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AT4051 vs. Oktava MK-012 for acoustic guitar?
Old 20th December 2013
  #1
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AT4051 vs. Oktava MK-012 for acoustic guitar?

From what I've heard on youtube I like the sound of both of these mics. If you were to choose between the two for an all-around steel-string and nylon-string pair, which would you choose? I'm referring to an unmodded MK-012 cardioid since the mod pushes it out of my price range. And is there any other pair under $600 that you think I should be considering?

Thanks!
Old 20th December 2013
  #2
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicManic View Post
From what I've heard on youtube I like the sound of both of these mics. If you were to choose between the two for an all-around steel-string and nylon-string pair, which would you choose? I'm referring to an unmodded MK-012 cardioid since the mod pushes it out of my price range. And is there any other pair under $600 that you think I should be considering?

Thanks!
I have the unmodded MK-012-01 and like it alot.

You may also want to consider a pair of Shure SM81s, which are supposedly pretty good too. They're $350 each new at Sweetwater. See if you can get some used ones.
Old 20th December 2013
  #3
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666666's Avatar
AT4051s are surely superior to SM81s in terms of fidelity / performance. SM81s are still cool and usable, good bang for the buck, they have their own "thing" which I perceive to be a somewhat "low-fi" vibe. Can potentially work just fine on acoustics depending on what you're going for. But for not much more $, the AT4051 gives you superior sonic performance. The correct answer here is, you really would need to audition them all to figure out what YOU prefer. But I think in terms of performance / fidelity per dollar, the AT4051 is hard to beat. If you can only have one, surely the AT4051... IMO anyway.
Old 20th December 2013
  #4
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Mighty_Zoltan's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicManic View Post
an unmodded MK-012 cardioid since the mod pushes it out of my price range.
Thanks!
Love my unmodded Mk-012s on acoustic! They sound awesome. Great on overheads too.

Look on ebay and you can get them super cheap. Got mine for about $120 each. So $240. I'm gonna get them modded soon though which is only another $240. So $440 all in for a modded pair.
Old 20th December 2013
  #5
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edva's Avatar
Really is a matter of personal preference. Depends on what you like to hear. I really like the "musical" sound of a good pair of 012's. I generally find AKG's too bright and "hard" sounding. Just a personal preference. I like the sound of SM81, and also KSM 137, both well built Shure mics in your budget. But a nice pair of Oktava's would probably still be my pick for sonics, if I had to choose. Good luck.
Old 20th December 2013
  #6
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In this case I have and still would pick the Oktava MK-012 over them for this purpose, I feel like they fit acoustic guitar like a glove.

I prefer stock to mod also (I own a mod mic too) for its character, which the mod removes (along with thinning out the bass response, another negative to the mod).

War
Old 20th December 2013
  #7
I don't own the 4050, but I use the 4047, which has a bit more presence than the 4050. I actually use the 4047 and the MK-12 together on acoustic guitar, when I need extra width on a project with few instruments.

Oktava is definitely more open on the top end, and depending upon where you place it, can sometimes sound hyped up there, so you have to be careful with it. Ironically, it also has a much heavier low end than the AT, which doesn't seem logical, due to the size of the AT diaphragm. Nevertheless, the Oktava will provide a "natural E.Q.", if you know what I mean, of increased highs and lows; whereas the 4050 will have a smoother, somewhat flatter response.

I personally love using both mics for other applications, as well, but my favorite application for the Oktava is, in fact, acoustic guitar. Especially in a heavy mix, for example, the Oktava can help the listener hear the crispness of the very high end attacks cut through. However on, a light mix with say, only piano and guitar, the AT4050 will probably prove more useful, keeping the sound less edgy / more mellow.
Old 20th December 2013
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by ejbragg View Post
I don't own the 4050, but I use the 4047, which has a bit more presence than the 4050. I actually use the 4047 and the MK-12 together on acoustic guitar, when I need extra width on a project with few instruments.

Oktava is definitely more open on the top end, and depending upon where you place it, can sometimes sound hyped up there, so you have to be careful with it. Ironically, it also has a much heavier low end than the AT, which doesn't seem logical, due to the size of the AT diaphragm. Nevertheless, the Oktava will provide a "natural E.Q.", if you know what I mean, of increased highs and lows; whereas the 4050 will have a smoother, somewhat flatter response.

