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Michael Joly's Modded Mics - I need firsthand advice
Old 15th November 2009
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Michael Joly's Modded Mics - I need firsthand advice

I've been thing about sending my MK-319 to him for the floating dome/ premium electronics mod. My intention is to use it as my primary vacal mic. (About 60-70% of the bands that I record are either punk pund or hard rock, and nearly always male vocalists.) Right now I usually either use my MK 319 or my Shure SM-7B for vocals. Is it woth the $300 to have it modded? Will the sound improve as drastically as his site claims?Also thinking about getting a stereo matched pair of his mk-012 with all the capsules. I'll be using them for drum overheads, room mics, acoustic guitars, etc. They're $1400, but if the testimonials on his site are true, I don't think I'll get a better deal on a good matched pair of s.d.c.'s with the omni, cardioid, and hypercardioid capsules included. Also, I'm eventually going to buy a good sounding but not incredibly expensive ribbon for softer vocals, female vocals, whatever. His Cascade Gomez seems like a good option for $500. Any thoughts? I'd like for people who have used his mics, or especially people who own his mics to tell me what they think of them compared to more expensive mics of the same type.Also, I've been trying to figure out how to mic my upright piano, but that's a whole new thread.Thanks!!
Old 15th November 2009
  #2
JDM
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JDM's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tipiumgrove View Post
I've been thing about sending my MK-319 to him for the floating dome/ premium electronics mod. My intention is to use it as my primary vacal mic. (About 60-70% of the bands that I record are either punk pund or hard rock, and nearly always male vocalists.) Right now I usually either use my MK 319 or my Shure SM-7B for vocals. Is it woth the $300 to have it modded? Will the sound improve as drastically as his site claims?Also thinking about getting a stereo matched pair of his mk-012 with all the capsules. I'll be using them for drum overheads, room mics, acoustic guitars, etc. They're $1400, but if the testimonials on his site are true, I don't think I'll get a better deal on a good matched pair of s.d.c.'s with the omni, cardioid, and hypercardioid capsules included. Also, I'm eventually going to buy a good sounding but not incredibly expensive ribbon for softer vocals, female vocals, whatever. His Cascade Gomez seems like a good option for $500. Any thoughts? I'd like for people who have used his mics, or especially people who own his mics to tell me what they think of them compared to more expensive mics of the same type.Also, I've been trying to figure out how to mic my upright piano, but that's a whole new thread.Thanks!!

I posted this on another thread:

I can't speak for the MK-319 (though I hear, especially after the Oktavamod that it is amazing) but I can speak for Michael Joly's work. I recently sent him my MXL V-69 and was seriously blown away by the results! He was able to keep the color that mic has (which drew me to that mic in the first place) without all of sizzle and other problems that mic is known for. It is a completely different mic and one that I wouldn't be ashamed of keeping in the same mic locker as the high priced mics. His work made that mic sound like a mic priced many times the original price. I am sold on oktavamod and will be sending more mics in the near AND distant future.
Old 15th November 2009
  #3
Gear Nut
 
rustez's Avatar
 

Yes, I have a modded 319, I am trying not to use any tired clichรฉs to describe the difference but my mind keeps going to ..................Oh hell, its a much much better mic.Infinitely more usable and a pleasure to use dammit.
Old 15th November 2009
  #4
Gear Nut
 

If I remember correctly, in the Thrice โ€“ Beggars tread, it was reveled that they used an Oktavamod 319, and Shure KSM 32 for the vocals. Thatโ€™s a pretty strong endorsement.
Old 15th November 2009
  #5
Lives for gear
 
Michael_Joly's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tipiumgrove View Post
...About 60-70% of the bands that I record are either punk pund or hard rock, and nearly always male vocalists
In my mis-spent youth in San Francisco circa 1976-1980 I played in punk bands ("Baby Murphy" & "the Doktors" - '63 SG / Vox AC 30) and recorded the same at the People's Media Collective / Haight Ashbury Radio studio. So I'm pretty familiar with what an old school punk vocal should sound like. Unfortunatly I never got to hear the Sex Pistols at Winterland because the night of show I saw Bill Graham, called him an asshole, and was thrown out of the venue by his henchman. Anyway...

all the comments at my site are from real people - who have written spontaneoulsy. But I do appreciate that money is money and you have to decide carefully. But I firmly believe its always better to invest in what you already own - gear, space or instruments. Love what you've got in other words.

And I'm more than happy to put you in touch with any of the folks who've written testimonials. best, M
Old 15th November 2009
  #6
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Harvey Gerst's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
"the night of show I saw Bill Graham, called him an asshole, and was thrown out of the venue by his henchman."
You just went up several notches in my book for that (and you were already pretty high up anyway)!!

thumbsup thumbsup thumbsup thumbsup
Old 15th November 2009
  #7
Gear Addict
 
willsing's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harvey Gerst View Post
You just went up several notches in my book for that (and you were already pretty high up anyway)!!

thumbsup thumbsup thumbsup thumbsup
LOL!!!heh
Old 15th November 2009
  #8
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Michael_Joly's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harvey Gerst View Post
You just went up several notches in my book for that (and you were already pretty high up anyway)!!

thumbsup thumbsup thumbsup thumbsup

Hey Harvey, thanks for that. Full backstory - a few months before the Sex Pistols embarked on what was to be their last gigs, Bill Graham appeared on a late night talk show, I think it may have been an early Tom Snyder affair, as a panelist about the new "Punk Rock" scene. I think Patti Smith was on this same panel. Anyway, Bill (may his soul rest in peace) said he'd never book the Sex Pistols in San Francisco because they didn't make music.

