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Oktava MK-012 testing

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after having an issue with chipping paint on the xlr connection on my Oktava MK-012 I contacted Oktava and they prompted me to get another microphone direct from them. At the moment I now have 2 microphones to test and decide which one I prefer. However, seeing as this is my first real microphone I need some advice on what I should listen for and how I should test them. I will include the factory test charts if that helps (Top chart is the new microphone). Thank you all for your help!

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Plug them in, listen to them, and decide if you like how they sound. You are asking a very subjective question, and it really comes down to taste. 

 

I bought a handful of used schoeps mics and chose them out of a bucket full. I chose one that sounded the nicest and most natural, then chose others that sounded closest to that. I think my collection sounds particularly good, but probably different than what a brand new one sounds like. 

 

Incidentally, I think the Oktava MK012 sounds pretty good (at least mine do) even without any sort of mod to the power supply. So use your ears and be your own judge. We can’t decide for you without hearing them for ourselves. 

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You'd get a slightly different plot if you tested the mic again.   You should also know that at least at one time those "included plots' were fiction, just drawn by hand  and not plotting anything.  As I've mentioned before: this is a cheap, decent sounding mic.  It's not a mic that's worth getting all nerdy over--just use it on what it sounds good on.

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Well put, Phil. 

 

Cambob, what have you been using all this time to have an Oktava/Octava be your "first real mic" and what are you shooting on?

 

The fact that B&H doesn't even carry Oktava/Octava mics should be a good warning.  They do carry the Audix SCX-1HC https://bhpho.to/2QOINcs  which is a step above the Oktava, as is the AT 4053b. https://bhpho.to/2xFajjP

A lot has to do with how well your ears and brain process sound. People who do sound for a living (and are still doing it) usually hear differently than those who don't. There is a learning curve, but some begin higher on it than others. Still others never get there. 

 

Regards,

 

Ty

 

 

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1 hour ago, Ty Ford said:

Well put, Phil. 

 

Cambob, what have you been using all this time to have an Oktava/Octava be your "first real mic" and what are you shooting on?

 

The fact that B&H doesn't even carry Oktava/Octava mics should be a good warning.  They do carry the Audix SCX-1HC https://bhpho.to/2QOINcs  which is a step above the Oktava, as is the AT 4053b. https://bhpho.to/2xFajjP

A lot has to do with how well your ears and brain process sound. People who do sound for a living (and are still doing it) usually hear differently than those who don't. There is a learning curve, but some begin higher on it than others. Still others never get there. 

 

Regards,

 

Ty

 

 

I own the Oktava and although is great sounding for the money, I believe the 2 microphones you mentioned are the absolutely entry level mics for interior scenes.

 

The Oktava is too sensitive to handling noises and air, so it needs the best mounting system and wind shield one can get (and usually the most expensive) and it is not as "user friendly" for non experienced boom ops.

 

Finally, I went for the Audix solution, I own 2, and even though is not MKH50, is a great little microphone of its own and better than the Oktava in every characteristic.

 

Have you tested the Audix at all? What is your opinion about it? And Vs the AT?

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1 hour ago, Ty Ford said:

Well put, Phil. 

 

Cambob, what have you been using all this time to have an Oktava/Octava be your "first real mic" and what are you shooting on?

 

The fact that B&H doesn't even carry Oktava/Octava mics should be a good warning.  They do carry the Audix SCX-1HC https://bhpho.to/2QOINcs  which is a step above the Oktava, as is the AT 4053b. https://bhpho.to/2xFajjP

A lot has to do with how well your ears and brain process sound. People who do sound for a living (and are still doing it) usually hear differently than those who don't. There is a learning curve, but some begin higher on it than others. Still others never get there. 

 

Regards,

 

Ty

 

 

 

 

1 hour ago, Kisaha said:

I own the Oktava and although is great sounding for the money, I believe the 2 microphones you mentioned are the absolutely entry level mics for interior scenes.

 

The Oktava is too sensitive to handling noises and air, so it needs the best mounting system and wind shield one can get (and usually the most expensive) and it is not as "user friendly" for non experienced boom ops.

 

Finally, I went for the Audix solution, I own 2, and even though is not MKH50, is a great little microphone of its own and better than the Oktava in every characteristic.

