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Another huge thumbs up for the HM-1 KEL (mini Review)

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by audiowkstation, Nov 7, 2005.

  1. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member


    I am not affiliated witrh the KEL company nor have I been asked to write anything about their products. Once in a while, a curious product is out there and when people say, this thing is good and I look at the price, I simply have to see for myself. So..without further ado, here is my personal observations so far.

    Well folks, certain people tell me to "check out" a certain microphone, I listen. Sometimes I do not like to hear it when they say, "Check out XXX microphone, it is only $1700.00"..because if you are like me, you just don't throw around 1700 on a sight unseen sound unheard microphone. You RENT one first.

    Well, I received a pair of HM-1's today. Really nice build quality, no fancy wood case or plastic snap box, nothing that says "attention whore". This is simply a small diaphram (1/2 inch) condenser FULL RANGE microphone for a cee note each (sans one buck)..shipped. For the price of an SM58, you can have a real, honest to goodness, high performance condenser microphone.

    As their website states, they sound "different" than the competition. I am going to toss out who "they" are. It is Kelly from KEL. No 200 employees, no slick ads in maggotzines (with apology to some editors I think very highly of) and no Bee ess. You call Kelly, you get your microphones.

    the trick with these is the slight mid frequency dip employed in its design. The "steel sound" of other condensers in the 150 to 800 (and up) priced range is GONE. The HM-1's sound "rich and expensive" and "taylored" to "ear candy" and that is as simple as I can put it. They are very wide range, 20 to 20K is level with each end. (dip from 1.7K to 3.5K of about 2.5dB but very gradual) Yes, you get plosives if you eat it. They (or each) come with a pop filter of foam (Windscreen to about 5 knots is my guess) and the proper stand adapter with Both the European female adapter and the standard threads for your average mic stands. Cardboard box with foam inserts, a frequency response chart of YOUR microphone and some very helpful tips for the novice recordist. You also need to have phantom power of 48V to "turn it on" so this is your chance to use those phantom switches if you are a dynamic user.

    Well, I ordered these for the purpose of capturing a female that has the "Taylor Dane" power and that powerful edge that all but WASTES most microphones and turn them into resonance chambers at the most painful frequencies imaginable. So far, I have spoken into one of them (Wow) and put one of them against my clock radio speaker and turn it up (sounded like a big clock radio on playback), put some powerful trombone through it, tried the electric bass using my practice 10 inch speaker and sat it outside to spy on the ladies in the pool next door.

    What can I say? This thing is full of surprises and sounds "GREAT" to me. It is a specialized microphone for a specialized sound...that sound that is rich, clean, distortion free and lifelike..without the pain.

    Is this what you been looking for?

    I will give more insight as to how it handles a POWERFUL female vocalist sometime later this week. I tried many microphones up to and including some pricey ones and I simply had to use pretty major eq to get that "pain and steel" out of her vocals. She slamms a diaphram..way hard..and back her away, it simply gets worse.

    BTW, no one told me to write this. Kelly did not, this is not an advertisement but a form of public service to those who have been looking at a cheapy priced condenser and simply don't trust anything under 600 bucks. Is it worth that much? Well, I know it is definitly worth the asking price. So far, very nice, very cool.

    You can check it out at http://www.kelaudio.com

    I call them as I see them and the "ACID TEST" will commence this week.
  2. TheArchitect

    TheArchitect Active Member

    Telling me once you are not affiliated is fine. Telling me several times has me questioning your motives....

    and I happen to love the mics myself
  3. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    "Some people" have to be told more than once. If not, they can't "get it".

    Ever worked with someone like that?

    PM me if you question my motives. I am dying to hear your extrapolation.

    BTW, What makes 2 times total..."several" ?
  4. TheArchitect

    TheArchitect Active Member

    More than once would constitute several. Getting offended isn't strengthening your claim any. Shills are sent to boards like these on a regular base. You have to know that. And you wonder why some one would question it?
  5. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    However you feel sir. I am not offended in the least bit.

    Carry on.
  6. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    sheesh....what exactly pissed YOU off so much, Architect?

    From what I know about KEL microphones, they're exactly as he described, including a small grass-roots level promotion - even here on RO. What's the big deal with letting the guy tell us how much he likes them and has gotten some great results with them?

    Personally, I've never worked with them, but I'm sure I will, sooner or later. I like their return policy, as well as their policy of giving you the specs for the mic you purchase. All for about $100. I don't get a sense of "Shilling" going on here, and I saw no need to quote his entire initial post or shame the guy for saying what he feels about the mics.

    Seriously, the guy takes the time to explain - in detail - what he's found out about the mics, and all YOU do is pick on him for some kind of vieled inference that he works for KEL or something.

