RE: [Harp-L] Mic for acoustic live playing

Hi Maurice,

I've been using the Shure 545SD-LC for years for acoustic work and it's a fine choice. I don't cup it -- just play and sing from a couple inches away.

I'm not sure I'd use it hi-Z into an amp, but it works wonderfully low-Z into a PA system, both for harp and for vocals. A true workhorse of a mic, and virtually indestructable. The off-on switch is a plus as well. Also, if you need a boost while using your electric set-up, it can be used to mic your amp into the PA.

(Note however that it does not come with a cable.)

Of course for a Carnegie Hall, pin-drop, theater-type concert you'd probably want to stay with your SM86 or upgrade to an AKG or Neumann condenser -- but the 545 is indeed a great choice for a mid-cost, club-date, all-purpose mic. I use it for about 80% of my gigs -- highly recommended.

Tom Ball


I play both Chicago style blues harmonica as well as doing some backup work
on a band that does jazz, country and some indie pop. With the more
"driving/louder" songs I use my electric rig (either Fender Princeton or
Bassman depending on the room) or I like to play some acoustic style which
works better for some of the country or jazz stuff.

I have been using a Shure SM86 which requires phantom power, but it has been
a bit of a pain, I have had issues plugging into different P.A.'s.
I know sometimes it can be a cable issue, but I keep finding that
simplifying setups has been the right direction for me so I am hoping to
avoid phantom power.

The question: Is there a mid-range, not too expensive mic that you folks
would recommend for my acoustic work?

I see the Shure 545SD-LC Cardioid Dynamic High or Low Z On-Off Switch on
Amazon for $95 which I think was an update on the mic Paul Butterfield used
to use. It looks like you can use it with a P.A. or plug it into a guitar
amp with the right plug since it has that hi-lo Z thing. The thing is
mostly, I am looking to use the mic without cupping the harp to it, so I
don't know if this is the right one. It is however in about the right price
range. Will it work well with in an acoustic mode? If not, what mic would
you recommend (keeping in mind no phantom power and low maintenance)?
I look forward to the group's advice.
Maurice Thaler

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