Need Violin Pickup Suggestions

Edited: August 23, 2017, 8:05 AM · Hi All,
I own a Hofner AS-045-V4/4 model. I was looking for a pickup which suits the violin, preferably replicating the natural sound of the violin. I have already seen videos of Fishman V-200 and I think its a bit expensive for me.

Any suggestions which one to buy would be really helpful. PS- The purpose for my pickup would be for recording and doing gigs.
Thank you!!(:

Replies (14)

Edited: August 23, 2017, 8:35 AM · Sorry to be so cynical, but replicating the natural sound of your violin with a moderately priced pickup is pretty much a lost cause. The real truth is that they all sound terrible, in my opinion, and the way to get a good sound is to use digital modeling effects in combination with your choice of pickup, like Fishman Aura, to name one example. But then the price is no longer moderate, and it would be hard to argue that it's the "natural sound" of your violin. If you want a natural recorded sound you should use a microphone. I wish I could be more encouraging, but I've been there and tried it, and those are the facts as I see them.
Edited: September 4, 2017, 8:28 AM · Hi Rohan, I have a Fishman V-200 and I love it. Yes it's not cheap. But I recently played a gig with it, and I asked one of my friends, a very good musician, who was there to give me an honest evaluation of my playing, and one of the things he said is that it was loud enough but it didn't sound amplified, it sounded natural. What else can I say? I am using a custom version of the HPF-PRE preamp that has been extremely successful among bassists. Email the proprietor and he can likely make you one. (He's my brother.)

https://sites.google.com/site/hpftechllc/home/hpf-pre

The Fishman V-200 slides into the slot on the E-string side of your bridge. One thing you need to experiment with is placement of the pickup. But once you set it, it stays put. For recordings, depending on what genre you are playing, the engineer may prefer fitting your instrument with a mic.

September 4, 2017, 8:29 AM · I just sold one for $80 I did not use for years. Maybe look for a used one.
It was ok soundwise, although some bridges dont have enough space to put it in.
September 4, 2017, 8:32 AM · Marc, yes, it can be a snug fit. Makes me a little nervous when I insert it, but I've done now a dozen times without incident. My guess is that your violin's tone is not going to be wrecked by opening up that gap ever so slightly with a small file or knife.
September 4, 2017, 9:41 AM · I suggest contacting violinist Jan Purat of the STEEP RAVINE band. He is a degreed, classically trained violinist who uses a pickup when performing with the band - you can google him or the band and make contact. You can also YouTube them. Whatever pickup he uses his sound in concert is fantastic.
September 4, 2017, 11:09 AM · Microphones feed back. Pick-ups amplify the sound of the strings, not the violin. Does anyone make this? -- Mount a small microphone on the end-pin/plug, so that it is completely inside the violin ?
September 4, 2017, 11:27 AM · I did test a mic over the bridge but there was too much breathing noise. I never knew my breathing before doing this.
In the end I am glad I did not play amplified for years.
September 4, 2017, 11:45 AM · Joel, a microphone inside the violin yields an extremely boxy sound uncharacteristic of the natural violin sound.

Marc, that's why the dpa microphone violin mount is so great. It effectively gets the mic out of the path of your breath. The way it mounts to the instrument is brilliant too.

Edited: September 4, 2017, 10:13 PM · I use "The Band" by Headway... it produces a good reproduction of the natural sound of my instrument, it's easy to use and costs under $200.--
September 5, 2017, 6:45 PM · There is no best pickup - it depends what your needs are. I haven't dealt with the Electric Violin Shop but they are probably the most experienced people to talk to:

https://www.electricviolinshop.com

Edited: September 6, 2017, 7:52 AM · For me, I wanted something that I could remove that would leave no trace, because I am using my best violin. That's why I didn't choose the Fishman V-300 which requires you to drill into your bridge, or Realist, which mounts under the bridge feet.
September 6, 2017, 7:38 AM · Since you are doing gigs, you need a pick-up, not a microphone. Microphones cause feedback. The choice of pick-up is full of trade offs - and more than sound vs. $. As Christopher suggested, go to ElectricViolinShop.com, buy a $10 lifetime membership, and get access to their reviews and their sound samples. They have carefully recorded dozens of pick-ups 1. on violin, no amp, just natural violin, 2. in use on same violin.

After you have read reviews to get candidates in your price, size, permanent vs. removable, self install vs. luthier install, etc. categories, then you can listen to them in A - B comparisons. Its really worth $10 to get a fit to your specific needs.

I selected a Realist after the above, but there are reasons to go with many other good pick-ups.

Edited: September 6, 2017, 11:22 AM · Mike, I think you're referring to thepickuptest.com where a $10 membership fee gets you access. I can't say more than that because I've never been willing to pay the $10.
September 7, 2017, 5:46 AM · Yes, thepickuptest.com is a very good resource and well worth the $10. You can compare pickups side by side. Bear in mind that most tests of pickups or even electric violins you will hear are done in a fairly neutral way and that preamps, amplifiers and effect pedals are all part of your tone.


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