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Best Microphone for Harmonica | Top 10 List

May 7, 2024

In today's article, we will help you choose the best microphone for harmonica. We will look at everything down to the smallest detail, tell you what you should pay attention to when choosing, and reveal all the nuances. To be honest, before writing our article we didn't think that there was a big market for harmonica microphones, but we were wrong. The SoundGale editorial team hopes our article will help you avoid confusion when choosing a harmonica microphone and find the ideal option for your needs.

How to choose the best microphone for harmonica and what to look out for?

Before we get to our top 10 list of the best microphones for harmonica, let's first understand the most important aspects to consider when choosing the right harp microphone that will cover all your needs. Let's face it, choosing the right one isn't that hard.

Microphone Tone

Perhaps the most important parameter when choosing a harmonica microphone. Roughly speaking, there are two tones: the "Clear Tone" that perfectly captures the pure sound of your harmonica instrument and the "Dirty / Distorted Chicago Blues Tone" that most harp players love.

harmonica tones, clean tone and distorted blues tone

If you need to record or perform with a clear tone, you will look to instrumental studio or stage mics like the Shure SM58, SM81, or SM57 (whatever, there are quite a few), but playing the harmonica is very specific, it is a unique musical instrument. You'll probably be fine with these basic mics in the studio, but if you want to get a clean sound in a live situation, it's not so convenient to hold a Shure SM58 and a harmonica at the same time. This is where specialized harmonica mics with clean tones come in, such as the SUZUKI HMH-200, Audix FireBall V, or an interesting solution is to use BlowsMeAway Ultimate Microphones (all of which are reviewed in our list).

It's a little easier with a blues tone, as almost all harp mics on the market are designed specifically for this genre to produce a distorted sound. Bullet-shaped microphones tend to have that unique Chicago blues tone, while still being comfortable enough to hold in your hands during live performances. Some models of bullet-shaped microphones distort the sound of the harp more, some less, and we describe their characteristics in the description of each microphone.

Comfort While Playing, Usability and Versatility

Comfort, Ease & Versatility are also important features that need to be considered.

Let's start with comfort. It is very important to feel comfortable holding the microphone and the harp at the same time, that's why most harmonica mics are made in the shape of a bullet or a round ball, as they are more comfortable to hold at the same time with the harmonica. It is worth paying attention to the weight and size of the microphone, but in fact everything is quite individual (some people are comfortable with heavy mics, others with light and small ones), for the most part, manufacturers have taken care of this and tried to unify these specifications for the majority.

If you are not comfortable with a bullet or handheld mics, you may want to look at lavalier mics (many harmonica players use them).

Pay attention to the presence of volume control, the most convenient feature in harmonica microphones. It is also important to pay attention to the output of the microphone (1/4 jack, XLR, mini-XLR, custom output or a cable built into the microphone itself). You can choose what you prefer, but we find that the most convenient option is the classic XLR or 1/4" jack output. In addition, check the package/bundle and the ability to attach to microphone stands.

Price/Quality Ratio

Every dollar saved is a dollar earned, as Warren Buffett or Scrooge McDuck bequeathed to us, whatever. To be honest, harp microphones are not that expensive (from $60 to $300), perhaps the most expensive microphones in our list are BlowsMeAway Bulletini and Jason Ricci Signature, but their cost is justified to some extent. Our list includes microphones in all price ranges, and their price/quality ratio is quite good. You can pick a microphone from our list that fits your budget and it will not disappoint you. There are no overpriced devices among harmonica microphones, as is the case with studio microphones.

Here's our list of The Best Microphones for Harmonica

Before compiling our list of the best microphones for harmonica, we studied the harp microphone market in detail and did a little research. We recommend all of the microphones in our list for a purchase you will not regret. Please pay attention to the description of each harp microphone model, as some mics have a specific sound (some microphones have a clean sound, others have a more or less distorted sound in the style of Harp Chicago Blues).

