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Pro Sound News Europe - The Product Review Sept 2004

Hebden Sound HS3000 Series

Hebden Sound was developed out of Calrec Audio by Keith Ming in 1994. Since Ming's sad death in 2000, Hebden Sound's progress has been nurtured by David Anderson, former head of microphones at Calrec. The HS3000 series follows on from the 1000 series (CM1050 and CM1051) and 2000 series of high quality microphones.

The two HS3000 condenser mics and capsules for this review were supplied by Hebden in a well thought-out and convenient lightweight protective box. All four capsules (omni-directional, cardioid, sub-cardioid and hypercardioid) were included and we were able to test all the configurations thoroughly. The basic specs of a frequency response of 20Hz-20kHz (pre-amp 20Hz-100kHz), max SPL @ 1kHz of 135dB and self noise of 17dBa gave us grounds to look at these incredibly priced mics (400) with a great deal of interest. Supplying two mics so that stereo recording tests may be appraised was another intelligent move by the manufacturer.

The mics themselves are 160mm long and 23mm in diameter and are of a reassuringly solid and heavy construction (290g). The detachable capsules are simply screwed into place. Two mic mounts were supplied, a standard 23mm clip and an anti-vibration mount that was extremely effective but a trifle awkward to use. (Both mounts were beyerdynamic.)

We tested the mics in mono and three basic stereo positions that we felt would be most used: XY, ORTF and AB. First of all we listened to the cardioid capsule with both male and female vocalists. It was quickly apparent that a pop shield was needed! The capsules were exceptionally prone to "pops" and wind noise even when vocalists stepped back some way from the mic. After a shield was put in place the unit performed exceptionally well. The response was particularly open and smooth on vocals and then the same characteristics were pleasingly apparent when testing with various instruments including drums, percussion and guitars. Positioning the mic was tremendously important, perhaps a little more so than on some other studio condensers.

The omni, hyper-cardioid and sub-cardioid all performed as well although strangely enough we detected a certain "tightness" or restrictiveness with the sub-cardioid. This slight lack of openness was not regarded as particularly negative and we felt that the subcardioid could be used creatively to "contain" certain scenarios. For instance, piano, small string sections, brass etc that needed to nestle inside a track.

Using the mics in the ORTF stereo configuration the cardioids performed stunningly well - clear and bright with the stereo image very secure without the centre image becoming too predominant. Using the hyper-and sub-cardioids in this configuration was not quite as satisfactory and definitely the sub-cardioid's imaging was not as even.

The XY configuration also produced very good results with very clean, precise and stable stereo imagery. The spread or spaciousness was not quite as wide as the ORTF but sounded excellent when utilised for drum ambience and stereo piano recording. The mics reacted very well to external EQing. It was so easy to tailor the signal to various requirements.

Using the omni capsules in the AB configuration gave a warm, wide spacious result with an impressive low frequency response.

All in all the HS3000 series represent excellent value for money and they are particularly solid and well constructed. The importance of mounting and positioning correctly cannot be over emphasized. At a price tag of around 400 I believe that these mics will be very popular indeed. []

HAYDN BENDALL
CONTACT >> HEBDEN SOUND
TEL >> +44 114 201 3687
WEB >> www.hebdensound.co.uk
EMAIL >>
info@hebdensound.co.uk

Used by kind permission of Pro Sound News Europe, CMP Information Ltd 2004

 

 

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