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I brought a box of elements over to my brother's house and Carlos Colina was kind enough to try out each of the mics while I recorded him.

The amp we used was a Fender SF Princeton Reverb from around 1970. The knobs were set to Volume=3-4, Treble=3, Bass=8, Reverb=2.

The amp has that natural Glassy sound from using high voltage on 12AX7 tubes. Most harp players would want a Bass amp with less treble and more bottom end, rather than turning down the treble knob.

Carlos started out trying to be Paul Butterfield and he as a great tone. He has been doing a few Paul Delay covers in his band, the last couple of years. These cuts show both Pauls' influence.

We tested these mics:

Shure UniSphere I PE-56:
Use this mic as base point for comparison. Both Carlos and I thought that this mic injected the least character into the sound. This is just a good mic, cupped well with a loud harp.

T-3 with a very old Shure Controlled Reluctance element. In sharp contrast, this was the mic that broke up the most when overdriven.

Vocal Replacement Element in a Harley Shell. This was the surprise of the evening. I hooked up a dynamic replacement element with a impedance transformer and got a great sound. Lots of bass and some good breakup.

Classic JT-30 with a NOS MC-151. This is what you expect when you play harp. A responsive mic with lots of definition and the ability to control the overdrive.

Candy Apple Red JT-30 with VC and NOS MC-151. Cool looking and cool sounding. Very typical MC-151.

T-3 with NOS MC-127. This batch of 127s seemed to be cooler and more natural than others that I have had.

Harley Mic with an old MC-101. This mic was not real loud, and we had to turn the volume up to 6. The MC-101 is old and very smooth. It had a nice bass response and good control.

Teisco Mic with a NOS Shure Controlled Magnetic element (99A86) with an impedance matching transformer. Another surprise! This was one of the best sounding mic of the evening.

1960s JT-30 with a Japanese Blues Blaster element. Very Hot and loud, but better sounding than I thought it would be. We had to turn the volume down to about 3 on the amp. This mic did not have a volume control.

 

 

 

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