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Thoughts on AKG C414 ULS
Old 23rd January 2008
  #1
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Thoughts on AKG C414 ULS

I am thinking of buying an AKG C414 ULS that will be used extremely for vocals, specifically R&B for a male, can any of you give me your experience with this microphone. This is a very impulse buy but I am getting a good price for it used...about $500 from a local. Right now I only have the AT3035 and the Shure SM7B..Have any of you guys ever used this model?

Also I have used AKG C3000B and I love the way it sounds on my voice (and I will be the primary recorder) so if the ULS sounds better than that...please let me know.
Old 23rd January 2008
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
stevesmithfan's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I have 1 that I use as a drum room mic in my drum studio, I love it. I only record drums so I can't tell you how it would sound for voice. But at $500 you should definitely buy it because, it's a great mic, escpecially at that price.
Old 23rd January 2008 | Show parent
  #3
Baz
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🎧 15 years
I have a rough demo of a song I tracked with just vocals and acoustic. The lead vocal is an SM7b and I used my 414BULS for the BGV's. If you want to hear it, to hear the mics in conjunction, PM me and I'll send you an mp3.

This said, providing it's in good shape, $500 is a great deal. I paid $800 for mine (used) and the rolloff switch was broken when I bought it - the design of the switches on 414's is horrible.
Old 23rd January 2008 | Show parent
  #4
Baz
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🎧 15 years
Sent.
Old 25th January 2008 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Head
 
DROSS's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
From what I've heard, the uls(being supposedly optimized for vocals) can have a tendency to be a bit more sibilant than the xls for reason that it is geared toward being very "detailed". IT can be a good or bad thing. For $500 I wouldn't hesitate though if for vocals, the xls might a little more forgiving. Ohe yeah, I used the xls through a UA solo 610 and was very pleased with the result
Old 25th January 2008 | Show parent
  #6
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leaper's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by DROSS ➡️
From what I've heard, the uls(being supposedly optimized for vocals) can have a tendency to be a bit more sibilant than the xls for reason that it is geared toward being very "detailed".
It can be confusing with these model numbers.. actually, the model you are referring to is the 414 B-TL II.. this had a slight boost around 4khz and was supposedly designed for vocalists. I almost always ended up choosing the flatter ULS model for vocals over the TL. The frequency boost just seemed to accentuate sibilance and miss the "air" frequency (it was fantastic on certain instruments, though...piano for example).
I'm sure you will get great results from the ULS for vocals.
However, when i've had the luxury of being able to set up a vocalist and choose between the usual vocal mic suspects, the 414 wouldn't win so often. These kind of choices are nice if you can make them but not essential.
One application where it performs outstandingly is when you have an acoustic guitarist singer. Using a pair in figure of 8 mode, one on the guitar and one on voice..always comes out really well.
The C3000 is a different mic..with a broad high mid boost and an upfront quality that the ULS doesn't have. Some would say that the 3000 sounds "grainy" which is not something you would say about the ULS (unless someone out there wants to mess up my day?)
If that sonic quality suited your voice you might be disppointed with the more neutral sound coming from the ULS. On the other hand, the ULS has a very musical proximity effect thing going on.. way more usable than the 3000. Could turn you into Nat King Cole..heh
Old 25th January 2008 | Show parent
  #7
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
414 BULS can be a good all-purpose mic for lots of things, but in my experience it never wins out for vocals -- pretty unexciting in that role...
Old 25th January 2008 | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
I think you will be happy with the mic in comparison to the AT and SM7.

It isn't the ultimate mic for sure, but handles vocals pretty well. It is more suited to female voices in my experience due to a presence peak around 3-4kHz (iirc) but has a good amount of detail. Pretty usable.

