Have you ever been playing the harmonica and thought to yourself, “I wish this was Louder?” We know the feeling, because we have been there as well. We like putting the harmonica up to the microphone as the best way to amplify it, but sometimes that is not quite enough. Other times, it is not super comfortable or is limiting to playability and movement.
The best solutions we’ve come up with is transitioning to an electric harmonica or grabbing a specialized harmonica microphone.
Benefits of Using an Electric Harp
The Electric Harmonica, or Electric Harp, is not so different than your average harmonica, though it does have a little extra bulk. The benefits that come with the extra bit are absolutely worth it though. The bulk is a nice kind of extra grip on the otherwise tiny instrument. Additionally, there is no longer a need for a microphone, since the instrument is plugged into an amp or sound system (1).
This is huge, and anyone who has ever played harmonica while holding a microphone can tell you just how huge it is. Not only is it more convenient, but the sound quality is also higher. This is ideal for performances or garage sessions where other instruments might overpower the harmonica.
Benefits of Using a Mic to Amplify Your Harmonica
Sometimes an electric harmonica is not an option, and other times, you like your harmonica too much to get a new one just to increase the volume. In both of these cases, there is a solution. That solution is using a microphone to increase the volume of your harmonica playing. The best way to do this is to use a microphone stand. Like previously mentioned, holding the mic while playing can be challenging. Luckily, the mic stand can take care of you.
Shure Green Bullet 520DX Dynamic Harmonica Microphone Review
We spent some time jamming while using the Shure Green Bullet 520DX Dynamic Harmonica Microphone and were quite surprised by the sound quality!
The quality is way up there, and this mic can take a beating without losing any sound quality. In the time of ownership, it has been dropped 2 or 3 times and there are no audible differences prior to the accidents. The sound is a step above an average mic and makes the harmonica sound great. Some styles of music actually sounded better on the harmonica after going through this mic (2). It does exactly what it says it does and what it was made for: it precisely projects the sound of the harmonica in a great way.
Now, there are some drawbacks to every product. One thing that shocked us when we first held this one was just how heavy it is. It is not unbearable, but it certainly surprised us. Some cases of internal wire damage have been known to give off a little line noise, making a professional level of recording a bit difficult. Though, even with some of this unwanted noise, many have reported it working well for live shows and performances.
All in all, this mic is a powerhouse for performers. If Professional recording is what you are aiming for, you might be able to use this one, as long as it is carefully set up as a dedicated studio mic. Otherwise, you might not be able to get away so cheap for a studio set up.
The weight tells you it was made with quality parts and will send a good sound through your amps. This mic is a great place to start for your first amplification set up.