[Harp-L] Clean & Warm Chromatic sound

Richard Hunter rhunter377@xxxxx
Sat Jan 21 13:55:30 EST 2017

David Pearce wrote:
<I'm searching for a chromatic amplified sound that's clean & warm, but not
crunchy.  I thought this <tube preamp might be a good way to warm things up.

<Vox also has some guitar amps that have tube preamps, that I thought be
good for this as well.  <Does anybody have any suggestions?

A tube preamp by itself tends to sound harsh, not clean and warm.  A
speaker cabinet takes a lot of the harshness out of the sound, and if you
want clean and warm you're well advised to have a speaker cabinet, real or
modeled, in the chain. (The amp modelers I use for my sounds get pretty
harsh without a cabinet model in the picture, too.)  If you're going to use
a tube preamp, I'd pair it with a keyboard amp--a 1X10 or 1X12--to make
sure that you have a clean cabinet in the picture to take some of the harsh

Most keyboard amps have an XLR input for a mic, too, so you may just find
that does it for you--when the only thing I want onstage is a clean sound,
an audix Fireball V straight into the XLR input on my Peavey KB2 works
great, and it's got an XLR line out if you need to run it to a PA for a
bigger sound.

Vox tube amps are built around different power tubes from Fenders -- EL84s
as opposed to the 6L6 power tubes in a Fender amp--and most harp players
prefer the sound of the 6L6s.  On the other hand, Brandon Bailey and I both
have purchased and used Vox modeling amps on occasion, and I like the sound
of those just fine.

Consider an amp modeling device like a Digitech RP instead of a dedicated
preamp--then in effect you can pair a preamp or amp model with a cabinet
model, run the whole thing to a PA, and get as many sounds as you like.
The Fender Twin, Tweed Deluxe, and Direct amp models in the Digitechs all
produce clean, warm sounds with plenty of body.

Finally, think about your mic.  If you want clean and warm, the Audix
Fireball V is a very good bet.  A typical bullet-style harp mic will not
give you crunch, not clean.  If you use a stick-type vocal mic, you can get
clean; cut the EQ a few decibels at least at 8 kHz and above if you want
the thing to sound warm.

Regards, Richard Hunter

"The Lucky One" 21st century rock harmonica project at
Author, "Jazz Harp" (Oak Publications, NYC)
Latest mp3s and harmonica blog at http://hunterharp.com
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