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Kel Audio HM-7U review
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #31
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GordZilla's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heartfelt ➑️
<<Bad Rob! Speaking after hearing on PC speakers>>

I just heard them all again on the Yam's. I like the 7U better than the other Kel's. But there is something poking me in the forehead.

Chris, there seems to be something happening in your samples on "your" p's and b's. I don't hear it in the female's clips or on the Kel site... just trying to help.

I like these samples better than the Kel
Audio-Technica - Microphones, headphones, wireless microphone systems, noise-cancelling headphones & more : AT4060

I like these the best of All
Mic Shootout BeesNeez / Wagner / Neumann


All of the AT mics and all of the beesneez, except the Arabella, are under $1K. th AT are great but the BN mics are smoking. Listen to how rich they sound. You can tell what I want to buy next.
With all due respect

I like those samples too, and the AT 4060 and Jade are indeed pretty nice sounding mics.... but ALL of the Kel mics are $299 and UNDER!

The Beesneez Jade is a tube mic, and $400 MORE than the HM-7U. If I was in the market for a decent tube mic under $1k I would certainly check the Jade out... but then again there are a number of OTHER contenders in that price range worthy of consideration, no?

The AT 4060 is another highly regarded TUBE mic... but costs nearly $1000 more than the 7U!! (I am quoting new prices here, not used).

To be fair.... I would say it would be more realistic to compare the HM-7U to other mics at a similar price point... like say, a Studio Project C-1, or... or AT 4040... or a RODE NT1-A... or.... Shure KSM-27..... or AKG C2000B...or........ well, you get my point. Compared to THESE mics... the HM-7U more than holds it's own IMHO.

For cash-strapped folks, like me, the Kel Audio mics have been a god-send... their mics sound great, but also don't sound like every other "cheap" mic...their build quality seems to be better than most "cheap" mics... and they are...well.....um... CHEAP (price-wise )

But don't take my word for it Rob... buy a HM-7U and try it out for yourself... and if you don't like it... RETURN it within 21 days for a FULL refund.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #32
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A LaMere's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by xhavepatiencex ➑️
I honestly can't get over the little blue led on the front of the mic, that comes across as cheap to me.
Agreed.
I'll be honest, the mic's looks and weight/feel aren't incredible.

They aren't quite "K-mart" but I've been much more impressed with several other mics in this price range as far as looks, etc go.
Now here's the thing, whenever I read a review and it starts with an "initial impressions" section and talks about how nice the mic is to look at and how heavy the build of the mic is I always think to myself... "who the [email protected]#$ cares?!?"

HOW DOES IT SOUND!!?

At this price range... in honesty, most of the mics I've heard I thought were downright terrible sounding. Not trying to be mean, but many....especially initially weren't that great. They looked cool... they looked PRO... but didn't sound as good as most cheaper dynamics in my opinion.

This is the first time I ever opened the package and thought...
Wow, this thing is light... not what I expected.

Which instantly made me wonder.
Did he save money on the cosmetic piece of this mic in order to be able to invest more in the actual electronic portion?? It sounds as if that might be the case.
I'd guesstimate that w/many of the cheaper mics... the body and head makeup about 1/2 of the cost of the actual mic. Maybe more...

That being said... I might take a sharpie and color over the blue led.
Yes, I'm serious. I don't need to know when phantom is turned onto the mic...

I can't tell yet if the blue led will annoy me...
or if friends, clients, and other users will actually think that it makes the mic look cool and somewhat original.

I'm still at a 'we'll see" I guess..
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #33
Lives for gear
 
GordZilla's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by A LaMere ➑️
Agreed.
I'll be honest, the mic's looks and weight/feel aren't incredible.

They aren't quite "K-mart" but I've been much more impressed with several other mics in this price range as far as looks, etc go.
Now here's the thing, whenever I read a review and it starts with an "initial impressions" section and talks about how nice the mic is to look at and how heavy the build of the mic is I always think to myself... "who the [email protected]#$ cares?!?"

HOW DOES IT SOUND!!?

At this price range... in honesty, most of the mics I've heard I thought were downright terrible sounding. Not trying to be mean, but many....especially initially weren't that great. They looked cool... they looked PRO... but didn't sound as good as most cheaper dynamics in my opinion.

This is the first time I ever opened the package and thought...
Wow, this thing is light... not what I expected.

Which instantly made me wonder.
Did he save money on the cosmetic piece of this mic in order to be able to invest more in the actual electronic portion?? It sounds as if that might be the case.
I'd guesstimate that w/many of the cheaper mics... the body and head makeup about 1/2 of the cost of the actual mic. Maybe more...

