... is a mic I own. Can´t say how old but it´s been around a while, that´s obvious. The on/off-button is a handy thing, that´s for sure -- but apart from that I haven´t found it terribly useful for harmonica. Rather trebly and considerably more of a feedback monster than several of my other mics.
Still, I know this one´s been quite popular with harmonica players (P Butterfield for one), and I wonder if any of you have had any luck with it? And if so, in what combinations with amp, pedals and so on?
I've had one of the stick and one "pistol" type. To me it was a decent mic but no tone monster. Tight cup can get some good tone. I had an IMT so could play through either p.a. ort tube amp. I let them go some years ago and pared down my kit a lot. ---------- Music and travel destroy prejudice.
The 545 is my favorite harp mic. But mine are Ultimates with a VC, which makes a big difference. The VC allows you to attenuate the input signal which controls feedback very effectively. 545s sound particularly good with Fender blackface amps. Fenders and 545s have sort of a symbiotic relationship.
The tone one gets out of a 545 depends on your mic handling technique and is quite variable depending on how tight you cup. That’s the appeal of a 545. It’s proximity effect is quite strong and allows you to get ballsy depth of tone with a tight grip. Playing with an open cup and varying the distance and orientation of the mic element in relation to the harp gives you a broad variety of tones and timbres. BUT you have to know how to work the proximity effect with the manner in which you grip the mic. Sure, it can sound trebly, but that’s only one dimension of the sounds you can get from this mic. Using a tight cup will deepen the tone dramatically. This is an extremely versatile mic.
This mic can be a little difficult to grip as it has no “head”. Personally, I don’t like Greg Heumann’s bulletizer which is one way to address that problem. I put a plastic shaft collar on mine which is more comfortable for me.
Last Edited by hvyj on Nov 14, 2018 8:35 AM
Tonewise, it's my favourite mic, but I don't like the way if fits my hand. I think Greg Heumann’s bulletizer is a nice solution, but I like my Shure 585VC (known as "Cotton's mic") is a solid 2nd mic, and it's tone is pretty close to 545 and way more comfortable to hold.
Thanks for the input, guys. I´ve no intention to scrap the thing -- and sadly, I own no Fender amp -- but will try it with fresh ears.
@hvyj: Fitting it with a VC would be way too expensive, I´m afraid, but I´m also building up sort of a collar to it with a very thick type of rubber tape, and I´ve been considering a simple variation of a bulletizer that I´ve used on other mics. Yes, in itself it´s a bit awkward to hold, esp. if your hands get sweaty.
I´m no stranger to tight cupping, I think (one is always a bit reluctant to be the judge of one´s own capabilities, in particular when it comes to being "good"), but from your enthusiastic endorsement of the mic I might give it another shot, in particular if it´s usable through a PA with nice bottom response. Proximity effect -- now is that "increased bass response due to closeness mic/instrument" etc? The concept has come up here before and IIRC it was *not* what I thought it was.
The Shure 545 is a dynamic element mic with a crisp, highly detailed mid and huge bottom end if you use the proximity effect to its full potential as hvyi explains. I have never heard them described as "trebly", and in my experience (an old pistol grip model and one of the Mexican made ones from the 90s) they have a bigger bass response than most mics, through any of the amps I have used them with—large, small, tube, solid state. They are extremely detailed, though (for lack of a better description—picking up breath sounds and finger movements as you grip it, etc, but also picking up subtle technique from your harp playing) and don't have the same distortion in the mids as most vintage bullet style mics, so some may find that less desirable for a classic blues sound. But it's an amazing mic, especially if you choose to play more diverse sounds throughout the night. Perhaps your mic is damaged in some way. I have found the vintage 545 pistol mic to be a bit hotter and more powerful than my newer 545, so I prefer it, but the new 545 is also a really nice mic.
Thanks tomaxe, I will certainly try it with more consideration. One of the reasons for not using it was that it was relatively clean, and also I got a considerably higher volume output with my EV (as well as the Fireball -- although that one is a bit too clean).
I answered my own question on proximity effect:
Last Edited by Martin on Nov 14, 2018 9:33 AM
For those who have a hard time holding slim mics, try this. Get a "Good Cook" turkey baster, costs under $2. Punch out a round hole a bit smaller than the mic head's diameter out of the top of the baster bulb. Lightly moisten the outside of the mic shaft and slide the baster bulb up towards the head of the mic. As the baster bulb meets the larger diameter of the top of the mic, the bulb will start to curl in on itself. Keep pushing the bulb up to where you want it, it can make a nice cup of sorts, or not if that is how you want the face of the mic available [proximity]. The bulb will give a bit larger diameter to the mic and can help protect the mic should it be dropped [DON'T drop your mics, please]. The rubber of this particular brand of baster is fairly grippy as well which I feel is important to being able to make quick adjustments in the hands. If there is a hinge, like on the "Butterfield mic", maybe one could start putting the baster bulb on from the top of the mic, same if there is a volume control knob to contend with. This is a great, easily adjustable fix for wand mics and for those who have smaller hands and for those who may get cramps when trying to handle the mic. I made a post or two about this subject, I think I titled the topic as "Turkey Baster Bulb...". I put some scans of what the rig will look like on a couple of different wand mics. Try this easy fix, you really have nothing to lose. Cheers !!!
I used an ‘ultimate 545’ with ‘vintage’ element and ‘bulletiser’ a few weeks ago, plugged into a Peavey Classic 30. I must say I was rather impressed. I’m mainly a bullet-style mic user but I found this mic/amp combination very easy to use.
@SB: My primary gigging set up these days is a 545 Ultimate into a Peavey Delta Blues, which is the same amp as a Classic 30 except that the DB has a tremolo circuit (which I don’t use) and a 15” speaker instead of a 12”. I’m pretty happy with it.
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