Microphone (or pickup?) for Harp (Zoom lessons and recording)

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    jill-fichialos on #245888

    I would like to improve the sound quality of my daughter’s Zoom lessons and record her harp for auditions and youTube. It would also be nice if we could amplify her harp for solo harp performances at church.

    She as access to an iPad Pro (with a USB-C connection), an iPhone and a Mac laptop to do her lessons and record with.

    My budget is around $300-$500, and I have access to a free mic arm and maybe a preamp. If I can’t get a preamp now, I would be willing to add one in a few months.

    I have watched Anne Crosby Gaudet’s YouTube video “Harp recording at home (microphone comparison). This is so helpful, but I feel that I might have a few more options with a little bit bigger budget.

    I have looked at Audio-Technica AT2020USB+, a Rode NT-USB, Shure MV88+ and a Blue Yeti Pro (because it has an option for a XLR set up).

    Any advice or suggestions?


    Gretchen Cover on #245916

    I use a Shure SM81 with my Schertler David amp and church sound systems. It has an XLR connection and a built-in pre-amp. I believe it needs phantom power. The sound quality is phenomenal. This will not help with the iPad, etc. However, there is an adapter so you can use the mic with a computer/iPad but it has been back-ordered for 4 months.

    jill-fichialos on #245927

    Gretchen, thank you so much for the tip on the Shure SM81! I have been looking at the reviews and this looks more like what I was hoping to find – a great microphone for acoustic instruments! Thanks for taking the time to respond!

    jill-fichialos on #245989

    You mentioned that there is an adapter that will help make the Shure SM81 work with an iPad. Is it the Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter that you are referring to by chance? We have an iPad Pro with a USB-C connection and I *think* that might work.

    Gretchen Cover on #245999

    The one I ordered is the Shure X2U adapter. Let me know if you find something else that works. I have the iPad Pro with the C connection, too.

    le_sacre on #246100

    If the lessons are over Zoom, you might try adjusting the app’s audio settings, since the default uses a lot of compression that’s optimized for intelligible speech, not music.

    Here’s a link for how to switch the settings: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/115003279466-Enabling-option-to-preserve-original-sound

    What I don’t know is whether that works ok in a lesson context where you need back-and-forth communication; there may be problems with echo/feedback. I think these settings may be more likely to help if you are doing a one-sided presentation/performance over Zoom. But I’m going to experiment with it during my next lesson–worth a try.

    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #246382

    If you have a Samsung Galaxy phone around, they have excellent microphones, even response throughout the range of the harp. Many other devices seem to lose the treble and exaggerate the bass.

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