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Astatic by Hohner JT30 Roadhouse Harmonica Microphone

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Feb 23, 2009 1:17 AM GMT

Is it new product ?

"Astatic by Hohner JT30 Roadhouse Harmonica Microphone" is not selling in Japan.

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Comments (42)

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Feb 23, 2009 7:34 PM GMT
FatJim Replied:


I wonder if it's just the same as the new Blues Blaster or whether the element is different again. Anyone used one?

My guess is the changes are just cosmetic. The Astatic site still lists the JT30 and JT30VC as discontinued and mentions no collaboration with Hohner. Couldn't find anything on the Hohner site either. A very quiet relaunch...

Feb 23, 2009 9:50 PM GMT
Pat P Replied:

musicians friend has it. it appears to be grey in color, and has a xlr connector that is disguised to look like a switchcraft screw on. not sure about the element, probably the same as blues blaster (so sad).

Feb 24, 2009 2:31 PM GMT
HARPMAN Replied:

I saw it by musicians friend site.

Probably it has Japanese element.

Feb 24, 2009 10:41 PM GMT
Zack P Replied:

Really not screw on? Someone told me it did...

Feb 26, 2009 12:07 AM GMT
Pat P Replied:

well, technically it is a screw on I guess. but how can you screw on an xlr connector? hmmm.

Feb 26, 2009 7:31 PM GMT
Maciek D Replied:

On the musician-friend site they say, that it's an XLR but it's disguised one ;).

Feb 26, 2009 8:02 PM GMT
Kingley Replied:

Apparently it's a switchcraft connector like the old JT30's used.

I suspect that the element will not be great though.

Mar 01, 2009 1:14 PM GMT
Jawbone K Replied:

i bet it's similar to the nady/bushman bullet mic. low impedance element which is sort of ok for plugging into the p.a. but worthless for real tone say in a tube amp. and $100 for a neat shell is debatable.

i had a bluesblaster many years ago and gave it away. which i wish i'd kept it and put a decent element in it! i now have a bushman torpedo which may have a future with a cm or crystal element in coming months.

a mic like that is handy for hitting a jam and just plugging into a p.a. channel but otherwise i don't use it for anything else.

i have never liked an xlr on a harp mic. 1/4" jack or screw on or even hard wired is much better.

Mar 02, 2009 1:22 PM GMT
FatJim Replied:

regarding the screw on connector - one of the biggest issues with the Hohner Bluesblaster was people using the wrong cable. The BB cable having a different wire carrying the hot signal to a standard XLR-jack lead. My guess is the screw on XLR is a special connector - made to look like the old amphenol - but with the intention of making sure people use the proprietary Hohner cable.

I don't think it will be a low-z dynamic, but I do think it'll be the same Japanese crystal as the reissue BB. I read somewhere that fitting that element further back inside the shell can improve the frequency response (reducing the proximity effect) of those Japanese elements.

Mar 05, 2009 10:33 PM GMT
Zack P Replied:

Look at that, there are threads inside. How could they have a screw-on XLR?

Mar 05, 2009 11:32 PM GMT
Jay O Replied:

I wrote to hohner to ask and was told that the element in the bluesblaster and the roadhouse JT-30 are the same.

Mar 07, 2009 6:24 PM GMT
Barbeque Bob M Replied:

I believe these crystals are made by Kobiton of Japan, and they're really small crystals, and small crystals tends to emphasize highs and the original ones used by Astatic were much larger and the larger crystals have much more bottom end and midrnge to them.

Astatic stopped making crystals themselves around the time theyn went on strike in 1984, and then beginning with the BLJT30 that had the mini XLR connectors on them, began outsourcing for them and those crystals were terrible. In 1988, they found a company in Austria still making them like the way Astatic used and began using them until the company quit making them a couple of years ago as Astatic were the pnly company that was buying them at all.

The original BB were the first ones to use a volume control pot (the pre-1984 ones never came with one, and the volume control on the post 1984 ones was where the screw on connector was and the spot where the XLR connector is was just an open spot with threading so it could be screwed onto a mike stand). They were using 250K pots on these, and around 1990, they put one out under their name using a 500K pot. For crystals or ceramic cartridges, these are way too low and these pots are usually cheap and plentiful because they're commonly used on guitars. For crystals and ceramics, the correct pot value is a minimum of 1meg, with 5meg being ideal. 500K works better for CM/CR cartridges you find in older Green Bullet mikes, but for newer dynamic cartridges, ideally it should be 100K, not higher than 250K.

