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portable amp review (that fits in case)
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (8 votes) 
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Grofica
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July 19, 2012 - 7:37 pm
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So i was looking for an amp that would fit into my case that i could travel with.... but still sounded ok....

 

Well I checked quite a few places and could not find info so i thought i would post on here to let you know what I thought. Keep in mind I am a noob to the violin but here is my opionion for what it is worth...

 

HoneyTone.jpgDanelectro N10BK HoneyTone Mini Amp.....

PROS: I really liked this little amp... It fit in the case really nice (granted I have quite a bit of space in mine) It was really loud for how small it was and I liked that it had a belt clip.... It does come in quite a few colors and is really cheap.... about 20-30 dollars depending on where you get it... Super light weight... retro feel to it.... 

CONS: When you turned it all the way up it got a bit scratchy. I personally never have anything to clip the amp to, so for me the belt clip would not work and the thing is so light weight that if you set it down the weight of the cord would probably drag it around.... 

Power Source: 9V or (AC Adapter, Sold Separately) 

Width (W):  8 cm or 3 in

Depth (D):  15 cm or 5.6 in

Height (H): 15 cm or 5.8 in

Weight: 1 lb

 


Roland-Mobile-Cube.jpgImage EnlargerRoland Mobile Cube (5W)....

PROS: This thing had kicking sound for as small as it was... light weight but i think it would have been heavy enough to set on a table or stand and not drag it around. 

CONS: it was sort of expensive though at around 160-180 depending on where you buy it. Also it does not fit in the violin bag. not even an outside pocked even though it is thin....

Power Source: 9V or (AC Adapter, Sold Separately) 

Width (W): 280 mm  or  11-1/16 inches

Depth (D): 108 mm  or  4-1/4 inches

Height (H):  177 mm  or  7 inches

Weight:  2.5 kg  or  5 lbs. 9 oz.

 


Orange-Crush.jpgMicro Orange Crush Amp (3W)..... (I bought this one)

PROS: Awesome sound for being so ultra small. it has a plug for normal size headphones. It is a really tight fit in the case because its a cube shape but it did fit in my case (barely - and i have a protec deluxe pro pac case. pretty spacious) While it does not have a belt clip it does have the shoulder strap "hooks" so it's easy to wear and out of the way... and I am not dragging it all over the place by the cord.

CONS: The only way i can fit it in my case is to have the neck of my violin sitting on it so i have to put a rag in-between my amp and the violin. and the hideous orange color which I am contemplating painting or duct taping... (it's really ugly)

Power Source: 9V or (AC Adapter, Sold Separately) 

Width (W):  8 cm or 3 in

Depth (D):  15 cm or 6 in

Height (H): 15 cm or 6 in

Weight: 2 lbs

 

Just an FYI for anyone who wants to be mobile or travels a lot and still have decent sound on the go.

 

PS I know this is not the best way to keep it but i have a really hard case (so nothing should put pressure on the neck of my violin) and i have a lot of padding around my violin.... 

I am open to ideas or suggestions also.... so let me know if any of you have done any experimenting with portable amps..... 🙂 

 

282722_454535387899065_1492143440_n-1.jpg

 

0719121628.jpg

~Grofica 

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Oliver
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July 19, 2012 - 9:50 pm
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Nice job.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Kevin M.
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July 19, 2012 - 10:42 pm
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I have the Honeytone and like the overdrive but you can't turn it up too far.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
July 19, 2012 - 11:10 pm
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Thanks for the reviews.
I like the hideous color of the Orange Crush Amp 🙂

Congratulations on finding one that suits you. I hope to test some too some day.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Grofica
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July 19, 2012 - 11:11 pm
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Barry said
In that last pic the violin isnt seated in the case properly, could cause damage if its not sitting in the case right, the amp seems to be keeping the violin from fitting

 

treble-1226

 

Yes it is a tight fit.... and it doesnt sit quite right.... but its tight enough on the inside that it doesnt move around so as long as i dont set it on the face.... it should be ok.... its light enough its not a bother to wear i just needed something that could fit when i travel so i could take it all as a carry on 🙂

~Grofica 

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cdennyb
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If you were brave enough and had some talent with your upholstery skills you might remove the end box and make a new one along side the neck instead, and allow the amp to sit in the extreme end of the case if that's possible. Might free up some space on the opposite side of the neck as well for cords, etc.dunno

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

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DanielB
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July 20, 2012 - 2:57 am
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I have tried a couple of headphone amps I have around.  The Danelectro Honeytone with the built in delay, and a Vox AC30 "amplug".  Neither one gave a sound I was particularly happy with for violin. 

