beginner forum: for novice and developing blues harp players > Bulletini or Bulletizer?
Bulletini or Bulletizer?
Login  |  Register
Page: 1

Larry Pittsburgh
4 posts
Jan 11, 2017
5:57 AM
Wanted to buy a new mic and was considering either the Bulletini or Ultimate 57 or 545 with Bulletizer.

I like the fact that both choices seem to be easier to cup than traditional bullets.

Is the Ultimate series more for "melodies" and Bulletini more for Chicago style blues?

I play mostly blues (melodies are harder for me as my tone not ready and im not smooth enough).

I suspect that the Ultimate series might be easier to cup than Bulletini?

If I go with Bulletizer, I'm thinking the Ultimate 545 may be better for blues and I read that the older elements with transformer sound quite good.

Anyone have experience/opinions? I'm bad at cupping and can use any help with tone that I can get.

Thanks!
MindTheGap
2032 posts
Jan 11, 2017
7:22 AM
Hi Larry. I've not tried a Bulletizer, because I don't have any difficulty cupping a 57-style mic. I know that some people report it's a problem being too small a diameter, and they get cramp or something. I have bought a Bulletini, and I found it much easier to cup properly than a conventional 'full-sized' bullet. I have average sized hands, but slender fingers.

I guess I'd think of the Bulletini as aimed at that Chicago sound, and the 545/57 - bulletized or not, 'ultimized' or not - is good for a variety of styles. You put also put it on a stand and play acoustic, i.e not cupped round the mic.

Before you take the plunge, if you can get hold of a normal 545/57 and try that it would be helpful for the decision. You may or may not find it comfortable, but if you cup it for a short while - then that's the sound you'll get more or less. Correct me if I'm wrong people, but I thought that Greg says the Bulletizer doesn't alter the sound - it's for ease of holding.

BTW Jason Ricci has a great video on holding/cupping with a 57-style mic. It works and doesn't require a tight hold to get the sound.

My personal and rather limited experience is that, for me and my hands, I get more 'cupping effect' with a naked 57 than any other mic style/size/shape I've tried. I mean the most variation in timbre, bass, volume, signal between open and closed cups.

All my own experiences, but I hope that helps. These things aren't cheap.

Last Edited by MindTheGap on Jan 11, 2017 7:39 AM
Killa_Hertz
2080 posts
Jan 11, 2017
9:41 AM
I think MTG hit it pretty good.

Accept the fact that the bulletiser DOES alter the sound. With the bulletiser on the mic sounds about half cupped. So with the bulletiser on, you really can't quite get the hand effects you can normally. (Normally meaning with no bulletiser)

I haven't tried the bulettini yet, but funny enough I got a good deal on one and have one on the way.

I also have a Ultimate 545 with a. Bulletiser. Im not sure weather i like the mic With ir Without the bulletiser. I suppose I like it both ways, but not sure which is best. Perhaps it depends on what your playing.

Without having played the bulettini, i would say that the 545/57 is the much more versatile mic. You can use it for Harp, Vocals, Instrument mic, etc.

I can give you my thoughts on the bulettini after i get a chance to play with it for a while.

Either way I think you should take mtgs advice and try a normal 545/57. Or you could buy a Inline VC from greg and buy quite a few nice vintage sure mics.

I like the 533 myself. Also the pyle pro pdmic 78 will give you a good idea about the 57.

What mics do you have now Larry?
MindTheGap
2034 posts
Jan 11, 2017
10:29 AM
Killa - ok that's interesting info about the bulletizer. When you get the Bulletini I'd be interested to hear what you find, specifically about the change between open and cupped. I definitely get more from the naked 57, but of course that could be down to my technique with each, not the kit.

Last Edited by MindTheGap on Jan 11, 2017 10:30 AM
Killa_Hertz
2082 posts
Jan 11, 2017
12:43 PM
I find the cupped sound is even much different when you A/B. Bulletiser and Naked.

This could be down to MY technique aswell, ...... but i think it also has a bit yo do with my cupped hands having more area around the mic than the bulletiser. Meaning the cupped cavity is much larger wuth my bare hands than it is with the bulletiser wrapped around it.

I actually have recordings of the both on my phone, so i could A/B them. They are very long though ... or i would upload them .. lol.


They both sound great, but they are different. I'm really not sure which I like more to be honest.

Again, i think it depends greatly on what your playing. If you want just raw overdriven thick sound .. bulletiser. If you want the wide dynamics of hand effects, but with a slightly thinner cupped sound ... No bulletiser.

The great thing is, you don't really have to choose. The thing comes right off. So you can have both.

Jason ricci uses his mic naked, but he also uses pedals (harp break, etc.) To fatten his mic sound.

I can't wait to get the bulettini either mtg. I wonder if it lives up to the hype. Very curious to check it out.
Fil
255 posts
Jan 11, 2017
1:24 PM
I'm no connoisseur of mic qualities, but I have both Bulletini and ultimate57 with bulletizer. I like them both, a lot, for their differences. The 57, bulletizer and all, is more versatile...pretty clean to good cupped sound. I've tried the 57 both with and without the bulletizer and don't hear any significant difference in effect. But the naked 57 is not comfortable in my hands. I hold the bulletizer pretty deep. KH, I'd like to hear your A/B. As I say, I'm not a good judge.
Bulletini, just a great mic, range of effects. You'll like it.
----------
Phil Pennington
Killa_Hertz
2083 posts
Jan 11, 2017
2:24 PM
I will try to figure out a way to edit these sound files .. so i can post a clip of each.

I was just listening to them now. And it's not a Night and Day difference. (As it is still the same element.)

The bulletiser sounds more dark, compressed, and the highs are chopped.

No Bulestiser us much more broad spectrum sounding. Has nice highs in it and is more airy. Almost as if you turned down the gain, and up on the tone knob. If that makes sense.

Now Im perfectly willing to admit that this may be due to my lack of cupping skill. I would like to think I have a good cup, but .... Who knows, lol.

I will try to post those clips somehow. The clips were from 3 months ago .. and my playing was awful .. lol. Amazing how fast you can improve.

Last Edited by Killa_Hertz on Jan 11, 2017 3:21 PM
Larry Pittsburgh
6 posts
Jan 11, 2017
4:20 PM
MindTheGap wrote: "Before you take the plunge, if you can get hold of a normal 545/57 and try that it would be helpful for the decision. You may or may not find it comfortable, but if you cup it for a short while - then that's the sound you'll get more or less."

Yea, good idea, I can always add the bulletizer later. I like the idea of the Ultimate Series from BlowsMeAway Productions

Thanks for the Jason Ricci video... man he has good tone!

How to Hold a Harmonica Microphone. Stick series

Killa_Hertz wrote: "Without having played the bulettini, i would say that the 545/57 is the much more versatile mic. You can use it for Harp, Vocals, Instrument mic, etc.

"I can give you my thoughts on the bulettini after i get a chance to play with it for a while."


I think I know where ya got that mic! Can't wait to hear what you think after you get it working.

Killa_Hertz wrote: "I find the cupped sound is even much different when you A/B. Bulletiser and Naked... They both sound great, but they are different. I'm really not sure which I like more to be honest."

"Again, i think it depends greatly on what your playing. If you want just raw overdriven thick sound .. bulletiser. If you want the wide dynamics of hand effects, but with a slightly thinner cupped sound ... No bulletiser.

"The great thing is, you don't really have to choose. The thing comes right off. So you can have both... I will try to figure out a way to edit these sound files .. so i can post a clip of each."

"I was just listening to them now. And it's not a Night and Day difference. (As it is still the same element.)"


Look forward to hearing the clips

Fil wrote: "I have both Bulletini and ultimate57 with bulletizer. I like them both, a lot, for their differences. The 57, bulletizer and all, is more versatile...pretty clean to good cupped sound."

Nice to have both... if you were buying your first, which would it be?

Thanks for the great discussion
Mirco
453 posts
Jan 11, 2017
4:22 PM
A guy could drive himself crazy worrying over all these details.

Another consideration is: what sort of amp are you playing out of? The Bulletini really shines when paired with a small amp. The Bulletini has a fat bass response.

What kind of sound are you looking for? The Ultimate series is similar to the Butterfield mic. So if that's the sound you want... The addition of the Bulletizer is, from what I understand, due to those hand cramping issues mentioned above.

What sound are you looking for? What amp will you be playing through?

Finally, these are both good mics. You can't go wrong. Don't overthink it. Impulsively buy the one that you think is cooler, right now.
----------
Marc Graci
YouTube Channel
SuperBee
4422 posts
Jan 11, 2017
4:40 PM
I have used a bulletized ultimate 545 (vintage element) a couple times. I used to have a stock 57.
Haven't tried bulletini. But I use a small shell shure and jt30 shell and a 520 fairly regularly and did gig an ev605 for a while.
I sold my 57. Actually I swapped it for a pedal, but same difference. I just didn't care for it. I preferred my 58 if I wanted that kind of sound.
That was a while ago and I am a different player now I think.
My impression of the bulletized ultimate 545 is that it's not as bad as I expected. Before I'm accused of damning it with faint praise I should add I expected it to be pretty bad. And I didn't hate it. I did wish I had my own mic, but I didn't hate it. I used a 520dx one time, and I hated that much more than the bulletized 545.
I almost failed to even dislike it. The lack of negativity almost extended to thinking about having my 58 ultimatized. Almost.
One day I may evolve to the point that I prefer that sound. But for now I'm still rather hooked on vintage crystal and even the rather cruder vintage shure magnetic elements.
I'm distressed that my small shell has cracked. I'm gonna move the element into a jt30 I have here and see how it comes up, but I love that old brownie and sad it's cracked. Let's see, there's supposed to be a point to this...
The shure brown bullet is only a couple or 3 mm smaller diameter than a green bullet and it's amazing to me that small difference is so tangible. I think there is something of a 'goldilocks zone' with mic diameter, for me at least. The ev605 is considerably smaller than the shure bullets and the jt30s, but I don't find it easier to handle. Maybe the shape? It's fat at the rear and then straight or maybe even slightly tapered to the front.
I do prefer a stick mic to have a ball like the 58 or vintage 585.
AnywAy, like everything, mics are important and it's good to feel happy and satisfied with your mic but these purchases ultimately require a leap of faith and then you are stuck with it and learn to live with the consequences. I like how Ricci described his reasons for using a 57 and how that decision has 'effected' his choices of things between his mic and his amp.
there is so much can be said about microphones but one thing to consider about gear is that things are interactive.
If you get an ultimate mic, you may or may not like it but it will likely be handy anywY and they are rather easily sold on without too much of a loss. Probably ditto for the bulletini.
Fil
256 posts
Jan 11, 2017
6:16 PM
Larry, the 57. Although, just to throw a curve, there are times I've thought maybe the ultimate58 should have been first. I play acoustic with a guitar playing friend and with a small group up in the North Country. The 58 might suit that better I think, although the difference is probably marginal. No doubts at all about the Bulletini.
I hate chasing perfection with my hard earned money. I've got two great mics that do a solid job. My playing has a long ways to go before I've gotten beyond what they can do for me.
----------
Phil Pennington

Last Edited by Fil on Jan 11, 2017 6:17 PM
Killa_Hertz
2084 posts
Jan 12, 2017
5:13 AM
Larry, Mirco brings up a great point. Mics react differently depending on the amp you use them with. Personally I choose which mic(s) I am going to use, based on what amp im playing through. Some mics I have that work Amazing with one amp, are just so so with another.

Please tell us what Mics you currently have and What amps you have aswell.

Personally I would suggest you go a different route. I would have never bought a Ultimate or a Bulletini at anywhere near full price. I just so happened to get great deals on both.

I would suggest you go the vintage mic route. For the price of a BMA mic you could easily get 4 or 5 Vitage mics and have a slew of sounds to work with.

Add one of gregs inline VCs and your cooking with gas.

The more variety of mics you have, the more you will be able to dial in what sounds your after. Because I get the impression that your not exactly shure (pun intended) what sound you like. If you have never used a sm57 ... getting an ultimised version is a BIG leap of faith.

I would search for
SM57 / 545
533
EV 627c
Sonotone CM11
JT30 with decent element (CM)

Maybe a 585 or an EV605

you could get this whole list of mics PLUS a Inline VC from greg AND the HiZ Xfmr for the 57 and 627c .... All for the price of the Ultimate. (If you shop wisely.) This will give you a very wide range of sounds to play with and you'll be alot happier (IMO) than you would , throwing all your eggs in one basket.

Please tell us what mics and Amps you currently have.
Aswell as any mics you made have tried before .. and your thoughts on them. This will make it easier to suggest a mic. I do think you should try a few before going all out on a BMA. Just my 2 cents though.


Bee I also Loved that Ricci video. It made alot of sense when he described the way he dials in his mic.
MindTheGap
2035 posts
Jan 12, 2017
7:33 AM
Poor Larry thought he had it all worked out, and now look :)

Ok, since the lid is off the box: why not buy a Pyle Pro PDMIC 78, a XLR lead, an IMT, and you're set?

My experiments with harp mics are at end. I've decided that all I'll ever want is a Shure 585SA (or the Tandy/Realistic equivalent). Just I can't find one for £5 :)
Killa_Hertz
2085 posts
Jan 12, 2017
8:03 AM
MTg I love playing with harp mics. Im not really searching for the "holy grail" or anything. I just like hearing the sound differences and seeing how each one works with each rig (amp, pedals, ect.)

That's also why I dont spend a ton of money on mics. I have all the mics I will ever NEED. But necessity isnt really the name of the game, is it?

Personally (for a stick mic) I dont think it gets much better than the Shure 533. Atleast not for Chicago Blues. It's very similar to the 585, but it's MUCH heavier on the bottom end. And has a much better response to cupping. The ball is also smaller and the bottom half is solid, both of which I prefer over the 585 style.

Im looking to start playing with more EV mics. I got a EV627C a while back and I just love that mic. Its rather clean and Low Z, but I use it with a Hi Z inline xfmr. It's similar in class to a sm57 perhaps, but it just has a VERY different sound than the Shure mics. Which is refreshing. The 627c is supposed to be very close in sound to an RE10. I cant verify this as I do not have an RE10, but the RE10 is very expensive and the 627C can be had for under $20 if you keep your eyes peeled.

Because of my love for the sound of this mic, I decided to try some more of the EV mics. So I've been on the lookout for decent priced EVs.

Anyhow, MTG I recommended the Pyle in one of my above posts. We have talked about it many times. And Bang for the buck, I think this mic will give most other mics in the higher $$ class a run for their money. It's a great lil harp mic. I think everyone should own one. Especially for around $10 ... I mean what more can you ask for??

Im thinking that if I like the bulletini, I will take out the element and Put it into a different shell. Perhaps one of gregs custom wood shells.

Then I want to take the Bulletini shell and fit a Sonotone CM11A Ceramic Element into it. I think this would make a ROCKIN lil harp mic. I love that Sonotone. It's another Fantastic Mic for the Price. I have a few of them. They are all in mint condition and I never paid over $15 for one. Can't beat that. The only problem with the sonotone and the Akai mics is that they come with an attached cable. I would love it if I could use my BMA inline VC on them.

Anyways. Larry as you see there are plenty of cheap mic options that sound great. I would suggest playing around with different sounds before commiting to a $200+ mic.

My 2 Cents.

( Still curious about what mics and Amps your using Larry)
Larry Pittsburgh
7 posts
Jan 12, 2017
11:02 AM
Killa_Hertz wrote: "Please tell us what Mics you currently have and What amps you have as well.

Just bought an almost new Fender Champ XD, 15 watt and ordered a Weber speaker, 10F150-O (smooth cone), 30 watt, "H" dust cover and "lightly doped" (the speaker, not me, usually). The amp has some nice features (e.g. 16 voices, and some program-ability).

I'll wait to see if I need to upgrade the tubes (some say this doesn't make a noticeable difference - Tung Sol 6V6Gt's & Tung Sol 12AX7 might be nice) and maybe adjust the bias (Fender does it a bit cold I think) if needed.

I think it will serve well as a practice/fool-around amp and it should enable me to start playing with other musicians.

I returned my Shaker Dynamic mic as it felt uncomfortable and it didn't sound as nice as I thought it would. No doubt, much of the sound deficiency is probably due to my poor playing and my little Pignose 20 but I felt uncomfortable with it. I'm sure Shaker makes a nice product as far as sound quality so I don't mean to criticize their stuff.

My tone is getting a little better and I want to start amping up. I like Chicago style blues best but want to try electric blues melodies (ala Christelle Berthon)



Love this kinda stuff...

Larry Pittsburgh
8 posts
Jan 12, 2017
11:12 AM
The links didn't work... let me try again... sounds I like...

Electrified Blues in G - Christelle Berthon

Slow Harmonica Blues in Black & Blue
Tuckster
1544 posts
Jan 12, 2017
12:01 PM
Larry- I live in the Pittsburgh(Pa.) area. I have an Ultimate 57 you could try. Do you go to any open stages? That would be a good place to try it.
Killa_Hertz
2088 posts
Jan 12, 2017
6:55 PM
Nice Larry. First off, if you upgrade tubes .... consider NOS vintage tubes.

Mics ....

This is precisely why I suggested multiple mics. Notice Christelle is using an Audix fireball. A very clean mic. An SM57/Sm58 would do very well here aswell.

Hakan us using a Green Bullet. I would go with a jt30 with CRorCM or a Shure 533.

There are MANY mics out there that are very cheap (if your patient). And if you're looking to do multiple tips of music, multiple mics only makes sense, no?

For example ... These are the Sonotones i have been talking about. You can find these for around $10.


Heres a Shure 533. You can find these for around $30 - $40. These are one of my favorites.



Heres a 545.



Heres another one if my favorites. EV627c, it's a pretty clean mic and has that nice EV sound. But it still breaks up very nice.



And ofcourse if you want Straight DIRT! A JT30 with a nice hot element is just the bomb.




Seriously you could have ALL of these mics AND a inline VC for the price of either one of the mics in question. No BS. Just something to think about.
MindTheGap
2036 posts
Jan 12, 2017
11:24 PM
Killa - that's a great survey of mic types, nice one. Unfortunately in the UK they don't seem to be as available or as cheap. On ebay I keep seeing things coming up, nearly always in the US.

Larry. Interesting choice of examples. Neither of those are the classic 'Chicago' sound that many people are looking for. Those two are more electronic/processed.
Killa_Hertz
2091 posts
Jan 13, 2017
4:41 AM
There are Tons of great harp mics out there. Those are just some of my favorites. Check out GoldenBug youtube channel. If it's decent for harp Ron Sunshine has demoed it.

Mtg .... good point about neither one of those examples being "chicago" sound. I kinda glazed over that. Either way, if I had to pick just one mic to get a variety of sounds out of, the 57 or 545 would be it. Definatly. Althought for true chicago sound it does take some shaping ... either with pedals or a nice tube amp cranked. So it's not as instantly satisfying as something a little dirtier. But it surely can do alot, if you know how.

Larry look for one of those little Sonotones. They are killer and you should be able to find one over there.

Mtg i didn't think about availability. That stinks. I have a friend over there that has a shipping service that he seems ask his stuff through. Its pretty cheap, but still isnt free.

Well either way I hope ive given you something to think about larry. Isee alot of newer players just assuming they need a bulletini and a memphis mini. And truthfully, if your tone is not there yet, your going to be disappointed if you think your going to sound good through ANY gear. I think we all went through it. I know i sure did. I took my first amp right back to the store after about a week because I thought i would instantly sound like little walter just because i had the gear.

Just trying to make your bubble bursting not as expensive as some of ours was .... lol.

Hang onto that amp you ve got though. I don't know a ton about it, but It seems like a darn decent one to learn on. A real tube amp With onboard effects and whatnot. You should be able to get a real nice tone out of it eventually. Should save you some money on trying a ton of pedals too. Will help you get the effects bug out ..... lol

Btw .. im perfectly willing to ship anything out to you. If shipping is cheap enough for that to be an option. Im not sure what it costs to have something shipped from the states, but ..... just putting it out there.

Last Edited by Killa_Hertz on Jan 13, 2017 4:49 AM
Larry Pittsburgh
9 posts
Jan 13, 2017
5:37 AM
Tuckster, thanks for the offer, I'll pass as I think I'm simply going to buy something. Looks like I will need more than 1 mic and it will be fun experimenting.

I live in Wexford BTW, North of the 'burg. If ya don't mind I'll take a rain check and take you up later on something important.

Killa_Hertz, great stuff, I think I'm moving horizontal (more than one mic, at reasonable price) before going vertical (expensive Cadillac harp).

Enjoyed the videos, many good sounds.

Here's an interesting trick...



MindTheGap... that Sonotone CM10A kills it.

MindTheGap wrote: "I see alot of newer players just assuming they need a bulletini and a memphis mini. And truthfully, if your tone is not there yet, your going to be disappointed if you think your going to sound good through ANY gear."

I hear ya, words of wisdom for sure. Plus there is the pedal thing, amp effects, etc., that enter into it. I need to be patient and to enjoy the experimenting without wasting too much money.
Tuckster
1546 posts
Jan 13, 2017
6:20 AM
Larry-no problem.Killa Hertz makes some excellent points.It's part of the journey to have some gear lust,but you don't need to spend a bunch of money.I'm a fan of the Shure 585 mic. You can still find them cheap.
2chops
560 posts
Jan 13, 2017
7:37 AM
Late to the game on this. My main mic is a stock SM57. If I had the money I would've got the Ultimate version. But...

I used the 57 for about a year and had no real issues as far as cupping/holding goes. but my hands would cramp up after about 45 minutes. Then I saw Haakan's vid above and made a similar Bulletizer type thing with a section of clear vinyl drain hose. Cost about $3 at Lowes. Worked pretty good. Made a noticeable difference in the sound. Even with a loose cup. Had to do with the vents below the grill being covered I think. Then I bought a Bulletizer from Greg about 2 years ago. Money well spent. The 57 is not only easier to hold, but you can get more variety with your sound. The Bulletizer acts as sort of a sound chamber, so you can get a more bassy tone with a tight cup. AND you can still put the mic in a stand and play acoustic. If you hold it with a loose cup you can still get a nice clean sound. And as has been mentioned earlier, you can remove it if you wish.

Gear wise, I don't have a tube amp. My needs are simple. I play into my Micro cube and run a line out into the board. This way I can control my effects and volume on stage as needed. So the cube acts a sort of pedal/premixer.
----------

I'm workin on it. I'm workin on it.
MindTheGap
2037 posts
Jan 13, 2017
8:26 AM
Larry, nice of you to ascribe those comments to me, but it's all Killa's work :)

Re Hakan's 57 mod - yuch! Unless you like the smell of a bicycle inner tube! Some people do. It does change the sound some, but not sure it's better, just different.

The only thing I don't like about the 57 is that it doesn't have the character of tone that some mics impart, like the Akai DM-13. A sort of mouthy tone. You can actually emulate that with a parametric EQ filter, but it's extra kit.

Killa I'm surprised you didn't mention the DM-13 in your round up.

Last Edited by MindTheGap on Jan 13, 2017 8:29 AM
Killa_Hertz
2092 posts
Jan 13, 2017
9:51 AM
2chops ... that pretty close to my experience with the bulletiser. You definitely hey a more bassy tone with it on.

Mtg ... i did leave out the DM13, but its because i just wanted to give one mic from each class. And i have come to like the sonotone cm11a more than the Akai. So i chose that one. I still like the dm13, but there's something about that sonotone sound. It really sounds amazing, given the cost of these mics. I really want to put a sonotone element in a bullet. Plus the sonotone is VERY responsive to cupping. If you break your cup at all while playing, you get a whole different sound. It's really a great mic.

I have a 1/2 dozen DM13s if anyone wants one. I am willing to sell one or two. I keep one in my car with a small battery powered amp. .. lol.

I could go on and on about cheap mics that sound good for harp. There are so many. But those above are my top picks so far.

Another good one is the Aiwa DM10. It sounds very similar to the DM13, but brighter. So maybe you could say its inbetween a dm13 and an sm57. But it breaks up more than the 57.

Personally I think everyone should have a couple cheapo mics. I think it teaches you alot by letting you hear the different sounds you can get. And also if you happen to have more than one amp, you can see how each mic acts different in each amp. Plus it's just fun. 8^)
SuperBee
4425 posts
Jan 13, 2017
1:45 PM
I bought my 2nd mic from Ron; after watching lots of his demo/ads.
thats my EV605, fitted with CM (99B86). Super hot element with a huge bottom end response.
Who knows, it probably shaped my approach more than I realised. I'm very busy with holes 1,2,3
I don't use that mic anymore but I'm thinking maybe I'll break it out again tomorrow and play a set with it.
I'd plugged a sm58 into a 30w tube amp and been frustrated that I couldn't get any sound such as I'd expected. This mic was so much closer, I was convinced I'd found the key. And in a way, I still think that. But of course it's just one part of the puzzle and in fact I found it's kind of a trap. That type of mic does one thing really well, but actually prevents you from doing some other things.
Which is why I'm enjoying this crystal (mc151 element in jt30 style shell) more at the moment. Last gig there was a bit of mic testing through my rig by a couple of players, and the consensus was I favour of the crystals over the magnetic mics. I think there were 2 mc151 mics, a black CR in a 520 shell, and an ultimate 545. Of course, opinions are free and you get what you pay for, but one of those players was much more accomplished than me and I agreed with his findings. He spent 4 or 5 songs jamming on the mics and adjusting amp settings so was really a pretty good test.
In simple terms, the crystals were more versatile. they don't lock in a one dimensional sound.
But, they're expensive and fragile.
And that's pretty much what Ricci was saying in his video. With his 57 and pedals he has a robust replaceable system which provides versatility, albeit one which takes a more abstract mental approach to deliver.
Maybe today I'll move my best CR into my best JT30 shell. I'm worried it won't sound the same as it did in the Small-shell shure. But maybe it'll sound great. I had better have a go.
MindTheGap
2040 posts
Jan 14, 2017
12:45 AM
It's useful at this point to deploy one of my favourite rants: that using different mics and amps anyone can easily get a wide range genuinely different sounds. Killa seems to have to the right idea about it - it's a lot of fun.

In contrast, despite everyone's attempts, all those different harp makes/models, different comb and reed materials, different covers, however different they feel to play, they sound about the same!
Larry Pittsburgh
10 posts
Jan 14, 2017
9:38 AM
Tuckster, the sm585 looks a bit big for me for now, but evidently great tone and can be used for acoustic stuff and singing (I dont sing in polite consideration of anyone within ears-shot).

2chops wrote: "...bought a Bulletizer from Greg about 2 years ago. Money well spent. The 57 is not only easier to hold, but you can get more variety with your sound. The Bulletizer acts as sort of a sound chamber, so you can get a more bassy tone with a tight cup. AND you can still put the mic in a stand and play acoustic. If you hold it with a loose cup you can still get a nice clean sound. And as has been mentioned earlier, you can remove it if you wish."

Good to hear that the bulletizer makes a nice difference, also like the idea that it can easily be added later.

Killa_Hertz wrote: "Killa I'm surprised you didn't mention the DM-13 in your round up."

That one sounds really sweet on youtube and its less $ on ebay than like the sm545. I noticed in description, its listed as harp mic: "Vintage Akai DM-13 Hi-Z blues harp mic microphone in original box WORKS and was TESTED."

Maybe the sm545 has wider appeal, thus more $?

Killer_Hertz wrote: "I have a 1/2 dozen DM13s if anyone wants one. I am willing to sell one or two. I keep one in my car with a small battery powered amp. .. lol."

I don't want to dip into your stash, but if you have a good one available, I'd sure be interested, feel free to email me at LL-3@hotmail.com

SuperBee; I've heard it can be difficult to find a good crystal element - is this true?

There's a used Bulletini available and might take the plunge on that, which could give me both bullet and stick to play with.
Fil
258 posts
Jan 14, 2017
9:59 AM
Larry, here's a link to Greg Heumann's article, "All about harmonica microphones… And then some". There's some marketing in it, but I don't think that should be a disqualifier. You may already have a grasp of this stuff, but I'd say it's a good overview. FWIW....
http://blowsmeaway.com/all%20about%20harmonica%20microphones.pdf
----------
Phil Pennington

Last Edited by Fil on Jan 14, 2017 10:00 AM
Killa_Hertz
2095 posts
Jan 14, 2017
11:23 AM
Larry I have no problem selling you one. And Ill sell you one far cheaper than those ones on ebay. Plus you ll know it works great for harp. With ebay you always take the risk of it either not working or not working well. Ill email you.


Well the bulettini came in this morning. And my initial thoughts are HOLY SHIT. This little thing is great. I have A/B ed it with quite a few other mics ... my JT30 w/ CR, Ultimate 545, Shure 533, and even the sonotone. Its a bit too early to make any full on decisions about which i like best, but heres my initial thoughts.

It has a great tone, obviously. Has a very good bass response. If i had to describe the sound i would say its a mix of the CR and the 545 with better low end. However I think the CR and 545 have better Crispyness or a better high end.

While the sound is great, what im really impressed with is the total package. Its very small, its feedback is barely exsistant compared to my other mics, the VC turns all the way around and has a detent for "off"( so basically from 100% volume you can turn "up" a tad more and it turns off. Then "up" a tad more and your at 10%. So you can go from solo volume to comp volume with a smaller turn. Also you can go from 100% to off without having to turn all the way down. This is a VERY nice feature. Especially when turning your mic back on before playing. I have seen numerous harp players forget to turn their harp mic back on after singing and they mess up their solo because they have to wind the vc all the way up ... if it were just a small turn away, it would make this much less of an interuption. Althought i wonder about accidentally turning it off while playing. ) Oh and i also like the fact that i can play it Fully cupped with one hand. That's pretty nice too.

Having said all this ... I still like variety. And I think, I still would recommend having multiple mics over buying something like this.

Plus, if you start out with a bulettini, where are you gonna go from there? Lol.
MindTheGap
2043 posts
Jan 14, 2017
11:57 AM
Killa - I agree, the special thing for me about the Bulletini is the great, practical package. I can tell you for use in a band it's great for those reasons.

It has a very strong bass response, and people love that. And it drives an amp very strongly, which is generally a 'good thing' so you can get a wide range of clean-to-distorted sounds from pretty much anything.

I have to say that for pure, idiosyncratic reasons, I prefer the sound of DM-13. More 'nasal'. But it's purely subjective. I can't wait to get my 533 or 585 when one comes up on ebay.uk in say 5 or 6 years time :)

Last Edited by MindTheGap on Jan 14, 2017 12:00 PM
Killa_Hertz
2097 posts
Jan 14, 2017
4:47 PM
I too like the DM13. Infact I haven't played mine for a while. Mostly because of the attached chord. I really want to mod a dm13 to make my own ultimate version. With VC and a 1/4" female. But i took one apart before and it never worked again ... lol. So im a little hesitant to try it again.

