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Thread: Prime Vibe test

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    Default Prime Vibe test

    Prime Vibe was kind enough to send one of their tone enhancing products for me to test on several instruments for them. I am going to do so as soon as I can. It is similar to the Tone Rite product in some ways, except the Prime Vibe must be used with the instrument laying down. Then the product itself is an 8 watt amplifier that utilizes two speakers that lay on the top of the instrument while it plays music that comes from an MP3 player that you provide and attach to the Prime Vibe.

    I have not used the Prime Vibe yet, so my comments are not related to the function or success of the system itself. My reflection at this moment is that it is a bit of a pain to use right out of the box. While nicely packaged, you have to provide the MP3 player, which I don't have. I have to get one someplace. While this is not a complicated issue in general, it requires a shopping trip to buy this item and the cord to attach it to the Prime Vibe. Then, even more time consuming, I have to load whatever music I want in the MP3. That too is not terribly complicated, but it is time consuming.

    So, before I can test the product I have to buy something else that I would otherwise not buy, take time I don't have to load the MP3 and then proceed with the test. This does not reflect on the quality of the product as much as the pre marketing. It may be better to package it with an inexpensive MP3, even if the price were a little more out front. It would certainly save time for the user.

    I am interested in using the product. I am open minded about it and am only reporting my initial opinion to date. The people behind Prime Vibe are very nice and trying very hard to get their product on the market. I will hopefully get an MP3 tomorrow and see if I can begin the experiment in the next couple days. I will post my results on the Prime Vibe just as I did with the Tone Rite. Just in case anyone thinks otherwise, I have no financial interest in either of these products and I don't make a single sale one way or the other on the outcome of these tests. It is just a service to the manufacturer and the mandolin public. I do not sell either of these products and have never met the people involved that I know of. Thank you.
    Have a Great Day!
    Joe Vest

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    Registered User warh0rn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Prime Vibe test

    I haven't bought either product but I found your last post very informative. I look forward to reading the review on this product. Thanks for taking the time to do this for the mandolin community.

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    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Prime Vibe test

    As far as I can tell from the web site info, it's just a 3.5mm stereo miniplug input that can work with any audio source. You could hook it up to the headphone output of your computer's sound card, or a portable CD player, or your home stereo. Just get whatever cheap adapter cable you need from Radio Shack, if you don't have the cables on hand.

    P.S. I'm still extremely skeptical about this sort of thing, but the audio hookup doesn't look that complicated, and you shouldn't need a dedicated MP3 player.

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    Default Re: Prime Vibe test

    It's not a complicated hookup by any means. I just do not have anything in the shop that I can hook the device to. My Iphone has an Ipod in it, but I can't leave that hooked to the device because I need it with me where I am. I don't have anything else there that will work either. We do have a computer, but it is not loaded with music because it is usually loaded with too many other things .

    I had to get something to load music so I could hook to the device. That meant going shopping for something. I have lots of stuff that could work if I wanted to use it for that, but it is in use elsewhere for other things. In addition, I could not take the Prime Vibe home, hook it to my home stereo, and leave the guitar laying in the middle of the floor. Not only would my grandkids (I am raising two of them) probably step on the guitar, but my wife would see that it was quickly implanted where it was not designed to fit if I left it in the middle of the floor. I felt that might disqualify the home stereo from being used .

    I now have an MP3 (a small Ipod Shuffle so I can use Itunes where I have a couple thousand songs already loaded). I will use it on the Prime Vibe. Besides, this gave me a really good excuse to get an MP3 player......
    Have a Great Day!
    Joe Vest

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    Default Re: Prime Vibe test

    Well, the process has started. I had to go buy an MP3 player that would work with my Itunes since I have tons of music recorded. The local electronics store was helpful in telling me what I needed and helped me find a relatively inexpensive Ipod Shuffle. It is small and was not terribly expensive. I also like Apple products because they just work.

