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Author Topic: AKG 414 - Different Versions, Different Sound?  (Read 2435 times)

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Offline ricola

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AKG 414 - Different Versions, Different Sound?
« on: August 07, 2016, 08:23:11 AM »
Hi folks,

I'm still searching for a good Mic for M/S or Spot Mic for piano with Figure 8. Some friends of mine told me about the AKG 414, which should be a fine Mic with the opportunity to switch the characteristic, which makes it very versitable.

But I'm still confused about the different versions (vintage, new, XLS II, B, EB, ULS, etc).
Often I can read in different discussions that the versions (especially between old and new versions) sounds very different.

Maybe there is a good deal on Ebay...which one I should buy and which infos are important?

Thanks so much for your help!

PS: In M/S configuration I would use the AKG 414 together with a Neumann KM 184 or Schoeps CMC 5/MK4.

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Re: AKG 414 - Different Versions, Different Sound?
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2016, 08:37:51 AM »
Two cardioids back to back does not an omni or figure 8 make.

It will work, but try to find an mk8
Recording:
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Offline dactylus

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Re: AKG 414 - Different Versions, Different Sound?
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2016, 09:14:25 AM »
^
Figure 8 pattern is one of the available options with the 414's.
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Offline rocksuitcase

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Re: AKG 414 - Different Versions, Different Sound?
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2016, 09:15:23 AM »
Just for some education on the 414 here is coutants microphone "tour" information on them.
http://www.coutant.org/akgc414uls/index.html

We run the 414 XLS/ST's, which are commonly referred to as the new version. Finding a pair of original 414's or 414B ULS might be difficult and surely expensive.

The major difference is the capsule design, which many studio engineers found to be lacking with the XLS/ST's compared to the B-ULS.
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/high-end/788981-akg-c414-xls-xlii.html


Hope this helps. And to translate what the previous commenter means: when a 414 XLS/ST is put in figure8 setting, it is actually using two cardiod patterns to mimic a true figure 8. This is because true figure 8 capsules are difficult to manufacture.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2016, 10:20:36 AM by rocksuitcase »
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Re: AKG 414 - Different Versions, Different Sound?
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2016, 09:19:21 AM »
^
Figure 8 pattern is one of the available options with the 414's.

It's not a true figure eight, just two cardioids back to back. No Large diaphragm switchable pattern condenser has either a true figure eight or omni.
Recording:
Capsules: Schoeps mk41v (x2), mk4v (x2), mk22 (x2), mk3 (x2), mk21 & mk8
Cables: 2x nbob KCY, 1 pair nbob actives, Darktrain 2 and 4 channel KCY extensions:
Preamps:    Schoeps VMS 02iub, Naiant Littlebox, Naiant IPA, Sound Devices Mixpre6
Recorders: Sound Devices Mixpre6, Sony PCM m10

Home Playback: Mytek DSD 192> McIntosh MC162> Eminent Tech LFT-16; Musical Fidelity xCan v2> Hifiman HE-4XX / Beyerdynamic DT880

Office Playback: Grace m903> AKG k701 / Hifiman HE-400

Offline dactylus

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Re: AKG 414 - Different Versions, Different Sound?
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2016, 09:27:39 AM »
^
Figure 8 pattern is one of the available options with the 414's.

It's not a true figure eight, just two cardioids back to back. No Large diaphragm switchable pattern condenser has either a true figure eight or omni.

 :coolguy:
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Offline ricola

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Re: AKG 414 - Different Versions, Different Sound?
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2016, 09:42:21 AM »
Thanks for the answers!! Yes I know that the AKG 414 is a Multi-Pattern Mic. My idea was to use it as a spot Mic for small ensembles or solo instruments in Figure 8 to keep out the rest of the Band (left and right side)
However I want to try it also for M/S configurations, but I was never happy with Large Condenser Mics in Diffuse field or as Room Mics...too dark and less details.
So I think in this case a true small condenser in Fig. 8 would be the better choise....more mobile, more light in weight, better details and better in use for distant micing.
There is an offer on german Ebay for a Neumann KM120 in quite good condition from a reliable seller (with 1 year warranty) for 859€.
It seems quite expensive to me, but maybe the reason is because a good s/h fig-8 comes up so rarely.
At the moment I don't know if it is a good deal or not??
http://www.ebay.de/itm/Neumann-KM-120-Kleinmembranmikrophon-Top-Zustand-GEWAHR-/371609175413?hash=item5685a20575:g:mroAAOSw~oFXHeqG

