REVIEW of two excellent windscreens for your OKTAVA at

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Old February 5th, 2004, 03:27 PM   #1
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REVIEW of two excellent windscreens for your OKTAVA

Sorry to revive this topic, but the Rycote BBG and WindJammer came in today and it is PERFECT for the Oktava. VERY nice and VERY effective. As a preliminary test I pointed the Oktava directly into a "Vornado" fan on full high. The mic never rumbled once. All you can hear is the sound of the motor and blades cutting the air. Using the BBG ONLY under these same conditions yields moderate rumble... still a usable recording, but not as effective. The US-2 is almost unusable under these extreme conditions and an ordinary foam windscreen in this application yields completely useless rumbling with no chance of even hearing a single syllable.

One thing that jumped out at me about the Rycote is the fit and finish. It is extremely pleasing. It looks and feels "high end". I get a lot of stuff and sell or return it right away... it just depends on how useful I think it will be within my kit... The Rycote BBG and Jammer will be a permanent addition to my gear bag.

For any of you fellow Oktava enthusiasts you won't find a better means of wind protection for this mic.

US distributors call this the 20mm size and it fits great on the Oktava.

The Windtech US-2 foam/airspace screens don't come close in fit and they are about 1/4th as effective... but of course they are also about 1/5th the price! I should point out again that the US-2 is WAY more effective then a standard foam screen! The ordinary foam screens proved to be nearly pointless in any application but on a fixed overhead boom (stand) in a STILL room.

The PROS for the Rycote system are:
1) Modular... can use BBG alone or with Jammer for extreme wind.
2) Fit. It is perfect. The BBG LOCKS on and will not be lost.
3) Maximum dead air within the minimum size.
4) You can STILL add a normal foam screen to the INSIDE of the BBG and STILL use the Jammer on the outside and then you could get audio out of a tornado!
5) Looks very "pro". Nobody outside a studio will know what it is.

The CONS for the Rycote system are:
1) PRICE! As stated it is 5 TIMES the cost of the Windtech US-2.
2) It is heavier then the US-2... not by more then you'd expect though.
3) See #5 above. This thing may intimidate or amuse people unexpectedly. It kinda' looks like I rammed my Oktava up the soft end of a Chinchilla.

The PROS for the Windtech US-2 are:
1) PRICE! I paid $32 each for them and you may get 'em even cheaper. So if you do lose or damage one it's not the end of the world.
2) Very effective for indoor booming and normal room air control.
3) They look VERY nice. Finish is great for a foam windscreen! They are smooth black and aside from being a little large for a windscreen, they won't unsettle your subjects/talent.

The CONS for the Windtech US-2 are:
1) Performance. They are EXCELLENT windscreens but don't expect a rumble FREE recording in any moderate or higher wind. I would consider these as perfect for indoor booming and ok for mostly calm outdoor conditions.
2) FIT. At least with the Oktava they don't fit snug. If you put one of these to use on a boom, I doubt it will fall off the mic, but I wouldn't bet that it won't fall off either. It just barely grabs onto the Oktava. In most situations this shouldn't matter, but I won't be surprised if I eventually lose one. (Like say on a boat ride or booming over an animal pen within tree limbs)...

Finding the best price on a Rycote system in the USA is going to be tough... it'll probably run you around $175 for both pieces at any USA Rycote seller, but even if you get ONLY the BBG and skip the Windjammer you will have a screen that is about twice as effective as the US-2. I'll send you the sound files to prove it.

The best place to get a Windtech US-2 is Crouse-Kimsey at and I'd advise calling the main office in TX first. Some members of our forum were able to get them for less, but the best I could do was $32 each. The price for a US-2 at OTHER stores is as much as $49.

In my experience with the Oktava you MUST use a windscreen 100% of the time. Mine get wind rumble EASILY. To put this in perspective for any Oktava users I'd rate the bare mic at "0". Add a standard, cheap windscreen and you have a "1". Put on a US-2 and you have a "3". Use a BBG and you have a "5". Add a jammer to the BBG and you have a "9". Put the standard foam screen inside of the BBG, which is inside the Jammer, and that should give you a "10".

Please keep in mind that this is a wind protection issue ONLY. As you add things such as fur and extra layers of foam you will certainly affect the high end frequency response of your mic. So you should use the least wind protection neccessary to eliminate rumble.

To summarize this "review" there is a reason that the Rycote costs more and is well regarded. It is EASILY worth the extra cost.

Also of note is that a little rumble isn't always a bad thing. We expect to hear a bit of rumble from the mic of a reporter covering a hurricane story and it would be less exciting if the audio was completely rumble free. If you're shooting trees whipping all over the place and there is no rumble, your "perfect" sound may seem boring compared to the video.
Matt Gettemeier is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 5th, 2004, 04:07 PM   #2
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Don't let your grandkid see the BBG, they'll want to play ball. I agree with Matt, they work very well, they're light and easy to mount. My Oktavas measured out at 20mm on the vernier caliper and fit perfectly.

Matt found a killer one time only deal , so we both lucked out. They wound up 1/3 of the US price.

