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Kel Audio HM-7U review
Old 30th January 2009
  #1
Kel Audio HM-7U review

Many brands claim that their mics can compete with higher end microphones such as Neumann, AKG and Soundelux, but most of them fall short due to cheap electronics and a lack of quality control. As of now, Chinese made microphones are creeping in the low 100 to 299 range at an astonishing rate, and few of them are really worth low cost production. Nevertheless, Canadian based Kel Audio is trying to distance itself from its Chinese counterpart, and the HM-7U is the perfect example of high end quality at an affordable price.
Upon unpacking the sleek case, I noticed that the microphone had a beautiful black frame, accompanied with a silver grill and a blue light (which lights up when the phantom power is on). The shock mount that comes with it is sturdy and no doubt it would endure many sessions. Also, a separate swivel mount is available, giving you double the option for mounting to the mic stand.

Specs:

The HM-7U has a K47 style capsule (heard in Neumann and Soundelux mics) and has a max SPL Handling of 132, which means that the microphone can be used for guitar cabs and louder sources, along with a -6 db switch. There is also a low cut filter if you want to remove rumble; not bad for a mid priced microphone! Dual Fet Class A design, Wima film capacitors are used along with a transformerless circuit (No Tubes to deal with), but what surprised me the most was how light the mic was compared to my other mics. Although I was a little bit skeptical at first because of the weight, I decided to try it out. Boy was I surprised.

In Use:
The sound reproduction was very warm sounding, very tube-is without the need for tubes. Also, there weren’t any major sibilance issues and no harsh frequencies in the 4k-6k range. Very good for a mid-priced microphone. I liked the fact that it wasn’t over hyped like so many Chinese made mics, but it did have a good midrange that can cut through a mix easily. Kelly really takes time to build his mics to perfection, and it shows in the sound. He truly cares about quality and makes sure that all his mics are great before sending them to his clients. All in all I am really impressed with the mic, especially since there are plenty of mics in the 299 price range that do not sound as good as the HM-7U. It’s truly a bargain, because you get a professional microphone for 1/3 of the price of high end brands. The microphone sounded great for female vocals as well, and sat well in the mix too.
Conclusion:
I’m thinking about getting the HM-2D because I like how well these mics are being made. They seem to be in a league of their own, especially for the price, and they can easily compete with high end microphones. Also, it’s always important to pair it with a good preamp in order to get the mics the fullest capacity. All in all, very impressed with these microphones, especially for the price.
HM-7U $299
Attached Files

Kara (mixdown).mp3 (1.14 MB, 5850 views)

Lago Uncompressed.mp3 (1.21 MB, 5293 views)

Lago Compressed.mp3 (1.21 MB, 4750 views)

Lago Compressed and De-Esser.mp3 (1.21 MB, 4498 views)

Old 31st January 2009
  #2
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Dude, it sounds sweet. I love the compression on the track... What compressor did you use?
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by drvenom ➑️
Dude, it sounds sweet. I love the compression on the track... What compressor did you use?
I always use the Waves Renaissance comp, with Dave Pensado's presets. It sounds great.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #4
Lives for gear
 
GordZilla's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Nice work amigo

I'm glad yer diggin the HM-7U I just got mine back from my buddy finally... after a three-month test drive haha He had lots of good things to say about this mic

Hopin' to try mine out on some acoustic guitar this weekend
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #5
Lives for gear
 
A LaMere's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Nice...
Got my HM7u this evening via the post...
Excited to give 'er a try at some point this weekend.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
lank81's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Female Vox

I have to admit I loved it on the female vox even that much more. The compressed version was nice but Kara's take was awesome. Thanks for the clips Chris.

Lank
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #7
Yeah her take was great, it's from one of her new songs that I'm producing. It's a little bit hard to put my vocals in context to a song right now since there is no background music, and since I'm still struggling to sing (damn cold) but I will post a full song with me singing with the Kel HM-7U and I'm positive that people will love the mic even more. It has a nice mid boost that I love, and it's easy on the Esses (me being bad with Sibilance).

I still can't believe I got a pro sounding mic for 299.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by A LaMere ➑️
Nice...
Got my HM7u this evening via the post...
Excited to give 'er a try at some point this weekend.
If you could post some samples on here, that would be sweet!
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #9
Lives for gear
 
A LaMere's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrislago ➑️
If you could post some samples on here, that would be sweet!
I will... asap!

I'm certain that this will work well on my acoustic guitar as well...
Humorously, I can't sing for the life of me as I've got a nasty cold... that's been hanging out for a week or two... heh

Will post a few shortly.
So far, just singing in the cans and listening to solo'ed tracks..
I'm digging it.

