Tuesday, May 19, 2009

5F2H Amp by HarpGear!

Actually, Brian Purdy at HarpGear built a 5F2H kit a few years ago to check it out and eventually sold it. The amp popped up on Harp-L and got snapped up immediately. The 5F2H is pound for pound and dollar for dollar the best sounding harp amp anywhere, and any amp built by Brian is a gem.

The guy who bought it is named Paul, and he and I have been emailing back and forth about the care and feeding of a 5F2H. Here is a link to the pictures posted by the guy who sold the amp:


Nice! I like the tweed cab, but I prefer my
snakeskin and 12-inch speaker.

I'd like to hear from other 5F2H owners. We should start a club or something...

Review: Line 6 X2 Digital Wireless XDS95

I've gigged with the Line 6 X2 Digital Wireless several times now, and I'd like to present a full review of its performance: It's good!

It sounds great. I honestly can't hear any difference between it and a cable. This thing is digital, so it is sending just numbers across the airwaves, not an analog music signal. There is no squelch and no static. I clip the transmitter to my belt, plug in my bullet mic, and the sound that comes out of my amp is exactly as you would expect with a direct cable.

What it lacks compared to more expensive competitors is operating range. It is listed as having a range of 150 feet. I've heard from other users that the range is more like 100 feet. I've personally never wandered far enough away from the stage to lose signal, and I know I've hit that 100 foot range with no problems. More expensive wireless units have a stated range of 300 feet. I don't know why you'd ever want to play while 100 yards away from the stage.

The XDS95 consists of a receiver the size and shape of an effects pedal, so it fits nicely on your pedal board. I power it with a One Spot adapter so there is no hassling with batteries.

The transmitter is about the size and shape of a deck of cards, and requires a 9-volt alkaline battery. Line 6 claims a battery life of about 11 hours. I've gotten two gigs on a new battery (about 9 hours) with no problems.

There are no antennas on either unit. They seem sturdy and well made. There are 5 selectable frequencies on each unit, so you can have 5 of these on your stage with no interference from each other. The guitar player in Roadhouse Joe uses an identical X2 and he loves it, although his battery life has been a little shorter than mine for whatever reason.

The Line 6 X2 Digital Wireless XDS95 is available from Guitar Center online or behind the accessories counter in their stores. I bought mine at the GC on Colorado Blvd. in Denver. They are marked at $199.99, but they will deal.

Walking around the club while playing is thought of by some as high cheese. Maybe so, but it is still fun. The biggest benefit of the wireless is not stepping on my cable and unplugging myself 2 or 3 times during a show. This X2 unit works very well for not a lot of money. That earns it the Blues Harp Amps Blog seal of approval.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Jason Ricci workin' his Delay Pedals

This is great. Jason sent me a heads-up on a new YouTube vid he made that compares two good delay pedals: The BBE Two Timer and the vintage Boss DM-2. Beyond being an interesting comparison, it is a quick lesson in how to set up your pedal.

In the comments on YouTube, Mike asked what the exact settings were and Jason shot back with this: "Man come on mike ...Just mess with the thing for two seconds till it sounds good...My settings would be different with different pedals and a a different amp...unless you got the exact same ferrets as I do then you need to weasel your rhinocerous n shit." Yep, ya gotta weasel your rhinocerous...

What I noticed is that Jason uses more repeats than I do... I have the "Repeats" control on my delay pedal all the way down so there is only one repeat: a "slap back." Jason and Adam Gussow both use more repeats and slightly more time. So I plugged in and weaseled my rhino and dang... that sounds pretty good! Maybe Jason and Adam know something 'bout harp tone.

I'm gonna try this at our gig Wednesday night at Herman's in Denver, but the ferrets in that room may be different than at home. We'll see how it sounds.