Total noob here. All I know is you tube and musescore. Played horn in high school.
Started out with the mv300. Honestly, this is the best $45 I think you can spend. I may have gotten a better one than others, but it sounds "fair" and takes work to play it, but it does play. (And had I hated the violin I was only out the cost of a dinner out, could donate the violin to a school).
The fit and finishe are horrible, and it took 2 months for it to hold tune. But it did "play in" a bit so that now 3 months in it is not too shabby.
Just got the mv500. (Used on ebay for $75 shipped).
As much as I hate to say it, not the same value as the mv300. Yes, it does sound better, and is easier to play. But its not 3 times the violin as the cheaper one ($45 vs $145 or so new). Does come with a tuner and extra bow. But a tuner is like $5, and 2 only fair bows are as a good as 1 fair bow.
In its defense, the mv500 I have is beautiful, I do love looking at it. A lot!
So, if I were doing it over again:
Buy the Mv200. Value wise nothing is close. If you find you like it, get some better strings for it. Then save all your $$ for a fiddlerman apprentice, as from all my research that is the next step up, and the value is there too.
Hopefully pics and a video/sound file to come.
I'm a bit confused about the OP. They mention the "Cecilio MV-300 and MV-500," but Cecilios have a CVN- prefix on their model numbers, not MV-. Am I right to assume these are actually by Cecilio's budget brand Mendini? Finally, at the end of the comparison of the MV-300 and MV-500, they recommend going with the MV-200. Is this a typo, or are they recommending a model they've never before mentioned and apparently don’t own?
@Old Fogey Celilio bought out Mendini. My first purchase was also the MV300. Celilio also has their CV line, but both are now Celilio. From what I have heard, they are pretty much the same. My MV300 is a good tester. Once you decide you want to play violin, an upgrade, when you can afford it, is a good idea, but, you could get into playing violin for a while before doing so. I liked the finish on my MV300. There are two options for the finish. I chose the satin and I thought it looked really nice. Different from other violins, but people have to remember, they did not pay much for it. With a case, bow, extra set of strings and rosin (no matter how bad the quality), that does not leave much of the cost to actually go towards the cost of the violin. Just something to consider when a violin comes with a lot of extras at a low price. Those items were not gifts to the seller. It has to be recouped.
Having said that, if you are buying online, Fiddlershop is about the only place I would spend more than I spent on my MV300 for an online violin purchase. Mine was packaged like you would not believe, you get tracking info, fabulous people to work with, and an instrument in pristine condition right out of the box, and a beautiful quality instrument.
They call me, “Mellow Cello”