Tuesday, October 25, 2016

MM Cables

This is a rugged, no-nonsense cable for working blues harp players. It is tough but supple, coils easily, and performs perfectly. It is built for gigging on barroom stages.

The MM Cable is 18 feet long (5.5m) with a 1/4 inch phone plug on one end and a Switchcraft 5/8 inch screw on connector at the other. Your signal is carried from the mic to the amp by a twisted pair of stranded copper 24AWG wires, each protected by insulation. There are two layers of RFI noise shielding around the wires: A metal foil jacket surrounds the twisted pair, covered by a copper wire mesh braid that carries the ground signal. The cable’s outer jacket is tough black PVC. These cables are low-noise and long-life.

The orange shrink tube at the cable ends is not just for looks. It provides an extra measure of strain relief to ensure the solder connections between the wires and the connectors do not get damaged from hard use on stages.  The price is $32.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Lining Out to the PA

Lots of players seem interested in lining out their amps to the PA but I don't see a lot of discussion about it. There is more to it than just plugging in. This photo is a channel from my Mackie 808M powered mixer, which is typical of what many bar bands use. It is set up for a line out from a harp amp.
From top to bottom:
-Monitor Send: You definitely want some harp in the monitors if you are using a line out, but not too much. Just enough so you can hear yourself and hear your balance with the band. I have it set halfway here.
-Effects Send: I send nothing to the effects buss. I prefer the sound of the amp by itself or with the FX pedals I use.
-Highs: Roll off about 25%
-Mids: Flat or roll off a bit.
-Lows: Boost about 20 - 25%
-Trim: Start at 0 - unity gain. It depends on many things. Dial it in so you are not clipping.
-Volume: It depends on where you want to sit in the mix.
PAs tend to be bright. If you just plug in and dial in the setting as if it were a vocal channel your sound might be shrill and annoying.
If there is a sound tech ask him/her politely but firmly to set the channel like this. There may be some small adjustments during sound check, but starting out this way will get things moving in the right direction.