ProSoundWeb Community

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

Pages: 1 2 [All]   Go Down

Author Topic: Electric Violin signal path suggestions  (Read 8144 times)

Eric Christian

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 47
Electric Violin signal path suggestions
« on: February 06, 2011, 10:59:44 am »

I'm looking for some ideas to improve the sound of the electric violin in our band.  She's currently running direct into the PA through some cheap effect pedals(mainly reverb, delay, and wah) and a Whirlwind IMP DI box.  We get a useable signal but its somewhat harsh and sterile sounding. I'm currently using a lot of eq to help with this.

We've discussed using an acoustic violin instead but her electric is a 5 string and she like not having to worry about feedback problems with the electric as well.

My first thought is to use something like an Avalon U5 or some kind of tube preamp and get a better reverb/delay pedal for her.  We borrowed a Presonus Eureka channel strip for a few shows and that was an improvement though not phenominally better.  Any suggestions of gear to look at/try without getting to crazy expensive?

Thanks!
Eric
Logged

Travis_Valois

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 81
Re: Electric Violin signal path suggestions
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2011, 12:05:42 pm »

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to work with KC Styles when he opened at a club here for a magician act. He came in with a bunch of his own rack of processing gear and I remember him telling me it had taken a ton of work with the processing to get a good sound from the electric, otherwise it sounded like crap. Sadly, that was quite a while ago, and I don't remember what it was he had come in with for processing.
Logged

Art Welter

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1538
Re: Electric Violin signal path suggestions
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2011, 01:58:03 pm »

I'm looking for some ideas to improve the sound of the electric violin in our band.  She's currently running direct into the PA through some cheap effect pedals(mainly reverb, delay, and wah) and a Whirlwind IMP DI box.  We get a useable signal but its somewhat harsh and sterile sounding. I'm currently using a lot of eq to help with this.

We've discussed using an acoustic violin instead but her electric is a 5 string and she like not having to worry about feedback problems with the electric as well.

My first thought is to use something like an Avalon U5 or some kind of tube preamp and get a better reverb/delay pedal for her.  We borrowed a Presonus Eureka channel strip for a few shows and that was an improvement though not phenominally better.  Any suggestions of gear to look at/try without getting to crazy expensive?

Thanks!
Eric

The corrective eq needs to be applied before the effects, otherwise the harmonic balance will be bad, and would require a different eq for each effect.

There are various preamps with built in parametric eq, and even stomp boxes with octave graphic eq that would help. Usually the transducer peaks and dips are fairly narrow, so fully parametric eq is the way to go.
Logged

Dave Dermont

  • Forum Moderator
  • Global Moderator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 358
  • From The Great Pocono Northeast
Re: Electric Violin signal path suggestions
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2011, 04:26:40 pm »

I work with a band where the fiddle player has an electric that he uses as a backup instrument, and it pretty much sounds like what you describe. I boost huge amounts of 200Hz and cut lots and lots of 3kHz, and it still sounds like fingernails on a blackboard.

His main instrument is a plain 'ole fiddle with a pickup, and it sounds fine, and there are no major issues with feedback.

A prog band I work with on occasion has a fiddle player who is a disciple of Jean Luc Ponty. He uses a lot of stomp boxes, and has me mic his amp just like a guitar player. This works very well in this particular situation.

I is no magic hardware that will fix this problem. You need a better source.
Logged
Dave Dermont

Warning: Dates on calendar may be closer than they appear

Luke Landis

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 58
Re: Electric Violin signal path suggestions
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2011, 06:07:43 pm »

I too have a hard time with an Electric Violin that pops in on my main band once and a while. Harsh in the highs to say the least.
Logged

John Halliburton

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 718
  • White pointy beard, knows zip...about chicken.
Re: Electric Violin signal path suggestions
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2011, 09:37:21 pm »

I'm looking for some ideas to improve the sound of the electric violin in our band.  She's currently running direct into the PA through some cheap effect pedals(mainly reverb, delay, and wah) and a Whirlwind IMP DI box.  We get a useable signal but its somewhat harsh and sterile sounding. I'm currently using a lot of eq to help with this.

We've discussed using an acoustic violin instead but her electric is a 5 string and she like not having to worry about feedback problems with the electric as well.