Well it was this quote that sprang to my mind that night at the Winterland when I saw him. I said "Bill Graham, you're an asshole. You said you've never book the Sex Pistols". Unfortunately, he didn't want to discuss the issue. The upside of the whole evening was the singer in my band at the time got tossed out of the venue independently so we crawled back to our rehearsal place in the lower Fillmore and got a couple of good tunes out of the evening's experience.
Old 15th November 2009
  #9
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drBill's Avatar
Hmmmmmmm..........

Old 15th November 2009
  #10
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antichef's Avatar
Funny!!

I love my MK-319 FD/PE - don't hesitate!
Old 15th November 2009
  #11
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Michael_Joly's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Hmmmmmmm..........

Peace my ass man. God save the queen, she aint a human being.

doh. What has gotten into me? I've got to stop watching Deadwood and get back on my diet of James Joyce, Francis Bacon and Hazrat Inayat Khan.
Old 15th November 2009
  #12
Whereas I had driven a HUGE rental car back to San Francisco, to continue my ill-fated sojourn at SF State, that very night-- but didn't realize it was the night of the show... and just wandered around aimlessly in that boat, when I could have, I dunno, lit it on fire infront of the venue...

Ah... all these might-have-beens...!
Old 15th November 2009
  #13
Here for the gear
 

Sounds like you might make some pretty high quality mics

Nobody has a bad word to say about you or your mods. BTW, why is Oktava the most commonly modded mic?
Old 15th November 2009
  #14
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rob S's Avatar
so anyway back to the topic,
i've had several mics or capsules modded by michael.
all great improvements.
mkl 2500 made it from a mic i own to a mic that gets used, alot.
012's electronics mod.
got rid of all the grain and hash.
large diaphram heads for 012's, smoothed them out and cleared them up.
large diaphram for the MKL101 same thing, smooth clear and open.

i would say money well spent.
Old 15th November 2009
  #15
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
Peace my ass man. God save the queen, she aint a human being.

doh. What has gotten into me? I've got to stop watching Deadwood and get back on my diet of James Joyce, Francis Bacon and Hazrat Inayat Khan.


Ummmmmmm.........


heh

bp


PS - my MJ modded 205 ribbons are among the most used mics I have. Killer. And not even Oktava's.

My client in the shootout :

***Mic-Mod Madness!!!***

has started delivering new vocal tracks to me, and his vocals are smoooooooooove with the MJ modded 460 (not an oktava either). Much nicer than with his previous mic.

for Mr. Joly - even if he is loosing his mind.
Old 15th November 2009
  #16
Lives for gear
 
Michael_Joly's Avatar
 

First, sincere thanks to you all. Meryl and I are really blessed to be able to do this work and to have met so many wonderful musicians and engineers around the world doing such great work. Friends often ask me what kind of music I like or listen to. My answer is always "the music made by our clients!". One of the projects I'm way behind on it to create an OktavaMod MySpace page where all the friends will be our clients only. I thought it would be great for folks to hear what other users are up to and perhaps network a bit.


Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson View Post
Whereas I had driven a HUGE rental car back to San Francisco, to continue my ill-fated sojourn at SF State, that very night-- but didn't realize it was the night of the show... and just wandered around aimlessly in that boat, when I could have, I dunno, lit it on fire infront of the venue...

Ah... all these might-have-beens...!
Oh, that was you! re: SF State - maybe you crossed paths with my housemate at the time, Stuart Somer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tipiumgrove View Post
... BTW, why is Oktava the most commonly modded mic?
Low initial cost and stunning results (but this is also true of a number of other mics - Apex 460 and 205, CAD GXL 3000 and the MXL 603 for example). In the case of Oktava, the 219/319/101/2500 capsule (I do wish they had given the capsule a model number itself like Neumann does) is a unique design that delivers its own alluring take on reality. But in the stock mics there are severe acoustical and electronic issues that prevent the capsule from being heard in all its glory. So answer comes down to an excellent return on invested capital.
Old 15th November 2009
  #17
Lives for gear
 
Midlandmorgan's Avatar
 

Michael performed the 319 mod for us several years ago, and the mic has been featured on scores of things, ranging from hard rock vocalists to kick drums to Tejano accordions to western swing fiddles to interview mics for feature pieces on NPR.