    I finally got it to the shop today and hooked everything up and got it ready to go. It is not hard to set up, but is a bit of time involved. It is like hooking a stereo up. You have to hook the speaker wires to the speakers, then the wire to the source, then get it plugged into a wall socket. Again, not hard or complicated, but more so than its competition. It now is operating and I have it hooked up to a "The Loar" LM400 A model. I got this mandolin early this week and set it up and put on a CA bridge, built a pickguard for it, and shaved the finish off the back of the neck. This mandolin sounds incredible, and plays wonderfully. I have been really impressed with this mandolin. I set it up this way because my intention is to keep it for myself. I don't know that I would say it needed anything because it is darned good as is, but if you are going to run a test, this is a way to see if there really will be any improvement.

    Now for my initial thoughts. This is not related to how effective it may be or its quality in any way, shape, or manner. It is merely my initial observations of the product. This is subject to change at any point .

    The product simply appears to be a mini- stereo that is essentially 2 speakers with a rubber cushion that sits on top of the instrument. The "head" module has the inputs and a single volume knob. You can increase the volume until you feel the instrument vibrate. Unfortunately, you also hear the music quite loud and it is not that clear since it is coming through the rubber mounts and the instrument itself. It is a bit annoying. If you like poor quality stereo songs it may be ok. I have turned the volume down to where it is not quite so irritating, but is getting louder as time passes. Is this because the wood is responding better? I dont' know.

    In a comparison with the Tone Rite the things that are mostly different are the way you have to use them. The tone rite you take out of the box, plug it in to the wall, and put it on the strings of the instrument. It works whether the instrument hangs, is on a stand, or flat. It works by vibrating the strings and the body through the movement of the strings and bridge. It is easy to configure and use and requires no outside source for driving the mechanism.

    The Prime Vibe is a bit different in the way it works. It ONLY works on the instrument laying on its back. In addition, you have to have an outside source to provide the sound for the mechanism. It only sits on the top of the instrument and is not attached to the strings, and does not directly vibrate the strings or the bridge. The "speakers" just sit on the top and vibrate the top.

    If I were to chose right now, without giving the Prime Vibe a fair chance, it would probably not be my first choice. It is a little less expensive then the Tone Rite, but considering you have to provide and outside source for the sound, it may not be. If you already have an MP3 player it would be fine. If you don't, then the cost does go up. I do NOT want this to be read as negative to Prime Vibe, these are only preliminary thoughts and meant to be nothing more. I do want to see what the outcome of the experiment will be before giving any real estimate of its value. I can only give the information that is before me and my reaction to the materials. The workmanship appears to be very good and the quality quite nice. If you have space to use it then it is very easy to use once it is setup.

    I will report after it has been on the instrument for a bit and then from time to time during the experiment. You may consider this a subjective test and it will have the advantage or disadvantage of having the other product tested first. It does come nicely packaged and in attractive packaging. Now we'll see how it works .
    Have a Great Day!
    Joe Vest

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    Registered User lenf12's Avatar
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    Default Re: Prime Vibe test

    Hi Joe,

    Does the manufacturer recommend any particular type of music for each type of instrument? Would Led Zep's "Whole Lotta Love" be appropriate for a mandolin? Just curious.

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

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    Default Re: Prime Vibe test

    Hey Len... They don't say, but it would certainly give a bit of tension from the beats per minute .
    Have a Great Day!
    Joe Vest

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    Default Re: Prime Vibe test

    Thanks Joe for giving this product an evaluation. I am going be interested in reading your observations.

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    man about town Markus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Prime Vibe test

    Joe, do you have any concern with the finish while using this product? Figure any material in contact for many hours (hundred or more I figure) is a potential risk.

    You have a wealth of experience there (I do not) so I would ask. Other products vibrate strings I change ... I can't change my mandolin's top.

    Thanks for the review, I appreciate your contributions greatly especially as you have tried other similar products and thus can compare between them (as best one can on something subjective like this).

