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AKG C414 XLS

Condenser Microphone

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The Best Condenser Mics

AKG C414 XLS

  • Don Makoviney
  • Last Updated: April 9, 2015

When given the choice of one high quality microphone that will give you years of quality sound reproduction, we always choose the AKG C414. With 9 polar patterns, 3 high pass filter settings, and 3 pad settings, it’s remarkably versatile for recording just about any vocal, instrument, or sound imaginable. When you are ready to level up your microphone game (and budget), the AKG C414 is the one to get.


Who should get this mic?

You will eventually get to the point where you want to up your microphone game. For some, it is a vow to themselves they are serious about recording. But, a thousand dollars is a lot of money to spend on a microphone, so you’ll want to get your money’s worth. Do you get a dedicated vocal mic? Do you get one that will record acoustic instrument sound faithfully?

Our pick will net you all of those recording tasks, and perform all of them well.

The AKG C414 XLS is widely regarded as one of the best microphones on the planet. Not only do you get the classic sounds many are after, but there are additional mic patterns built in that will get you all kinds of other great recordings. Need to mic a guitar amp? No problem. Need a great vocal mic? The AKG handles that as well.

With 9 polar patterns, 3 high pass filter settings, and 3 pad settings, it’s remarkably versatile for recording just about any vocal, instrument, or sound imaginable.

Its also quiet, and sturdy.

One Amazon reviewer noted:

The standout characteristic of this microphone is it’s very low self-noise. At 50dB gain, in my “quiet” room, on a very quiet Liquid Channel preamp, I register ~ -110dBFS across the spectrum. This is sensational for my recordings of quiet sound effects and acoustic guitar.

One customer with over 35 years professional recording experience had this to say at Musician’s Friend:

I’ve been in the recording business for almost 35 years and this is one of my main go to mics for all things acoustic. For grand piano I’ll use 6 of these. 4 on top of the strings hi to low and front to back, and I’ll place 2 more under the sound board. I have 26 gold, silver and 2 platnum albums to my name now and I’ve used just about every name brand there is, the AKG 414 is one I started with and I will keep on trusting in it. I know there pricy but trust me, and work up to one. You won’t be sorry.


Sound On Sound magazine has been following the evolution of the C414 XLS for years, and offers up this reassuring synopsis:

… when compared with flagship mics from other companies, the cost of the C414s compares very favourably. Over the few weeks I’ve had these mics, I haven’t found anything they do badly, and I’ve found lots of things they do well. AKG’s new control system is rather neat, as is the promise of remote control, and you can’t fault the selection of accessories, which includes a tough flight case, a very well-designed shockmount, and a pop shield. These new mics successfully uphold the classic C414 tradition for sound, while their extended dynamic range, greater sensitivity, and very low background noise make them suitable for the most demanding music recording tasks

If I had a thousand bucks to drop on a new microphone for my arsenal, I would definitely get the AKG C414 XLS.

Budget condenser microphones

If price is your main criteria at the moment, we’ve got a great budget condenser microphone guide.


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The Best Condenser Mics

AKG C414 XLS

The Best Condenser Mics

Important Specs

Polar Patterns Omni, wide cardioid, cardioid, hypercardioid, figure eight, and four intermediate pickup patterns
Dynamic Range 152db
Frequency Range 20–20,000 Hz
Sensitivity 20 mV/Pa (-34 dBV) +/-0.5 dB
Supply Voltage 48 V phantom power to DIN/IEC
Connector 3-pin XLR to IEC
more specs

Synopsis:

The AKG C414 will give you years of quality sound reproduction, and we always recommend the AKG C414 because of it's legacy sound reproduction and flexibility due to all the extras. With 9 polar patterns, 3 high pass filter settings, and 3 pad settings, it’s remarkably versatile. When you are ready to level up your microphone game, the AKG C414 is the one to get.

- M

Sources

  1. Paul White, Sound On Sound, 20041101
    AKG C414B XLS & XLII Capacitor Microphones
    “ when compared with flagship mics from other companies, the cost of the C414s compares very favourably. Over the few weeks I've had these mics, I haven't found anything they do badly, and I've found lots of things they do well. AKG's new control system is rather neat, as is the promise of remote control, and you can't fault the selection of accessories, which includes a tough flight case, a very well-designed shockmount, and a pop shield. These new mics successfully uphold the classic C414 tradition for sound, while their extended dynamic range, greater sensitivity, and very low background noise make them suitable for the most demanding music recording tasks.”
  2. Staff, Recording Hacks,
    AKG Acoustics C 414 B-XLS Multi-Pattern Condenser Microphone
    “The two modern versions of the 414 mic differ in their application. The XL-II has a presence peak suitable for vocal applications, whereas the XLS has a flatter response, more suitable for instrument reproduction.”
  3. Justin Colletti, Trust Me I'm A Scientist, 20110905
    Curing Condenser Confusion: An Audio History of the AKG C 414
    “To some ears, these new mics will have a bit less body and complexity than some of the original versions. Whether that’s good or bad depends on your tastes. Although these versions make me miss some of the smoky complexity that can make a later EB model sound so great, these mics have an almost pre-eq’d balance of frequencies that sounds instantly modern. Whether that’s good or bad is a matter of personal taste. On the plus side, they could potentially help certain sounds find room in a dense contemporary mix without too much tweaking.”
Originally published: March 23rd, 2015

Important Specs

Polar Patterns Omni, wide cardioid, cardioid, hypercardioid, figure eight, and four intermediate pickup patterns
Dynamic Range 152db
Frequency Range 20–20,000 Hz
Sensitivity 20 mV/Pa (-34 dBV) +/-0.5 dB
Supply Voltage 48 V phantom power to DIN/IEC
Connector 3-pin XLR to IEC
more specs


“It’s not so much the equipment as how you use it. I’ve heard people with really cheap studios do great recordings.” —Frank Gambale


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