My first thought is to use something like an Avalon U5 or some kind of tube preamp and get a better reverb/delay pedal for her.  We borrowed a Presonus Eureka channel strip for a few shows and that was an improvement though not phenominally better.  Any suggestions of gear to look at/try without getting to crazy expensive?

Thanks!
Eric

Your thinking of an Avalon U5, but then state suggestions that aren't too expensive?  Guess my definitions are different than yours.

Anyway, the first thing to ask is what kind of five string electric violin and bridge pickup does she have?  We need to start here.

Fairly typical of the breed is a need to drive the signal off the bridge into a tube preamp or really good solid state preamp first.  I have found that a moderately priced tube preamp like the ART MP series provide a good match to the typical piezo bridges for violins.  My Countryman DI's provide a good match too, but there is a drier sound to the fiddle.  Overdriving the inexpensive ART product a bit provides some of that tube "magic" that does warm up and take some of the dryness out of the sound.

That said, I regularly see some players showing up with cheap electric fiddles, routing them through a handful of foot pres/fx made for electric guitars, that no amount of board tweaking can help.

Best regards,

John
Logged

Eric Christian

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 47
Re: Electric Violin signal path suggestions
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2011, 12:40:13 am »

Your thinking of an Avalon U5, but then state suggestions that aren't too expensive?  Guess my definitions are different than yours.

Anyway, the first thing to ask is what kind of five string electric violin and bridge pickup does she have?  We need to start here.

Fairly typical of the breed is a need to drive the signal off the bridge into a tube preamp or really good solid state preamp first.  I have found that a moderately priced tube preamp like the ART MP series provide a good match to the typical piezo bridges for violins.  My Countryman DI's provide a good match too, but there is a drier sound to the fiddle.  Overdriving the inexpensive ART product a bit provides some of that tube "magic" that does warm up and take some of the dryness out of the sound.

That said, I regularly see some players showing up with cheap electric fiddles, routing them through a handful of foot pres/fx made for electric guitars, that no amount of board tweaking can help.

Best regards,

John

Thanks for all the info everyone!

The violin she's playing is a Yamaha EV 205.
http://usa.yamaha.com/products/musical-instruments/strings/el-violins/ev_205/?mode=model
So its somewhat of a quality instrument at least.  The main reason to stick with the electric versus an acoustic violin is for the 5 string.  She does use effects quite a bit so getting a natural violin sound isn't exactly the goal though something warmer sounding than what we have now is. 

I've seen Avalon U5 sell used for around $400 so while definately not cheap its still in a reasonable price range considering we're a regularly gigging band and its worth it to us to purchase quality equipment as long as it fills our needs.  By crazy expensive I was think more so of the high end studio preamps/channel strips that sell for $2-3000.

I've seen the ART Tube MP as well as a Presonus Tubepre that are both quite affordable and easily available to try so I guess we'll give those a shot first and see how it goes.
Logged

Roland Clarke

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 764
Re: Electric Violin signal path suggestions
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2011, 09:41:39 am »

I wouldn't waste your money on expersive pre's etc, its the old case of garbage in, garbage out.  The problem with these "skeleton" stlye electric violins is that they have no real body resonance wich tends to give them a very "dry", harsh sound. 

The most effective solutions I've ever come across are the specialized pickups connected to a dedicated DI box with built in eq, I'm guessing as this is the Yamaha one that isn't an option.  In this case I would recommend using a standard DI box and careful desk eq to get the best out of it. 

As mentioned by a previous poster, add the effects afterwards.  If necessary, get the player to use an acoustic amp for onstage sound (they can add a little of their own reverb and tailor the sound to their own requirement) and use quality outboard to add effects FOH, post the desk EQ.
Logged

John Halliburton

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 718
  • White pointy beard, knows zip...about chicken.
Re: Electric Violin signal path suggestions
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2011, 09:58:32 am »

I wouldn't waste your money on expersive pre's etc, its the old case of garbage in, garbage out.  The problem with these "skeleton" stlye electric violins is that they have no real body resonance wich tends to give them a very "dry", harsh sound. 

The most effective solutions I've ever come across are the specialized pickups connected to a dedicated DI box with built in eq, I'm guessing as this is the Yamaha one that isn't an option.  In this case I would recommend using a standard DI box and careful desk eq to get the best out of it. 

