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Oktava MK-319 (stock) vs. Audio-Technica AT2020 vs. Rode NT1-A.
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Cue Zephyr
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#1
17th January 2010
Old 17th January 2010
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Oktava MK-319 (stock) vs. Audio-Technica AT2020 vs. Rode NT1-A.

Hey y'all!

No, I'm not buying a new mic, just wondering!
This just popped into my mind.
I have an Oktava MK-319, my cousin has an Autio Technica AT2020 and 'someone else' has just bought a Rode NT1-A.
These are all quite similarly priced, and I wnated to know which of these is the best. There's always room for competition... And of course I'm hoping the 319 is the best of these, but I'd like your opinions on this question.

CZ
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17th January 2010
Old 17th January 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cue Zephyr View Post
Hey y'all!

No, I'm not buying a new mic, just wondering!
This just popped into my mind.
I have an Oktava MK-319, my cousin has an Autio Technica AT2020 and 'someone else' has just bought a Rode NT1-A.
These are all quite similarly priced, and I wnated to know which of these is the best. There's always room for competition... And of course I'm hoping the 319 is the best of these, but I'd like your opinions on this question.

CZ
Having worked with the NT1-A for a long time, it is pretty nice if you have very bad preamps (as in your average 2 channel audio interface) because the sibilance peak counteracts the dark preamp a little. It has an excellent signal to noise ratio but it also distorts easily on high frequencies.

The AT2020 is much cheaper than the other mics and looks pretty nice too. But it's the low end of the low end in Audio Technica mics so don't expect much from it. It probably wouldn't work well with your 0404 USB because AT mics are pretty dark and warm sounding and the preamp in the 0404 doesn't fix that. I used a bunch of AT mics and they don't work too well with the 0404 USB.

The Oktava 319 has lots of character and works very well on some sources and terribly on others. If you like its sound on the stuff you use it on, keep it. Having it modded by Mike Joly will preserve that character but improve every other aspect of that mic.


If you get around to A/B these mics in a scientific way, please post the results here.
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17th January 2010
Old 17th January 2010
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The MK-319, is by far the most versatile and professional-sounding mic of those three. No contest. Classically elegant one-FET / transformer-coupled design with a capsule that could stand in for a Neumann K47.

The AT-2020 is a 16mm "smallish diameter", electret condenser mic - two features I don't think of when I think "vocal mic". This mic makes a better stringed instrument, rather than vocal mic.

The NT1a is easily dead last - this mic is simultaneously sibilant and congested-sounding. Its K67-type backlate / edge terminated capsule (with quite a HF spike) operates in a very closed-in headbasket that exacerbates sibilance, smears transients and robs detail. I just completed some extensive R&D work on the NT1a so its sizzly top end and congested midrange is quite fresh in my mind.
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17th January 2010
Old 17th January 2010
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well no surprise there^^

i agree, of course. i have not used the AT2020, just the 4047 but i can't stand the nta1. it sounds great the first time you use it but gets progressivly worse the more you listen. just my thoughts.

the 319 is quite nice stock and there are some super simple mechanical mods you can do to make it a very good mic. a little silicone caulking on the inside of the mic body will make a huge and instant difference. remove a layer of grill and the resonant discs on the capsule and you've got yourself a real contender.
Cue Zephyr
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17th January 2010
Old 17th January 2010
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When I outgrow my 319, I will send it off to MJ for sure. I also bought the 319 with exactly that in mind.
I just asked my cousin if I could borrow his 2020 for an A/B test, and it's no problem.
The NT1-A, well, let's just forget it. I find it funny how my (2005) 319 was just cheaper than the NT1-A mentioned before.
I hope it's 4 years of sitting in a shop's stock isn't a problem.

Thank you for your replies, it looks like I've made the right choice after all!
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17th January 2010
Old 17th January 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
I just completed some extensive R&D work on the NT1a so its sizzly top end and congested midrange is quite fresh in my mind.
You, Sir, are awesome! First of all, the NT1-A with the MJE-47H head looks very professional, especially with that shockmount (the shockmount that came with my NT1-A was ridiculously bad, you just touched the mic stand a little and the VU-meters would stay in the red). I'd buy this and pretty much everything else in your shop if I had the money.

I'd love to see what you can do out of an NT3. 3/4" capsule, reasonably designed headbasket (big holes, inner foam layer easily removed) and I really dig it on guitar, hihat and some vocals.


Back on topic: I'd personally vote for the 319 because I like the brand in general and it's gotten great reviews on here.
Cue Zephyr
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19th January 2010
Old 19th January 2010
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Hey, that looks great, MJ!
I might want to get an NT1-A just for that sooner or later!
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19th January 2010
Old 19th January 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cue Zephyr View Post
Hey y'all!

No, I'm not buying a new mic, just wondering!
This just popped into my mind.
I have an Oktava MK-319, my cousin has an Autio Technica AT2020 and 'someone else' has just bought a Rode NT1-A.
These are all quite similarly priced, and I wnated to know which of these is the best. There's always room for competition... And of course I'm hoping the 319 is the best of these, but I'd like your opinions on this question.

CZ
so you finally bought the mk319, huh?

congratz.

honestly out of all 3, the mk319 is the pimp daddy, imo. i am not a fan of the at2020, i like, but not love the nt-1a, and i am actually very proud to have a mk319...even though it may not get used as much as my other mics.
the character of the mk319 is smooth. i like it, but it does have a weird resonance that i am not a huge fan of, but that aside, sounds way more expensive that it is.
the other 2, imo, are priced just right for what they are. to my ears, both mics are a bit harsh and i couldn't in good conscience, use them with my nice preamps. the overly bright tone of them would do well in lower end pres that cloud up lows and high, but on pres with extended bandwidth, just end up brittle to my ears. the at2020 especially. now, the at3035, is a totally different story. that is one good sounding mic for cheap!
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19th January 2010
Old 19th January 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrCrowbar View Post
Having worked with the NT1-A for a long time, it is pretty nice if you have very bad preamps (as in your average 2 channel audio interface) because the sibilance peak counteracts the dark preamp a little.

haha, it seems that i am not the only one who feels this way!
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19th January 2010
Old 19th January 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rty5150 View Post
haha, it seems that i am not the only one who feels this way!
I know what you mean.
My experience has been sort of the opposite though. When they came out about 10 years ago, I bought one for my low/mid-level set-up and it was often too edgy for me. I recently flipped one and, while testing it in my high-end rig, I was really surprised how great it sounded. Still aggressive in the uper-mids/highs, but very useable.

BTW, to the thread starter, I recommend not looking at mics at being "better" or "worse" except in a specific application. Even the lowly 57 has recorded world-famous vocals. Hell, the NT1a was used on the new 30seconds from Mars album's lead vocals. The best thing you can do it to fnd a mic that that gives you the sound you want for each specific source.
(W/ that said, the 319 is my fave of the three)
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