Richard Smith, AKG Allow Harmonica to be Wireless

Jun 10, 2003 12:00 PM, Editors


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To overcome the challenge of keeping the microphone from slipping and disrupting the cup formed by a harmonica player's hands to create specific sounds, inventor Richard Smith has created the first wireless electric harmonica using components from AKG's WMS 40 Microtools.

Based in the UK, Smith developed the harmonica with an built-in microphone and a belt-mounted preamp to provide the instrument with the necessary power. This approach immediately removes the task of juggling instrument and a traditional microphone at the same time. During development, Smith tested many wireless products, but ultimately chose AKG's WMS 40 Microtools Series MP 40 Micropen. The components were integrated into the harmonica; the patented instrument, given the brand name "Harmonix," will be available this year.

The first model Smith tested was a large 16-hole chromatic harmonica of the type commonly used by Stevie Wonder. Because of its size, the harmonica has two omnidirectional 6mm condenser microphone capsules installed at the rear of the instrument. Smaller chromatic and blues harmonicas will only require one microphone. The MP 40 transmitter chip is integrated into the harmonica body and a 1.5-volt battery inside the rear-panel battery compartment powers the whole system.

For more, visit AKG online at

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