Re: [Harp-L] audix

Robert Hale wrote:
<I acquired and play a couple of bullet mics, but now that I have so much
<control over sound with RP, a flatter, more neutral mic seems worthwhile.
<Ads say:
<"The Fireball and the Fireball V are designed like the coveted vintage
<bullet style harmonica mics played by the blues legends."
<Your posts describe them as best non-feedback mic you have found. Since FB
<hits on the peak frequencies in the mic design, Audix must be a flatter
<(smoother) response curve than bullets.
<So this ad is just marketing?

I suspect that when they say "designed like the coveted vintage bullet style harmonica mics," they're referring to the ergonomics of the mic, not its sound.  The Fireball's shape makes it easy to cup in one's hands, but as many on this list can tell you, a Fireball does NOT sound like a bullet mic.  That's what I like about the Fireball.  I think it works pretty well for Chicago-style blues, but it isn't the mic I'd choose for maximum blues.

In addition to having a flatter frequency response, as you note above, the Fireball has practically zero proximity effect, meaning that when you cup it in your hands it does NOT boost bass frequencies in the same way that, say, a Shure 545SD or SM57 would.  So it's a really, REALLY even frequency response.  

Finally, the Fireball doesn't produce the kind of distortion that you get when you push most mic elements hard. This is great for people who like to play chords.  A bullet mic turns any chord you play into it into a distorted blur, which helps to explain in large part why harmonica chords play a rhythmic role rather than a functional harmony role in Chicago blues.  With a Fireball, you can hear the individual notes in the chord loud and clear.  

As per my recent post on my blog (, mics definitely do not all sound the same, and it's a good idea to have different mics in your kit for different musical styles.  It's fortunate that mics in general are relatively inexpensive; changing the mic costs a lot less than changing the amp, and it can certainly produce a big change in your sound.   

Regards, Richard Hunter

author, "Jazz Harp" (Oak Publications, NYC)
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