That being said... I might take a sharpie and color over the blue led.
Yes, I'm serious. I don't need to know when phantom is turned onto the mic...

I can't tell yet if the blue led will annoy me...
or if friends, clients, and other users will actually think that it makes the mic look cool and somewhat original.

I'm still at a 'we'll see" I guess..
Yes, I must admit that I too was initially "underwhelmed" by how light this mic was when I first got it.. but I resolved to judge it by how it sounded rather than how it looked or "hefted". I also noted that the pad was labled "6db" and the website documentation said it was "10db".

Here is what Kelly himself had to say to me about my first impressions...

"As for the weight: Simple economics --- base metals have gone up over 300% in the last couple of years. To help keep this particular mic affordable there is less metal in the body, pretty straightforward. The money is really in the capsule and PC board with all the WIMA caps.

The difference in the pad: Yes we have to update the advertising. The original prototypes had a -10 dB pad (as shown in the little video) but in a final round of testing we found that the sound did change a bit when the attenuation circuit was engaged so it got tweaked a bit and we wound up with a -6dB pad that is a bit more neutral. The mic can still handle quite a bit of spl."

As far as the arguably cheesy blue LED.... nothing a piece of electrical tape can't fix

Cheers
Old 31st January 2009
  #34
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
I totally appreciate the work that Chris put into making and posting the clips.
Thanks Man!

However, the mic has a weird low end "hollowness" to me. Something in the low mids is funky, as was mentioned earlier. I can't really put my finger on it. It seems like the tone would get irritating. I had a Stedman N90 years ago that had the same phenomenon. Maybe tucked in a mix it would even itself out.

To me, SM7B still reigns supreme in the vocal mic world at this price range.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #35
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Heartfelt's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by GordZilla ➑️
With all due respect

I like those samples too, and the AT 4060 and Jade are indeed pretty nice sounding mics.... but ALL of the Kel mics are $299 and UNDER!

The Beesneez Jade is a tube mic, and $400 MORE than the HM-7U. If I was in the market for a decent tube mic under $1k I would certainly check the Jade out... but then again there are a number of OTHER contenders in that price range worthy of consideration, no?

The AT 4060 is another highly regarded TUBE mic... but costs nearly $1000 more than the 7U!! (I am quoting new prices here, not used).

To be fair.... I would say it would be more realistic to compare the HM-7U to other mics at a similar price point... like say, a Studio Project C-1, or... or AT 4040... or a RODE NT1-A... or.... Shure KSM-27..... or AKG C2000B...or........ well, you get my point. Compared to THESE mics... the HM-7U more than holds it's own IMHO.

For cash-strapped folks, like me, the Kel Audio mics have been a god-send... their mics sound great, but also don't sound like every other "cheap" mic...their build quality seems to be better than most "cheap" mics... and they are...well.....um... CHEAP (price-wise )

But don't take my word for it Rob... buy a HM-7U and try it out for yourself... and if you don't like it... RETURN it within 21 days for a FULL refund.

It was said that the Kel beat mics up to $1k. I merely pointed out ones I thought were still clearly MUCH better and well under $1K. I am strapped too. Time to save.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #36
Lives for gear
 
GordZilla's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heartfelt ➑️
It was said that the Kel beat mics up to $1k. I merely pointed out ones I thought were still clearly MUCH better and well under $1K. I am strapped too. Time to save.
MUCH is such a subjective word

peace amigo
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #37
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Heartfelt's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I completely disagree but that is cool.
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #38
This is me today, not sick! And it sounds great
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #39
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
I should keep saving up for new monitors but keep getting sidetracked on mics, now specifically this one. I can wait to find one used for less green

lol maybe...
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #40
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Blast9's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrislago ➑️
This is me today, not sick! And it sounds great
I agree with some previous posters - I think all the tracks sound phasey,
but I don't think it is the mic...

It sounds like you have very low latency monitoring in your DAW, and the monitor signal is mixed with the output, causing some phasiness.

Whats the setup in the DAW?
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #41
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Heartfelt's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
too much room in the mics? I'm not saying I hear it.. I'm back on the pc speakers.

I know that kicked my butt in previous recordings.
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #42
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jaz49's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks for posting the clips Chris. I'm pretty impressed with the mic from the sample clips I've heard. The old time country music clips on the Kel website really impressed me, especially since there was little or no processing. Nice mic for $300.00. I may get one myself, especially since sibilance is a big problem for me with my current mics, and it doesn't appear to be a problem with the hm-7u.

http://www.myspace.com/lejaz
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #43
Maybe I need to treat my room more? You guys don't like the way the vocals sound at all? How about my vocal samples for today? I thought they were well recorded. I just listened to it and it sounds fine, the preamp gives it really good coloration. If you want to listen to phase issues, listen to the last NIN album.
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #44
My Current Setup is Kel--- Art Digital MPA---USB to my computer, and I listen to my vocals through direct monitoring on my UA-25.