  10. #10
    Registered User primeVibe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Prime Vibe test

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Joe View Post
    ...
    I finally got it to the shop today and hooked everything up and got it ready to go. It is not hard to set up, but is a bit of time involved. It is like hooking a stereo up. You have to hook the speaker wires to the speakers, then the wire to the source, then get it plugged into a wall socket. Again, not hard or complicated, but more so than its competition. It now is operating and I have it hooked up to a "The Loar" LM400 A model. I got this mandolin early this week and set it up and put on a CA bridge, built a pickguard for it, and shaved the finish off the back of the neck. This mandolin sounds incredible, and plays wonderfully. I have been really impressed with this mandolin. I set it up this way because my intention is to keep it for myself. I don't know that I would say it needed anything because it is darned good as is, but if you are going to run a test, this is a way to see if there really will be any improvement.
    I could not be happier with the above choice. primeVibe's effect on good sounding and well seasoned instruments was unknown till we received feedback from the Gibson user in my signature below. The user told me his guitar was played 1-3 hours/day for four years.

    The product simply appears to be a mini- stereo that is essentially 2 speakers with a rubber cushion that sits on top of the instrument.
    I recently wrote the following page to address the above point, which has come up a lot more times than I expected http://prime-vibe.com/product-info/s...e-transducers/

    You can increase the volume until you feel the instrument vibrate. Unfortunately, you also hear the music quite loud
    More from my keyboard on the above point http://prime-vibe.com/product-info/q...mevibe-in-use/

    and it is not that clear since it is coming through the rubber mounts and the instrument itself.
    I must here admit of my extremely limited experience with mandolin, and hence I can not contradict the above. I would be immensely indebted if Joe would describe the transducer locations, especially if they differ significantly from the instructions diagram. I will say the lack of clarity is exactly the opposite of guitar user reports. My personal experience is that the best program material is solo instrument matching that being seasoned. If Joe would at some point try that I think and hope the sound quality would be satisfying.

    Please check carefully and listen if there is audible distortion. If so, the volume is just too loud, and the solution is lower volume. It is also very possible that the music source volume needs to be turned down because the source (MP3, whatever) is distorting the audio input to the primeVibe amp.

    Lastly, listen to the audio source plugged into headphones or some audio amp and make sure it sounds OK.

    A final test would be to try it on a guitar at the points recommended in the instructions. If it still sounds that bad I'm starting to wonder if something is malfunctioning.

    It is a bit annoying. If you like poor quality stereo songs it may be ok.
    If the music is large scale and/or with deep bass, I'll respectfully suggest changing to solo mandolin or any solo string instrument. And check the items I mention above.

    The above report is odd, unless the performance on mandolin is completely different than guitar, a result of the different size and architecture.

    I have turned the volume down to where it is not quite so irritating, but is getting louder as time passes.Is this because the wood is responding better? I dont' know.
    The transducers themselves will season when new, increasing output. After a certain amount of time they will settle, I estimate less than 10 hours. After that point, the difference you hear is the instrument's wood changing.

    I feel extremely confident that this point separates primeVibe from ToneRite. The thread in my signature includes users of both TR and pV. To a person, they proclaim results in mere single digit hours resulting from primeVibe's efficiency in its intended purpose, which is to vibrate the wood.

    In a comparison with the Tone Rite the things that are mostly different are the way you have to use them. The tone rite you take out of the box, plug it in to the wall, and put it on the strings of the instrument. It works whether the instrument hangs, is on a stand, or flat. It works by vibrating the strings and the body through the movement of the strings and bridge. It is easy to configure and use and requires no outside source for driving the mechanism.
    There is a growing consensus that TR wears the strings. pV indeed vibrates the strings (damping them is one method to quiet operation), and one of our biggest believers thinks pV may also cause string wear. If pV does wear the strings, I can't help but think it's less than TR. TR directly vibrates the strings while pV has a sum total string contact of zero.

    The Prime Vibe is a bit different in the way it works. It ONLY works on the instrument laying on its back. In addition, you have to have an outside source to provide the sound for the mechanism.
    That well summarizes what would likely be considered TR advantages. Here's some opposing views http://prime-vibe.com/product-info/p...ur-competitor/ I'll add to this that with small instruments like mandolin and violin, pV will season two instruments simultaneously (one transducer per instrument), and I'd predict still with greater efficiency than TR. Also, it might be loud, but pV can be setup to season up to 100 instruments simultaneously for moderate cost.
    $99 primeVibe seasons any guitar including solid body and bass, mandolin, ukulele, violin, viola, cello, double-bass, harmonica, and drums!
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    Default Re: Prime Vibe test

    After the first day the results were somewhat different from what I had expected. In the TR the first and most noticeable alteration was increased bass response and volume. With the PV there was an increase in balance rather than a noticeable increase in bass response. This mandolin had a very good bass response to begin with and I was surprised the tonal outcome after the first day was more balance. This usually took about 3 days with the TR. I did not detect an increase in volume overall, but the E and A courses were stronger. On this particular instrument that is a good thing. I don't know what the outcome will be over the next few days, but this is a positive thing on this mandolin. I have a guitar to test it on after I am finished with the mandolin.

