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David's Tip of the Day: Why to Like Volume Controls

David Barrett Admin's picture

Yesterday I shared some reasons of why I don't like volume controls. Here are some reasons why a volume control can be good...

1) Set your volume control to 10, and the amp as loud as it can go just before feedback. Now drop your volume on the mic to 8. This 8 will be your normal volume, even for solos (remember to play softly as your normal playing volume... you want to have dynamic range so that you can play louder for your solo). If the band gets too excited and plays too loudly, then you know you have two more notches on your volume to get louder.

2) The most obvious location for a volume control is in the mic stand mount. Almost all of the old bullet mics have them. Bullet mics were meant to go on a stand, not to be held. Since we are holding the mic, the stand mount hole is fair game. This is a good location, but the big warning is to have a volume control knob be of small diameter so that your palms don't accidentally turn the volume as you're playing (this is a very common problem). The simple fix is to just take the knob off. The thin knurled stem is easy to turn when you need to, and won't turn when you're playing. A better, or less unsightly fix, is to have the knob be as small as possible.

3) In regards to the correct value of volume pot, have an expert put it in for you, they'll look at your mic element and know which volume will be best for it... and know which pot has the best taper (many go from off, to LOUD way too quickly). Our resident mic expert Greg Heumann ( can get you dialed in.

4) The most simple fix for items 2 and 3 above is an inline volume control, like the vintage Switchcraft shown on my mic in this picture Greg Heumann makes a modern version of this.