Harmonik – Accordion Mics – First impressions by Romano Viazzani

Harmonik ac5001plus

Harmonik Accordion Mics hit the right note for Romano Viazzani

In August 2017 Beltrami Accordions fitted my stalwart Beltrami CVP7, which I use fall all kinds of work, with a new microphone system designed for accordion by Harmonik of Brazil.  They cost a bit more than most accordion mics but are well worth the spend, particularly if you are a professional doing all manner of work which includes work where amplification is necessary.  Whether it’s playing in a pit orchestra in a theatre or, on stage with other live musicians in the open air, or inside a large or small venue the important thing is that the quality of sound is the best possible and that problems such as feedback are kept to a minimum.

Since their installation not a lot of my work has involved amplification as opposed to a year ago where it was required every night in the theatres for 8 shows a week. However, on the few occasions that I have needed amplification I have to say that these mics have impressed me.  The quality of sound that comes out of even the most basic small amplifier is remarkable.  I can only describe it as an incredibly clean and clear sound the likes of which one usually gets only from recordings. Even at low output volumes the sound is very focused and one doesn’t strain to hear it.

Coming through a large PA system at a venue the results were just as impressive.  Again the sound is so focused an pure even through the stage foldback monitors that one doesn’t struggle to hear the sound one is producing, even sitting in front of of a drummer (albeit a very sensitive drummer!). Usually this is the worse possible place for an accordion to sit.  Firstly one usually struggles to hear oneself which leads to turning up the volume in the monitor. This obviously can lead to feed back but worse still the drums can often be picked up by the accordion mics which means they get louder too through the monitor too.  No such problem with Harmonik mics.  I was practically sitting on top of my foldback monitor but there was no hint of feedback no did they pick up any external instruments around me like the drums. The unique little sprung harnesses that suspend the five right hand mics internally under the right hand grille absorb any shocks from external sound sound sources or any player movement.  The left hand mic (there is only one) which faces away from the left hand mechanism and picks up the reflected sound of the left hand grille.  Ingenious.  In doing this it picks up all the reflected sound so doesn’t favour any individual notes over which the mic is suspended. The sound is as even as if every note had it’s own mic!

No complaints from the other musicians either that sound was too harsh or too loud. The sound is so pleasant it does not annoy anyone.  Previously, even using very good microphone systems, in order to hear oneself, I learnt that the answer was to get a good sound on the house PA system but to boost the treble on the foldback monitors.  This usually creates quite a horrible sound through the foldback monitor but, because the accordion’s natural sound is easily covered by the overtones of other instruments, it was a necessary evil just to make the sound cut through enough to hear oneself.  Any accordionist will tell you that due to the fact that one cannot see one’s left hand when one is playing one is heavily dependent on hearing that what one is playing are the right notes as no visual stimulus exists to confirm this. So when one is in a situation where the amplification on stage is very loud a quick glance at one’s right hand keyboard confirms that one is playing the right notes even if one cannot hear them but with the left hand it’s a different story.  Hearing it well, is critical.

So far this system seems to me to be the best yet.  I look forward to hearing it in other situations such as outdoors, or within a theatre orchestra pit where balance with other instruments is paramount.  I understand that Richard Galliano uses the top of the range Harmonik microphone – the AC5001-plus which is the stereo version of my own AC5001-HQ.  This doesn’t surprise me in the least!

I’m very pleased that ZZ Music is able to supply and fit this new system as it certainly receives an early thumbs up from me!