Which AKG 414s should I buy?

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by 9FtBluthner, Nov 24, 2007.

  1. 9FtBluthner

    9FtBluthner Guest

    (Note: I'll only consider new mics.)

    I was planning on buying a matched pair of AKG C414 XLSs, which are flatter than the XLIIs.
    I thought I had decided on them for $1,999.

    The problem is I just stumbled across that new C 414 LTD for a great price.

    AKG recently released a "limited edition" C 414 LTD which I believe shares all specs with the XLS, just some cosmetic difference and a couple hundred bucks more expensive because they are playing off the collector's item thing.

    Unfortunately they are not available in matched pairs.
    Here's a link describing the 414 LTDs;
    http://www.akg.com/site/press_cente...odei[/DLMURL] d,0,_language,EN,nodeid,33.html

    Today I was in Guitar Center and noticed they had 414 LTDs on sale, this weekend only, for $900.
    That's $300 below their usual discounted price of $1,200. (retail is supposedly $1,500.)

    So now I'm trying to decide how important it is to get a matched pair.

    I'm using them to record a 9'2" Bluethner grand piano, classical music.

    So should I grab two of these (non-matched) 414 LTDs for $900 each tomorrow, or pay $200 more to get a matched set of 414 XLS?

    Tom Stipe
  2. Jbrax

    Jbrax Guest

    I would spend the extra and get the XLS's now youve got Agreat matched pair for overheads also... its worth the extra cash....
  3. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    Though not in theory a matched pair, I cant imagine anything with the pedigree and the quality of that LTD version being more than a cent or two different from mic to mic. Especially new. Each mic will have a copy of its benchtest readout with it. Study the bursts and find two within a db of each other throughout the frequency chart and you'll have, in essence, a 'matched pair'. A bit of effort on your part but likely worth it in the end.
  4. 9FtBluthner

    9FtBluthner Guest

    I investigated why they were being sold at such a low price.

    According to AKG the C 414 LTD is to commemorate the 60th anniversary of AKG Acoustics
    According to this link AKG produced only 1000 LTDs and are they only available at Guitar Center.
    GC has been charging $1,199 for them all year, $250 more than the functionally similar XLS, apparently just because of its supposed collector value.

    Well, it is November now and GC must know a "commemorative" product will sell best during that special year.
    I suspect that is why they have lowered the price $300 to get them sold during 2007.

    One difference I did find is the LTD has "hand-selected components for optimum sonic performance and minimum tolerances".
    http://www.dolphinmusic.co.uk/page/shop/flypage/product_id/2[/DLMURL] 8418

    This may be a real difference from the XLS because several places, including the pfd file for the owner's manual from AKG's site, has mentioned this when describing the LTD and not the XLS.
    This may mean LTDs are already more closely matched than random XLSs.

    Oh, and for the record Guitar Center's 30-day return policy does not apply to harmonicas, mics or headphones/earplugs for health reasons.
    If you buy it you are stuck with it.
  5. Jbrax

    Jbrax Guest

    Sounds like Marketing hype to me do what Dave said and go thru them
  6. 9FtBluthner

    9FtBluthner Guest

    I'd like to but they are only getting two in and can't get more unless they are paid for. :x
  7. Jbrax

    Jbrax Guest

  8. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    Collector schmector..............Buy em both. You get the nice case, all the bling that they send out with these 'collector' editions and as they told you over in the acoustic music forum, these mics will be very close to 'matched' ....which is hype anyway unless you are doing measurements.....Its a XLS with lipstick and these are and have been the 'piano' mic for millions of recordings.

    Good price , great mic that'll last forever......uhhhh------->No brainer.
  9. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    I'm with Dave. Buy 'em. The price is a good one. I don't believe in the collector stuff, but the nice box will make resale easier if and when. I got two 414's in separate eBay auctions, and I've had no problems using them as a coincident pair. They were reasonably close in serial number and were both in very good condition. Until someone starts smacking one with a drum stick and saying "Is this on?" they are matched enough for me.
  10. 9FtBluthner

    9FtBluthner Guest

    Some say today's 414s are not what they used to be.
    I'm not comfortable buying used mics.

    So what do you recommend.
    Here is my situation.

    The 9' 2" grand piano is in a home with hardwood floors on a raised foundation and lath and plaster walls.
    The room is about 600 sq ft and ceilings are 9'.
    The music is Classical only.

    My wife will divorce me if I turn the room into a recording studio with foam all over the walls or baffles.

    Correct me if I'm wrong but because I'm stuck with moderate to poor acoustics I do NOT want a mic that only has an omni pattern.
    I believe a mic with pattern choices is the way to go.

    I also play guitar and sing James Taylor type stuff and this would rule out those pressure zone mics people use for piano.
    Also I think something like a stereo ribbon mic would be less flexible than a pair of 414s. No?

    The Neumann TLM 103 is $1000 each but is cardioid only - perhaps I should go with this.

    My budget is $2000 for a pair.
    The good pres will be selected after the mics. (Must save my pennies for a while.)
    Until I get the good pres I have an Mbox.

    What mics do you recommend?
  11. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    I'm not sure I read this correctly, but the 414's are all multi-pattern mics.

    You absolutely cannot go wrong with those mics for what you have indicated you want them for. Two multi-pattern, high end, mics on a piano in your room should work great. Using the patterns properly to record a singer/guitarist is a tried and true technique.

    Buy the LTD's and then save the pennies and buy a Langevin DVC and record really nice sounding stuff with them.

    BTW...The 414's of any style chew the ass outta the TLM103.
  12. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    Room treatments - especially corner traps - will make your piano room a more pleasant place to play and listen to music as well as a better place to record. You can make these visually pleasing with a little work and/or money. Since people are building more home theaters there are more products on the market that make this easy. Check out the acoustics forum.

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