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Skweezboxmaniac

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 #1 
After much anticipation, I finally received my Vamonos! wireless mic.  Let's put it this way, I wasn't really sure what to expect.  Anytime accordion manufacturers try to dabble in electronic "accessories", the results are mixed. (e.g. I've seen and heard what is supposed to pass for an "accordion amp"....not impressed.)  Though After watching the NAMM video and hearing what Gilbert had to say about it, I wanted to give it a shot.

(Forgive my pic quality for I am a sound guy, and definitely NOT a photographer. )

The first surprise was the really nice, locking, hard shell case that it comes in.  The outside is nice looking wrap material and the inside is plush with compartments for everything.


As you can see there's space not only for the Mic and it's parts, but also for other things that you need like extra batteries, sheet music, etc...  Nice touch.


The next surprise is the receiver.  Normally at this price point you do not get a metal chassis.  This not only is an all metal chassis, but it has detachable half wave antennas on BNC connectors, just like units that cost far more.  This helps if you accidentally break an antenna, you can easily attach another, or you can extend the antennas if you need to with standard 50 Ohm BNC cable.  Again, nice touches with the build quality.


Next is the transmitter.  It's not metal, but then again it really can't be because it needs to be light enough to stay on the accordion grill with magnets.  Still, it seems well put together and doesn't feel cheap.  There are two mics on the back along with some soft felt material on the top and bottom.  All of this runs on a couple of AA batteries.


Here's how it looks on the accordion

Here's a pic of the back of the transmitter/mic pod

On the front, there's an IR sensor for syncing up with the receiver.  This is a really cool feature because if you get interference and you need to change the frequency, the process is much easier than other systems.  You just press the "Scan" button on the receiver and it finds the nearest open frequency.  Then you just hold the IR sensor up to the receiver and press the "IR" button.  This syncs up the transmitter with the new frequency that the receiver found.

There's also a battery meter, the power button, and the signal attenuator.  The power button on the transmitter, just like the receiver, you have to hold it down for a second before it functions.  That's a good fail safe to keep from accidentally turning it off and on.

The receiver has all the usual meters and channel displays, etc.. all fairly standard (along with the cool IR sync feature).

How does it work?  Well, I took it on a gig this past Saturday and brought it to use with both my Corona II and Gabbanelli (model 400 3 reed 5 switch).  Of course the transmitter attaches to the Corona II perfectly because that's what it's made for.  The Gabbanelli took a bit of modification.  Even though the system ships with velcro pieces and instructions to mount the transmitter on non-metal grills, folks on the forum know that I'm fond of those little adhesive strips from 3M that you can remove with no damage to the surface.  I bought some with Velcro and just used one piece on top of the logo of the Gabbanelli and the other in the middle of the battery compartment on the Vamonos! transmitter.  It held just fine (even if it looked a little silly with a giant HOHNER logo on a Gabbanelli )  Even with the piece of velcro on the back of the transmitter, the magnets still held it fine to the Corona II.

Once I straightened out the mounting procedures, the first thing I did was get the receiver hooked up to the mixer and scanned for the best available frequency.  I then fired up the transmitter and synced it up to the receiver.  I started out with the level attenuator on the receiver around 2 o'clock, and the same for the transmitter level.  This gave me enough signal to work with at the board.  Results may differ for you though, be sure to watch the meters on the receiver and be sure you are not clipping the meter in the RED or only lighting up a couple green lights.  Adjust the transmitter attenuator until you get a nice healthy level on the receiver meter, even into the orange when you're playing loudest. Then adjust the receiver's attenuator if you need more level at the mixer.

Once I brought it up in the mains, the very first thing I noticed was how much darker and much more "wooden" sound it had because the mic is now physically attached to the box....you internal mic users probably already know this sound.  Well, I engaged the 80Hz high pass filter on the mixer and still took out a bit more lows as well as a slight bump around 3Khz on the channel EQ.  This helped decrease the rumbles and handling noise from playing and gave me more of the brighter, modern sound I'm looking for.  It's not as "Hi-Fi" as some would want it to be, but due to the physical constraints of how it's attached, it's a tradeoff that you need to consider.

What I liked:

 - Nice build quality and carrying case
 - Detachable antennas
 - IR Sync feature
 - Pro features: (XLR-M) audio connection, UHF, True Diversity, Frequency Agile
 - The convenience of not having to deal with wires/beltpacks or extensively modifying your accordion with clips, etc...
 - Great overall Value (bang for the buck).

What could be better:

 - Needs better acoustic isolation between the accordion and the mic elements to decrease rumble and handling noises.
 - Solution may not be great for bigger accordions
 - Still need velcro for non-metal grills.
 - No solution for those that want to mic the Bass side too.

I also suggest that Hohner offer an accessory to mount the receiver in a standard 19" rack space.  The chassis is already predrilled for it and it would be nice for those that already have racks.  The ones that Shure, Audio-Technica, etc... make come with little BNC cables and connectors to mount the antennas on the front of the rack mount chassis.

