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C414 as overheads?

Discussion in 'Room & Overhead' started by Death addeR, Aug 1, 2006.

  1. Death addeR

    Death addeR Guest


    I am considering purchasing a pair of stereo matched C414 (XLS), mainly for use as overheads. This will be my first pair of condenser mics, and I likely won't buy another pair for quite a while, so I wanted to get some opinions. Judging by other posts, it appears these are versatile. Do they work well in capturing room ambiance, or should I go with a pair of small condensers instead? In other words, just making sure I should get a pair of C414 instead of a pair of SM81's or maybe KM184's.

    I mostly record my alternative band (think Nirvana or Weezer), or myself acoustically. Right now I mostly use the pre's on my RME Fireface, but sometimes I use my RNP if I need more than 4. I plan to buy a Great River NV preamp within the next year. Other than that, I just borrow pre's when I can.

    Thanks in advance for any opinions, and please let me know if I need to provide more information.
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Those are a pair of my favorite than most versatile microphones! You can't do wrong by those. While I also own 4 pairs of SM 81's, for overheads, the 414 is always my first choice. I've actually made some wonderful recordings with only those 2 as overheads and a single bass microphone.

    Want some room ambience? Switch them to omnidirectional and you're there man. You're on your way to making lovely records but remember, less is more.

    Now start producing your first hit
    the Remy Ann David
  3. TVPostSound

    TVPostSound Guest

    During my "Big Hair" days, when we mic'd every single piece on a drum kit, we always had 2 414s as overheads, and 2 414s in front of the kit, set to omni as room mics.

    Needles to say, most close mics ended up being used very sparingly to accentuate some of the drums, but the OHs and room mics were always up. They made for a great drum recording.
  4. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    The only other pair of LDC mics I have thought were as good as the old 87's was a pair of 414's. Maybe a little more detailed too. Listen to mother Remy.
  5. cwalcott

    cwalcott Active Member

    there are a few different models of 414. there's the AKG C 414 B-XLS (silver grill) and the KG C 414 B-XL II/ST (gold grill.) what's the difference between them and which ones would be better suited for drum overheads?
  6. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    And the differences are substantial cwalcott between the models. The C414 B-XLS (stands for their extra linear series when referring to response).

    KG C 414 B-XL II/ST (gold grill) I think you were referring to the what used to be the older "TLII" model? The new version uses a capsule that is similar to their older design and with that includes a rather non-flat frequency response tailored more for vocals with a strong presence boost and an extra high-end tweak. So it is a more highly colored sounding microphone with lots of pizzazz.

    When using the either of these microphones for drum overheads, you won't be disappointed. I found the extra linear series to give me a more honest sound for overheads whereas the TLII series gave you a harder ring on the cymbals with its greater presence boost.

    Both sound fabulous
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  7. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    If I were to have only one type of mic - for everything - it would probably be the ------- OK, it would probably be the KHE Brauner, at 10 grand apiece, I have my vanity, but..? No, they would all be AKG C414's. We would make beautiful music together and never look back!

    BTW: It has been said and I'd like to agree, that the 414's with the "hype"(All those letters and numbers and model changes confuse me so..!) can probably be fairly closely approximated by using external EQ on the "flat" models, while trying to UN-EQ the other versions might be more problematical(Makes sense to me.)? The "boosted" versions would be my second choice - no - my 3rd., I'd put in some EV RE20's as my second choice, then a couple of --- ??? Well, anyway, the XLII/XLS(?) would be a bit further down the list and would be, in my mind, "specialty" mics, probably nowhere near the top of the list...


    OH! My "big hair" days are back again! While I am carefully considering other ways of trying to fill-in my expanding "thin spot" at the back of my head, longer hair(Especially my longer, curly to the point of "insane-looking-person" hair, does seem to help with the appearence of stemming the receding tide(Best I can tell trying to use two mirrors and old eyes to see? Mostly I just avoid looking back there......

