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Author Topic: KEL HM-1 continues to blow me away  (Read 19539 times)

josh

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KEL HM-1 continues to blow me away
« on: September 09, 2005, 08:53:18 am »

Got a pair of KEL HM-1 "mid" diaphragm cardiod condenser mics about a year ago (when they first came out).  So far I haven't done a lot of recording with them but last night we did some fingerstyle guitar stuff and the KEL was the king, compared with AT4041, Behringer ECM8000 (my usual go-to acoustic guitar mic).  AT4041 was way too bright, and the Behringer sounded good but kind of dull and lifeless compared with the KEL.

This has the KEL HM-1 about a foot away from the 12th fret of the guitar, panned slightly left, and the "room" mic is about 4 feet away to the right of the guitarist (modified Oktava MK-219) it's panned slightly right.  This is with my Yamaha PM1000 pres, no processing.

http://prophetsandpoets.com/josh/mp3/KEL_Okt_Acoustic.mp3

Several months ago we did a quick & dirty drum mic test with KELs as overheads, here's the MP3 of the raw overheads-only of the kit, RAMSA DA-7 pres and a not-great room (please excuse the crappy drummer):

http://prophetsandpoets.com/josh/mp3/HM1_drum_sample.mp3

Since moving into the studio with the big room, and getting everything installed including the rockin Yamaha PM1000 pres all wired in, we've done a fair amount of drum recording with the HM-1's as overheads and other mics on the kit, and it's hard to argue that it's not our best choice for rock drums.  Seems like no matter what we put this mic on, it ends up being our pick, even though we've only tried it a limited number of times.

Worth a look for sure.

hargerst

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Re: KEL HM-1 continues to blow me away
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2005, 08:15:53 am »

Overload!!  Danger, Will Robinson!!

There's just too much stuff on the market.  I can't keep up.
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Harvey "Is that the right note?" Gerst
Indian Trail Recording Studio

digibird

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Re: KEL HM-1 continues to blow me away
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2005, 12:39:50 am »

hargerst wrote on Sat, 10 September 2005 13:15

Overload!!  Danger, Will Robinson!!

There's just too much stuff on the market.  I can't keep up.


At $99 each (includes shipping), the KEL HM-1 is one you can afford to keep up with:

http://www.kelaudio.com/hm1.html

I received a pair in the mail just a few days ago and am looking foward to using them in the next few days.  I'll report back what I learn/hear.
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covert

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Re: KEL HM-1 continues to blow me away
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2005, 03:21:25 am »

I'd be really curious to hear a comparison with the AT2020, which seems to have a similar design philosophy.
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hargerst

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Re: KEL HM-1 continues to blow me away
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2005, 11:01:18 am »

digibird wrote on Sat, 10 September 2005 23:39

hargerst wrote on Sat, 10 September 2005 13:15

Overload!!  Danger, Will Robinson!!

There's just too much stuff on the market.  I can't keep up.


At $99 each (includes shipping), the KEL HM-1 is one you can afford to keep up with:

http://www.kelaudio.com/hm1.html

I received a pair in the mail just a few days ago and am looking foward to using them in the next few days.  I'll report back what I learn/hear.

Gotta admit; it looks interesting.
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Harvey "Is that the right note?" Gerst
Indian Trail Recording Studio

Trumpetman2

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Re: KEL HM-1 continues to blow me away
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2005, 07:20:07 am »

PLEASE try it on trumpet and post a sound clip....I have bought WAY too many mics for trumpet based on "rave reviews" and then they weren't that impressive on trumpet.. and, I ran the mics thru good mic pres (Grace Design 101, BG-1{DECCA}, MP-20,Ward-Beck M470D, and others..). Shocked
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Jack Schitt

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Re: KEL HM-1 continues to blow me away
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2005, 11:04:10 am »

covert wrote on Sun, 11 September 2005 03:21

I'd be really curious to hear a comparison with the AT2020, which seems to have a similar design philosophy.


I'm not sure they are that close. I have a pair of HM-1's and they very clearly were not designed with a presence peak in mind and use a much smaller diaghram than the 2020.  I haven't had a chance to try the 2020 but what I have read seems to indicate it does have a slight rise on the top end.

They both seem to get pretty good press and from 1st hand experience I think the HM-1's are a nice mic period, not just for the money. They tell you right in the manual it isn't a go to mic for everything and it isn't. That said, I will have mine for years to come.
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covert

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Re: KEL HM-1 continues to blow me away
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2005, 07:01:53 am »

Denny W. wrote on Mon, 12 September 2005 11:04

covert wrote on Sun, 11 September 2005 03:21

I'd be really curious to hear a comparison with the AT2020, which seems to have a similar design philosophy.


I'm not sure they are that close. I have a pair of HM-1's and they very clearly were not designed with a presence peak in mind and use a much smaller diaghram than the 2020.  I haven't had a chance to try the 2020 but what I have read seems to indicate it does have a slight rise on the top end.

