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Oktava MK-012 VS AKG C414

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Oktava MK-012 VS AKG C414

Postby _ Six _ » Mon Jan 21, 2013 6:46 am

Okay.. The main reason would be for overheads but the thing is... it's either a stereo pair of the Oktava MK-012 or a single C414 XLS. I might be able to get another C414 in a few months but that leaves me with a mono overhead for the foreseeable future.

I've used the C414 in the past and think it's a brilliant mic. I've never used the Oktava MK-012 but the reviews all seem positive.
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Re: Oktava MK-012 VS AKG C414

Postby whis4ey » Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:16 am

I think that if you go for the 414 you will never regret it. If you go for the Octava you will always be thinking that you should have bought the 414 first
I have the 414 which I use with a Sennheiser K30 (an old video camera mike) for stereo recording of acoustic guitar, which gives a terrific full quality sound .... 414 pointed just above the sound hole, the K40 (on omni mode)towards the bridge from slightly below)
Maybe you have a second mike which can be used meantime for stereo overhead?
I myself have been looking at the Oktava Mk 012-02 MSP4 which has cardioid and omni capsules ... the latter sound great to me on the Thoman site ... and I am tempted. But really, what I already have is probably better and as good as I will ever need
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Re: Oktava MK-012 VS AKG C414

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:15 pm

If it's mainly for overheads, then the fixed cardioid C214 model might be worth considering. It has the same back-electret capsule like all the current C414 variants, but with only one diaphragm wired.

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Re: Oktava MK-012 VS AKG C414

Postby Jeraldo » Tue Jan 22, 2013 2:27 am

whis4ey wrote:I think that if you go for the 414 you will never regret it. If you go for the Octava you will always be thinking that you should have bought the 414 first


I own 3 (modded) Oktavas MC-012's with a pair of all three capsules, and a pair of 414 B/ULS, and the Oktavas get far more use.

Caveat, though-the Oktava capsules need to be hand selected and the bodies modded, otherwise there will be problems-that is a certainty.

The C214 might have a sound more to my liking-I've not heard it.

Since the OP is using them for overheads, it's worth noting that the Oktava cardioid has no real null at the back, while the 414 (and presumably the 214) does.

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Re: Oktava MK-012 VS AKG C414

Postby whis4ey » Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:43 am

'modded'?????
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Re: Oktava MK-012 VS AKG C414

Postby Jack Ruston » Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:50 am

If you can get a pair of 414 BULS they're very useful. They work on pretty much everything one way or another. I don't like the new ones so much for some reason.

I imagine the mods are the Michael Joly mods?

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Re: Oktava MK-012 VS AKG C414

Postby whis4ey » Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:49 am

I see I haven't been offered a reply to my query. Is there a suggestion that these mikes are no good without some form of modification?
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Re: Oktava MK-012 VS AKG C414

Postby Jeraldo » Thu Jan 24, 2013 3:21 am

whis4ey wrote:I see I haven't been offered a reply to my query. Is there a suggestion that these mikes are no good without some form of modification?


whis4ey, you might want to adjust your expectations of replies and when they may come.

My suggestion is that one may receive capsules that are soiled or otherwise produce noise, and that some have different pattern characteristics than others of the same type.

And my suggestion is that the bodies will slowly (or abruptly) degrade in performance resulting in more noise, lower output, and (dramatically) higher phantom current demands.

So getting in to the Oktava area is not for the faint of heart, at least for those who need consistent and dependable performance.

As for mods, they are based on an article written by Scott Dorsey. Any number of qualified people can do the mods, for very reasonable prices.

For the OP, and perhaps others, it may be the nature of the cardioid pattern that will tip one toward the 414 and away from the Oktava, along with all the other issues mentioned.

