The Harpoon is Lullaby’s take on the handheld Harmonica Microphone. It's voice is designed to imitate the early Astatic Biscuit Microphones used by Little Walter.
For this Prototype Run I chose a half dozen Mil-Spec American Made Audio Transformers; built in New York in the 1960's, and two distinct vintage Electro Magnetic Dynamic Diaphragms and Coils. I chose elements that exhibited a frequency response similar to the early Crystal Microphones mentioned earlier. Extra Mid-Range Projection; Rolled off Bass; and Steeply Attenuated Treble.
Math gets you close, but final decisions must be made by feel and ear. After carefully selecting the microphone's diaphragm, I built a dozen prototypes; each using a slightly different turns ratio on the transformer, and one of 2 diaphragms. Now for the fun part; using them all in a handful of real life scenarios and identifying the winner. The turns ratio (coil ratio) of a transformer effects a microphone's output and frequency response. Manipulating the transformer's coil ratio allows me to make a dynamic mic that behaves like a crystal mic.
Since having the opportunity to play a strong Astatic Biscuit Mic, like Little Walter used, Ive been dissatisfied with modern harp mics. Some are state of the Art devices and I have the utmost respect for their designers, however, as a player I am after a different result than their engineers must be. Many modern microphone designers see diaphragm distortion as a negative and have meticulously revised their designs to eliminate it; much like early Tube Amplifier makers sought to avoid distortion in their amplifiers. We've come to learn, however, that the point at which the tube starts to color the tone, by distorting the signal, is the point that an amplifiers sounds and performs its best. My favorite Harp Microphones share a similar characteristic.
The particular diaphragm/coil/magnetic element used in The Harpoon has a similar inflection to the character of an early Quartz Crystal Piezo Element, like those found in the old Astatic Biscuit Microphones like Little Walter used. Our element feeds into a New Old Stock Micro-Tran Audio Transformer; Made to Military Specifications in the 1950’s in Valley Springs, New York. This combination achieves a tone reminiscent of the Golden Age of Crystal Mic'd Harp Tone.
My favorite setup is simple, I run the Harpoon straight into a pair of 5-Watt Class A Lullaby Amplifier Combos.
As the prototype batch, each is signed, numbered, and meticulously tested. Each has its own unique characteristics and each Harpoon is one of a kind, however all are finished to professional standards and perform flawlessly.
The next batch of Harpoon's will use new production elements and transformers made to the specifications discovered during this Prototyping process. Of the 12 unique element/transformer combinations, and after hours of chugging through each, I have identified the combination which hits the target. Due to