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For both live musics on stage and recording in the studio, AKG microphones are one of the most popular manufacturers worldwide. The brand produces an excellent mixture of the condenser and dynamic mics to suit all purposes.
Renowned for their detail and natural tonal qualities, AKG mics can enhance any recording setup or live rig. The wide range of mics in the AKG selection means there are options for everyone to choose from.
We’ve explored AKG’s extensive catalog of microphones to find the best offerings to suit all budgets. In this guide, we’ve included a variety of mics that vary from more specialist options to great all-rounders.
What Are The Best AKG Microphones?
AKG Microphones Reviews
With its distinctively vintage gold grill design, the AKG C414 XLII is somewhat of a legendary condenser microphone amongst recording engineers and musicians. Renowned for its multi-faceted abilities, this mic is a great all-rounder.
The C414 XLII houses a total of nine polar patterns, which consist of the standard five included on the original C414, and four additional options to choose from.
This means that you can use a conventional polar pattern lie cardioid for capturing vocals, then switch to a less common pattern like figure-8 and use the C414 XLII as a room mic for drum recordings.
AKG used the iconic C12 large-diaphragm condenser as the blueprint when designing this microphone, and the similarities are very noticeable. The C414 XLII captures audio with the same sparkling detail and clarity of that legendary mic from years ago.
To further boost the versatility of the C414 XLII, AKG has installed a trio of switchable pads at -6dB, -12dB, and -18dB so that you can tweak the setting to suit the volume of the incoming signal.
- Suitable for capturing vocals, or amplified and acoustic instruments
- Detailed high-end
- Versatile capsule directionality
- Extensive polar pattern selection may be confusing
This microphone is a more affordable version of the revered AKG C414 condenser microphone. It provides a very similar sound, but comes with a more accessible price tag for beginner recording engineers and musicians,
The AKG C214 has the same capsule installed in it as the C414, however, rather than providing an array of switchable polar patterns, this microphone can only be used in cardioid.
Although some may see this as a limitation, it could be beneficial to many. Having a wide range of polar patterns to choose from is great for some people, especially if they enjoy experimenting with different sounds when recording.
Conversely, some musicians like to simply set up their gear, hit record, and get to work. If this sounds close to your ethos, then the chances are you’ll love the simplicity of the C214 and the excellent sound quality it provides.
The standout quality of the C214 has got to be its extensive dynamic range, which ensures that the recordings it makes are uncompressed and natural sounding.
The physical build of this microphone hasn’t been compromised despite its relatively affordable cost, with the classic AKG construction evident in its design. The capsule is cushioned by suspension, which reduced the chance of mechanical noise and improves recording quality.
When AKG ceased production of its hugely popular C 451 condenser microphone, many producers, musicians, and recording engineers were left wondering why this had happened.
After realizing how popular the original C 451 was, AKG wisely decided to recreate it, and the C451 B was born. This microphone is very similar to the original, but the manufacturer took the opportunity to make some slight tweaks to its design.
Recording drum overheads is a challenge even for the most skilled and knowledgeable recording engineers. To do it successfully, you first need a microphone that can handle the sharp transients and high SPL that a drum kit produces.
The C452 B has all of the qualities required to capture an acoustic drum kit with clarity, and without being overwhelmed by the volume and diverse range of frequencies it produces.
This is down to a combination of the microphone’s high SPL handling capabilities, along with the fact that the capsule is attached to the preamp, which maximizes stability even when loud sound waves are entering the mic.
The AKG C451 B also comes with a highpass filter which can be used to instantly reduce the prominence of problematic low-end frequencies.
- Focused condenser recordings
- Ideal for recording drum overheads and amplified guitars
- Customizable pads and filter controls increase versatility
- Sounds too narrow for vocal recordings
The D112 MKII is one of the most popular AKG Dynamic microphones. Having used several kick drum mics in my years as a drummer, I’ve often been left frustrated by the lack of definition and substance that the recordings have.
However, the D112 is a different story. This mic captures the prominent frequencies of a kick drum without increasing or decreasing the prominence of any specific parts.