I personally love using both mics for other applications, as well, but my favorite application for the Oktava is, in fact, acoustic guitar. Especially in a heavy mix, for example, the Oktava can help the listener hear the crispness of the very high end attacks cut through. However on, a light mix with say, only piano and guitar, the AT4050 will probably prove more useful, keeping the sound less edgy / more mellow.
but the question was about AT4051 (SDC)...
Old 20th December 2013
  #9
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Oktavas are ok - I prefer them with the omni capsule (dont like the cardoid), you obviously have to have a nice sounding room. so, if there ist no way to invest more, get them.

However, no comparison whatsoever to KM54, KM84 or KM88 - MK012 are nowhere near that sound. They just dont have the resolution in the mids! I prefer one KM 84 over a pair of MK012 anytime.

For me, these Neumann mics were eye openers and, in the end, an expensive experience - I now know what I want soundwise and own, since a few days, a mint pair of M49 (one is actually unused!!!). That - for acoustic guitar - simply blows you away, never heard anything like it before.

Save your money for the better choice, you wont regret it - and the investment is future proof!!
Old 20th December 2013
  #10
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Oh shoot, guys. I really screwed up. I meant to write AT4041 rather than AT4051. I actually liked what I heard of the 4041 better than the 4051(good thing, because I wouldn't be able to afford them), though there aren't that many clips of the 4051. Regardless, I appreciate all of the responses so far. Very helpful. Thanks! If you have thoughts on the 4041 instead?

As for the SM81, I actually have a pair as my current guitar mics, and I'm looking for a smoother sound. I also have an AT4050 which I use as a vocal mic, but I saw in another thread that someone likes the combination of that and an SM81 which I should have tried by now but haven't. Will do soon, but still in the market for another pair.
Old 20th December 2013
  #11
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I have a friend who collects mics, and I have tried a few really nice SDC mics on guitar, one of which was the KM184 which I know isn't the KM84, but it came in 3rd place in my mind behind his AKG 414XLII and Earthworks QTC40. I don't really love the KM184 though.

I am leaning towards the Oktavas now that War mentioned he preferred the unmodded version better on guitar. The youtube videos use the unmodded version which I liked the sound of. I also like the idea that in the future I can get other capsules if I choose. I don't think the 4041 has that option, but in cardioid it does sound good from the few clips I've heard.
Old 20th December 2013
  #12
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TurboJets's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicManic View Post
Oh shoot, guys. I really screwed up. I meant to write AT4041 rather than AT4051. I actually liked what I heard of the 4041 better than the 4051(good thing, because I wouldn't be able to afford them), though there aren't that many clips of the 4051. Regardless, I appreciate all of the responses so far. Very helpful. Thanks! If you have thoughts on the 4041 instead?

As for the SM81, I actually have a pair as my current guitar mics, and I'm looking for a smoother sound. I also have an AT4050 which I use as a vocal mic, but I saw in another thread that someone likes the combination of that and an SM81 which I should have tried by now but haven't. Will do soon, but still in the market for another pair.
I love the 4041 on acoustic instruments and woodwinds. I'll assert also that you can save yourself some money and pick up a pair of Pro37's and get a very similar sound as the 4041. Very similar capsule housing design (mechanically) as the 4041 and the capsule housing design is very similar to the KM84 which attributes to it's open sound. Wicked fast handling of transients and it's even nicer if you have a mic pre with a fast slew rate.

Another mic to seriously consider is ADK's A6 at less than $500 USD for a pair ($239 each). Great mic for fretted instruments, nylon and steel string. I love mine.

The 012 is cool as well and I love my modded and un-modded 012's particularly with the omni cap. But the Pro37, 4041, and A6 (while all different beasts) are excellent quality alternatives.
Old 20th December 2013
  #13
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guitarwolle's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicManic View Post
I don't really love the KM184 though.
Well, the KM 184 isnt bad - but the KM 84 has more character - I use it mainly on acoustic guitars beeing played fairle loud, kind of close micing - gives a very special note to the sound - wow.

For picking and smooth palying I use an MS-pair with KM54 and KM881 (figure 8) - wow

And now we are testing the posiibilities with th M49's - one in omni mode or the switch 1 step towards cardoid from omni - oh my god.

