[Harp-L] Chromatic mic

Vern jevern@xxxxx
Sun May 1 19:41:13 EDT 2016

Although I have an SM58, I haven’t used it for my chromatic in years.  For this reason, I can’t really compare them.  The electret mic is good enough, cheap enough, and wonderfully tiny for my purposes.

I occasionally sing into an SM58 or equivalent house mic on stage and play introductions and turnarounds on the harmonica but everything is set up for my voice and the harmonica sound is less important.  

I also use an AMT HR3 harmonica mic (electrets in a tube) when I’m using a neck rack.   Except for  the lack of hand-cupping effects, I don’t hear any significant difference. 

With our community string band I occasionally play an instrumental verse of tunes like Shenandoah, Danny Boy, Ashokan Farewell and Home on the Range.  With some reverb, audience members say that the sound gives them goosebumps and sometimes tears.  I con’t think that the mic has any characteristic sound…it is just neutral.  I think that effective hand-cupping, reverb, equalizers, and phrasing will overwhelm any subtle differences in mics.

Beats me!  I’m guessing that the big mics were all that was available at one time and have become traditional with diatonics.  Also they could be over-driven into distortion to “thicken” the sound. I’m not knocking them and I have to admit that they may sound different.  If so, whether or not they sound better is a subjective preference.  Most amps and mixers do not provide the 3-9V phantom power required by electrets and some folks may not want to deal with pre-amps or battery packs.  The 33-3013 provides a lump in the cable that contains an SR44 button battery and an on-off switch. 

You can find a lot of information on the internet by searching on “electret microphones.”

Although a good audio system can’t improve a bad performance, a bad audio system can certainly spoil a good performance.

> On May 1, 2016, at 1:45 PM, Sheltraw <macaroni9999 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi Vern
> How would you describe the difference between the sound of your setup and a SM58?
> So if these rather inexpensive and light weight systems work well for playing the chromatic clean then why does anybody go for the bulky and more costly system?
> Cheers
> Daniel
> Sent from my iPhone
>> On May 1, 2016, at 11:16 AM, Vern <jevern at fea.net> wrote:
>> I use a Radio Shack 33-3013 Tie-clip/peanut/electret mic.  It has a clean response and is so tiny that you can completely enclose it in your hand where it is completely responsive to cupping effects.  The 1/8” cable exits your cup between your fingers. It uses a button battery that lasts for many hours IF you remember to turn it off. It needs some adapters to go from 1/8” plug to 1/4” plug or XLR.  I understand that Radio Shack may have discontinued it but it is available on ebay for as little as $10.
>> I suggest that you try it.  I think that you will like it.  If you don’t, you have most of your budget still available for a more traditional mic.
>> Vern

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