AKG has purposefully tweaked the design of the microphone’s diaphragm to ensure that it can handle the lowest frequencies that a bass drum produces, even responding powerfully under 100Hz, which is where most mics struggle.
Although the D112 MKII is predominantly a kick drum microphone, you can also get interesting results by using it to capture other instruments, like bass and electric guitar, or even baritone vocals.
With a maximum SPL handling of 160dB, the D112 MKII won’t distort easily. Therefore, you can place it inside the kick drum or close to the skin without worrying about clipping or ruining your recordings.
- Perfectly suited for capturing kick drums or as a live drum mic
- Easy to position for recording or onstage
- Handles low-end frequencies brilliantly
- Unsuitable for treble-heavy recordings
AKG is one of the most successful microphone manufacturers in the world, partially because their mics are great for recording and live performances, but also because they offer options to suit all budgets.
The AKG P220 is one of the most affordable condenser microphones that AKG manufactures, but it could easily pass for a mic that costs twice its price.
With a cardioid polar pattern, the P220 is capable of recording vocals, guitars, strings, horns, and most other instruments with no issues. It can also act as a room microphone for capturing live recordings of bands.
This microphone has a built-in 20dB attenuation pad, and it also has a bass roll-off at 300Hz, which means it can be tailored to suit the sound source that is being recorded.
With a max SPL of 155dB and a frequency response running from 20Hz-20kHz, the P220 is exceptionally versatile considering its low cost.
- Affordable condenser microphone
- Attenuation pad allows you to tailor the sound
- Prevents boomy low-end frequencies when recording
- Prone to some signal noise if the gain is too high
Although the high-end AKG C12 VR Twin isn’t a practical choice for everyone, it is an incredible microphone that sounds as good as it looks. Every ounce of AKG’s experience and expertise has been poured into designing this mic.
The original C12 was used in many of the top studios in the world in the 1950s and 1960s and is still considered by many to be the finest tube condenser microphone ever made.
The C12 VR Twin is based on the original and was handcrafted in Vienna by expert designers. It includes the same 6072A vacuum tube that was found in the original and has a dual-diaphragm makeup with a modern CK12 capsule.
AKG has included the finest modern components to make this microphone perform to its fullest potential. It can capture electric guitars in a warm, immersive way, that very few condensers are capable of.
With a total of nine switchable polar patterns, you can use to C12 VR Twin to record any instrument, vocal style, or sound source from a range of directions.
- Incredibly detailed recordings
- Based on the iconic original C12 with an almost identical design
- Captures vocals, acoustic instruments, or drums with excellent clarity and tone
- Expensive compared to most AKG mics
AKG Microphones Buyer’s Guide
We’ve highlighted the best AKG microphones to suit all budgets and needs. Whether you’re looking for a mic that specializes in a specific type of recording or a versatile all-rounder, hopefully, this list has helped you to identify the best option.
How we tested:
To accurately test these AKG microphones, we focused on sound quality, dynamics, build quality, and versatility. Firstly, we monitored the clarity of recordings made through several different mic preamp inputs, with varying amounts of gain, checking for noise issues.
We then used the microphones to record a range of sound sources such as vocals, acoustic guitars, amplified guitars, bass, and drums, to see how many of these are suitable. Finally, we analyzed the design and components of the AKG mics to determine their robustness.
Things to consider when buying:
Decide between condenser and dynamic:
AKG predominantly manufactures condenser microphones like AKG C414 XLII, AKG C214, AKG C451 B, and AKG C12 VR Mics. But the company produces a selection of dynamic mics too like the. The former variety is more sensitive and detailed, while the latter is better at handling high volumes.
Think about the frequency response:
The frequency response of an AKG microphone determines the lowest and highest pitches of the sound that it can capture.
Consider the polar patterns:
AKG is renowned for producing microphones with a wide variety of polar patterns installed. Cardioid mics like the AKG D112 MKII and AKG P220 are the most common and mainly pick up sound from the front of the capsule. On the other hand, the omnidirectional pickups up sound equally from all directions.
Look out for pads:
Onboard attenuation pads allow you to quickly reduce the level of the signal before it is amplified so that the AKG microphone’s circuitry is not overloaded by loud sounds.