How would this create phase? I'm confused.
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #45
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Blast9's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Hi Chris,

that would only happen if you're doing low latency monitoring through the DAW software - i.e. if you also had the channel output un-muted, and both the monitor sig and the output sig are being recorded

This is unlikely in your case - maybe some very short room reflections? Are you standing close to a corner of an untreated room?

Anyway this is all guess work - I just don't think it is the mic!

Maybe MP3 conversion process? Who knows!
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #46
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jaz49's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Hey chris,
I just listened to some clips on your website. Sounds pretty good to me! I really admire your production skills considering you have to work with fairly low end gear. Maybe just work with the Kel and concentrate on other aspects of your production. It might just be that some other aspect of your production could give you a greater improvement than looking for another mic......but if you really need another mic, have you considered one of the Oktava mods?

http://myspace.com/lejaz
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #47
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A LaMere's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
OK... another 'mini-review'.

Sounds fine...

Does sound like some room reflections are included and sounds like you are RIGHT on the mic.
I prefer the sound of a room... so it doesn't bother me at all.
I often hate the sound of a microphone in a vocal booth environment.
Then again, I'm more vocalist/musician than recording engineer.
How's it sound in an actual mix?
Listened to solo'd tracks is a small amount of help as compared to listening to how it's working with a mix.

Some of these responses are the reason I'm always hesitant to post any tracks.
You always have someone chiming in... saying "it isn't perfect to me" instead of just saying "thanks for posting the tracks". what? it isn't perfect?? duh...

I recorded with the HM7 quite a bit last night.
I originally bought it hoping that it would provide a different QUALITY vocal option next to my SM7. I needed something that handled vocals as well but didn't have the thickness of the sm7. Sometimes, the SM7 is just too smooth, and too thick for some voices.

From my initial testing, it will work for this application... they're certainly two completely different mics. I have to set my Great River pre's up almost back-assward of each other to produce even somewhat similar results... but in the end... the results are at least complimentary I think.
The SM7 has the huge low-mids that the HM7 is incapable of... the HM7 has a bit more in the 3-4k range so they appear initially to compliment each other pretty well.

I'm an ass... so I'm reserving judgement until I've had a chance to use the HM7 for a few days. I'll admit, initially I was surprised at how 'crisp' the mic sounded compared to what I'd been used to hearing. I was thinking "thick" mids but with the feel of a condenser.. Thick?? no...

The guy who said he senses a "hollow-ness" in the low-mids is thinking the same thing that I thought when I first threw the mic onto a stand and listened through the monitors. With some better setting of the pre and better gain staging though, I think the final sound is actually what I was looking for as the sm7 has all of the low mids that you can handle.

There's no question to me that the KEL isn't as forgiving as the SM7, you have to watch the gain staging more with the KEL... but that may/may not be fair as there aren't really many mics that are as forgiving as the sm7.

If I had to choose only one, I'd probably still go with the sm7 as it's so damn quick, reliable and I don't have to try as hard with it. Is the KEL a good compliment to it?
It certainly seems to be initially.
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #48
Yeah I was thinking about deadening my room reverb, but the room would sound... Dead? It's just not natural to me. And no I am not monitoring through my Daw haha. I think the 2nd recording I posted was fine, and I'm sure it would sit well in a mix. The thing is, if your room sounds too dead, your vocals will sound boring and too dry. I like to keep a little bit of reverb from the room, but not too much though. I do this because when singers hit louder notes, the reverb quicks in, making it sound more powerful.

And thanx for everyone who commented on my production skills, I will be updating my site with brand new music soon. I'll be recording a bunch of songs with the Kel. I still don't get the whole hollowness issue. I'm used to listening to music like Nine Inch Nails, Tool, Nirvana, and I can tell you that their performance is much more important than the way the vocals were recorded. It's all about the genre of music really.
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #49
And ps: I am really interested in the SM7, I think I should rent it to try it out.
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #50
Lives for gear
 
GordZilla's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrislago ➑️
This is me today, not sick! And it sounds great
Thanks for posting Chris.. I agree.. I think it sounds great. I can certainly tell that your cold has indeed abated. I could hear a bit of the room tone in a couple of spots, but nothing I would call "phasiness".. so I am not sure what some of the other folks are hearing.
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #51
Quote:
Originally Posted by GordZilla ➑️
Thanks for posting Chris.. I agree.. I think it sounds great. I can certainly tell that your cold has indeed abated. I could hear a bit of the room tone in a couple of spots, but nothing I would call "phasiness".. so I am not sure what some of the other folks are hearing.
Haha yeah, I'm so glad that I don't have a cold anymore, it definitely affects the way vocals can sound. I think people want to hear perfectly treated rooms, and I personally don't suggest that because it ruins the live feel of a performance. I will be posting a new voice sample once I get my telefunken 12ax7 tube. I think it'll sound even better!

