Re: pre amp for harp

The Digitech RP200 does make a very nice preamp for harp, for either
recording or live work.  I've used it now on stage both straight into
the PA, and routed to an onstage keyboard amp, then into the PA.  I got
excellent results both ways: plenty of tone and plenty of volume.  It's
my basic traveling setup for all gigs until something even
better-sounding and more versatile shows up.

A few things to keep in mind:
1)  It takes work to make the thing sound exactly the way you want it to
sound.  It's not a one-button one-dial stompbox, and its output is
strongly affected by the mic used for input.  I've published 4 patches
at my website that make a good starting point for experimentation with
different amp models and effects; see  

2)  Always zero out the drum machine volume on this device before
performance to avoid inavertently triggering the drum machine. 
Triggering the drum machine by accident sucks, and it doesn't help your
reputation with whoever happens to be on stage when you trigger it. 
Believe me, I know.

3)  Some players have reported feedback with this device onstage.  I
haven't experienced that; in fact, when it's properly set up for your
mic (i.e. the patches are tweaked to eliminate the frequencies that are
prone to feedback), it's more resistant to feedback than any device I've
used so far.  The problem may be that the default output level for the
device overall is set at about 33 (out of 100), so people may tend to
set the PA to feedback-prone levels to compensate.  As part of my setup
for performance, I set the device output level to at least 75 (on my
recent gig with a blues band in Toronto, I set the output to 95). 

One writer commented that I've discussed the Peavey Rage on my website. 
I've never used this amp, so can't really recommend it.  In general, I
would not recommend that any player buy any amp without playing through
it first with the player's preferred microphone.  

For players who want a clean sound, Behringer's smallest mixer, the
UB502, contains one decent quality mic preamp, along with inputs for 4
other mono lines and a stereo output.  It's selling now for about $40
from Musician's Friend.  That's a rock-bottom price for a small but
good-quality piece of gear.  For about $20 more, Behringer sells a small
mixer with 8 inputs (2 mic preamps) that also includes an effects send
and return, so you can plug a reverb or other effects processor into
it.  I've used Behringer mixers before, and they're very good value for
money.  You can even use them for recording if higher-end gear isn't
available; they're clean and quiet enough to do the job for demos, for
sure, with electronics that are roughly the equivalent of Mackie mixers
circa 1995.

Thanks and regards, Richard Hunter

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