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As you can probably see, this is my first post on the forum, and I've registered primarily because I intend to acquire a Cecilio electric violin (yellow version) from Fiddlerman's shop and have a couple of questions about things. Although, I'm sure I'll stick around the forum for the excellent advice and opinions too, especially seeing how I've only been playing the violin for about a month, so I'm sure they'll come in handy.
Browsing the forum I've managed to find plenty of varied information about this electric violin, some things I didn't even think of wondering about. However, I still have some unresolved questions I had when I started browsing the forum, particularly regarding the violin's jacks. I've never played or even touched, barely even seen up close, an electric instrument, and I also have an abhorrent knowledge of electronic related stuff, so I apologize in advance if these question seem trivial or stupid, but asking you guys directly is a lot easier than trying to read hundreds of partly related wikipedia articles in order to formulate a competent answer myself.
For the sake of efficiency, I've numbered my queries so that when you reply you may refer to the specific number of each question you're answering to. Doing this is, I think, more useful as opposed to giving a general answer to several or all questions at once.
Now, I can see from the images on the product page of the violin that it has three jacks on the back, designated as "line out", "mic" and "phone".
1. By my understanding, the "line out" jack is a sort of output jack used to connect the violin to something called an amplifier (which, I assume, is not necessarily needed for this particular violin seeing how it is an "activate" model and not a "passive" one), or to an effect box (which would have to then connect to something that produces sound, like some speakers, no? Or to a PC with speakers? Or would it need an amplifier for something?). So, seeing as I only have money for the violin right now and won't be able to buy any additional equipment in the near future, I assume I won't be using this jack for anything right now, correct?
2. The "phone" jack I think is mainly used to connect a pair of headphones to the violin, but would you be able to just as easily connect some regular PC speakers as well? That is, so that more people apart form the player could listen to the violin for example. Would they need to be powered speakers? I mean, if it can output to headphones, which are in no way powered on their own, it should be able to output to a simple set with 2 speakers too, right? Because, aren't speakers just really loud headphones, sort of?
3. But if both the "line out" and the "phone" jacks are output jacks, how do they differ? Do they send different types of information?
4. The biggest mystery to me is the "mic" jack. I can only imagine that it stands for "microphone", but any microphone jack I've encountered on stuff so far is made to insert microphones IN it, and as that would seem nonsensical for a violin, I can only assume that the purpose of the jack is that you would use a sort of male-male cable to connect the violin to the microphone jack of, let's say, a PC soundcard. But that would mean that this jack is also an output jack, so why couldn't I simply use the "phone" jack to connect it to the PC? How do these two jacks differ in function?
5. Regardless of the previous questions, if I would want to record myself on the PC playing the violin (simply the violin's basic output, the sound it makes without effects, recorded as best as is possible quality wise), how would I go about that and what exactly would I need, both as hardware and software? Though it may be ignorant, as I've already mentioned above, I can only think of needing a cable to connect the violin "mic" jack to my PC soundcard's microphone jack, and as software "Audacity" would be sufficient I think. Anything else?
6. After I somehow connect my violin to the PC, could I not use software on the PC to produce effects? If the answer is "yes", how would this differ from using an effect box? Would the end result be the same, for example if I were to record the resulting sounds through the PC (because even if I had an effect box, I'd still record through the PC anyway)?
7. Somewhat related to the previous number 5 question, this question regards tuning an electric violin. I have found that there exist a couple of programs that can help your tuning by evaluating the input from a microphone, much like a physical tuner, such as for example: http://www.musicmasterworks.co.....tware.html
The idea would be that you connect a microphone to your pc and play your regular acoustic violin and the software would show you how in-tune a particular chord is. But, when using an electric violin, would one be able to bypass the microphone and connect the violin directly to the computer to tune the violin with the software? (which would sort of give a more reliable comparison process because you would bypass annoyances like poor quality of the microphone or background noise and such) Is this how you guys tune your electric violins?
8. Completely unrelated to any previous queries, I have noticed on a few posts (here or on other forums) the idea that the less wood surface an electric violin has, the more silent it would be when playing it acoustic. So, for example, between the Cecilio electric CEVN-1 and CEVN-4, is there really a notable difference in its quietness? I don't expect anybody to have both the models and be able to compare them directly, but maybe an owner of each model could record his or herself for comparison's sake? On the one hand, I really love the wholeness of the CEVN-1 model over the others, but on the other hand, as with many other violin enthusiasts I've seen on this forum, it's very important to me for the violin to be as silent as possible so as not to overly disturb my flatmates and neighbors, so, if there really is a notable difference, I would probably go with the CEVN-4 model.