    As to the placement of the elements, they are just as shown in the manual. I have 337 songs loaded on the MP3 and are from every genre of music imaginable. I could have loaded it with just mandolin music, but I did not have the hours needed to go through all the songs to find instrument specific music. In addition, the mandolin will be (and is used) used in a band environment with numerous other instruments and musical styles. The response with these other instruments should be a plus. I also want to test it just as most purchasers would do. I don't think most would pick just mandolin instrumentals for the use at home. I am trying to do as much of a real world test as I can, and since I am not the youngest gear head, I have to do what I can with what I have available and with the time I have to work with.

    My comments are not meant as criticisms but rather just observations from my point of view. While they are just my personal observations, I think these are things many would also think and addressing these issues up front can help the potential user make a good decision as to whether this may be the best choice for them. If I were going to purchase the product for my own use I would rather have an MP3 included in the package even if the product were a bit more expensive. For me, the time to find an MP3 and the fact I had to figure what to buy was more expensive than the difference in the products I've tested. The ability to immediately open the box and begin using the product would be a great asset in my opinion. I would have no problem loading the music, but obtaining an MP3 was a bit of a inconvenience. It may well be that everyone else on the planet has them and this would not be an issue. However, we are in the era of immediate gratification, which is why this product is produced in the first place.... to give us 40 years of playing in over a weeks time . Again, not criticizing, just observing. Others may have a different opinion, but I said I would share my experience and opinions as the test goes on and that I will do. Subjective? Of course, but I can only report from my point of view since that is the only one I have .
    Have a Great Day!
    Joe Vest

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    Henry Lawton hank's Avatar
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    Default Re: Prime Vibe test

    Thank you Joe and James for your willingness to subject this product to unbiased real world testing by a very experienced ear. I think most of us would agree that the ability to evaluate mandolin tone and response generally grows as more instruments are played and one matures as a player. My question: Is this a permanent change in the wood structure and settling in of the parts and pieces into a whole with a single application or is it more similar to an instrument warming up after play thus requiring continual reapplication of the device? For those of us who are content with only one or two instruments wouldn't this be better purchased as a service during setup if the changes have lasting qualities?

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    Registered User primeVibe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Prime Vibe test

    Quote Originally Posted by hank View Post
    Thank you Joe and James for your willingness to subject this product to unbiased real world testing by a very experienced ear.
    I could not be more pleased with Joe's admirable, pleasant attitude and incredible honesty. Debra and I are honored primeVibe is in his care. His frankness is refreshing.

    I think most of us would agree that the ability to evaluate mandolin tone and response generally grows as more instruments are played and one matures as a player.
    +1

    My question: Is this a permanent change in the wood structure and settling in of the parts and pieces into a whole with a single application or is it more similar to an instrument warming up after play thus requiring continual reapplication of the device?
    I refer readers to the Gibson link in my signature. IIRC there are also relevant comments in the thread at the Forum link in my signature.

    For anyone considering taking the chance, note the 30 day return privilege (please return all the parts, the decal, instructions, little wire ties, etc.) I dare not tempt fate (as a friend once warned me), but so far, knock on wood, no takers of about 60 kits delivered worldwide (we launched earlier in Asia, see great images at our webpage and Facebook of the Singapore Guitar Show and Shanghai Music Expo-largest in Asia).

    For those of us who are content with only one or two instruments wouldn't this be better purchased as a service during setup if the changes have lasting qualities?
    Our Asia rep (in Singapore) made this report concerning ToneRite: In Singapore it is practically mandatory to offer X number of hours of seasoning for any instrument brought in for service.

