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Oktavamod MK-012: really as good as a KM84?
Old 25th August 2010
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Oktavamod MK-012: really as good as a KM84?

Hi,

Since I listened to Dr. Bills sound samples (where he compares a Joly modded MK-012 to a KM 84 on acoustic guitar (and I honestly cannot hear a difference)) I am seriously considering buying an MK-012 stereo set with the omni and hypercardioid capsules.

Has anybody had any bad experiences with them? Or are they really as good as they seem in those sound samples? It seems almost impossible at that price tag. Are they really in a league with your AKG 451s, Beyer 930s, KM84s etc.?

I currently have a pair of 451s and like them a lot. Sometimes though it would be cool to have different polar patters than cardioid. I know those capsules exist but they are really expensive on Ebay. I've also worked with KM 84s, but they don't fit into my budget right now.

It would be cool to get some feedback from engineers who have thoroughly compared the MJ K-012 to other SDC studio mics.
Old 25th August 2010
  #2
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Well, you already heard my sound samples so no need to go over that.

On the SDC front, I've got 84's, 451E/EB's, Gefell 692/M70's and the mj modded 012's. I'd say there's a place for all of them.

As for the 012's...they are not an EXACT replacement for 84's, but they share a very similar tone quality - at least on AC GTR. They are generally a little more modern sounding than 84's IMO. By modern, I mean the top is more open, the bottom bigger.

On an aside, I also really like the omni caps on the 012.

Hope that helps.
Old 25th August 2010
  #3
Gear Addict
 
Mulmany's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I love my Joly modded MK012's.

They are smooth and full bodied. I have found them smoother on the top end then the 451's, but its been a while since I've had a listen to both.

The before and after mod is quite an amazing difference in performance. I always liked my 012's but there was this midrange harshness to them that always bugged me. After the mod that pesky mid bump is gone and they are smooth.

Oh did I mention that they are smooth!
Old 25th August 2010 | Show parent
  #4
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Internet Hyped.

Can a Chevrolet run as smouth as a Mercedes Benz?

Yes for sure.........for the first years or so. After 4 years rust gets in the american made. Give it another couple of years and the Chevrolet is worth nothing even though you modded and repaired the thing.

Buy a new MB and take good care of it.......it will lasts over 20 years.

If you're starting up and on a budget then the MK012's might be alright.

In the long run, buy the Neumann.

777artin
Old 25th August 2010 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by 777Artin ➑️
Internet Hyped.
Give it another couple of years and the Chevrolet is worth nothing even though you modded and repaired the thing.
777artin
That's exactly what I am a bit worried about. I do not doubt the benefit of the Joly mod in the least, but I just cannot believe that a mic which is THAT cheap in the original form (it costs 90 euros here in Europe) will be in the same ballpark as the classic SDCs after a minor electronics upgrade.
...but hey...I could be wrong
Old 25th August 2010 | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I have to take exception to the Mercedes-Chevy comparison. that is more than a bit over the top. First of all mics are not going to rust and second of all ALL electronic devices need maintenance. The small parts of the Oktava that may need maintaining or replacing will not cost very much to do and will most probably not need doing for quite a number of years.
I have a Shure SM58 that I bought in 1973 and i can hear no difference between it and another I own that is only 6 years old. I replaced the ball/windscreen.

If the 2 mics sound very similar now they are likely to stay that way for many many years and the Oktava will probably be less expensive to repair than the Neumann. The Neumann, too, will need maintenance someday.

If you've got the money for the Neumanns then by all means do it, but if you don't....
Old 25th August 2010 | Show parent
  #7
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I typically reach for my stock MK-012 mics before my KM84 pair on acoustic guitar. They are not the exact same sounding as a KM84, but they handle the same sources pretty darn well...and there are plenty of KM84's in dire need of repair out there right now..as well as well maintained ones.

War
Old 26th August 2010 | Show parent
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Ok, thanks for your opinions so far. Keep them coming...

