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 Post subject: Nittaku acoustic review
PostPosted: 12 May 2010, 03:22 
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Nittaku acoustic review

Forehand - Gambler Outlaw 2.2
Backhand - Dawei IQUL 2.0 (40 deg)
Regular water based glue

This is a blade bought recently in the 'ChrisBuer end of season sale'. ST handle, a thin varnish coat already added to seal the blade before it came my way.

At the time I said 'I really shouldn't buy another blade, but.........'. I have very quickly decided that I'm very glad I did.

This particular blade weighed in at 89g on my scales. I had been playing with an 83g Bty Primorac OFF- and a 75g Avalox BT555, so this was a step up in weight. Total setup is 180g v 166g for the BT555.

The Acoustic is a 5-ply wood blade, advertised as using hide glue in it's construction, same as musical instruments, hence the naming theme. It is very well made and very well balanced. The wood grain in the handle is gorgeous. Balance is nice, maybe the slightest bias towards being head-heavy.

I have a preference for slim ST handles. The Primorac for example I found too chunky, and it received sandpaper treatment to make its profile more oval (and less square). The acoustic's handle is just on the upper end of the size I am comfortable with, slimmer than standard Primorac but fatter than BT555.

This is a very soft blade; if you squeeze it with your fingers you can feel it compress a little. I'm sure this compression and rebound comes into play when harder shots are hit.

It is the softest blade I have ever used. I have already put a little ding in it with what didn't feel like too much of a table contact. Will have to be careful......

In terms of flex I would say it is medium; neither very flexy nor very stiff.

Speed wise it is on par with the BT555 but delivers the speed differently, with a broader range. I'll expand on that further down. It is a distinct step up in speed to an 98g (heavy) P500 and the 83g Primorac. I would classify those blades as OFF- and the acoustic and BT555 as a whole step up and OFF.

The BT555 has been my weapon of choice for a couple of years now, and mine is (perhaps unusually) light at 75g, very flexible and very hard. Guide weight for a BT555 is 85g. You get good speed from the BT555 with very little effort; the hard surface provides an effortless rebound and the throw is high which allows lots of forward effort with looping; more of a driven shot. Whilst not totally useless away from the table it did run out of steam somewhat, perhaps due to its lightness. I had got very used to these properties.

The acoustic delivers in a different way due to it's softness. You need to play more active strokes to get the best out of it; in other words you need to bring the sponge and/or blade into play. The identical rubbers felt very different on the acoustic; softer and much more dwell time. My backhand offence improved immediately with no adjustment whatsoever, the acoustic must just suit my strokes. Forehand, my stronger side, was more problematic and I have needed to make adjustments to my offensive strokes to concentrate on brushing/lifting the ball a little more. It did not take long, and the results are already good and I am producing loops with a little more arc, plenty of power and more spin plus, crucially, a lot more consistency as the arc allows more margin than my previous, flatter stroke. They are not high and spinny, just a bit more air and dip.

Slower, opening loops are far easier to perform.

Away from the table, provided you hit through the ball enough, there is very decent power available.

In practice yesterday, my 6th session with the bat in 8 days, I beat one of our very top local players in 3 consecutive best of 5s. I hadn't beaten him before in 3 attempts, including suffering straight set defeats the last 2 times out. It was a great test for the bat as I came under a lot of pressure as well as getting in with a reasonable amount of offence. I've grown so comfortable with the bat so quickly I don't even think of it as a new setup.

In summary, acoustic v BT555 using medium/hard rubbers

Defensively.......

Short game; both good, but acoustic requires a more active stroke.

Chopping / retrieving; both decent, but better feel from acoustic.

Blocking; acoustic has better control, but the BT555 can definitely generate more speed from a passive block.

Offensively.........

Looping; acoustic every time for me. Similar speed but a definite spin and big control gain. Openers far superior.

Spin on service; acoustic wins clearly.

Away from table; acoustic distinctly more powerful.

