Harley Benton HBV 990BEM 4/4 Electric Violin

Electric Violin with Active Pickup System

  • Size: 4/4
  • Body and neck: Maple
  • Frame: Plastic
  • Fingerboard: Birch (Betula albosinensis)
  • Tuning pegs and chin rest: Jujube (Ziziphus jujuba)
  • Design: Birds Eye Maple
  • With headphone output 3.5 mm
  • With microphone / MP3 input
  • Line jack output 6.3 mm
  • Includes case, shoulder rest, carbon bow, rosin and 9V battery
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  • Irish Amp
  • Irish Pickup
  • Classical Amp
  • Classical Pickup
  • Classical Produced
  • Irish Produced
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  • Traditional Pickup
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Further Information

Number of Strings 4
Fretboard Birch
Body Material Maple
Pegs Birch
Chin rest Birch
Neck Maple
Incl. Bag No
Incl. Case Yes
Incl. Bow Yes
Incl. Shoulder Rest Yes
Incl. 4 Fine Tuners Yes

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36 Customer Ratings
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Total
sound
quality
Value for money.
02.10.2016
Violin review

I am a music student and I bought this product for two main reasons: practicing at home without disturbing other people and having the possibility of connecting it to effects. I've been using it now for several months and I'm happy all right with it.
I know the list of "Cons" seems to be a bit long, but the overall experience is good and I don't regret my decision. Value/quality ratio is good, probably you wouldn't find anything as nice as this one for that money.

Pros:
Natural sound is low enough to allow you to practice at night without disturbing anyone on the house.
Lightweight for an electric violin, I've tried other EVs and they tend to be very heavy.
Line out 1/4" Jack connection, some of them have an small jack and they tend to fail very quickly.
Position of the tone controls and volume knob is out of the way, helping to avoid any undesired change on settings.
Sound is OK.
Case is OK.
Nice light bow.
Battery seems to last for a good while.
The tuning pegs took a while to settle, however once they did they work very well.
The micro tuner works fine although I find the ??? a bit small and not that nice to handle, they do what they are meant to do anyway.

Cons:
Headphones out is very noisy, Hiss is the word. I only use the line out into my FX unit "BOSS ME-50"
Tone controls are not very good, can't expect much anyway for that price, I use them flat. Better to use whatever you have in your mixer/DAW.
Faders and volume control got noisy quickly enough, even when I don't use the tone controls and only use the volume as an "On/Off", fully closed/fully opened.
Body, the outer plastic frame which also contains the electronics, seems to be very fragile and because of its shape wider at the rear and thiner near the centre of the instrument is very awkward to fit a conventional shoulder rest and that brings me to something that is completely unacceptable...
WORST SHOULDER REST EVER!!! Whoever designed that "useless thing" did not think at all: it falls out of the instrument, is too small and unusable. Since I bought it I tried it a couple of times and down to the box of useless stuff it went. WORST feature of the instrument by far, so do not hesitate to buy one along with the EV, also avoid this kind of SR Everest Shoulder Rest 4/4 Violin
The grip is not good at all and they also come out of the instrument, this one is the one I have and I don't like it at all; go for the traditional ones, the piece that holds them to the instrument has longer arms and grips better. Honestly I think they should apologise to those who bought this violin for it and give them nice shoulder rests instead.

PIECE OF ADVISE: Get a cable with an "L"shaped jack so it fits properly in the line out without disturbing. Also use some velcro to hold the cable to the instrument so that way you will reduce any stress of the cable hanging from the line out and prolong its life.

Hope this help you decide.
Enjoy

Paulo
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Total
sound
quality
Fantastic for quiet practicing
07.11.2015
Summary:
+ Great as quiet practice violin
+ Very well playable
+ Acoustic sound is quiet but loud enough for practicing
+ Acoustic sound is balanced across the range, G string sounds equally as loud as E string
- Electric sound is OK, but not great
- Strings that were installed sounded very thin, replaced them with Tonicas which sound very good on this violin
- The gaps of the tuners at the bottom are very narrow and are only suitable for thin strings, I had to widen them with a file to install the Tonica strings, which probably voided the warranty.
- The tuners at the top need quite a bit of force applied not to slip, although it seems to get better over time.

Review:

I bought this violin as an addition to my acoustic violin. The acoustic sounds very good but is also very loud when playing it. Not just all my family members are able to hear me practice, but the neighbours as well. So I needed something quieter, for practicing purposes only.

As I was not planning to use the electric for performance or for its sound, I decided to try the Harley Benton as a cheaper option and just try it to see if it would work OK. The only requirement was that it would be playable, and that I would at least be able to hear what I was playing without plugging it in or using headphones.

In reviews of similar instruments I read that the strings that come with the instrument are rubbish, so I ordered a set of Pirastro Tonica strings with the instrument, and an Eudoxa aliminium wound E string at the same time.

