Best Mic for Amplifying a Harp

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    My church would like to invest in a good quality microphone for my harp. It will be amplified in a sanctuary that seats about 900. The mic will not really be used for recording–mainly for amplification–so they are looking for the best possible microphone for that. Does anyone have recommendations on what you’ve found that works best? Any suggestions would be appreciated!


    I’ve tried a variety of condenser & contact mics for amplifying my LH Style 30 & by far my favourite is the Dusty Strings Harp Pickup: It picks up the full range of the harp wonderfully as it’s basically 4 separate contact mics down the soundboard combined into one output. Ergo, you don’t loose out on the attack of the bass or ringing of the upper octaves whereas with many pickups you’re forced to pick one. You also don’t have the issue of worrying about mic placement.

    It can only be used on a harp though so if your church is looking for something more versatile then I’d opt for a condenser mic. The Shure KSM137 is the best I’ve had experience with & it’s little brother the SM137, isn’t too shabby either. The KSM137 is I believe marketed as an orchestra microphone so it should be more than adequate for playing in church. For the purposes I need amplification for, pickups make far more sense than a freestanding microphone but if I were to go that route I’d definitely opt for the KSM137. Shure microphones in general are incredibly resilient in live situations.
    Hope this was helpful!


    Interesting stuff Maya. I might check it out!! Did you drill the hole in the base of your harp, or do you just have it out of the bottom sound hole?


    I will second Maya’s recommendation for the Dusty Strings pedal harp pickup. It sounds fantastic, and sound engineers love it for mic-ing the harp. The bass is a little loud on mine, but I run through a pre-amp as well, so I just cut down the bass. To address Katie’s question, I did drill a hole in the base for the jack, and I haven’t regretted it at all! The pickup looks so professional, and the jack is readily available. I also use the jack to connect to my tuner before orchestra rehearsal, and it works better than a standard tuning pickup.


    Because some posts above mentioned drilling a hole in the base of your harp, notice in some pictures and ads for amplifying a pedal harp, most are showing that hole directly at the back, so that the wires come out where the player’s feet need to move around to use the pedals! Only one manufacturer, Salvi Harps, that I have seen, shows that the holes were drilled on the side of the base that is away from the audience, once the solo harpist on stage shows her/his left side to the audience. In the slick 95-page Salvi catalog of all of their harps, is pictured their ECHO 47-string pedal harp model in platinum finish, pages 88 and 89. You will see the two cables emerging from two holes in the right side of the base, leading to a small amplifier. Feet will never get tangled in those wires; doesn’t this make better sense? At you might be able to request a copy of that picture of the amplified ECHO, page 89.


    A hole off to one side could be very nice, and one point in favor of letting the cord come out of a soundbox hole, so it can be taped to the desired side. Foot issues will be greatly helped by taping down cables once things are set up, which should be a standard practice, not only to prevent them from being knocked loose, but as a safety precaution to keep anyone from tripping over them.

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