Re: [Harp-L] Audix Fireball V mic

The Fireball V is a versatile mic with a sound of its own. It has much less proximity effect than most dynamics, so its sound remains much the same whether in close or 6-12 inches from the player.  This means that it can be used for very intimate-sounding acoustic recordings, even when the mic is handheld.  It has a very smooth frequency response throughout its range, so it avoids the frequency "bump" that makes vocal mics like the SM57 sound shrill with harp. Its frequency range is much wider than a bullet style mic, which is why its basic sound is "cleaner" than a bullet.  But it does more than clean.  
It produces a much stronger signal before feedback than any other mic in my collection.  (Those who think it produces a weak signal have probably neglected to put a lo-z to hi-z tranformer on the mic cable before plugging it into an amp.) With a tube amp set up for a bullet or SM57 it sounds relatively clean, but it can achieve plenty of grind simply by cranking the tube amp gain and/or volume up to higher levels than would be possible with either a bullet mic or SM57.  In a side-by-side comparison, the sound of the mic through a Harpgear amp compares favorably to the Electrovoice RE-10, another mic favored by harmonica players, and at somewhat higher volume levels.

Egonomically, it's a very nice mic.  The shape is comfortable and overall size is relatively small, and it's very lightweight compared to either an Astatic JT-30 or a Shure Green Bullet.

I use mine with my Ron Holmes modified Crate VC-508 for blues, and with my Digitech RP200 for rock, jazz, country, and other styles where I want a wide range of tones.  In either setup, it produces strong tones that cut well through a band, without the shrillness or feedback issues that go with an SM57.  Its wide frequency response makes it very responsive to a range of effects, including flange, phase, and chorus.  

On the down side, the design of the mic makes it less sensitive to hand effects than a bullet mic. This is less of a problem when the mic is positioned on a stand 6-12 inches from the player.  The same design decisions that make the mic feedback-resistant make it less sensitive to hand effects, so it's a mixed blessing (or curse, depending on your point of view).  

No mic does it all for any player unless the player does the same thing, in a single style, night after night.  For most gigs, the Fireball is now my go-to mic, especially in cases where I suspect that the band may be playing too loud for most mics at some point in the night.  For straight blues, I might prefer a JT-30 or a Green Bullet.  At a retail price of about $100, the Fireball V is pretty affordable, especially in comparison to other mics of similar quality.   For most players, especially those playing anything but amped Chicago blues, it would be a very good choice for either the first or second mic in their collection.

Important caveat: as per my previous posts, I've found that specific amps and mics interact in very different ways.  I would always recommend that you try any mic with every amp you intend to use it with before you make a buy decision.

Regards, Richard Hunter



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