A couple months ago We received a prototype string set from Thomastik-Infeld. Although the prototype packaging said "handmade" it does not look like the strings are actually "hand wound." The packaging is quite surprising. Thomastik-Infeld seems to be branching away from their blocky letters across the top that you see with the rest of the line.
The strings all have a grey silk wrapping with silver balls at the tail end with different colors at the peg end to signify each individual string. The D comes wound in only aluminum with no silver option available at the moment. The tension is a bit higher than other "warm" synthetic strings having the same overall tension as Spirocore (A steel core string from the same company).
These strings take quite a bit of time to settle in. They had some metallic edge to the the sound when first installed which went away after a couple days. With a few hours of playing per day it still took over a week for the strings to finish stretching out.
The strings are typical of other Thomastik products. They are well polished, but just enough so you still can feel the wrapping on the string. The only issue I felt was on high positions on the E-string. The thin tin-plated steel wire was a bit uncomfortable when reaching the edge of the finger board.
Spirit strings are pretty neutral on projection. They will not sound over an orchestra, but you will not get lost in a quartet either. The strings were not entirely even sounding across the instrument. The G was quite dull, the D was less so, the A was a bit more brilliant, and the E sang beautifully. It didn't feel quite balanced, but the transition from the G to the E has a nice even progression.
When I first put the strings on they had a bit of a metallic edge that went away after a few days. These are some beautiful sounding strings. Warmer than Dominants, not as rich as Obligatos, and more punch than Infeld Red. On my Ming Jiang Zhu AAA violin they fit perfectly. The strings darkened the tone of the instrument and gave it a bit more complexity than I get out of Dominants. On another instrument that is already dark these strings might not be the best fit.
Thomastik-Infeld is claiming these strings are for the "...amateur and the aspiring music enthusiast...." On a student violin these will sound great, and be a good step away from the typical metal core strings many early violinists will use. At the price point of around $36 (at the time of this review) these are an incredible steal from Thomastik. They are currently the companies cheapest set on the market. On one hand I hope the price stays the same since these are worth at least double, but on the other hand many violinist might glance over these strings because of their low cost.
Spirit! strings are marketed as a set for "amateur" players, but they have enough richness to easily pass as a professional string. These strings add warmth to a bright violin without the risk of being too dull. The tension is higher than other "warm" string sets tend to be, but that can be a big plus for beginning and advancing students who often need a faster responding string. If you like a more dark sound but are not ready to throw $100+ to test a new set of gut strings, Spirit! is definitely worth a look!
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)