Do I Need A Preamp?
It's one of the most common questions we hear: "Do I need a preamp?" As with most tech topics the answer is nuanced, but as a general rule of thumb, yes, electric bowed strings need a preamp, particularly if plugging into a sound board. Watch our video and read below to learn more...
Some solid-body electric violins are equipped with an internal preamp that boosts signal and may have tone control functions. If you are using a piezoelectric pickup or a passive electric violin, or an active violin with a high impedance output, you do need a preamp to connect to a sound board. Preamps can perform a number of functions from boosting a weak signal to equalization control, but he most important function a preamp can provide in working with signal from a piezo pickup is impedance matching.Piezo pickups produce a high impedance (Hi-Z) output, while most amps and audio mixers are designed to accept a low impedance (Lo-Z) input. The impedance difference, if not corrected, can result in "noisy" signal being sent through the PA and a very unsatisfactory tone. Fisman Loudbox-series, Acoustic Image, Roland AC-series, Kustom Sienna-series) have this feature and eliminate the need for an impedance matching device such as a preamp, however, a preamp is still recommended for greater EQ and tone coloring control. If you intend to send a passive signal directly to a sound board, then at the very minimum you should get a basic DI box (direct input), which will provide the necessary impedance matching, but nothing more. Better still would be a preamp such as the ART Tube MP, which would also provide gain control. Above that, there are many preamps that can also provide equalization (important for tone control) and feedback resistance functions. Our favorite preamps are the LR Baggs ParaAcoustic DI and their Venue DI. The ParaAcoustic DI cleans and boosts signal while matching impedance as a DI unit. It has 5-band EQ (equalization is super important for tone coloring) and great feedback resistance functions. The Venue DI performs all of the same functions as the ParaAcoustic and includes an excellent visual floor tuner (that doubles as a mute switch) and a 1-to-9 db solo boost switch. This video highlights both LR Baggs preamp models... To assist you in choosing from our selection of preamps, here is a listing of some of our favorites: