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Thread: Amplifying a violin in an electric combo

  1. #1
    Oval holes are cool David Lewis's Avatar
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    Default Amplifying a violin in an electric combo

    Hi everyone. A friend of mine is in a combo doing electronica. She has a violin, which has a microphone pickup. Itís not loud enough.

    As I see it, thereís a few options

    1) plug the acoustic fiddle into a preamp of some kind, say a behringer AD121 or a Hughes and Kettner red box? Or a sansamp?


    2) plug the microphone into an acoustic amp.

    3) buy an electric fiddle with an amp, such as a fender champ or a Roland cube or into a pedal board into the pa

    4) other suggestions?

    Thanks in advance.
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    Registered User Tom Wright's Avatar
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    Default Re: Amplifying a violin in an electric combo

    The Fishman pickup that wedges easily into the bridge cutout is the best option, but will need significant EQ, so a preamp will also be needed. The sound from a bridge pickup is not the acoustic tone, too bright and too much midrange at 1,000 Hz. But with tone shaping the result is decent, and plenty loud. Also requires no alteration of the violin.

    The basic V-100 is fine.

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Amplifying a violin in an electric combo

    Best I heard or mounted is a Dazzo mounted with beeswax (pretty easy to install and remove) combined with a preamp or acoustic amp. Sounds incredible natural without elaborate EQ, very feedback resistant.
    Here is the link:http://dazzopickups.com/HOME.html
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  6. #4

    Default Re: Amplifying a violin in an electric combo

    Though I do not play violin, I have been happy with the sound
    of violins using the LR Baggs bridge pickup. That pickup is best
    used with a high impedance active DI or preamp. I use the
    Tonebone PZ Pre, but the players often have their own like a
    Baggs preamp or similar.

    In my opinion a small microphone pickup is not as good, and is
    subject to feedback at lower levels. Still, the sound should be
    good enough for "electronica". If you already have a mic it
    would be worth running it through a preamp to boost the levels.

    My limited experience with electric violins leads me to think they
    have a distinct sound I would not expect most violinists to be
    happy with. I would not risk good will by suggesting such a thing.
    Thanks,
    sounds_good

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  8. #5

    Default Re: Amplifying a violin in an electric combo

    have fun on your journey

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  10. #6
    Registered User Mark Seale's Avatar
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    Default Re: Amplifying a violin in an electric combo

    For the longest time, I used a DPA4099 condenser mic into an Acoustic Image Corus amp. These days, I use the same DPA into a Grace Felix preamp chained into my amp and the front of the house sound. I can get plenty loud even on fairly loud stages.

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  12. #7

    Default Re: Amplifying a violin in an electric combo

    check out the helix if you have the money

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Question Re: Amplifying a violin in an electric combo

    A soundboard pickup should work OK, perhaps out of the way, on underside sited near the sound post .

    Wear a lavalier headset mic, that will be close enough to hear the violin, under the chin.
    (a performer I know does that, but she is not in a loud band.)
    It goes into house mixer& souns system, there is wher the power is.

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    Registered User Ky Slim's Avatar
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    Default Re: Amplifying a violin in an electric combo

    You said she is playing electronica. I had to google it: Electronica: dance music featuring extensive use of synthesizers, electronic percussion, and samples of recorded music or sound. merriam-webster. Seems like an electric solid body instrument is going to give her the most options with the least headaches for that. Go with option 3) buy an electric fiddle with an amp, such as a fender champ or a Roland cube or into a pedal board into the pa

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    Default Re: Amplifying a violin in an electric combo

    There is a violin pickup called Headway Band 2 that wraps around the fiddle. I have heard one of the first generation that sounded good, no experience with the 2nd generation, but looks good and is supposed to get louder than mics with less noise. Since it dampens the body slightly I think it would help with feedback.
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  20. #11
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    Default Re: Amplifying a violin in an electric combo

    The above are all good solutions - for some kinds of violin/fiddle sound. The problem is, though, you need to identify what kind of sound your fiddler wants before trying a solution.

    If she wants a natural acoustic violin sound, my experience suggests a high quality mic should do that. I used to use a Crown GLM subminiature mic wedged between the D and A strings behind the bridge. Those aren't made now, but AKG and others make equivalents. They're subject to feedback at high volumes though, and the non microphone pickups that produce a natural sound at high volume are $$$, in my exerience.

    Piezo bridge pickups on acoustic violins suit lots of players who want some kind of 'fiddle' sound at reasonable cost, covering rock/folk/blues and some jazz. They can produce some great sounds, but they're less good at natural.

    If she wants a very glassy ultramodern smooth sound that can be processed, a solid body fiddle, even maybe a plexiglass one, may do that. Every one sounds different, though, and the further away you go from an acoustic violin, the worse the playing feel is IMO and the harder it is to hear and feel if you're playing in tune.

    I think trying someone else's stuff before buying is best if possible.

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  22. #12
    Oval holes are cool David Lewis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Amplifying a violin in an electric combo

    Thank you everyone. I’ve passed all this fantastic information on. I’ll let you know what she decides.
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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Amplifying a violin in an electric combo

    One of my Froends got a Carbon fiber Violin the one he got is finished to pass for a wooden one ,

    there are others like Luis & Clark that display their carbon fabric weave with pride.

    I have a Peter Mix A5 carbon mandolin.. built in pickup; Schertler..
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  24. #14

    Default Re: Amplifying a violin in an electric combo

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    One of my Froends got a Carbon fiber Violin the one he got is finished to pass for a wooden one ,

    there are others like Luis & Clark that display their carbon fabric weave with pride.