 

Have you tested the Audix at all? What is your opinion about it? And Vs the AT?

Thanks for your input, Ty and Kisaha! Up to this point, I have only had an SE Electronics on-camera shotgun style microphone. I felt that the Oktava would be a good choice due to the price being only $200.00. I couldn't for the life of me find anything in this sort of price range which could beat the Oktava and I simply don't have the budget to afford the Audix or Audio-Technica microphones you linked to. I am aware of the handling noise and wind noise issues which I have seen now firsthand. I purchased a Rycote shock mount and the microphone came with a windscreen which seems to solve most of the issue. One thing to note is that I am a definite beginner in this field and I want to get something that can help me learn more, cost under or around $300, and sound nice as well. If there is another microphone which could fill these roles I would love to hear about it!  

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You may always buy a better quality mic second hand, the build quality of audio technica, neumann, gefell... is good enough for years of hard use in the field. I have some 20years old mics like neumann rsm and a km 140 that i use regulary without problems

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As has been stated 'All Oktava 012s are not created equal due to the factory's quality control (or lack there of). Aside for the handing and wind noise, the 10mV sensitivity is a little lower than I prefer for dialog, which can also be an issue with low-cost noisy preamps. The 'Dorcey' type mods can alleviate the handing/wind noise somewhat but the sensitivity stays the same. I have a pair of Sound Room 012s that sound nice, but I use them mostly for music projects, drum overheads, acoustic guitar, ect.

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3 minutes ago, Philip Perkins said:

Oktava makes a low-cut filter that can screw in between capsule and head amp--(like Schoeps Cut1), very helpful (but makes the mic longer).

The kit I got actually came with one of these! increases the self-noise slightly though.

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7 hours ago, cambob3000 said:

The kit I got actually came with one of these! increases the self-noise slightly though.

 

Slightly, but unbearably!!

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Mine makes no diff in the sound of the mic at all, except there is a little less low-end.  Gotta love that Oktava consistency.  The low-cut makes it much more usable as an on-camera mic, for instance,

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I've been swinging Oktavas for quite a while now. I think using them has made my touch on the pole way softer, which is a good thing. I've also learned important things about wind protection. I use a Rycote INV 7 HG-MKIII and a Baby Ball Gag. I'd also add moisture sensitivity to potential problems, I've had the Oktavas crackle out on me once which has really kept me on edge ever since. Hasn't happened again, though. The sound is really good for such cheap mics, but by the time they've made me enough money to buy DPA or Schoeps, I'll probably go that route and keep the Oktavas as spares. I need something a bit more sensitive, a bit quieter and a bit more reliable.

I've never used the Oktava low-cut, since I manage just fine by cutting at 80Hz on the recorder. The mics are noisy enough on their own.

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On 9/22/2018 at 3:30 PM, Rick Reineke said:

As has been stated 'All Oktava 012s are not created equal due to the factory's quality control (or lack there of). Aside for the handing and wind noise, the 10mV sensitivity is a little lower than I prefer for dialog, which can also be an issue with low-cost noisy preamps. The 'Dorcey' type mods can alleviate the handing/wind noise somewhat but the sensitivity stays the same. I have a pair of Sound Room 012s that sound nice, but I use them mostly for music projects, drum overheads, acoustic guitar, ect.

 

For the people who have modded their oktavas: Does the noise floor get lower after the mod? Love the sound of mine but would love even more if I could get a better SNR and a better response on the whispered side of the bad acting spectrum. I saw this kits and was tempted by the claim of a lower noise floor:

http://www.billsrecording.com/BSRS/Mod012.html

 

On 9/24/2018 at 1:59 AM, Ilari Sivil said:

I've been swinging Oktavas for quite a while now. I think using them has made my touch on the pole way softer, which is a good thing. I've also learned important things about wind protection. I use a Rycote INV 7 HG-MKIII and a Baby Ball Gag. I'd also add moisture sensitivity to potential problems, I've had the Oktavas crackle out on me once which has really kept me on edge ever since. Hasn't happened again, though. The sound is really good for such cheap mics, but by the time they've made me enough money to buy DPA or Schoeps, I'll probably go that route and keep the Oktavas as spares. I need something a bit more sensitive, a bit quieter and a bit more reliable.