BTW, I noticed there's some competition for the Michael Joly mod out there (at least for the European / German market):

Magis Audiobau
Oktava MK012 TestYourMic.com UPdated Electronics

Does anybody have any experiences with these mods and how they differ from the Joly mod?
Old 26th August 2010 | Show parent
  #9
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by John N ➑️
I have to take exception to the Mercedes-Chevy comparison. that is more than a bit over the top. First of all mics are not going to rust and second of all ALL electronic devices need maintenance. The small parts of the Oktava that may need maintaining or replacing will not cost very much to do and will most probably not need doing for quite a number of years.
I have a Shure SM58 that I bought in 1973 and i can hear no difference between it and another I own that is only 6 years old. I replaced the ball/windscreen.

If the 2 mics sound very similar now they are likely to stay that way for many many years and the Oktava will probably be less expensive to repair than the Neumann. The Neumann, too, will need maintenance someday.

If you've got the money for the Neumanns then by all means do it, but if you don't....
True. but generally with cheaper products, they need more attention. For example, sticking to the car analogy, the Merc would prob need a service now and again too. but probably run fine for 10years or so before it needs another looking at. a cheaper car would prob need 3 or 4 services in the same period. i know people who have never had trouble with certain cars, where as i know people who are always in the garage with theirs! so yeah everything needs a lil maintenance, but you would hope that maintenance goes a long way!
Old 26th August 2010 | Show parent
  #10
Lives for gear
 
jrakarl's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeanM ➑️
, the Merc would prob need a service now and again too. but probably run fine for 10years or so before it needs another looking at. a cheaper car would prob need 3 or 4 services in the same period.
That's funny. I'll show that to my sister (she's a mechanic) she'll have a good laugh at that. Clearly you've never owned a MB and your car is in need of a service.
Old 26th August 2010 | Show parent
  #11
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subspace's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
I drive an 82 Mercedes diesel and mix on an 81 Trident. I'll agree those older Mercedes will outlast any American car of similar vintage given the same level of care. This doesn't apply to Mercedes from the late '80s onward though(ie: Chryslers.) The same rule of thumb applies to Tridents as well. Sorry, don't have 012s or KM84s....
Old 26th August 2010 | Show parent
  #12
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Mr. Light's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
now we're straying to into a "car-off" but yeah man......when I saw mercedes being referenced I was confused. I owned an '03 E class that was an electronic nightmare. It was in the shop more times in the 2 years I owned it than any car I've ever owned.....even for more than 6-7 years. I went running right back to toyota
Old 26th August 2010 | Show parent
  #13
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
My question is this. Does it sound good in the mix?

Will the person listening to the final song be able to tell if you used an expensive or a cheap mic?

Somehow I doubt it.

Gear snobbery bugs the shit out of me.
Old 26th August 2010 | Show parent
  #14
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
By the way, I vote for BMW. I love mine.

But I loved my Honda, too.
Old 26th August 2010 | Show parent
  #15
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
This thread is getting more and more interesting. Hey why don't I collect old cars? Not much more expensive than old Neumann mics. But they need an awful lot of space...hmm I guess I'll stick to the microphones then.
Old 26th August 2010 | Show parent
  #16
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Or are they really as good as they seem in those sound samples? It seems almost impossible at that price tag.
Your question should be the opposite in my opinion. Why do companies like Neuman charge such exhorbitant prices for mics that have the same $75 worth of parts inside....?

I have an older pair of MC-012s. I didn't buy them as a matched set, but they certainly sound the same to me. As one poster mentioned, they (like almost all 1/2" diaphram mics) need a bit of a mid EQ roll-off at 2 or 3K. And then they're fine. Or you can pay someone to do the roll-off within the mic for you. I could never see any reason for the latter.
Old 26th August 2010 | Show parent
  #17
135323
Guest
The old MB were good cars. The recent ones rate very low on reliability. So the MB analogy might not be the best example for this conversation.
Old 26th August 2010 | Show parent
  #18
Lives for gear
 
thermos's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by corky ➑️
I have an older pair of MC-012s. I didn't buy them as a matched set, but they certainly sound the same to me. As one poster mentioned, they (like almost all 1/2" diaphram mics) need a bit of a mid EQ roll-off at 2 or 3K. And then they're fine. Or you can pay someone to do the roll-off within the mic for you. I could never see any reason for the latter.
Not to mention the high and low end extension, dynamic response improvement and overall better sounding output. An eq can not do that.