Re 585 533

Personally i prefer the 533 over the 588. Either way, they come up for sale gere write often. I can keep my eyes peeled and I'm more than happy to mail one too you. No big deal. Im actually on the lookout for a second 533 anyways, because i like the one i have so much.
SuperBee
4426 posts
Jan 15, 2017
1:38 AM
I didn't get around to swapping out that element from my brown bullet, but I did play 2 sets today with my EV605/shure CM 99B86.
Apart from being unfamiliar to hold from not using it for several years, I found it is actually a very good microphone

And I found this video which features my actual microphone.



I have no idea how much something like this would sell for these days.
Killa_Hertz
2099 posts
Jan 15, 2017
7:54 AM
Nice video Bee. That mic sounds incredible.

Wow this post is getting long.

What's your opinion Bee?

If you could own one great harp mic, the best and only mic you would ever need. OR two or three really good ones. Sick would you choose?

Personally I like options, I like to switch around and experiment. See which favors remain constant (MY Tone) and which things change from mic to mic (Their Tone). Plus just like changing tubes around in your tube amp, its fun to experiment with different tones until your find your own groove.
SuperBee
4427 posts
Jan 15, 2017
5:44 PM
I'm in a funny spot I guess. In a geographic sense as well as experience.
Anyway, when I got that ev605 in the video I was like 'this is the sound', and all the stuff I tried (including the 57) seemed to confirm that. Then I tried this brown bullet and that was 'the sound' too, only moreso, so that was my mic and I stopped looking. Until I saw a guy selling a NIB NOS Astatic MC151 and decided to give the crystal element a try.
It took a while but 'I get it' about crystals now. Even so, I don't think it's a practical road to follow.

I really haven't tried a lot of those other mics. Generally I haven't been impressed with many 'alternative' mics I've heard demonstrated and I'm shy of flimsy leads and such.

I didn't like the 57 when I had one. I actually preferred the 58, so I expect I'd be happier with a 585, 533 kind of thing just from a handling angle.
But I feel I understand why the 57 is very successful and if I persisted with one I'm sure I'd grow to appreciate it.
As it is though I'm happy with my bullets and really more interested in the musical aspects of what I'm playing than the character imparted by the mic. To an extent; if I didn't like the sound I was getting or the thing was too finicky I'm sure I'd be all over the question of the mic.
But really, I've just not had so much experience of mics. Found something I liked fairly early, stayed with it until I found something I liked better.

The drag of this is illustrated though by the fact that my fallback mic has become unreliable and I'm a bit disturbed by that. If it was a 57 etc, thiscwould not be a problem. As it is, I simply have to repair this mic and that's a pest. In the meantime I'm using others and they just aren't quite the same.
Larry Pittsburgh
11 posts
Jan 15, 2017
6:38 PM
This thread got really interesting - though to be sure, I didn't add anything but a few questions. You guys are damned smart, I learned a lot.

One thing that caught my attention is that the mic is only one link in the amped chain.

Wanted to share my first look as to what might be the most important links in delivering a good amped sound.

1- Musician, tones and rhythm
2- Harmonica & key (might be a personal comfort thing)
3- Mic (good ones may be had at low $)
4- Amp (most expensive link?)
5- Pedals, EQs and other sound effects

You think this is close; what's missing?

Larry
MindTheGap
2045 posts
Jan 15, 2017
11:09 PM
That's a good list, it's good to think of the hands-harp-mic-amp system as a single instrument. Problem for me is that it always seems like trial and error and surprise. "This or that is a great mic that responds to cupping", "This mic is good with this amp" - why? None of these mics where designed with harp-cupping in mind, it's just another happy accident.

The signal levels you get out of a cupped mic are way off-spec in terms of either normal mic outputs or the inputs levels that guitar amps were designed for. Hence all the tweaking that may or may not be necessary.

Of your list, I'd say the make/model of harp is one of the least import things to the sound, although as you mention, it might be important for comfort. But it's worth saying that people do make something of the either closed or open covers - I mean the 'side vents' at either end. If you are trying to make a complete closed cup then that can make a difference. Witness the Hohner Rocket Amp harp which is aimed at that idea.

However watch out, there's a difference between what's said and what's done. People do talk about a 'complete seal' to get the best amped tone (or perhaps the wideset variation between close and open, not sure). And you can watch convincing demos of that on YT - large hands completely enfolding the whole assembly.

But then some of the people with the 'best cupped tone' can be seen in performance with the top of harp clearly sticking out the hands. Which means that it they can't be using a complete seal. Just one example from Kim Wilson. If you can get a sound like that then you don't need to worry about side vents. In this vid he obligingly demonstrates the difference between open/closed cup tone :)

So keep a pinch of salt handy when you get advice about all that.

I think it's likely that size and shape of your hands and fingers are likely to affect the amped sound. But that's a difficult one to experiment with. Try this though - put on a pair of leather gloves and compare that with playing without!!!

Last Edited by MindTheGap on Jan 15, 2017 11:29 PM
Killa_Hertz
2101 posts
Jan 16, 2017
5:30 AM
Thats a pretty good list. I think experimenting with decent gear is more important than having the Best gear. Atleast at the beginning. So instead of buying the best pedals, etc. I would suggest a multieffects unit like the
Digitech RP unit. That way you can experiment with tons of different effects and see what you like and what you dont like.

Same thing goes for mics, amps, and harps. Go for variety. Buy 1 or 2 models of each top model before buying a whole set. I still have yet to buy a whole set at one time. I switched around quite a bit, but i think I'm finally settled on seydel harps. But don't quote me on that ... lol.

