Even to this day, the electric violin is seen as weird.
At the very least, it is “unconventional.”
The main reason it has not gone mainstream like the electric guitar is that violinists tend to focus on classical and traditional music. There is not much use for an electric version in those genres.
And then there are models that raise eyebrows even among players who have embraced the electric violin.
The NS design WAV5 is one of those.
Read the review below to find out if this unique and wonderful instrument is right for you.
Table of Contents
NS Design WAV5 Review: Overview And Features
NS Design is a company started by Ned Steinberg – a genius and an innovator in the world of stringed instruments.
He first entered the spotlight with his Steinberger guitars and their easily recognizable headless design and overall minimalist concept.
The WAV violins are similar to those guitars. There are two models: the WAV4 and the WAV5. As the name suggests, the WAV5 is a 5-string instrument and fits the company’s more “affordable” series of electric violins.
That said, it’s not exactly cheap either, but it’s a somewhat “stripped-down” version that brings all the great sound and performance qualities in a simpler, more affordable package.
Aside from the number of strings, the WAV4 and WAV5 are pretty much the same, apart from the weight and some minor differences in dimensions.
Overall, this is a pretty amazing electric violin for this price level. It’s definitely not the cheapest, but it provides professional-level performance at a very reasonable price.
We would not generally recommend this instrument to a beginner, or even an intermediate player. It is more suited for an experienced player, who can make use of the unique way an electric violin works to bring out the best in the instrument.
- 5 strings
- Headless design with tuning machines on the tailpiece
- Minimalistic body design
- Maple body and neck
- Ebony fingerboard
- NS Design’s passive Polar pickup
- Volume and tone controls
- Comes with an adjustable chin rest
Design And Construction
As mentioned, the design is very minimalist design. While many electric violins have a body with a frame around it, the WAV5 just has a simple body with no special additions.
Both the body and the neck are made of maple. It has an ebony fingerboard. This kind of configuration adds to the instrument’s slightly brighter tone.
It’s all rounded up with a very interesting finish that comes in a few different color variants. It also comes with an adjustable chin rest that makes this instrument really comfortable to play.
There are two things, however, that make this instrument really special.
The first is the headless design with the tuning pegs on the tailpiece. This might make string replacement a little trickier, but the tuning stability is better than on other electric violins at this price level. It has NS Design’s special elf-clamping tuning mechanism that provides stability and very precise fine-tuning.
The other thing that makes the WAV5 violin stand out is its pickup.
Pickup And Controls
It features NS Design’s famous Polar. It has a very delicate piezo sensor and two knobs for volume and tone (basically a treble roll-off). The output is located on the back, which might feel a little impractical in some settings.
The pickup brings out the best of this instrument. A slightly “sharper” and brighter sound with pronounced mids and highs makes this violin the perfect choice for those who are looking for a solo instrument. However, there’s also an additional tightness in the low end, making the WAV5 a very rich-sounding violin.
Advantages And Disadvantages
- Great tone for lead sections
- Really comfortable to play
- Great-looking design
- Tuning stability
- Well-worth the price
- Restringing might be a little complicated for those who are not used to headless violins
NS Design WAV5 Vs Yamaha SV-200
Yamaha is another big player in the electric violin game, delivering some of the best quality e-violins out there. It is only natural that people tend to compare the NS Design WAV5 to Yamaha instruments, like the Yamaha SV-200.
It only takes a quick glance to notice the main differences. First, the SV-200 doesn’t stray far from some of the features you see on classical acoustic violins.
If you were to look only at the headstock and most of the neck, you’d think that it’s a regular violin. But then you have the minimalist body with an additional frame, which is often seen with electric violins.
The second important distinction is the fact that this is a 4-string instrument, while the WAV5 is a 5-string instrument (but the virtually identical WAV 4 also has 4 strings).
Although the SV-200 is marketed as a “silent” violin, it’s just like any other electric violin, with two outputs. You can either plug your headphones into the 1/8-inch jack or plug a regular instrument cable into the 1/4-inch jack.
In terms of their role, these two instruments are pretty similar.
However, the SV-200 has two piezo pickups and an active preamp powered by a 9-volt battery. What’s more, it has an EQ knob, basically like a tone knob, and a 2-way EQ mode switch. With this control, you can completely bypass the instrument’s default EQ setting.
Tone-wise, it’s a little different than the WAV5. Despite the differences, both violins are intended as solo instruments, which you can hear in their brighter output and great dynamic response.
Overall, comparing these two instruments is not the easiest task. The SV-200 is more expensive, although the price is definitely justified with its sound qualities, features, and playability.
The WAV5, on the other hand, has a more modern approach, with its headless design and ergonomic qualities. Both are semi-pro to professional violins, meant for those who already know how to play the electric violin.
Read our full review of the Yamaha SV-200 for more.
NS Design WAV5 Electric Violin: Conclusion And Rating
Whatever style of music you’re into, you can’t go wrong with a NS Design WAV5 or WAV4 electric violin.
These instruments provide not only great sound qualities and dynamic response, but also a great feel. The neck and the body are designed to be as minimalist as possible, so as to not mess with your performance.
Sure, it’s not the cheapest model on the market by any means and you might need some time to get used to restringing and tuning this instrument, but the WAV5 is definitely worth the price.
Due to the high quality and incredible value for money, we give this instrument a Musicaroo rating of 4.5 out of 5.