Sonic Violins is run by Richard Roberts ( Circa 1962 )
To understand the evolution of the sonic range, but without being too self-indulgent, a brief fiddling autobiography is required……………….
I started playing, as many do, at school ( Aged 8 ¼ ). In an attempt to opt out of the ‘boring’ orchestra at the school variety concert I foolishly volunteered to play some bluegrass instead, ( Aged 13 ), This required amplification.
Having purchased a clip on acoustic guitar bug from my local guitar shop and borrowed a friend’s guitar amp, complete with dodgy jack socket, I inflicted a squawky rendition of Orange Blossom Special on the incumbent parents. Therein started two decades of searching for a decent way to play loud acoustic dynamic fiddle.
My initial quest ended after some years with the very acceptable Barcus Berry bridge and more recently with the LR Baggs transducers. On the way I learnt about impedance matching and the significance of good quality pre-amp circuitry – culminating in the use for many years of my beloved Trace Acoustic TA100. Sadly Trace has become subject to the dwindling British manufacturing industry. These amps are no longer in production, hopefully their American owners will revive them once more.
Recently I have taken to busking. Not wishing to expose my 120-year-old fiddle to further climatic abuse and expensive repair bills, I decided to use a Chinese violin on the recommendation of a good friend and violin mentor. I also decided to fit a pre-amp onto the fiddle so that I could drive a transmitter and free myself from the liability of the lead.
Over the years I have played many electric violins with a view to one day investing in one, but I have never found one that I was entirely comfortable playing, listening to, or spending significant money on. Having built this system for myself I realised that I had now arrived at a great sounding amplified violin, and all at a cost that made it attractive for others to enjoy.
During the last 25 years I have been working in design, development, and project engineering for a multinational engineering company. With this background I set about researching all other systems to be sure I had not overlooked any other products. This research culminated in choosing the ISI Aceto/Violect twin transducer bridge in favour of the LR Baggs. The Violect gives a cleaner overall sound, particularly when double-stopping on the A&E string.
The whole system has been matched to produce the best overall performance. The violin modifications to incorporate the system components have been analysed using the latest solid modelling and finite element analysis techniques. The supply chain for all the components has been set up to eliminate non-value added costs.
The ISI Aceto/Violect bridge has been developed by Eric Aceto of Ithaca Stringed Instruments in conjunction with Ned Steinberger the engineer responsible for creating the original 'L' series headless Bass concept in 1980 – please visit the ISI website to gain an appreciation of the passionate dedicated research that has gone into producing this wonderful unit.
Whilst I would love Sonic Violins to become a major player in the Electric Violin worldwide community and afford myself and my family a totally excessive lifestyle, I actually find my biggest reward when watching and listening to players enjoying performing with my violins – a little soft I know but nevertheless true.
Thank you for spending your time on this site, I hope you have found it useful, please do not hesitate to contact us for further information or just send us your comments.