New from Audix is the FireBall, a dynamic microphone specifically designed for the professional harmonica player, which is well-suited for both chromatic and diatonic harmonicas. The FireBall is CNC-machined at the Audix factory in Wilsonville, Ore., out of a solid bar of aircraft-grade aluminum. The final look is achieved with an elaborate three-stage anodizing process, giving every microphone its own distinctive look. Featuring a dent-resistant grille ball with a deep red internal pop filter, each FireBall is laser-etched with its name and serial number.
The contour the FireBall is designed to fit comfortably within the palm of the hand. Featuring VLM (Very Low-Mass) capsule technology developed by Audix during the early 1990s, FireBall is very clean and accurate, resistant to feedback and capable of handling sound pressure levels in excess of 140 dB without distortion.
Even more astonishing is the ability of the FireBall to maintain its high-quality sound reproduction even while the artist is cupping the grille ball. While this type of cupping action is necessary for style and effect, it can often cause the microphone to “boom out” or become muddy and distorted.
The FireBall is characterized with a smooth and uniform frequency response of 50 to 16k Hz and a cardioid polar pattern, allowing it to focus on the particular instrument that is being miked without picking up other instruments or ambient noise onstage.
Audix’s VP of sales and marketing, Cliff Castle, states, "The FireBall was brought about by requests from some of the artists we work with to develop a professional high-performance mic specifically suited for harmonica. While it is true that there are other mics that have been developed for harmonica in the past, none of them have really addressed the demands of the critical performer looking for accurate, high-quality sound. Those types of players have typically chosen good-quality vocal mics and have adapted their style to fit the profile of a vocal mic. Since Audix has been successful at developing application-specific microphones, we considered it an interesting challenge to come up with a contemporary high-end specialty microphone for harmonica. The original FireBall design began as a modified vocal microphone, but with input from some of the most well-respected and successful harmonica players today, the Fireball evolved into a stunning example of a product where form follows function.”
Castle concludes, “As with the many creative tools we have provided in the past, I am sure that many musicians and engineers will find interesting applications for the FireBall beyond its intended uses.”
The FireBall, which has a suggested retail price of $299, will include a heavy-duty mic clip and carrying pouch.