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Old 14th August 2008, 03:19 AM   #1
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Default What to build - Electric Violin Combo Amp?

My girlfriend plays violin and has recently acquired a Yamaha EV-204 electric violin. I'd like to build her an integrated amp/cabinet, mostly for practice, but probably some light stage duty as well, so it should be fairly small and doesn't need a ton of power. I'm looking for advice both on the integrated amp and cabinet/speaker design.

Currently I am considering using the preamp from Rod Elliot's P27, modified with the 'clean' configuration he describes. I think this preamp should work well with the violin's integrated preamp, and probably has enough gain to run directly from the piezos too.

I think a 2-way sealed cabinet is appropriate, as used in most small keyboard amps. I'm not a musician myself though, so I don't know how to design a good sounding instrument cabinet - as far as I understand, flat response is not necessarily the goal. I think I want 1 12" or 10" cone and a horn loaded tweeter - but please correct me if I'm wrong . I don't have much in the way of a woodshop, so ideally the cabinet should be easy to construct with mostly hand tools.

As far as the power amp, I was planning to use an LM4780 with a simple active cross. Should be cheap, easy and effective.

My budget for this project is fairly low, I'd like to be able to get the project finished with about $300, give or take.

I've not built a combo amp before, so any advice you can offer at all, even if it's not directly applicable would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 15th August 2008, 08:54 PM   #2
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I would imagine that the normal way to use an electric violin is just to plug in to the PA, no need for a combo at all. If it's not for gigging, just for practice, a cheap little guitar practice amp should be fine.

So really we need to know exactly what it's intended use is.

You couldn't (or shouldn't) connect the piezo directly to the guitar preamp, the input impedance is really FAR too low - the inbuilt preamp is more an impedance buffer than anything else.
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Old 16th August 2008, 05:32 AM   #3
Enzo is offline Enzo  United States
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For $300, why reinvent the wheel? Unless you just want a project to build. Look in the used market for a small keyboard amp or a guitar amp of the "Acoustic" variety. Electric guitar amps are not meant to be accurate reproducers of sound. Acoustic guitar amps are just little PA systems in a combo package and ARE meant to be good reproducers.

The amplifier chassis and speaker all in one is referred to as a "combo" amp in the trade.

$300 would buy you a lot.


Go to Musiciansfriend.com and search acoustic amps. The Behringer line offers several in your budget range, new with warranty.

And with a preamp on the instrument, you could even consider powered speakers. The JBL Eon line sounds good and is simple to use. Most models have a couple inputs on them, but they are speakers that include the amplifier. Look them up. New won't be cheap, but used ones can be a bargain. Many of the major amp makers now offer a similar product - a molded speaker enclosure with amplifier.

Fender's Passport series are quite portable. They look funny but sound pretty good. New they go for like $400-700, depending on model, but used would be a lot cheaper.
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Old 16th August 2008, 07:59 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Enzo
Look in the used market for a small keyboard amp or a guitar amp of the "Acoustic" variety. Electric guitar amps are not meant to be accurate reproducers of sound. Acoustic guitar amps are just little PA systems in a combo package and ARE meant to be good reproducers.
x2 this suggestion.

A violin has a tonal and dynamic range with subtleties that would be totally lost without an accurate amp with plenty of headroom and frequency/dynamic range.

Cheers!
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Old 18th August 2008, 12:37 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by Enzo
Look in the used market for a small keyboard amp or a guitar amp of the "Acoustic" variety. Electric guitar amps are not meant to be accurate reproducers of sound. Acoustic guitar amps are just little PA systems in a combo package and ARE meant to be good reproducers.

not to be confused with the guitar amplifier manufacturer from the 60's and 70's "Acoustic". they specialized in mostly high power bass amps and some guitar amps, also high power (back then "high power" was anything over 100 watts).

i would stay away from the "digital modeling" amps. they don't have an analog signal chain, and they use the digital modeling to duplicate the sound characteristics of other amplifiers such as Marshall and vintage Fender amps (including duplication of their distortion characteristics)
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Old 5th September 2008, 03:14 PM   #6
Alard is offline Alard  United States
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Default Amplifier selection is subjective

For instance, not everyone is looking for an undistorted sound.
In the typical electric guitar application, a tube amplifier is used, and even the 'clean' tone is distorted.

What type of music? What tonal qualities are you interested in.
There are many electric violinists with very distinctive sounds.

Jean Luc Ponty, Jerry Goodman.

Plug that thing into an old Fender Blackface Champ or Princeton.
Turn it up! That's what I'm talking about.

Otherwise, for undistorted classic violin sounds, probably a keyboard type amp. Almost all musical instruments benefit from the euphonics of tube amplification, though.
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Old 5th September 2008, 04:00 PM   #7
sreten is online now sreten  United Kingdom
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Hi,

A x3 on just buy it, and try it if you can before you buy it.
acoustic guitar, keyboard or mini PA amplifier should be suitable.

eg. $200 gets you new
: http://www.activemusician.com/item--EM.BHR-K900FX

/sreten.
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Old 5th September 2008, 10:30 PM   #8
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You guys are no fun! This is DIY!

But that's probably the route I will be going, since I'm short on funds and short on time at the moment. Thanks for your input.
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