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AKG C451 E with CK1 capsule why so bright?
Old 12th September 2012
  #1
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Santiago's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
AKG C451 E with CK1 capsule why so bright?

Hi, I have an old AKG C451 E with the original CK1 capsuel. It's a mic I like a lot and use it for acoustic guitars amongst other things.

However, I am having difficulties in squaring the perceived sound with the published frequency chart.


(apologies for the small size, this is the best I could find. I have a more precise version at home from a BBC manual, so I might upload that later)

AKG CK 1 and CK 8

The frequency chart looks as though the response should be relatively flat, with a small bump of about 1 or 2 dbs from 5,000 to 10,000.

Based on the chart I wouldn't have expected somethign as bright as the character of this mic.

On the other hand, it's interesting to see that the off-axis frequency response does have a very huge boost, going 10db up at 10 khz. I wonder whether it is this off-axis response that gives the mic its right character?

Anyway, would be interested to see what those who are more informed/experienced have to say...

Regards,

Santiago
Old 12th September 2012
  #2
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Santiago ➑️
Hi, I have an old AKG C451 E with the original CK1 capsuel. It's a mic I like a lot and use it for acoustic guitars amongst other things.

However, I am having difficulties in squaring the perceived sound with the published frequency chart.


(apologies for the small size, this is the best I could find. I have a more precise version at home from a BBC manual, so I might upload that later)

AKG CK 1 and CK 8

The frequency chart looks as though the response should be relatively flat, with a small bump of about 1 or 2 dbs from 5,000 to 10,000.

Based on the chart I wouldn't have expected somethign as bright as the character of this mic.

On the other hand, it's interesting to see that the off-axis frequency response does have a very huge boost, going 10db up at 10 khz. I wonder whether it is this off-axis response that gives the mic its right character?

Anyway, would be interested to see what those who are more informed/experienced have to say...

Regards,

Santiago
The mic does have a pretty broad bump from 5-10k, and not lot's of 20k. I think it might be more than a 2 db bump but they vary quite a bit from mic to mic... That's why it sounded good on hihat, oh's and some acoustic's, also back when tape was the norm the HF bump was usefull, but in the digital age a 5k bump is never good IMO...

Best-
Old 12th September 2012
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
Rascal Audio's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
That seems pretty consistent with my own experiences with 451's. I have always preferred the behavior of a C460/CK61 combo to the C451/CK1. The CK61 capsule is much smoother.

Joel
Old 12th September 2012
  #4
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popmann's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quit looking at microphone graphs. Useless. Need to make a recycler post to start stamping these with. Trust me...they say almost nothing about how a mic sounds and certainly ZERO about how good it is.
Old 12th September 2012 | Show parent
  #5
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1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rascal Audio ➑️
That seems pretty consistent with my own experiences with 451's. I have always preferred the behavior of a C460/CK61 combo to the C451/CK1. The CK61 capsule is much smoother.

Joel
Old 12th September 2012 | Show parent
  #6
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Funny Cat's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] ➑️
The mic does have a pretty broad bump from 5-10k, and not lot's of 20k. I think it might be more than a 2 db bump but they very quite a bit from mic to mic... That's why it sounded good on hihat, oh's and some acoustic's, also back when tape was the norm the HF bump was usefull, but in the digital age a 5k bump is never good IMO...

Best-

I've had a recent experience that relates to what you are saying. Years ago when I was freelancing they had a really nice matched pair of C451 E's (I think with the C1 capsules?). I loved, loved, loved this mic especially for Hi-hat and certain acoustic guitars.

About 8 months ago, I had a remote session where I used a 451 on Hat and it just sounded horrible. No matter what I did. No matter what mic placement I used. It was just horrendous. I was in a treated studio designed by Walter-Storyk so I know the room wasn't having an affect on what I was hearing. I just couldn't figure it out for the life of me.


