In a world full of manufacturers who offer various dynamic microphone models, a handful of proven classics rule the market. Many will agree that the design of this type of instrument has been pretty much perfected and completed over the years, so is it worth paying attention to similar products that still pop up from time to time? We chose one recent entry that has made quite a big name for itself, the JZ Microphones’ HH1, and tested it to see whether it really is an improvement of age-old microphone technology.
The HH1 is a handheld dynamic microphone made by a European company called JZ Microphones. It’s their first product to feature a dynamic capsule.
They claim it is “developed in best traditions of JZ Microphones” and provides users with “extended frequency range to suit most vocal and instrumental needs.”
Neodymium magnet equipped cardioid capsule is housed in a handcrafted metal body with a special shock-mounting technology. It comes with a rather elegant pouch and a microphone clamp.
Lighter and brighter
That’s the thing with JZ Microphones: it seems that everything they make has some unique visual twist.
As you can see, the same goes for the HH1. One has to admit that the microphone looks awesome: matte black coloring, a fancy logo, and diamond-shaped flat-fronted grille.
It is the size of a typical dynamic (58 x 172 mm), has an XLR-3 connector, and an extended frequency response (50 Hz – 18 kHz). Weighing 280 grams (9.8oz), it is a bit lighter than the SM58.
The frequency graph that comes along with the microphone shows a noticeable peak at 5 kHz and shelving-down right before 200Hz, meaning that it’s lighter and brighter than most standard dynamics.
The simple geniality of a flat grille
JZ Microphones says that the HH1 is a perfect fit for vocals, drums, and guitar amps. We tested it in various scenarios for all three applications.
We started by trying it on both male and female vocals, and were impressed instantly. It turns out this mic needs little to no EQ.
Gone were our fears that the HH1 would have a cheap brightness you get from low-quality mics. Instead, it had great clarity on male as well as female vocals.
The HH1’s flat grille has to be mentioned here as well. It keeps the sound source on-axis while avoiding tone and level variations.
It was the same story when it came to the acoustic guitar, which produced just the right amount of brightness even at close distances. The flat grille also made for easy, spot-on guitar amp miking (obviously). It was a good fit for a snare drum as well, providing much-needed definition.
Among all the pros, the only con I could think of would be a mild self-noise (the HH1 has a pretty strong output). To be frank, it is not even close to being a real problem (at least for us, in our setting it wasn’t) but it is a bit more noticeable than that of other classics.
HH1 – a dynamic with distinct studio mic pedigree
In conclusion, the HH1 easily fits among the best sounding industry standard dynamic mics.
It has its own sound but isn’t a black sheep or avant-garde in any way, and if the market for dynamic microphones wasn’t so oversaturated, this little piece of technology would make the competition worried.
It is hard to be completely blown away by yet another dynamic because there are so many to choose from. However, there’s no denying that with the HH1, JZ Microphones has managed to raise the bar for sound and design.
It is very apparent that this dynamic mic was made by people who mainly specialize in high-quality studio microphones. It is elegant yet very well built and should withstand the punishment of live performances.
If you’re ready to try something new, don’t hesitate and get one of these. This can be an excellent choice for rehearsal studios, live performances, demo making, and bedroom studio projects.