Therefore, I lean towards one KM84 in lieu of 2 kind of ok mics. I'm definatelly going to sell the Oktavas. If you have time you're going to find a KM84 for $ 600,- - 700,-.
Old 20th December 2013
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicManic View Post
Oh shoot, guys. I really screwed up. I meant to write AT4041 rather than AT4051. I actually liked what I heard of the 4041 better than the 4051(good thing, because I wouldn't be able to afford them), though there aren't that many clips of the 4051. Regardless, I appreciate all of the responses so far. Very helpful. Thanks! If you have thoughts on the 4041 instead?

As for the SM81, I actually have a pair as my current guitar mics, and I'm looking for a smoother sound. I also have an AT4050 which I use as a vocal mic, but I saw in another thread that someone likes the combination of that and an SM81 which I should have tried by now but haven't. Will do soon, but still in the market for another pair.
I think the 4050 can do a great job on acoustics .. If I rmemember right it is not a 'true LCD but a .75" diaphragm ... but so what it sounds quite good ..

I sold my O12 .. it just never felt 'fast' enough. much prefer the 4050 you already have.
Old 20th December 2013
  #15
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herecomesyourman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicManic View Post
From what I've heard on youtube I like the sound of both of these mics. If you were to choose between the two for an all-around steel-string and nylon-string pair, which would you choose? I'm referring to an unmodded MK-012 cardioid since the mod pushes it out of my price range. And is there any other pair under $600 that you think I should be considering?

Thanks!
My vote is neither option...nor the Shures or Neumans either.

I would respectfully save up another $375 and just get a matched pair of Josephson C42's for $975. They're the best SDC mics under a grand for this application I've ever heard. (I know you probably don't want to hear that, and normally I'm all about saving money when you can. Still...I would get the C42's since you'd never replace them in all probability.) Those mics are fairly future proof.
Old 20th December 2013
  #16
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Hmm. I really can't swing the Josephsons unless I were to hear them side by side with the others and they really blew them away and I absolutely had to have them. I listened to a couple of youtube videos and they do sound nice though.
I didn't know about the AT Pro 37. I may look into one as an extra in the future if I end up getting the Oktavas.

Here are a couple of videos that got me digging the AT4041 and the Oktava MK-012.
AT4041 with AT4033:
Andrew McEvoy - Classical Guitar - Part 1 - YouTube

AT4041 in mic shootout:
Recording Acoustic Guitar—Comparisons of Dynamic, Condenser, and Ribbon Mics on Acoustic Guitar - YouTube

MK-012:
Oktava MK 012 01 stereo pair - Taylor 712 - YouTube

MK-012:
Fender CD60 Review - Oktava MK012 - YouTube
Old 20th December 2013
  #17
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herecomesyourman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicManic View Post
Hmm. I really can't swing the Josephsons unless I were to hear them side by side with the others and they really blew them away and I absolutely had to have them. I listened to a couple of youtube videos and they do sound nice though.
I didn't know about the AT Pro 37. I may look into one as an extra in the future if I end up getting the Oktavas.

Here's are a couple of videos that got me digging the AT4041 and the Oktava MK-012.
AT4041 with AT4033:
Andrew McEvoy - Classical Guitar - Part 1 - YouTube

AT4041 in mic shootout:
Recording Acoustic Guitar—Comparisons of Dynamic, Condenser, and Ribbon Mics on Acoustic Guitar - YouTube

MK-012:
Oktava MK 012 01 stereo pair - Taylor 712 - YouTube

MK-012:
Fender CD60 Review - Oktava MK012 - YouTube
I've shot the Josephson C42's out with everything I could. Octava MK012's (Stock, not modified.), Shure SM81's, KSM184's, AKG C 451 B's, AT 4041's, AT 4021's, AT 4022's, Avenson Audio STO-2's, and Beyerdynamic MC930's. I Haven't used modded Octava's or many SDC's above this price range ($600-$1,200 about), though anything by Earthworks I've heard was pretty amazing to me (As well as far more expensive.)

The C42's did the modern clean / bright thing better than the Nuemans or any of the others, and the Beyerdynamic MC930's did a more plush low mid-range thing if you're guitar happens to be overly bright already. (These would easily be the best two sets on my list of experiences, and they're complimentary with each other to boot.) I own a pair of the Shure SM81's and they're useful, but they won't beat the C42's or the Beyerdynamics in a shoot out. Still I like them a lot and prefer them to many of the others. The Avenson Audio STO-2's are also fantastic microphones, and extremely well priced, but they are Omni-only condensers. I would put them on anything though, from drums to piano, to guitar. Very good mics, and worth the price of admission while being closer to your budget.