I'll go and rent an sm7 tomorrow, maybe I'll post some sample of that as well to compare.

Anyone else would like to post samples of the HM-7U?
Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #52
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Heartfelt's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrislago ➑️
Yeah I was thinking about deadening my room reverb, but the room would sound... Dead?
Generally, the consensus is that generated reverb is better than bedroom or less than stellar room ambience. The advice I have gotten from GS is to get as much of the room out of my mics as possible and as needed, add verb or delay. The result is punchier, tighter tracks.

Some of my stuff doesn't reflect that as I have recently gotten insight on my issues of vox and acoustic. It didn't come too politely but none the less, I learned.

Just sharing in hopes of helping.
Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heartfelt ➑️
Generally, the consensus is that generated reverb is better than bedroom or less than stellar room ambience. The advice I have gotten from GS is to get as much of the room out of my mics as possible and as needed, add verb or delay. The result is punchier, tighter tracks.

Some of my stuff doesn't reflect that as I have recently gotten insight on my issues of vox and acoustic. It didn't come too politely but none the less, I learned.

Just sharing in hopes of helping.
Yeah it does make sense. I can try and remove unwanted reverb, we'll see how it sounds after. I'll get some auralex foam soon.
Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #54
Lives for gear
 
GordZilla's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heartfelt ➑️
Generally, the consensus is that generated reverb is better than bedroom or less than stellar room ambience. The advice I have gotten from GS is to get as much of the room out of my mics as possible and as needed, add verb or delay. The result is punchier, tighter tracks.

Some of my stuff doesn't reflect that as I have recently gotten insight on my issues of vox and acoustic. It didn't come too politely but none the less, I learned.

Just sharing in hopes of helping.
Yup... I'm inclined to agree with this. If I am tracking in a less-than-ideal room, I will even rig up a make-shift "vocal booth" with packing blankets, quilts, comforters, sleeping bags... whatever is on hand.. to try and take the room out as much as possible.

Once you have printed the room's ambience along with your vocals, it is nearly impossible to remove it. And when you try and fix it by adding ITB reverb, often the results are less than satisfactory (your room's tone fights with the ambience you are trying to add). Better to record vocals in a "dead" sounding situation, and add ambience at mixdown.
Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #55
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Webb's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks for posting Chris. I think the mic sounds great and I really dig your voice.
Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Webb ➑️
Thanks for posting Chris. I think the mic sounds great and I really dig your voice.
Thanks, I'll try to snatch up some Auralex Wedgies from ebay (they sell them for $5 per 1foot) and rerecord, see how it sounds. I'll also rent a True Solo P system to try with it. So guys you'll need to wait for at least a week haha. I'm supposed to get my telefunken 12AX7 this week, I'll record something with it as soon as I get it.
Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #57
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Like I have said before... I have the HM-7U, and I love it... but I have little experience with higher end microphones. How much better would something like a Pearlman TM-2 or something of the likes be than the HM-7U ?

From the reviews, I understand that the Pearlman will be better.... but is it ALOT better ? In the market for a nice mic, but not sure if I should jump on a nice tube, or something like a Royer SF-1

Steve
Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #58
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AMIEL's Avatar
Chris why dont upload a piece of the Vocals DRY and also the TV Track in ST and we can see what is the problem,

Seems the mic may be good..but yes...I feel some kind of washed out quality in the vocals...(only heard kara)

But also the ART MPA is not a top Pre...so in that regard is hard to tell...but is not bad,,,actually can be a great mic.
Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #59
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Blast9's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Hey Chris - sorry if some of us seem negative and picky!

I appreciate your efforts, and tuned in because I'm seriously considering this mic myself.

The "room sound" doesn't bother me one bit - My stuff often has a little bit of reflections like that (although I have defaulted to tracking with my Shure BETA 87 as it is supercardioid and optimised for close up vox).

Again I'm pretty certain that it isn't the mic that is sounding weird.

Anyway wanna hear a proper cold?- here's a demo I sang yesterday - "We were born in starlight"

Andy Mitchell - ReverbNation
Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #60
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
I find sound samples to be virtually worthless !! Way to many variables. I like the results I am getting with the HM-7u that is all that matters. KEL has a great return policy....get one and if it works for you keep it !!! Chris seems to know what he is doing....not my kind of music, but well done !! Go cat GO !!

David B
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