    Also, and I really must emphasize the significance of this: seasoning in Singapore is Da Bomb on "$100-$200" instruments!!!!!!!! (IIRC he said the owners are, as expected, normally younger persons.)

    Eric Schoenberg got his kit recently. If anyone knows him, you are encouraged to call him so he can provide feedback ASAP. Ditto Elderly Instruments (contact there is Doug McWhirter). Call them and say: "Inquiring minds want to know" their opinions on primeVibe, and we want it now! Brendan Jang also has kit at Tom Lee Canada for our friends north of the border in frigid climes similar to beautiful north Utah from whence I type.

    I encourage readers to request their local music store to make space on their shelves to demonstrate primeVibe. Customers can walk in, hear it, see it, and feel it vibrating the instrument, which is the best testimony possible. We hear over and over again from dealers they just don't want to make physical shelf space. Obviously this is self-serving, but this is a completely new market segment. If the dealers don't make space and demonstrate it properly, they may be missing a golden opportunity to involve the customer in part of an interesting learning process. The dealer makes profit reselling primeVibe, so it's reasonable for them to make some space on the shelf and let the customer experience the product in action. Once salespeople bring in their own instrument and get a taste, they can pass along their experience.

    Debra and I wish you all a great Thanksgiving tomorrow!
    Last edited by primeVibe; Nov-24-2010 at 10:50am.
    $99 primeVibe seasons any guitar including solid body and bass, mandolin, ukulele, violin, viola, cello, double-bass, harmonica, and drums!
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    Registered User primeVibe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Prime Vibe test

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Joe View Post
    After the first day the results were somewhat different from what I had expected. In the TR the first and most noticeable alteration was increased bass response and volume. With the PV there was an increase in balance rather than a noticeable increase in bass response. This mandolin had a very good bass response to begin with and I was surprised the tonal outcome after the first day was more balance. This usually took about 3 days with the TR. I did not detect an increase in volume overall, but the E and A courses were stronger. On this particular instrument that is a good thing. I don't know what the outcome will be over the next few days, but this is a positive thing on this mandolin. I have a guitar to test it on after I am finished with the mandolin...
    The above post explains why I expressed so much approval in Joe choosing his personal instrument to season.

    primeVibe is so powerful and efficient that it seasons even solid body guitar and bass. A professional musician picked out my Tele for me (I know little about electric guitars, but am learning). It sounded great to begin with and had immediately audible improvement after 24 hours.

    The sooner professional luthiers experiment with primeVibe the sooner will they add audible value to their instruments, thus separating themselves from their closest competition. If this sounds "predatory" or "mean" it's not meant to, it's just that competition is what spurns products on to the next level.
    $99 primeVibe seasons any guitar including solid body and bass, mandolin, ukulele, violin, viola, cello, double-bass, harmonica, and drums!
    James Romeyn, Founder/CEO
    Debra Romeyn, Manager
    Facebook primeVibe
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    Collings Forum, review bottom page 5
    Gibson Roy Smeck w/ primeVibe

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    Default Re: Prime Vibe test

    Hank... The answer to your question is not all that simple. If you use your instrument regularly the effect will have a much longer lasting effect. Using the tone enhancing device from time to time will help keep it opened up. If you let it sit for a while unplayed and untreated, it will go back to sleep to some degree. That is the case with instruments that are played heavily and then left unplayed for a long time. When they are played again, they often open up much quicker, but can still go to sleep. I notice this on the TR as well. It took a few weeks, but it did go back to sleep a little. I don't know that the PV will be any different in that regard. There is no reason it should not function the same. That is not the result of the machine, but the wood itself.

    The ideal is to have one of these for regular use from time to time if you do not play on a regular basis. Many players do play a LOT and it may not be as important, but for most, they do not play that much because there just is not enough time in the day. For them, a device like either of these could be a good thing.

    On a side note, the PV output is less distorted today. Whether this is the speakers breaking in or the mandolin top opening I don't know. Probably a bit of each. I did not readjust my MP3 so everything else is the same.
    Have a Great Day!
    Joe Vest

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    Default Re: Prime Vibe test

    Day two complete. I took it and played it for about an hour this morning. The A string was noticeably louder as was the D string, but not quite as much as the A. The mandolin is still pretty well balanced, but the A string really stands out. It will be interesting to see what happens from here. I was not certain that there was much difference in volume after day 1, but today it is noticeable. Not so much when you play it, but when you hear it from across the room. It has really improved the projection.