The casting quality on the newer ones is horrible and until I can get one of these new ones, jury's out. If you get these with the amphenol connectors, get yourself an adapter that goes from screw on to 1/4" jack and you can use a guitar cable and there's a wide variety of very high quality cables available frok companies like Spectraflex, Monster, or Mogami (my personal favorite). When I used to get the old ones with the screw on connectors brand new, I used to make those cables myself by buying the necessary connectors and get Belden 8410 raw cable with a rubber jacket, which never kinked. Some of these newer cables with the screw on connectors often don't have the cable properly integrated thru the ground spring.

Mar 14, 2009 1:22 PM GMT
HarpDog Replied:

I'm on my third Blues Blaster. With the first two (brand new) the XLR connector literally fell out! I contacted the supplier and they said "just glue it back in, that's what we do."

"Errrr, no, gimme a new one thanks", says I.

Mar 14, 2009 4:55 PM GMT
Barbeque Bob M Replied:

That's one of the biggest problems with the XLR connector and you often will run into bad cables or cables not properly wired for these mics. If you glue it back it, try using JB Weld, which you can find in any auto parts store. These connectors are pressed in at the factory and the newer ones have a very poor casting quality.

Mar 17, 2009 4:56 PM GMT
BlowsMeAwy Greg Replied:

Screw the XLR. XLR is BAD BAD BAD for high impedance mics and causes nothing but confusion. Rip that thing out, and put a screw-on connector in, like it should be!! Rip out the VC or move it where the XLR connector was. Put the new connector in the rear where it belongs.

(OK, I'm ranting. Caught me at a bad time)

Mar 17, 2009 5:23 PM GMT
Barbeque Bob M Replied:

I agree!!!

Mar 17, 2009 6:50 PM GMT
Maciek D Replied:

But it's sometime hard to replace XLR. I have an Astatic 10-C which originally had a very crazy connector. But prevorious owner changed into XLR (couldn't do anything else due to swivel) and now it's working without any problems. And I use a normal XLR to jack. But where can I get a xlr->jack cord especially for hot mic?

Mar 17, 2009 7:47 PM GMT
FatJim Replied:

Maciek - Just a quick resoldering job on a standard XLR-Jack lead. Open the XLR end, desolder the connection to pin 2 and resolder it to pin 3 (I think off the top of my head!)

Zack & Pat - I've never seen an XLR like it, but many other female audio/networking connectors have a loose sleeve that extends beyond the contacts and screws onto the male connector. LIke I said before, my guess is it is a part specially built for Hohner, so that people have to use the Hohner cable.

Mar 17, 2009 7:50 PM GMT
FatJim Replied:

Maciek - Just a thought though, if your mic has already been customised, the XLR on the mic is probably wired correctly for a generic lead (pin 2 hot) so you might not need to do anything.

Mar 18, 2009 5:45 PM GMT
Barbeque Bob M Replied:

That was never built specifically for Hohner at all. Astatic first used a mini XLR connector from about 1984-1986, and those were god awful and cables would snap easily. They first used the regular XLR on the black JT30's that came out in 1986, then the Blues blasters the following year.

Mar 18, 2009 5:53 PM GMT
BlowsMeAwy Greg Replied:

If its wired like the BluesBlaster it is already Pin 3 hot, not Pin 2 hot.


Mar 18, 2009 8:35 PM GMT
FatJim Replied:


Maciek says his mic works fine with a standard lead and that its previous owner added the XLR - to me that implies that guy wired it like a standard mic XLR (pin 2 hot) and not like a bluesblaster (pin 3 hot). or am I missing something? I just wanted to save Maciek a rewiring job if it wasn't necessary.


You clearly know a lot about the JT30 family! Are you saying that Hohner have used screw-on XLRs before? That's what this new mic has on it. This is what Musicians Friend says about the connector:

"Includes 20' cable with XLR female connection designed to fit the threads of the JT30"

So it is definitely a female XLR disguised as an amphenol, complete with screw on sleeve. I've never seen a screw on XLR before, nor can I find anyone selling them (why would they? XLRs already have an adequate latching system) - so if it's not a purpose made part, then they're as rare as hen's teeth!

BTW I'm in agreement with you both on the merits (or lack of) XLRs on a Hi-z mic!

Mar 18, 2009 10:05 PM GMT
Maciek D Replied:

Thanks guys for your advice. I've bought my Astatic from Ron Sunshine and you probably know that guy, so I'm sure he did the job fine :).

Mar 19, 2009 4:12 PM GMT
BlowsMeAwy Greg Replied:

FatJim -

I'll respectfully disagree that "pin 2 hot" is a standard for high impedance XLR wiring. (Some engineering consortium may have deemed it so at some point, but in the real world there is simply no standard.). Astatic and Hohner used Pin 3 hot. The Shaker mics are Pin 2 hot. There are many other examples of both. Low impedance XLR by contrast is well standardized. I get SO MUCH customer confusion about XLR whenever a high impedance mic is involved that I recommend against using it. I reserve XLR for all my low-Z gear, and have "standardized" to use screw-on connectors for my high-Z stuff. It is simpler that way.

