Short, light Shure microphones designed for harp players with built-in volume control.
Many top harmonica professionals have chosen Ultimate microphones. Toots Thielemans is one of them. See the home page for more on Toots. Scroll to the bottom of this page to meet more pros who are sold on Ultimate Series mics.
Anyone who plays with a Shure stick mic - like the popular 545, SM-57 or SM-58 - knows what wonderful harp mics they are - great tone and range. Their biggest drawback for harp players, however, is the hand fatigue that comes from holding the relatively small diameter head with all that weight hanging out the back. Adding an external volume control only makes it worse. Now there’s a solution.
These two mics are functionally equivalent:
The Ultimate 57, Ultimate 58 and Ultimate 545 are the shortest, lightest examples of these mics possible, and include an integrated volume control. I machine each barrel to precise tolerances in my own shop. It is made of aircraft aluminum for strength and light weight, and anodized to greatly reduce scratching and keep it looking great. Not only does the shorter length reduce the cable's leverage on your grip, the center of gravity of the Ultimate mics moves toward the front, further improving grip comfort.
But wait, there's more! All models can be ordered in high or low impedance configurations. See the "Ordering" section on this page for a list of available configurations.
Get a grip! Some people find the smaller diameter of SM57 and 545 heads too hard to hold in the rear of the hand without cramping. BlowsMeAway has a solution... The Bulletizer!
The Bulletizer, shown here installed on an Ultimate 57 with optional billet knob
Special offer: Order a Bulletizer with your Ultimate 57 or Ultimate 545 and the Bulletizer, normally $49, is only $39.
Which one is right for you?
Ultimate 57: The Ultimate 57 is simply one of the most versatile harp mics there is. It goes from a warm clean acoustic sound in free air (i.e., on a stand or loosely cupped) to a nice gritty overdriven sound when cupped hard.
Ultimate 58: With its slightly wider pickup pattern and fine tuning for vocals, the Ultimate 58 is an ideal mic for chromatic, or if you want to use the same mic for vocals and acoustic harp. If you have a small, naturally dirty sounding amp, the 58 can clean it up just a bit for more precise tone.
Ultimate 545: The Shure 545, frequently referred to in harp circles as "The Paul Butterfield Mic" is the predecessor to the SM57. Tonally it is very similar to the SM57, with slightly less high frequency response in free air, and slightly more "color" to the chanracter of its breakup when cupped hard. The Ultimate 545 has the most "blues mojo" of the three choices. Depending on my supply I am also able to offer this mic with used, vintage 545 elements and transformers for an extra $35. The older elements were indeed a bit dirtier still and rival a good bullet in break-up tone.
Other mics? Although the Beta 57 and Beta 58 cannot be Ultimatized, some other Shure models can. These include the PE50SP, PE54, PE56 and the Shure 565. I do not supply these mics, but if you supply the donor mic, I can Ultimatize it!
Mic Clips: Note that the non-tapering barrel means that Ultimate series mics do not fit in a standard Shure mic clip. However larger 30mm clips like the Shure WA371, AKG SA61 and the Radio Shack 33-372 fit the mic properly. I can provide the WA371 if needed, for $14.95.
Personalize your Ultimate! Want your Ultimate engraved? Sure! Diamond engraving (text only) is $49.
Personalized Ultimate 545 shown with Bulletizer installed. See PT Gazell's mic below for another engraving example. His, and Toots' (home page), are laser engraved while the one above is diamond engraved.
Any of the above, customer supplies working donor mic:
Note that the SM57 and 545 above are shown with optional custom volume knobs. These are available at extra cost. See Mic Mods Page for more information.
Ordering: I need to know how you want the mic set up:
A) Low impedance with XLR connector (like a stock SM57 or SM58)
B) High Impedance with Screw-on Connector
C) High impedance with XLR connector "Pin 2 Hot"
D) High impedance with XLR connector "Pin 3 Hot"
All options require a cable that matches that particular configuration:
Low impedance configuration requires a standard low impedance XLR<-->XLR cable. Connect this directly to a PA or wireless transmitter, or connect to a high impedance input like a harp/guitar amp by adding an impedance matching transformer. Note this configuration will not work properly with high impedance XLR cables, i.e., cables with an XLR connector at the mic and and a 1/4” plug at the other. See options C and D above.
