Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mini-Review of My All Time Favorite Studio Microphone

It don't get much better than this bad boy. You can preach Neumann all you want, but unless you're talking up a U89 (at THREE times the price), there's NO more flexible large diaphragm condenser than the AKG C 414 XLS. Let's take a look at this brand new revision of a studio staple that's been around for over forty years!


  1. Great review.
    Loved the direct noise compairson w/the Rhode.

  2. LOL!
    Just a little mic pride there. I know that YOU know the RODEs are bullet proof, but it's always nice when your fave mic pulls through.

  3. Very cool! My "best" mic is currently a rhode nt2-a which is much better than a NT1-A I believe. Great idea on the comparison though. I can't believe how many polar patterns that mic has, wow! I've was fortunate enough to borrow my friends 414 and single tracked an all teenager girl a cappella quartet in Omni. It sounded great. I liked how transparent and plain it sounded on vocals. Since it doesn't seem to have a strong mic character it allows you to use it on SO many sources (from what I've heard at least). Here is an extremely short jazz version of jingle bell rock I recorded with the 414 in my studio. I thought it turned out pretty good with my intermediate skills!

  4. Hey Jordan!

    Yeah. I'm big fan of how neutral the 414 is. There's very little presence push on the high end. It means audio coming directly out of the mic isn't going to sound as exciting, but I really think it gives you more flexibility to work audio into a mix.

    That Jingle Bell rock audio sounds great! Crisp, articulate, and present! Was that just one 414? Really well done!

    I still have a dream of mono-tracking a rock band and controlling the "levels" of individual instruments by moving the performers closer and farther away from a single mic in omni...

  5. Cool review, particularly with the video! Also the visual noise comparison was a great touch.

    Keep up the great work, uh, uh guy! It's cool that you don't get overly technical from a talent's point of view......

  6. Hey voicebarry, thanks for the comment. For all the physics that goes into understanding what sound does, I really do think there are some simple and practical ways to examine recording that can help a talent achieve better results when they're recording on their own.
    Glad you enjoyed the review!

  7. Yea I'd love to add a 414 to my "collection" (2 mics thus far hah!) someday. I haven't had a chance to mix any 414 raw tracks with instruments. That should be interesting.

    Wow thanks for the compliment! Yes it was just 1 414 in my acoustically treated room. The majority of the reverb you hear was added later. I slightly EQ'd and compressed the track too. It was really a learning experience tracking them as I had to strategically place all 4 of them around the 1 mic. They all had their piece of masking tape to stand behind :).

    I had a blast doing it. You need to try it sometime!

  8. Great... Another thing I've GOTTA HAVE!

    (seriously cool mike and review ;-)

  9. LOL!
    I'm exactly the wrong person to talk to if you're trying to prevent a bad case of Gear Acquisition Syndrome...

  10. Nice Review, with great video and 414 sound look like awesome. Thanks for sharing it.

  11. Great post.. first time seeing your videos/website.

    I love the C 414 XLS, I use it on drum overheads a lot.. but like you said, it's extremely versatile.

    I'll link to you soon from

    Thanks for providing us with such a great resource!

  12. black leather skirtAugust 30, 2010 at 9:00 PM

    Sounds good. Will your dog be there?

  13. Keep up the great work, uh, uh guy! It's cool that you don't get overly technical from a talent's point of view.particularly with the video! Also the visual noise comparison was a great touch..Great post.. ....

  14. The noise comparison just goes to show how deceiving manufacturer specs really are.

    FYI - there are no set standards for specification on mics, or any other piece of Audio equipment for that matter.

    To the untrained eye of the average consumer, the "numbers" look the same. But unless you know what A weighting is, you think "Oh, these are the same." When in fact with A weighting everything below 1000Hz is rolled off, leaving you just the upper mids and high frequencies to measure.

    So any time they add "weighting to a spec sheet, beware- you're not getting the full picture.

  15. Can you share how different the XLS vs the XLII is? Thanks