|22||Electric Violin Audio Processor
Wei Gao (weigao4)
Alex Seong (aseong2)
Scott Foster (scottbf2)
Currently available piezoelectric violin pickups tend to be either cheap and not good, or good and not cheap. Some of these pickups can be purchased for $100 or less, but tend to deliver a poor, “tinny” or “nasal” sound. At the other extreme, pickups like the Starfish and Barbera models provide a professional-level “rich” sound, but are very expensive (the Starfish costs at least $300, and the Barbera at least $450). These high-grade pickups also tend to be of low availability.
# Solution Overview
An electric violin pickup system which provides control over the volume level and timbre of each string prior to the main instrument output.
# Solution components
## 3D printed pickup bridge
A significant part of the cost of high-end pickups is caused by low production volume and handmade construction. Using 3D printing lowers the cost of materials and allows for rapid prototyping of different bridge shapes. The bridge will have one piezoelectric sensor for each string and provide some level of acoustic isolation between each string.
## Audio processing unit
The pickup will be connected to a signal processor which takes in the microphone-level signals from each string, performs equalization and other processing, then mixes the four processed string signals into a line-level output which can be used with a pedalboard. This will be done using a microcontroller along with audio interface/codec ICs.
## User interface
The user should have a control panel through which to adjust audio parameters like volume and filter cutoff frequencies for each string. The user should also be able to save and recall preset combinations of audio parameters, so the interface would likely require LED displays and encoders to avoid being physically stateful.
# Criterion for success
The user should be able to control the timbre and volume of each string independently, and save and load at least one preset using the user interface. The device should cost around $400 to be competitive with existing pickups.