View Full Version : WARNING - FAKE OKTAVA MC/MK-012

Chris Cavell
05-08-2005, 09:50 AM
Due to the incredible popularity of this microphone, particularly among budget home/project studios, I thought this might be valuable information for some of you.

These (currently believed to be Chinese made) knock-off mics have turned up in Guitar Center retail stores around the U.S. lately. GC has (unknowingly) been selling them alongside the real mics. Caveat Emptor!

A direct visual comparison of the a genuine vs. fake provided by the manufacturer. (http://oktava.tula.net/fake/)

An article about the discovery of these knockoffs, and GC's response. (http://debris.com/journal/1274)

To add to this, the former exclusive worldwide distributor for Oktava, A&F McKay, has gone under and is currently liquidating their entire stock. After this stock is liquidated and eventually sold to the public, any Oktava microphones bearing the initials A.S.M. will positively be identified as fakes.

Currently, Oktava recognizes only one distributor/seller in the U.S., and it isn't Guitar Center. It's an ebay store: Oktava USA (http://www.oktavausa.com/). The ever popular Sound Room (http://sound-room.com/customer/home.php) (amongst Oktava purchasers) has never claimed to be officially offiliated or licensed as a distributor/retailer of oktava microphones. The Sound Room purchases their microphones in Russia, subjects the microphones to a battery of discriminating tests, and resells them under their own warranty. The microphones these two companies sell are guaranteed genuine Oktava microphones. If you choose to shop for these mics elsewhere (like GC for instance) to take advantage of the much lower prices, I thought you might like to arm yourself with this knowledge first.

Thought many of you might like to know.


05-08-2005, 10:14 AM
Thanks Chris!

05-08-2005, 11:44 AM
whoa! Im glad mine are real!

05-08-2005, 05:05 PM
I am a little confused, i bought my pair of Mk-012-01's at G.C. around 3yrs ago. Mine look just like the "real" one shown in the link, but mine dont have the serial #, and mine say A.S.M. But everything else according to the pics of the "real" mk-0120-1 are just like mine's. So my mk-012's are half real and fake. How? Half russian , half china. Strange.
The real mk012 in the picture looks like it says "mk-012A-01". But the caption under it says "oktaba Mk-012" ?? A ??

Chris Cavell
05-08-2005, 06:27 PM

The picture shown of a "real" 012 is a newer picture. The screening found on the GC oktava's have varied widely over the years. Some have transliterated cyrillic characters...others have cyrillic characters (note: this is where the confusion b/w MK and MC in MK/MC-012 stems from). Some are from old stock manufactured prior to McKay's existence as the solitary distributor and do not have the A.S.M. marked at the bottom. As for the missing serial numbers...several of my older 012's purchased through GC (at the time McKay distributed the mics to GC) do not have serial numbers. It is my understanding that serial numbers were not placed on the 012 microphones at the plant until recently. Claims (some legal and some libelous) have been made by McKay that microphones without serial numbers are indeed genuine, but merely stolen and smuggled directly from the manufacturing plant in Tula, Russia.

The suffix to the model number MC-012-01 or MC-012A-01 simply means that the microphones were originally packaged as a single cardioid capsule version. Models that were packaged with all three capsules do not have the "A" or the "01". The "A" is a recent addition.

The signs you should really pay attention to here in the US are limited by these numerous variations in appearance of the genuine oktava's...but still very easy to spot. Note how the XLR connector mounts to the body: the genuine 012 uses 3 very small flat head screws which are the same color as the body where the knockoff uses a single black philips head screw that is much larger. The pin receivers have also remained the same despite all of the screening differences. These are the two primary differences you should be looking for. If your mics meet these two criteria, they are almost certainly the genuine article. If you still have doubts, send me an e-mail with a few scans or pictures and I'll let you know for sure.


Additional edit:
Upon further investigation, it would appear some have surmised that A&F McKay are the culprits behind the "fakes" and that the discovery of this is what has led to their termination as a distributor by Oktava. A&F McKay seems to believe they hold exclusive international rights to the Oktava name, and that the russian manufacturer only maintains the rights to the name using cyrillic characters. Some believe that A&F have continued to supply "oktava" mics of their own make and design coming from China, obviously designed to look as identical as possible to the genuine russian article...intentionally misleading potential buyers/retailers into purchasing/carrying mics that are not what they appear to be. At this moment, all of this is merely conjecture at this point...but definitely intriguing. I'd honestly be surprised if McKay would do such a thing. Fergus McKay has been known to be one to levy threatening infringement lawsuits often...to participate in an activity which he has fought in the courts so fervently (often frivolously too, if only to make a point) would seem more than a bit controversial and hypocritical. While his company may (or may not) own the trademark rights to the transliterated form of the brand name "Oktava"...the design is definitely created with the intent to mislead potential consumers and would be a 180 degree about face to what he has appeared to stand for in the past.

05-09-2005, 04:57 AM
Sweet!!!! Mine are the real deal.

05-09-2005, 05:32 AM
Sweet! All 4 of mine are the "real deal." 2 of them do not have serials, but all the other stuff matches.

Thanks doogie!

- Doc

05-09-2005, 10:42 AM
Hi Chris!
Could you help me check if these are genuin, I want to buy but now im unsure

05-09-2005, 10:51 AM
So my question is...people tend to speak very highly of these Oktava mics, and I was thinking about getting a pair. But is everyone actually raving about the fake Oktavas? Or do the real ones sound good too?



05-09-2005, 10:56 AM
So my question is...people tend to speak very highly of these Oktava mics, and I was thinking about getting a pair. But is everyone actually raving about the fake Oktavas? Or do the real ones sound good too?



Chris Cavell
05-09-2005, 12:14 PM
Hi Chris!
Could you help me check if these are genuin, I want to buy but now im unsure

Thomann is supplied by A&F McKay. The current stock they have of the oktava 012 has been verified as the chinese knockoff...they are aware of this, in the process of contacting the McKays regarding the legality of their actions...and have stated that they intend to change their website to reflect this as time permits. The pictures, and claims of russian heritage, do not accurately represent the product they currently carry.

Communications with Thomann seem to validate the claim that A&F Mckay is behind the existence of the knockoffs; manufacturing them intentionally using the transliterated trademark they believe they have full rights to. Such intentional deception (regardless of who owns the rights to what) on the part of A&F McKay is very dissappointing.

I would contact Thomann to see if they have any of their older stock left (the non-"revised edition" from the time when A&F McKay was actually an authorized Oktava distributor sending out genuine russian microphones...not an unauthorized distributor selling fakes.)

In response to the question regarding which version of the mic is so popular and has received favorable reviews in the past...the original genuine russian mic, not the knockoff currently manufactured and distributed by the former single authorized worldwide distributor, is the microphone that has become so popular and regarded as one of the best bang for the buck mics out there.


11-19-2005, 06:29 AM
I came across this doing a Google search for more information on the fakes. Someone did a side by side test of the Russian made and the Chinese made mc/mk012. The identity of "mic A" and "mic B" are revealed in a link at the bottom of the page.