High impedance mics are supplied with your choice of standard Switchcraft style 5/8" screw-on connector, or XLR connector. High impedance XLR can be wired "Pin 2 Hot" or "Pin 3 Hot" and must match your cable to work. The Pin 2 Hot configuration is compatible with the Samson AX1 wireless transmitter I offer - no impedance matching transformer is required. Neither of these cables is compatible with low impedance microphones.
If you don't have a cable already, I recommend the screw-on connector (and a cable to go with it if you need one.) This is the shortest, lightest and most secure combination.
Any configuration can be connected to anything - choose what's simplest for you. Here's another way to look at it:
To connect to:
Ultimate Mic Configuration
Amp or pedal
PA's XLR input
PA's 1/4" input
AX1 Wireless Transmitter
A: Low Z XLR
XLR-XLR cable + Impedance Matching Transformer
XLR-XLR cable + Impedance Matching Transformer
B: High Z Screw-on
Screw-on cable + DI Box
Yes, screw-on to XLR adapter required
C: High-Z XLR Pin 2 Hot
Pin 2 Hot
XLR-1/4" cable, Pin 2 Hot + DI Box
XLR-1/4" cable, Pin 2 Hot
D: High-Z XLR Pin 3 Hot
Pin 3 Hot
XLR-1/4" cable, Pin 3 Hot + DI Box
XLR-1/4" cable, Pin 3 Hot
Yes, Pin 3 Hot to Pin 2 Hot adapter required
If this is confusing feel free to ask more questions. Once you know what configuration you want, let me know and I will send you a PayPal invoice.
Warranty: BlowsMeAway warranties the Ultimate Series Microphones for 2 years from date of purchase.
New! Now you can take your Ultimate mic wireless! For special prices on complete Ultimate Wireless systems, please visit the Wireless Systems page.
Here are a few happy Ultimate Series Microphone Customers....
"It took me a long time to find the solution for my harmonica set-up on stage. Greg's Ultimate 58 took care of the problem. Coming from the deep South of Baton Rouge, Louisiana we have a different approach on the harmonica. I learned from my dad, Raful Neal and Slim Harpo. We stick to the true sound of the harp and that's what I like about the Ultimate 58. It's very comfortable to play with the harmonica, it sounds great and the volume control give me all the leeway I need that I didn't have before. Thanks Greg, an excellent job."
Rob Paparozzi is the front man for Blood Sweat and Tears, and has his own blues band, the Hudson River Rats. More on Rob at his web site....
"The Ultimate 57 feels amazingly comfortable in the hand and looks so much hipper than a stock 57! Having the volume control really helps you to back off when you accompany another soloist. If you play a 57 you need to add this to your arsenal and you won't be dissappointed...I just Love this mic and Greg's work is always Class A in my book!"
..... Rob Paparozzi
PT Gazell -ultra-nice guy and one of the swinginest, smoothest players I know:
“It is so rare to find craftsmanship of the caliber Greg Heumann delivers. Greg took my Shure PE54 and turned it into, not only a much more functional mic, but also a real work of art! All without compromising the original sound. How lucky is the harmonica community to have an artist like this! Thank you sir”.
"I've been performing with the Ultimate 545 now for a few months. I love it. It gives me the range of tone I'm looking for, and it is so much more comfortable to hold than the much longer and heavier mic it replaced. Greg cares a lot about his customers and worked with me to ensure I got what I really wanted and needed. I'm happy to recommend BlowsMeAway Productions to my friends and fans. "
"I've been using the Shure Unidyne 545 for years so when I discovered the Ultimate 545 I was naturally interested. And upon arrival at Greg's workshop to check it out, I was extremely excited by its weight, colour and volume pot.
I now own both the Ultimate 57 and Ultimate 545.
Not only is Greg a skilled craftsman; he has a level of professionalism and integrity which is rare in today's business; and his passion for the harmonica is indisputable upon listening to his harp playing and singing."
"As a harpboxer, I need a microphone that is clean for vocals while still maintaining warmth and pop for vocals and beatboxing. Although a stock 57 delivers on those needs, it can become very uncomfortable to hold with one hand for an extended length of time. Greg's Ultimate 57 not only solves the problem of weight, but also allows me to adjust the volume level on the spot to give me a much greater control of my sound. I am extremly pleased with the performance of my Ultimate 57, and I am proud to say that it has become my regular microphone for gigs. Awesome job, Greg!"
Brandon Bailey, winner of the 2008 Orpheum Star Seach and
Jefferson Awards performer and Ultimate 57 user