It's totally different than any other mic that I currently have...
it's brighter than I expected, but in a good way... and still somehow isn't sibilant?
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #10
Yeah it's weird, you would expect a bright mic to sound sibilant but no, it cuts through nicely without sounding too harsh.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I love the sibilance associated with this mic, it handles it much like some of the higher priced options. Mine is in the mail
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #12
Gear Maniac
 
xhavepatiencex's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I honestly can't get over the little blue led on the front of the mic, that comes across as cheap to me.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Addict
 
🎧 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.
Let's not call the blue led cheap......how about "aesthetically challenged"....why hell, even I am "aesthetically challenged" !!! On a more serious note, I would not let a blue led be a deal breaker on a $300.00 mic that sounds great !!

David B

Last edited by fiddler59; 31st January 2009 at 12:15 PM.. Reason: becuase my grammer and punctuation suck !!!
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #14
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Last week I took my latest batch of tracks to my mix engineer, just to make sure I was doing everything right (I do all the tracking on an HD-24, then take the hard drive to him to import the tracks into Sonar for mixing). I won't name him, as he is very humble, but he has written several well known books on recording as well as writing articles for some popular magazines and until recently had worked in R&D for a major audio company (26 years) designing microphones, among other things. Just making a point that this guy KNOWS microphones and sound quality. He couldn't say enough about the vocal tracks and finally got around to asking about the mic, which he said was one of the best sounding mics he'd ever heard and a perfect match for my somewhat nasally voice. He was not familiar with Kel Audio and figured it was some high dollar boutique mic. When I told him he could get one for $300, he just grinned and shook his head. Then he wrote down all the info and said he'd be ordering one right away. Another testimonial for the great HM7U.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #15
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
I like mine so well, I am going to order another one !! This mic works very well on a lot of sources !!

Post #100.......Whoop Dee Doo !! (Archie Bunker)

David B
Old 31st January 2009
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
what's kel's website? i cant find one on google search
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #17
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #18
Lives for gear
 
Heartfelt's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Judging by Kel's clips, I like the 2D better than the 7U
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #19
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
What I really like about KEL Audio is you have a 21 day trial period...if you don't like it, send it back and Kelly will refund your purchase. I have all three models listed as well as a discontinued HM-4....I have been a fan of his products for quite a while.....I bought my first HM-1's a few years ago for less than $100.00. I have never had to return any of my purchases, though he did replace a defective HM-1.
He resolved the problem asap and all has been well !!

David B
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #20
Gear Addict
 
willsing's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I did not have enough money to buy two (just bought one 7U) and paired it up with my AT4050 to record acoustic guitar using a DAV pre. Almost brought tears of joy to my eyes.
Thanks for making a great product for a doable price!
Will
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #21
Lives for gear
 
kidvybes's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by fiddler59 ➑️
I have all three models listed as well as a discontinued HM-4....
David B
...David...how would you describe the HM-4?...as compared to the other Kels?...any good on vocals?...
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #22
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
The HM7u is the best vocal mic they have for that 47ish type sound. Which I happen to really like for a lot of things. I do mainly acoustic roots music.....I like then all for certain things ...The HM4 I use a lot for stand up bass.....it's more of an in your face type of thing which translates well for bass viol.

DB
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #23
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
something going on in the low mids that I particularly don't like / can't put my finger on.

What kind of pre did you use?
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Micah Tolentino ➑️
something going on in the low mids that I particularly don't like / can't put my finger on.

What kind of pre did you use?
I used my ART Digital MPA with tungsol tubes, so maybe it's the tube that's adding the presence. You can always record it raw and then remove the low mids with a linear equalizer after.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #25
I'm so glad I'm not the only one on GS who loves this mic. I think it's a true gem in the 300 range and it easily competes with many 1k mics.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #26
Lives for gear
 
Heartfelt's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heartfelt ➑️
Judging by Kel's clips, I like the 2D better than the 7U


<<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.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #27
That's the way I sing though, I have really bad issues with Ps and Esses when I sing. I just overemphasize them too much. Never had this problem with other male/female singers.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #28
Lives for gear
 
GordZilla's Avatar
 
🎧 10 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.
I find that the "cheap" blue LED reminds me to turn off the phantom power before I unplug my 7U and fry it ("expensive" mistake... relatively speakin')

Last edited by GordZilla; 31st January 2009 at 08:41 PM.. Reason: cuz
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #29
Lives for gear
 
Heartfelt's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrislago ➑️
That's the way I sing though, I have really bad issues with Ps and Esses when I sing. I just overemphasize them too much. Never had this problem with other male/female singers.

Same with me. It is a pain. I didn't know if it was a chain issue or ?.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #30
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
It's (probably) your problem for having good diction. Most people don't sing with really good diction, so most other people won't have that problem
πŸ“ Reply

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