When I did the sessions years ago I wasn't using tape but x2 Mackie HDR's. The remote session 8 months ago was using my remote rig with Presonus Firepod pres. Maybe that was the difference? I don't believe it is though simply because I have a couple of cheap pencil mics in my remote stash that I get great results with even with the Presonus pres. I'm still puzzled to this day. I just remember that mic being so wonderful and I was extremely disappointed in this 'particular' session. This is no knock on these particular mics. Just a personal observation.
Old 12th September 2012 | Show parent
  #7
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Karloff70's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Funny Cat ➑️
I've had a recent experience that relates to what you are saying. Years ago when I was freelancing they had a really nice matched pair of C451 E's (I think with the C1 capsules?). I loved, loved, loved this mic especially for Hi-hat and certain acoustic guitars.

About 8 months ago, I had a remote session where I used a 451 on Hat and it just sounded horrible. No matter what I did. No matter what mic placement I used. It was just horrendous. I was in a treated studio designed by Walter-Storyk so I know the room wasn't having an affect on what I was hearing. I just couldn't figure it out for the life of me.


When I did the sessions years ago I wasn't using tape but x2 Mackie HDR's. The remote session 8 months ago was using my remote rig with Presonus Firepod pres. Maybe that was the difference? I don't believe it is though simply because I have a couple of cheap pencil mics in my remote stash that I get great results with even with the Presonus pres. I'm still puzzled to this day. I just remember that mic being so wonderful and I was extremely disappointed in this 'particular' session. This is no knock on these particular mics. Just a personal observation.
If they were the newer 451B's the second time round that would explain it as they sound like shiny, piercing, thin plastic.
Old 12th September 2012 | Show parent
  #8
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Funny Cat's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 ➑️
If they were the newer 451B's the second time round that would explain it as they sound like shiny, piercing, thin plastic.

You may be right. That's exactly how I would describe the sound on that last session with the 451's. they belonged to the studio I was working in. I just grabbed them without paying much attention saying to myself...."Oh...C451. these are always good on Hats".....
Old 12th September 2012
  #9
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fastlanestoner's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
All akg stuff is on the bright side. Id like pairing it with a tube pre to soften it up
Old 12th September 2012 | Show parent
  #10
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1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 ➑️
If they were the newer 451B's the second time round that would explain it as they sound like shiny, piercing, thin plastic.
Try an older Ck28 or CK26 capsule- they are rather nicer sounding than even the '70's /'80s older, but still 'real' CK-1's.

Karloff is quite right -the newer AKG stuff is so brittle sounding IMO. And the current 414's are a shadow of their former selves... "Where's the beef, I mean- Where's the brass"? Who are these folks who like 5khz peaks anyway? They started with a nice 15khz peak on the original early CK12's with the large back chambers and it has been downhill ever since... Why?
Old 12th September 2012 | Show parent
  #11
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Santiago's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by popmann ➑️
Quit looking at microphone graphs. Useless. Need to make a recycler post to start stamping these with. Trust me...they say almost nothing about how a mic sounds and certainly ZERO about how good it is.
Thanks, you're probably right! I was just perplexed by the difference between the chart and the sound.

In any case I quite like this mic, it's bright, yes, but most of my other condensers are very flat, so I enjoy the sizzle it brings.... It's the contrast between light and shade that gives nice depth of field when recording - if everything's bright or everything's dark the sound is just flat/
Old 13th September 2012 | Show parent
  #12
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] ➑️
Try an older Ck28 or CK26 capsule- they are rather nicer sounding than even the '70's /'80s older, but still 'real' CK-1's.

Karloff is quite right -the newer AKG stuff is so brittle sounding IMO. And the current 414's are a shadow of their former selves... "Where's the beef, I mean- Where's the brass"? Who are these folks who like 5khz peaks anyway? They started with a nice 15khz peak on the original early CK12's with the large back chambers and it has been downhill ever since... Why?
Hmmm....I nurse a fantasy of getting a nice pair of 414EB's with teflon's and putting brass Tim Campbell CT12's in them........sluuuurp. Only other things are higher on the shopping list just now. Will do one day though.
Old 13th September 2012
  #13
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
The variance in CK1 caps is HUGE...

HUGE.

Did I say HUGE?

I have one thats just magic. By far better than all the others Ive heard, used, side by side etc. Just awesome.

Why? No idea...

