All the way from Italy comes the latest contender for the MIDI violin throne. Carlo Cantini's MIDI violins were designed from the ground up to accurately trigger the most popular MIDI controller for stringed instruments on the market. As a result, the Cantini Sonic is one of only a few MIDI-capable instruments currently available that work well with the Roland GR-55.
Cantini's new Sonic electric violin has a sleek, modern look, with a narrow-shouldered double cutaway design and a lower bout shape that will hold most standard shoulder rests. This particular Sonic has an opaque satin white finish.
In addition to the 1/4"/MIDI combination jack, onboard controls include a volume knob in the same assembly as the output jacks. The back panel of the Cantini Sonic has separate sensitivity adjusters for each string (to aid in MIDI detection) and two controls, up and down, to allow you to page through possible stored programs. The Sonic's combo jack had an proprietary 8-pin DIN male output and Cantini supplies the instrument with an 8-pin to 13-pin adapter cable.
If MIDI for violin is among your chief reasons for going electric, then the Cantini Sonic may be the perfect violin for you. Its build quality is acceptable, and the maker has addressed all of the issues that we had with previous versions of the violin. For an affordable entry into the world of MIDI violin, the Cantini is hard to beat, especially as it's one of a very few options that currently work well with the Roland GR-55.
Roland's GR-55 is not only the most common stringed-instrument MIDI controller on the market, it's also the best-supported. From a practical perspective, MIDI for violin has always been a challenge. Until recently, it was a riddle that could only be solved by those who owned a Zeta (or later, Fourness) violin and one of the Zeta-branded MIDI controllers. Now, with its Roland GR-55 compatibility, the Cantini violin is the most affordable answer to MIDI for violin that's currently available.