Frequently Asked Questions
The Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizer does not work with nylon strings.
I can't resist adding that I do have an idea for overcoming this, but it's an idea that it will require a little time, effort and funding to experiment with. If the idea works, then there will be the issue of the smaller sound hole....Last updated:
Yes it is, fully compatible with all of the piezo-type pickups and anything that relies on that basic principle. The overwhelming majority of acoustic guitars that have built-in pickup systems use systems of this compatible type.
There are some guitars - some of the newer top-end guitars from Taylor and others - where manufacturers are experimenting with various combinations of internal pickup technologies including electromagnetic pickups and dynamic microphones. As far as I know, these are all deployed in combination with some kind of under the saddle pickup system. For that reason, I think that there will always be some setting of the internal sound system that will be compatible. However, if there is an electromagnetic pickup system in the acoustic guitar, or an electromagnetic microphone element, there exists the possibility that this pickup will respond directly to the magnetic fields modulating the string vibration. This would be especially true if it happened to be deployed close to the Vo-96 transducers.
These instruments would have to be evaluated on an individual basis. However, the instrument electronics could not possibly be harmed in any way by picking up some of the direct magnetic energy from the Vo-96 transducers. It would be just spurious magnetic coupling - the same kind of thing that gives you hum in the pickup of conventional electric guitars. And it might sound kind of cool and be useful in some limited situations - you'd be listening to the control signal rather than the output, but that signal is not an-harmonic. As long as you have some settings that worked, things might be just fine - keeping in mind also that with the Vo-96 turned off or with the power slider turned to minimum, no field is omitted and so that could not be any interference with anything in the guitar.Last updated:
Please see update number one on the update page, which is reached by clicking the update tab way at the top of this page! I've supplied a written answer there, and I'm still working on creating some pictures. Most guitars are compatible, but you do of course need to be certain!Last updated:
What does the installation entail? Will this be permanently attached to my guitar? Can it easily be added & removed?
The installation is surprisingly easy.
- You remove the strings of your guitar.
- You lower the assembly down through the sound hole.
- Like we do every time we do it , you experience amazement that it actually all fits. :)
- You position the transducer down towards the bridge and center it.
- You put back the E1 and E6 strings just slightly tightened.
- You eyeball the centering to see that the transducer pickups are centered properly and adjust back and forth as required.
- You tighten one screw - well actually you're losing a screw which allows a spring
to exert a controlled clamping force to hold the Vo-96 in place.
The Vo-96 as a tacky under-surface that will not slip on the top surface of your guitar
even with only minor controlled clamping force.
- You put the strings back on.
- you adjust three set screws to set the height of the transducers under the strings. you are trying to get the transducer tops pretty much as close and parallel to the strings as possible without the strings buzzing against them.
Now plug in the external power, and start playing!
It really is surprisingly easy!
There is a detailed manual for the operation of the Vo-96 itself.
When installing the professional installation with the battery pack, the above steps still apply except that the power connection is now made differently. The installation of the battery pack and the rear power connection does require that a battery holder clamp be screwed to the thick wood where the neck joins the body on the inside of the guitar and this should be done by a qualified guitar technician or luthier. It's not a big deal but it is something that can affect your instrument. The same goes for drilling the small hole for the power connector at the back of your guitar, next to where the strap post usually is.
(The strap post is probably also an audio output from your guitar if it has a built-in saddle pickup, so we're not going to try to mess with that and cram power through the same connector.)
So the bottom line is this: the basic installation installs and removes without you needing to mar or change your guitar in any way at all. You can put it on, try it out, take it off, and you will never know was there. (Of course this presupposes that you are careful in the doing of it. Try not to scratch the instrument - obviously. What I'm saying is, the there are no deliberate alterations required for that portion of the installation.)
Mounting the battery and the power jack obviously does alter your instrument slightly. This is one of the reasons why we offer two versions of the Vo-96. However, it already seems that most people are going for the full professional installation - which believe me makes the most sense because it's a joy just to pick up the guitar and use the system battery powered without having to think about wires!
And note this: With a full professional installation, you can still temporarily install it into a guitar and give it a try without mounting the battery and the power jack first. If you decide to remove it, no harm done.
It was a primary focus of mine to make it possible for people to install this with the absolute minimum alteration required.
One more thing. If you install this on your guitar and then some long time later you decide to remove it, there will almost certainly be an ultraviolet age shadow on your instrument where the Vo-96 prevented the ambient light from aging the finish. Different finishes age at different rates, so how long it will take before a shadow becomes visible I cannot say. I'm thinking probably at least six months and maybe not until a couple of years. Alas, nothing can possibly be done to prevent that.
We will be providing pictures to illustrate this installation procedure. In fact, we have a movie awaiting editing. This is one of the many things will be preparing while you're Vo-96 is being manufactured.
Thank you!Last updated:
The Vo-96 operates best with our special Acoustic Synthesis strings. These are wound with a magnetically active iron-silver wire that is treated to look just like ordinary acoustic guitar strings. They are durable, age very slowly and retain their excellent characteristics for a long time.
Standard acoustic strings are not very magnetically responsive. If you try a standard acoustic set with the Vo-96 you’ll quickly see what I mean.
Acoustic Synthesis Strings are designed to look, feel and sound like standard acoustic strings but have exactly the right magnetic properties for the Vo-96.
These strings will be available for sale on the Vo Inventions site and from our supplier on their site. Volume and price is still being worked out, but I promise you these will not be obnoxiously expensive. They will be priced competitively with other premium acoustic strings. In fact, anyone playing an ordinary acoustic with a magnetic sound hole pickup may want to give these strings a try - they are very "ferrofriendly" !
The plain strings are always steel – almost any plain E and B string of the right gauge will perform very well.
Steel-wound like those used on the Moog Guitar can be used - they don't sound quite as good on an acoustic and they don't look right, but they are widely available from several string brands - they'll do in a pinch for sure.
We'll have a list of acceptable string sources on our site.Last updated:
There is no mirror-image unit, but it is certainly possible to just turn the whole thing around and mount it on a left-handed guitar. The controls would then be located away from you below the strings.
This orientation of the touch-pad has been proposed as a superior alternate; I was not convinced, but I'd like to hear from left-handed players once they have some experience with it. Remember the touch-pad can be easily locked out, so in any orientation it is possible to invoke presets without accidentally changing settings.Last updated:
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