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Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > Amplified Harp into PA with XLR Connection
Amplified Harp into PA with XLR Connection
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88 posts
Oct 08, 2021
8:24 PM
Curious to see what others may have done that worked for them. Scenario: Was invited to sit-in with band, some well-known players with history here in N. County San Diego, I did not have an amp handy so just brought harps and a few mics (Crystal, CM, CR & PE54 "Butterfield Mic") all with 1/4 adapters for my guitar cable. Low & behold the PA had no 1/4" only XLR, it was the house PA and smaller venue board.
My last band of 10 years I was always playing various Fender Tweeds (mostly Bassmans) and we had our own sound person who did all gigs so not an issue. If I wanted clean, like Chromatic for Jazz I just used a PA mic or my Sennheiser 441. My amp tech was also the one who developed Paul Delay's "Space Case" and I even was called in by Paul to test it for him since he lived 5 hours north and tech was working on it, that was a small tube pre-amp in his briefcase and then had an "out" with cable with XLR to run into whatever house PA Paul was gigging at for club gigs.
Does anyone use any type pre-amp or pedal that gives a good tone (I never tried a "Harp Commander") and has an XLR for having a portable pre-amp rig that can go into PA system and has decent tone. I am spoiled by having so many Bassmans over the years so what I go for is something that can be a "cleaner" tone like a Bassman but if you push it will overdrive. I do not care for too much distortion or that "metalic" sound that is so distorted it looses definition. I have seen various pedals but as we all know one can spend much $$$ trying rigs. This is only a rare occasion that I do not carry an amp so it would be cool to have a Hi-Z mic with some type pre-amp that could then go to PA with XLR.
Any luck? ....thanks!

Last Edited by Gabriel.Harmonic on Oct 08, 2021 8:26 PM
987 posts
Oct 08, 2021
8:37 PM
Lone Wolf Blues pedals. Harp Attack, Boogieman and I think at least one other go directly in to the PA. I have used the HA, I really liked it! Boogieman uses an XLR to PA if I remember correctly? I have not looked at them for awhile. Worth checking out.

Last Edited by Harpaholic on Oct 08, 2021 8:38 PM
John M G
443 posts
Oct 09, 2021
3:06 AM
The Harp Attack only has 1/4" jacks in and out, unlike the Boogieman which has both 1/4'" and an XLR out, though some use the Harp Attack straight into a PA but if it doesn't have a 1/4 plug input you're out of luck.
The Alpha Wolf looks like a good pedal to have if you don't want to carry around an amp it has an XLR output. They appear to be sold out at present
988 posts
Oct 09, 2021
7:33 AM
The Harp Attack I used years ago, it was not mine. It was most likely running through a DI box. That clubs PA required them, I remember that much.
290 posts
Oct 09, 2021
7:06 PM
Most PA's are going to want XLR, especially if the mixing board is along way from the stage. Just ask the sound person for a DI and plug your 1/4" into it.
276 posts
Oct 10, 2021
12:00 AM
You might check with tube amp guru, Skip Simmons (http://www.skipsimmonsamps.com)
He has made a one tube 3"x3" preamp. Charlie Musslewhite bought one on the spot at SPAH, and put it in his jacket pocket as he left for a European tour. Kim Wilson, Rick Estrin and others have them too. Good when the PA may be your amp; ΒΌ" or XLR.

674 posts
Oct 10, 2021
7:31 AM
Great question! I'm hoping you demo whatever resolution you find works best...and BnT......I'd love to hear a demo of that S.S. preamp: Thanks for sharing it's existence
2268 posts
Oct 10, 2021
9:00 AM
I still prefer an amp, but sometimes you need to plug and play through the PA without setting up an amp and getting the levels right for your sound. Fast and light set up and tear down... Most of the time I just use my Ultimate 58 to keep it simple and get a good sound. But sometimes some distortion would add to the sound, depending on the needs of the music.

Has anyone tried the Behringer GDI21 amp modeler with XLR out? It looks really interesting and costs around $35 US.

I have used the Joyo American Sound to the PA with some success, but usually cannot just plug directly into the PA console due to distance from the board. The American Sound pedal then requires a DI (or a 1/4" male to XLR male impedance matching transformer) to run a balanced cable or snake to the board. Not insurmountable, but not a simple plug and play unless it is all on a pedal board, which takes up more space.

From a guitar-focused video I see that the GDI-21 has a tweed model (one of 3 amp models). You can also set one of three gain levels prior to adjusting the drive level. You can affect EQ through the 3 built in emulated mic placement choices. It has Bass, Treble, Drive, and Level controls. It has a ground lift if you get hum. It has XLR and 1/4" out. Despite already having the Joyo American Sound and DIs I am tempted to try one.

I also have used an old Digitech Bad Monkey pedal turned OFF. I don't care for the distortion when turned on, despite repeated attempts to get a good sound. However, when I used the built in cabinet modeling output to the PA when turned OFF it does improve harp sound. It is much better than straight to the PA.

Since I already own amps, the American Sound pedal, and the Bad Monkey pedal I really don't need another pedal, but for $35 US it is really tempting to try one.

Doug S.

Last Edited by dougharps on Oct 10, 2021 9:04 AM

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