    While some of these changes are normal in a new mandolin, especially a hand carved top and back, but this seems to be quite a bit more than what I have seen in other mandolins. While I still don't like the fact it has to be laid down rather than hung, it does seem to be improving areas of the mandolin. The response on this instrument is different from the TR, which improved volume and bottom end response initially and then balance over the remaining time. The TR was pretty consistent in its results in all the instruments I did use it on. I will see what happens over the next few days with the PV and then switch it to a guitar to see what it does there as well.

    My only concern at the moment is whether the rubber pads would react in a negative manner to some varnish finishes. It does not seem to affect the nitro cellulose lacquer and I doubt it would affect poly, but the varnish may not be so friendly. You could probably put a thin soft piece of cotton cloth under the pads for protection, but I would think that would stifle some of the effect of the vibration.

    Anyway, we will report more as we have something to report. So far some frustrations that can be easily solved for the most part, though I would prefer to be able to hang the instrument for increased vibration of the entire mandolin. However, it does still work. I do like the improvement in the A string and D string. The other strings are also stronger, but not as noticeably.
    Have a Great Day!
    Joe Vest

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    Default Re: Prime Vibe test

    I am wondering if a cradle could be built to allow the entire instrument to vibrate?

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    Registered User primeVibe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Prime Vibe test

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Naill View Post
    I am wondering if a cradle could be built to allow the entire instrument to vibrate?
    My dearest Chuck,
    Your wish is my command! Sorry I took so long, I was in the shower...

    Send your request to luthier Michael Cone, member The Guild of American Luthiers....this image from his seminal article in GAL Quarterly, Summer 2010, Issue #102.

    Remember, "I'm here to help!" Tell me this ain't the coolest primeVibe accessory on planet earth!

    $99 primeVibe seasons any guitar including solid body and bass, mandolin, ukulele, violin, viola, cello, double-bass, harmonica, and drums!
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    Default Re: Prime Vibe test

    I can see how a piece of plywood, wooded dowels, and rubber or string could be used to "suspend" the instrument very inexpensivily. Great idea. Thank you for the response.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

    chuck

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    Default Re: Prime Vibe test

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Joe View Post
    Day two complete. I took it and played it for about an hour this morning. The A string was noticeably louder as was the D string, but not quite as much as the A. The mandolin is still pretty well balanced, but the A string really stands out. It will be interesting to see what happens from here. I was not certain that there was much difference in volume after day 1, but today it is noticeable. Not so much when you play it, but when you hear it from across the room. It has really improved the projection...
    I am simultaneously delighted and humbled to read the above. With 40+ years in audio and music experience, it is hugely gratifying to read a completely independent professional luthier hear exactly what I hear. In physics and engineering (see the landmark 1950's text book by Dr. Harry F. Olson, RCA Labs, "Music, Physics, and Engineering"...my wife's cousin's husband Don Rennels worked decades for GE setting up nuclear power plants worldwide...when Don saw Olson's book almost exactly 3 years ago he was blown away to find equations he could have used decades ago during his career...Don recently had a textbook published, expected to be a reference for years if not decades) the point Joe refers to is called "sound field", sometimes specified as "polar response", and/or "radiation pattern", also related to "sound intensity" (sound power per unit area).

    All instruments and sound sources project in three dimensions, hence the term "radiation pattern". With no intent to place myself as the final arbiter of such things, I must state for the record that I believe Joe has a superlative ear for such things, which are sometimes a fine nuance for ears lacking such experience and training. For instance, no one familiar with such nuance would ever in a million years depend on the random cheap consumer equipment (mics, etc), You Tube, and computer playback gear (such as Debra's $12/pr Wall Mart speakers, which actually are acceptable for the money, underline "for the money") to document the changes being discussed. Sound field and radiation patterns being 3-d, they can hardly be documented with a mono mic. MP3 technology is about equal to the analog cassette (invented for dictation, NOT music), and You Tube, with all due respect to its billions of fans, is just above dog droppings (excuse me) for audio fidelity.

