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Indie Alternatives to the Schoeps system?


Andrew From Deity
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I'm in the market for a small pencil microphone for my rig. I have the long shotguns for outdoor use but I need a hypercardiod that will work well on a boom. I'm torn between the Oktava MK012 and the Avantone Pro CK-1? Thoughts? Anyone use either or both of these and make a case for them? There is like zero reviews for these mics online.

 

Also on the cheapest end i'm looking at the BadAax TK120.

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get a Sennheiser mkh 50 and be happy.

It's a lot more money than the mics you listed, but a lot better mic than they are.

I have used both modified and unmodified Oktavas... and played with the various Chinese made buget mics...

And day in and day out, I reach for the MKH50 over even the well modified Oktavas.

 

I do have some other mics I like, but they might not intercut well with your shotgun mic.

 

HOWEVER.. buying a Sound Room FIlm Ediiton Oktava, and having Joly or other vendor mod the pre-amp, will get you results way better than anything else in the budget range.

 

Also, the Avantone you mention is notorious for fit and finish flaws and construction errors that would casue you a lot of trouble in the field. 

The specific flaws include capsule grills falling off, xlr connectors not smothly accepting cables, poor rf resistance, shorting to the casing and internal board from the roll off switch..

 

Basically, this mic would not survive my work environment.

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On a budget, the Oktava is hard to beat. I have a Stock 012 and a pair of MKH 50's. If your recorder is a Zoom as indicated your profile area then get the Oktava from a trustworthy source along with the head swivel and you will be set. The 012 have a higher noise floor than the 50's but certainly don't sound bad..

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I'm buying the Tascam DR-70D next month and on a long shot possiblity, buying a used SD442 from Trewaudio. The Tascam has tiny little knobs on it for real mixing. I want to move up from my H4n.

 

I defaintly dont have the budget for the Sennheiser MKH 50. A modified Oktava couldnt be too much if all i'm doing is buying the Hyper capsule.

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I defaintly dont have the budget for the Sennheiser MKH 50.

Trying not to risk sounding like some uncaring elitist, I have to ask if recording sound is a hobby or are you actually doing jobs where you are paid (the simplest definition of "professional")? When you say you don't have the budget, it reminds me of the times I have had  to tell a production manager that if it's "not in the budget" maybe they have the wrong budget. Sure, you can record something with a Tascam DR-70D and an Octava microphone but in my opinion this is not really a professional way to go. It has been pointed out before that there are some areas where you can be quite strict with the budget (notably the recorder as you mention) but any money you can get together to buy a quality microphone will be money well spent.

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The Sanken CS-1 is a very useful microphone that I think would take care of the need you described very well. It has the front pickup patter of a cardioid/supercardioid/hypercardiod (All art terms subject to the manufactures descression). I first used it on Dirty Dancing 2, and would gladly use it again for the need you described.

Like a "cheap" stock, the CS-1 is more valuable than it's price suggests, therefor a good investment, and is priced low only because it is priced for the camera mounting market. Remember that the Schoeps MK-41 as not intended for boom pole use, but...

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Ah... The price has gone up, I see. Good news for those who bought them when they were a "cheap stock". Another underrated underpriced super cardioid short mic is the Audio Technica 4053b. I liked it a lot when it came out years ago, so I stocked it for the store but no one was interested strictly because it wasn't a "standard". So I bought it for myself and still use it often.

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The Oktava is roughly $269 if you buy it only with the Hyper capsule. If you buy it with all three capsules its $299 on ebay. They have shot up alot in price. Guitar Center doesnt sell it anymore.

 

http://www.oktava-shop.com/Small-and-medium-diaphragm-condenser-mics/Oktava-MK-012-01-movie.html

 

And for the price of the Sanken and the MKH 50 I think I would just bucket down and buy a used 416T and a power supply off ebay.

 

It sounds like none of the 3 microphones I have been eyeing are getting this forums approve... so maybe the 416T is what I end up buying.

 

No, I want a solid indoor hypercardioid to be used with the Tascam DR-70D. I mainly do audio on small corporate gigs. I'm still very much a newb at all this. My budget is $800-1000 for a mixer and solid microphone. I already have all the wireless. I just know the ProVid XM-88 just won't cut it if I want to start charging for a kit fee. The SD 442 is only if something good comes through in Feb.

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There are lots of discussions on this forum about microphones.  Try going to Google and typing in:

 

jwsoundgroup oktava

 

...and see what you come up with.

 

Something I've noticed over time is that if someone is new, they're entirely enchanted with acquiring as many shiny toys with knobs as quickly as possible.  However, for pros, it is more about the sound -- and the most critical two elements in that chain are:  1) acoustics and 2) microphone choice. 