I'm spoiled though, since I have a couple old school guitar amps around, but they sure wouldn't fit in a violin case.  More like you could probably fit a dozen violin cases into my speaker cab, if you took off the back of the cabinet.  LOL

I also sometimes use a "Music Bullet" amp if I want to play outdoors on the porch or something.  Very portable, charges off a USB, a charge last for several hours, they're cheap, and they sound reasonably ok.

Drawbacks are that it might not be as loud as you are looking for, it is an earphone jack driven device and so it would need an adapter to use it with any effects, and unless your violin has a headphone amp built in that you pretty much already like the sound of, it would take a headphone amp or line driver to get normal volume levels out of it.  No tone or volume control on it either, you have to do it from your instrument or effects.  It's ok for the price but nothing stellar.   But if your violin has a headphone amp/jack and you just want to be able to use your electric sound without headphones, then it isn't bad at the price.  Very minimal, and more sound than I expected from something practically palm sized.  It is only a bit bigger than a good sized egg.  Might be enough to do something like jam with a friend who is on an acoustic guitar or something like that. 

I have been tinkering with some ideas to try and build a small amp for electric violin.  Not anything I'd feel worth showing yet, though.  Just some crude experiments with crazy ideas at this point, and the smallest thing I've come up with so far is only slightly smaller than the Orange Crush you have.  My electric violin has a gig bag, so I hadn't even thought of trying to come up with something that would actually fit inside it.

"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

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Fiddlestix
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July 20, 2012 - 9:44 am
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It appears that the body of the violin isn't seated on the bottom of the case, therefore putting unnecessary pressure on the neck. Not sure if i'd be comfortable with that situation. Maybe some stout support padding under the body will take some pressure off the scroll and neck.

 facepalm

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Grofica
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July 20, 2012 - 12:17 pm
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cdennyb said
If you were brave enough and had some talent with your upholstery skills you might remove the end box and make a new one along side the neck instead, and allow the amp to sit in the extreme end of the case if that's possible. Might free up some space on the opposite side of the neck as well for cords, etc.dunno

I would love to do something like that but unfortunately my carpentry skills are non-existent but now that you mention it..... my neighbor is a master carpenter.... hummmmmmmm....

 

now you got my brain working.... 

~Grofica 

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Grofica
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July 20, 2012 - 1:02 pm
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DanielB said
I have tried a couple of headphone amps I have around.  The Danelectro Honeytone with the built in delay, and a Vox AC30 "amplug".  Neither one gave a sound I was particularly happy with for violin. 

I'm spoiled though, since I have a couple old school guitar amps around, but they sure wouldn't fit in a violin case.  More like you could probably fit a dozen violin cases into my speaker cab, if you took off the back of the cabinet.  LOL

I also sometimes use a "Music Bullet" amp if I want to play outdoors on the porch or something.  Very portable, charges off a USB, a charge last for several hours, they're cheap, and they sound reasonably ok.

Drawbacks are that it might not be as loud as you are looking for, it is an earphone jack driven device and so it would need an adapter to use it with any effects, and unless your violin has a headphone amp built in that you pretty much already like the sound of, it would take a headphone amp or line driver to get normal volume levels out of it.  No tone or volume control on it either, you have to do it from your instrument or effects.  It's ok for the price but nothing stellar.   But if your violin has a headphone amp/jack and you just want to be able to use your electric sound without headphones, then it isn't bad at the price.  Very minimal, and more sound than I expected from something practically palm sized.  It is only a bit bigger than a good sized egg.  Might be enough to do something like jam with a friend who is on an acoustic guitar or something like that. 