ULS is the lo-noise version. ULS = Ultra Low Self-noise I think.
Old 25th January 2008
  #9
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mtstudios@charter's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I prefer the the B-TL II to the B/ULS for vx.
Although, a pair is decent for overheads.

http://www.mtstudios.biz
Old 25th January 2008 | Show parent
  #10
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Tube World's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Are the new 414's considered better or worse than the old ones. You know, everyone loves U87's but many don't like the U87ai's. Are the newer 414's in the same catagory?
Old 25th January 2008 | Show parent
  #11
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leaper's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tube World ➡️
Are the new 414's considered better or worse than the old ones. You know, everyone loves U87's but many don't like the U87ai's. Are the newer 414's in the same catagory?
I know that some people swear by the older EB models..they came with their own external power supply, even though they were FET designs..i guess this was before the 48v phantom had become a standard. You can also get EB's with a 48v mod..if i remember, they called the mic EB 48, or something like that. I'm sure that they must sound substantially different to the ULS, TL crowd..even if it's by virtue of the parts being so damn old!
Can't remember coming across one.
Also have never tried the new ones.. would also like to know what people think about those.
Old 25th January 2008 | Show parent
  #12
Gear Addict
 
Rickard's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
The 414 uls is a really good all round mic. Compared to many of today's mics it may sound a little rolled off in the top but it is smooth enough to take a shelving eq very well. I think it sounds great on drums and piano. I never liked it much on vocals.
Old 25th January 2008 | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
 
lord_bunny's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
It's my goto mic for acoustic instrument duty. it's cheaper than say a royer 121, but sounds as good or better in some situations than a nice ribbon. it never seems to be my pic for vocals, although it's not a terrible choice (kind of like an sm7 or re20, it always "works" but rarely is it the best option).
Old 25th January 2008 | Show parent
  #14
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deve's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
if it's in working condition, for $500 I would buy it in a heartbeat. I have a pair of those and yet I want another pair. BULS (silver grill) is the best sounding 414 imo.
Old 25th January 2008 | Show parent
  #15
EJW
Gear Nut
 
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🎧 10 years
You don't need to impulse buy for this one - when I was shopping around for them I found the average price to be $500-600, so if you want to wait to buy it, you'll be able to find it for a good price again I'm sure. But, I'm not a fan of it on vocals, sometimes it works out great, but most of the time it's pretty lousy. I wonder if an sm7 would work better for you? If you can test it out somewhere, you may want to.
Old 25th January 2008 | Show parent
  #16
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by EJW ➡️
You don't need to impulse buy for this one - when I was shopping around for them I found the average price to be $500-600, so if you want to wait to buy it, you'll be able to find it for a good price again I'm sure. But, I'm not a fan of it on vocals, sometimes it works out great, but most of the time it's pretty lousy. I wonder if an sm7 would work better for you? If you can test it out somewhere, you may want to.
Good point!
Old 25th January 2008 | Show parent
  #17
Gear Maniac
 
Jenz's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Regarding the confusing model numbers, i bought 414 TL-II a while back, thinking it was the C-12 capsule. But the mic is labeled 414 B-ULS TL-II.

I remember seeing Bono sing in a 414, "the one with the C-12 capsule", and it's a bit rounder in it's shape. Perhaps that't the real 414 with vocal approach?

In the price range you might like Audio Technica 4033!
Old 26th January 2008 | Show parent
  #18
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spockstudio's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by analogjeff ➡️
414 BULS can be a good all-purpose mic for lots of things, but in my experience it never wins out for vocals -- pretty unexciting in that role...
We've used this mic for vocs when a C-12 didnt sound quite right, but it does better on instruments than vocals. It seems these are best served when used as a stereo pair for acoustic sources. Very good for drums too.
Great price, by the way.
Old 26th January 2008 | Show parent
  #19
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
the 414 was my first good mic. I do not like it as much now. To me the soundelux (now Bock) 195 I have is much better sounding for a similar price. $500 is a good price for the 414. It can be modified by Jim Williams and it will sound better.
Old 26th January 2008 | Show parent
  #20
Lives for gear
 
deve's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by EJW ➡️
You don't need to impulse buy for this one - when I was shopping around for them I found the average price to be $500-600, so if you want to wait to buy it, you'll be able to find it for a good price again I'm sure. But, I'm not a fan of it on vocals, sometimes it works out great, but most of the time it's pretty lousy. I wonder if an sm7 would work better for you? If you can test it out somewhere, you may want to.
I am jealous. I wish I lived in States. You cannot believe how much we are paying for quality audio gear here, in this part of the world.
Old 26th January 2008 | Show parent
  #21
EJW
Gear Nut
 
EJW's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by deve ➡️
I am jealous. I wish I lived in States. You cannot believe how much we are paying for quality audio gear here, in this part of the world.
Do the online merchants not ship to your country? (sorry if it's a dumb question, I don't know if it's common to ship there from the US or not
Old 27th January 2008 | Show parent
  #22
Lives for gear
 
deve's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Some of them do. Actually most of them do. But the customs tax is really forbidding. Add Shipping Company trying to rip you off.