We also relied on user reviews (based solely on the quality of the products, the experience of using them, and of course on the price/quality ratio). The market for specialized harmonica microphones is not that big, so in our article, we listed all the microphones for harp available on the market (and surprisingly, all of them are excellent).

1. Lone Wolf Blues Company - Jason Ricci Signature Microphone

Lone Wolf Blues Company - Jason Ricci Signature Microphone

Our list of the best harmonica mics begins with the Jason Ricci Signature Microphone from Lone Wolf Blues Company, and based on our research, it is currently the best microphone for harmonica, favored by almost all harmonica players. Let's find out why.

Let's start with the design and overall build. The body of the microphone is made of aluminum in the form of a cylinder with an extension closer to the microphone element, we want to note that it is much larger than Bulletini, but at the same time, it is quite comfortable to hold in your hands. The eye immediately strikes a choice of colors, quite an interesting decision to give a wide range of colors. At least we know of no other manufacturer that offers such a wide range of colors, which is certainly a big advantage. The microphone itself is solidly built, ergonomic and there's nothing to complain about!

Like most harmonica mics, the Jason Ricci Signature Microphone has volume control, High Z impedance - 100k ohms, a 1/4" output jack (which is also an advantage, no special threaded connector like in Bulletini mic), unidirectional dynamic element, 40Hz - 14kHz frequency range, sensitivity -73db at 1,000Hz, and comes with a branded carrying pouch.

About the sound. It was designed in collaboration with Jason Ricci (legendary harmonica rocker, American harmonica player & singer). Of course, the sound of the microphone will be top-notch, as the dynamic element was also designed to produce a unique tone. We have listened to all available samples recorded with this microphone, and according to our observations, it is not as distorted as bullet-type microphones. It is somewhere between a distorted blues sound and a clean sound (leaning toward clean). The sound of the Jason Ricci Signature Microphone is great. In summary, this is one of the best harp mics ever made and a masterpiece of a unit.

The Lone Wolf Blues Company - Jason Ricci Signature Microphone sells for around ~$220 regardless of color. It can only be ordered on the official website of the Lone Wolf Blues Company (occasionally this microphone can be found on marketplaces). We recommend you visit the Lone Wolf Blues Company website, you can also find unique Effect Pedals for harmonica and accessories there.

2. BlowsMeAway Bulletini

BlowsMeAway Bulletini Harmonica Mic

BlowsMeAway specializes exclusively in custom accessories for harmonica players and has several microphones in its arsenal, including the Bulletini. The Bulletini harmonica microphone has a bullet-shaped body (one of the most common body shapes for harp microphones). Thanks to its small size, it fits perfectly in the hand compared to other bullet mics. BlowsMeAway has released this microphone in two variations, with and without volume control.

Now for the connectivity, unfortunately, Bulletini has its own special threaded connector (Switchcraft "screw-on") for connecting to amplifiers or wireless systems, which does not allow you to simply connect the microphone via a standard XLR or 1/4 jack cable. You'll need to purchase adapters for jack cables and wireless systems. The official website also sells a 20' Switchcraft "screw-on" female to 1/4" male cable. Obviously, this is a big drawback, as you'll definitely have to pay extra for custom adapters, but that's the price of using this excellent microphone, and trust us, it's worth it!

Rackit bulletini stand mount
Rackit! 2.0 is a very interesting device designed especially for the Bulletini microphone. It acts as a microphone holder and can be attached to microphone stands and GECKO harmonica holders. A great solution when your hands are busy doing something else - like playing guitar. Rackit! 2.0 and its variants are available on the BlowsMeAway website.

Well, let's talk about sound, the distinctive feature of Bullet microphones is that they have a distorted sound (dirty Chicago Blues tone). However, to achieve this distorted-dirty-tone sound, manufacturers used rather large dynamic elements, which affected the size of the microphone. The Bulletini microphone solves this problem. Despite its small form factor, Bulletini warms up your tone and delivers a big bass boost - bringing out the best in small amps. It is also a great mic for solid-state amps, straight into the PA, through pedals…and big amps too!