  8. cwalcott

    cwalcott Active Member

    thanks for the replies. i've been considering a matched pair of condensers for drum overheads and other general use inclucing stereo field recording. i've been looking at the pencil mics like the km184 or the m300 or even the Schoeps CMC 64 although those are a bit pricy.

    i already have 3 421's and an re-20 that i use for toms and kick and i have a pair of mc012's for OH's that are a bit brittle to me. it seems like the 414's would be the most versitle of the bunch and would make for better overheads.

    - chris
  9. DIGIT

    DIGIT Guest

    Don't forget to look at ROYER microphones (122s, for example). IMO, they are super microphones for overheads, guitar, brass and quite a few other sources.
  10. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    It's very interesting to hear people characterize the mics I think of as bright/precise/present as harsh/brittle. How much of this has to do with my ears (which are rapidly approaching their 50th birthday and have been placed in front of too many 15" speakers turned up to 11.) I'm really still a newbie at recording and got my first pair of SDCs (Rode NT5s) less than a year ago. I realize they are far down the SDC food change, but they just sound so much better to me on high frequency sounds like drum overhead and acoustic guitar than "better mics like" the 414.

    Anyway, that's all preface to my humble, ill informed, but firmly held opinion that you should get the best pair of small diaphragm condensers you can afford for OH and much else.

    Good luck
  11. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    414's as drum Overheads? You gotta' be kiddin' right?

    Hmmmmm... I thought everyone knew that?

    Although I've pretty much switched my OH work to the SF-12, they're my former No1 and my current ONLY other choice if my locker's involved.

    Heck, you GOTTA have a pair of em' at some point... better now than later.

    THE most versatile mic you'll own beside 57's... although I can't condone even thinking about using a 414 as a hammer!... but you can use em' for just about ANY thing... I've used a 414 for everything... bass, guitar, acoustic guitar, horns, sax, flute, strings, and vox!

    Heck, I was desperate once and even used it on a banjo!... put the banjo in the room, stuck the 414 in omni, shoved it in the room, closed the door, hit the red button... instant perfection! (OK, as perfect as a banjo gets, I guess.)

  12. pmolsonmus

    pmolsonmus Well-Known Member


    Your initial steps were good...especially

    Your next bad step was to not keep walkin'

  13. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    I know a lot of folks love these mics, and I'm happy for them. I'm also not one of them. No big deal; they've just never really done it for me, don't know exactly why. They're fine, don't get me wrong, but nothing I get very excited about.

    I get to use them a lot (ther people's 414s, that is) on live sound gigs, remotes, etc. Whenever I run into a rabidly enthusiastic 414 user, I just get it out the way and let 'em do their thing. As much as I'm not wild about 'em, I don't hate them, either.

    When asked MY choice/preference, I always opt for an AT 4040 or (even better) a pair of 4050's for OHs.
  14. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member


    I'm not quite in either catagory as well... although you might think I'm a rabid fan, I just find that if nothing else, grab the utility mic and go for it! For the majority of the work I've been doing, the 414 has been the better choice... but too, I'm now a SERIOUS ribbon fan. The SF-12 IMO absolutely SMOKES everything else in my locker for OH's.

    Like the 57, it ain't THE best mic for all occassions, but you gotta' admit, they are darn servicable and usually quite adequate for just about anything you throw in front of em'. (even a friggin' banjo!)

    I digress... Haven't ever worked with the 4050's, nor have I heard a lot about the mic one way or another from local guys. How would you characterise em'?

  15. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    MadMax wrote:

    I just find that if nothing else, grab the utility mic and go for it!

    Absolutely, I think most feel the same way, deep down. I don't HATE the 414s, they've been great on a number of OH applications, just not my first choice.....

    I digress... Haven't ever worked with the 4050's, nor have I heard a lot about the mic one way or another from local guys. How would you characterise em'?

