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AKG C214 vs C314

Discussion in 'Microphones' started by Lophophora, Oct 18, 2016.

  1. Lophophora

    Lophophora Active Member

    Hello there,

    I've had two C214 for a while, using them for home studio recording, mainly vocals and acoustic guitars/ukes.

    I'm thinking of upgrading to C314 (the desirable 414 being way too expensive for my budget), mainly for their ability to switch between different polar patterns. There doesn't seem to be a lot of 314 around so I'm not able to test them. AKG claims the capsule is better than the 214 and very close to the 414. Is this true?

    Do you have an opinion on this upgrade?
  2. Keith Johnson

    Keith Johnson Active Member

    I've not had my hands on either, personally, but I know people who have and whose opinion I trust explicitly....

    I think you maybe need to be careful that you don't read 'capsule' when the marketing blurb talks about the diaphragm in the C314....the C314 is a back electret mic so the rest of the capsule is distinctly different than the 414 series...and if you look at the published frequency response curves, you'll see that the C314 has a rise in the upper mids which is noticeable absent in the 414 ULS / XLS series.

    In principle what that means is that it's not going to 'be' a cheap 414....it's voiced differently....but if the flexibility of polar patterns is important to you as you indicate, it'll be worth putting on the audition list....it might also be worth looking at alternatives like the SE Electronics SE4400A if you can try any of them out.....
    kmetal likes this.
  3. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    From a quick cursory glance at the specs, it appears as though the 314 is essentially the same mic as the 214, except that the 314 will give you more patterns, where the 214 is a cardioid mic only.

    Neither one of these is the legendary 414.
    I've used the 214, and, I own several 414's, not the least of which is an EB model with the original brass CK12 capsule, and I can tell you that comparing even a more current 414 to a 214, the 214 isn't even sonically close. Not even remotely.
    The 314 will give you more options for pickup patterns, but it's not going to get you any closer to the sound of a 414.

    If you want the sound of a 414, then just save up and buy a 414. It will be a mic that will last you a lifetime, and that you can use in virtually any application, and it will always sound great.

    Quality costs money... that's just the way it is.
  4. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Donny, do you know if the new 414 live up to the legend's sound and quality ?
    The new AKG - C 414-XLS sells for 1459 CAD right now... it seems a bit over priced to me. Is it still Worth it or the old ab versions were a lot better?
  5. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Agreed, 100%!
  6. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I think the newer 414's are all great mics, Marco... but the first half of the C-414EB series, which was released in 1976 and ended in 1980, was one of the most loved and is now coveted.
    These early EB mics had the CK12 Brass-ring around the diaphragm, as did earlier C-414's before it.
    It had a nice, tight, defined low end, and a very smooth mid range, but to most who use (and love) them, the real magic was in the top end - it was incredibly "silky", "airy", without even a hint of harshness.... and the CK12 Brass-Ringed Capsule, (essentially the same capsule design used in their legendary C-12 mic ) was largely - if not entirely -responsible for that sound.

    Halfway through the EB Series, AKG inexplicably changed the capsule design to a Mylar-Ring design. The sound difference was immediately noticeable, particularly with the top end.
    After the EB run ceased production in late '79, AKG released the C-414-P48 Series in 1980, and while it was still a fine sounding microphone, that silky top end that was so nice in the older C414's had been replaced by a different presence.
    Many liked it, many didn't.
    I've used many 414's past the EB Series over the years, and the 414 is still a great mic, and IMO, it's still one of the finest mics made. You'd be hard pressed to find any studio without at least one in their cabinet...
    But there were those years, '78 and before, where the mic REALLY shined.

    Here's more info here, if interested:

    Origins and Lineage of the AKG 414
    kmetal likes this.
  7. Lophophora

    Lophophora Active Member

    Thanks guys.

    I've used a 414 XLII on several occasions so I know enough that the 214 doesn't have anything to do with it. I was wondering if the 314 would get me "closer" to the 414 sound, you answered this. I might wait a little for a better upgrade, then.
  8. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    The 214 isn't bad in general. My concern w multi pattern mics in general is the close tolerances required for the diaphragms. They need to be extremely close for a the mic to work properly in omni and figure 8. A mic in the 314 range isn't likely to have the low tolerance/QC to fully take advantage of the multi patterns.

    I've not used the newest incarnation, where I belive they manufacture some parts outside of Austria. But my 414xls was made in Austria (pre-harman era Akg) and the mic is excellent. I love that mic.

    I would expect since when I got it in '06 that corners have been cut to maintain/reduce the price point.

    Mine was $899, they went up to 1,099 within a year or two, even during a recession.

    Then Harmon bought Akg and the price went back to $849.

    I know my headphones from Akg, the 240, said made in Austria. The new ones say made in China, and are $40 less than I paid for mine, over ten years later.

    SeanG the mod actually bought my 240's

    Sorry to shill, but if anyone is interested in purchasing my 414xls PM me, it's one of the last items I have for sale. Selling out of necessity, not becuase the mic isn't pristine and excellent sounding. It's one of the last manufactured before Akg was bought by harman.
    pcrecord likes this.
  9. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    Pimp That Mic !!!....

    OK I've sent you a PM :rolleyes:
    kmetal likes this.
  10. Lophophora

    Lophophora Active Member

    I've come across these Advanced Audio mics that seem to be priced very reasonably and reviews are very good. Any of you have had experiences with those? Their CM414 is supposed to emulate the sound of the early C414s.