9. I would very much prefer to have a forward notion of as many unpleasant surprises or shortcomings as are possible when first receiving the violin. So far, these are the things I've gathered I should look out for:
- the case can have a very strong smell which will probably be unpleasant also, but after airing it out for a while it goes away
- the bridge will probably not be set upright (either because the people at the factory don't bother to or because it falls down during transport), thus having to set it up myself (though I've never done it before so I hope I don't break it or something)
- the bridge apparently has a high chance of being "too tall" and I'll have to have it modified by a luthier, or certainly at least have it checked, because I'm pretty sure I have no idea how tall a bridge should be exactly (or, consequently, how far away the string should be from the fingerboard)
- the steel strings it comes with are not very good quality, but I don't expect this to bother me much because, not having played much violin before, I probably have next to no base of comparison for their quality. Will probably change them at one point with what you guys call "synthetic strings" and see what that does
- in one case I've read, the strings snapped upon tuning, though that might have rather been caused by excessive tension
- in another case, it seems that the whole scroll somehow snapped or something of that sort, and that would be a very unpleasant thing to happen to me. I don't even know what I could possibly do if that were to happen, but I hope it's merely an extreme case of bad luck
- in yet another case, while tuning, the plastic bit under the bridge somehow broke (I'm just relaying what I remember the post author said, I have no idea what that plastic bit looks like or does or is made of, exactly, because I've only seen it from odd angles in the product's pictures, maybe you guys have a better idea of how this could happen). Again, I have no idea what to do if this would happen, so I just hope it won't
- the pegs don't stand still, they're slippery. If pushing soundly won't be enough, I'll probably first try to use some sandpaper, and then maybe use chalk (just regular white chalk?), though I hope I won't make a mess of things
- the headphones that come with the violin set are of abhorrent quality, so I should have to use my own
- in a couple of cases, I've noticed some complaints with the quality of the jacks on the violin, though I don't remember what exactly the complaints where about. For example, in a review of the CEVN-1 model on Fiddlerman's shop's product page, someone says "There is only one definite issue I feel would majorly improve the CEVN-1, namely the plug-in jacks for the line-out, mic, and headphones on the electronics box on the bottom of the violin. The connector for the headphones is a truly poor design, and the problem is not from lack of quality but rather bad design in the headphone jack itself". Do you guys who own a Cecilio electric feel the same way? Do the jacks have any major issues? Would you be able to elaborate as to what exactly he is referring to?
That's about all the things I can remember reading about. If you can think of any other negative surprises I might have, or things I should look out for, please feel free to contribute.
But in spite of this list, everyone who I've read bought the Cecilio electric violin is, overall, very pleased with it and it's performance, especially because of the great quality/price ratio and it being ideal for a beginner, and and that's why I've decided to also buy one.
Two additional mentions which I would like you to take into consideration when replying to this post, for the sake of efficiency, would be:
- mentioning effect boxes and my folly of not using them (i.e. playing the violin without any effects, which would make it sound sub-optimal) is not necessary. I am well aware of their usefulness and I do intend to acquire the means to use them, but right now, as I've said, I only have sufficient funds for the violin set, so I'm just going to have play it as is for a while.
- please don't feel obliged to mention the point of view that having a regular acoustic violin as a first instrument is more beneficial for a beginner than an electric one. I've read the posts here, I understand the opinions and while I do agree with some, I've already made up my mind with an electric violin for all its pros and cons
Thank you kindly for helping me with this, and any additional information that is related to this thread, which perhaps I haven't thought about taking into account, is, of course, very welcome.
7. Andreii said:
...Is this how you guys tune your electric violins?
Nope. I use my synthesizer of Fidlerman's violin tuner either for acoustic and electric. And yes, You can connect your violin to pc and tune it that way if You like so =)
...- the pegs don't stand still, they're slippery. If pushing soundly won't be enough, I'll probably first try to use some sandpaper, and then maybe use chalk (just regular white chalk?), though I hope I won't make a mess of things
I use hill peg compound. I've read about applying chalk, rosin and even a tooth-powder to the pegs. Tried it all - it didn't help me.
Welcome to the forum
I just used sandpaper to slightly roughen the shafts of the plastic pegs on my electric, and it has been fine. But every instrument is a bit different.
"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman
I own the Cecilio electric violin, and I can confirm that FM's answers are correct.
The only thing that I can add is for 4), which is that FM is indeed correct about the "mic" jack being an input jack. For instance you can hook up an ipod and play a backtrack on it while you play the melody on your violin, and have it all recorded on your computer as one audio track.
And while I have a mac, for 5) - 6) you should be able to plug your e-violin into your audio port and designate that port as input (vs. output). Perhaps if your audio port is output only, you can plug it into a microphone jack. Once you have it sending data to your PC, you can use any program that records audio. I can go on about specific mac applications, but Audacity should work great.
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