    Trained ears detect the above immediately. It takes considerable care to document it on recordings. For test purposes, you gotta get into the stuff Michale Cone is into to accurately and scientifically document it.

    I'd have to charge every customer for the above proof. When my ears and Big Joe's hear it, why would I want to charge every non-believer to be convinced? Frankly, it's too costly for the desired benefit of more sales (though a highly reliable source said ToneRite already financed such independent tests and they are now ongoing...stay tuned).

    While some of these changes are normal in a new mandolin, especially a hand carved top and back, but this seems to be quite a bit more than what I have seen in other mandolins. While I still don't like the fact it has to be laid down rather than hung, it does seem to be improving areas of the mandolin. The response on this instrument is different from the TR, which improved volume and bottom end response initially and then balance over the remaining time. The TR was pretty consistent in its results in all the instruments I did use it on. I will see what happens over the next few days with the PV and then switch it to a guitar to see what it does there as well.
    We heard the same changes as described above with every instrument on which primeVibe was tested, including solid body guitar (after 24 hours), solid wood bongo drums, and harmonica.

    My only concern at the moment is whether the rubber pads would react in a negative manner to some varnish finishes. It does not seem to affect the nitro cellulose lacquer and I doubt it would affect poly, but the varnish may not be so friendly. You could probably put a thin soft piece of cotton cloth under the pads for protection, but I would think that would stifle some of the effect of the vibration.
    I can not overstate my gratitude to Joe for his feedback on every and any finish, especially varnish.

    Joe:
    How safe, on a scale of 1-10, do you consider cotton on varnish?


    Anyway, we will report more as we have something to report. So far some frustrations that can be easily solved for the most part, though I would prefer to be able to hang the instrument for increased vibration of the entire mandolin. However, it does still work. I do like the improvement in the A string and D string. The other strings are also stronger, but not as noticeably.
    Again, my deepest and most heartfelt thanks for Joe's obvious care and time put into this test to now.
    Last edited by primeVibe; Nov-25-2010 at 12:13pm. Reason: more reply to quotes
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    Henry Lawton hank's Avatar
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    Default Re: Prime Vibe test

    OK I gotta ask. What is the cruel looking device that poor guitar is being tortured with?

  22. #22
    Registered User primeVibe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Prime Vibe test

    Short version, I'm embarrassed to admit I'm waiting for my back issue so I have no idea what is that device...my professional guess is some type of condenser mic but please don't quote me. I thought for a moment it might be a device to measure distance, but obviously a laser would be used for such purpose.

    With my pre-apologies to Michael Cone, and with no intent to wish him wrong, a few weeks ago I emailed Michael to see if he might be interested in helping us document primeVibe's efficacy. So far, no reply.

    Maybe if he gets enough requests we can get him interested. From the 3-D cloud graphs I saw in his article, Cone appears to be the highest authority extant on the current subject.
    $99 primeVibe seasons any guitar including solid body and bass, mandolin, ukulele, violin, viola, cello, double-bass, harmonica, and drums!
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    In The Van Ben Milne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Prime Vibe test

    by recommending people don't play bottom heavy music, is there an inference that 60 cycles (at a certain amplitude) could cause damage to an instrument? Other than recommending against it has the PV got any protective measures built in? eg HPF or limiters etc?
    Hereby & forthwith, any instrument with an odd number of strings shall be considered broken. With regard to mix levels, usually the best approach is treating the mandolin the same as a cowbell.

  24. #24
    Registered User primeVibe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Prime Vibe test

    Yes, there is a HPF (high pass filter) in the amp, 3dB/octave below 200 Hz. This prevents me from suggesting the amp for any other use.

    My philosophy is the waveforms best seasoning the instrument are those for which it was desinged to produce. Again, please accept my humble apology for a dearth of direct mandolin experience: Dr. Olson's book shows the lowest standard tuning mandolin fundamental being G3, 196 Hz (G below middle C, AKA C4). I'd love to know about common alternate (lower) tunings if such exist. So, playing music with fundamentals below G3 may have little to no positive seasoning effect.