I have been tinkering with some ideas to try and build a small amp for electric violin.  Not anything I'd feel worth showing yet, though.  Just some crude experiments with crazy ideas at this point, and the smallest thing I've come up with so far is only slightly smaller than the Orange Crush you have.  My electric violin has a gig bag, so I hadn't even thought of trying to come up with something that would actually fit inside it.

i have not heard the magic bullet.... you should post some more info about it so everyone can read either on this page or one of you own... i think it would be cool to have more info for options who just want to jam with a few friends without lugging a studio around with them.... ha ha h ah aha

 

I have a moderate sized amp for while i am at home. I say moderate because its only the Wood Violins WVA10D Violin Amplifier which is smaller in size but it believe it or not.... it fills the house with sound. my husband usually goes out the in the garage when i play and he can still hear over the noise he makes and my neighbors also hear it just fine in their houses... and i have never turned it up all the way... (i learned that cause they came over and said something) opppps..... my bad! ha ha ha ha ha

 

One thing i realized in my search for a mini amp is a lot of people (not here) but other violin forums are really into having the max watts possible... at all times.... I would really like to get other people's opinions about portable amps and I would love if Fiddlerman would do some reviews.....

 

On a different note.... I took my little orange amp to violin practice and my teacher loved it.... granted its not the best amp in the world but is MORE then adequate for taking to lessons or just jamming with a few friends.... you will never play a concert with it.... but the minis were not made for that 

thumbs-up

~Grofica 

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Kevin M.
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July 20, 2012 - 2:10 pm
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DanielB said 

I also sometimes use a "Music Bullet" amp if I want to play outdoors on the porch or something.  Very portable, charges off a USB, a charge last for several hours, they're cheap, and they sound reasonably ok.

 

I have been tinkering with some ideas to try and build a small amp for electric violin.  Not anything I'd feel worth showing yet, though.  Just some crude experiments with crazy ideas at this point, and the smallest thing I've come up with so far is only slightly smaller than the Orange Crush you have.  My electric violin has a gig bag, so I hadn't even thought of trying to come up with something that would actually fit inside it.

 

I have the magic bullet and I put it in my pocket. Not a great amp but it works.  I will be building an electric violin and was thinking of incorporating the music bullet into the violin or just making and amp with some other small speaker.  I suppose I could use an amplifier chip and use the preamp I already have for the pickup.

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DanielB
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July 21, 2012 - 3:37 am
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@Grofica: If you put Music Bullet into google, you'll find their site.  It is one of those "as seen on TV" miracle type products, so I'd rather not spam it here.  LOL  Their website has a vid that shows the size at least, but their claim of "concert quality sound" is more than a trifle over-rated.  Maybe if mice had concerts.  As Kevin said, it's not great.  It's ok for the price, considering it sounds better than some small battery op guitar practice amps I've heard and it costs around 12$ on amazon. 

My "usual" for running with an amp is not portable in the practice amp sort of sense.  I use my wife's old Ampeg VT-40 (which is a guitar or bass amp, for those who don't know electric guitar stuff) through my old Sunn 312 cabinet.  Usually I'd use that speaker cab with my main guitar amp, which is an old Fender Twin that had some mods, but the Twin needs some maintenance before it would be ready to play out.  I haven't gigged in recent years, so gear maintenance hasn't been a prio.  Basically it is big loud stuff that has great sound, but weighs a ton.  Old bar gigging gear. LOL

The only thing I have around that is in the "practice amp" range is an ancient Danelectro Cadet from the 50s.  Which is archeological proof that not everything that has tubes or is old actually sounds good.  I don't usually use it except as something to stack some books on.  It has about a 6 inch speaker and is maybe 5 watts or so, and has a sound that could make a cat in a food processor sound good.  But that was what Danelectro has always been famous for.  Cheap junk.  They haven't changed much over the years, in my opinion.

Your Wood Violins amp looks like a nice little piece of gear, and the Orange Crush isn't too bad.

@kevin: Maybe you'll figure out how to manage it, Kevin.  But every attempt I've ever seen with guitars to put a speaker on the instrument's body itself had problems with feedback.  Even kept at low enough volume not to howl by itself, it made the tone sound really odd compared to a separate speaker in a box, even in cases where the box was just plastic.

 

Another option for portability is to use one of the little FM radio transmitters that they make for things like getting sound from an iPod or whatever to a car radio.  Some of those are small and have enough range to at least be across the room when using them.  That way you can play through whatever stereo or boombox happens to be handy.  I've used that more with guitar than with violin, but it is another pocket sized solution that can work.  If the person whose house you're jamming at actually has a nice stereo, it can be quite a lot more sound than a small amp and not bad on quality.

"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

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