Oktava MC 012 Condenser Microphone

Oktavamk012.jpg (12755 bytes)


Technical Specifications

Mic type: Small diaphragm condenser
Phantom voltage required: ............................ 48 +\- 2V
Full impedance, module: .............. less than 300 ohms
Weighted SPL (ref. DIN 45412): ..................... 18 dBA
Maximum SPL in 250-8000Hz range,
(less than 0.5% THD): ...................................... 130 db
Weight: ................................................................... 70 gr.

Free field sensitivity at 1KHz: ...................... 10 mV/Pa
Free field sensitivity roll off from
40Hz to 20Hz should not exceed: ................. +\- 3 db

The difference in free field sensitivity between O° and
90° should be as follows:

For omnidirectional capsule:
in 40-1000 Hz range: .......................no more than 2 db
in 1-5 KHz range: .............................no more than 4 db
in 5-8 KHz range: .............................no more than 8 db

For cardioid capsule:
in 250-8000 Hz range: ......................no less than 4 db

For hypercardioid capsule:
in 250-5000 Hz range: .................. ...no less than 8 db

Average sensitivity difference between
O° and 180° for cardioid capsule
in 63-12500 Hz range: ........................................ 16 db

Oktavamk012c.gif (28135 bytes)

Studio notes: 

The Oktava MC 012 (or MK 012) is a condenser microphone made in Russia.  This microphone has an interesting background and is deserving of some discussion.

I first heard about Oktava microphones in a recording magazine review round about 2000 or 2001. The magazine had conducted an extensive comparison of many low-cost Chinese and European condenser microphones that were becoming popular here in the US. The MC 012 had gotten glowing reviews. It was based on this article that I decided to buy one and try it for myself. This microphone has a nice warm tonality to it which makes it excellent for miking acoustic guitar, piano and drum overheads or any type of acoustic instrument. I've used it for vocals too. 

The history of the MC/MK 012 goes something like this:

The microphone was originally imported into the United States through a UK distributor called A & F McKay Audio Limited. The original Russian model number of the microphone was MK012. The MK prefix is an abbreviation of the Russian phrase for “condenser microphone” (Микрофон Конденсаторный). A & F McKay Audio decided to change the model number from MK 012 to MC 012 for the American market. 

Here's where the story gets interesting:

Apparently, there were some manufacturing problems with the microphones coming from Russia. Because of that, A & F McKay Audio decided to have the microphones built in China. In addition, A & F McKay Audio started doing business under the name Oktava which caused some contractual problems. During this interim period, Chinese versions of the microphones began entering our market and were considered inferior copies of the original Russian-made versions. However, there seems to be some debate about this. Depending on what story you believe, it might be that the Chinese versions were actually built to more exacting specifications and have a more uniform quality from mic to mic. The Chinese versions came to be known as "fakes" and a good deal of investigative work was done to identify the originals from the fakes:

http://recordinghacks.com/fake-oktava-mk-012-photos/

Somewhere along the way, Guitar Center got involved and was selling the Chinese-made MC 012's. Now it gets really crazy. My understanding is that the build quality of the Chinese MC 012's was also called into question. In fact, I tried buying some of the GC MC 012's and saw for myself various manufacturing defects. I was able to get my money back (luckily). Eventually I bought two more MC 012's (original Russian made).

My understanding is that A & F McKay has since gone out of business and all MC 012's are now sold as MK 012's and are built only in Russia and distributed here in the US only by the original Russian manufacturer.

http://recordinghacks.com/microphones/Oktava/MK-012

More info about Oktava mics can be found here:

http://www.oktavausa.com/ProductsPages/MK-012-01.html

There is a company here in the US that provides repair and modifications for Oktava microphones. I've heard good things about their upgrades.

http://www.oktavamod.com/