Yahama YEV

December 1, 2017, 1:34 AM · I was in Tokyo last week and bought a YEV 105 at their Ginza shop as they were doing autumn sales with 20% off list price (!).

To my surprise, I tested 2 model - 104 black and 105 natural. Long story short, the black 104 had a rather boring thin sound, although playability was great. So out of curiosity, I tested the 5 string natural model, and to my surprise, it sounded a lot richer and significantly better. Even the staff was surprised by this. There wasn't even comparison, the 5 strings sounded a lot richer, focused, deeper especially on the C string.

But I liked the black finish more, so requested a new 105 in black. Again to my surprise, black 5 strings sounded similar to the black 4 strings. I didn't want to trouble the staff, and took the display model. It had a tiny paint chip around the edge on the outer "ring", could have asked for a new one, but I wasn't confident and didn't want to trouble the staff.

I wish I could test more, anyone had same experiences? The early thread here was archived so I can't post anything further, hence this new thread. The old thread seems to indicate that there are indeed quality variences. I wonder if it's universal issue between black and natural finish, or there are indeed quality variances even between same model and same finish.

Replies (7)

Edited: December 1, 2017, 2:48 AM · I have a black 4-string, and two 4-string and two 5-string models in the natural wood finish in my school program.

The black one is ever-so-slightly heavier, and although the sound difference is very subtle, I agree there is a slight difference in the way they sound when not plugged in (it's surprising how well of a practice violin they make when on the road). The black is more "clear" to me and the natural ones have a bit more "grit." Different amps have such a huge effect on the final sound though I'm not positive that it is all that noticeable once they are amplified? With the Vox amps we use with them (10W) it's pretty much a wash.

Absolutely love doing electric string quartets with my students (we have one of the silent cellos as well). It's a nice change of pace for my advanced ensembles to experiment with repertoire and effects beyond the traditional!

December 1, 2017, 3:47 AM · Thanks Gene!

The difference wasn't even subtle, it's quite obvious that the black 5 string doesn't match up against the natural 5 strings I tested. It's like 2 different design! It's not the black is sounding bad, just the natural one sounded great.

Interesting to note, my 5 string *might* have a different electronics or pickup? When I engaged the volume control, it sounded slightly thinner even in max volume. Disengage the volume, I get a lot richer, deeper tone, with slight boost in volume. And I swear even hear differences when disengaging the volume button, the knob still have some effect on the tone, but a lot more subtle which is neglactable.

Strange indeed. Nevertheless, I'm super happy with the one I got.

December 1, 2017, 5:49 AM · An electric violin is really a blank slate. If you get a good preamp with tone controls you will find you have a lot of control over the tone. Amps and effects also shape your sound.
The Yevs are sold without an onboard preamp, probably to lower the cost, but really it's better to have the choice of your own preamp.
December 1, 2017, 5:56 AM · What is so surprising? Is this the 1st time to hear that varnish/coating affects the sound? Passive EV, just piece of wood. No soul, as far as I am concerned.
December 1, 2017, 8:00 AM · I guess if you pick up an electric violin (a cheap one at that) and play it straight into an amp without any preamp, eq, or effects and look for what you would look for in an acoustic then you will feel that way. Like most things, you need to spend some money and time to get a good sound.

Edited: December 1, 2017, 9:51 AM · I appreciate the replies and I wish to respond more specifically to individual comments but I don't see it will go anywhere, I will just try to stick closer to the topic - those who tested the YEV specifically, more than just 1 unit, to see if yamaha nail the consistency of this particular line of EVs.

Anyhow, the test wasn't even a test initially, I just somehow discovered one sounded different out of 3, using same amp, same setting. Just unplug the cable and plug into another YEV. I played some yamaha silent violin and they are pretty consistent within same model, at least the output seems consistent enough regardless of bridge height neck angle or whatnot. Just surprised to discover that I got such a different output from pretty much the same design.

December 2, 2017, 4:19 PM · This is proof for what people have been saying for hundreds of years -- varnish affects a violin's tone.


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