Thanks Matt.
Bryan Beasleigh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 6th, 2004, 03:09 AM   #3
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Thanks for that Matt. Hey, I read that you're getting a KTek boom. What one may I ask? I settled for the Gitzo 557c in the end. Basically came down to price and not being able to justify NZ$700 for a pole. Have the AT8415 too with KSUS bands - KSUS bands are much better than the ones that come with ther AT8415 which can hardly hold my ME66 with Mini Windjammer.

When I get a chance I'll be reviewing, just shifting house and haven't had time yet. Let us know how your KTek goes.

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Old February 6th, 2004, 08:49 AM   #4
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As a tiny addition to all this on windscreens, my favorite assistance for securing loose screens is to use bands for tying up hair that have no exposed metal and no exposed rubber. You can get them cheap in a variety of thin sizes and colors. Discard or trim the few that have a sharp point on the hot-joint where the circle is closed. The smooth ones won't grab or tear your foam or furry screens and they make for a secure fit. In addition, if your screen is really too big for the mic then adding one of these bands also creates a dead-air space around the capsule. The band secures the base of the screen around the body of the mic and the rest balloons out without touching the capsule.
For mics with large wire heads like an ATM31a, the band helps close the foam around the back side of the capsule.
Very handy to have and they allow you to buy cheaper generically sized screens for a variety of mics too.
I also use one on my FatCat furry screens to reinforce the elastic that tends to bunch up when used on a slender mic.
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Old February 6th, 2004, 09:58 AM   #5
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That's a good tip Jay. I'll pick some of those up... I'll bet a simple black rubber band would do it too. I hadn't considered something like that... The Windtech US-2 is pretty big for a windscreen. It's about 3 1/4" in diameter by 4 1/2" long... the top third of it is rounded so it looks really nice. The outer foam is so smooth and fine it feels like velvet. The inner foam is very open, much like the inside of a Softie, and then it has a dead airspace at the front, but not the sides. It would take a pretty good squeeze at the back to "clamp" it down around the Oktava, but I think a rubber band or hair tie would insure it's safety.

As I experiment with these more and more I'm just getting happier with the BBG and more dissappointed with the Windtech. I hate to bash these for anybody that thinks the Rycote stuff is a waste of cash... but I like to give credit where credit is due.

The Windtechs ARE effective as minimalist windscreens. Personally I think you're wasting your money and trashing future projects if you get an ordinary windscreen for an Oktava. Anything less then the Windtech will CERTAINLY let you down on your audio. The Oktava's are stupidly sensitive to windnoise. In another post some guy asked what the noise was in his recording (using an Oktava) and everybody looked for problems in the chain of aquisition... I'm the ONLY one who said, "I guarantee it's windnoise"... and I STILL guarantee it WAS windnoise. ANY wind getting to the cap of the Oktava creates noise... it's not always rumble... sometimes it sounds like mic distortion... almost like a "buzz" accompanying transients. Pop on a Windtech or BBG and that is gone.

I'm sorry I couldn't get the deal for everybody on the BBGs... I still paid retail for my Jammer and if I'd have known how good the BBGs would be I probably would have ordered 2 and there would have only been 1 left for Beas. (No offense Beas) Since Bryan had that high-end pair of THE mics I figured he'd get more use out of a pair of BBGs then I would. The deal I found on the BBGs was a lucky "clearance" deal direct from the UK and they only had 3. If you follow my posts I try to share any good deals I stumble across.

As far as the K-Tek pole I guess I'll get the (about) 13-footer with coiled-cable. It's a freakin' lot of cash... so I may balk and get the sub-9-footer... but it depends. I have a '98 R1 with about 5K miles on it that I'm going to sell this spring... Once that sells I wouldn't be so bothered by the extra couple hundred. I'm thinking that you could use the 13 for EVERYTHING and the 9 may leave you occasionally short. A lot of guys end up with two poles for different purposes. A really short one for light weight and because... it's... short, and then a long one because... well... So I'm thinking if you have a long pole that's really light and collapses really short it can be a "do it all" pole for the same cost as two seperate poles of lesser quality. Whatta' ya' think?

As long as I'm getting a little off topic here I also want to say that the K-SSM (short mount) for the Oktava/CS1 is PERFECT... It is made for the CS1, but they should say it's made for the Oktava also. Even with the soft-grade bands it supports the Oktava complete with BBG and Merkin (Jammer). The little K-SSM mount makes me excited to get a K-Tek pole 'cause if the minimalist engineering on the poles is as good as it is on the mount... their poles must be nice. (But don't quote me out of context on that.)
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Old February 6th, 2004, 11:37 PM   #6
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Matt, you're probably right on the pole too - one big one as a good for all - I didn't even do this, simply cause of cash. A big pole would not be best at all, but mnore versatile. I imagine it'd get to be a bit of a burden when when you're doing a short boom shoot, but it'd be manageable. And if you just have a short one, well you're buggered.


Sorry, this is OT. Won't pollute these excellent threads anymore. Will start a new one when I get to test my pole, or someone who has one should start one.
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