If buying an Oktava 012, it would be wise to be aware of the pitfalls. There are Chinese 'counterfeits' about.. then there's the quality control issues of even the 'genuine Russian' ones... they're not all created equal. Then there's the previously stated need for a high-quality shock mount, (like the Rycote Invision) and even a foam windscreen is needed indoors. In addition, there are modifications available from Mike Joly and the infamous Dorcey mod, but that won't fix a turkey. So what looks like a good low budget mic, may not turn out that way. Search this forum and the web for more info before letting go of the $$$.
Or do you feel lucky.
Thread: Camera or external recorder?
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08-03-2012 08:35 AM
08-03-2012 12:35 PM
Well that is a really unfair assessment. Do you actually have any experience with the Oktava?
What it is and what it isn't.
First off you can't blame the company because there are chinese counterfeits out there. That is a problem with some of Sennheiser's mics also.
Rule #1 know who you are buying from.
The quality control is really an old issue not a current one. But since the only reputable folks I know to get an Oktava from are The Sound Room (10% discount for DVXUser members) or Jolly and both test everything they sell that isn't really a problem even if it were a current problem.
The Oktava is basically a 1930's Schoeps, and has many of the same issues. They are both very sensitive to any wind and both require wind protection indoors under normal working conditions. Both are pretty sensitive to handling noise and require a steady hand or a good shock mount.
Sensitive mics are sensitive so it kind of goes with the territory. Mics with low handling noise also usually have a limited low end. If you roll off the Oktava, like you are going to do for dialog, it's not much of an issue.
I'm not sure what scale you use but if an Oktava is $$$ then a schoeps is $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ and up.
The mods: (and BTW the Joly mod is basically the Dorcey mod with some hardware modifications added in) are not to "fix a turkey" but to improve a good mic. I'm not sure why it would be "infamous"? It was a swap out of some electronic parts that in the early Oktava's could be improved. A lot of those choices probably had more to do with what the company could actually lay hands on than design choices (we are talking before the USSR fell apart after all). They (the mods) are however really designed more for studio use. I doubt you would hear the difference with dialog on the set and the hardware mods make it more sensitive to wind.
It's a very good mic. You don't need to be lucky just handle it properly.
That said for the kind of stuff your doing one of the hypers less sensitive to handling noise might be a better deal. You are going to pay the same or more but a less experienced boom op wont be as much of a problem. And your using it for dialog so a little less sensitivity in the low end isn't a big deal.
The one issue that may be a down side is that the Oktava's were designed as studio mics and like most high end mics are not happy about rough handling. But I have two set ups with them and they have been doing dialog and FX recording in the field with no issues. They have hung off the back of semis and ridden on camels, been spitting distance of an F-14 firing up and close enough to the backside of a MIG to get warm and they still are working happily away.
Last edited by Noiz2; 08-03-2012 at 12:42 PM.
08-03-2012 01:38 PM
- Join Date
- Feb 2005
- Washington, the state.
Likewise to Noiz. I have a couple of Oktavas and feel they are great mics for the $$. For sure you can get better mics, but for much more $$. All the stuff you read about Oktava issues are true; spotty quality on older models, Chinese knock-offs, and more. The thing is, those issues are blown way out of proportion compared to how successful the Oktava really is. The mic has been in production for many many years, and more recently, you don't here about any of these issues. But the old issues persist as legend; they seem the to be embedded into history like a mysterious Russian espionage plot.
08-03-2012 04:13 PM
"Well that is a really unfair assessment"
Well maybe, sometimes I don't look at the bright side of things. I have and had two stereo three-cap sets of Oktava 012s. The first set was genuine Russian and were crap, I had an opportunity to use a (good) set from the 'Sound Room' which sounded totally different so I bought those. There's a whole 'other story' behind the 'counterfeits' that I'm sure your aware of, and supposedly those 'ASM counterfeits' don't sound all that bad, though I've never had one to test.
In any case, buying one from a reputable dealer is advised and I would also recommend the Sound Room.
I would concur to SK's other statements on the modifications and designed for studio use.
08-04-2012 09:45 AM
OK fair enough. That has not been the experience of most folks.
And I take it that the second set are not "turkeys" since you listened before you bought.
I know the convoluted back story of the chinese "counterfeits". If anyone is interested Google it and you can spend a few days reading all the arguments.
I have heard that they sound quite different, not nec. bad but not very close to what the Russian Oktava's sound like.
They are probably a good buy also, but I don't like them on ethical grounds ,not the chinese's fault it's a brit who is doing the "counterfeiting".
For others I put "counterfeiting" in quotes because the brit claims to own the name so they are possibly "legitimate" "Oktava" microphones. But like buying a knock off "Crescent wrench" it isn't the same thing, just the same name.
08-05-2012 02:19 AM
- Join Date
- Jan 2009
08-05-2012 05:23 AM
When I use the Oktava it's in a BBG with dead cat.David W. Jones
08-05-2012 09:53 AM
Not sure that Hypers would be more sensitive as a category but? I'm usually in a zeppelin (I was going to say always but in fact when I do indoor live music recordings I don't use any wind protection on the Oktava's) so?
08-06-2012 02:44 AM
- Join Date
- Jan 2009
The Sound Room is the place to get the Oktava then! I'll be in the USA for my honey moon this October, and I'll spend 2 weeks in NY. Is the Sound Room close to NY? What's the best way to get there?
- Join Date
- Jan 2007
- Hamilton, Ontario, Canada