Today I received a package from D'Addario, and realized that a while back, I had signed up for a beta test through a Musician's Friend survey. Apparently, D'Addario is testing a new string formula and I got to test them!
Code named the XLFormula3, these will eventually be released as the D'Addario NYXL strings. From what the included information says, these strings are the result of a total, ground-up re-engineering of the electric guitar string. Different winding process, metal alloys, coating, everything. You can read the information for details. I suspect these are somewhat in response to the EB Cobalts (which I wasn't a huge fan of).
I don't know about metallurgy and all that, but what I do know is that these things sound GOOD. Very good. To be completely honest, they are the best sounding strings I've every played. I am a 100% Elixer guy, due to their ability to have a very good sounding string that will sound very good for months. Obviously, I don't know if these new strings will have that type of longevity, but in a straight comparison of tone, these new strings win. They have a very pleasing EQ curve, and have so much punch and clarity. When playing unplugged, my PRS SE Singlecut sounded almost like an amplified acoustic, and when plugged in with some distortion, they have a very pleasing roar. They are very punchy and clear, but not to the point of being boomy, clangy, or brash.
The tension is about the same as most sets of Elixers or D'Addarios I've played; no more or no less than normal. They feel very good, which is the main place where the EB Cobalts failed. On this set, the wound strings just feel like new strings and are not too textured or smooth. They also don't feel like they're tearing my frets to shreds (unlike the Cobalts.) The plain strings are smooth without feeling overly slick. Additionally, the seem to hold tuning pitch a lot better, especially for a brand new set of strings.
The info kept referring to the "strength" of the strings, and how these new strings are stronger. I'm not sure what they mean by that. Maybe actual structural strength? In my 14 years of guitar playing, I've only broken 2 strings while playing, so I've never really cared about the strength of strings. But I guess that's a selling point for some.
I'll be sure to update this over the next few weeks to describe how the strings change over the time. But as of now, these strings get a resounding from me, and I'll look forward to their hitting the market. I'm hoping this will trigger some Google search alerts and someone from D'Addario will chime in. Hasn't someone from that company posted here before in response to something?
Interesting! I'd love to give these a try, alas, I own no 6'ers