OSP Virtuoso

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4.75 star(s) 4 ratings

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I have tried a lot of blades in the last 6 months, including a few very decent 5 ply - these include;Primorac / Stiga all-round wood / Nittaku Acoustic / Nittaku ViolinWhilst I very much liked the Acoustic and Violin, the OSP is just a cut above in terms of build quality and feel. It is a little slower than the Acoustic and maybe pretty similar to the Violin but the handle is certainly for superior to both the large handle and std handled Nittaku blades.I have come to this blade after using both an HL5X and Viscaria, having realised that I play better and more consistently with an all wood blade. I can use rubbers that would render the Viscaria or HL5 very difficult for me to control and the slower blade with higher dwell just gives me back some of that control and time - hence better quality and skinnier shots with more control.So far this is the best blade I have used (Currently with D09c on FH and Rasanter C48 on BH)
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  • spin
  • touch
  • short game
  • not that fast
I've played with both blades with several versions of both blades (straight, concave, small, medium) for over a year and have gotten to know some of the pros and cons of owning them

Background: Blades played for more than 3 months: Galaxy N10, Stiga allround Allround NCT, Zhang Jike ALC, Galaxy Earth 1, Virtuoso+, Virtuoso-. Good technique, lacking experience (3 years of proper play).

Currently playing the Virtuoso- for more than 6 months.

The both blades differ in their outer plies. The limba outer-ply is slightly treated to be a bit harder on the Virtuoso-
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1. First impressions/handle/Gluing

Both blades are very high quality. The workmanship is top-notch. Nothing to complain about here. You can get them in S/M/L head sizes. Weight is generally around 87-90 grams. From personal experience, straight handle + medium head size is head-heavy for most modern rubbers so keep that in mind. Straight + small head size is slightly head heavy. Concave + small is balanced at the center./handle I tried a friend's flaired+ medium and found it to be more or less balanced at the center too.

You can choose from a variety of handles. For some reason, I found the Virtuoso+'s flaired handle to be quite a bit larger than the Virtuoso-'s flaired handle. Don't go 100% on what I'm saying because I couldn't compare them side by side (bought the Virtuoso- after I sold the Virtuoso+) but it would be good to ask OSP yourself. I had to sell the Virtuoso+ in flaired simply because it didn't feel comfortable but I found the Virtuoso- in flaired to be much more comfortable.

I normally use Free Chack II but for the Virtuoso- I had to use the Free Chack I (stronger glue) because the rubber was simply not sticking that well to the top ply. Perhaps with time it will be easier to glue. I had a similar experience with my Stiga Allround NCT but it got better with time.

2. Playing characteristics.

2 a). Serving/Short game.

Both blades give you good dwell time though the Virtuoso- offers slightly more dwell. Serving was nearly identical with both of these blades. Spin production is similar to the Allround NCT and you can keep with serve short without any problems.

However, I did find that the Virtuoso- gave me slightly better feeling on my receives. It was easier to keep with ball short because of the softer outer ply.

I almost always do a soft spin-flick (either backhand or forehand). If you really want to go for a flipkill, you can get more acceleration with the Virtuoso+ as the top ply is better suited for harder flicks. It was definitely easier to do a spin-flick with the Virtuoso- though.

Wasn't too much difference in the long push but my long pushes aren't a very strong part of my game so I can't compare the performance very well in this department.

2 b) First topspin, spinny looping, drive-looping, mid-distance

Both blades had a relatively high throw angle but there are closer in terms of speed that I had expected. Both blades are noticeably faster than my Allround NCT, which makes the OSP Virtuoso- on the higher side of OFF-. With the Allround NCT, I was really having trouble playing tournaments or training for more than 2 hours, especially with the plastic ball, but both of the blades have enough zip for looping.

The throw angle is still lower than the Allround NCT blade as a direct result of the speed. Perhaps the V- has a slightly higher throw than the + but it's very, very marginal.

It was easy to open against backspin with both blades. The V- is a bit more tolerant of being in the wrong position because it takes less energy to activate the blade. Then again, my forehand rubber is also on the harder side so with a softer one both blades will forgive imperfect footwork. V+ is still much more forgiving compared to say, an ALC blade.

The spin quality is high but it's what I expected after getting used to the blade. My forehand opening shot is my strongest shot and I didn't really see a difference in terms of spin if I compared it with the Allround NCT. However, I did have better quality in my shot compared to the Earth 1 or the ZJK ALC but that's because my timing/contact is not good enough to create that much spin with a koto outer ply. What I'm trying to say is, that you shouldn't expect these blades to magically increase the spin of your loops but it can help you improve your contact (because of the feedback that I'll talk about later), which will improve the spin of your loops.

If you go for a harder loop or a drive-kill, you will feel the increased stiffness of the V+ giving you more zip but for regular looping and for half-distance spinny looping, both blades felt comfortable. However, as I said, the V- gives you a bit more safety.

2 c) Blocking, Countering, Smashing

It depends on your blocking style. If you like to punch or push the ball, or give it bit more speed, you will like the way the V+ blocks. If you like spin-blocking, you will like both of these blades. For an emergency block against a powerful shot, I think the V- gives me a touch more control, but the V+ also doesn't lack control.

