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AKG C414

Discussion in 'Microphones' started by MadMax, May 24, 2009.


Do you have at least one 414 in your mic locker?

  1. Yes, I have one

  2. Yes, I have two

  3. I have more than two - (Eat your heart out)

    0 vote(s)
  4. No I don't, but I need to get at least one

  5. No, and I doubt I'll ever own one

    0 vote(s)
  1. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    As I've been getting asked this question a lot recently, what the heck, I'll post up the 1st thread...

    Several guys have been asking me about getting a C414, and whether it's a good investment, or a decent mic.

    My response has been, that every good mic locker has at least a pair of them.

    I find the C414 as one of the best overall bang for the buck mic's there is, besides the SM57.

    The multi-pattern capabilities means that with a pair of these mic's, you can record any of the popular stereo techniques.

    While not the be all/end all of sonic quality, these mic's are certainly capable of producing professional level recordings.

  2. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    I saw a choir mic'd with these (and some copious amounts of EQ, if I'm not mistaken).

    I would very much like to get some but they're a little out of the price range at the moment.
  3. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    I've always craved the sound of them ever since I first used one. I got to admit that I have not quite spent the money on one yet. I first used a 414 with a black and gold windscreen, a 16 ch. Soundcraft 400 series board and an Otari MX 5050 8track. I forget if the 414 was transformerless or not. It really was the first quality mic I had ever used, and it was in a small studio back in 1989. I still treasure those first recordings.

    I have one new Neumann TLM 103 now, I just got it last year. It was ever so slightly better for my vocal after A / B ing the two. Although the TLM 103 is a fixed pattern its a similar sound and not as versatile as the AKG414. IMO the TLM 103 has a wonderful quality about it, very smooth. Great for layering vocals into a thick sound, thats what I was looking for at the time.

    I also bought an AKG C4000B many years ago, at half the retail price of the 414 I was hoping it would be close to the same sound. There were people claiming it was a great value. I got mine used for $350. You get what you pay for! :shock: It is heavy on the treble end and not quite as full and lacking a figure 8 pickup pattern. Its not a bad mic, just not nearly the same as the classic 414, although I have never A / B tested it with the 414. If I had the chance to do it over again I would/should have saved my money and got the real deal, the classic 414! :wink:
  4. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    I have two of the B-ULS. It's my most often used vocal mic. Gets used for a ton of other tasks as well. Not always the best mic for everything, but I can't remember it actually sounding bad on anything.

    I think there was a thread a while back in which someone explained the differences in the variations on the C414 through the years. Might be a good sticky for this forum. I have the B-ULS because I caught a deal on the first one and bought the second to match. Both were used, reasonably close serial numbers, and match very well. Not exactly a well research purchase, but one that worked out well.
  5. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I've used the C414B-ULS for a long time, and while I think it's a great and versatile mic, I don't own one and it's not really on my short list.

    Don't get me wrong - it's a great mic and it works very well, but it's overall perhaps the most unremarkable mic I've ever used. (Which, btw, is NOT an insult for a mic). For vocals, I often prefer a mic with more upper bite (when called for) or "duller" (ribbon-esque) (also when called for). For orchestras/bands/choruses, they're just too boring.

    Another of my things...I don't typically care for multi-pattern mics. They typically do one or two patterns well, but the others are lacking. While I REALLY like the K2 and find that its multi-pattern capability is a big plus, it's more of a tone-scuplting thing than a pattern thing. Because of the way the multi-pattern, dual-diaphragm mics make their patterns, I always find something to be lacking. (There are some exceptions to this rule, but the best multi-pattern mics are ones like the Shure 141 that use mechanical means to alter the polar pattern, not electrical means).

    In any case - I would tend to think that a pair of 414 ULS's and a single TLII would be an excellent investment for most studios on the planet. However, it's entirely dependent upon which mics you have (or have access to) and what you're recording.

    414s are great on drums, giutar, piano and certain vocals. They're not bad on hand percussion and keyboard percussion.

    In all - yes, most quality mic lockers will include the 414 in some incarnation.

    One other thing to note - these mics are incredibly well made and will hold up for years. If you're in a financial pinch, buy some off of Ebay. A pair of 10 year old mics will sound dang great and cost you less than a single mic would at Banjo Mart.

  6. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    In the past the Austrian AKG's always had a crispier high-end than its darker sounding German friends to the north. I love both. Have to have both. You can't eat just one. So when you want extra presence & air, go with the Austrians. If you want a darker more authoritative sound go with the Germans. If you like neutral? Go with some of those Swedish microphones. Something with a little dry color? Go for the British microphones. If you're Asian, you get 6 microphones with egg roll. If you like rock-and-roll like I like rock-and-roll go with the American-made microphones. Better still? Bring them all together as a nice big happy family. Love your children. And always respect your wife's preamp. And never let a mortician sell you a DIY kit. Even if I was dead I wouldn't lift a finger to do that.