    I have a Peter Mix A5 carbon mandolin.. built in pickup; Schertler..
    I hope you are not trying to have us confuse a carbon fiber violin with an electric violin
    or suggesting that a carbon fiber violin needs a pickup.

    If you are be prepared for some protest.
    Thanks,
    sounds_good

  25. #15
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Question Re: Amplifying a violin in an electric combo

    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

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  27. #16

    Default Re: Amplifying a violin in an electric combo

    I have done this: use a flat ribbon piezo, seated right under the bridge.
    The piezo ribbon is connected to a small preamp (somehow attached securely to the viloin body).
    The preamp is wired to a 1/4" jack output. By adjusting EQ on the preamp, I got quite decent sound, smooth but sounding more electric than acoustic.
    To be even more blunt: I use a thin body preamp, cut a small window on the upper side to install preamp inside the body (same way as on typical acoustic electric guitar). Purist will certain found this GROSS, but some people likes this and actually bought from me one violin, one viola, and one cello modified this way.

    I still keep one violin that I put adhesive piezo inside the body (not visible), wired to a 1/4" jack.
    This violin needs external preamp to shape the sound.

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  29. #17

    Default Re: Amplifying a violin in an electric combo

    There is another couple of options by my company, Headway Music Audio, in EDB-2 H.E and the mini version EDM-1 H.E. Both of these have Range switches for Mandolin/Violin, which roll off below 200Hz or below the bottom string, to cut feedback and body handling noise/boom. Impedance is optimised for Piezo ceramic pickups or to slightly brighten magnetic pickups, they offer heavy feel rotary pot 5 band EQ on 2 channels or 3 Band EQ on sliders on the mini. Both run on either Power supply or battery. The Mini will also run on 48v Phantom as has a lower current draw. Both offer Phase Reverse and Ground Lift. The EDB-2 H.E is very popular and also carries send and return and a tuneable notch filter. Sound Quality is set at a very high level for essentially a stage pre-amp and noise very low. They have 3 mounting methods. They are available in USA, or are supplied for one price including worldwide delivery from www.headwaymusicaudio.com I am happy to answer more detailed questions and support our customers with all sorts of advice on sound & gear. We have an expanded valve (tube) version due next year, at higher cost. by the way, I play a Weber Bridger, a Paul Hathway Carved top Octave Mandola and an obscure Scottish made carved top Mandocello - John of Headway

  30. #18

    Default Re: Amplifying a violin in an electric combo

    Hi David, my company, Headway Music Audio, offers the Band2. We have sold many thousands of them and I often see them on Violins on TV performances and at gigs. It straps around the body and velcros to itself. You plug a standard 1/4" jack lead into the end and it can plug straight into a mixer or acoustic amp etc. For greatest refinement use one of our pre-amps EDB-2 H.E or EDM-1 H.E. Feedback rejection is good enough for bands with electric guitars and drums, although they will feedback at high sound levels. Sound quality is generally considered to be a lot more natural than a bridge pickup and more like a Mic response, but more direct too. We have one price including worldwide airmail at: www.headwaymusicaudio.com but also send a lot to Howard Core, USA Distributors, who sell to dealers.

  31. #19
    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Amplifying a violin in an electric combo

    I've added a JJB twin head 15 mm pickup wired up to a screw-in 1/4" jack (which replaces the end pin) on 4 of my fiddles.

    Tape off the top of the violin with low-tack painters tape under the tailpiece to protect the finish from your fine tuners. Remove the strings, bridge and tailpiece. Gently remove the endpin with padded or soft-jawed pliers. Hand ream the endpin hole to fit the screw-in jack.

    Place the pickups inside the violin through an f-hole. It's a good idea to first protect the area around the f-holes with low-tack painters tape. Run the wires from the pickup out the tailpiece hole. Strip, tin and solder the wires to the screw-in jack. Of course use heat shrink over the soldered connections and stripped wire to insulate the signal and shield from each other. Rub parafin on the jack threads and gently screw it in. Again, painters tape around the hole will protect the violin if your screwdriver slips.

    The piezo discs are set internally, under each bridge foot contact point. I've mounted them with superglue and with blu-tak putty. I can't hear any difference between superglue or putty mount. I use an S-shaped sound post setting tool to get the pickups in position.

    The tail piece gut loops around the strap button of the jack. You may need a longer tail gut. I use the adjustable ones to set the correct string afterlength (1/6 of scale length). I haven't had a sound post fall on me while doing this, but it's always a potential. DON'T SQUEEZE the sides of the fiddle with the strings off. If the sound post does fall, reset it before bringing the strings up to pitch.

    Restring and replace the bridge correctly. Now you have an acoustic-electric violin. It can be plugged straight in to an acoustic amp or PA IF it has a high impedance (HI Z) input. If not you'll need a preamp or DI to match the high (1 - 10 megohm) piezo output impedance to the low (10 - 20 kilohm) input impedance of many amps and PA's. I recommend the RedEye, it was developed for violins. I use mine for every stringed instrument from ukulele, mandolin, violin, viola, mandola, banjo, octave mandolin, mandocello, guitar and upright bass.

    Also you'll want a right angle instrument cable plugged into the violin.
    Last edited by Mandobart; Dec-03-2022 at 7:46am.

  32. #20
    Registered User gspiess's Avatar
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    Default Re: Amplifying a violin in an electric combo

    For electronica you want an digital model run through a sound modeler/sampler and as many effects as you want. That's why they call it electronica.
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