Harp/vocals thru my keyboard amp

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Harp/vocals thru my keyboard amp

Postby jeffl » Mon Jun 27, 2011 10:10 pm

Sometimes when you get sick of haulin' gear you'll try anything. I'm pushin' 60 yr. old now, and I'm always in a hurry when I'm loadin' the car to go jammin', 'cuz I leave work early to get there ( It's an hour away!).
I play harp and keyboards at my weekly jam and have been accustomed to hauling my harpcase, harp amp, keyboard, and keyboard amp to the jam.. PLUS, my softside beer cooler of course. My cables,cords,mic, etc. fit in my keyboard case pockets. Our jam host lets me leave a keyboard stand and mic stand at his house, so I don't have to haul those, thankfully.
I found a Crate KXB25 keyboard amp on a closeout deal at my local dealer and snapped it up.
Now I'm gonna try running the mic thru a pre-amp into the keyboard mic channel (It has both lo- and hi-z) and runnin' with just one amp. I gave it a try last week without a pre-amp, using my Shure 58, and let's say it was good enough for jammin'. I can't duplicate the nice harp tones of my harp amp, but we don't play just straight blues anyway, so it's not a big deal.
Actually I'm surprised how good the amp was for boards, with it's 4-band rotary equalizers. The clarity and depth was great! It has enough power to play small clubs.
Crate has been sold, and the reliability of these amps is questionable, but my local shop owner is a good tech, so I'm not worried.
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Re: Harp/vocals thru my keyboard amp

Postby jeffl » Wed Jun 29, 2011 5:58 pm

I put a little reverb into the preamp last night, and the combo worked great. The Eq on the amp isn't as accurate as I would expect: the bass & low mids are not near as touchy as they are with most keyboard amps, so I didn't have to worry as much about overdriving the lower end of the spectrum. Probably a good thing for me. I think I've found my solution.. at least I'm stickin' with it for now.

I also got a new Switchcraft connector for my old Shure mic ( one of those old cone-shaped things. The model #'s under some electrical tape so I can't read it. :) ) They redesigned the connector sometime in the last 45 years, ha! It's got about three little stacking collars for flexibility instead of a single flex joint. I've had that mic since about 1967 and I still use it for harp, vocals, and mic'ing amps. I've never had to get it repaired and it's been dropped a few times. ( note: the mic's a Shure 515.. I found pics & specs on a vintage harp site.)
The mic's a good compromise for vocals and harp, and it's a good conversation piece for opening conversations with other musicians when I'm playin' out.
Last edited by jeffl on Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Harp/vocals thru my keyboard amp

Postby bottleneck » Mon Jul 25, 2011 6:50 pm

i hear you jeff!the older i get the less/lighter/smaller my gear gets,haha

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Re: Harp/vocals thru my keyboard amp

Postby jeffl » Mon Jul 25, 2011 8:15 pm

Yep, in fact I just stopped at my local music store today to see if they had any of those little Sennheiser (609?) popsicle stick mics for micin' up my harp amp. I've been usin' a Shure 515--- the perfect mic for that job-- but it's a heavy mic and requires a freakin' 'nuther stand to hold it. The little Sennheiser just loops around your amp handle and dangles in front of the speaker, and it weighs prob'ly less than a single harp! It doesn't have a stage footprint either.. another plus.
They're about a $100 and it sure seems like it's worth it to not haul another little mic stand.

I've got arthritis, and some nights it seems like that gear weighs alot more than it should.

It's a shame you can't rent out the gear you're not using all the time. I've got tons of stuff that I only use once in a while: battery powered amps, preamps, mixers,mics, stands, cables, di boxes, effects boxes, ext. speakers.... But, when you need it, you need it.
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Re: Harp/vocals thru my keyboard amp

Postby jbone1 » Wed Jul 27, 2011 3:06 am

one of these days i'll get lucky and get hold of a 515. i hear good things about them. i do have a 545s shure mic that has come in handy for both harp and vocals. it's a forerunner to the sm57. can be a very hot mic if wired correctly but i have kept it low z and used it in the p.a. for harp and vocs. lots of hand effect opportunity with it in a stand and it can fairly howl when cupped tight.
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Re: Harp/vocals thru my keyboard amp

Postby jeffl » Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:35 pm

I've had my 515 since about 1970; still got the boom stand I bought with it, too! It's got alotta emotional value to me. I kinda got lucky when I bought it, 'cuz I was jus' a dumb kid without much technical knowledge, and I jus' took a recommendation from the store clerk. I was doin' a 3 piece blues deal at the time and I used the mic for vocals and playin' harp uncupped, 'cuz I was playin' alotta keyboards.
When I started playin' hard amplified blues I went to bullets for harp and moved the 515 to amp mic'in duty; it's a phenomenal mic for that job.. I love the voice. I've rediscovered it for vocals and cupped harp now. My 58 sits in the gear bag waitin' for somethin' ahead of it to break. I'm not sure if I would like it for mic'in a guitar amp, but it's great for harp. It's just heavy.

It's funny... you run with gear a certain way, depending on what kinda music yer playin', and when that changes, it can take a while to settle into a new gear setup that works for the new deal. I think with the new Sennheiser (I ordered it yesterday), I might be gettin' there.
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