I've never used the Oktava low-cut, since I manage just fine by cutting at 80Hz on the recorder. The mics are noisy enough on their own.

 

Mine arrived from the EU dealer with a very worrying low frequency rumble close to the noise floor that I fixed after some research by putting it on Silica Gel. I assumed by the time that the transportation across the Atlantic was a little troublesome (I live in Brazil) and was happy that it was a simple fix since the ride back and forth to the dealer would require some work with the Brazilian customs clearance. Sometime after this it started this crackling rumble on the middle of a take and went to the Silica again. I could replicate the problem by letting it on overnight and getting this crackling on the next day by the time of the morning mist. The noise went out immediately by putting it close to the silica. I tried to get rid of any contamination that may be attracting moisture to the capsule by blowing gently with a lens dust cleaner and now it rests on a closed case with the silica but I'm not very comfortable to use it on every situation. Ilari's testimonial may have clarified to me that this is not a defected unit but instead a problem with the design of the mic. That's a shame since it has a very beautiful sound and is extremely directional (the HC capsule that is the only one I have). I don't mind much about the handling and the wind noise since is because of these "flaws" that I've improved my booming technique and got a better wind protection solution.

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On 9/23/2018 at 4:44 PM, Philip Perkins said:

Mine makes no diff in the sound of the mic at all, except there is a little less low-end.  Gotta love that Oktava consistency.  The low-cut makes it much more usable as an on-camera mic, for instance,

 

Philip I am interested and, to be honest, rather puzzled by this. As discussed in a thread some years ago, when I purchased an MK012 and found the low-cut surprisingly and unusably noisy, the self-noise problem seemed consistent as confirmed both by Oktava-online themselves and Bill Sitler: http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?305348-Oktava-MK012-low-cut-filter-self-noise . Your low-filter really must be the exception that proves the rule. For anyone else wanting a low-cut above and beyond that on their mixer/preamp, the Rycote Tac!t filter/cable is, of course, an option.

 

Cheers,

 

Roland

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On 9/21/2018 at 11:57 AM, Ty Ford said:

snip<People who do sound for a living (and are still doing it) usually hear differently than those who don't. There is a learning curve, but some begin higher on it than others. Still others never get there.> 

 

Regards,

 

Ty

Well put Ty. I might print this out and put it on the wall.

 

-Scott

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On 9/21/2018 at 2:08 PM, Kisaha said:

I own the Oktava and although is great sounding for the money, I believe the 2 microphones you mentioned are the absolutely entry level mics for interior scenes.

 

The Oktava is too sensitive to handling noises and air, so it needs the best mounting system and wind shield one can get (and usually the most expensive) and it is not as "user friendly" for non experienced boom ops.

 

Finally, I went for the Audix solution, I own 2, and even though is not MKH50, is a great little microphone of its own and better than the Oktava in every characteristic.

 

Have you tested the Audix at all? What is your opinion about it? And Vs the AT?

Yes, I have tested the Octava/Oktava, Audix and AT. Both of the latter are good. Not as good as a Schoeps, but better than the Octava/Oktava.

On 9/21/2018 at 3:53 PM, cambob3000 said:

 

 

Thanks for your input, Ty and Kisaha! Up to this point, I have only had an SE Electronics on-camera shotgun style microphone. I felt that the Oktava would be a good choice due to the price being only $200.00. I couldn't for the life of me find anything in this sort of price range which could beat the Oktava and I simply don't have the budget to afford the Audix or Audio-Technica microphones you linked to. I am aware of the handling noise and wind noise issues which I have seen now firsthand. I purchased a Rycote shock mount and the microphone came with a windscreen which seems to solve most of the issue. One thing to note is that I am a definite beginner in this field and I want to get something that can help me learn more, cost under or around $300, and sound nice as well. If there is another microphone which could fill these roles I would love to hear about it!  

You really need to hear them, including the Schoeps and DPA. Although they all look more or less alike, they don't sound alike. If you can't tell the difference, then, fine. If you can tell the difference......
 

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@Ty Ford listening to different mics seems like the optimal way to choose. Out of curiosity, do you usually do that by renting them and using them on jobs? Visiting a showroom/rental house? For those of us who live far away from retailers that carry decent mics, it's sometimes hard to compare these things in the flesh.