We highly recommend you visit the official BlowsMeAway website to listen to the sound of this microphone, check out the unique harmonica accessories, and order this microphone. Unfortunately, it is not sold on marketplaces and you can only order it from the official website.

Our SoundGale studio has purchased a Bulletini just in case we need to record Chicago Blues-style harmonica. BlowsMeAway Bulletini truly deserves the title of the best harmonica mic for dirty-tone performers.

3. sE Electronics X Hohner Harp Blaster HB52 Microphone

sE Electronics X Hohner Harp Blaster HB52 Microphone

What happens when you cross the most famous harmonica brand and industry-standard microphone manufacturer? That's right - another masterpiece, the sE Electronics X Hohner Harp Blaster HB52 Microphone. Let's tell you a little about this harp mic that has won the hearts of harmonica players.

The design brings out the WOW effect, this Harp Blaster looks like the most authentic retro car from the 60s and 70s of the last century. The microphone features a dynamic capsule inspired by legendary vintage microphones, a gold-plated XLR connector, a high-quality Bourns® potentiometer (volume control), a compact size, a durable all-metal housing, and a chrome grille with special hammer-effect enamel.

The Hohner HB52 Harp Blaster has an excellent sound, like all bullet-type mics it has a slightly distorted sound in the style of Chicago blues. So that you can check out the sound of the Hohner HB52 Harp Blaster, we've included a video below. In this video, professional harmonica player Boris Plotnikov compares the Harp Blaster with Jason Ricci's Signature Microphone and explains in detail all the nuances of these microphones.

Perhaps Hohner Harp Blaster HB52 is one of the most beautiful and high-quality harmonica microphones, but unfortunately, industry professionals prefer Bulletini and Jason Ricci Signature microphones. On the other hand in terms of price/quality ratio, this microphone beats them and all other mics on our list. Likewise, the Harp Blaster is also a great choice if you are looking to save money and not spend a lot of money on custom microphones. In addition, the presence of a full XLR connector is a significant feature, the cable will not fall out during performances as in the case of a 1/4" jack connector (yes, such a problem is still observed with microphones with 1/4" jack output).

4. Shure 520DX "Green Bullet" Mic for Blues Harmonica Players

Shure 520DX Green Bullet Dynamic Mic for Blues Harmonica Players

The Shure 520DX "Green Bullet" is probably one of the most legendary microphones and for a while it was the best microphone for harmonica. Shure has been producing this microphone for a very long time (more than 15 years), the company still sells it and it's still one of the best-selling microphones for harmonica players. The features of this microphone are a bit outdated, but it is still a great option if you want to save money. Unfortunately, we are not going to go into detail about all the features of this mic, because we have a nice review of the Shure 520DX Green Bullet Harmonica Microphone at this link. There we talk in detail about this legendary device and you can also listen to audio samples recorded with this microphone.


SUZUKI HMH-200 Harmonica Microphone

Almost every person on earth has heard the name of this brand, even if you are not associated with music. Meet SUZUKI HMH-200 Harmonica Microphone on our top 10 list. Yes, as it turns out, the company has a music division that produces excellent equipment for musicians, including harmonica players.

Everything about the SUZUKI HMH-200 is perfect: XLR connector, great unidirectional dynamic element for a clear sound, volume control, comfortable and ergonomic shape, excellent quality of the housing with a metal grille, lightweight 176 grams, the ability to attach it to microphone stands with the help of the simplest microphone holders.

The sound of this microphone transmits natural tones with the finest nuances created by a harmonica. We recommend the HMH-200 for those who need to capture the clear sound of a musical instrument (not the distorted, dirty tone of bullet microphones). The SUZUKI HMH-200 harmonica microphone is a true samurai among harp microphones. This Japanese product deserves a higher position in our list of the best harmonica mics.

