KEL HM-1 vs MXL 990 mic transducer

Does size matter?

Hi all,

The KEL Audio HM-1 mic has a 1/2" transducer. A just purchased an MXL 990 mic which as a 3/4" diaphragm. And the MXL 2001 (well rated) mic has a 1" diaphragm.

What effect does diaphragm size have on sensitivity and audio quality? Academically speaking of course :) Does the MXL 990 have an advantage over the HM-1 because of the bigger diaphragm?


Hi ghall:
There are a few guys on this Board who have orders in for those mics. However, I think the guys are waiting for the Back-order to arrive. We are expecting the HM-1 mic to have a mid-to-upper-mid profile in their response… Compared to larger diaphragm model mics. The guy(Kelly) over in Winnipeg, claims they have a response that will add to the present microphones you already have in your collection…

I’m expecting that the HM-1 mics I have ordered will have some response the will be different, and complement the microphones I already have,

We’ll see…


I don’t know from the 3 mics mentioned, as I’ve never used them. In general however, smaller diaphragms have better transient response because they don’t vibrate for as long as larger ones given a particular input. What I mean by this is that a smaller diaphragm will come to rest after vibrating and be ready to vibrate again before a larger diaphragm does. It also takes less energy to get smaller diaphragms moving in the first place. Does that make sense? Maybe check out the Earthworks web site, where this is better described. Mics like the TC30K and the QTC-1 have some outrageous frequency response and detail because the diaphragms are tiny. I have a pair of TC30K’s and those things are super detailed. Very, very honest in an almost unflatering way…

And most importantly the HM-1 looks really cool.

No doubt about it – the coolness factor is important :)

I checked out the info at Earthworks – some pretty good info, but way over my head. I guess the bottom line is that it isn’t that one size is better than another, just different and useful for different applications.

FYI…I pinged KEL Audio on a comparison with low cost mics such as the MXL 990. Here’s the reply:

"I’ve never tried an MXL 990. I’ve compared the HM-1 to an MXL 67G (which at current street prices you cannot go wrong having at least one) as well as a mic that is similar to an MXL2001. In either case, the HM-1 is fuller in the mids with less top end sizzle and a “tighter” sound. Is this better? No. Is it usefully different? Absolutely. On our site you can hear a clip of a low-end mandolin recorded with a brighter-sounding U87 “look-alike”. In my opinion, the HM-1 enhances the sound of this particular intstrument while the brighter mic accentuates the worst aspects of its sound. If one were recording a well made vintage gibson “F” style mandolin with its characteristic mid-range “bark”, the HM-1 might not be the best choice."

Anyways, I’m going to go ahead and order a couple :)


A very honest and well-worded guy. :cool:


Quote (ghall @ Oct. 23 2004,19:56)
I guess the bottom line is that it isn't that one size is better than another, just different and useful for different applications.

Give that man a cigar!

(and that wisdom is applicable to many different parts of music production IMO)