They both seem to get pretty good press and from 1st hand experience I think the HM-1's are a nice mic period, not just for the money. They tell you right in the manual it isn't a go to mic for everything and it isn't. That said, I will have mine for years to come.



I'm not sure they are at all close.  What I said was similar design philosophy, by which Imeant low cost and not hyped highs.  Add to that side address and some small details.  My recollection is also that both mics have capsule diameters in the mid size range, although AT calls theirs lrge and KEL calls theirs small.  As a reference, look at the MXL 990/991, which have teh same size capsule, but the 990 gets called large and the 991 small.
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josh

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Re: KEL HM-1 continues to blow me away
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2005, 12:30:23 pm »

I'll see if I can talk my coworker into bringing in his trumpet.  He's not a great trumpet player so it'll take some coaxing to get him to play it and let me record it.

These mics are darker than your standard condenser.  Not as lush/warm/euphonic dark as my modded MK-219's but more like a good small-diaphragm mic without the peakiness.

luckybastard

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Re: KEL HM-1 continues to blow me away
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2005, 02:13:32 pm »

josh i'm curious, what kind of mods were done on your 219's and what kind of pres do you use them through?
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josh

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Re: KEL HM-1 continues to blow me away
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2005, 02:51:08 pm »

luckybastard wrote on Tue, 13 September 2005 19:13

josh i'm curious, what kind of mods were done on your 219's and what kind of pres do you use them through?


I did the "grille mod" on both of them (cut and file out the aluminum cross bars on the grille, ground the mesh grille with copper tape), which removes pretty much all of the "boxy" sound of the mics.  I removed the "resonator" on one of them (black plastic thingy on the diaphragm), and that mic became immensely more detailed and lush in the midrange... and darker.

I can recommend the grille mod since other than being kind of labor-intensive, it's not exactly rocket science and removes the one most obnoxious flaw of the MK-219s.  

The resonator mod, however, is not exactly for the faint of heart.  You'd better have a steady hand, a clean environment, patience and the right size tools.  Easiest/best way to do it is to remove the screws holding the resonator on, then carefully cut the plastic resonator so that it can be removed from the center-electrode wire without removing the electrode screw.  I managed to ding the diaphragm on mine, and I am very used to working on surface mount stuff under a stereoscope.  I guess that adds character.  It at least added a dent.  Anyway, the mic sounds fantastic and I am always reaching for it, but it makes recordings that easily get buried in a mix with busy top end.

I am really tempted to buy another couple of these mics if they go on a 2/$99 deal at GC again and do all the mods, plus epoxy the holes in the backplate to make them omnis.  Back in the day, before Guitar Center, these were well-regarded mics and deservedly so.  Nowadays it's so popular to knock all the "cheap chinese knock offs" that the Russian standby mics get caught up in the bad press.  Well I guess some folks say the QC is iffy or was on some Oktava mics, but IMHO, these things are right in there with the best investments I've made.  The one with the resonator still on it just loves guitar cabinets.


josh

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Re: KEL HM-1 continues to blow me away
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2005, 03:12:45 pm »

luckybastard wrote on Tue, 13 September 2005 19:13

what kind of pres do you use them through?


Yamaha PM-1000 console strips.

I haven't tried them with anything else, but we also have a Drawmer 1960 (whose mic pre doesn't sound nearly as good as the Yamahas).

Trumpetman2

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Re: KEL HM-1 continues to blow me away
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2005, 05:55:25 am »

JOSH:  Thanks for your interest on the Kel/trumpet test.  Incidentally, I have an Oktava M-319; are the modifications you talk about applicable to this one too?  I am ABSOLUTELY "non-technical" so I wouldn't dream of doing it, but maybe you could do it for a fee....?  Or lead me to someone who would...Let me know. Shocked
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josh

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Re: KEL HM-1 continues to blow me away
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2005, 06:27:11 am »

Trumpetman2 wrote on Wed, 14 September 2005 10:55

JOSH:  Thanks for your interest on the Kel/trumpet test.  Incidentally, I have an Oktava M-319; are the modifications you talk about applicable to this one too?  I am ABSOLUTELY "non-technical" so I wouldn't dream of doing it, but maybe you could do it for a fee....?  Or lead me to someone who would...Let me know. Shocked



319 body/grille is the only difference from the 219.  I think the grille issue is largely a non-issue on the 319 but I don't have any direct experience.  You could remove the resonator tho.  Like I said it's tricky (not technically tricky, but steady-hand-delicate tricky).

Pretty sure I'm not up for doing them for a fee.  Maybe someday Smile  At the moment, I don't have a source for replacement capsules in the event I ding yours like I did mine Smile

Dan frowned pretty hard at my suggestion that he play some trumpet on this tune we're working on.  I'll see if I can coax him.

Trumpetman2

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Re: KEL HM-1 continues to blow me away
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2005, 07:59:57 am »

Josh:  Got it, I might just try it myself.  Question though, how does the moded 219 compare to the Kel?  Heck, might be better to just get a Kel for a "C note"!!! Smile
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