Offline rocksuitcase

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Re: AKG 414 - Different Versions, Different Sound?
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2016, 10:25:28 AM »
Thanks for the answers!! Yes I know that the AKG 414 is a Multi-Pattern Mic. My idea was to use it as a spot Mic for small ensembles or solo instruments in Figure 8 to keep out the rest of the Band (left and right side)
However I want to try it also for M/S configurations, but I was never happy with Large Condenser Mics in Diffuse field or as Room Mics...too dark and less details.
So I think in this case a true small condenser in Fig. 8 would be the better choise....more mobile, more light in weight, better details and better in use for distant micing.
There is an offer on german Ebay for a Neumann KM120 in quite good condition from a reliable seller (with 1 year warranty) for 859€.
It seems quite expensive to me, but maybe the reason is because a good s/h fig-8 comes up so rarely.
At the moment I don't know if it is a good deal or not??
http://www.ebay.de/itm/Neumann-KM-120-Kleinmembranmikrophon-Top-Zustand-GEWAHR-/371609175413?hash=item5685a20575:g:mroAAOSw~oFXHeqG
I'm no expert on pricing, especially European money, but that seems reasonable given the limited supply of them.
Here is another option, which doesn't have a price since it is the manufacturers web page.   http://north-america.beyerdynamic.com/shop/m-130.html
It is  Beyer M130 ribbon figure 8. $699 USD at Sweetwater: http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/M130
 
« Last Edit: August 07, 2016, 11:10:58 AM by rocksuitcase »
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Offline Bruce Watson

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Re: AKG 414 - Different Versions, Different Sound?
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2016, 10:42:57 AM »
There is an offer on german Ebay for a Neumann KM120 in quite good condition from a reliable seller (with 1 year warranty) for 859€.
It seems quite expensive to me, but maybe the reason is because a good s/h fig-8 comes up so rarely.
At the moment I don't know if it is a good deal or not?

Seems like a good deal to me. Clearly, YMMV. Notice however that the seller says in the listing that s/he will not ship to US. That might or might not be relevant to potential buyers, but since seller put it in bold red type, I thought I should point that out.

There are very few single diaphragm figure 8 condensers on the market. Off the top of my head, the Neumann AK20 and KK120 capsules, the Schoeps mk8, and the Sennheiser MKH30. There are of course others, but I can't be bothered to look them up right now. All have their quirks just like any microphone does, but they are all top rated mics. A single diaphragm gives you a couple of things that are important to M/S recording. One is a better chance at symmetrical lobes which will in turn give you a better stereo field. The other is a better chance at a really smooth and even (not colored) off-axis response, also important for a side microphone.

Offline SmokinJoe

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Re: AKG 414 - Different Versions, Different Sound?
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2016, 12:38:31 PM »
The XLS is what I'll call the standard mic. http://www.akg.com/pro/p/c414xls.   I had a pair with 5 patterns, omni, sub, card, hyper, figure 8.  About 5 years ago they changed to 9 patterns by fitting an extra one in between, which I think is overkill.  I mention it primarily as a way of gaging age.
The XLII has a significant presence peak, which it not my preference.
The the ULS and others are vintage mics.  Unless you know that a particular version has something you desire, I'd steer clear because vintage mics sometimes need work.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2016, 12:43:52 PM by SmokinJoe »
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Offline DSatz

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Re: AKG 414 - Different Versions, Different Sound?
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2016, 11:37:24 PM »
AKG has done a rather confusing thing with their large-diaphragm studio condenser microphones for a long time now: a given model of "C 414 ..." may contain either of two very different-sounding capsule types. The older type (or since the 1970s, AKG's  recreation of the CK 12 which goes by the same name) has a considerable treble boost, and is usually used for solo vocals and spot miking nowadays. The other type has much flatter response, which makes it suitable for more general applications--especially now that most people's playback equipment has more treble response than when these microphones were originally introduced.

