I am also looking at purchasing a Hermine and have had a chance to play 3, 2 new, one a few years old. The strings are a type of carbon fiber, I was told by my teacher that they have a slightly different feel, are more costly but they rarely break. The previously owned model I played had a developed rich and beautiful voice. The new ones were also lovely, but I always find it helpful to hear one that has had time to mature. It has 34 strings starting 2 octaves below middle C, the same as most 36 string harps minus the top two strings.
I am not sure where you are located but I know Sue Carole DeVale, a Harps International Rep, carries them…maybe she could play one for you on the phone or skype?
From their website: The St. Petersburg showroom
is managed by professional harpist, harp teacher, musicologist,
and published author on the subject of harps, Sue Carole De Vale.
Sue’s showroom now carries Venus harps, in addition to all our other
lines. You can email Sue at SCDV@aol.com
or call her at 1-727-577-HARP (4277).
Thanks for all the information, I’m a bit nervous as this would be my first harp too buy! Do you know anywhere I can hear the harp being played online,Any recordings or anything at all that will help me?