SOMA Laboratory, the company behind innovative electronic instruments such as LYRA and PIPE, is once again exploring new sonic territories with a new instrument in the pipeline (in addition to the upcoming PULSAR-23). This new instrument, called DVINA, is such a radical new step for Soma, that the company is first seeking feedback from people before putting it into production.
Vlad Kreimer, the designer of DVINA, told us, “We want to show it to the world to get an idea if there is a market for an instrument like this. If the reaction is positive, we can start mass production.”
DVINA is the first electro-acoustic experiment created by Soma. This unique string instrument was inspired by classical Hindustani music but lends itself to Western music just as well. References include the bowed instruments Sarangi and Dilruba, although more in common spirit than in design. DVINA produces a similarly full, warm and organic sound using modern technical innovations.
A key feature of DVINA and its sound is that there is no pick-up inside. Instead, the electric signal is taken directly from the strings that vibrate in the strong magnetic field of a neodymium magnet, hidden in the neck. Sound is generated by strumming, plucking the strings (pizzicato) and by playing with a bow (not included). DVINA has a minimalist design – no one part can be removed without losing the functionality of the instrument.
The length of the neck is 88cm, and the scale length is 52cm. The instrument weighs 1.2kg. The DVINA in the demo video is tuned C#, G#, but other tunings are of course possible. You can also use strings with a different gauge. Aside from the wooden body, an integral part of DVINA is the special step-up transformer that boosts the weak signal from the strings enough for further processing. After the transformer, the signal is ready to be put into stompboxes, mixer or a guitar cube. The final part of DVINA is a custom built high quality pre-amp with one-tap delay and a soft distortion in the delay’s feedback. This is the pre-amp used in the demo. You can of course use your own processing chain instead, but the Soma pre-amp does play a role in shaping the unique sound of DVINA.
Like with Soma's other instruments, there are some underlying concepts to DVINA. There is the minimalism in design, and the link to the Hindustani tradition's meditative roots that can help the contemporary person focus on their inner state.
“Two sticks, two strings, no frets, it's as simple as possible, everything unnecessary has been removed,” said Vlad. “It's only you and your spirit, mastery and imagination. This is a very simple but powerful instrument, with a strong connection to your body.”
DVINA is lightweight and very portable in size. It's actually the only bowed instrument that can be assembled from pieces that come folded in a compact container. “This instrument is perfect for the 21st century cultural ninja-spy, who travels alone with little luggage, is hopeful, flexible and completely independent, trying hard to still be a human in a complex time of impetuous changes.”
Price: The main part (wooden DVINA + step-up transformer) will cost in the range of 200-500 euros, while the pre-amp/delay/distortion unit will be around 200-300 euros. The exact price will be known once SOMA has a better idea of the market interest and the volume of production.
If you are interested you can connect with Vlad with an email to firstname.lastname@example.org