New 414s

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by John Stafford, Jun 16, 2005.

  1. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    Oct 1, 2004
    Hi all
    I posted on this topic when this forum started, but nobody had tried them at that stage -and there were fewer contributors then. Has anybody tried them, and if so, how they compare to previous versions?

    I'd love to know how they compare to mics such as the Neumann TLM-170.

    It would be nice if a pair would be as nice as an AKG C-426, but I don't suppose that's ever going to be the case :cry: Still, I one can always dream :wink:

  2. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Distinguished Member

    Dec 12, 2001
    Oberlin, OH
    Home Page:
    I had three of the older C-414s that I used a lot. These were the ones with the screw on power connector (non XLR). They sounded GREAT. Within the last couple of years I auditioned a pair of the newer AKG C-414s and was not blown away with their sound. They sounded thin and lacked real wamth but I only had them for a brief weekend and did not really get a chance to use them in a wide variety of setups. My feeling was that the older C-414 had a more balanced sound and the newer ones seemed to be favoring the higer frequencies. Best to audition a pair for yourself.

  3. pegleg

    pegleg Guest

    I found the XLS to be more or less equal to a ULS. I was concerned about the lack of transformer in the XLS, but I didn't hear any big change in tonality. I didn't get a chance to compare side-by-side, but then 414s are notoriously inconsistent (I have 2 ULS's and they sound very different).

    I don't think I would put any 414 in the class of a TLM170. I find the 170 to have more depth and a smoother, rounder sound than a 414. Not by leaps and bounds, but a better mic overall IMO.
  4. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    Oct 1, 2004
    Thank you both for your input. I was curious to know whether the transformerless XLS was different from the ULS. One thing I can not understand is what AKG are up to with some of their current mics. So many people talk about the 'inferior' modern capsule design, but the C426 doesn't seem to have any problem with the modern capsules. That's a great modern classic IMHO. I've never had the privilege of using a C12, or old 414 with a perfect C12 capsule, but on the basis of listening to recordings, I think the 426 is up there with the best. In all fairness the 426 is six times the price of a new 414, and of course the ULS does have its devotees.

    Talking of price, the rather expensive TLM-170 is definitely on my wishlist. I've never really had the chance to put one through its paces, but I do love what I've heard so far. As one of the dying breed that thinks the U87 lives up to its hype, I have to admit that it has completely useless in many acoustic recording situations.

    End of rant.

  5. foldedpath

    foldedpath Guest

    The C426b may use the same capsules as the rest of the AKG line, but the mic is tuned differently, for a different purpose. Just look at the frequency plots, compared to the rest of the AKG line. The local reflection environment of the grill and housing design alone, will make it sound different.

    I bought a C426b a few months ago after a lot of Web research, and after reading what Ben said about it here (thanks, Ben!).

    I don't have a broad basis of comparison, but the C426 is a wonderful mic within the limits of my experience. I think Ben has mentioned this before, but one of the best features is the way it's a "stereo sandbox toy," because you can rotate the capsules to any intermediate setting, and have so many intermediate pattern settings as well. For me, it's a learning tool. I can't recommend this mic highly enough, on that basis alone. Yes, you could do the same thing with a pair of good LD mics, but it's so *easy* to experiment with the C426 that I end up trying more things than I would have, otherwise.

    If the C426 is what you want, then save up for it. It doesn't have to cost a fortune. I found a dealer who had one sitting on the shelf after someone ordered it for an opera house installation, then backed out of the deal. I paid quite a bit less than the average new price. It's not a popular mic. Heck, almost nobody knows about it. So you might find a similar deal if you keep looking around.

    P.S. it does have the usual disadvantages of an integrated stereo mic. I'll never hear what these two capsules sound like in spaced pair, or ORTF. But I'm still glad I jumped on it, when I found one for a good price.
  6. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    Then get some TLM193-- the cardioid-only version. I would wager that within a few months you'd almost never take the 170 out of cardi anyway. The omni is NOT a pressure omni so you would likey find it lacking.

    I have found my 193s to be my most versatile spots, and on some voices they are the mains.

    In fact, my next mic dilemma will be whether to get more 193s or MKH40s.

  7. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    Oct 1, 2004
    I think I'm guilty of confusing the issues in my rants. While the 426 is definitely on my list, my original point was that AKG can still make wonderful mics with the capsule derived from the C12, and the sound of the 414 is the way it is because AKG choose it to be so. From reading several mic forums on the Internet, one would easily be forgiven for thinking that AKG are now incompetent.

    A 422 went for $800 last year on the American ebay. I didn't have the money at the time :evil: , but I've since bought a beautiful C34, which is amazing IMHO. As soon as I see another 422 or 426 I'll snap it up if I can manage it.

    I'm considering a pair of TLM193s, but the 170 can be bought used for not too much more, as most of the 193s I've come across have been fairly recent specimens. Since our previous discussion on prices of the 170 on ebay over here, the supply seems to have dried up, or else sellers want a rather high starting bid (one has been unsold on ebay UK for at least six months).

    I too would love some MKH40s (and MKH20s and 30s!)


Share This Page