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Oktava MKL-2500... plus (or) AT4060/CharterOak SA538B?
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jdjustice
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30th November 2006
Old 30th November 2006
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Oktava MKL-2500... plus (or) AT4060/CharterOak SA538B?

i was just browsing around and i came across the Oktava MKL-2500 tube LDC; it looks interesting to me and the price seems right around what i want to pay right now for a new microphone to add to my collection ($800 USD - $1500 USD).

can someone with experience chime in with details about its sound and characteristics? maybe Warren from Front End Audio, since they are now an Oktava dealer, could add a few words?

JSYK, the other microphones i am looking at are the Audio-Technica AT4060, which i have some experience using (and was generally very impressed with), the Charter Oak SA538B, which i have no experience with, and a solid-state model, the Gefell M930. i have no experience with Gefell mics but they seem to have a great reputation.

i will be using the microphone on a male tenor voice, and that is the only desired application for this microphone, so if it is a good microphone for male vocals and sucks at acoustic guitar, for example, that is fine by me.

please help me figure out which of these microphones would be best for my application.
preamps the mic would be paired with include GR MP-2NV, API A²D, and Avalon VT-737sp.

any other details you might need to know about the vocal style and/or application that would help you make a recommendation i would happily furnish.


thanks guys/gals!
~j.d.
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30th November 2006
Old 30th November 2006
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Hi J.D. - re: MKL-2500,

To give you some idea of the quality potential of the Oktava MKL-2500 I'm posting an excerpt from email I got from a client of mine. Back in July of this year I received some sound samples of a solo male vocalist recorded with both a modded MKL-2500 and a Blue Bottle with B7 capsule.

My studio owner client sent me two files and did not identify them. It took me 10 minutes of critical listening back and forth in my reference headphones to hear any differences between the Blue Bottle with B7 and the modded MKL-2500.

I finally heard three minor differences - 1.) one mic had slightly better proximity effect clarity on this particular singer, 2.) and the upper midrange of this same mic was a tiny bit clearer on his voice but 3.) this same mic had 2-3dB less less air at 12kHz. I sent my listening notes off to my client and waited for him to tell me which file was the 2500 and which was the Bottle with B7.

Turns out both the studio owner and his client - the singer whose voice was recorded by both mics, picked the modified MKL-2500 over the Blue Bottle B7 as the better mic for his voice. Here's an excerpt from my client's email to me:

"The singer and I were blown away and my other buddy (the owner of the Bottle) said something really revealing, out of the blue....with some distain. 'Hey man, it's all about the song anyway'....giving me the indication that he thought his mic was not killing the 2500. I love this stuff, the owner is a salesman of that mic, he has to believe it is better....I get it, I have my enabling fictions too."

best, MJ
jdjustice
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3rd December 2006
Old 3rd December 2006
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thanks MJ for that.

anyone else want to chime in?





thx
~j.d.
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3rd December 2006
Old 3rd December 2006
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Watch out when buying this mic, Guitar Center in the Unitd States blew out these mics for $100 each and I picked up two. The problem was that one of the suppliers along the way subbed out the russian parts with chinese. I got lucky and had two russian mics with chinese power supplies but others got chinese mics and chinese power supplies. The russian power supplies are huge compared to the chinese so that's easy to spot but the differences in the mics is much harder to tell. Do a web search on this mic and I'm sure you will turn up the info to tell the mics apart. Even with the russian mics my two each had a different tube in them and sound slighly different. I guess that Oktava uses whatever they have available in parts so there is alot of variation. The good news is they are very modable which is why I got a couple to experiment with. Good luck with your search.
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12th December 2006
Old 12th December 2006
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i also have a pair of mkl-2500 russian, with the chinese power supply, no problems...

the chinese versions of the mikes are not good. nowadays i can tell a fake by slighltly longer silverish bottom (where the xlr connector is). the russian ones have no shiny parts.

but they are very very awesome for their price... and beat many more expensive ones....
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12th December 2006
Old 12th December 2006
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I have a CO 538b, and depending on where the presence is in your voice, it might work, or it might not. If you want to hear the midrange, great. If you want to hide it, none of the mics on your list will do that. The Oktava MKL 105 might be a better choice - flat, with a slight rise in the high end. Keep in mind, it's not the tube that's going to make you sound good, it's the response curve of the mic.
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12th December 2006
Old 12th December 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle duncan View Post
I have a CO 538b, and depending on where the presence is in your voice, it might work, or it might not. If you want to hear the midrange, great. If you want to hide it, none of the mics on your list will do that. The Oktava MKL 105 might be a better choice - flat, with a slight rise in the high end. Keep in mind, it's not the tube that's going to make you sound good, it's the response curve of the mic.

The 105 is a great mic, the high end in it is beautiful. Plus it has a really BIG sound!

Instant impressions are becoming very valuable to me, because they are usually more valid than many hours of testing mics and placements. After owning alot of 100- 1000 dollar mics, the Oktavamoddies never fail to astound me!!
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14th November 2007
Old 14th November 2007
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thewolf is offline
I own the MKL-2500 and it's a great mic...you do have to be careful of fakes, but there are ways of authenticating if it's a genuine Oktava (serial#, frequency response chart, etc.)...I've used the MKL-2500 on vox, piano and acoustic guitar mainly and have had excellent results... great for digital recording as well as analog...this mics adds clarity, warmth and great detail...please check out this Oktava site:
Oktava MKL-2500 tube microphone. Oktava-online - only genuine Russian made studio microphones
they're telling the truth!!! this is a great mic!
#9
14th November 2007
Old 14th November 2007
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I really like the sound of my MLK 2500 on my voice....no mods....I didn't feel any were necessary, it sounds good.
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15th November 2007
Old 15th November 2007
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Like the 2500 un-modded for lots of things. Even acoustic guitar
It's a bit silky in the treble, a very smooth roll-off, still capable of a very close and intimate vocal sound.
Seems you simply pay half as much for the same quality when buying Russian mics vs. western mics.
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