I was not disappointed. The instrument itself looks beautiful. It is quite easy to play, and sounds about right when playing it. I had expected that without plugging it in the G string would be practically inaudible, but it is loud enough, and to my surprise very in balance with the other strings. It is just like playing my acoustic, just a lot quieter.

The strings that were installed indeed sounded quite thin, but playable nevertheless. After I replaced them with the Tonicas on G-D-A and the Eudoxa on E, the sound improved a lot.

However, when I tried to install the Tonica strings, I found that the ending at the ball side (where the string is a bit thicker) didn't fit through the gaps of the tuners. In order to install these strings I had to file the gaps a bit wider. Be warned that this will probably void the warranty so if you want to avoid that, make sure that you use strings that fit through the gaps.

After the new strings were fitted I started playing and enjoyed it a lot, so much so that it was hard to put the instrument down. Finally just playing without knowing everyone can hear what you are doing. And with a sound quality that is amazing given that the sound is produced without any acoustic reinforcement at all.

I then plugged in the headphones that came with the instrument and the sound was OK. Nothing special, but usable, especially with the built-in EQ. I much prefer the acoustic sound of the instrument though, so I unplugged them and kept on playing it acoustically.

All in all, I couldn't be happier. For the price this is an amazing instrument, and for practicing purposes, highly recommended. For performance purposes, I guess it would be OK in most circumstances, if you could apply a lot of reverb to open up the direct sound of the electric pickup. It also comes with a good bow and a great case. What more could you wish for?

5 stars!!
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Total
sound
quality
Good in parts but major quality failures
06.05.2016
I already own an acoustic violin and bought this violin for quiet practice. I'm a 63 year old amateur.

Overall surface finish is fine and the plastic maple finish is quite handsome.

The sound when played without using the headphones is loud enough for practice and much more pleasant than using a heavy practice mute on an acoustic.

The supplied bow is useable and of reasonable quality

Like any violin the chin rest is fine if your chin suits its pattern and if not it can be easily replaced using a standard violin chinrest.

The violin pegs quality are fine and are fitted well enough not to slip.

I found the violins action ( string height ) fine for my playing which does not stray out of the first or second position fine.

Using the headphone out required a large amount treble cut to produce a non screeching sound.

The violins sound using an external amplifier can be made quite pleasant using reverb to give a more spacious sound.

The violin and supplied accessories however suffer from quality and design defects as follows:

The strings are terrible and It doesn't need expensive strings. The ones I replaced the provided set with where quite cheap Chinese Dominant imitations that gave an immediate improvement in sound and playability.

While replacing the strings I came across a major quality failure. The tailpiece is a Witner ultra clone that at first glance looks fine but on close inspection showed a major manufacturing defect. The supplied e string ball end did not look like it was seated correctly in the adjuster of the tailpiece and also showed evidence of the slot being prised apart. Before fitting new strings I removed the bridge and found that the problem was caused by swarf (metal waste) from the cutting of the slots not being removed. This meant that none of the strings where seated correctly. This failure is a shame as the rest of the tailpiece and attaching wire is quite acceptable. I replaced the tailpiece with a real Witner ultra tailpiece.

If you buy one of these violins or one that uses similar electronics you should be aware of a possible safety issue. When switching on the headphone amplifier there is a pop that is loud enough to cause hearing damage if the user is wearing the headphones. So you should only switch on when not wearing the headphones. A soft start to remove this pop is something that can be provided by a component that costs pence.

The supplied headphones are a joke and are only fit for recycling. I replaced them with a pair of £2 earbuds.

Another joke is the shoulder rest that is neither comfortable or secure when fitted. Some types of normal shoulder rest will probably fit the plastic frame.

The case provided would be fine if the zip did not show signs of not being sown on correctly.

In conclusion I can't say I'm impressed with Thomann's Harley Benton line quality control. Most of my comments have been made previously by other reviewers so should have already been sorted out. I've ended up at the end of the day with what I wanted but not out of the box which is what I would have expected from Europe's major musical instrument shop.
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Total
sound
quality
You get what you pay for
Wrench, 12.04.2020
Bought this as a bday gift for my sister who wanted to try out how electric violins may feel like prior to me commencing a custom build on one. I knew going in that this will have some quality issues so I was not bugged when it came through. The following are the main two gripes:

1. The transducer pickup is particularly low quality and did not sit right so strings had varying levels picked up and treble was piercing at first. Kinda works better after trying to figure the best way to seat it right but could still be a bit better.
2. The shoulder rest mounting is just strange. It does not sit in place and we had to McGyver a contraption to make it sit where it should. Don't understand why they could not make it clip in place instead of just "rest into" extremely loose holes in the plastic rear cover.

Overall a good intro into the e-violin world, but defnitely not something that would be kept as is for more than a year or so. Fair price though so not complaining.
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144 €
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