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AKG C414 or…?
Old 9th September 2012
  #1
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
AKG C414 or…?

Hey guys,
The current mics that I have are the sE2200a and the AKG 214 xls.
I'm thinking of selling the sE and upgrading to a 414.

Still undecided. From what I've heard, I like the sound of the 414, but just want to make sure theres no other alternative I haven't checked out.

Would anyone choose anything else over the 414? I will do everything with the mic, inc: Drum overheads, acoustic guitar, vocals.

Cheers guys.
Old 9th September 2012
  #2
Lives for gear
 
KRStudio's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
A pair of 414's are great. So many stereo capabilities with the various polar patterns. These are a studio staple for that reason. If you find you only ever record with cardioid then I would buy a Shure KSM32.
Old 9th September 2012
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
If it's only for cardioid then you already have the 214, which is an awesome mic, IMO. The 414 would be cool if you will make use of the extra patterns, otherwise maybe a nice pencil mic to compliment your 214?
Old 9th September 2012 | Show parent
  #4
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by flybeereligion ➡️
If it's only for cardioid then you already have the 214, which is an awesome mic, IMO. The 414 would be cool if you will make use of the extra patterns, otherwise maybe a nice pencil mic to compliment your 214?
The 414 and the 214 sound substantially different, fyi.

There are tons of alternative mics, from the at4050 to the KSM44 to the Rode K2, but you can't go wrong with a 414. I know you can get great sounds from it on each of the sources you mentioned. The polar patterns are great as well. Is it best suited for your voice? Only you can know that. I advise learning that first-hand.
Old 9th September 2012
  #5
Lives for gear
 
Shannon Adkins's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I like the AT4050 better.
Old 9th September 2012
  #6
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
in the 414 camp, the advanced audio cm-414 would deserve some looking into. i use an akg414 but to do it all again i'd check that one out for interests sake because the advanced audio version is based on the c-12 type capsule that the original akg mics used.

my disclaimer is i've never heard one.

the other option i'd consider is one of the oktavamod styled u87 mics. i use an oktavamod nt2a (u87ish) and i prefer it over the akg414 generally.

i agree with the other posters and i'd aim for something with multiple patterns.

that said i really do like the 414. pretty much works anywhere.
Old 10th September 2012
  #7
Lives for gear
 
8 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
The B-ULS is a "must have" IMO.
Old 10th September 2012
  #8
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
great stuff,

i first became aware of them via the oktavamod site where it says in short if you want a c-12 type mic then AA are the people to talk to.

then i found a review from dave thomas here Advanced Audio CM 414 where he openly talked about his mic. there is an honesty in his comments that i find refreshing from a manufacturer.

one day i will own his c-12
Old 10th September 2012
  #9
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
I own four AKG 414B ULS microphones and they are the most used microphones in my studios. They have multiple patterns, multiple low frequency roll offs, two degrees of output attenuation, wide flat frequency response plus their small size permits easy placement just about anywhere. What's really not to like?



Dennis
Old 10th September 2012 | Show parent
  #10
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edva's Avatar
 
26 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by audiotech ➡️
I own four AKG 414B ULS microphones and they are the most used microphones in my studios. They have multiple patterns, multiple low frequency roll offs, two degrees of output attenuation, wide flat frequency response plus their small size permits easy placement just about anywhere. What's really not to like?



Dennis
B ULS are very nice. However, if buying new, you might consider Shure KSM44, I like them better than the newer 414's. IMHO, and YMMV.
Old 10th September 2012
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
For everything but most vocals. The 414 will give you a usable sound. It is a studio standard for a reason. The Neumann U87 is the same way. They may not be the best mic for each job but it will give you a usable sound virtually every time.

As to the 414 for vocals. They are a little sibilant and that can cause problems when trying to mix the vocals etc... The 414 that has the C12 capsule or the C12a which looks like a tube 414 sound fine on many vocals.

I think that is where the 87 is a bit better than the 414 in my opinion. The 87 works for a lot of vocals plus other stuff. But at 2 to 3 times the price does not always work out for many budgets. I would look at having another mic to help with vocals for when the 414 does not work

Mike
Old 10th September 2012
  #12
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Crash's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Whenever I use my 414, the word "clinical" comes to mind. It has a ridiculously flat response but it is quite the utility mic that can be made to work in about any situation.

Here is a tune where the all vocal were a 414-B/ULS, if that helps you make any decisions in that department.

Old 10th September 2012
  #13
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uncle duncan's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by subsy ➡️
...Still undecided. From what I've heard, I like the sound of the 414, ...
Which 414? There are two basic models, one for vocals, one for instruments. The model numbers change over the years, and the sound changes a bit, but the basic concept - one for vocals, one for instruments - remains the same. (The vocal version is brighter, the instrument version is more neutral.)

