Fresh strings. They feel great, they play great, they sound great...eventually. As much as I love a new set of wires for my guitars, it does take a bit of break-in time to get them sounding the way I want...bright, but not too bright, fat but not dull. A regular set of non-coated strings need a few hours or days (depending on your willingness to stretch and play them) before they settle in to a tone that lasts a good while until they gradually wear out.
That's the way it has always been, and most folks are fine with that. I stretch strings and play guitars to break them in every day for a living, no problem. But ever since the EXP strings became available, I have been skipping the break-in period on my own acoustics and using the EXP sets as soon as they are strung up and tuned. The coating serves two purposes for me: 1) It offers protection against corrosion and fret wear and 2)It starts out sounding like a broken-in set and stays there for a long, long time.
This is especially true in a recording situation. The coated strings seems to minimize the squeaky hand position shifts that are emphasized on a new set of regular strings. The overt brightness is gone, letting you string your guitar and put a mic in front of it immediately. Not to say the coated strings are duller or less responsive...more like a precision EQ that notches out the harsher sounds and lets the chime ring through.
I've found that guitars with EXP strings are easier to record and give you more mic options, since the super top end is not as present. Even a bright mic like a C-414 can be used without rolling any EQ off. The best part is that I can leave a set on for weeks at a time and they still sound great. Check out the EXP coated strings from D'Addario...you just might find the tone you've been searching for...yours.