Typically AKG offers both capsules in nearly identical-looking models with similar names and the same set of patterns and other features such as filters and attenuators built in. You have to be something of an AKG fanatic to remember which model has which category of sound--fortunately, various lists and tables have been compiled. For example, one fairly recent "generation" of the C 414 series included the C 414 B-ULS and the C 414 B-TL II, of which the former was the general-purpose (flat) model, while the latter was the vocal soloist mike / spot mike for solo instruments.

And of course you can use a "vocal mike" for more distant, live recording/stereo miking. It might even sound good a fair amount of the time, and quite good occasionally. If you often have to place your mikes farther back than you would ideally want to do, a moderate treble boost can be your friend as long as it's not too narrow ("peaky" sounding). But when you can place your mikes more or less to your liking, flatter response will give you more predictable results, all other things being equal.

P.S. about some remarks earlier in the thread: With careful enough manufacture, the two halves of a dual-diaphragm capsule can match well enough for all practical purposes. The ones from top manufacturers such as Neumann and AKG have figure-8 patterns with consistent, sharp enough nulls (which only need to be around -20 dB across the band), and the nulls are close enough to 90 degrees, and thus are completely usable for M/S or Blumlein stereo recording. This is an area of performance that commonly suffers in lower-cost microphones, though.

It is also easier to design a microphone with a dual-diaphragm capsule to have extended low-frequency response in its figure-8 setting than a microphone with a single-diaphragm figure-8 capsule--and that's a very important characteristic. I strongly prefer single-diaphragm capsules for most stereo recording, but when I use single-diaphragm figure-8s to record music that has bass in it, I nearly always boost the low frequencies in post-production.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2016, 08:21:49 AM by DSatz »
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Offline goodcooker

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Re: AKG 414 - Different Versions, Different Sound?
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2016, 07:52:27 AM »
Purism in audio recording is generally a silly pursuit.

Quite true.
I made a slew of great recording using an AKG 460/ck1 or Peluso CEMC6 cardioid as the mid and an ADK TL or AT 4050 as the side mic.

A figure of 8 mic does not have to be single diaphragm to perform well.
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Offline rocksuitcase

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Re: AKG 414 - Different Versions, Different Sound?
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2016, 09:43:08 AM »
Purism in audio recording is generally a silly pursuit.

Quite true.
I made a slew of great recording using an AKG 460/ck1 or Peluso CEMC6 cardioid as the mid and an ADK TL or AT 4050 as the side mic.

A figure of 8 mic does not have to be single diaphragm to perform well.
We have made plenty of sweet recordings using the 414's (XLS/ST version). Our best results have been some sort of Blumlein (crossed 90' fig 8's) or MS using the mid pointed forward (0') and the SIDE facing at 90'.
Kindms, the owner of them, feels the LD sound is a bit too "buttery", he prefers the SD "attack" sound compared to the 414's. But to the OP's quest, he could do "better" (cost-wise)for a single fig 8 than a 414 is all I (and other commenters) was saying.
For my part, I LOVE the sound of the 414's but tend to agree that the ck22 has a more rounded tone with that attack kindms likes.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2016, 11:51:43 AM by rocksuitcase »
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Offline Life In Rewind

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Re: AKG 414 - Different Versions, Different Sound?
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2016, 11:50:11 AM »
If you decide you can live with a dual diaphragm mic - dont overlook the newer AKG 314...only has 4 patterns - but fig 8 is one of them - and considerably less expensive.

http://www.akg.com/pro/p/c314
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Offline kindms

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Re: AKG 414 - Different Versions, Different Sound?
« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2016, 01:34:31 PM »
Purism in audio recording is generally a silly pursuit.

Quite true.
I made a slew of great recording using an AKG 460/ck1 or Peluso CEMC6 cardioid as the mid and an ADK TL or AT 4050 as the side mic.

A figure of 8 mic does not have to be single diaphragm to perform well.
We have made plenty of sweet recordings using the 414's (XLS/ST version). Our best results have been some sort of Blumlein (crossed 90' fig 8's) or MS using the mid pointed forward (0') and the SIDE facing at 90'.
Kindms, the owner of them, feels the LD sound is a bit too "buttery", he prefers the SD "attack" sound compared to the 414's. But to the OP's quest, he could do "better" (cost-wise)for a single fig 8 than a 414 is all I (and other commenters) was saying.
For my part, I LOVE the sound of the 414's but tend to agree that the ck22 has a more rounded tone with that attack kindms likes.

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