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Should I buy an AKG C451b? - Gearspace.com
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Should I buy an AKG C451b?
Old 28th January 2013
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Should I buy an AKG C451b?

Hey guys, I've just had the opportunity to grab a C451B at a pretty good price and I'm wondering if I should pull the trigger? Currently my only SDC's are two Gauge's which aren't bad but I was considering selling them soon anyway and getting something a little more "standard." What do you think? I can only afford one right now so I'd get another down the track but they wouldn't be matched, is that a big issue? These would mostly be used for acoustic guitar and drum over-heads.

Cheers!
Old 28th January 2013
  #2
Lives for gear
 
edva's Avatar
 
26 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
It's a quality design, if you like a bright sound.
Old 28th January 2013
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
That's the thing I've noticed a lot reading reviews, is it like a cheap Chinese condenser bright or a nice full bright? I play a Taylor acoustic so I'm worried that it might be too much, at least for my own guitar?
Old 28th January 2013
  #4
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Hi, i use my 2 c451b all the time. Love them on guitar, drums, strings etc...Always used with a tube preamp, like UA 6176.
Like you said, it s a standard you should have & it s made in Austria...
Old 28th January 2013
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
I'm just a small home set-up, so the only "tube" preamp I have is a Presonus BlueTube, which is a low plate voltage blah blah blah, but I imagine they'd still sound better than my Gauge mics? In your opinion does having a matched pair matter all that much?
Old 28th January 2013
  #6
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
I had a 451b for about 10 years...
I bought it with a pair of SM81's back in 1987.
It's a bright mic...in comparision to to SM81, it sounded artificially bright, not good to my ears.
I made the mistake of using it on high hat a couple times...it's just too bright, brittle for my taste.
It only came out to play when I had the SM81's tied up for overheads, and I could never eq the brittle out to make it sound smooth...or neutral.
So, I sold it on ebay for some bizarre price like $375, and never looked back.
Old 28th January 2013
  #7
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
You guys aren't making this easy! It is a good price which makes me think I should just go for it and deal with the top end, but at the same time I don't want something that I'll just want to replace again straight up.
Old 28th January 2013
  #8
Gear Nut
 
Schexnayder's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Yes.

Use it on acoustic with a large diaphragm or tube, use it on a snare to blend with a 57, use it on a snare bottom or side by itself, use it on high hat... or just use it on anything it could work on. It's a little work horse that can add some blue collar top end to just about anything.
Old 28th January 2013
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Just for my own reference, how does it stack up next to the Rode NT5? I have a friend with a matched pair of those and I have never, ever liked them. Nasty top end as over-heads and quite thin on acoustic guitar, to my ears. I actually like my cheapo Gauge mics better.

And, is a matched pair important? If I were to buy one now and another down the line, would they sound "wrong?"
Old 28th January 2013
  #10
Gear Addict
 
RoadToNever's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
What's a pretty good price?
Old 28th January 2013 | Show parent
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by RoadToNever ➑️
What's a pretty good price?
I imagine that it's pretty different in different parts of the world! It's well enough under your usual street prices here in Australia for it to really make me take notice
Old 28th January 2013
  #12
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I had one and didn't find many uses for it because of the overpowering brightness. The only thing I really liked it on was mandolin. I was happy to sell it and haven't missed it. In that price range I would much rather have the Beyer MC930, Audix SCX1 or even an SE Electronics SE4. Or better still a KM84 if you can find one.
Old 28th January 2013 | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
 
edva's Avatar
 
26 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by flybeereligion ➑️
Just for my own reference, how does it stack up next to the Rode NT5? I have a friend with a matched pair of those and I have never, ever liked them. Nasty top end as over-heads and quite thin on acoustic guitar, to my ears. I actually like my cheapo Gauge mics better.

And, is a matched pair important? If I were to buy one now and another down the line, would they sound "wrong?"
It's a much nicer mic than the NT5, but, they are similar in that both are very bright sounding, if you don't like that sound, you might not like the 451.
Back in the days of tape, bright was good, because tape shed highs as it was played, with digital, bright is less desirable.
You might get lucky and find a matched one, or they could be a few db off, only the factory matched pairs are guaranteed to be matched within 1 db.
Old 28th January 2013 | Show parent
  #14
Lives for gear
 
8 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by flybeereligion ➑️
That's the thing I've noticed a lot reading reviews, is it like a cheap Chinese condenser bright or a nice full bright? I play a Taylor acoustic so I'm worried that it might be too much, at least for my own guitar?
I thinkt that the C451B is the brightest mic ever. It sounds good sometimes, but it's often too bright. I usually prefer Oktava MK-012.
Old 28th January 2013
  #15
Gear Addict
 
rynugz007's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
If its a fair price, I'd definitely pass on it. If its a SICK deal, then buy it and flip it (if u don't like it).

I had a pair years ago, I couldn't sell em fast enough. I have a pair of Kam i2's now that I find more useable than 451's. I paid $85 for both Kams
Old 28th January 2013 | Show parent
  #16
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yetti ➑️
I had a 451b for about 10 years...
I bought it with a pair of SM81's back in 1987.
It wasn't released until the early 2000's. You must be thinking of an original 451 from the 50's or the 451EB which was very popular in the 70s and 80s.
Old 28th January 2013
  #17
Lives for gear
While the newer akg 451b is a quality mic, you can do much better for the price. They were my first quality pair of SDC, I thought they did a very good job on acoustic guitar. Overheads were sounds were decent but could get a bit harsh on the cymbals at times. As noted above they are bright but not in a chinese way.