As for the new Hohner mic, I have to see one to clear this up. If anyone has one, PLEASE POST A PHOTO OF THE CONNECTOR, WITHOUT CABLE ATTACHED! There is no such thing as a screw-on XLR. XLR uses the spring latch for retention. It is a worldwide standard. It is highly unlikely that Hohner would have a special variant of both male and female connectors molded, casted and produced just for this mic. It is POSSIBLE that Hohner has used the true older style Switchcraft 5/8" screw-on connector. In most supply catalogs this connector is found grouped together with the XLR connectors because they need to group it with SOMETHING as it is in a category by itself. Note that older 3-pin connectors, like on some Shure 545's, are NOT XLR. They DID use screw-on retention rings, but the pin spacing is different and the mic's connector is female, not male.


BlowsMeAway Productions

Mar 19, 2009 5:32 PM GMT
Barbeque Bob M Replied:

Greg, you bring up two excellent points here. If you get a cable that's Hi-Z with XLR to 1/4" plug, there are two common wirings, one for a Shure HI-Z setup and one for an Electro-Voice HI-Z setup and that has a huge bearing on how the sound works. Many of these hi-z cables are really low-z cables with one of the wires grounded together with the ground wire at 1/4" plug end. If you removed that XLR setup, and replaced it with a screw on connector on the mic, and use an adapter that goes from screw on to 1/4" plug, you'll quickly hear a difference, especially if you use a high quality cable from companies like Monster or Mogami. With the XLR setup, you often will fi nd some really crappy cables are too often the norm.

Mar 19, 2009 7:27 PM GMT
FatJim Replied:


Greg - sorry I think we're talking at cross purposes. I never said pin 2 hot was a standard for hi-z xlrs. Maybe my use of 'standard lead' was the cause of the confusion? I just meant as in bog-standard, common-or-garden, bought at your local music store XLR-jack, not for a harp mic and.certainly not Hohner Bluesblaster specific. The cheapo kind Bob's talking about. I've acquired several of these over the years and they are all wired with the signal on pin 2. Since the mic was working, I made anassumptionthat the mic was wired at as pin 2 hot. Yes I know pin 3 is hot on the bluesblaster. I just didn't want some guy taking his mic apart because he's read in this thread that the 'correct' cable is the same as the bluesblaster and took it to mean that all hi-z mics were wired that way.

Second point. We're at cross purposes again That was again the gist of my argument - there is no such thing as a screw on XLR that I know of - as I said in my post why should there be? they have a perfectly adequate latching system. But as the musician's friend site says, these mics use an XLR connector designed to look like an old style amphenol screw on connector and as this picture (click to enlarge it)

(that was posted by Zack way down the thread) shows - it does indeed have a screw on sleeve. I can't see the actual XLR, so it could be that Musician's Friend are providing incorrect information. However since they seem to be the only people who've actually seen one of these mics, so I'm guessing they're right.

So if it is indeed a screw on XLR - perverse as that may sound - then I can only assume it has been specially built, so that people have to use that cable and not a generic cable that causes all the problems with blueblasters.

The only way to be sure is for someone to actually get hold of one - personally I won't be wasting my cash on one, so I'll leave it for someone else to clear the matter up. I guess in a few months you'll probably end up rebuilding a few; putting in decent elements and connectors for all the unhappy people suckered into buying one.

That's all. I'm not trying to get into a P***ing contest with you (of all people) on the subject of microphones.

Mar 20, 2009 5:33 PM GMT
BlowsMeAwy Greg Replied:

Sorry if I misinterpreted you. No pissing intended or assumed! As for standard Hi-Z XLR-1/4" cables, though - I'll say it again - and Bob reinforced my point- there is no single standard- and especially for us in the harp community, it is better for people to know there are multiple flavors and wrong one won't work - so they can ask the right questions when they buy mics and cables. The fact that yours all turned out to be be Pin 2 hot is just luck. As for the Hohner connector, that picture is inconclusive but I still believe it is a screw-on connector. I do NOT think it is XLR. I think the fact that they CALL it XLR is explainable as I said in my previous post.

May 10, 2009 4:01 AM GMT
Eric S Replied:

Best harp mic I ever had, was a paper towel roll, played in an empty stair well, what bass and tone, damn cat got a hold of it and it's gone, ;-) but I know were to get another

May 13, 2009 11:32 AM GMT
HARPMAN Replied:

I orderd JT30 Roadhouse in Japan.

Option element is TURNER MODEL 21C.

