Heading click map main page main page search team sean chris photo library photo library photo library

My dad bought me an Audix Fireball microphone for playing amplified harmonica. These are nice mics, with a really hot element. My only problem with it is that it's hard to get a decent seal with my hands around it. Inspired by people I've seen using cups and/or drinking glasses for special effects and for practicing holding something about the shape of a traditional harp mic, I decided I'd build a "mic in a cup" to try to get a better seal. It worked great, and was very simple to do:


  1. Purchase a cheap plastic cup that's just big enough that your mic will fit inside it -- the one I got was $1.79 at the local Safeway grocery store. You need something more durable than your average disposable plastic cup -- something designed for patio use or something. If you have a choice of color, you have to pick blue, 'cause you're playing the blues.
  2. Drill out the bottom center of the cup to be large enough for the socket portion of the mic to protrude through. Be sure not to make the hole too big though, you're trying to get a good seal. I used a half-inch spade drill bit to start, and then enlarged it with a dremel tool until the mic would just slip through.
  3. If you'd like, cut off the lip of the cup to be shorter -- that's what I did. Functionally it'd work without doing that, I just wanted it to be smaller in length and diameter.
  4. If your mic isn't a tight seal in the cup, use some foam weatherstripping tape to seal around the largest portion of the mic. If you happen to have the right diameter of o-ring handy, you could use that where the socket goes through the bottom of the cup in addition, or instead.

Now you've got a mic you can actually get a seal on. I'm definitely able to get a better overdrive of the mic's element now. Here are a couple short quickly-whipped-together sound clips to illustrate the difference between accoustic playing, the mic-in-a-cup fireball, and my homemade pill-bottle mic -- the latter two played through my Fender Blues Junior amp. All of these were recorded through my laptop's built-in mic with Audacity software on the same settings, so the level you hear reflects the difference in the mics. I was just sorta noodling on the harp, but I tried to keep the noodling to be at least a bit similar for recording each of the sources.

(those were all recorded with a Bb Hohner "Special 20" harp)

Quick-n-easy pill-bottle mic instructions:

To make a pill bottle mic, get yourself a cheap dynamic computer mic, a standard quarter-inch phone plug, and an appropriately-sized pill bottle. Drill out the lid of the bottle in a fancy pattern, disassemble the original microphone to get the element out, and glue and/or tape it into the lid of the pill bottle. Solder the wires to the phone plug, and you're done.



Footer click map Grass Roots Motorsports Magazine Primitive Enterprises Kumho Tires
Copyright © 2015 Subrew.com
This document was last modified on Tuesday August 28, 2007
We use only standard HTML and CSS. This site will work with any web browser, but you should really be using Firefox if you aren't already...
Valid HTML 4.01!Valid CSS!