For low-spin shots such as countering and smashing, you will feel an increase in speed with the V+.

3 Ball-feeling

As others have pointed out, the vibration that you feel with both blades is very pleasing and you do know where you've contacted the ball and how good your contact was. This is not exclusive to the V+ or V- as other allwood blades give you good feedback as well. I do have to say that the feeling and feedback from these blades and especially the V- were better than anything I've tried and the feeling from the V- was on par with the more expensive Nittaku Acoustic. This can really help non-advanced players improve their game. In the short game, I also felt that I had better feeling with the V- compared to with the V+.

4. Other Feedback

Two higher lever players (TTR 1700 and TTR 1900) than me also tested these blades. The 1900TTR rated player (2200+USATT) went with the V- as he really enjoyed the feeling. The 1700 TTR rated player still plays with his Boll ALC but preferred the V- as well. His reasoning was that if he wanted a blade with great feeling, he would get the V-, if wanted to go the stiffer route, he would rather have something like his Boll ALC.

5 Final thoughts

I think that the V- is a standout blade. It's fast enough and gives you great feeling. Personally, my playing level/rating is at the highest it's been because of how well I've been able to train with this blade. If you want a touch more speed on straight shots, you can get the V+ but the speed difference is not that high and not always felt. If you really want a stiffer all-wood blade, you can check out the other OSP 7 ply allwood blades.
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  • Immense Dwell Time
  • Handmade Blade
  • Many Gears
  • Slow away from the table ( 2++ meters)
Best blade in the world when it comes to feeling/feedback. I have played with over a hundred and more wooden blades, but this particular blade has a unique/unmatched feeling when you play with it

You can literally feel the ball sinking into the blade producing tons of spin, especially if you know how to accelerate your paddle. Great choice for loopers/blockers/counterattackers who like to add variation in their game and lift underspin shots with ease.

----- For more information about the features/materials/ of the blade, also check the review below by UpsideDownCarl----

Its an allround offensive blade, but even a defender can use it. The only disadvantage is that it needs some extra power on topspin topspin rallies 2 ++ meters away from the table, but this isnt much of a problem especially if you have correct stroke mechanics and effective use of power when you strike. But let the pros worry about that, amateur play 99% of the time does not involve topspin to topspin rally 2++ meters away from the table (im talking about perfect technique in your topspin, not just hitting the ball hard with your upper arm and no body roration)

Great for learning how to "feel" the ball. I totally recommend it for beginners and players who emphasize on spinny shots and soft touch play. If you are a good BH banana flicker go for a blade faster like the clipper

P.S. For more information about the features/materials/ of the blade, also check the review below by UpsideDownCarl
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  • A Ton of Dwell
  • Great Spin
  • Flex for Looping
  • Could be Faster
This is an amazing blade for those interested in a controlled offensive (Off-) blade that has good flex and amazing feeling. I love this blade and am happy with it.

My Virtuoso Off-, I have to say, is pretty much the perfect blade. The blade is soft. It has a really high throw angle so it is really easy to loop backspin with this blade. It has a ton of dwell time. The ball stays on for long enough to really generate a lot of spin. It felt that way to me. But people who were on the other side of the table started asking, “how are you getting so much more spin?” The flex of the blade also helps with dwell time and extra spin. It loops like a dream. And to me, this is the biggest asset, it has the best wood feel and the most sensitive wood feel I have ever played with. The delicate, sensitive wood feel is there but there are no unwanted vibrations. You can easily feel different kinds of ball contact. It is like a fine tuned instrument.

Part of this has to do with the woods being used and the thickness of the different plies. Part of this has to do with the gluing process when OSP laminated the plies.

This particular blade has the plies: Limba-Limba-Ayous-Limba-Limba. The outer ply is very thin. that also goes into why the blade gives you such an ability to feel the ball so well.

In reviews I had read this blade is supposed to be very good at close to the table. I heard it loses something as you go farther back. I found this blade to be amazing close to the table. I know my level went up because of how well this blade performs in short game and over the table. I know this is not the fastest blade I have used. Not even close. And when I switched to it I was coming from a blade that is considerably faster. So for the first few days it felt on the slow side. But once I got used to it and really felt in sync with the blade, it felt to me like it performed quite well from all distances.

This blade also a really nice sound on contact which I love. It is a nice, fairly deep, snapping sound, almost a crunching sound when you get good solid contact. It is part of the feedback of the blade, but, to me the sound is important and affects to feel. I love the sound that you get from this blade. It gives so much feedback that it did take a few days for me to get used to it though. Then I fell in love with the feedback and the sound.

With this blade OSP offers a variety of head sizes. 150mm x 157mm (small), 150mm x 158mm (medium) or 150mm x 159mm (large). The medium and large head sizes are going to give you more wood feeling, a faster pace and a larger sweet spot. They are also going to perform better for backhand centered play. But they will also cause the blade to have a bit more weight in the head. I chose the “small” head size. Although they call 150mm x 157mm a small head size, that is a very standard head size. Some blades that have that head size are Stiga Clipper, Stiga Offensive Classic, Stiga Allround Evolution, Timo Boll ALC, ZLF, ZLC, Spirit, Viscaria. The list goes on.
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