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Review: Nittaku S-series S-5 and S-7

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JoeB View Drop Down
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    Posted: 03/27/2017 at 5:10pm
It has taken me awhile to get to this review because I'm having so much FUN playing with this blade. When I learned that this series includes a 5ply blade made of all spruce I really wanted to try it. I have an Andro Ligna off that I really like but sometimes I found it hard a bit hard to control sometimes. It has spruce in the outer ply and it really helps touch and has lots of power reserves
I also own a Darker 7P-2A.7t which is 7ply all Hinoki. That blade is thick, stiff, Off+, with good touch for a fast blade but was not right for me...lacked feeling.
I got an S-5 st from tt11. They show the blade,on their web-site to weigh 87gm and I asked for a 88 or 89. The closest they had was 85. I wanted the blade to be solid and there is no problem there.It is very solid with a bit of vibration but very muted. The touch is the best I have ever had on any blade for the short game. The blade is at its best blocking, looping, and counterdriving.  I feel like I can do anything with this blade. It's ability take underspin and loop is scary. Yet in blocking I can block soft and negate power or punch sharply and put a point away with accuracy. It is a solid off speed and can finish a point easily.   By the way I play Vega Europe max on my forehand and gambler 4 Kings on the backhand for control in the short game and for blocks. Even with the 4 Kings on backhand, which is medium speed, I can get good pace on sharply hit backhands. The blade has several speeds but never surprises me. 
For a game built on control,loops, smashes, and blocks I can't imagine a better blade. Worth checking out.
If someone gets the 7 ply version I would love to read your experiences. I think 7ply will be very fast but still have good touch and control because of the spruce.  Selvin has already reviewed the version with carbon in it.
One last question???Has there ever been a 5 or 7 ply blade of all spruce...I have not heard of it.
At around 70.00 to your door in the states it is great buy when you consider you are almost getting a Resond (6.3mm and 5 ply where this is 6.0mm and 5ply)  but without the violin case and an extra 2000.00 on your VISA bill.
The Resond for Everyman!!!    Great blade.Wink



Edited by JoeB - 05/21/2017 at 6:07pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote slevin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/27/2017 at 6:09pm
Great review!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JoeB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/27/2017 at 6:30pm
Thanks, that's just a starter but I do really like the playing characteristics of this blade....The results have been wonderful too.  I am playing at a 1700-1750 level right now. The best player in our club is about a 2000 level Chinese penholder. He has a relentless attack mode he stays in. The first time I played him with this blade I lost, as usual, but not 3-1 or 3-0 but 3-2, 11-9 in the fifth.  Anytime I get a game from him it feels like a victory. That is the closest I have ever gotten. He told me "Your blocking was much better today."  Nothing like results!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Enter_Thrice Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/10/2017 at 9:51am
I´m really interested in this blade as I´m looking for a upgrade of my Nittaku Acoustic (Large Handle). What is the balance and the handle like? I prefer rather neutral blades, using rubbers like the Andro Hexer. I´m still not sure whether the S5 or S7 will be better for me, could you please compare the S5 with a standard Off blade in terms of stiffness and speed?

Many thanks in advance.