"Hi, this is X from UPS, you have a package stuck at the customs, shipped through us. If you pay us $500 we can handle it for you."

They present this like it's your only option and make life very hard if you go and try to take it out by yourself paying the real non-inflated customs tax.
I once had to pay 400 bucks for a guitar neck that originally cost me 350 at ebay. Go figure.
Old 30th January 2008 | Show parent
  #23
Gear Maniac
 
akisD28's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by deve ➡️
Some of them do. Actually most of them do. But the customs tax is really forbidding. Add Shipping Company trying to rip you off.

"Hi, this is X from UPS, you have a package stuck at the customs, shipped through us. If you pay us $500 we can handle it for you."

They present this like it's your only option and make life very hard if you go and try to take it out by yourself paying the real non-inflated customs tax.
I once had to pay 400 bucks for a guitar neck that originally cost me 350 at ebay. Go figure.
I used to have the same problem when I lived in Greece: I'd order stuff from the net, ask the courier service to give me a quote for the customs (just to have a giggle with my friends later) and then went and did the procedure myself and paid less than half than what they claimed I should.

Back on topic (relatively...), I'm buying my second ULS today - first one was a week ago.heh
Old 30th January 2008 | Show parent
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
I have a 414 TLII and ULS. I would not use ULS for voices.

I love c3000 for voice, it has not hight quality but it is very warm
Old 30th January 2008 | Show parent
  #25
Lives for gear
 
doorknocker's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecolleno ➡️
I have a 414 TLII and ULS. I would not use ULS for voices.
I basically ONLY use my 414 B-ULS for vocals or as fron-of-kick drum mic, sometimes as guitar room mic too.

For some singers/songs it's just perfect and has a great presence to it that is really helpful in the mixing stage.
Old 3rd May 2008 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Sorry I'm late, but it's recent enough that I wondered if you bought the 414?

I have two C414-ULS (they dont have a "B" on them anywhere, nor does any of the paperwork have a "B" anywhere, if that matters).

Best mic I have ever used for acoustic guitar, but I have not used anything high end. I only have these because one was bought with a tax refund, and the other was given to me by a relative. For voice, it is the best one I have, but I dont use it for voice unless I have to. Some singers are made for that mic, but most voices sound best with a ribbon.

But for $500 bucks, if it's in great condition, no issues, I would jump on it. If it were single pattern, I might hesitate, but it's multi pattern, and has rolloff and pads. If you have a cardioid condensor also, then the 414 is awesome for doing mid-side rigs with an acoustic guitar.

I will say that for voice this 414 will blast any budget chinese mic clean outa the water.....
Old 3rd May 2008 | Show parent
  #27
Lives for gear
 
mdjice's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I recorded the Song "Cyclone" (baby bash, myself on the hook and T-pain, produced by Lil Jon) on a akg c414 ULS via avalon 737 ...song went platinum , never needed to re record so I guess on vocals too!....it is good enough
Old 25th April 2009
  #28
vvv
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Does anybody know what´s the meaning of all the different packagins of c414 b-uls´s? I´ve seen them come with and without shockmount and in 2 different plastic cases and in an aluminium one. Were they differently priced when they were sold? Or where they packed differently on different periods of b-ULS lifetime? Has the mic itself stayed the same throughout it´s age or has it been through some changes inside? When AKG stopped making the b-uls -model?
Old 25th April 2009 | Show parent
  #29
Old 13th October 2010 | Show parent
  #30
Gear Addict
 
chout's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I got a pair of 414u bls's today for $1K! They're in great shape too!
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