Harmonica

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by TheFraz, May 19, 2008.

  1. TheFraz

    TheFraz Active Member

    I am looking into buying a new dynamic mic for recording the harmonica.
    My roommate is a fantastic player. I want to fully capture his talents.

    I would greatly prefer one where it can be cupped, as I don't want to restrict him from rocking out to the song.

    I am open to pretty much any ideas, so long as its not over $200.
     
  2. Greener

    Greener Guest

    Take your mate, his harmonica and a set of good headphones to the best music/microphone shop in town.
    Don't tell them you only have $200. Try before you buy :)
    What preamp are you going to use?
     
  3. TheFraz

    TheFraz Active Member

    I have a summit audio 2ba 221. It's all I have for the time being, that and my mbox's pre's.
     
  4. Greener

    Greener Guest

    Shure 520DX aka Green Bullit
    Audix FireBall Harmonica Microphone


    A Shure sm57 or sm58 cupped in the hand is used mostly to record harmonicas (according to some guy I rang in Nashville), but this will need practice to accommodate holding.

    Hope this helps.
     
  5. TheFraz

    TheFraz Active Member

    I need a 57 as it stands right now.
    I should have asked who has successfully recorded with a 57.
     
  6. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    "Only if you put it into an amp then record what comes out of the speaker with another good condenser mic, Shure sm57 for example (expensive way to do things)."

    Uhhh...

    SM57 is a dynamic mic. At least it has been for the last while. Why wouldn't you just tap a line out of the amp instead of micing a cabinet?
     
  7. Greener

    Greener Guest

    Yeah, was fairly far wrong there. Or at least confused. Fixed :)
     
  8. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Seems like a LOT of confusion here. Run the mic- whether it's a Green Bullet or a 57/57- into a small tube amp. You'll need a matching transformer if you use the 57 or 58 so that they'll match the guitar-type input on the amp. I suggested a small tube amp because you can crank it up to rock out with all of the fat, greasey overdrive that a blues harp player usually desires. Mic the speaker, don't take a line out from the amp. In fact, most of the little tube amps out there don't even have a line out, because the whole idea is to drive the bejesus outta the amp and the speaker to get that "nasty dirty" tone. Then you simply mic the amp. Voila!
    The Green Bullet works great and is a staple for this application IF you want to rock out on the harp. Don't settle for a cheap imitation!
     
  9. TheFraz

    TheFraz Active Member

    I love the idea of rocking out of an amp. But there are plenty of times where I want a cleaner harmonica sound. I may still add a little drive to it with a plug in.

    So would the 57 be a solid choice for recording through a preamp into an interface?
    Also with a bullet, can I not just use the line in on my pre amp?

    It seems my choice is between the bullet and the 57. I feel like I should be buying a 57 regardless. So I guess my real question is, will a 57 work well with most harmonica applications?
     
  10. Greener

    Greener Guest

    57 is pure gold, enjoy.
     
  11. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    A lot of players prefer the 58 over the 57 for harp. It is easier to cup the hands over it, and the pop filter works better to minimize wind blast noises and such. And, you need a mic preamp to run any of these mics to the soundcard (maybe you have that built in to the soundcard?). Plugging into a "line input" ain't gonna work...not enough level from the mic to drive the card.
     
  12. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Are you going to be able to get a clean sound from a cupped 58 though? I'm kind of thinking you'd be better off with a pencil condenser a la Rode Nt 5 or something like that at 4"-10" away for a clean sound. Wouldn't you still potentially get distortion at the capsule when you cup the mic? I was always under the impression that the Green bullet is essentially a 57 with a cool casing.
     
  13. Greener

    Greener Guest

    Then the artist needs to stand still or levels become an issue. Can normalising still keep a clean sound?

    Maby my first post could still be viable... Go see what bullets, 57's and 58's sound like with the artists holding one and standing in front of one... Though you would need a patient salesman or someone interested. So call around.
     
  14. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    No more an issue than with a violinist or flutist. I wouldn't use normalizing necessarily either but probably some mild compression or fader riding if need be.
     
  15. Greener

    Greener Guest

    Isn't normalising computerised fader riding?
     
  16. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    No. Normalizing will bring the highest peaks as close as possible to 0db or whatever setting you choose before clipping. If there are quiet sections they will still be quiet. Louder relative to the original volume maybe but relative the the track the dynamic range between the quietest point and the loudest point will remain the same. Normalizing afaik is based on RMS. Fader riding is completely in the discretion of the one behind the "board".
     
  17. Greener

    Greener Guest

    Hmmm
    "dynamics compression" seems to be what my idea of normalising was untill I looked it up.
    Live and learn. Thanks Hueseph.
     
  18. TheFraz

    TheFraz Active Member

    I am not talking about plugging it into the card. I am talking about using the line in on my preamp (2BA 221, a very nice tube pre amp).

    I now that any emulation I use will not be the same quality as a real tube amp, but I do not have a tube amp at hand. The only thing I have is a solid state marshal. Less then ideal for recording. when I have the money, A twin verb is probably what I am going to get. Until then it looks like GR2 for me.


    hueseph, thanks for the heads up on the better approach to getting a clean sound. My next condenser will be an NT5 (or two).


    As it looks like both the 57 and the bullet are suited for recording harmonica, it looks like I will be trying the two of them out.
     
  19. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Gotta love it when you catch yourself in a contradiction. Not based on RMS. It's all about peaks.
     
  20. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    I have a 2B-211, also. You plug line level sources into the line input , you plug a MIC into the XLR MIC input. And FWIW, I've had pretty good results using a Green Bullet (as well as a 58 ) run through the Summit for blues harp, pushing the gain up a bit to add some "tube grit" before hitting the recorder. Also, I have a Twin Reverb. It's great for that clean, spanky tube sound for geetars and such. For "dirt", you might look at a Deluxe Reverb, IMHO, because you can really push the output stage for that "grind" and not blow the others outta the room...Wanna by my Twin?
     

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