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AKG C414-XLS Condenser Microphone Reviews
There is little more that can be said about the AKG 414 microphone. It’s been around for years, and it’s probably the most recognizable mic in the world. A tried and tested, reliable and durable workhorse capable of recording practically anything.
My favourite microphone for recording close, intimate vocals; in my opinion it beats the Neumann’s U87 and other leading mics of 3 times the price because of its versatility and solid build. The new version has electronic switches, with LEDs showing current settings. Enough to transform an amateur demo into a professional recording; this really is the mutt's nuts.
I first came across the mic in chilli studios dublin (Brian Mcfadden studio) and then bought one of my own!
Some might question how i could give a mic a score of 9 out of 10!, high by any standards. Its simple:
The shear sonic quality of the akg 414 xls b is excellent, its detailed, crisp, natural, transperant, yet smooth and never harsh.
What can i use it on?:
Its biggest attribute sonically is that it sounds good on everything, I put it in front of my acoustic guitar where the neck meets the body position, and found excellent results, a full bodied yet crisp acoustic sound.
I use it instead of an sm57 in a close micing setup(about 2inches of the cone, with a little off axis) on my guitar amp, in cooperation with a rode nt5(also a great mic) at 1metre back.
I have used it on a snare drum with excellent results, greenday have one on their snare on there live dvd bullet in a bible, check it out!
On violin it sounds excellent capturing every detail yet keeping the sound smooth.
And last but not least vocals! Although akg recommend the gold version for lead vocal i can tell you that this mic is great for vocals. I have used it on both female and male vocals with equaly great results,although I do recommend a good tube preamp to warm up the signal (reason why i dropped a point)not that the mic isn\'t warm but if you want a little more colour in your sound use a tube pre.(from dear to cheap: avalon, Tl audio ivory2, DBX 376, behringer ultragain 1953 ect.)
To here the mic in action check out my song
\"No Raindrop\" at http://www.jcleere.com/Music.htm
It was recorded in chilli studios dublin and everything you hear is the akg 414 xls b, vocal, violins, guitar you name it.
The mic has an extremely low noise floor. This is actually vital for capturing quiet or delicate sounds, I used it to capture a glass bottle breaking for a film, and silence meant silence!
The mic is also full of handy gadgets like variable pad switches (on the back of the mic) this allows loud sources to be recorded without clipping like my amp or the snare!
The low cut is also handy to dispel any unwanted rumble.
The variable patterns offer a great many sonic options, although i mainly use it on carboid for everything!
When i bought mine Im not sure what packege is on offer here but there was a shockmount,pop shield and a windscreen included in a classy silver case.
Mine cost about €900, pricey I know but its in the same league as the nueman u87(€2200) in fact some prefer the akg, they compete side by side in top studios across the world. Although if you are very limited on budget then SE or Akg perception would be fine, not the same though!
Overall: A great mic for everything, easy to use, sturdy, excellent sound, reasonably priced, professional, just use a tube pre and youre sorted for almost every application!
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