peter Infeld (PI) as well as Vision strings. The G, D, and A-Strings feel thicker and are not as highly polished as other strings I have recently tested. There is more "string sound" that occurs when shifting (what you often hear on a guitar) than I am used to. The sound does not come through in recordings or to an audience as much as it does under the players ears.
These strings do have a bit of oomph behind them. I performed at a wedding with these strings installed this past weekend. I was in a large room with very tall ceilings and did not need any amplification. The projection does not compare to something you would get from a metal string, but definitely is louder than other strings that advertise a "warm, dark tone."
Shifting into the higher positions on the lower strings did feel a bit lacking. After reaching above 5th position on the G-string the projection and overall quality of sound seemed to drop off. Lower positions, and higher up on the E-string is where Pro Artés excel.
This is where the strings set themselves apart from the competition. The tone of these strings is very warm. Pro Arté strings might be the darkest synthetic string I have ever tested. What is interesting is how clean the sound is though. In our quick reference guide you can see that most strings that are considered to be warm have a very complex tone full of rich overtones. We have placed Pro Arté strings are in line with both Obligato and Eudoxa in Warmth, but Helicore, and Prelude in Complexity.
Pro-Arté strings are fascinating. They come very close to the dark tones that only gut strings can provide, but have the clarity usually reserved for steel core strings. For their price these strings are a fantastic purchase. For most synthetic strings you would have to double your price. The big question is if this is a "Student" string or not. I would recommend these to any student looking to warm up their instrument without breaking the bank. They seem to perform best in lower positions on the G and D-strings which seems more suited for students. Although many advanced violinists look for a very complex sound, the cleanliness that these strings provided was quite refreshing and allowed for a bit more punch when playing as a soloist.
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)