Flat hitting and smashing; BT555 is superior but the acoustic is adequate.

To state the obvious, conventional wisdom suggests soft blade/hard rubbers or vice-versa so this setup should work. The SB/HR combos I've used before have been a little too slow, but this one I really like.

Downsides?
This may not be the toughest blade in the world and it is very expensive. It wouldn't work well for flat hitters. It would also be a bit quick for developing players.

Would I recommend it? Yes, if your style is compatible and providing your game and wallet are sufficiently strong.

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PostPosted: 12 May 2010, 05:03 
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hm.
I wouldn't really call it flexy, but it's not wavestone stiff either. I don't think you'll have any issues.

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PostPosted: 12 May 2010, 18:06 
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Silver wrote:
hm.
I wouldn't really call it flexy, but it's not wavestone stiff either. I don't think you'll have any issues.


Silver, what blades would you say are similar to the Acoustic?

(edit: not that I want to try any more, but might want a backup blade that is similar but does not cost £100+)

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PostPosted: 12 May 2010, 22:02 
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speedplay wrote:
Nice review So_Devo,

Almost makes me want to try one out, but the flex thing scares me away and the price isn't to tempting on one of these beauties. Besides, as you all know, I do love my Wavestone :lol:

Your description of the Acoustic some what reminds me of how I feel about the Wavestone and how the softer outer layers work and how they help gaining control while still maintaining good speed.


SP, I think the softness of this blade is from the inner core, not the outer plies. The nittaku site just says 5 plywood, and I don't have the box with mine to verify composition. However, I found this post;

viewtopic.php?f=43&t=7403

Along with some gorgeous pictures rokphish2 wrote;

"Composition: limba-limba-tung tree-limba-limba"

I had never heard of "tung tree" before, so googled it......

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vernicia_fordii

This line caught my eye;

"The wood of the tree is lightweight and strong, and is sometimes used as a substitute for balsa or basswood."

This makes sense to me, I thought the blade had a balsa-like feel, but is more substantial. Perhaps Tung is heavier than Balsa.

Limba on the other hand is a hardwood and I believe a common outer ply in TT blades ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terminalia_superba )

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PostPosted: 13 May 2010, 20:54 
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speedplay wrote:
Softness from the core? I thought that hard outer plies would take away any soft feeling the core could give. Then again, I also thought Limba was soft as I do recall something about Limba being used in the Wavestone as well. Might be all wrong about this, as blade construction really isn't my thing :oops: All I have gathered this far is that blades with Carbon, Kevlar, Zylon and stuff like that are often stiff and the more plies a blade have, the stiffer it is. Others then that, I'm left guessing when it comes to blades, unless Silver explains it to me :D


I certainly don't profess to be any kind of expert on blade construction or the properties of the various materials used. I've just now had a little google time and am still confused!

It seems most blade outer plys are hardwood, limba being perhaps one of the softer hardwoods and a very common top ply. The BT555 is very hard overall though and is a limba outer ply, so there must be more to it.

There must ba a lot of variables; thickness of plys, wood types, overall blade thickness, glues used to name but a few. Perhaps even the part of the tree used?

I'm [currently] convinced that a soft or hard feel can come from within the blade though, probably more so if the outer ply/plys are thin.

I am sure that a lot of the softness of the acoustic comes from the core though. If you squeeze the blade with your fingers you feel it compress but can somehow tell it is the centre that is compressing. I believe this contributes to both softness and a sort of catapult effect - on harder strokes storing the energy of the compression and then releasing it - that makes the blade play OK away from the table.

I am also intrigued about this "tung tree" material. It seems to me to be like balsa on steroids, so you can get a sufficiently powerful blade without having the extreme thicknesses needed by balsa or the addition of carbon which many, me included, do not like. Are there any other tung tree core blades out there?

Perhaps someone more knowledgeable could add their thoughts ?

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FH Tibhar Evolution MX-P Max
BH Tibhar Evolution FX-S 1.8
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