So yes, the Joly mod is beyond worth it.
Old 26th August 2010 | Show parent
  #19
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by thermos ➑️
Not to mention the high and low end extension, dynamic response improvement and overall better sounding output. An eq can not do that.

So yes, the Joly mod is beyond worth it.
I'm not disputing that, but I bought them to record acoustic guitar, so I'm not sure why I'd want to extend the lows or highs with it since it would be wasted on an instrument that's almost completely midrange, and any improvement in dynamic response would also go unoticed on acoustic I think, especially since I wouldn't get caught dead tracking acoustic without compression.

I'm not saying those things won't improve the mic. They may make it sound better when mic'ing a choir or as drum overheads, but I don't think it would be much of an advantage on guitar. Anyway, here is what my un-modified 012s sound like in a stereo x-pattern on my Taylor 314 (any noise you hear is from my recording environment--not the mics): prelude.mp3

The room hasn't been treated, and I've gotten better stereo sounds using just one of the 012s in conjunction with a 1" condenser over the shoulder, but I think they sound pretty darn good as is.
Old 26th August 2010 | Show parent
  #20
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quite honestly, while I think both mics are fine, I've heard much better results that other people have gotten from different mics altogether.
Old 26th August 2010 | Show parent
  #21
Lives for gear
 
Michael_Joly's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by corky ➑️
..I bought them to record acoustic guitar, so I'm not sure why I'd want to extend the lows or highs with it since it would be wasted on an instrument that's almost completely midrange, and any improvement in dynamic response would also go unnoticed on acoustic I think, especially since I wouldn't get caught dead tracking acoustic without compression....
Interesting comments that make me think of my 15 yr tutelage under David Blackmer (dbx and Earthworks founder) and the lessons I learned from him regarding audio system bandwidth.

The purpose of extending the low frequency and high frequency cut-off frequencies in an audio system is to minimize or eliminate midrange phase shift on audible sources like acoustic guitar. Minimizing phase shift provide more realism and more impact. Similarly, improved transient response in a microphone system allows the natural transients present in the source material to be heard more clearly without the limitations of acoustical-electrical artifacts.

Put another way, providing frequency and time domain specifications that exceed the expected source material parameters allows us to hear the source material more accurately.
Old 26th August 2010 | Show parent
  #22
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly ➑️
Interesting comments that make me think of my 15 yr tutelage under David Blackmer (dbx and Earthworks founder) and the lessons I learned from him regarding audio system bandwidth.

The purpose of extending the low frequency and high frequency cut-off frequencies in an audio system is to minimize or eliminate midrange phase shift on audible sources like acoustic guitar. Minimizing phase shift provide more realism and more impact. Similarly, improved transient response in a microphone system allows the natural transients present in the source material to be heard more clearly without the limitations of acoustical-electrical artifacts.

Put another way, providing frequency and time domain specifications that exceed the expected source material parameters allows us to hear the source material more accurately.
I'm not a techie, so I have no idea what you're saying here, but it would seem to me that the more room you have on the top and the bottom, the more comfortable you'll be in the middle.

Am I getting that right?
Old 26th August 2010 | Show parent
  #23
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Mr. Joly and Mr. Blackmer [the db of dbx] are correct! Rupert Neve has had quite a bit to say on this subject... the importance of ultra wide bandwidth, beyond the "audible" range. Not surprisingly his products sounds pretty amazing...!

There may be some of his thoughts on the RND site, Rupert Neve Designs, if not he wrote/referenced several "white papers" from the AES on the effects of limited bandwidth ver. wide bandwidth. I think you could google them, some may be in "lay" terms...
Old 26th August 2010 | Show parent
  #24
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly ➑️
Interesting comments that make me think of my 15 yr tutelage under David Blackmer (dbx and Earthworks founder) and the lessons I learned from him regarding audio system bandwidth.

