How to connect an electric violin?

Connecting an electric violin and setting up the sound system are certainly one of the most frequently-asked questions by musicians venturing into the world of electric violins. It’s a bit like a jump into the deep end: it may seem intimidating at first, but soon you realize there is actually nothing complicated about it.

The truth is, playing electric violin is not only about the violin – it also means new items to plug and configure – and you will need to find a way to connect them all.

What do you need to connect your electric violin?

We have listed here some new items that come with your electric violin. Please note this list is not exhaustive – not all of those items are essential or combinable.

  • Headphones
  • Speakers
  • Amp
  • Effects pedal
  • Loop pedal
  • Wireless system
  • A mini-amp
  • Jack cables

Most of violinists will get started by simply connecting the electric violin to the amp with a jack cable. However, if you want to launch into effects, both connecting and setting up would be a bit more complex.

This is why we have come up with an illustration of the different connectivity options for an electric violin. Those examples can obviously be modified according to your needs, and some of the items can be removed and/or replaced by others. In this article, we don’t present solution to plug in an electric violin to a computer for a sound record. We wrote another article for this special case.

How to plug an electric violin

The simple connection: the amp

Where there is an amp, there is an electric instrument, as it is impossible to produce a sound with an electric instrument without connecting it to an amp. It is the essential equipment to whoever is venturing into electrics. The connection is quite simple as it only requires a jack cable to connect the electric violin to the amp. We will address the issue of choosing an amp in another topic, as it is more complex. Just keep in mind that if you want to stay within the frequency range of the electric violin, it is better to opt for a bass guitar amplifier (and not an electric guitar’s).

What about the headphones?

If you want to use headphones, you simply connect them to the output jack of your amp. If you don’t have any amp, feel free to use mini-amps. You just have to connect your electric violin to the mini-amp, then connect it to your headphones. However, please take into account that a mini-amp does not provide the same sound quality as a regular one. In fact, they are likely to generate some output airflow and tend to have pre-effects that can alter/damage the sound of your electric violin. It is a great solution for violinists willing to practice in silence – without disturbing the neighbors – or with no regular amp at hand. In any case you should use them to tune up your electric violin…

Connecting to an effects pedal

If you want to use an effects pedal, you will need to connect your electric violin into the input jack of the effects pedal, then use a second jack cable to connect your effects pedal and your amp. If your effects pedal has a stereo output (two outputs labeled left and right), use only the L/mono output jack and connect it into the input jack of your amp.
What is the purpose of having two stereo outputs? They can also be used with a mixing deck, for example. However, with just an amplifier, you will need to use the L/mono output jack.

Connecting like a pro: the DI-box and mix table

This is certainly one of the most common connections to be used on stage or in a recording studio. One critical question though: What is a DI-box?
When you play the electric violin, the sound is converted into an electric signal that the DI-box will adapt – or “balance” if we want to use the technical jargon – in order to provide optimal electrical compatibility with the mixing deck. The DI-box will solve impedance problems between two instruments (or audio systems). Hence it acts as an intermediary between the electric violin and the mixing deck.
As per the connection, it is actually quite simple. You will need two jack cables: the first one to connect the electric violin (or pedals) into the input jack of the DI-box, and another one to connect the output jack of the DI into the mix table.

Some advice to connect your electric violin the safest way

Please find below some advices to help you preserve your electric violin, your equipment but also… your ears.

  • Always turn off power before connecting your instrument/equipment
  • Always set up the volume level to zero before plug in/out any instrument or equipment, by using the volume button of the effects pedal, the electric violin and your amp

Why that? Well, to protect your equipment but also your ears. A loud sound can actually occur if you do not follow these simple rules.

So, are you thinking of venturing into the world of electric violins? We provide you a wide range of electric violins for violinists of all levels.