Unfortunately though, I would say that yes, in a shootout with most of these mics the C42's would win easily on most sources in way that I can't "un-hear". I feel the same way about the MC930's, but they're a different sound, and another $200 or so more than what the Josephson's cost.

Sorry, I know you really don't want to hear this, but those two mic designs (C42 and MC930) are worth the price of admission.

Last edited by herecomesyourman; 20th December 2013 at 09:42 PM.. Reason: EDIT: Sorry, took a second to proof read myself.
Old 20th December 2013
  #18
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I hear ya. I heard the 930 as well and really liked it. I just have to keep things reasonably low-cost.
Old 20th December 2013
  #19
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herecomesyourman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicManic View Post
I hear ya. I heard the 930 as well and really liked it. I just have to keep things reasonably low-cost.
I would think about maybe the Avenson STO-2's at your budget (Omni can be good for stereo mic techniques because it will yield wide amounts of detail if you're room is halfway decent when it comes to reflections. A really nice and realistic stereo image when panning can be achieved this way), but yeah C42's would be my first choice, the money is almost an afterthought at that point to me, and I rarely say anything of the kind. (I'm the most penny-pinchingest guy I know.)

Thing is, even if I bought the C42's later when I had the cash, they wouldn't be able to do what the STO-2's do, or visa versa. At least there wouldn't be any overlap in utility.
Old 20th December 2013
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by herecomesyourman View Post
I would think about maybe the Avenson STO-2's at your budget (Omni can be good for stereo mic techniques because it will yield wide amounts of detail if you're room is halfway decent when it comes to reflections. A really nice and realistic stereo image when panning can be achieved this way), but yeah C42's would be my first choice, the money is almost an afterthought at that point to me, and I rarely say anything of the kind. (I'm the most penny-pinchingest guy I know.)

Thing is, even if I bought the C42's later when I had the cash, they wouldn't be able to do what the STO-2's do, or visa versa. At least there wouldn't be any overlap in utility.
I listened to the Avenson on ZenProAudio's Clipalator and it's certainly nice, but I like the idea of a cardioid with the option of an omni capsule. I think I'm going to go with the Oktavas. Thanks for your help though. BTW, my favorite on guitar was my friend's Earthworks. Simply lovely.
Old 20th December 2013
  #21
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herecomesyourman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicManic View Post
I listened to the Avenson on ZenProAudio's Clipalator and it's certainly nice, but I like the idea of a cardioid with the option of an omni capsule. I think I'm going to go with the Oktavas. Thanks for your help though. BTW, my favorite on guitar was my friend's Earthworks. Simply lovely.
They're still pretty good mics (the Oktava's), I've got some experience with them. You should be alright for the money. But dang...those Earthworks. They are totally crazy. I always felt the Avenson's sorta got me into that territory, but without that extra bit of 3D depth...whatever magic it is they've got in everything they make.

You're totally welcome man. I hope you get to tracking soon!
Old 23rd December 2013
  #22
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TurboJets's Avatar
[QUOTE=MusicManic;9693020]
Here are a couple of videos that got me digging the AT4041 and the Oktava MK-012.
AT4041 with AT4033:
Andrew McEvoy - Classical Guitar - Part 1 - YouTube

These guitars by Thomas Rodriguez start at $7,500?!

Holy cow
Old 23rd December 2013
  #23
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I really liked the Shure SM81's when I was recording to analog tape. When I switched to digital, they seemed a bit harsh and the Oktava 012's worked much better. That being said, I think my vote would be for a pair of AT4033's, although the positioning might be a bit awkward using some of the conventional techniques. It's actually an sdc that looks like an ldc (side address). They're really sweet on acoustic guitar in my opinion, along with a few other sources.
Old 23rd December 2013
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adathead 53 View Post
I really liked the Shure SM81's when I was recording to analog tape. When I switched to digital, they seemed a bit harsh and the Oktava 012's worked much better. That being said, I think my vote would be for a pair of AT4033's, although the positioning might be a bit awkward using some of the conventional techniques. It's actually an sdc that looks like an ldc (side address). They're really sweet on acoustic guitar in my opinion, along with a few other sources.
The AT4033 is actually one of the mics on the classical guitar video above. I like what I'm hearing there. Audio Technica says the 4033 is not quite a small diaphragm nor a large diaphragm but somewhere between the two at 11.5mm or 15.4mm including the baffle it's mounted to.
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