October 14, 2019 chris

AKG C414 – from the studio to the stage

It’s been 50 years. Well, almost…
The Austrian manufacturer AKG (short for “Akustische und Kino-Geräte“) introduced the first C414 in 1971 and since then it became one of the most popular microphones for live- and recording applications alike.

As one can imagine the recognizable brick has gone through some changes over the years. In short there were the C414EB (1976) with an XLR connector, the C414B-ULS (1986 – 2004) with a transformer and the C414B-TLII (1993 – 2004) without.


Today the AKG GmbH is part of Harman International Industries (bought in 1993 for one Schilling, not kidding) whom then again have been acquired by nobody else but Samsung.
That’s why we have seen something like “Official Samsung Galaxy S8/S9/S10 Headphones – Tuned by AKG“.

But enough of international corporation talk, what’s with the new(er) models?

On the one hand we have the AKG C414 XLS, which is said to maintain the tone color of the C414B-ULS.
That’s the one with the silver cage.

On the other hand there’s the AKG C414 XL II, attempting to mimic the AKG C12.
That’s the one with the golden cage.

Both have five selectable polar patterns and four „in-betweens“, three different PAD modes and three different highpass filters. Besides the fact that this is pretty much a built in mixing console you can basically say all the good stuff you’d say to describe microphones and it would apply.
Brilliant, expensive, detailed, clear, etc etc


…almost every instrument will benefit from this mic. And, when used in the studio, every vocal track will also.
Just keep in mind that, if used on a loud stage, a sensitive device such as the C414 can be a curse and a blessing at the same time.
You got me?


If a company that eventually belongs to a giant cellphone corporation announces that their new models will sound like the classics (those from the golden day, you know) you can almost instantly hear the enraged shouting about how much better the older originals are.

But are they really?

Do they sound different?
Most likely.

What I know is this: if such enraged shouting would be captured by an AKG C414 XL II it would sound pristine, very well balanced and you could hear each breath in between.


An Audio History of the AKG C 414 (article on the C414)

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