As mentioned by a previous poster, add the effects afterwards.  If necessary, get the player to use an acoustic amp for onstage sound (they can add a little of their own reverb and tailor the sound to their own requirement) and use quality outboard to add effects FOH, post the desk EQ.

Roland and Eric,

More to the point, the Yamaha is not quite the quality instrument you think it is, period.  Roland, there are definitely minimalistic body type electric fiddles that are very good sounding electric instruments:

Jensen violins:
http://www.halcyon.com/jensmus/violin.htm

Jordan violins:
http://www.jordanmusic.com/

They are just two of many.

However, Roland's suggestion of wasting money on downstream electronics that cost more than something like the ART Tube MP preamps is well heeded.  Until she gets a serious instrument anyway.

Another type of instrument to see about is an acoustic electric five string.  Barbera in New York makes a line using acoustic five and six string bodies built for the job, and mounting one of his great pick up bridges.  BTW, Barbera and Baggs bridges are the two I always recommend after 20 years of monkeying around with them.  Both Jensen and Jordan spec Barbera bridges as standard on their instruments.

Eric, my suggestion is that you get her and her fiddle to a store to try one of the ART tube preamp products(or something similar), and go straight into a channel on the mixer into your system.  I'll wager two things.  First, all the cheap pedals corrupt the sound quality of a mediocor instrument, and second, it will sound better.

BTW, an acoustic fiddle set up with either bridge pickup routed through a tube preamp will have boatloads of gain before feedback with good sound quality-I often suggest setting up a sweet sounding fiddle that may not be a suitable solo acoustic instrument(not a great acoustic projecting fiddle) with a bridge pickup into tube preamp.  The combination produces a very nice set up that gets plenty loud.

Best regards,

John
Logged

Jay Barracato

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2025
  • Solomons, MD
Re: Electric Violin signal path suggestions
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2011, 11:22:51 am »

I wouldn't waste your money on expersive pre's etc, its the old case of garbage in, garbage out.  The problem with these "skeleton" stlye electric violins is that they have no real body resonance wich tends to give them a very "dry", harsh sound. 

The most effective solutions I've ever come across are the specialized pickups connected to a dedicated DI box with built in eq, I'm guessing as this is the Yamaha one that isn't an option.  In this case I would recommend using a standard DI box and careful desk eq to get the best out of it. 

As mentioned by a previous poster, add the effects afterwards.  If necessary, get the player to use an acoustic amp for onstage sound (they can add a little of their own reverb and tailor the sound to their own requirement) and use quality outboard to add effects FOH, post the desk EQ.

The images in the Fishman aura line are not bad. I would go that way before I would invest in any other type of pre amp system.

I have gotten good results from the yamaha violins using a Radial PZ Pre, but cost wise that is overkill. I already had the unit.

Another good brand of electric violins is NS designs.
Logged
Jay Barracato

Eric Christian

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 47
Re: Electric Violin signal path suggestions
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2011, 06:18:38 pm »

Thanks for all these suggestions!

John, I'm a bass player so I'm not very educated when it comes to violins. :-[  :)  I'll have her look at these other violin brands and maybe she can start planning on an upgrade in the future.  Definately going to try out the ART tube pre and some better effects asap. 

Jay, I think our guitar player may have a fishman aura that he uses with his acoustic so that maybe something we could add to her signal chain very easily.  I like the look of that radial pz pre.  Hopefully Guitar Center(its the only store even remotely close to us) has them available to try. 

 

Logged

Jonathan Goodall

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 469
  • New Zealand
Re: Electric Violin signal path suggestions
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2011, 01:38:41 am »

Have you ever come across Ed Alleyne-Johnson?  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUO6kYLb6As
You get a quick look every now and then at what he uses but there could be 12-15 pedals on the ground.
Logged

Jim Stachowski (Ashly)

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1
    • Ashly Audio, Inc.
Re: Electric Violin signal path suggestions
« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2011, 08:59:58 am »

Hi Eric,

I use a Zeta Strados and I second John H's comment about the ART Tube MP;

"However, Roland's suggestion of wasting money on downstream electronics that cost more than something like the ART Tube MP preamps is well heeded.  Until she gets a serious instrument anyway."

Zeta --> Tube MP --> her choice of effects chain. It takes the edge off and has more than enough gain to push all the effects.
Logged
Pages: 1 2 [All]   Go Up
 


Page created in 0.063 seconds with 21 queries.