What to do when the mic sucks
I attended the 30th wedding anniversary party of my longest-standing friend least night, and I sat in the with the band for a set of rock and R&B. I had brought my Auidix Fireball V, but as it happened I didn’t have time to set it up–I was called up to play, and the mic I was handed was a Green Bullet plugged right into the PA. Yuck.
A green bullet into the PA is the worst possible setup for harp. The frequency response of a bullet ends at about 6.5 kHz, which means there’s no high end to cut through the band. And because a PA amp is designed to be as clean as possible, you don’t get any distortion to add punch to the low register of the harp, either. Like I said, yuck.
So what’s to be done in that situation? First, I corrected the EQ the band had put on that mic. They had dropped the midrange EQ by about 6 dB, which is very bad because midrange is all you’ve got on a Bullet. Second, I made a point of playing everything which as much power and sharp articulation as I could manage–using my basic sound to punch through.
It worked well enough. Certainly the band was happy with what they heard. And in the end, if the band is happy, it was a good jam.
As always, what comes out of the player and the instrument matters more than the gear. But let me tell you, I will never smile when I step up to play and find a Green Bullet mic plugged into the PA waiting for me. I may smile after, but not before.
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