The MOST important thing in my opinion is Acoustic Tone. Thats a rabit hole Well worth going down. I found that when my acoustic tone got better, everything unlocked for me. Now i can play a crapoy mic through a clean solid state amp and it still sounds decent.

Also I have found that im getting more comfortable playing simpler licks. Because before I was always trying to play as flash as possible, kindof a way to make my playing seem better. But wuth a good acoustic tone ... one solid held now can sound great.

I still play pretty flash, but im working on trying to even that out. After a few comments from certain folks (mtg included) ive noticed that the pros have a good balance.

But either way .... chase that acoustic tone .. i promise you its worth striving for. All
ME.HarpDoc
220 posts
Jan 16, 2017
6:01 AM
Oh, oh, MTG! Now you've done it. People are going to ask what kind of gloves to wear :-) lined/unlined? pigskin/lamb skin? brown/black? Does it work with only one glove?
Hmm, I'm sure other questions will arise. Let's hope this stays buried in this thread. Shhh!

All kidding aside, this has been a great thread.
Fil
260 posts
Jan 16, 2017
7:10 AM
Agree. It's a good list. IMHO, avoid obsession with all but #1. You'll be better equipped to make good judgements and choices about 2-5.
----------
Phil Pennington
Killa_Hertz
2103 posts
Jan 16, 2017
10:19 AM
Thats a good one Fil.

Althought, i would say dont get TOO obsessed. A little bit of obsession is ok, i think. It keeps things moving. And i think we are all guilty of Being a bit Obsessed ... 8^)

But the big thing to concentrate on is your chops on the harp. Dont be one of those guys that thinks buying better gear is going to make you sound better ... it won't. The amp, pedals, mics. Etc. Will just amplify your suckyness ... lol.

As soon as you can get good tone and execution on the harp, that's when everything unlocks. Just have fun with the other stuff.

Also i would highly recommend ( when the time is right) learning about tweaking your harps. This is another thing that can get dangerously obsessive, but its very important imo. If you can just learn how to do a simple setup, that's really all you need. But imo it will greatly improve your playing. Because you can focus more on correcting YOUR shortcomings. Instead of trying to overcome the harps shortcomings. Also it will help you better understand the harp and how it functions.

Anyways, it all comes in time, but if you listen and learn from the right folks
.. you can progress pretty rapidly.

This forum is a great place for that. Beware of Facebook .... lots of bad advice on there. Lots of good advice too, but it can be hard to wade through the BS to find it.

Atleast here there are checks and balances. You get multiple opinions and you know who they are coming from.
MindTheGap
2047 posts
Jan 17, 2017
2:35 AM
I very much like Killa's prescription on this subject.

I think I made a mistake trying to recreate amped sounds I heard on records and demos. I had some success but ultimately it's a bit frustrating. Instead I think it's about enjoying the features and differences in the combinations of kit - take it as it comes.

And mostly it's about what you play through it.
Killa_Hertz
2104 posts
Jan 17, 2017
9:56 AM
Thanks MTG.

Yea, at first it was frustrating for me too. I couldn't figure out how they were sounding so good on the albumns. But i think there's alot to learn there too.

Im constantly moving to different artists and trying to imitate what they do. Even though perfect recreation of their sound is near godlike ... and practically impossible. ... i think you still learn a ton on the journey. Aslong as your still having fun with it. Get what you can from it now and revisit it later when your skills have advanced. I find that from month to month I can revisit a certain song or lesson and get something new from it. Something that i perhaps didn't hear before. Either because my skills/ear wasnt there yet,so i glazed over it, .. or whatever it may be ..... i often do this. Or even a song/artist i wasnt crazy about before, but all of a sudden I hear them differently and now i get it.

And it helps create your own sound, by stealing techniques and licks from here and there ... and making them your own, until you have your own cocktail.

No one artist do I find perfectly fits my style. ... so i just try to steal the bits i like and make it my own.
Killa_Hertz
2105 posts
Jan 17, 2017
9:56 AM
Thanks MTG.

Yea, at first it was frustrating for me too. I couldn't figure out how they were sounding so good on the albumns. But i think there's alot to learn there too.

Im constantly moving to different artists and trying to imitate what they do. Even though perfect recreation of their sound is near godlike ... and practically impossible. ... i think you still learn a ton on the journey. Aslong as your still having fun with it. Get what you can from it now and revisit it later when your skills have advanced. I find that from month to month I can revisit a certain song or lesson and get something new from it. Something that i perhaps didn't hear before. Either because my skills/ear wasnt there yet,so i glazed over it, .. or whatever it may be ..... i often do this. Or even a song/artist i wasnt crazy about before, but all of a sudden I hear them differently and now i get it.

And it helps create your own sound, by stealing techniques and licks from here and there ... and making them your own, until you have your own cocktail.

No one artist do I find perfectly fits my style. ... so i just try to steal the bits i like and make it my own.


Post a Message
Guest Name

Message

(8192 Characters Left)



Please enter the code shown above and click the 'Post Message' button. This additional step is required to help protect against message spam.


 

blues harmonica riffs - harmonica tabs - learn harmonica - play harmonica

play harmonica easily - harp tabs for beginners - blues harmonica lessons

 

ADAM GUSSOW is an official endorser for HOHNER HARMONICAS