 

It's not that most of us who are established aren't into having lots of shiny toys with knobs (we're practically slaves to them), but sound matters FIRST.

 

The advice you've already been given by some of the best in the business is to forego the shiny and get a professional mic.  I agree with that advice.  An MKH50 would be an excellent choice based on your stated sonic needs.

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I have lots of Oktavas.  I think they are a great deal for the price--I like the sound very well and they have worked for me on a variety of sources.  What they have not done well is work on a fishpole, doing normal boomed production sound.  As was said, too much handling noise.  The OP mentioned a 416--that is one of the all time fave mics of this forum, esp for newbies, for good reason.  Even bought used still a lot more than an Oktava, because there is always someone looking to buy one.  Why?  Because they work, pretty well, everywhere, all the time, for the sorts of dialog recording that most of us here do for a living.  They are no one's fave mic anymore, but there is pretty universal agreement that if you can only have a single mic it's a very good choice.  No reason to shy away from a cheaper T-powered version either--a simple in-line conversion barrel will put you in business with p48 powering.  Most people keep a 416 even after they've moved on to more modern designs, because it can be counted to work basically always, thus it's something you'll probably keep as long as you are doing sound.

 

philp

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No reason to shy away from a cheaper T-powered version either--a simple in-line conversion barrel will put you in business with p48 powering.  Most people keep a 416 even after they've moved on to more modern designs, because it can be counted to work basically always, thus it's something you'll probably keep as long as you are doing sound.

 

And if you end up buying that 442 (or can find a good used 302), you'll have T power built in and won't need to buy a (cheap but not free) converter. 

 

I hardly ever use my 416 anymore. But I still have it...and for more than sentimental reasons.

 

And while agree with most of what everyone's said so far in this discussion, two not-too-crazy-expensive hypers that you could consider (I've heard decent tracks made with both...but haven't worked with either that I recall...check for previous discussions here for some reports of hands-on experiences):

 

Audix SCX1-HC hyper

$500 new

 

Audio-Technica 4053 hyper

$600 new

 

You might be able to find a used 4053. But I don't know of any cheaper hyper that I'd want to use on a boom.

 

Yes, we're all suggesting you spend more money than you want to. But as they say: buy once, cry once.

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Here's another vote for the MKH 50. If you are patient you can find used ones, but they don't come up very often because folks that have them don't seem to want to get rid of them. Don't forget to budget for shock mount and wind protection.

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Search for a second hand Sennheiser MKH 50.

Alternative is the Neumann KM 185 ($900 from Sweetwater).

Read opinions about Neumann KM 185.

 

Have as much as you can the microphone close to "speaker" (aka interviewer).

More close means less fader gain. Less gain better signal to noise ratio (S/N).

 

Have a great year

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And day in and day out, I reach for the MKH50 over even the well modified Oktavas.

 

there's a lot that could be said about this kind automated logic regarding work tools, whether it's mics, bags, multi-tools or even shoes or a particular piece of rain gear.

 

say no to buying something that will be of little use down the road and will wind up buried in the closet.

 

say yes to buying something really good that you're going to grab automatically for a long time.

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The Oktava is roughly $269 if you buy it only with the Hyper capsule. If you buy it with all three capsules its $299 on ebay. They have shot up alot in price. Guitar Center doesnt sell it anymore.

 

http://www.oktava-shop.com/Small-and-medium-diaphragm-condenser-mics/Oktava-MK-012-01-movie.html

 

And for the price of the Sanken and the MKH 50 I think I would just bucket down and buy a used 416T and a power supply off ebay.

 

It sounds like none of the 3 microphones I have been eyeing are getting this forums approve... so maybe the 416T is what I end up buying.

 

No, I want a solid indoor hypercardioid to be used with the Tascam DR-70D. I mainly do audio on small corporate gigs. I'm still very much a newb at all this. My budget is $800-1000 for a mixer and solid microphone. I already have all the wireless. I just know the ProVid XM-88 just won't cut it if I want to start charging for a kit fee. The SD 442 is only if something good comes through in Feb.

Save some more dough, buy a used psc m4 or wendt x4, and a new mkh50.. this will be between $1500 and $1800..  work another part time job if you must to raise the money.

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Despite it's low price, there's many caveats with the Oktava; high sensitivity to handling and air turbulence, low output (10mV, which usually requires lots of clean preamp gain), then there's the (past?) quality control and the infamous Chinese 'counterfeits'. (search the web for detailed info) The "Dorcey" type mod is an option, but won't salvage a 'turkey'. If considering the 012, the Sound Room is the go-to source for a 'hand picked' Oktava. Naturally one pays more with this service. Otherwise, as was stated, the AT4053 and Audix SCX1-HC is a good choice in the $500-600 range.

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