But I will say that it made me pay attention to the cap differences and the range of sonics in functioning CK1 caps is surprisingly wide.
Old 13th September 2012
  #14
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travisbrown's Avatar
 
9 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] ➑️
The mic does have a pretty broad bump from 5-10k, and not lot's of 20k. [...]
That's why this mic makes a surprisingly good crisp lead vocal mic when used off-axis.
Old 13th September 2012 | Show parent
  #15
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drBill's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by travisbrown ➑️
That's why this mic makes a surprisingly good crisp lead vocal mic when used off-axis.
Especially with the CK5 capsule above. CK1 inside a pop filter.
Old 13th September 2012
  #16
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mowmow's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Santiago ➑️

On the other hand, it's interesting to see that the off-axis frequency response does have a very huge boost, going 10db up at 10 khz. I wonder whether it is this off-axis response that gives the mic its right character?
That's an interesting point.
I love 451 for acoustic guitar and OH. It has cut through type of high end that I like for certain songs.
It might be true that off axis response is also enhancing the high end like you said. It reminds me of RE20 which has pretty flat off axis response, that is part of the reason that RE20 doesn't change the sound so much even though you are speaking to the mic off axis.
Old 13th September 2012
  #17
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nomoreflakes's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
ck1 = ice pick to the temples
Old 29th December 2014
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Don't mean to revive an old thread, but I feel this needs to be clarified for the record. No good having bad information out there on the internet. I got an old c452eb a while back (a variation of the c451- same CK1 capsule.) Sounded brittle. Sent it in to AKG. They said the serviceable lifespan on the CK1 capsules is coming to an end (25 years +.) When the CK1 capsule gives up, it still works, but it's extremely bright. They gave me a replacement capsule and the mic came back sounding warm and full in the mids, with shimmer across the top. So, just for the record- These are not "ice pick" mics. If your c451's and c452's seem too thin or crispy bright, it's because your capsule has expired
Old 29th December 2014 | Show parent
  #19
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Santiago's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBuffaloCave ➑️
Don't mean to revive an old thread, but I feel this needs to be clarified for the record. No good having bad information out there on the internet. I got an old c452eb a while back (a variation of the c451- same CK1 capsule.) Sounded brittle. Sent it in to AKG. They said the serviceable lifespan on the CK1 capsules is coming to an end (25 years +.) When the CK1 capsule gives up, it still works, but it's extremely bright. They gave me a replacement capsule and the mic came back sounding warm and full in the mids, with shimmer across the top. So, just for the record- These are not "ice pick" mics. If your c451's and c452's seem too thin or crispy bright, it's because your capsule has expired
Interesting! How much did they charge you? Is it a full (true condenser and not electret, as the current 451 capsule?).

For the record, I like my old CK1s a lot (and CK3 and CK22). They are bright, but if you use them on the right sources (finger picked classical guitar for example) they sound great.
Old 29th December 2014 | Show parent
  #20
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Santiago ➑️
Interesting! How much did they charge you? Is it a full (true condenser and not electret, as the current 451 capsule?).

For the record, I like my old CK1s a lot (and CK3 and CK22). They are bright, but if you use them on the right sources (finger picked classical guitar for example) they sound great.
Good question- I don't recall the price, but I remember it was very reasonable. I spoke with the tech there at length because I was concerned about the new CK1's. He assured me they were made in Austria and they were exactly the same thing, same quality, etc. When I got it back I was like, oh ok, this is what it's supposed to sound like! lol And then you have people on GS saying, "These are brittle mics." Well, no, they're not, if you got a good capsule they're quite warm. Mine is a c452eb from the 80's.I would describe the color as sounding scooped, warm and full in the low mids, with smooth shimmer in the highs. Not a hard sounding mic, more soft sounding to my ears.

Edit- it was $100 even for service and capsule. Good deal.