Edited by Enter_Thrice - 04/10/2017 at 9:51am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/10/2017 at 2:00pm
Joe B.  could you name a well known blade that the S-5 is close to in terms of speed?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JoeB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/11/2017 at 11:35am
Tom the S-5 is about the same as a standard Acoustic which is solid Off in my book. I own this blade so I am very familiar with it. S-5 is clearly faster than OSP Virtuoso. Keep in mind however that this all-spruce blade has a very smooth power to it. To me it is like a good automatic transmission in a car. Press on the gas slow or fast for speed but it is never jerky.  As you increase your arm speed there is more power available..but very smooth.   IT IS A GREAT BLADE TO SPIN THE BALL - THE BEST I HAVE EVER USED.
The more I play it the more I like it.Wink
PS A little faster than Korbel...higher top end.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JoeB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/11/2017 at 11:51am
Thrice, I have an Acoustic St in regular handle. My S-5 St is clearly more balanced to slightly light headed. I find my Acoustic (90gm) head heavy.  Keep in mind my S-5 is 85 gm. but the all spruce make-up is very solid yet soft feeling.
I would strongly suggest you go with the 5. Here's why. It is listed at 87gm and 6mil on the tt11 site.  The S-7 is listed at 6.3 and 90gm average.   Also the 7ply has Ayous listed as one of the woods (core most likely). I think that that will not have the combination of control, power, and touch that an all-spruce blade seems to have. 
The st on s-5 is larger than on a standard Acoustic st but not by a whole lot. It is made of wild cherry a very solid wood. The st on s-5 is just like on an Andro Ligna st  (Soulspin size)   Hope this helps.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JoeB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/11/2017 at 12:04pm
Does anyone know of another ALL-SPRUCE blade?  The S-5 is the only one I have ever heard of. It is a very special blade to me.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/11/2017 at 12:35pm
Thanks JoeB.  I have played with Acoustic Carbon and Violin so I could approximate the speed of your ref = Acoustic
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JoeB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/17/2017 at 7:34pm
I have a young Japanese boy (middle school age) that I coach weekly. He hit with my new S-5 and wanted one too. His family was taking a trip to Japan to see family so I thought he would get one there. They said they could not find it there. So when he got back he ordered one from tt11. His weighed only 81gm. mine was 85.  But his feels just like mine and he really likes it.

By the way the S-5 and the S-7 are on sale at tt11 this week for one week only.    Great buy.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JoeB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/20/2017 at 7:51am
SALE  The S-5 and the S-7 are on sale at tt11 for only 4 more days.   Very good buy.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Makelele Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/20/2017 at 6:00pm
I wish there was a review of the S-7.

Edited by Makelele - 04/20/2017 at 6:01pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JoeB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/20/2017 at 6:02pm
I am hoping that someone who bought that blade will post a review also😜
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote arg0 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/23/2017 at 5:45pm
Thanks for the review: I couldn't resist and bought one, as it was on special offer at tt11...
I wanted to test one of the all-wood Nittaku blades made in Germany (in collaboration with Soulspin, or is this just for the Meister series?), and the S-5 is not only the most affordable, it also appears to be the most versatile.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JoeB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/23/2017 at 8:32pm
Argo, after you have had a little time to live with your S5 post us a short review please thank you
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote arg0 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/29/2017 at 4:43pm
My Nittaku S-5 arrived a few days ago. I'm impressed by the natural beauty and the quality of manufacturing. However, I'm unsure whether I should keep and test it, or whether I should just return it. From the ball bounce test (and acoustic spectrum analysis) the blade seems very stiff: much stiffer than 5-ply blades like Acoustic, Virtuoso+, Soulspin Koto, etc. Actually, the S-5 is stiffer than Viscaria or Spirit, I'd say about as stiff as an old Bty M. Maze. I expect it to be a full OFF in speed.

Though I'm not aware of any other full spruce blade (note that Nittaku Resoud is not), the S-5 reminds me a lot of Butterfly's Kiso Hinoki V. First, the grain of spruce is not too dissimilar from hinoki cypress, which is not too surprising as they're both conifers. Moreover, also the Kiso Hinoki V is extraordinary stiff for a 5-ply all wood blade, actually about the same as the S-5.

I played with Kiso Hinoki V a few years ago, and remember I did not like it enough to replace my then current blade (Boll Spark I suppose, or maybe already Violin).

