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AKG 451 History
Old 19th September 2011
  #1
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AKG 451 History

I was curious if anybody can provide some info on the history of these mic's and versions? I'm interested to know what the first model was and what year is was made and when did they introduce the other models? Is the first model the 451E? Any info is much appreciated.
Old 19th September 2011
  #2
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andersmv's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
The 451 started in in the late 1960's as the C-451. Those guys had a 12v power supply , the C indicating the DIN connector. The C-451 was AKG's first FET microphone.

A few years later the E model was introduced and had an XLR output. They also produced the EB model which included a roll off and pad. You will also see the C-452 model which was designed specifically to accept only 48v phantom. All those models had the modular CK capsule system, the most famous and common one being the CK-1 capsule. CK-1's are very light capsules, so handling noise is pretty low. Lots of TV and live sound companies used them a lot.

I'm not really sure about how many variations of the CK capsule were made but I've seen a lot of different ones, from CK-1's with grills around them for vocals, different polar patters, shotgun capsules. Unfortunately, on the newer B model (That started in the mid 1990's) the capsule is fixed. The newer B's are a great sounding mic, but the thing I enjoyed about the older ones is that they have a tendency to deal with sharper frequencies well. If I ever had a drumset with really bright and phasey sounding cymbals, the older EB was always my go to mic.
Old 19th September 2011 | Show parent
  #3
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
The daddy was the C-28 (or C-26, or with the half-meter extension V-29, or full meter extension V-30...) using at least the CK-26 (omni) or CK-28 (cardioid) capsules. Those are the options I know of, though there could be many other capsules. I'm just not old enough to have experienced them. There were three major revisions of the body.

There are several capsules for the 451, including the CK-1 cardioid, CK-2 omni, CK-3 hypercardioid, CK-4 LDC, CK-5 (cardioid vocal head), CK-6 bi-directional head, and the short and long shotguns (CK 8 and 9.) I don't know if there was a CK-7. BLUE made an LDC head for the 451, too. And there are accessories like the right-angle articulating knuckle and pads.
Old 20th September 2011 | Show parent
  #4
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
As Bill said, the 451's are the solid-state counterparts of the C-28's which use the same capsule threadings [so the capsules are interchangeable between the systems]

C28A's and B's were tube-based, with the A using a 12AY7 [same as the C12], B commonly using a 6072, where as the C was a nuvistor-based 7586. The A's and B's are most known for their drastically similar circuit topology as the C12 - hence often times you will see the C28A [or b] combined with the CK4 capsule housing, or a BLUE or some other C12 type copy capsule referred to as a 'poor-mans C12'.

Also in the family are the C60 variant, using the now-legendary [in price and finding a decent one, at least] AC701k valve - the same used in the M49/50's by Neumann. They use the same capsule threadings, but have no unique capsules to the system [like the C28s with the CK26 and CK28]. However, the circuit topology and preamp sound is quite different, using an [often debated] cathode follower design.
The nuvistor variant of the C60 is the C61, using the same 7586 as the C28-C - but again, drastically different topology.

I think most of the capsules have been listed - the 'holy grail' CK4 is a fixed figure-8 variant of the CK12 found in the C12 and 414 family - though not the revered 'brass capsule' design. The CK5 is the same capsule as CK1, with a built in shock/pop mount -- made famous by Barry White. The CK6 was a peculiar and even more rare find than the CK4 - combines pressure [true omni] and pressure gradient [natural figure-of-8] small diaphragm capsules to make a 3-way switchable O/C/8 capsule, housed in a screen not unlike the CK5's.

The CK22 was a newer variant of capsule that took the original CK2 design where the vents were not in the front of the capsule, but on the side. This focuses the pickup area to a small point, in effect, reducing the theoretical capsule size and making a more 'perfect omni' pickup [akin to the DPA UA0777 Nosecone idea, if you are familiar]. Personally, my favorite secret of the series as they sound quite excellent on acoustic sources in favorable environments.

The only other 'secret' I can recall is the CK1S [yes, with the suffix of S]. It had a claimed extra 4-6 dB presence boost at 10kHz - though I can't imagine the usefulness, as I've always found the CK1 plenty bright [but in a great way! ]

The body history is pretty simple - the original non suffix [DIN], E [XLR], and EB [XLR with rolloffs/pads]
The pads [-10 and -20] for the E system are super useful, and my favorite are the knuckle mounts which allow for positioning the capsule either way 90 degrees [awesome for peeking over/through cymbals, floor toms, kicks even if you wanna get brave!]

There are also aftermarket 451 thread to bayonet mount [Neumann CMV capsules and BLUE bayonet capsules for their Bottle system] which I've found quite useful. While the 451 was never designed to polarize a dual-diaphragm LDC like the Mx or Bx series from Neumann or Blue, they do certainly work - but the polarization voltage is a little low [in the neighborhood of 60-70V, I tested once but can't remember now]. Makes the 451's even more super useful tools, if you have an arsenal of those capsules without using the huge bodies.

And yes, BLUE [or RED, at one point -- same company, discussion for a later time] did make a 451-threaded B6 [or R6] capsule, which is their version of the CK12 capsule. There may have been a 7 too, IIRC? [B7/R7 being their fixed-card Neumann M7 copy].


That's all I've got for now -- one of my favorite series of mics for sure! As long as you don't count the bastardized C451B's!!
Old 20th September 2011 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
That was interesting. I've just had a thought, -how difficult would it be to take, say, a Tim Campbell CT12 and make a LDC capsule for a 451? If they end up sounding even close to my 414EB I'd have a pair tomorrow.
Old 20th September 2011 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Nut
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by vcs3 ➡️
That was interesting. I've just had a thought, -how difficult would it be to take, say, a Tim Campbell CT12 and make a LDC capsule for a 451? If they end up sounding even close to my 414EB I'd have a pair tomorrow.
I've looked into this. Blue for a while made a head that would fit but they discontinued it before I could get any. The threads mis-thread really easily and so manufacturers don't want to deal with the problems. There's one studio in Germany that uses one of my capsules in an AKG CK4 head on a 451 preamp that they are really happy with. Their CK4 is wired omni. This is something I hope to do eventually.
Old 21st September 2011 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Maniac
 
Lehmman's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
... interesting ...
Old 4th September 2015 | Show parent
  #8
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] ➡️
The daddy was the C-28 (or C-26, or with the half-meter extension V-29, or full meter extension V-30...) using at least the CK-26 (omni) or CK-28 (cardioid) capsules. Those are the options I know of, though there could be many other capsules. I'm just not old enough to have experienced them. There were three major revisions of the body.

There are several capsules for the 451, including the CK-1 cardioid, CK-2 omni, CK-3 hypercardioid, CK-4 LDC, CK-5 (cardioid vocal head), CK-6 bi-directional head, and the short and long shotguns (CK 8 and 9.) I don't know if there was a CK-7. BLUE made an LDC head for the 451, too. And there are accessories like the right-angle articulating knuckle and pads.
I just bought a C451E which has to be a very early one because it has been professionally converted from Din to XLR. It has 2 capsules with it one is a CK2 but the other isnt marked. It looks the same as a CK1 but I was told it was not. It could be a CK3, how could I tell? there is no label inside the base and no external makings either. The other iinteresting part is that this mic also came with a calibration ring and spent most of its life calibrated and used as a refference mic. I also have aC451EB which is quite old and came with a CK1.

Last edited by Tom Long; 4th September 2015 at 07:39 PM.. Reason: mistake
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