The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
MXL 603 Premium electronics Oktava Mod
Old 10th November 2009
  #1
Gear Head
 

MXL 603 Premium electronics Oktava Mod

Has anyone heard an MXL 603 that has been modded with the premium electronics?

Is it worth the $189 for mic + mod, or is it wiser to just save up and buy a decent mic?
Old 10th November 2009
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

If you don't mind ebay, you can get 2 for $199. They were cheaper but maybe that has changed.

To answer your question, I have the mod on mine and it did make quite a big difference. I was never using them before the mod, to harsh and not very full. Since modded they are not harsh at all and have a nice big full sound.

IMO, it's worth it. Makes a cheap mic usable.
Old 10th November 2009
  #3
Lives for gear
 
TurboJets's Avatar
I have the 990, same capsule. Lovely capsule, but mods make all the difference in the world with these 2 cousins. Joly's premium electronics lowers the noise floor smooths out response, gives you insurance that invaluable transients will make it into your recordings, tightens up bottom end and removes grittiness in the mids and spitty response in the hi's. Plus Michael Joly's service is top shelf. A mic with a Joly mod is a mic you'll use over and over and over and you'll never consider trading or selling it. It's not just another upgrade, it truly is a wise investment.
Old 10th November 2009
  #4
Gear Head
 

Awesome! I'll be picking them up later today, hopefully!


Thanks!
Old 10th November 2009
  #5
Gear Nut
 
Openreel24's Avatar
 

To mod or not to mod.

Not to take away from the various modders around some of whom do some very interesting work, take a listen to the stock mics first to see (hear) how useable they are, you may be pleasantly surprised. After all, that which is different, is not always necessarily better.

Old 10th November 2009
  #6
Lives for gear
 
twentyhertz's Avatar
 

Does someone have sound samples comparing an un-modified 603 with a modified one? The samples on Joly's site comparing the 184 with the modded 603 are nice but I'd like to hear the difference between the stock and modded 603
Old 10th November 2009
  #7
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Openreel24 View Post
you may be pleasantly surprised.
I was surprised - but certainly not pleasantly. I couldn't believe how phasey and awful they sounded. I'm not even sure that a JOLY mod could fix it. I've heard some decent clips of the modded ones, but against an 84 / M70 / 451E, I'm not sure they could even get into the ballpark. Now, all that said, I've never tried any of Michael's 603 modded mics, and I love what he does to other mics so I shouldn't be biased, but I just can't bring myself to throw more $$ at these mics. Someone convince me otherwise, so that I can drop them into the MJ mod cue line.
Old 10th November 2009
  #8
Lives for gear
 
antichef's Avatar
not exactly what you're asking for, but here are three clips I did a little over a year ago

http://recursor.net/mxl603/MXL-603-stock.wav
http://recursor.net/mxl603/MXL-603-inputcap.wav
http://recursor.net/mxl603/MXL-603-.22to1uf.wav

the first one is stock, the second after changing the input capacitor, and the third after replacing the two .22uF capacitors with 1uF ones. Hopefully the links are still working - I can't seem to test them from where I'm sitting now.

Like drBill, I thought the stock mics were horrible sounding - these simple mods made what I thought was an audible difference, but I still didn't use them over my other SDCs. I sent the same pair to Marik for capsule re-machining and electronics overhaul (which he may not be doing any more - bummer) and now they're pretty much my favorite. I don't have a corresponding wav file - sorry, I've moved since then and everything's different enough that the comparison would be truly meaningless. I have a Joly modded 319 that I really like, and I know I'd have high hopes for 603s modded by him, too.
Old 10th November 2009
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Michael_Joly's Avatar
 

I think there's a really long thread around here somewhere with graphs and audio samples but I'm not sure what its called. Anyway, I'll describe the mods and their benefits here.

The Premium Electronics package extends bass response and moves the HP corner frequency down over two octaves so the phase shift in the audible bass region is eliminated - much punchier bass in other words. The PE mod also reduces noise by upgrading the FET to a type that has a noise spectrum curve that actually declines in amplitude in the critical 2-4kHz band relative to 500 Hz. The FET is individually biased for lowest distortion / maximum headroom. The upgraded FET also offers faster transient response by reducing capacitive loading of the capsule. Finally, the PE mod reduces grittiness to produce a sweeter top end.