So I'm tempted to just send the S-5 back, but I'll sleep over it before deciding.
Anyone feel free to convince me to test it, in the meantime! Tongue
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Edited by arg0 - 04/29/2017 at 4:44pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JoeB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/29/2017 at 7:06pm
I don't know about your ball bounce or the spectrum thing but I do know a bit about how it plays. It has a soft touch to it and is wonderful for looping and driving the ball. I really had  not thought about flex as it is very easy to control. It would be somewhat like hinoki I guess. I would encourage you to play with it first, but that's your call.      Should be easy to resale if you did not like it.Wink 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JoeB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/29/2017 at 7:26pm
What is the weight of your S-5?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote arg0 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/01/2017 at 2:57am
84 grams. Actually, I didn't realise how much the spruce in this blade resembles Hinoki wood, and the blade really appears to be similar to the Butterfly Kiso Hinoki V, so I don't know. But you're right, maybe I should give it a try...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JoeB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/01/2017 at 8:15am
It would be similar but I would not call this blade stiff.  I have a 7 ply Darker hinoki and that is a stiff blade. This is very different. It has a nice firm feel to it but a soft touch. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote arg0 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/01/2017 at 7:05pm
I am aware that there is a large subjective variations on the definition and perception of blade stiffness, so I prefer to define stiffness based on vibration measurements (see here for some theory).
I use audio captured from the ball bounce test as a very oversimplified measuring technique, which is however still quite reliable, at least for a coarse assessment.
The only all-wood blades that I measured that are stiffer than the S-5 are Xiom Jazz (5-ply, hinoki outer) and TSP Hinoki Pure (3-ply hinoki). My NEXY Tamar VII (7-ply all hinoki), despite being a 7-ply, is way flexier. So I suppose that the high stiffness of the S-5 (and the Bty Kiso Hinoki V) also depends on the glueing.
I'm not even sure how much this will reflect on the playing characteristics. I trust you that the blade may also "feel" soft (vs hard), with all the implications it has on spinning. Just, I've not (yet) come across a blade with that type of acoustic spectrum and high frequency of the 3rd bending mode that I'm also comfortable in playing with in the medium term, whatever my initial impression is.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JoeB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/01/2017 at 7:47pm
Well I'm sure you will sorted it out I just know I really like playing with it. And I'm playing very well 😜😜
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote arg0 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/03/2017 at 5:21am
Well, for now I've decided not to return the blade. I love it's just natural wood and colours, with no plastic.
Also, the handle size and shape just feels great.
I'll report back after having played with it, likely not before a few weeks.
In the meantime, hope someone else is going to post a review.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rich215 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/03/2017 at 11:42am
Joe or Arg....what is the head size on this blade?  


Edited by Rich215 - 05/03/2017 at 11:42am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JoeB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/03/2017 at 9:37pm
It is 150x157...hope this helps.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rich215 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/04/2017 at 9:09am
Thanks Joe....I ordered one just after almost pulling the trigger on a Aruna OFF, which is 155x152.....which made me pause for the S-5.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote young dude Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/04/2017 at 3:50pm
How does this compare to YEO, Acoustic, or Rosewood V in terms of looping and power looping? And what about speed and control vs those three? Would you say one needs to be at least an advanced beginner to use this blade? Or can you learn to develop / perfect your strokes with this blade? I'm currently using Yasaka Sweden Extra cpen, and I hope to upgrade to YEO, Acoustic, or Rosewood V in a year or so, but this seems like an interesting alternative too, or maybe even an intermediate step before those three.

Edited by young dude - 05/04/2017 at 3:55pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JoeB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/04/2017 at 6:36pm
Young Dude many of the questions you asked I have already made comment on in this thread, especially about looping and Acoustic. A little better than Acoustic for looping in my opinion and I own A.  The other blades you asked about I have not played.
My Japanese student who got one has loved it.  ( I have not, because he took a game off of me the other day for the first time EVER!  I do not like to lose games. I am thinking of banning the S-5 when he and I play.)  He is much harder to play now because he gets more balls on the table, and he loops better.  He took to the blade very easily and that is with faster rubbers than he was playing with.  With the right rubbers I think almost anyone could play this blade because of the control. But it has plenty of gears for speed. It is lots of fun to play with because you feel like you can do whatever needs to be done.Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote young dude Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/04/2017 at 10:19pm
Thank you. Any reason why this isn't on Nittaku's official website? http://www.nittaku.com/products/racket/

Edit: it's not because that the website isn't updated, because blades that came out after this one is already on there.

Edited by young dude - 05/04/2017 at 10:21pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JoeB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/04/2017 at 10:53pm
I think the blade was intended for the European market. That might be why it is not so widely sold in Japan. My student went to Japan and could not find the blade there. He came back to the states and ordered it from table tennis 11
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