    That's a tough thing to put into words (I always try to avoid that, microphone choices and "sound" are soooooo subjective!), but for me, it's a full-bodied, bigger sound. Plenty of gain, as well, even with PA work, esp when mic'ing a grand piano or drum OHs. The overall sound is tight and focused, even slightly off-axis, and there seems to be a little sparkle at the top end. I realize that's not nec. "Flat", but I like the sound of it. When I use a couple of them on a big Chorus, I have plenty of clear crisp top end, and sometimes actully knock it DOWN a couple of db, it can get a tad bright, as a lot of condensers do.

    The 4050 is a dual membrane capsule, so you can have omni, cardioid and figure-8 settings, along with the usual 10 db pad and a low end rolloff. My usual setting is no pad, no rolloff in cardioid mode, and it's one hot number, sounding great on whatever I point it at. I'm also a big fan of a pair of these in tighter on grand piano for live gigs (esp Jazz).

    The 4040's are a different mic altogether, but they're in the same ballpark, sonically.
  16. aeaudio

    aeaudio Active Member

    The best drum sound I have recorded was when I left half my mics at home so I ended up using a D112 on kick and 2 matched Rode NT5's for overheads the kit was massive and it sounded refined and natural.

    It is funny how in desperation you can use some simple configurations and they work perfectly.
  17. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    While it's fun to put microphones on every drum, few people realize that most of a good drum sound is your bass drum microphone and your 2 overhead microphones. All of the other microphones are there more for the attack, the body and tone. Of course many of us have made recordings just the opposite way, where we used little or no overheads. I do things consistently inconsistent and always get consistent results. Go figure?

    Consistently waiting for my turn to be inconsistent. Is it my turn yet??
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  18. cwalcott

    cwalcott Active Member

    i have a question regarding the 414 as a drum overheads.

    how will they work in a room that is fairly small?

    my live room is about 10 by 15 feet. the ceiling goes from about 10 to 12 feet. there are no parallel surfaces. all walls are angled and i have only one 90 degree corner. the sound of the room is ok but it is pretty compressed in the sense that when it's loud, you can feel the pressure.

    i have one U87 and had considered getting another one to use as overheads but i noticed that whenever i used it as a room mic with drums, that it was really hard to keep it from overloading.

    so my question is will the 414's be similar. that is, because they are large diaphragm mics, will they overload faster than say a gefell m300. my sense is that they will because the m300 has a smaller diaphragm. the U87 is clearly not working in this situation but i'd like the idea of adding a matched 414 pair because i think that they would be really useful in a lot of situations.

    - chris walcott
  19. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    To some extent, just about ANY mic you use for drum OHs will suffer if the room is too small.

    Think about this: The point of an overhead pair of mics is to capture more of the overall & ambient drum sound. This comes from the drums resonating in the space around them. If there's no room ambience (only crushingly loud early reflections that don't have time to build up and enhance the drum sound), then you're stuck.

    On the other hand, a very small, cramped-room solution might be to close-mic everything, forego the OH mics a little (put 'em up, but perhaps not use them as much in the mix) and rely on some dialed-in reverbs. There are so many great room sims and convolution RVs out there, you can almost create any room environment you want.

    I think the closer you put a mic up against a ceiling or wall, no matter how well damped (or especially so?), the less ambient and more direct sound you're going to get, with who knows WHAT kind of early slap and relfections coming off those walls or ceiling.
  20. cwalcott

    cwalcott Active Member

    that's what i thought too. i could probably add more dampening to the ceiling over the drums which might make a difference. i'm currently using octiva 012's for OH's and they work pretty well. they do get prominent placement in the mix. and i use altiverb as well (the best software verb out there imho).

    there was marked difference with the U87 though. that one just can't handle the SPL at all and i was wondering if the 414's will behave similarly.

    i want to add a nice matched pair of condensers for OH's and general use. i suppose i'll just have to talk my pro audio guy into letting me borrow a couple sets to try out.

    thanks for all the feedback!

    - chris

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