The purpose of extending the low frequency and high frequency cut-off frequencies in an audio system is to minimize or eliminate midrange phase shift on audible sources like acoustic guitar. Minimizing phase shift provide more realism and more impact. Similarly, improved transient response in a microphone system allows the natural transients present in the source material to be heard more clearly without the limitations of acoustical-electrical artifacts.

Put another way, providing frequency and time domain specifications that exceed the expected source material parameters allows us to hear the source material more accurately.
That's all over my head quite honestly. But you sound like you know what you're talking about, so I believe you.
Old 26th August 2010 | Show parent
  #25
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Michael_Joly's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by robgb ➑️
I'm not a techie, so I have no idea what you're saying here, but it would seem to me that the more room you have on the top and the bottom, the more comfortable you'll be in the middle.

Am I getting that right?
That's a great way of putting it!
Old 26th August 2010 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by corky ➑️
so I'm not sure why I'd want to extend the lows or highs with it since it would be wasted on an instrument that's almost completely midrange, and any improvement in dynamic response would also go unoticed on acoustic I think, especially since I wouldn't get caught dead tracking acoustic without compression.
Here's what I believe is the reason you should care. If the extention in the mic is better, then chances are the phase response in that critical mid range area is better, yeilding (arguably) a better "tone" than a mic that's rolled off and only has the "midrange" characteristics you want.


As for dynamic response, I suspect the thermos meant to say the "transient" response, which is CRITICAL to capturing the sound of an AC guitar. As for dynamic control, there are many who NEVER put a compressor on an acoustic. I for one prefer to capture it as naturally as possible, and in the mix, I much prefer to automate over just arbitrarily compressing the crap out of it. Although I've been known to do that as well.... heh thumbsup
Old 26th August 2010 | Show parent
  #27
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly ➑️
The purpose of extending the low frequency and high frequency cut-off frequencies in an audio system is to minimize or eliminate midrange phase shift on audible sources like acoustic guitar.

ha! I should have kept reading. I see Michael beat me to it.....
Old 26th August 2010 | Show parent
  #28
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by corky ➑️
That's all over my head quite honestly. But you sound like you know what you're talking about, so I believe you.
Think of it this way. Why does 48K sound better than 44.1? And why the race to higher sampling rates such as 96k? Because the digital filters - which play hell with the phase anomolies around their nyquest frequencies (1/2 the sample rate) - are higher up and further out of our range of hearing. Resulting in a more natural "in phase" sound in areas that we CAN hear. Whether you know the math or not, understand why or not, you hear the differences every time you fire up your DAW. thumbsup
Old 26th August 2010 | Show parent
  #29
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Why does 48K sound better than 44.1?
Well we're going to disagree on this one. As long as oversampling is used on the 44.1 sample, no higher rate is going to sound different at all. I know this to be true because of sound tests I conducted with a few dozen participents several years ago. In fact, there was an audio magazine (I don't remember which one now) that didn't identical experiments when the first 24-bit workstations came out, and they got the same results that I did. They just did blind A-B tests in rooms of around 2 to 3 dozen people, most of them audio engineers who were convinced beforehand that they could hear a difference, and found that nobody could consistantly tell any difference in the sound.

I've found that when recording at 16/44.1 I can make as many as a half dozen changes to the sound file before any noticable degradation sets in. That's about as many changes as I ever make to a file anyway. And the noise floor is already quite good at that rate. Yes, you have better stereo separation at higher bit/sampling rates, but as soon as you convert back to 16/44.1 for your CD, it disappears completely. The only good reason anyone has for recording at higher rates in my opinion is for surround sound DVDs where those frequencies are going to get chopped up and scattered through the various channels. The more bits you have the better off you are in surround.

I'm not knocking anyone recording at higher rates. I mean, heck, as long as you've got the HD space and a strong computer you may as well. I just don't believe there's any real advantage to it.
Old 26th August 2010 | Show parent
  #30
Lives for gear
 
edva's Avatar
 
26 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I have had a pair of Oktava MK-012's modded by Bill Sitler, and he did a beautiful job. Comparing them to my unmodded 012's, the difference is well worth the price of the mod, to me. Just sounds like a "better" mic now. HTH.
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