AKG-414 BULS too harsh??

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by Mercuri, Feb 11, 2002.

  1. Mercuri

    Mercuri Member

    Feb 10, 2002
    Okay, I need other people's opinions on this...Does anyone else here own an AKG-414C/BULS and think the sound from it is either harsh or too brittle in the upper registers of the frequency spectrum? I've heard from about four people that it's hard on the ears.

    Also, does anyone know of any incredibly popular recordings done with the mic? I can't find any lists or the like online that would possibly tell me.
  2. subspace

    subspace Guest

    I use a C414B/ULS quite a bit, and yeah, it can get rough in the high mids when used up close. For female vocals, I'll try it about 2' back in cardioid. If I need it closer, I'll usually switch to omni for the smoother response.
    It's not to popular these days, but it's been a studio standard for a long time. I'm sure it's been used on lots of popular recordings, though I don't remember what records used what vocal mics (besides very famous users' of the SM7 and RE-20 for some reason.) HTH
  3. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    On overheads I prefer it to an Neuman 87.

    it DOES have a rep for being harsh. I think it's robust design helps make it a first choice for project studio aplications.. They look and feel kinda bullet proof.

    I think they look cool!
  4. atlasproaudio

    atlasproaudio Active Member

    Feb 17, 2001
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Home Page:
    If you are talking about for vocal applications, you probably won't find any lists from the last ten years (or anyone that will admit it). The 414 is a utility mic that IMO has mostly outworn it's usefulness and has been replaced with the likes of Soundelux, MBHO and BLUE microphones for the approx $1000 microphone all which sound better IMO (in that particular order). I own a 414, it gets used for one tom on drums and nothing else.
    audiokid likes this.
  5. MadMoose

    MadMoose Active Member

    Apr 22, 2001
    I have a B/ULS and I wouldn't call it harsh. It has a bump in the low mids to my ear. It doesn't get used on vocals that often, sometimes acoustic guitar but it usually sounds too dull, same thing on overheads. Most of the time it gets used on toms, electric guitar, bass amps and as a room mic in omni.
  6. Punchmo

    Punchmo Member

    Feb 14, 2001
    The pair of 414's I have get used as OH's on rock drums (lately in supercardiod). I've used 'em on guitar (elec. and acou) cello, violin, percussion, etc. and always end up using another mic. The 414TLII and EB models may get used in some of the above applications though.
    I especially disliked it for one certain violin. It was a budget project and thought the 414 would cut it but, just could'nt make it sound good, even with a 9098 eq and a Manley Pultec eq. That was surprising to me. Then I find out the player was using a special "bass or cello" designed violin, can't rememberor don't want to, the exact name of this thing. Probably should have used a RE20 or 147, LOL.
    I won't sell 'em yet but don't use 'em often other than OH's.
  7. zeuss

    zeuss Member

    Feb 16, 2001
    414 Uls=
    My new secret weapon. Bottom of snare with 20 db pad,150 roll off,supercardioid. One day I just threw it under there and with a 57 on top i have been very pleased with the results.

    Also works great for Gang backup vocals for the heavy bands. Figure 8, 3 guys on each side.

    Used it on a standup acoustic bass once and it worked pretty good and was the last mic I tried thinking it would never work but it did.

    Pretty decent on an SVT bass cab. I guess it still has its place for me. Not always the first choice but it comes in handy.

  8. Sir Bob

    Sir Bob Member

    Jan 30, 2002
    If harshness is a complaint, I've heard that the 414TLII, which is supposed to be more appropriate for vocals has even more high end.

    I wonder if the two 414 were more useful when analog tape was the main medium as opposed to today's digital world. Comments?
    audiokid likes this.
  9. drumsound

    drumsound Active Member

    Feb 12, 2001
    Bloomington, IL
    We've got a 414b/ULS and I've had good results on electric guitar and snare drum shell (esp with a VoxBox) and some vocals. For some reason I haven't used it much lately.
  10. Richard Kuschel

    Richard Kuschel Member

    Aug 15, 2001
    I have often thought this.

    I have used 414's since the early days and have one 414eb with the c12 capsule, two 414eb's with nylon capsule and two 414buls TL.

    The 414 worked well with analog because the harsh high end smoothed out on the analog recording and didn't require more boost from the board when recording.

    The 414eb's with the nylon capsules are warmer than the newer 414's

    I have relegated the 414's pretty much to percussion duty these days. They do work well there.
    audiokid likes this.
  11. joeq

    joeq Guest

    I have three 414's that I use all the time on drums- toms or overheads. There is a certain clarity to them that is nice for percussion. I too have found them to be a pleasant surprise on upright bass. They also work really well as ambient mics for classical or jazz remotes.

    for vocals, suppose instead of "harsh" we substitute "brutally honest?" They are not for every singer, and you have to work with them but they do capture a lot of detail that sweeter sounding mics might miss.
  12. homershines

    homershines Guest

    Hey folks.
    For a while now, I've been reading lots of bad news views on the C414.
    I don't have one, as presently it's out of my budget. However, speaking as
    a perpetual bargain hunter, I'd suggest to C414 owners who are unhappy
    with it to check out Jim Williams' Audio Upgrades mod for it. The commentary
    on it is very good, and I think it costs about $200. Again, I don't own a C414,
    but he did modify my Symetrix 528 and Man, Oh Man. What a diference! I
    Also don't work for him either. I just wanna offer this info to those who have
    just about had it with trying to use this mic.

    Check it out.


    Homer Jackson
  13. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    That Jim Williams Audio Upgrade is intriguing, but now I have a dilemma. I have a 414BULS that sounds nothing like any other 414 I ever heard. has a huge bottom end, and very attenuated top. But it comes in real handy for recording bright trumpets, solo fiddle, high hats, even some male rap vocals - anything where a fatter bottom and a rolled off top might be handy. Almost like having another ribbon mic.

    I figure there's something "wrong" with the mic. (It would be embarassing to find out it is just that the grill needs cleaning!) So do I send it out to be "fixed/upgraded" so it sounds like a 414 should? Or keep it's unique quality intact? Ah, the dilemma!
  14. Dave Chilson

    Dave Chilson Guest

    I guess I'm high, but the one (and no I don't own one) I've used sounded too dark to me.

    Go figure.
  15. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    Hey! You must have used mine!!! :eek:
  16. MadMoose

    MadMoose Active Member

    Apr 22, 2001
    I'd say probably not. That's what my 414B/ULS sounds like to my ears. I like having it around.
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