Rechargeable Amp?

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    Does anyone use a rechargeable or battery powered amp (Crate Taxi, Roland Cube or similar)? I’ve looked on other amp threads, but haven’t seen much on this. On a non-rechargeable note, does anyone have an opinion on the Bose tower systems? Are they worth the money?

    (Regarding a pick-up, I use a Dean Markley acoustic contact mic. This is for an acoustic pedal harp and vocals with a wireless mic.)


    For small and medium-sized events I use the Crate Limo and I’m very happy with it. The charge lasts a long time and I’ve never run out of battery during a gig. With the right pickup I get a powerful balanced sound without ever turning it up too far. It has some effects, too.

    One of the venues where I play frequently has its own Bose Tower and it makes all of my harps sound AMAZING. So I think it’s worth the money but I don’t buy one because 1) I don’t want to haul any more gear than necessary and 2) the larger venues where I play have their own great sound systems that I can use.

    Re pickups: I have used a Dean Markley in the past but wasn’t pleased with the tinny sound. In my acoustic harps I really like the Dusty Strings pickup and the Schatten, which is mounted with the sticky stuff so is easily interchangeable between harps. Both pickups give problem-free fantastic sound.


    Carvin Stagemate – battery or AC – 4 separate channels (mic or instruments) with separate controls plus Master – available with effects built in – separate outputs for extension speaker(s) and amp out for plugging directly into a venue system – I have two of them – been using them for years with both solidbody electric concert grand harp and fishman pickups on my other pedal harps – only sold through the company in California – unfortunately my latest catalog does not list it and it may have been replaced with a newer model – you might find one on ebay –


    I recently purchased a Crate Taxi because my harp was getting drowned out in our 70-member concert band. I kept it pretty low, 2 at the highest, to add some more sound without it sounding obviously amplified. It carried my harp’s tone beautifully, including the bass, which I had to turn down a bit, and my harp was heard where it needed to be. FYI I used a K&K Big Twin pickup and a Fishman Pro-EQ II Acoustic preamp as well.


    I’ve had some problems with my Crate, mostly because I don’t use it enough. The battery does need to be used regularly in order to last.


    Jennifer, it’s good to hear about the problems you’ve had (you know what I mean). A lot of rechargeable batteries need to be expended and recharged frequently to keep functioning well (they always say this about caring for an iphone, for example). I’ll try to use mine regularly, even if it’s just at home on a minimum setting, to hopefully keep the battery working well.


    Just curious, how well do you like that contact mic and where do you place it to get the best quality? I wanted to get a contact mic, I’m still looking into it.


    Me? The K&K Twin has two contacts, one that you place down low and another higher up. The one they sell for harps and other large instruments is the Big Twin, since the chords are longer and the pickups can be placed further apart. I placed the upper one probably not quite halfway up, and the bottom one probably about six inches from the bottom of the board, basically wherever it extended comfortably. I used Scotch poster squares to pop them off easily after I was done. They include a more permanent adhesive but I expect to only need amplification a few times a year.

    For me, it seemed like a better option than a regular mic. Because I play in a very large ensemble on a fairly crowded stage, I was afraid a mic would pick up other nearby players as well as be at a high risk of getting knocked over. I was very happy with how well it picked up my harp’s sound.


    Kreig, what do you do with the jack end? The sticky stuff wore out on my fishman and it keeps falling out and dragging under my harp. I’m afraid that I’m going to damage the cord.


    I take it out the bottom sound hole, and put it against the back of the harp with gaffer tape. The tape comes off easily and does not harm the finish. In fact it falls off on its own after a couple days. When I plug the cord into it, I run it horizontally until it’s just behind the soundboard wing, and keep it in place (above my feet) with a couple more pieces of gaffer tape.


    I’ve attached a photo for reference. Unfortunately the jack is in shadow but I think you can get the idea.


    Thanks Kreig! My biggest problems are taking it in and out of the case so I’m not sure that gaffers tape would be the solution but I can certainly try. Is that something you find in a home improvement store?


    If moving it, I tape the jack to the inside of the soundbox (make sure you’ve dusted the inside first where you want to stick it), then when I get the harp out, I move it to the outside. But since I don’t have the pickups permanently affixed, they’re also easy to pop off with a credit card or driver’s license, and I can just stick them back on while setting up. The poster squares are around $3 or $4 for a large set of them. You can buy them in art stores or most general stores with an arts and crafts section, like CVS or Target.

    Gaffer tape is used more on the stage to secure cables, so I’d look in a store that sells audiovisual equipment or electronic music supplies. Guitar Center or a local music store that includes electric guitars and amps, or maybe Radio Shack. I kept a roll of it and a pair of scissors in the bag with my other supplies.

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