  11. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    I personally haven't had any experience with this mic.

    Be mindful that it is how your voice sounds through the mic that is most important...some mics react differently to different vocalists and what sounds great for one vocalist may sound the opposite for the next. Then there are also things to consider like what pre-amp you are running in through, and importantly, also how the mic sounds in your recording environment and whether this environment is treated or not, as this can have an effect on the mics performance and the overall sound captured by it.

    The most important thing to consider is how you sound through it and how comfortable you are with your performance through it under the given conditions.

    I would try to make sure your retailer has a return policy and you are familiar with it should you not like how you sound through it, that way if you are not satisfied with how you sound through it you can at least return it for another type....or even see if they have a demo of that particular mic in question so you can at least try it out first, to see how your voice sounds through it, how it sounds through your pre-amp and how it sounds in your room.

    At least buying mics new from a retailer who provides that type of service gives you the luxury of a road-test first. Buying second hand you are not always afforded that luxury.

    That way you can make a better qualified purchase...it may work out well in the end or it may well save you a few dollars and the associated hassle from making a purchase that you won't be satisfied with. ;)

    kmetal and pcrecord like this.
  12. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    This is the best advice anyone can give!
    When shopping for a new mic, specially if it's for our own voice. The best thing to do is to go to a store that let us try them. Go blindly throught mics in your budget and buy the one that sounds the best.. Of course having to try them in your studio is even better because no rooms sound the same !!
    Good post Sean !
    kmetal likes this.
  13. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    The 414 is a versatile mic, and will work well on a vast majority of voices. It's a safe bet in general. Wether or not it's THE best choice for your voice, only trial and error will prove.

    I'd stay away from emulations. In the world of professional LDC mics the 'real' 414 is on the lower side of the spectrum. it's one of the lowest priced ones in fact. The AT 4050 being the only one off hand that's cheaper, and widely reguarded as good for female vocals, on comercial recordings, in particular.

    So basically if you want what the 414 does, you've gotta get the real thing.

    There seems to only be a very small difference in the price of a 314 and 414 on Amazon new. And you can get a used 414 for a little more or less the same price as the 314 on eBay.
  14. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Fwiw the real 414 sounds better in the example. Imho. I wouldn't consider the cm at all. Sound like a cheap LDC in general. Your 214 is as good or better.
    pcrecord likes this.
  15. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    files posted on soundcloud aren't the best examples of audio accuracy or quality, lol. i'm hearing the cm files are louder too. so making an accurate evaluation is impossible imo.
    pcrecord likes this.
  16. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    Come on Kurt...everyone knows in audio today louder equals better !!!

    (just kidding of course !) ;)
  17. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Right, if I can notice a distcintion on SoundCloud thru and iPhone, that tells me there is a huge difference.

    Also in addition to the volume, it's not even that same parts of the song being a/b'd, and it's 75% playback of the CM. Lol the 414 is barely in there.

    I nominate this for least scientific comparison of the year lol.

    Soundpure has some pretty unbiased comparisons. Which is easier becuase they're comparisons are between products they sell, so win win for them lol.
  18. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    As discouraged as I am to say this, i wonder if the SoundCloud and YouTube comparisons are actually more important/relavant, than most other delivery formats/methods, since that's how most people will hear music.

    I'm not sure what compression format Amazon prime uses but it's the closest to cd I've heard from a streaming service. When you put an 80's song on younhbe to turn it up. So there's seemingly no Brickwall/broadcasting style limiting going on at least. My guess is a high bitrate MP3 is what they stream.
  19. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Absolutely agreed. In fact, in my own experience, SC is one of the worst codecs - if not the worst - I've ever heard.

    Kyle beat me to it...in saying that he can even hear a marked difference between the examples on a poorly coded SC file; and to me, that supports even further that there are obvious differences between the mics; because SC - or at least the SC that I'm familiar with - should be skewing everything downward in quality.

    In short, LOL, everything should sound as nasty as monkey-ass on SC, and equally so.

    Now, to be fair, there are those here on RO who's opinions I really respect, who have said that they haven't heard the lossy artifacts with SC that I have heard; so either it's been coincidentally intermittent on their end, or, perhaps it has more to do with local connections/bandwidth?
    I dunno, guys, I'm just guessing here...

    I do know that SC had screwed up more than just a few sound files I've uploaded, and in my experience, it's always been artifacts that are most noticeable in the upper mid range and top end - like vocal presence, cymbals, acoustic guitar, percussion, etc. that have that "phasey" thing happening; the odd frequency modulation that is apparent with poorly converted down-sampling.

    I did contact SC a few years ago via email to mention the issues; in their reply, I was told that they were indeed aware of it, and they even went as far as to apologize - but - they didn't say that they had any intentions of fixing the problems, either.
    If I were to read between the lines of that very polite reply, I'd say that it probably translates to something like:

    "Dear over-expectant, self-entitled moron:
    Thank you for your query. Yeah, we know that our system isn't the best audio delivery agent out there, and we're aware that we do indeed have quality issues with our coding/compression...
    But, hey... it's also free, so what do you want for something that doesn't cost you anything?"

    And to be fair, I suppose I'd have to acknowledge that their point is fair.
    It would be different if I were paying for the service. But I'm not, so I'm only allowed to b i t c h about them so much. ;)

  20. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    Maybe things might get better with SC now there looks to be a takeover by Spotify...who knows

    Is Spotify any better?

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