May 14, 2009 12:07 PM GMT
bluesmandan Replied:

Bought myself two also bout a week ago... Couldn't turn down the sale price(after sale price + gift cert deal on MF of additional %20 got 2 shipped for $112) as I figured that if they suck, I can always use the shells as readyunits for some of my custom work.

I do own several vintage mics and was surprized by the sound of these units in comparison.

I will be selling the cables though as I use the switchcraft to phono adapters on mine.

May 14, 2009 4:55 PM GMT
Barbeque Bob M Replied:

It sounds like their trying to come close to the way the stuff they used to have behind the grille on the JT30's made prior to 1984, because when Astatic changed to this crappy piece of paper behind the grille, it allowed too moisture on the crystal and they'd blow out in about a year or less and the ones I got made after 1984, including the Rod Piazza one I got from him directly, I cahnged the grille to one I had in several pre-1984 ones I owned.

It a surprise to see them install a 5meg pot, let alone the capacitor, and what that capacitor does is that when you roll the pot down, it boosts the mids and highs so the tone doesn't differ at any volume, because when Astatic began putting in volume pots, they had been using 500K pots (which are common for guitars, but too low for a crystal or ceramic, but perfect for CM/CR cartridges), and on the Blues Blasters, they were originally 250K pots.

As far as cables go, get the screw on to 1/4" jack adapter, and get a high quality guitar cable because from what I've seen, the connectors aren't that great compared to old Switchcraft MC1 series and often times they don't properly solder the ground wire to ground spring on the connectors very well and you don't wanto to step on the cable any time soon.

BTW, the originals never had a volume pot, and where they now have the connector and pot is in reverse of what it was prior to 1984, and where they now have the connector was a threaded area where you screwed the mic on to a stand.

May 15, 2009 2:13 AM GMT
bluesmandan Replied:

Here's an inside view and a side by side old v.s. new pic just for kicks...

May 15, 2009 5:48 PM GMT
Barbeque Bob M Replied:

I think Rod used a linear taper 5mg pot on his with the same value capacitor. When Astatic had changed to that hin paper behind the grille after 1984, on the early mics Rod modified, he often placed a piece of cardboard behind it to keep excessive heat and moisture from melting the crystal because the paper setup Astatic used after '84 would ruin crystals very quickly.

May 15, 2009 9:33 PM GMT
BlowsMeAwy Greg Replied:

Well, I'm glad they used a screw-on connector. I'm disappointed no magic happened and they stuck with that piece'o'crapola element.

The capacitor: I've spent a lot of time playing several different mics and taking the cap in and out of the circuit. I SWEAR I cannot hear a difference. I think it is a marketing ploy. Bob, a capacitor cannot boost, it can only cut. I know what we all heard the "Rod Mod" supposedly did, but I can't hear it, plain and simple, and I've listened for it specifically. What it CAN do is CUT the highs at full volume, and roll them back in as the pot is turned down. I don't know if it actually does this, but that would be a more accuratedescriptionof the circuit design.Maybe some of you young whipper-snappers whose hearing above 16Khz is still intact will hear it - but I don't.

Also, the diaphragm of the mic is a completely effective moisture seal between your breath and the crystal. It is thin aluminum and moisture doesn't penetrate. The paper and foam DO indeed cut the highs, however, and can keep the exterior of the element a little cleaner over time.

In any case, you usually get what you pay for. I see no exception here.


May 16, 2009 4:36 PM GMT
Barbeque Bob M Replied:

Well, I have an actual Rod Piazza modded mic and one done in a very similar manner by J. Stephen Edwards (who I think actually did a better job), but the real difference doesn't come when the pot is all the way wide open, as that's not the reason it was put there in the first place. It's there to keep the mids and highs table when the pot gets rolled down, which is a common problem with all volume pots, and it's where the extreme lows and highs kill the mids when rolled down, and the cap takes effect in a few seconds after the pot roll down.

The idea that it's gonna compensate for a lousy crystal or ceramic isn't what that's for in the first place, because it really won't do that when the pot is turned all the way up. This thing is actually borrowing an idea that was done on the pre-1956 Fender Telecasters stock, as what was told to me by a guitar and amp repair tech I knew about 10 years ago, altho on thei guitar, they were using the more typical 500K pot.

On the mic, I have the mic turned 3/4 of the way up with a crystal because I know it's gonna be subject to body heat and moisture and at some point because of that, the volume is gonna drop and the mids an highs are too and then I can turn the pot up as needed.

May 16, 2009 5:02 PM GMT
Kingley Replied:

J Stephen Edwards is also known as "Silvertone" I believe. He's a great mic tech and I seem to recall that a one time he was making Biscuit mics and chroming them.

Is he still making / customising mics?

May 16, 2009 8:24 PM GMT
Barbeque Bob M Replied:

I think he still is.

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