    I'm lazy so I must be dead?
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  7. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    I like my multi pattern mics mostly because I'm a smallish rig and I seem never to be able to see the venue before I'm there. You'd think in a small town like Billings I'd have seen them all already but apparently that isn't the case. I also dig on the modular mics too.

    I have a pair of 414B XLS and a pair of 414B XLII. I have used extensively the ULS versions and like those too.

    There are plenty of more expensive mic's that sound better for a specified application but IMHO you have to get lots more expensive to find a general mic that behaves as nicely for most applications. Caveat: I haven't gone the ribbon route yet though am teetering on the brink.

    The best part is that you can buy NIB off of eBay (with scrutiny) for $550-800. So if most of these posters trying to be cheap would just save a few more weeks pesos and wait for a deal instead of jumping on the first grenade they see.......

    I'm also with Remy on loving all your mic's equally. If they have red hair, freckles, buck teeth and are called Opie they still need a little love. And maybe a small drink of water.
  8. FootPrints

    FootPrints Active Member

    Has anyone tried the AKG 214? It seems to be advertised as a single pattern 414. The price isn't bad, especially on ebay. I'd be interested to see/hear how they compare.
  9. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    A. The C214 does have a lot of the same sonic qualities of the C414 XLS.

    B. If you're going to buy one to compare, make sure it's legit and not some beautiful looking / crappy sounding knock-off. There are a lot of counterfeits out there. Anybody who is a bonafide AKG dealer will lose their dealership if they're advertising the C214 below $599. It's part of the dealership contract you have to sign every year.

    You can negotiate a lower price with a dealer, but they're not allowed to advertise a lower price in-print or online. Virtually every equipment manufacturer has a MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) policy these days.

    So, if you're seeing something advertised online (yes, that includes e-bay) or in-print waaaay below the mail-order places, it should fire off the red flag. It's likely to be counterfeit or gray-market gear.

    caveat emptor

    e pluribus unum

    & igpay atinlay
  10. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    I got my two 414 B-XLS on eBay for around $1300 combined. Very happy w/ them, and hard to tell the difference between the two w/o setting up a nice clean a/b, and even then, not sure I can.

    Honestly, these are probably the "best" ($$ + rep) mics in my cabinet.
    Had some issues w/ it on a female vocalist, but never did find I mic she didn't push to the limit. Here's an example (backups are gang style 414):

    Anyways, esp love them as OHs and as a spot mic for any acoustic instrument. Haven't put them on an amp yet (one of the above takes priority, typically).

    Side note:
    Jack - get some ribbons, but spend wisely. Only used my crappy Nadys for room mics or fig-8 applications, but love my Fatheads (and they're pretty cheap as far as ribbons go). Really love them.
  11. audioangel

    audioangel Active Member

    rode nt5's do a good job on choirs and stereo pairs, not sure what the price comparison is but if that's what you want them for I'd recommend the nt5's
  12. audioangel

    audioangel Active Member

    I'll be honest, as a female vocalist I have never liked my vocals on them, they are wicked on male vox, but I've had better results on other mics. My preffered mic tho' is almost twice the price (Neumann tlm 103)
  13. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Yikes! Don't suppose she coulda backed up an inch or two? That's some harsh clipping going on there. Great band though. Smokin' mandolin. Shame about that vocal.
  14. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    That whole session was a major disappointment for me. Whenever she backed up, I got too much space in the vox. Her delivery style kind of asks for intimacy. It was a huge rush job, so I never got to make things sound good to my tastes.
    Not even w/ my revered 414s... (they did do a nice job on the strings in conjunction w/ my Fatheads, though)!
    I think I know what I'd do next time around. Live and learn...
  15. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Sidetrack which C414 version is the most sought after? EB?
  16. Feverdream

    Feverdream Guest

    I don't personally own one, but the studio I work at has 4, 2 gold ones, 2 silver. I get to hire them for free if they aren't being used, and I love them.

    I want to compare each on male and female vocals though. I think the gold ones work better on my voice, but I've yet to entice any female singers into my lair.
  17. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    What models are they?
  18. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    If they are the more recent models then the gold ones are the XL-II and the silver ones are the XLS.

    [Edit 4Jun09]
    Oops. XL-II not TL-II
  19. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    ok cool thanks!
  20. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Love the 414 XLS use it on everything i need a condenser for, own AT 3035, Rode Nt1A. they are collecting dust. until i get a tube based manely, Neumann, or other "cat's ass" mic, my 414 will be getting alot of use, no complaints about it.

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