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Just got my mics back from Oktavamod!

Discussion in 'Backline' started by Glenn Fricker, Dec 23, 2008.

  1. Glenn Fricker

    Glenn Fricker Very Metal &Very Bad News

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    I've been a fan of my Mc012's for quite a while now. They've wound up on many, many records, primarily as overheads.

    Lately, I've been thinking on stepping up to a pair of KM184's..... but someone was nice enough to mention Oktavamod to me & the fact that a modded set of Mc012's are in some cases preferable to KM184's, based on user feedback.

    Well, you do the math: $178 for a pair of modifications (which I purchased for $120 back in 2001 at GC... the same pair these days will fetch $489, unmodded) versus $1700 for a pair of KM184s. I figured I'd try the mod, as they won't break the bank & I can save up for a u87 instead! :)


    So, off they went, were modded last Monday, underwent a 3 day burn-in period (nice touch) and I got them back today. Very nice, considering I had to ship them to another country!

    I've done a couple of tests here: A key test & a drum test. I really wanted to do an A/B comparison to cut through the hype, so I made sure to record some tracks before I shipped the mics off.
    The key test is me jangling my keys in front of the mic to test transient response. It starts with mic 1, then a slight pause, then mic 2. These mics were set up in a Glyn-Johns array over my drums, so mic 1 is hearing the keys through my hand, as it's pointing downwards. Mic 2 is hearing the keys straight-on. So, don't worry about them not sounding the same!

    And, the second (and much more fun) test: Drums. The mics are in the aforementioned Glyn-Johns array. If you're not familiar with the technique, the kick drum does pull to the side quite a bit. so you've been warned. Obviously, a spot mic on the kick would rectify the problem very quickly, but for this test, it's just raw overheads.
    BTW, please excuse my horrible drumming! I am not a drummer, I just love to complain about them! I wanted to cover all elements of the kick. Crashes, hats, snare, ride & toms. You can hear some pretty goddamn significant differences in the pre & post-mod files. Hell, it sounds like I have a completely different ride cymbal! And yes, it's the same snare drum & the same tuning! Actually, the entire kit is the same.

    Here's the link:
    FILES HERE

    And some pics:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  2. ~BURNY~

    ~BURNY~ Member

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    Just checked the drums files very quickly. First impression:
    Listening to the toms, it sounds like a certain boominess is gone while retaining and even reinforcing the difference between them.
    It's a bit like the factory mics where flattering in the low mids at the expanse of clarity.
    I'd say Oktavamod's sounds more detailed and realistic...
    They also seemed slightly more open, flat and dynamic on the cymbals but it's hard to tell because you're hitting them harder on the factory file.
    Finally I listened to the beginning of the files where you are not playing at very loud level.
    You've got a buzz/hum going on both files, probably coming from your electrical wiring but I'm not an expert.
    But you also have a noticeable hiss going on the factory mics file that is not present on the Oktavamod mics file.
    There's also something about the phase but I can't put my finger on tbh.
    On the Keys files, there's definitely more clarity on the Oktavamod sample.
     
  3. Soundlurker

    Soundlurker Member

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    Seems to me the mod has made the low mids cleaner and tighter. I like the result, especially on the snare.
     
  4. coldthrn

    coldthrn Chris Cauthen

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    Awesome Oz, Im thinking about doing the same. I was hoping you would do a A/B test. Great stuff Oz thanks again. Ohh and what pre's did you run them through?
     
  5. Glenn Fricker

    Glenn Fricker Very Metal &Very Bad News

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  6. 006

    006 Member

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    Fucking delicious.
     
  7. Glenn Fricker

    Glenn Fricker Very Metal &Very Bad News

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    Damn man! You've got a good ear! (and you must have had it cranked!) Yeah, I've got a slight ground loop between my monitors & preamps. ALWAYS put these on the same circuit, kids! I did the wiring myself about 5 years ago, & I do have a workaround (it's much more noticeable when reamping) that I forgot to use. Oh well, I'm laid off 'till February, time to break out the stakon pliers & fix this permanently!!

    Here's my observations: The snare sounds totally different. Brighter & punchier. The transient is now much more cutting... and you can hear ghost notes/snare bounce. That never happened on the factory mics.
    Crashes: I should hit them harder, but they do seem to have flattened out quite a bit. VERY nice.
    Hats: huge difference here! Went from 'clacky' to 'swish'. and the irritating frequencies have vanished!
    Ride: Probably the most profound difference. Major improvement on the attack & overall tone. I was also sure to play the ride from the bell to the edge on the Oktavamod file, and it tracks the subtle changes beautifully.
    Toms: Yeah, less tubby for sure. Less 'plastic' and more 'wood." Again, better transient attack.

    I'd guess that the new electronics are faster and can respond with the incoming transients much more easily. It almost seems as if the original electronics really weren't designed for the capsule & that resulted in the smearing & low mid bump.

    What's really great is that the mics still have tons of character.
     
  8. ~BURNY~

    ~BURNY~ Member

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    Holy fuck. I didn't pay attention to the hat this morning.:loco: I'm sold.
     
  9. Glenn Fricker

    Glenn Fricker Very Metal &Very Bad News

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    Go grab a set... you won't be disappointed.

    In the last year, I've tried Studio Projects c4, AT 450, and Apex 185. The Oktava's were clearly the best for overhead work, even unmodified. The C4's aren't bad, & still pull duty as a bottom snare mic or omni room (nice that they came with the interchangeable capsules) The 450's weren't for me, although they can be very interesting on top snare, and the Apex 185's just plain sucked elephant balls. I'm not kidding: They were fucking horrible, and lasted a whole 45 minutes in the studio. I returned them right away.
     
  10. if6was9

    if6was9 Ireland

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    Class this is great info. I've been looking into getting a set of Oktava's for ages and it's really good to know that even if I do end up getting alot better gear than I have now that they can stand their own and can be made alot better!
    Had the money for them and everything but I had to "loan" it to my parents to get them out of a bind, gotta start saving again!
     
  11. zmetallica

    zmetallica Member

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    holy shit! :O I seriously had no idea it would be THAT amazing. i swear those were KM184s. i'm sold. first thing i'm buying when i get some extra cash. i'm surprised about the fast turn around too. I wonder what black lion audio could do for my MOTU traveler hmm...
     
  12. Metaltastic

    Metaltastic Member

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    Ooh, and you can buy 'em new and already modded from the website too...
     
  13. mintcheerios

    mintcheerios Member

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    Thanks for doing this.
     
  14. Melodeath

    Melodeath Moonbow

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    I agree. Thanks for doing this.

    Oz, have you compared the Oktavas to SM81s?
     
  15. Sloan

    Sloan Sounds like shit!

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    Sweet, they definitely sounded clearer with the mod. GREAT JOB!
     
  16. Loren Littlejohn

    Loren Littlejohn Lover of all boobage.

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    Yeah I'm a tard. Can you link me?
     
  17. Melodeath

    Melodeath Moonbow

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  18. Glenn Fricker

    Glenn Fricker Very Metal &Very Bad News

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    No, don't have any kicking around :(
     
  19. Glenn Fricker

    Glenn Fricker Very Metal &Very Bad News

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    It'll probably be faster for you.... remember, I shipped them from Canada so they had to go through customs twice! I shipped them out on the 8th & they got back on the 22nd. Not bad at all.....
     
  20. zmetallica

    zmetallica Member

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    i've done a comparison to the SM81s in the past. the oktava's are wider and overall sound better. less brittle from what i remember, but then again that was like 6 months ago.
     

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