Thursday, February 10, 2011

Comparing Performance Volume Before Feedback in Mid-Sized Harp Amps

A friend who is a very good working harp player wrote to ask my opinion of one specific issue when comparing the Mission Chicago 32-20 amp and the Sonny Jr. Cruncher: Performance volume before feedback. Here is what I wrote back to him:

Good question, but I don't really have a definitive answer. The Cruncher amp is quite good, actually, despite the overblown claims made for it. Some guy on Harp-L a few days ago said his Cruncher sounded better than a 6x10 HarpKing. Please...

The Mission is slightly louder overall, and has slightly better feedback performance (and much better tone), but both amps are meant to be lined-out on loud stages. They are both compromises between volume and bulk. It is possible to overwhelm either amp on a really loud stage.

I find when I raise the amp up on a milk crate it makes it a lot easier to for me to hear. Both amps get lost when they are sitting on the floor. I don't tilt the amp back because pointing it at my mic can increase the feedback potential.

It's always a battle. Bigger 4x10 Bassman-type amps have better perceived volume for the player, partly because the top two speakers are elevated. But many of us dislike the weight and awkwardness of these beasts, so we put up with the compromises in a smaller lighter amp.

As I wrote in my blog recently, the sound is glorious when the amp is mic'ed up by a good sound guy and run through a really good system. Even Rick Estrin's 100-watt 6x10 HarpKing amp gets mic'ed up when he plays clubs in Denver, the same clubs I play. It just sounds better that way.

Sorry this does not answer your specific question. The Mission 32-20 and Cruncher amps are similar in volume and feedback resistance (and physical dimensions). The differences are in tone and price.


Linde said...

Well this is an interesting topic. One experiment I would love to see is having someone use the same mic in the same room with multiple amps, dialing in maximum volume before feedback with each amp, and then measuring the SPL in the back of the room with a decibel meter. Would provide some interesting data on which is loudest for a given mic in a given room.


Rick Davis said...

Yep, I'd really like to do the test you describe. Maybe in a few months....