I think you should check out a used beyer mc930 or josephson c42. They should be price about the same and sound much better than the 451b. Also check out the Line audio cm3. You can get a pair of line audio cm3's for $300 and they rock.
Old 29th January 2013 | Show parent
  #18
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by TRJanuary ➑️
It wasn't released until the early 2000's. You must be thinking of an original 451 from the 50's or the 451EB which was very popular in the 70s and 80s.
You're right...It must have been the 451 eb then.
It came in a little hardshell case, with a foam windscreen that I never used.

I think Edva nailed the reasoning down...tape.
Back when I first got that mic, I was mixing to a Tascam 38 8 track.
High's were lost through bouncing tracks, and bouncng to 1/4", then to cassete...Oh the genration loss and the hiss was brutal...compensating for what you knew was going to be lost took some trial and error experience.
The 451 eb didn't begin to be a mic I didn't like until I switched over to Adats.
Old 29th January 2013 | Show parent
  #19
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by flybeereligion ➑️
I imagine that it's pretty different in different parts of the world! It's well enough under your usual street prices here in Australia for it to really make me take notice
I'll tell you what, I also have a Taylor..a 814ce, and it is a great sounding guitar for recording...as you know, not overly boomy, balanced, "nice bright".

Please consider the Rode NTK, or the K2.
It sounds extremly good on the Taylor.
A friend of mine borrows my Taylor from time to time, and it sounds awesome with just the NTK. Nothing fancy preamp, a silver Focusrite $500 model.
I still prefer the SM81, but both of those options are pretty much "no eq required" type options...just a little bass roll-off, or little tweaks, but it sounds great without doing anything.
Old 29th January 2013
  #20
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
get it.

they're super useful and a great color to contrast other darker mics. great when you want to capture a source brighter without eqing. we have a whole selection of SDCs and just got a 452. It's been used all the time. Hihat, acoustic guitar, piano, glock etc...
Old 19th October 2017
  #21
Gear Head
 
koontzness's Avatar
Almost 5 years late to this party, but buy the darn thing...it's great on a number of different sources. I use it regularly as a snare bottom mic. Also, it's great on acoustic guitar. I've used it as a support mic on a bass cabinet, as well. I've heard raves about it on....yes, lead vocal. It does ship with a wind screen/pop filter.
Old 20th October 2017
  #22
Gear Guru
 
kafka's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Old, old thread, but I have to say I'm not thrilled with the C451B. Just too bright. I love the CK1 capsules. I've put the same capsules on my C460B's, and they sound incredible. The C460B is a great, great SDC. But the 451 is just too bright for me.
Old 21st October 2017
  #23
Deleted 86c3d96
Guest
I got a pair from the 80's. They do what they are supposed to do. The thing is there are times I really want a bright and narrow sounds for things like a acoustic guitar or a backing vocal or a high hat. I want the source not to get muddied in the mix and sit properly. It is a good mic for tight sizzly sounds, or to get narrow high frequency info, or to get a nice sound of a guitar strum without boom.
Old 21st October 2017
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
cazdell's Avatar
I really don't like the new ones. I rarely like to say the old ones are better, but in this case they really do sound waaay different. The top end on the new ones isn't all that great. I really like the akg 480's.
Old 23rd October 2017
  #25
Lives for gear
 
foldback's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I used the AKG C451 mic's extensively in the 80's, the CK1 capsule was very popular.

Around the mid 1990's the AKG brand just became a brand with lots of good part numbers in their IP portfolio.

The modern version of the 451 AKG SDC does not at all sound like the older models with removable capsules. The newer designs sound like inexpensive microphones, they do not have uniform response, they do have exaggerated high frequencies and just an overall cheap feel.

Audio Technica makes offers several SDC models that I think sound much better than these AKG.

I can not imagine ever using one of these modern 451 on the bottom of a snare drum, the highs would tear my head off.

As a point of comparison I use a Beyer M201TG on the bottom of my snare drum which is a very uniform sounding dynamic cardioid. In our studio we have a carefully implemented DW drum set which stays set up all the time, it features a Yamaha signature Anton Fig snare drum which has been carefully set up to deliver great tones in the studio (it never goes on live gigs). Our drum tech carefully tunes the toms to musical thirds using Tune-Bot.

I think that many of the inexpensive pairs of (sub $100) SDC cardioid condenser microphones by MXL and Behringer sound as good as the newer AKG 451 (which only share part number in common with the good sounding versions).

Feel free to try them, disagree and like them. What works for you is all that matters.

I like low cost items that perform like expensive models. The modern AKG 451 models don't fit either of these paradigms IMO, they are rather pricey and don't perform as well as some lower priced models, not my kind of thing.

Good luck and good music to all!

Last edited by foldback; 14th November 2017 at 05:44 PM..
Old 14th November 2017
  #26
Lives for gear
 
BIG BUDDHA's Avatar
in my studio I have a 451EB that I got in the 80s , and a couple of the newer AKG300 CK91 capsule versions.

I them both lots. its find them good on manly things.

most pros are happy to see a couple of 451EBs in the mike selection when we book a studio.

Buddha
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