In the Soundcloud clip above, the 414-b/uls is the instrument version of the mic. In the context of that mix, I'm hearing a bit of low end conflict between the vocals and the rest of the mix, especially when the vocal first starts. Ideally, you want the vocal to have its own space in the mix so the listener doesn't have to strain to make out the lyrics. Using a neutral mic can have the opposite affect, pushing the vocal back, rather than bringing it forward in the mix (depending on the mix.) Granted, the singer in the clip has a thin voice that needs some beef. Perhaps a U87 style mic might have been a better choice?

The important thing for the OP is to get a mic that sounds different than the 214, so if the 214 sucks on a source, he'll have another option. How to tell if a different mic is going to sound different than his 214? Look at the frequency response graphs. The 214 has a dip at 1.5k, peak at 3k - 4k, dip at 5k - 6k, peak at 13k. I'd suggest getting a second mic with a peak at 5k - 6k. That's a really basic frequency range that can add presence to vocals. It can also add sibilance, which is why reputable studios have several different vocal mics to choose from. It should be noted that the sm7b is one of the most popular vocal mics in existence, and it has a peak at 5k - 6.5k, a dip at 7.5k - 9k (sibilance range) and a bit of a peak at 10k and 13k. If the OP does any rock music, I'd suggest getting the sm7b first. (I resisted getting a sm7b for the longest time, thinking because it was cheap, it wouldn't sound as good as my more expensive LDC's. Wrong. It's a definite workhorse mic in the right context.)
Old 10th September 2012 | Show parent
  #14
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Crash's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle duncan ➡️
Granted, the singer in the clip has a thin voice that needs some beef. Perhaps a U87 style mic might have been a better choice?
Sure might have had I had one for the session....
Old 12th February 2013
  #15
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Bullseye's Avatar
I have a 414 XLS which I bought mostly for use with horns. And for that purpose it has done a great job. For financial reasons I sold my Soundelux E47 - the original with variable pattern knob - and I could say that the 414 XLS is not in that league for vocal mics and by comparison I would not consider any of the 414s my first choice for vocal mic. As stated above they tend to be a bit strident although a little processing can take care of that. On the other hand it is nowhere near as warm and intimate as the Soundelux was. That mic had a beautiful big, round, warm sound.

The point is for instruments the 414 is great because it is so crystal clear and the instruments just sit in the mix beautifully. But for vocals I prefer more character as it were.
Old 13th February 2013
  #16
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Can't go wrong with a 414. It's my next mic purchase.
Old 13th February 2013
  #17
Gear Head
 
Gtr_Mann's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I have a pair of 414B/ULS mics a 87 and a couple of 87 clones, the 414s I have are the instrument version and get a lot of use in miking instruments, they don't have enough character for vocals. They never sound the best on vocals. I use the 87 or one of the 87 clones mainly for vocals... They seem to fit better sonically.....YMMV...
Old 13th February 2013
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
dergit's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
The C414 really is one of the mics you should have a couple of before you shop around for others... Huge fan.
Old 29th May 2013
  #19
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Hi,

After buying a ULS second hand I encountered a problem a crackling noise occurred whilst recording a guitar at moderate to loud volume, although the signal was not too hot at the soundcard. The mic lost fidelity as a result I ended up having to replace the capsule although the AKG engineer could find nothing wrong. The same thing has happened again with no incident to blame for the loss of fidelity, 3 months in it just sounds noticeably duller although I have been very careful & only used the mic for voice.
I have no faulty equipment & have never broken anything in 20 years of recording.

I've heard that the ULS has a favorable sound to the XLS, but am now tempted to buy new as I have lost confidence with the second hand market.
Would appreciate feedback on the XLS sound..

Bright with more clarity?

OR

Over bright & plasticy

Many thanks
Old 30th May 2013 | Show parent
  #20
Lives for gear
 
8 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackvelvet ➡️
Hi,

After buying a ULS second hand I encountered a problem a crackling noise occurred whilst recording a guitar at moderate to loud volume, although the signal was not too hot at the soundcard. The mic lost fidelity as a result I ended up having to replace the capsule although the AKG engineer could find nothing wrong. The same thing has happened again with no incident to blame for the loss of fidelity, 3 months in it just sounds noticeably duller although I have been very careful & only used the mic for voice.
I have no faulty equipment & have never broken anything in 20 years of recording.

I've heard that the ULS has a favorable sound to the XLS, but am now tempted to buy new as I have lost confidence with the second hand market.
Would appreciate feedback on the XLS sound..

