As of last week I've tried every flatwound set avaliable in double-ball-end* on my Hohner Jack bass. So I've decided to make write-up ranking of the most important differences observed. The strings are: LaBella s500M .049-.109 LaBella S500L .043-.104 Optima Chrome 4099 .045-.100 Status .045-.105 Tension - high to low: LaBella S500M LaBella S500L Optima Chrome/Status - TIE Brightness - high to low: Status Optima LaBella's Notes on string-to-string balance: The Labella sets exibit gradually higher tension toward the higher pitched strings, as does the Status set. The Optima is the exception having very even string-to-string balance. It's really a matter of preference what's best for you, the gradually higher tension toward the higher strings is common in many string sets and works well for a groove orineted style of playing. If you do wide arpeggios and scalar runs you might prefer a more even balance though. Subjective tonal observations: The LaBella's are the kings of punch and will get you closest to the Motown sound. Fingerstyle playing gets you a very deep and almost thuddy tone and when you dig in there's always some zing to be had. Watch your neck and fingers with the medium set! Optimas are a different, they're lower tension with lively mids and treble is more snappy than zingy. You loose some punch compared to LaBella's but gain growl and it's easier to rely on variations in technique for getting different tones rather than turning knobs. Tone is very well-balanced which makes them the most versatile for me at least. Status flats are the brightest with lots of clank and zing, possibly due to having tapered cores. The low strings don't push low frequencies as much as the other sets but could be compensated for via good EQ. Before anyone mentions how flats are meant to be enjoyed after being played in for tens of years I'll say this: I've used LaBella flats exclusively for 3 years chaging sets once a year, because they just become tonally limited at a point and clank will be more prescent than actuall harmonics of the note. The only set I'd consider leaving on indefinitely is the LaBella mediums but your fingers and neck pay the price. *If hours of googling has done me any good. Please tell me if I missed any.