Undoubtedly the single best <$1K mic investment we ever made...by a long shot.
Old 15th November 2009
  #18
Stuart Somer, Stuart Somer... damn that name sounds familiar. If only that time wasn't in such a universe so far away...
Old 15th November 2009
  #19
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson View Post
Stuart Somer, Stuart Somer... damn that name sounds familiar. If only that time wasn't in such a universe so far away...
Too many foreign substances to the brain no doubt.....
Old 15th November 2009
  #20
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msquared's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tipiumgrove View Post
Also thinking about getting a stereo matched pair of his mk-012 with all the capsules. I'll be using them for drum overheads, room mics, acoustic guitars, etc. They're $1400, but if the testimonials on his site are true, I don't think I'll get a better deal on a good matched pair of s.d.c.'s with the omni, cardioid, and hypercardioid capsules included.
I recently bought a pair of MK-012s for all of the above applications. I'm a drummer so I'm pretty finicky about making sure drum sound is nailed when I'm doing recordings. My opinion is that they are absolutely worth the asking price, and honestly I wouldn't have a problem paying more for a pair if I ended up having to get more for some reason. I just wish I'd done what you did and got the full group of caps.

Customer service is also top notch. Mr. Joly endured weeks of emails from me on the topic of his various mics and mods and I learned quite a bit. I had a lot of communication during the modding and shipping process and both he and Meryl were pleasant to deal with.
Old 15th November 2009
  #21
Lives for gear
 
TurboJets's Avatar
I can't speak to the 319 specifically but Michael modded one of my 012's and it was a 100% improvement sonically without losing the "character" I love about the 012. The customer service he and Meryl provide is unsurpassed and the mic is one I can safely say will never be sold from my collection - it's a mic I use in every session for one app or another.

Also, Michael has been very generous over the years with his invaluable knowledge for DIY mods and a few of my mics have benefited from his wisdom. This Christmas, for instance, I'll be treating my 990 to a premium electronics upgrade and headbasket mod.

Because of Michael's dedication to doing his homework and applied mod's there is a place for people like myself to go to upgrade what we already have, saving $100's of dollars. It's also guaranteed your mic will be treated with lots of Oktava love. Michael's descriptions of the sonic improvements his mods impart are spot on to say the least. Is it worth it?..Absolutely.
Old 15th November 2009
  #22
Here for the gear
 

Thanks!

Certainly sounds like you know your stuff, Mr. Joly. Expect to be recieving a lot of my cash in the future, because I doubt that I'll ever be purchasing high end Neumann's and AKG's for quite a while. Probably for the MK-319 mod first, I think it's the most pressing issue. Thanks to everybody else for the advice!
Old 15th November 2009
  #23
I have a pair of Joly modded Mk-012's that I use primarily for recording acoustic guitar for my own projects. I think they sound great and are a welcome improvement to the already nice sounding stock Mk-012's.
Old 15th November 2009
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
Hey Harvey, thanks for that. Full backstory - a few months before the Sex Pistols embarked on what was to be their last gigs, Bill Graham appeared on a late night talk show, I think it may have been an early Tom Snyder affair, as a panelist about the new "Punk Rock" scene. I think Patti Smith was on this same panel. Anyway, Bill (may his soul rest in peace) said he'd never book the Sex Pistols in San Francisco because they didn't make music.

Well it was this quote that sprang to my mind that night at the Winterland when I saw him. I said "Bill Graham, you're an asshole. You said you've never book the Sex Pistols". Unfortunately, he didn't want to discuss the issue. The upside of the whole evening was the singer in my band at the time got tossed out of the venue independently so we crawled back to our rehearsal place in the lower Fillmore and got a couple of good tunes out of the evening's experience.
I was working for FM Productions at the time and could have had free tickets. Unfortunately the leader of the band I was in at the time had booked a gig at a little sh*thole club in Berkeley and refused to cancel, so I couldn't go. He said we could "always see them next time". We almost killed him when they broke up after the show.
Old 16th November 2009
  #25
Lives for gear
 
Mark Kaufman's Avatar
 

We're so swayed by our perception of brands, that a modded mic takes on sort of a "second-hand" connotation.

Michael took my Gauge ECM-87--a pretty good, serviceable Chinese LDC--and took away all the fizz from the high frequencies, expanded the performance of the lows and mids, and I now have a mic that does a stellar job in a lot of different styles.

When people ask what kind of mic I used, their eyes glaze over before I finish the explanation. But the fact remains, Oktavamod does a great job, and the sound of that 319 will improve.
Old 16th November 2009
  #26
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in a word, YES.
Old 16th November 2009
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
... could have had free tickets. Unfortunately ....
Correct me if I'm wrong... not seeing that show is what unites the premier audio guys of today???
Old 16th November 2009
  #28
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Mark Kaufman's Avatar
 

No, I'm pretty sure all the top audio people missed my shows.
Old 16th November 2009
  #29
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memphisindie's Avatar
 

I turned down a Van Morrison gig once (believe me I regret it). Does that unite me with anyone good?
I suspect if we all compiled what unites good audio guys we'd all come out lookin pretty weird.
Old 23rd November 2009
  #30
Gear Maniac
 

I initially had one mxl 604s and it was useless. After getting it modded I immediately got another and sent it in to have a pair. Even if I had the money I wouldn't replace them with anything. They have really taken my drum recordings to the next level, as I use them for overheads. I'm planning on getting many more mics sent in.
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