Liutaly iV Electric Violin Relies on Smartphones for Digital Effects
Besides including its own amplified speaker system, the Liutaly iV electric violin also features a dock for smartphones running music creations apps.
While I don’t think the classical sound of violins should be messed with, some modern musicians have an inexplicable attraction for distorted sounds, and digital effects, in general. Claudio Capponi, the inventor of the Liutaly iV, has been developing this electric violin over the past two years, and the result is rather impressive.
“Liutaly believes that future bowed instruments will inevitably be supported by technology,” explained Capponi. “We are producing them now, without modifying the violinistic technique, the expressiveness, the vibrato, the portability, without annoying wires and heavy amplifiers.”
In terms of design, Liutaly iV still looks like its conventional counterpart, meaning that musicians who are familiar with the traditional instrument should have no problem playing this one.
The aluminum tailpiece, maple neck and ebony nut can be replaced to accommodate either four or five strings. More than that, the sturdy carbon fiber body can be equipped with traditional pegs and bridges, in case the violin players don’t like the ones Liutaly iV comes with.
Liutaly iV was built using a patent-pending technology called Self-Amplified, Self Powered Electric Bowed String Instruments (SASPEBSI). Basically, there are two 15W speakers embedded in the front of the chin rest, along with a two channel Class-D power amplifier. According to its maker, Liutaly iV is capable of outputting twice the volume of conventional acoustic violins. In case the included speakers and/or amplifier don’t suffice, musicians have the option of using headphones or even external amplifiers and speakers.
As for the power, this electric violin relies on a 7.4V/1,800mAh Li-Po battery, but can run perfectly fine using anything from 500mAh to 5,000mAh. External power sources are also acceptable, so carrying a power bank with you while playing at a concert may not be that bad of an idea.
The good news for lovers of traditional violins that are looking for a modern take on their favorite musical instrument is that Liutaly iV can also play in analog (but amplified) mode, besides electric, synth, and electronic. It’s up to the player if he selects the mode independently, or if he prefers the violin to mix and match.
As mentioned before, one of the things that definitely sets Liutaly iV apart from other electric violins is the way it works with smartphones. While there isn’t a proprietary companion app, yet, the violin works just fine with existing apps such as Aplitube, ThumbJam, Loopy, and Animoog. The tests mostly involved the iOS version of these apps, but the instrument is compatible with Android smartphones, too.
Orders can be placed on the manufacturer’s website, but delivery times depend a lot on the customization options. Liutaly iV is anything but cheap, ranging between €5,000 and €7,000 (approximately US$5,600 – $8,000), but that’s usually the norm with devices that brings something new to the table.
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