Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > Ambient Harp Conflicting with Amplified Harp?
Ambient Harp Conflicting with Amplified Harp?
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1716 posts
Dec 31, 2019
5:42 AM
When we play over a mic we get a significant sound directly to our ears and through our bodies that is always present. Since I started using wireless and regularly listening out front I've noticed that other people's comments about my mix aren't always what I hear. It's obvious to me now that my ambient sound conflicts with getting a representative mix. This is true on stage be it by monitor or amp. Does it matter? Maybe not much but it does say that we have a significant impediment to hearing our actual sound.
To address it? I could put on headphones to soundcheck, record briefly or trust someone who knows what their listening to. ?

Last Edited by Littoral on Dec 31, 2019 5:44 AM
3103 posts
Dec 31, 2019
5:58 AM
The sound dynamics in a given room will be different in different spots ie front, middle, back, sides. When possible a sound check in various spots by someone with decent ears is a good idea. For my part when using sound gear I always ask the audience if it's good after the first song.
There are so many variables! Especially with a full band, as the band warms up and the crowd gets a bit more animated and louder, and of course the human body absorbs sound waves so if there's a crowd that can be another factor.
Very good point, what I hear at the harp and what "they" hear 15 or 50 feet away, it's a very different animal. I heck as best I can and we go forward. Most times the result is pleasing at most points in a room.
Music and travel destroy prejudice.



1717 posts
Dec 31, 2019
7:09 AM
jbone ... we never hear the sound without it being significantly influenced by the ambient and resonance sound in our immediate space. We can't get away from it regardless of all of the other variables. I appreciate your reply but I'm not talking about any of that.
Other instruments that deal with it? Horns, drums, violin, accordion.

Last Edited by Littoral on Dec 31, 2019 7:10 AM
310 posts
Jan 06, 2020
4:12 AM
What is the question again ? Is it that your harp doesn't sound to you, like you think it should when it mixes with the bands sound system ?
And asking if that is unique to a wireless set up ?

Last Edited by Spderyak on Jan 06, 2020 4:15 AM
1719 posts
Jan 07, 2020
8:38 AM
Yeah, it seems like the question shouldn't be so confusing. I'll try again.
I think playing the harp gets in the way of accurately hearing the mix. I can't separate what I hear directly from what's coming over the PA or an amp. What we hear is a lot different than what the audience hears. It never mattered to me until I started paying more attention playing out front with wireless.
3629 posts
Jan 07, 2020
8:58 AM
@Littoral -- Most harp players, ESPECIALLY if the only thing they do is troll open jams, too often think the sound they hear is the same as what the audience hears and I learned how that's often NEVER the case many years ago and if you use a wireless or an extremely long mic cable, I saw this many times over the years and as an example, there were times I felt drowned out on the bandstand and then when I walked into the crowd, I got quite the shock hearing that I was the one who was too loud by a freaking mile. Ambient really isn't a good description of what's happening because what it entials is acoustics, plain and simple and room acoustics and stage acoustics are often very different. Even amps sound different from one room to another, one venue to another, one stage to another and there are all sorts of factors, from stage layout, height, carpeting, ceiling height, and a helluva lot more, Jbone's answer is a lot closer to the truth and you just don't waste your time bitching and moaning about and just go on and deal with it, plain and simple. Hell, even stage monitors are going to be affected by acoustics as well and there is no bit of gear that can erase that fromm the equation.
Barbeque Bob Maglinte
Boston, MA
CD available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/bbmaglinte
The Iceman
3995 posts
Jan 07, 2020
10:28 AM
If you are in a position to control that stage sound (it's your band, your jam, your PA, etc), I recommend the BOSE philosophy that what you hear on stage should be the exact same mix as the audience hears. That way, competent musicians on stage can self determine the overall balance.

Bose makes systems that set up behind the band and project out into the room, combining mains and monitors into one easy to understand concept.

When I had a working top-40 band (back in the day), I designed a custom PA situation in which the exact same mix was pushed through the monitors as was going out the mains. This works much better than that crappy philosophy that seems to be pervasive in which every member of the band wants a different monitor mix blowing back up at them.
The Iceman
1720 posts
Jan 07, 2020
12:50 PM
Yes, good points all around. Me even asking the question makes me sound like I don't know much about what I'm doing but I promise, I do. Point is, what we get directly from the harp to our ears can't be separated from the mix. It doesn't matter much until you're really particular with frequencies and optimizing sound. We play low volume and work hard to get high fidelity. There's nothing like being in tune, solid tone, in time and deliver it with good gear. Make live music sound like a really good stereo.

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