The Difference Between The NS Design Violins

5 min read

Different NS Design Violin

The NS Design violins are some of the best electric violins you’ll find! They’ve got the playability and craftsmanship of a high-end violin, and the rich tones and sonics of an innovative electronic instrument.

There are three models to choose from. Each within a different price range to meet various budgets. In this article, we’ll be going over some of the differences between these models to basically show what you’re paying for.

The Three Models: WAV, NXTa, and CR


  • Price: $699-$759
  • Strings: 4-string or 5-string
  • Colors: Black, amberburst, transparent red
  • Electronics: Passive, high impedance output, no batteries or charging
  • Controls: Volume & tone knobs


  • Price: $1559-$1879
  • Strings: 4-string or 5-string
  • Colors: Black, sunburst
  • Electronics: Dual mode active / passive, no batteries, charger included
  • Controls: Volume & tone knobs. Push volume knob to switch between active / passive mode, 2-way toggle switch for Polar pickup system: arco / plucked
  • Fingerboard: Solid or fretted


  • Price: $2899-$3289
  • Strings: 4-string or 5-string
  • Colors: Amber
  • Electronics: 9-volt active, EMG onboard preamp
  • Controls: Volume, treble EQ, & bass EQ knobs. Push volume knob to switch between active / passive mode. 3-way toggle switch for Polar pickup system: electric arco / acoustic arco / plucked
  • Fingerboard: Solid or fretted
  • Other: Additional 1/8" headphone jack

What’s The Same Between All 3 Models?

Before we dive into the differences, let’s first take a look at the same features between the 3 models.

Playability & Craftsmanship

Each model features the same dimensional design and quality craftsmanship. The fingerboards are all made of ebony, and the necks are made of maple. You can run your fingers on each fingerboard effortlessly, making the instruments very easy to play.

You’re not going to get lesser quality with the WAV model because it’s cheaper. It simply has fewer features compared to the NXTa and CR models. But you’re still getting the same great playability no matter which model you choose.

Precision Tuning System

Each model has the same advanced tuning system. Which makes the violin incredibly easy to tune, and it stays in tune for longer periods of time.

Custom Shoulder Rest

All models have the same shoulder rest. It can be adjusted vertically and horizontally for the best fit. The shoulder pad itself is also flexible. So you can bend it to a shape that conforms to your shoulder and chest.

Software preamps these days are also getting incredibly advanced. Such as the Arturia preamp collection. Designed to emulate some of the most prestigious preamps ever used. You can add some subtle grit, distortion, sonics, etc., to the sound of your electric violin. It won't just sound like an effect, it'll sound like a new instrument!

Polar™ Pickup System

Probably the funnest part of playing an electric violin, you get to experiment with all kinds of effects! Again, with a clean and direct sound from a good electric violin, you can throw on some reverb, echo, delay, distortion, etc.

Software effects have been getting extremely advanced as well. Not only do they sound more real and organic, but options are becoming endless. You can use effects to make your violin sound like a synthesizer, or you can use a vocoder to give your violin a vocal quality as demonstrated in this Daft Punk Medley video by Jason Yang on Youtube.

4-String & 5-String Options

All models can be purchased with 4-strings or 5-strings.

The Differences Between The 3 Models

Polar™ Pickup Toggle

WAV: No toggle switch

NXTa: Toggle between arco / plucked

CR: Toggle between electronic arco / acoustic arco / plucked

As mentioned before, the Polar™ pickup captures your performance the same way among all 3 models. However, the NXTa and CR models give you more options with the captured sound. The NXTa has an additional pluck mode, which is designed to enhance the vertical vibrations of the bridge. This means your plucked sounds will be louder and more sustained, similar to a guitar.

The CR model has the same pluck mode, plus a 3rd option - acoustic arco. This is to replicate the frequency range of a traditional violin. It shaves off some of the lower frequencies of the instrument, since a traditional violin doesn’t go that low in terms of frequency. This is different from the electronic arco mode, which does not cut off the lower frequencies. So you get a fuller and bolder electronic tone.

Active / Passive

WAV: passive only, no batteries required

NXTa: passive and active with supplied charger, no batteries required

CR: passive and active, 9 volt battery required

Passive means no power, whereas active means powered. The WAV is only available in passive mode. So the audio system its plugged into will need to be powered. For example, some home studio speakers do not have to be plugged in (which means they are passive). If you were to connect your passive WAV electric violin to these unpowered speakers, you won’t get any sound, since there’s no power. However, most audio systems nowadays are powered, so you won’t have to worry too much.

The NXTa & CR gives you both options. You can choose active mode and plug your violin into any low or high impedance audio device.

Volume & Tone Knobs

WAV: volume & tone knobs

NXTa: volume & tone knobs

CR: Volume, treble EQ, and bass EQ knobs

Both the WAV and NXTa have the same volume and tone knobs. The tone adjusts the brightness of the sound. You hear it more in the higher strings. As you turn the tone knob, the sound goes from warm to bright.

The CR model divides the tone into treble and bass EQ. So you can adjust the warmth and brightness of the higher and lower frequencies.


WAV: solid

NXTa: solid or fretted

CR: solid or fretted

Fretted fingerboards are available for the NXTa and CR models. This is a great feature for musicians that are used to fretted instruments.


WAV: black, amberburst, transparent red

NXTa: black, sunburst

CR: amber


All 3 models are incredibly advanced compared to most electric violins in the market today. They’re all the same in terms of playability and craftsmanship. The difference is in the available features and tones.

We believe the most important feature that separates the models is the Polar™ Pickup toggle. With the most advanced CR model, you’re getting 3 different tonal qualities - electric arco, acoustic arco, and pizzicato. It’s almost like getting 3 different violins! This is great for musicians that really want to experiment with a wide range of tonal possibilities.

The NXTa also has the pizzicato mode. Again, this is great for musicians that want to get that nice sustained pluck sound of guitars that you can’t get with traditional violins.

The WAV model is great for violinists that want to explore the world of electronic instruments. You still get incredible playability and features that are more advanced than most electric violins out there. Plus if you have good audio software and plugins, you can still explore a wide range of tonal possibilities by connecting your WAV violin to these effects and plugins.

Learn more about NS Design's history.

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