Last edited by TheBuffaloCave; 30th December 2014 at 02:18 AM..
Old 30th December 2014 | Show parent
  #21
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Santiago's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBuffaloCave ➑️
Good question- I don't recall the price, but I remember it was very reasonable. I spoke with the tech there at length because I was concerned about the new CK1's. He assured me they were made in Austria and they were exactly the same thing, same quality, etc. When I got it back I was like, oh ok, this is what it's supposed to sound like! lol And then you have people on GS saying, "These are brittle mics." Well, no, they're not, if you got a good capsule they're quite warm. Mine is a c452eb from the 80's.I would describe the color as sounding scooped, warm and full in the low mids, with smooth shimmer in the highs. Not a hard sounding mic, more soft sounding to my ears.
Thanks for the detailed description, that's fascinating! I might contact AKG and see if they can do one of my capsules as a test. I do like them as they are, but it's tantalising to think the original sound may have been different.
Old 30th December 2014 | Show parent
  #22
Gear Guru
 
kafka's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rascal Audio ➑️
That seems pretty consistent with my own experiences with 451's. I have always preferred the behavior of a C460/CK61 combo to the C451/CK1. The CK61 capsule is much smoother.

Joel
, almost. Except, the CK61 sounds the same as the CK1. I have the threaded adapters to use my CK1's on my C460's. Love the C460B's and can't stand 451's with the same caps, due to the brightness. I also have a CK61, and it sounds the same as my CK1's.
Old 4th January 2017
  #23
Here for the gear
 
AKG C 451 B Pair Set Microphones

I just bought a brand new pair of microphones to record an acoustic piano and am stumped as to why I can't get rid of a buzzing sound from both mics.
I have tried everything I can think of but can't figure it out.
I have tried different cables, different computers, different USB cables, different rooms, tried the same setup with several different mics and the buzzing sound is completely gone.
Here is an example. It's not so terrible for a youtube video but I was hoping to make some nice recordings with these mics and with this buzzing sound I don't think it's possible.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2uGib8sHCw
Old 4th January 2017 | Show parent
  #24
Gear Guru
Quote:
Originally Posted by kafka ➑️
, almost. Except, the CK61 sounds the same as the CK1. I have the threaded adapters to use my CK1's on my C460's. Love the C460B's and can't stand 451's with the same caps, due to the brightness. I also have a CK61, and it sounds the same as my CK1's.
It is the same inside. Same diaphragm and construction. Only the thickness of the metal shell is different.
Old 4th January 2017 | Show parent
  #25
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams ➑️
It is the same inside. Same diaphragm and construction. Only the thickness of the metal shell is different.
Does that mean Ck62 is same as CK2? It doesn't make any sense that AKG developed two SD mic product lines but not interchangeable unless you buy expensive adapters.

BTW, do you still do AKG 460 and 480 mods?

Thanks!
Old 17th February 2019 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Funny Cat ➑️
Presonus Firepod pres.
I think that is your culprit. I would recommend every geeser in here, NOT to consider great vintage microphones, trough highly mediocre preamps. However, cheap microphones are made for that combination. You might find that your cheap mic. sounds ****e trough a great pre and the 451, the opposite.
Old 17th February 2019
  #27
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BIG BUDDHA's Avatar
i have the old original 451eb. /CK1 caps. sounds great. no issues.

maybe yours has a dying capsule?

Buddha
Old 5th November 2019
  #28
Here for the gear
I've been using the 451 with the CK1 capsule for drum overheads since my early days as a staff engineer at Power Station back in the late 70s /early 80s. There is no other microphone I've ever found that has the beautiful transient response these things have; they give a beautiful, airy image of the drum-kit that you can then fill in with the close mikes. For this application I give them my highest possible recommendation.
Old 7th November 2019 | Show parent
  #29
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kennybro's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malcolm Pollack ➑️
I've been using the 451 with the CK1 capsule for drum overheads since my early days as a staff engineer at Power Station back in the late 70s /early 80s. There is no other microphone I've ever found that has the beautiful transient response these things have; they give a beautiful, airy image of the drum-kit that you can then fill in with the close mikes. For this application I give them my highest possible recommendation.
I agree. Love these mics. I have a handful of older one with the screw on capsules that sound amazing.

And, I have two newer ones at the work studio that, while not quite as smooth out of the box as the older mics, still sound great. The newer 451's take a lot of heat, but I get good results on guitar and drum overhead with a dash more EQ.
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