Ultimate Microphones

Short, light, versatile Shure microphones optimized for harp players!

Toots Thielmans (RIP) used an Ultimate 58 microphone
Anyone who plays with a Shure stick mic - like the popular SM57, SM58 or "Unidyne 545" - 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.
Ultimate mics are harp-optimized versions of these legendary microphones. 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 toward the front, further improving grip comfort. For even more flexibility, all models can be ordered with a choice of high- or low-impedance and screw-on or XLR connectors.
BlowsMeAway Productions Ultimate microphones  for harmonica
Don't believe it? Listen to these pros!

These videos demonstrate a the versatility of Ultimate mic - from classical clean to rock to dirty blues. Take a listen!

Jump to the Product Info, Specs and Ordering Information Section for more product information.
New! July 2019 - Robert Bonfiglio endorses BlowsMeAway Productions Ultimate 58 microphone Called "the Paganini of the Harmonica" by the Los Angeles Times, Robert Bonfiglio dazzles audiences worldwide with his constant reinvention of the harmonica, from classical concertos to sizzling blues. Bonfiglio has performed Harmonica Concerti as the soloist with over 200 Major Orchestras including the Minnesota Orchestra, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Buenos Aires Philharmonic of Teatro Colón, the Luxembourg Philharmonic, the Leipzig MDR-Radio Symphony, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, the Madrid RTVE Orchestra, Edmonton Symphony, Rotterdam Philharmonic, the Mexico City Philharmonic, as well as the Pittsburgh Symphony, the National Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Louisville Orchestra, Boston Pops, New York Pops and the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the major halls of the world - Carnegie Hall, the Gewandhaus, Teatro Colón, Teatro Massimo, Teatro Amazonas, Kennedy Center, Boston Symphony Hall, Lincoln Center and the Hollywood Bowl. Robert says:
Easy to hold, light weight, volume control and the Shure 58 sound, what more could you want? Hooked into my Valco Supro Amp you can distort, but more over you can control the distortion. --July 2019
Now, listen to LA Studio master Ross Garren with his Ultimate 57 message of love...
Here's a beautiful tribute to Toots Thielemans by jazz chromatic player from Amsterdam, Hermine Deurloo with the Metropole Orchestra in the Royal Concertgebouw. Ms. Deurloo uses a BlowsMeAway Productions Ultimate 58 microphone, as did Mr. Thielemans.
... you can scroll to the bottom of this page to meet more pros who are sold on Ultimate Series mics.

Which one is right for you?

Ultimate 57 $219
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 57
Ultimate 58 $229
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. Toots, Koie Tanaka, Jellyroll Johnson... some of the best chromatic players in the world choose the Ultimate 58!
Ultimate 58
Ultimate 545 $229
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 character of its breakup when cupped hard. The Ultimate 545 has the most "blues mojo" of the three choices.

Vintage Element and Transformer upgrade:

Depending on my supply I am also able to offer the Ultimate 545 with used, vintage 545 elements and transformers for an extra $69 (have you priced true vintage 545's lately?) The older elements were indeed a bit dirtier still and rival a good bullet in break-up tone. Loads of pros use the Ultimate 545.

Ultimatize your mic $139
Although the Beta 57 and Beta 58 cannot be Ultimatized, some other Shure models can. These include the PE50SP, PE54, PE56, 548 (shown) and the 565. I do not supply these mics, but if you supply the donor mic, I can Ultimatize it!

Ordering Information:

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: 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
(Airline 77)
AG8 Wireless Transmitter
(Airline 88)
A: Low Z XLR XLR-XLR cable + Impedance Matching Transformer XLR-XLR cable XLR-XLR cable + Impedance Matching Transformer No adapter required Impedance matching XLR to 1/4" adapter
B: High Z Screw-on Screw-on to 1/4" cable Screw-on to 1/4" cable + DI Box Screw-on to 1/4" cable Yes, screw-on to XLR adapter required Switchcraft 332A adapter
C: High-Z XLR Pin 2 Hot XLR-1/4" cable,
Pin 2 Hot
XLR-1/4" cable, Pin 2 Hot + DI Box XLR-1/4" cable, Pin 2 Hot No adapter required XLR to 1/4" adapter, Pin 2 Hot
D: High-Z XLR Pin 3 Hot XLR-1/4" cable,
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 XLR to 1/4" adapter, Pin 3 Hot

Options

Engraving: Personalize your Ultimate!