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Re: Oktava MK-012 VS AKG C414

Postby whis4ey » Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:37 am

whis4ey, you might want to adjust your expectations of replies and when they may come.
LOL
Must learn to curb my impatience
Thanks for the reply. I hadn't known anything about these problems with Octavas. They are off my 'possibles' list .....
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Re: Oktava MK-012 VS AKG C414

Postby Jeraldo » Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:16 pm

One item not mentioned:

For those intent on using them stock: The last time I tried to buy another body,it arrived with pin 3+. The distributor sent another, serial number separated by roughly 1000 units: it, too, was pin 3+.
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Re: Oktava MK-012 VS AKG C414

Postby whis4ey » Sat Jan 26, 2013 5:44 pm

What I cannot understand is why one would want to buy this product when the manufacture is so hit and miss???
What is so special about it (compared with its competitors) that merit this additional trouble and expense 'modding'?
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Re: Oktava MK-012 VS AKG C414

Postby Jeraldo » Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:27 am

whis4ey wrote:What I cannot understand is why one would want to buy this product when the manufacture is so hit and miss???
What is so special about it (compared with its competitors) that merit this additional trouble and expense 'modding'?


A very good question!

In my own case, they were cheap and I initially bought 2 bodies and 6 capsules. It was apparent that two capsules needed exchanging from the get go, so I did, and didn't think too much more about it. So I had six good capsules. (And they are very nice sounding capsules, especially the sleeper hyper-cardioid.)

Good to go until I had a body fail after a long time. Suddenly and at a bad time. Then I thought, why not just buy another body?-they were cheap then. So I did, and then the other old body failed. Then it was, I really like the mic's so getting them fixed and modded made sense. After the mods, the mic's were a shock! They sound like much more expensive mic's, they're very quiet, and they require very little phantom power.

I suspect many got into this spiral one step at a time. I did think about selling the 6 excellent capsules and the bodies for someone else to mod, but the mic's had too much utility for me, and I'm very happy after the mods.

To answer your "what makes the mic's so special?" question, the mic's are good enough that they can be mixed and matched with Sennheiser MKH and other top shelf mic's from Schoeps and Neumann. They have a round sound, and are sort of in between the sonic palettes of MKH and Neumann/Schoeps. The capsules are such that the response is very extended in the bottom end. That has both liabilities and benefits. If there is an occasion where you don't want to put up a US$1-2k mic, these do very nicely and deliver excellent results.

In addition to all of the other considerations, the Oktava firm has a distinctly tawdry element to it. They are not known for keeping agreements with distributors.

I probably haven't answered your questions, and I agree mostly with the sentiment behind your "why" questions.

I still like them much better than my 414's............

I wouldn't suggest someone go down the same route. I did it because the next steps always seemed logical. And they were.
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Re: Oktava MK-012 VS AKG C414

Postby whis4ey » Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:19 am

I still like them much better than my 414's...........
Well now, there's a good enough reason to keep them, but it sounds like a journey to be avoided
Thanks for the info ....
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Re: Oktava MK-012 VS AKG C414

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:45 am

Jeraldo wrote: After the mods, the mic's were a shock! They sound like much more expensive mic's...

That's because they are now much more expensive mics! You bought cheap (and suffered the inevitable poor quality control and reliability), then paid money to have them 'upgraded'. The result is a more expensive mic... and, surprise, surpise, they sound better and are more reliable.

I completely understand your original purchase decision and the logical thought processes to get where you now are... but from an outside viewpoint it does emphasise the value of buying from reputable manufacturers in the first place. Whether the modded mics really sound better than an equivalent (total) priced mic or not is a subjective judgement call -- as is their 'value for money'. For some the hassle of the upgrades outweighs the cost benefits, while for others the reverse will be true.

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Re: Oktava MK-012 VS AKG C414

Postby Johnny Stecchino » Sun Jan 27, 2013 9:54 pm

Six and to all who are interested:
here is a link for the moded Oktava by Michael Joly which I found few days ago:

http://www.oktavamodshop.com/index.php?cPath=1_48&osCsid...

A bit out of topic but for my curiosity:
last year I heard a concert of an american composer/artist who played many various wind and percussion instrument all with a C414. Amazing sound!
I checked The mic and it didn't have any other letters, a part of C414, so I wonder if it could be an origianl model with the C12 capsule.
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Re: Oktava MK-012 VS AKG C414

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:16 am

Johnny Stecchino wrote:I checked The mic and it didn't have any other letters, a part of C414, so I wonder if it could be an origianl model with the C12 capsule.


It could well have been an original... but since they all had letters after the C414 bit, the write up was just being lazy and you will have no way of knowing unless you contact the original user.. who still might not even know the differences themselves!