All of that comes with the Premium Electronics package. Now the "Ultimate SDC mod" addresses acoustical issues...

...the stock mics have a rather nasty amplitude spike at 8kHz which is exacerbated by the diaphragm set-back within the capsule housing and front edge diffraction. Combined, this creates a phasey, "tin can" like coloration. The "Ultimate" re-machines the body vents to eliminate 8kHz peaking and recover missing 16kHz air. The capsule housing is remachined to eliminate 90% of the diaphragm setback and edge diffraction coloration.

So the electronics mods provide one set of benefits while the acoustical mods provide additional benefits. If you can live with the 8kHz peaking, slight absence of air and some HF coloration, the PE mod is a very economical way to go. If you're looking for SDC mics you can take to a Neumann shoot out party - and win, the "Ultimate" is the way to go.
Old 10th November 2009
  #10
Lives for gear
 
twentyhertz's Avatar
 

Hah, could folks stop talking about how great the mods that I can no longer get for my 604s are? Kthx!

btw, when I load up the wavs below, whatever the bell noise at the end is, it sounds like it clips and sounds brutal in the two cap mods, at least to my ears..

Quote:
Originally Posted by antichef View Post
not exactly what you're asking for, but here are three clips I did a little over a year ago

http://recursor.net/mxl603/MXL-603-stock.wav
http://recursor.net/mxl603/MXL-603-inputcap.wav
http://recursor.net/mxl603/MXL-603-.22to1uf.wav

the first one is stock, the second after changing the input capacitor, and the third after replacing the two .22uF capacitors with 1uF ones. Hopefully the links are still working - I can't seem to test them from where I'm sitting now.

Like drBill, I thought the stock mics were horrible sounding - these simple mods made what I thought was an audible difference, but I still didn't use them over my other SDCs. I sent the same pair to Marik for capsule re-machining and electronics overhaul (which he may not be doing any more - bummer) and now they're pretty much my favorite. I don't have a corresponding wav file - sorry, I've moved since then and everything's different enough that the comparison would be truly meaningless. I have a Joly modded 319 that I really like, and I know I'd have high hopes for 603s modded by him, too.
Old 10th November 2009
  #11
Lives for gear
 
TurboJets's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
Now the "Ultimate SDC mod" addresses acoustical issues...

...the stock mics have a rather nasty amplitude spike at 8kHz which is exacerbated by the diaphragm set-back within the capsule housing and front edge diffraction. Combined, this creates a phasey, "tin can" like coloration. The "Ultimate" re-machines the body vents to eliminate 8kHz peaking and recover missing 16kHz air. The capsule housing is remachined to eliminate 90% of the diaphragm setback and edge diffraction coloration.
Don't underestimate the value of modding the capsule housing. It's one of the things that makes the KM84 so sweet and if you take a look at the AT4041 it has the same capsule housing consideration that gives it so much air and seems to allow more transients into the capture.
Old 11th November 2009
  #12
Lives for gear
 
Michael_Joly's Avatar
 

Thanks for calling attention to the AT4041 - very large open area behind the capsule and a chamfered front edge. Excellent design features.
Attached Images
MXL 603 Premium electronics Oktava Mod-4041.jpg 
Old 11th November 2009
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Marik's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
Thanks for calling attention to the AT4041 - very large open area behind the capsule and a chamfered front edge. Excellent design features.
Here is a Schoeps MK4A capsule. Small open area, not chamfered, from purist point of view has all those cross bars in front of the diaphragm to create resonances, standing waves, etc.
Still, one of the best capsules ever produced
Attached Images
MXL 603 Premium electronics Oktava Mod-47333504ed83e67f001-main.jpg 
Old 11th November 2009
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Michael_Joly's Avatar
 

Point taken. The late mic mod guru Stephen Paul used to say of these complex electro-acoustical systems "we love them for their flaws".