6. Audix FireBall V Beatbox/Harmonica Microphone

Audix FireBall V Beatbox-Harmonica Microphone

Audix is a well-known company that produces audio equipment: headphones, earphones, microphones & accessories. And of course, in their arsenal of microphones lurks the Audix FireBall V, which is positioned as a microphone for beatbox and harmonica.

The Audix FireBall V has an XLR output, volume control, an excellent ergonomic zinc alloy body with a metal ball grille, a light weight of 180g / 5oz, and comes in a good package with a carrying pouch & mic holder.

The FireBall V is equipped with a VLM diaphragm for a pure, natural sound reminiscent of the famous Shure SM58. The Audix FireBall V is amazingly resistant to feedback, which is a huge advantage for live performances. The model turned out to be quite successful, we recommend to buy it if you see a good discount on it!

7. Audix FireBall Beatbox/Harmonica Microphone

Audix FireBall Beatbox-Harmonica Microphone

The Audix FireBall is another microphone from Audix that is very similar in features to the Audix FireBall V but unfortunately does not have a volume button. Ironically, the Audix FireBall is sold for the same price as the Audix FireBall V. What are the differences between these two microphone models? - We'll figure it out.

We posed this question directly to Audix and here is their response:
  • The original Fireball is CNC machined from aluminum here at Audix and each finish is a unique two-coat red and black anodized finish. The sound is a little more "studio" than the Fireball V.
  • The Fireball V is a cast piece with a black finish and is slightly longer than the FireBall. They are made in much larger quantities which allows us to sell them at a lower price. The V has a little more bass for live playing.

In general, the Audix FireBall is positioned more as a studio microphone, while the Audix FireBall V is positioned more as a live performance mic for beatbox and harmonica. We will also show you the difference in frequency response in the picture below.

Audix Fireball V vs Audix Fireball
Audix FireBall V on the left in the picture Audix FireBall on the right

The frequency response of these two microphones is slightly different; both roll off rapidly below 100 Hz, but the V has a higher frequency and higher amplitude presence peak. In short, the V is brighter: +8dB at 8kHz, while the Fireball's peak is +6dB at 5kHz.

8. Peavey H-5 & Peavey H-5C Cherry Bomb

Peavey H-5 & H-5C Cherry Bomb Harmonica Microphones

Peavey is a well-known audio brand that has conquered the world of music with its combo amps and concert audio equipment. And they have two microphones for harmonica players in their product line - the Peavey H-5 & H-5C. They only differ in color. The truth is, they're not as popular as the Shure 520DX Green Bullet, but they have their own interesting features.

As we can see, the body of the microphone has a familiar bullet shape, and the distinctive feature is that the on/off button is placed on the body. It is not clear to what extent this was a good decision because while playing the harmonica you can accidentally muffle the microphone with your fingers, so you should be extremely careful. Not the best solution. It was also not a good decision to equip these microphones with a mini-XLR output, which makes it much harder to find a good microphone cable. The mini-XLR to 1/4″ cable is included with the Peavey H-5 and Peavey H-5C Cherry Bomb. The volume control is also located on the body. We have no complaints about the build quality, the microphone is solid and reliable.

The Peavey H-5 & H-5C Cherry Bomb is on our list of best mics for harmonica because many people like the professional-sounding blues tone of this mic. Some harmonica players say the Peavey H-5 & H-5C sounds a little better than the Shure Green Bullet and costs less.

9. Superlux D112/C

Superlux D112 Harmonica Microphone

The Superlux D112/C Harmonica Microphone made it into our rankings because this device is popular among harmonica players. Most people like the warm tone of this microphone, it is not very distorted and dirty like other bullet-type blues mics. We can say that it sounds "clean", but at the same time, the frequency range of this microphone is from 100 to 6000Hz, which is quite small (this frequency range can't really capture the pure sound of the source), but for harmonica it is quite suitable.