The original 'C414 comb' -- a solid-state, phantom-powered derivation of the C12 -- was launched in 1971. The case design was borrowed from the C12A Nuvistor valve version of the C12, and the mic had the same characteristically bright C12 sound.

The 'C414 EB' came out in 1976 and the early models are often cited as the best version. However, during its production the original brass C12 capsule was replaced with a teflon version which sounded noticeably 'darker'. There was no change to the model name when this happened -- hence the confusion and folklore!

A remote-controlled polar pattern version was also available, the C414 EB E1, around the same time.

Then the C414 EB-P48 came out in 1980, which was 48V phantom only (the previous models accepted anything from about 10 to 52V) and the electronics were redesigned to be quieter to suit the 'digital age' -- but still with the slightly warm character sound.

My personal favourite version, the C414 B-ULS, (ULS stands for ultra-linear series) came out in 1986, and this involved a radical redesign of the electronics to improve performance markedly. The sound is still dark and warm compared to many capacitor mics.

The C414 B-TL -- a transformerless version with a gold grille -- came out in the late 80s, I think, replaced quickly by the The TL-II version in 1993. This second model was still transformerless, but used another new capsule design intended to replicate the brighter characteristics of the original C12. (This same new capsule was also used in the C12VR).

Then we had the C414 B-XLS and C414 B-XLII in 2004, which had all new electronics, electronic switching, new mic suspension, new capsule and new body -- the lot -- all in an effort to improve technical perforamnce as well as to out-design the damaging Chinese clone inductry. The two models reflected the slightly warm and slightly bright sound characters of the previous model options.

And finally, the current C414 XLS and C414 XLII (the B has been dropped) -- which are very similar in most respects, but use new-generation large-diaphgram back-electret capsules to achieve even more impressive technical specs. Back-electret technology currently eludes the Chinese and is an area offering greatest technical improvement in mic designs. AKG has pioneered the development and use of high-quality large-diaphgram electrets, matching in mnay ways the lofty performance achieved by B&K/DPA mics using small diaphgram electrets.

Image

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Re: Oktava MK-012 VS AKG C414

Postby Guy Johnson » Mon Jan 28, 2013 12:24 pm

Wow, lookit them all ... niice ... I'll never think of 414s as the same(ish) mic again!
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Re: Oktava MK-012 VS AKG C414

Postby _ Six _ » Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:16 pm

Are the C214 definitely the same technology as the C414? There seems to be a lot of conflicting info on the web and even AKG don't make it very clear.

Has anyone A/B'd them or used both and has an opinion?

Failing that any opinions on a reasonably priced set of overheads for rock and pop styles? Up to around £800
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Re: Oktava MK-012 VS AKG C414

Postby Jeraldo » Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:18 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
Jeraldo wrote: After the mods, the mic's were a shock! They sound like much more expensive mic's...


That's because they are now much more expensive mics!


They are only slightly more expensive mic's.

But I entirely agree with your point. Still, in the absence of Schoeps, DPA, and Sennheiser, I'd much rather point one of these (Oktava) at an orchestra, chamber ensemble, or choir than any of the B+ or A- manufacturers.

Worth the hassle? Debatable at best, and probably not for most people.
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Re: Oktava MK-012 VS AKG C414

Postby Jeraldo » Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:55 pm

whis4ey wrote:
I still like them much better than my 414's...........
Well now, there's a good enough reason to keep them, but it sounds like a journey to be avoided
Thanks for the info ....

Exactly!
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Re: Oktava MK-012 VS AKG C414

Postby Jeraldo » Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:59 pm

Johnny Stecchino wrote:Six and to all who are interested:
here is a link for the moded Oktava by Michael Joly which I found few days ago:


There are many people who can do these mods, which are based on Dorsey's article. And the prices for the mods vary considerably.
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Re: Oktava MK-012 VS AKG C414

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Feb 08, 2013 3:16 pm

_ Six _ wrote:Are the C214 definitely the same technology as the C414? There seems to be a lot of conflicting info on the web and even AKG don't make it very clear.

My understanding is that the 214 uses the same basic impedance converter circuitry and the same basic (electret) capsule, but it is essentially only half a C414, of course.

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