I certainly agree with the point you make that a slotted capsule face, right angle edge and narrow venting can combine with a particular diaphragm and backplate design to produce pleasing results. The key word here is "system" - how the diaphragm (thickness, material & tension), air gap, backplate design, front-of-diaphragm cavity (or lack of), grille type, edge type and backplate venting design all work as a system - in any particular mic.
Old 11th November 2009
  #15
Lives for gear
 
TurboJets's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
The key word here is "system" - how the diaphragm (thickness, material & tension), air gap, backplate design, front-of-diaphragm cavity (or lack of), grille type, edge type and backplate venting design all work as a system - in any particular mic.
...a system that's entirely top shelf at a price point over $800...as compared to $99 or less + ultimate mod price of $219 (?) for the 603. I'm sure the Schoeps is really sweet though, haven't heard one yet. I bet the metallurgy on the capsule body is pretty amazing...like 0 resonance issues?.
Old 11th November 2009
  #16
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
If you're looking for SDC mics you can take to a Neumann shoot out party - and win, the "Ultimate" is the way to go.
Hate to play devil's advocate Michael, but you want to put one up against a KM84? Not a 184.....a REAL Neumann. heh heh

I can also put it up against 451EB, and Gefell M70/692.

heh heh

I still have some Ac Gtr sessions coming up quickly - (Steel Str, Nylon Str, Mandolin) - and would enjoy seeing one of my KM84's get bested.

bp
Old 11th November 2009
  #17
Gear Nut
 

have you ever looked at the ADK sc-t Michael? They look much like the 603 but there is no harshness in fact I find them a bit too smooth at times. Have they changed the electronics already?
Old 11th November 2009
  #18
Lives for gear
 
Michael_Joly's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Hate to play devil's advocate Michael, but you want to put one up against a KM84? Not a 184.....a REAL Neumann. heh heh

I can also put it up against 451EB, and Gefell M70/692.

heh heh

I still have some Ac Gtr sessions coming up quickly - (Steel Str, Nylon Str, Mandolin) - and would enjoy seeing one of my KM84's get bested.

bp
Ah, trying to bait with me SDC shootout are you? What's your methodology? One guitar, different mic / guitar positioning, recorded over multiple takes spanning six months? If so, I'm in

Seriously, I don't have any modified 603s here right now. My altruism got the better of me, they're all out on loan. And I wouldn't have time to prep a pair until early January. But I'll tell you what, I'll put the new SDC I'm bringing out up against any dang flea-bitten 84 you and your no good claim-jumpn vermin can scrounge up. (sorry, been watching DVDs of "Deadwood". Meryl is a gettin mahty tarrd of me talkn this way) My new mic is a ground up new design, "mods designed in" shall we say, but will be priced very competitively due to the efficiencies of mass production vs. an after-market service. Besides, mah feets are still tarrd from dancn with all the "ladies" you brang to your "mic mod madness" soirée - ahm a gonna set thisn out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by spons View Post
have you ever looked at the ADK sc-t Michael? They look much like the 603 but there is no harshness in fact I find them a bit too smooth at times. Have they changed the electronics already?
Hey, thanks for that tip. I've never seen or heard that mic. My guess is ADK has specified some components known to reduce harshness in what appears to be a standard production 22mm body mic. But based on images of this mic the body venting issue that gives rise to an 8 kHz peak and capsule housing issues that introduce diaphragm cavity and edge diffraction coloration remain.
Old 11th November 2009
  #19
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
Ah, trying to bait with me SDC shootout are you? What's your methodology? One guitar, different mic / guitar positioning, recorded over multiple takes spanning six months? If so, I'm in
Nah, that's way too easy. Different guitars, tuned differently, with different players, on different songs, over the course of a year (I gotta see how long I can keep the demo mic before you ask for it back) with different pre's and different mic cords. Should be a killer shootout.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
But I'll tell you what, I'll put the new SDC I'm bringing out up against any dang flea-bitten 84 you and your no good claim-jumpn vermin can scrounge up. (sorry, been watching DVDs of "Deadwood".
Well pardner, that is one dad gum mic I want to hear. 20 paces at High Noon. Last Man Standing. Vermin will be in attendance in all their splendor and glory. Don't make your contender too perfect though. That's the beauty of the older designs. I'll be the first to say that they km84 is not a perfect mic, but NOTHING else on the planet I live on can touch it IMO. They have character and beauty built in. Much like women. You date the supermodel, only to find that over time, she holds nothing for you. But another woman who is also beautiful, and full of character, humor and life.....now that's a keeper.

Looking forward to hearing the new one. I'ld like to sign up as your first beta-tester!! thumbsup
📝 Reply
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
🖨️ Show Printable Version
✉️ Email this Page
🔍 Search thread
♾️ Similar Threads
🎙️ View mentioned gear
Forum Jump
Forum Jump