Bright with more clarity?

OR

Over bright & plasticy

Many thanks
I had a chance to compare a pair of mine B-ULS with a pair of XLS in my studio and IMO the XLSs are quite different from the older 414s.

I would say a bit plasticy, not the brightest mic on the world, but still relatively bright, it's a bit strange, because it seems to have a bit of a bump at a relatively high frequency (well over 10 kHz, probably around 15 kHz), but doesn't have the usual "presence" boost that many people would expect from a LDC, therefore it sometimes sounds dull and bright/sibilant at the same time.

Don't get me wrong, XLS isn't a bad microphone, but I wouldn't change my B-ULS for XLS.
Old 30th May 2013
  #21
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richgilb's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I had a pair of used 414 XLS and they kept crackling and dropping signal in anything but the driest, warmest environment. I am not the only one to claim that these mics are more sensitive to damp than the average mic. So any fragment of dust on the diaphragm might go unnoticed on these mics and cause a problem

I also stopped buying used mics after this problem but could not afford new 414s so bought a pair of ADK Thors, which I actually prefer now anyway.
Old 4th June 2013 | Show parent
  #22
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Many Thanks - the ULS has to go though, it's lost fidelity twice with just modest use
Old 4th June 2013 | Show parent
  #23
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Many thanks
Old 4th June 2013 | Show parent
  #24
Lives for gear
 
euphoria89's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by richgilb ➡️
I had a pair of used 414 XLS and they kept crackling and dropping signal in anything but the driest, warmest environment. I am not the only one to claim that these mics are more sensitive to damp than the average mic. So any fragment of dust on the diaphragm might go unnoticed on these mics and cause a problem

I also stopped buying used mics after this problem but could not afford new 414s so bought a pair of ADK Thors, which I actually prefer now anyway.
Yep, exactly my experiences. Had to send mine back to AKG after less than a year of very light and moderate use. Started to get all sorts of noise and crackling. Sold the replacement and got myself an Audio Tech 4047 and couldn't have been happier. Never ever liked the newer XLS. Thin, harsh, brittle and sterile. An older CK12 model however..
Old 4th June 2013
  #25
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matucha's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
With C214 in the locker, I'd get something like gefell UMT70. Old C414 are great (my exp. is only with EB and BULS). Yes they can be a bit boring at times, but they have never let me down in the mix. I even like the "modern" teflon capsule better than the legendary CK12 sometimes because of its forgiving nature in hi-midrange and highs. But when CK12 works, it's special.
Anytime I've heard the newer ones compared to the old ones, I could recognize the family sound, but the old models sound more elegant while the new ones more processed (narrow?).
Old 6th June 2013 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Although my 414 B ULS sounded great at first,it's sound dulled very quickly, I replaced the capsule & the same thing happened again, second time around I used it on the voice only!!
I'm looking for something as good without stretching for the U 87 £1900 without the shock mount!
Old 6th June 2013
  #27
Lives for gear
 
8 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Using a microphone on the voice is most likely the easiest way to get the capsule dirty and/or wet.
The U87 is known to be way more sensitive to this problem than the 414.
I'd recommend you to try holding the mic at the light bulb or something to dry the capsule and than try to use it with a pop filter. And don't sing to close, IMO the 414 has to be quite far from the singer to sound good.
If this doesn't help, could you post a sample of "the dull sound"?
Old 6th June 2013 | Show parent
  #28
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Hi,

Thanks for your reply. I'd rather not get into the debate about the sound if you don't mind, as I have sold the mic on. It didn't sound that bad at all which is why I felt ok about selling it, it was more the principal that the mic had lost a good 10% quality for no apparent reason. Always used with a pop shield, tried experimenting with the sound for many an hour, in the end gave up. I'd buy another 414 but when you buy a second hand mic, you never know how good it was when new, that's the problem..
Old 6th June 2013 | Show parent
  #29
Lives for gear
 
8 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackvelvet ➡️
Hi,

Thanks for your reply. I'd rather not get into the debate about the sound if you don't mind, as I have sold the mic on. It didn't sound that bad at all which is why I felt ok about selling it, it was more the principal that the mic had lost a good 10% quality for no apparent reason. Always used with a pop shield, tried experimenting with the sound for many an hour, in the end gave up. I'd buy another 414 but when you buy a second hand mic, you never know how good it was when new, that's the problem..
Yeah, I usually buy them in pairs.
Old 6th June 2013
  #30
Lives for gear
 
Gary Ladd's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
AKG hasn't made a decent 414 in many a decade now...
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