Diamond engraving (text only)

$49 1st line

$39 add'l line

Diamond engraving is done in house on my CNC milling machine
Ultimate microphone with Bulletizer
Laser engraving $139
Laser engraving is subcontracted and can convey more complex images. It adds approx. 2 weeks to delivery time.
Billet Aluminum Knob $19
All Ultimate mics include a volume control as a standard feature. The mic is supplied wth a black plastic knob. I make optional custom billet aluminum knobs in my shop.

Specify "tapered/polished" (top) or "knurled" (bottom).

Knurled Aluminum Knob
Bulletizer $49
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!
Ultimate microphone with Bulletizer
Shure Mic Clip $14.95
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, made for Shure's wireless mics, fit the mic properly.
Shure WA371 Mic Clip

Contact BlowsMeAway to purchase. Warranty: BlowsMeAway warranties the Ultimate Series Microphones for 2 years from date of purchase.

Here are a few more happy Ultimate Series Microphone Customers....

Harmonica virtuoso, classical guitarist, singer, songwriter, arranger, composer Enrico Granafei has a long history of musical experience which encompasses both Classical Music and Jazz. After earning a degree in classical guitar from the Conservatory of l'Aquila in Italy, Enrico started to broaden his horizons by discovering Jazz through the harmonica. In 1978 Enrico moved to Germany where he began to perform and to teach in two different "Musikschulen". In the early 80's, after returning to Italy, he started to broaden his horizons by discovering Jazz through the harmonica. Following in the tradition of the legendary Toots Thielemans, he began to explore new possibilities for the harmonica, an instrument too often associated solely with Rock and Blues. Besides playing in the best jazz clubs in Italy during that period, Enrico performed regularly on national television where he was a member of the Pippo Caruso orchestra in the show “Un milione al secondo” on national TV. His love for Jazz led him to New York City, the world capital of Jazz, where he soon started to perform in local jazz clubs, including The Blue Note, Birdland, Visiones, Angry Squire, and the Bottom Line. In 1992 Enrico earned a masters' degree in Jazz Performance from the Manhattan School of Music where he was the only student of Toots Thielemans.

Enrico chose an Ultimate 58 microphone for his work and says:

Now that I can play everything from dirty blues to clean jazz standards, I'm completely sold on Rackit! BlowsMeAway knocked it out of the park with this new design.

Enrico Granafei

One of the strongest modern proponents of Baton Rouge swamp blues, Kenny Neal is a second-generation southern Louisiana bluesman who is cognizant of the region's venerable blues tradition and imaginative enough to steer it in fresh directions. Neal was born on October 14, 1957 in New Orleans. His dad, harpist Raful Neal, was a Baton Rouge blues mainstay whose pals included Buddy Guy and Slim Harpo (the latter gave three-year-old Kenny his first harmonica.

Kenny says:

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.
Kenny Neal uses a BlowsMeAway Productions Ultimate microphone
New Jersey pro Rob Paparozzi is the front man for Blood Sweat and Tears, and has his own blues band, the Hudson River Rats.

Rob says:

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 uses a BlowsMeAway Productions Ultimate microphone

PT Gazell — ultra-nice guy and one of the swinginest, smoothest players I know.

PT says:

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!
Chicago's own Billy Branch has this to say:
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.
Billy Branch uses a BlowsMeAway Productions Ultimate microphone

Ben Henry Edwards of the U.K. is well known for his work with the Charlie Winston band

Ben says:

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.
Benjamin Edwards uses a BlowsMeAway Productions Ultimate microphone
"Harpboxer" Brandon Bailey, winner of the 2008 Orpheum Star Seach and Jefferson Awards performer and Ultimate 57 user has this to say:
"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 uses an Ultimate 57