    It's a pity, really. It was a good initial post, and this SHOULD have been a good thread with useful information and feedback about the mic itself instead of amateurish bickering about motives.
  7. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    If you look on the left side under the name you will notice that audiowkstation has been around RO since 2001 and has 2158 post to his credit. That alone qualifies him to post away without people questioning his motives. Trolls do not stick around for 4 years nor post 2158 times. Also if you search his posts you will notice they are of great quality and very helpful in sharing what he knows. I hope awk continues sharing his findings on these mics-= I myself am planning on getting a couple anyway so its nice to hear from experienced users.
  8. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    I am hoping to try them in the Blumlein pair configuration with a guitarist soon. This will be a unique test and I hope to report on it. This was one reason I purchased them...for guitar, the other being the one voice of one singer that is all but impossible to capture.

    Blumlein pair configuration shown below.

    Picture credit: From Bruce Swedien.


    Joe and miantiger, thank you for running wingman with me! Arch must have been having a bad day.
  9. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Kel HM-1 in Blumlein?!? HM-1s are card only.

    By the way...

  10. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    Very true, very true...but they don't have to be!!!

    (evil grin on face)

    And thank YOU for the welcome David!!
  11. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    You've just GOT to tell me more about this! :)

    Hmmm... did they employ the Braunmuhl-Weber design? Are you going to somehow alter the ratio/polarity of the two plates?

    I'm excited! :D
  12. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    Yeah, if you have a mod for this, you're gonna have to share it mate. No fair hoarding mic mods.
  13. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    I am going to do about 3 months of using them bone stock. I may purchase another pair to tear down for some mods. Actually, in the card pattern, you can make up quite a bit of the "differences" simply by using gain management. Once I get "that deep" into it, I will most definitly offer a primer on what it took to change the directionallity either via active or passive or both! I will be treading on some new water here and I was able to learn what Sony was doing with the S800C's which is my "go to" vocal mic, along with the B&K 4006's

    It will be baby steps because what they do now is pretty significant for the price point but other options would be very nice to experiment with. I may NOT be sucessful as well but I think I will give it a go..once the guitarist (that also plays a mean bass) gets here for his sessions. Like I say, about 90 days down the road.

    It may actually take 4 of them to pull off what I want to attempt!

    I have a decent understanding of what directions I want to try, but until I actually start slinging solder, it is pure guesswork at this point. I better leave the guessing to myself for now.

    More to come on that..I have quite a bit to learn!
  14. Empty Planet

    Empty Planet Guest

    I'm waiting for mine to arrive. I will say that Kelly is not so great at answering emails. One I wrote weeks ago and another I wrote days ago -- quite polite emails, mind you -- remain unanswered.

    But then again, if the mic sounds as decent as some of the descriptions imply and some of the samples I've heard demonstrate, I'll be quite happy to forgive and count myself blessed. :D

    A flat condensor not boosted in the highs -- what a concept. :shock:

    Cheers all.
  15. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    I will say that the extreme top has some power in it. No problem capturing bats..I suppose..but the sssss test is clean and has the extreme top "air" to it (i/e 14KHZ and above) without any of the "spitty" sound that is associated with the lower end condensers. I do suggest you use the supplied windscreen. the extreme bottom up close is ALL there.

    Still cutting vox and all is holding up exceptionally well.

    I recorded my Dog growling, (she is a small terrier "benji" type dog)..and my buddy in Ct said it sounded like a 15 foot alligator! so...in all fun, she does have a deep voice!
  16. ggunn

    ggunn Guest

    Have you by any chance compared them to the Studio Projects B-1?
  17. tmcconnell

    tmcconnell Guest

    just for balance..

    The off axis response is colored, and the rejection is not great. I agree with all the rest though. I call it a "poor man's AEAR84". I have both, and at least for electric guitar, they are quite similar.

    My basis for comparison is about 20 other mics in my cabinet. The HM-1 will not become a general purpose mic for me. The gold standard for rejection in my collection is the earthworks z30x.
  18. ggunn

    ggunn Guest

    Re: just for balance..

    I would love to be able to afford a pair of those, but my operation runs on a shoestring. The essence of my question is this: My general purpose condenser mics at the moment are a pair of SP B-1's; would I be better served by a pair of HM-1's?
  19. Empty Planet

    Empty Planet Guest

    Just got my HM-1 and have been putting it through some of its paces this morning.

    FWIW, I'm impressed. I can't see it becoming a contender as a vocal mic, but on acoustic guitar it absolutely blows away anything else I've ever heard in that price range. It turned my average-sounding acoustic guitar into something special. Round and warm and, dare I say it, even exciting. Haven't been able to say that about any tracks made with that guitar before. Really impressed with this little guy.

    For the person who asked about how it compares to a Studio Projects.... I have a C1, which isn't far from your B series. My personal opinion is that you'd be doing yourself a real favor by picking up one or two of these. It probably won't replace your Studio Projects on vox, but my experience with the C1 on acoustic guitar is that I invariably have to prepare myself for a long eq session after tracking is over, just in order to deal with the annoying, unmusical resonances the SP mics tend to create. Don't mean to say the SP is unusable, hell, anything's usable, it's just very finicky and is prone to harshness.

    In comparison, the Kel mic is truly easy. Basically throw it up and play, and the sound, at least in my informal run-throughs this morning, sounded completely usable right off the bat. A real pleasure to work with. Kelly has himself a damned succesful creation; I wish his company much success.

    My two cents.


    8) :D

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