    G3 is so high in frequency that playing lower fundamentals in the music program is virtually certain except for solo mandolin music or maybe flute.

    Seasoning the opposite type of instrument, a double bass, whose lowest fundamental tone is 42 Hz, demonstrates the following potential issue. The octave below 42 Hz (yes, we're only talking about huge bass drum and synthesizer and lowest piano notes) requires not double the transducer element excursion but rather 4x the excursion. 21 Hz requires 4x the excursion of 42 Hz. I'm happy to admit to double-bass owners (no sales yet to bass owners that I know of) that primeVibe's output is limited for your lowest fundamental vs. all other instruments for which it is advertised to season. It might take longer to season a bass vs. other instruments for this reason. (plus the above HPF roles off the bass a bit)

    I'll leave the issue of potential damage to the instrument to the professional luthiers. My professional opinion of primeVibe compared to my limited knowledge of instrument design is this: you're gonna be calling uncle Jim to talk about a blown primeVibe before you need to report instrument damage to your luthier caused by primeVibe. As per the instructions: in every audio application I know of, a burnt voice coil is defined as abuse. Audible distortion is a no-no in audio, and the more audible and more gross is the distortion the more it is the user's sole risk. Disregarding audible distortion is normally considered the user's sole responsibility, and it may result in a blown amp and or blown transducer voice coil. (General, not pV specific: Sometimes when an amp blows it sends DC to the speaker, causing immediate terminal failure...speakers are made to reproduce AC waveforms, not DC. The point about audible distortion is that it is proof that something is being driven beyond it's capacity, be it amp or speaker or both. One exception is intended distortion such as electric guitar/blues harmonica effects.)

    That's why I was quite concerned about the earlier distortion comments from Joe. In all my prior experience turning it down and/or re-positioning the transducers eliminated the distortion. I've never blown a transducer and I've made gross errors with the volume control (resulting in brief very gross distortion) maybe about six times. I'm getting old and have some hearing issues related to 28 years as a fireman. Joe's ears are almost positively better than mine and I bet he hears a lot of distortion that I don't.

    Now, I read about 300 internet pages about our sole "competition" ToneRite. In the Collings forum with about 130 TR testers, a few, IIRC 3, experienced damage, and it was later disclosed the instruments already had mechanical damage only exacerbated by the TR. It was not a direct fault of TR in any way.

    I respectfully request Joe's sage advice on this: using primeVibe on a mandolin, how likely is damage to the mandolin playing music with fundamentals lower than G3, at the levels primeVibe appears capable of reproducing? (The lower the fundamental, esp below 50 Hz, the smaller is primeVibe's maximum dynamic envelope.) My professional opinion is that primeVibe would fail well, and I mean really well, below the level at which it could possibly damage a mandolin. Look at the transducers and push the element in and out. It's maximum excursion is too limited and the amp power too low to hurt any properly assembled instrument. A light drop of the instrument from 1/2" above a hard surface would likely be 100x more violent than primeVibe's maximum output.
    Last edited by primeVibe; Nov-25-2010 at 7:37pm.
    $99 primeVibe seasons any guitar including solid body and bass, mandolin, ukulele, violin, viola, cello, double-bass, harmonica, and drums!
    James Romeyn, Founder/CEO
    Debra Romeyn, Manager
    Facebook primeVibe
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  25. #25
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    Default Re: Prime Vibe test

    Damage to an instrument that is structurally sound is very HIGHLY unlikely from either the Prime Vibe or the Tone Rite. The only damage from the Tone Rite would be if you dropped the unit on the finish. That would very probably leave a dent in the wood or at least a mark in the finish. The only concern I have with the Prime Vibe is the potential for finish damage to oil varnish finishes. It may not be an issue, but there is a good possibility that it could. Please understand, that is not structural damage, only damage to the finish itself. This can usually be french polished out, but I would want to know for certain that it would not harm the finish before trying it on varnish.

    I don't know if Cotton is the perfect choice under the rubber cones or not. I was thinking like a soft used (but definitely cleaned ) baby diaper. As long as it does not dampen the product so much that it reduces the effectiveness of the PV it should be fine. I would also think a non treated Micro Fibre cloth would work well.
    Have a Great Day!
    Joe Vest

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