Overall though I think it's a pretty cool unit, very unique and a good first effort.  It's best suited for 3 row diatonic Hohner players that don't use the basses in their performance.  However, as long as you are not playing a big 96/120 bass chromatic/Piano box, I think you can adapt this to serve your needs.  It's ESPECIALLY great for those of us that switch accordions many times during a set.  Just for that reason alone it's worth the tradeoffs to me.

Attached Images
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Aaron

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David

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 #2 
Great review!
OdellSoto

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 #3 
Interesting! In my opinion I think it would be better if it was smaller and thinner maybe with a touch screen gadget or something more modern I don't know maybe im getting to far ahead just seems everything now has a touch screen. Good review btw thanks for the update and info.
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Pickett

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 #4 
Vamonos 1.0.  Not bad for the first run.  Great to see that there is no wires and all components in one module.  I guess this is why it is a little large but i saw a video of Flaco and David Hidalgo using one on youtube and it seems to work just fine.

ngonzalezz23

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 #5 
I think if it really worked that well, the majority of musicians would have them, and plus it looks too big. Also it would be kind of weird to be playing a gabby with the hohner logo...its my opinion...thanks~
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Skweezboxmaniac

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 #6 
Quote:
I think if it really worked that well, the majority of musicians would have them


This is a very new product, for one... it just came out.  Second...don't get me wrong; I'm just one of you guys here in the forum.  There's no need to interpret my review in any other way than exactly as I wrote it.  I can assure you, I'm a musician and an Audio Engineer, not a Hohner employee.  The product has its faults, but if it was not good enough for a professional musician, I would've said that.  It wouldn't be fair to the community here or to Gilbert & Hohner if I just made a fluffy review to blow smoke.

Generally speaking though, wireless of any sort is not for everyone.  I only recommend it when you really need it for your performance. Wireless technology by it's very nature is not as reliable and it's getting worse.  Our bandwidth is slowly being eroded by the FCC selling off frequencies that Wireless Mics use over to big money (big lobbyist) Cell Phone carriers for 4G LTE, etc...  Again, buy wireless if you need it... but a wired mic (or mics) will always be more reliable.

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Aaron

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tigres71

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 #7 

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Kocho

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 #8 
Cuantos cueritos de rana costara?
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JoseJGarcia

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 #9 
Hey Kocho!

Precio en Amazon:$506.83, esto es a lo que estan en este momento.
(09/18/2012)

Se ven expectaculares estos microfonos! Ya que caigan los cueritos de rana nos compramos unos!

"Por El Amor a La Musica"
Jose Jaime Garcia

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make_it_conjunto

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 #10 
Aaron,

Have you had any problem with feedback. I had a problem with feedback on her maiden voyage. If i turned the gain down i couldnt hear it through the pa.
Skweezboxmaniac

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 #11 
Yea... there is always an elevated potential for feedback, especially with accordion.... on any wireless or clip style condenser mics.

My suggestion with the Vamonos! mic is to kill a lot of the lows with a High Pass filter switch on the mixer channel (if it has one) and/or the shelving controls on the mixer channel.  I also take down some mids, but not too much.  Then compensate for the lack of brightness with a little boost of the highs.

The problem is the fact that the Vamonos mic amplifies a lot of the handling noise that the accordion makes on its own, so when you turn it up, you also turn up that noise along with the signal.  That can definitely cause you to drive the system into feedback because some of the noise is masking the accordion sound and you are really trying to clean it up, and not so much make it louder.

Also check and recheck your gain structure.  As I mentioned in the review.  Gain structure should be first.  Make sure your are hitting mostly green and a little bit of orange lights on the receiver.  Adjust that with the gain knob on the transmitter.  Start with the gain knob on the receiver at around 1-2 o'clock then check the mixer to make sure there's enough signal there.  If the gain is too high on mixer, it'll be easier to drive it into feedback.  If you have a PFL or SOLO button to help check gain on the mixer that would help... you should be hitting around 0db and a little above on the mixer.

This isn't too different than what you would do with any other mic except for trying to compensate for some of the handling noise with EQ so that it is not amplified so much.  Remember to check your gain again on the mixer after you've made EQ adjustments.  It will change.

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Aaron

"I must be willing to give up what I am so that I may become what I will be"
-- Albert Einstein

"Knowledge is learning something everyday. Wisdom is letting go of something everyday."
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make_it_conjunto

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 #12 
Thanks Aaron I will pass that to our sound guy.
tigres71

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 #13 
[video]http://[/video]
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accordiondudetx

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 #14 
Aaron thanks for the review.  How would you compare this system to a Shure SLX with Beta 98 mic?
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Skweezboxmaniac

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 #15 
The Shure Beta 98 is the more detailed and refined of the two.  The Vamonos is the more quick, easy & convenient option if you play Hohner boxes.  That's about what it comes down to for me.
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Aaron

"I must be willing to give up what I am so that I may become what I will be"
-- Albert Einstein

"Knowledge is learning something everyday. Wisdom is letting go of something everyday."
-Zen Proverb
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