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As Phil and others suggest, for Oktavas, it REALLY helps to hear the exact microphone you're going to buy. Or buy from The Sound Room, which in the past (and probably still currently) had a good track record of actually rejecting (and not selling) individual mics with serious flaws. That's where my MK-012s came from, and they seem pretty good for the breed. https://sound-room.com/home

 

For you, living way away from everything, maybe see if a mixer or two will be visiting the Main Workshops in Rockport. Or maybe trek down to Boston and buy lunch for a couple local mixers (there are some good ones in that town). Or head down to NYC and visit Gotham Sound (and perhaps a couple friendly/hungry mixers), and give a bunch of mics a listen.

 

I've rented/demoed mics before buying; good dealers can help arrange that...sometimes the rental fee can be applied towards the purchase price. But you know, I've bought microphones without first hearing them. Based on my experience with other mics, the opinions of people I trust (including many here), and the ability to return a mic if it really isn't working for me, that works. Also, I just do small jobs. Unlike a bunch of people here, I don't own and buy tons of mics. There's no local location-audio dealer here (San Francisco bay area), and I'm dealing with it.

 

For the better mics, there's consistency from unit to unit...also note that for these mics, specialty dealers such at Gotham, Trew, and others offer basically the same prices as the box stores such as B&H, Sweetwater, etc...and the specialty dealers usually offer expertise in our arcane field. (Sorry if this is all obvious).

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On 9/23/2018 at 2:23 AM, Philip Perkins said:

Oktava makes a low-cut filter that can screw in between capsule and head amp--(like Schoeps Cut1), very helpful (but makes the mic longer).

 

...and significantly increases the mic's self noise.

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On 10/4/2018 at 11:42 AM, Jason Mann said:

@Ty Ford listening to different mics seems like the optimal way to choose. Out of curiosity, do you usually do that by renting them and using them on jobs? Visiting a showroom/rental house? For those of us who live far away from retailers that carry decent mics, it's sometimes hard to compare these things in the flesh.

I own some. I am sent some for review. I am lent some when it comes to making comparisons. Yes, having them in your own hands (in the flesh) is a wonderful thing. If you can get a good reputation with a retailer, they will sometimes send you a mic to compare. I mostly deal with manufacturers and distributors.

On 10/4/2018 at 2:54 PM, Jim Feeley said:

As Phil and others suggest, for Oktavas, it REALLY helps to hear the exact microphone you're going to buy. Or buy from The Sound Room, which in the past (and probably still currently) had a good track record of actually rejecting (and not selling) individual mics with serious flaws. That's where my MK-012s came from, and they seem pretty good for the breed. https://sound-room.com/home

 

For you, living way away from everything, maybe see if a mixer or two will be visiting the Main Workshops in Rockport. Or maybe trek down to Boston and buy lunch for a couple local mixers (there are some good ones in that town). Or head down to NYC and visit Gotham Sound (and perhaps a couple friendly/hungry mixers), and give a bunch of mics a listen.

 

I've rented/demoed mics before buying; good dealers can help arrange that...sometimes the rental fee can be applied towards the purchase price. But you know, I've bought microphones without first hearing them. Based on my experience with other mics, the opinions of people I trust (including many here), and the ability to return a mic if it really isn't working for me, that works. Also, I just do small jobs. Unlike a bunch of people here, I don't own and buy tons of mics. There's no local location-audio dealer here (San Francisco bay area), and I'm dealing with it.

 

For the better mics, there's consistency from unit to unit...also note that for these mics, specialty dealers such at Gotham, Trew, and others offer basically the same prices as the box stores such as B&H, Sweetwater, etc...and the specialty dealers usually offer expertise in our arcane field. (Sorry if this is all obvious).

If you're in NYC, B&H has a microphone room in their Manhattan store. It's a very dangerous place. :)

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There is a lot of newer competition in the price range of the Oktavas, esp if you buy them new.  I have a bunch of them, and I'm discovering that some of the oldest (from the funky times @ Oktava many years ago) are failing even though they aren't being used.  So...crappy components probably, and probably not worth fixing.  I'd look around for used Beyer 930s or Shure KSM 137 or even SM81 or KSM 109 if you are on a budget.  You'll end up with a much more consistent and reliable mic.

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