Sunday, 24 January 2021

D'Addario XTC46 unboxing

There are too many strings to choose from. 

A decade ago I decided to stick with D'Addario as my string manufacturer of choice and test only strings from within their range. Because even within their range there are so many to choose from. I later I tested out several of their strings, and then I finally decided that D'Addario EXP45s were my favourite, they have a great tone that lasts for a long time due to a coating on the basses. Phew, decision made, no more testing required.

...until D'Addario recently released the XT range, their latest "coating technology".  So thanks to my patreons I get some USD bucks each month to try out new guitar stuff, I got my hands on a set! 

I ordered a high tension and a normal tension set, partly because I'm digging in more these days and if you are going to dig in then go for harder strings to bring the dynamic range further up. That is, on a normal tension set, if you dig in too far you will max out the dynamics the string is capable of. But at the same level of dig on harder sets, you have a bit more range to go. Additionally in the XT range the tension starts at normal tension, then there is hard tension and then there is extra hard. So hard tension sits in the middle of the range, it seemed sensible. (Okay, EXP45 was the same I just never took note.)

Straight up the packaging is similar to the EXP45s, nice embossing, simple designs. Nice font, nice matt browny dark grey colour. The back actually states the tension - Normal is 28, 32, 40, 28, 35, 44. Hard is 29,33, 41, 29, 36, 46. Quote from the box - "These are strings made to stay, for players who refuse to fade away" - very corny D'Addario.

The corrosion proof bag got an upgrade - zip lock which I thought was a nice addition. Is it as sealed as the old fully sealed bag you used to have to rip open? Somebody decided it was!
The strings themselves are slightly whiter and shinier than the EXPs, and maybe slightly silkier. I don't like the silkiness, but it's part of the deal with coated strings and I've learnt to live with it. They wound on just fine, the E string has the section on the end that is not as tightly wound for attaching the string, which I'm not a fan of but again, I live with it. The strings are slightly longer, which is good, because I only trim the trebles not the basses, so that when the basses are starting to sound a little dead I take them off and re-string them the other way round. (And then trim them).  You'd be surprised how much sound you get back doing that

The trebles are the same as used in the the EXP45 set.

Straight up - great sound. However I couldn't say whether they are better than the EXP45. The basses bedded in quickly as expected, the nylon trebles take ages, no surprises there. The tone is lasting a long time, also as expected - you would hope they are an improvement on the EXP45. 
One extra variable I added to the testing equation is that I have jumped up a hardness level. So some of the sound difference would be coming from the different tension. That test will need to wait until I wear these ones out and try the normal tension.
So there you have it. D'Addario's new coated strings. So far so good.

Note that I don't receive anything from D'Addario in talking about their products.

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