Still, this microphone has drawbacks that you will have to put up with, maybe for some it will be an advantage. First of all, the microphone is heavy, the Superlux D112/C weighs ~650 grams. Second, the cable is built in and you cannot replace it, you have to disassemble the microphone and re-solder the cable (the length of the built-in 1/4" cable is 6 meters / 20 ft). If you want to connect the D112/C to low-impedance equipment such as a mixer, you will need a low-impedance converter.

Otherwise, Superlux D112/C is excellent, perhaps the best harmonica microphone at this price. We recommend the Superlux D112/C for beginners to understand the sound and the principle of harmonica playing with a microphone in your hands, and most likely you will keep it as your main harp mic.

10. Apex327

Apex327 Harmonica Harp Microphone

The Apex327 Harmonica Harp Microphone takes the last place in our list of the best harmonica mics, and now we will explain why. After studying a large number of reviews, we came to the conclusion that almost everyone does not like the sound of this microphone, but this device has one huge advantage. The Apex327 has a comfortable shape and fits comfortably in your hand thanks to its compact size. That's why this mic is most often purchased for DIY projects; rearrange the dynamic element and you have a perfect mic!

The Apex327 harmonica mic has a 20' (6m) 1/4" jack cable with strain relief, and the best part is the integrated threaded stand mount on the body.

More Options (Some Boutique and Interesting Harmonica Mics)

Microphones that didn't appear on our main top 10 list but deserve our attention. Some of them are unfortunately quite hard to get, but you can still find them on eBay or Craigslist.

Bottle 'O Blues Harmonica Microphone for Blues Harp

Bottle 'O Blues Harmonica Microphone for Blues Harp

The Bottle 'O Blues is perhaps the most unconventional microphone with an unusual design we've come across. The Bottle 'O Blues has an excellent sound, we could say it is a direct competitor to the Bulletini. We were able to listen to some recordings with this microphone and were impressed. Unfortunately, it's not easy to find this great microphone at the moment (you can look for it on Craigslist, resellers, and eBay). Another harmonica legend!

SUZUKI HMH-100 Lavalier Harmonica Microphone Set

SUZUKI HMH-100 Harmonica microphone set

The SUZUKI HMH-100 is a great lavalier microphone option if you don't like playing harmonica and holding bullet or handheld microphones at the same time. The SUZUKI HMH-100 was designed specifically for harmonica players and is still available today. Also, if you prefer the form factor of a lavalier microphone, many harmonica players use the Boya By M1 mic, but in this case, there are nuances in connecting it to amplifiers.

Shaker Microphones for Harmonica

Shaker Microphones for Harmonica

Shaker microphones for harmonica, a boutique version of custom microphones. We can not say for sure whether the company Shaker still produces its microphones, but they met us in the sale on the Internet (we want to say that they are not cheap). Their distinctive feature is a convenient form factor and the difference of the transmitted sound, which varies from model to model.

BlowsMeAway Ultimate Microphones

BlowsMeAway Ultimate Microphones

Everyone knows the company for its flagship Bulletini microphone. BlowsMeAway Ultimate Microphones is a custom version of Shure stage mics adapted for harmonica players (added volume control and, on some models, a Switchcraft "screw-on" connector). You can read more about these microphones on the official BlowsMeAway website.

In Conclusion

So it's time to summarize our list. In our subjective opinion, the best microphones for Chicago Blues style are BlowsMeAway Bulletini, Jason Ricci Signature Microphone & sE Electronics X Hohner Harp Blaster HB52. If you want to save money and get that distorted blues tone - Shure 520DX "Green Bullet", Peavey H-5 & H-5C Cherry Bomb. For a clearer tone, the SUZUKI HMH-200, Audix FireBall V or Audix FireBall, and the budget option Superlux D112/C are ideal. The best lavalier for harmonica would be the SUZUKI HMH-100. We tried to research the harmonica microphone market thoroughly and ordered a few mics from the list for our SoundGale recording studio. There are not many harmonica mics on the market, but these will cover your needs.

We hope you enjoyed our list and were able to find the best harmonica microphone for you. Feel free to leave your comments, suggestions & questions in the section below, we will be happy to answer them all.

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