The C414 XLII by AKG is a multi-pattern condenser mic that allows you to choose from nine polar patterns, based on application type. This is one of the best vocal microphones on the market and one that comes with all of the bells and whistles the vocalist and musician will appreciate. But despite the fact that it’s feature heavy, it still offers the type of intuitive design that also makes this mic a great buy for the beginner.
Our Verdict: This is a versatile, feature-packed condenser mic that comes with all the bells and whistles you could want in your go-to mic. The nine polar pattern options will give you more control over sound quality since you can choose one based on application, whether you’re using the mic for an acoustic guitar, vocals, or podcasting. A great buy for the amateur or pro, the mic’s beginner-friendly design allows even newbies to learn and perfect their skills for both live performances and studio recording sessions.
Overview and Features
This is a great mic for vocalists and guitarists. Its versatile design will allow you to choose from nine polar patterns based on application type. This model gives you ultimate control over a recording session or live performance, allowing you to customize the sound. It’s also one of AKG’s best-known mics and it’s been redesigned over the years, as the manufacturer has included many new features that will come in handy both for live performances and in the studio.
This is a multi-pattern capacitor mic that utilizes a gold sputtered diaphragm. Only the front portion of the diaphragm is coated, with the goal of avoiding any type of electrical shorting between the backplate and diaphragm in the event of high SPLs. The capsule mounting has also received a redesign and hangs from a four-point suspension. Instead of using slide switches, the manufacturer has changed it up and equipped the mic with rocker switches, status LED lights, and digital switching circuitry.
You can easily choose from nine pickup pattern options based on whether you’re using this model for vocals, to learn how to sing higher, to mic an instrument, or for broadcasting or podcasting. Small LED lights located below the switches will light up based on the option you choose. The settings can be locked in by holding and pressing the rocker selector for a total of three seconds. Press it an additional time to unlock the settings or you can also just switch off the phantom power source.
The same LED lights used for the polar patterns can be used as a clip warning light. The lights will turn red prior to clipping. Since the pattern LED lights are recessed, you can easily see the LED lights clearly from any position. This is a huge selling point for any potential buyer and it’s not a feature you’ll find on competing models in this price range.
The switch now has six, twelve, and eighteen decibel settings. Just like with the polar pattern settings, this feature works by changing the polarizing voltage. Since very high impedances are involved, any type of change that’s made when using these switches can take three to five seconds to take place. The mic’s bass-cut switch has also undergone a redesign with forty-eighty, and one hundred and sixty-Hz settings. For the lower two settings, a slope of over twelve decibels is used.
The newly designed transformer-less circuitry has helped to extend the mic’s dynamic range to one hundred and thirty-four DBA. This was accomplished by minimizing self-noise and maximizing headroom, down to six DBA. In order to achieve this, the mic now requires the use of a phantom power source at a full forty-eight volts. This new design also made the mic less susceptible to temperature and humidity by placing the function switches in a section of the circuitry with low-impedance.
Advantages and Disadvantages
- New design minimizes mic’s temperature sensitivity
- Nine polar pattern options
- Clipping alert
- Impressive dynamic range
- Recessed pad switches
- Shock mount is made out of plastic
The C414 Vs. The Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
Like this AKG model, the Shure SM7B mic offers an impressive wide-range frequency response for a natural, cleaner sound. However, it doesn’t come equipped with the nine polar pattern options, which is one of this mic’s biggest selling points and it’s definitely what makes it one of the most versatile condenser mics on the market. This mic’s pop filter is made out of plastic, which is a drawback for some potential buyers, while the Shure mic features internal air suspension shock isolation, which is designed to eliminate any type of mechanical noise transmission. Overall, while the SM7B does have a lot to offer, it’s just nowhere near as versatile as this model by AKG.
Conclusion and Rating
For the musician or vocalist, a mic that’s versatile and one that can be used for a wide range of applications is a must, especially for those on a tight budget that cannot afford to invest in more than one or two studio-quality mics. If you’re learning how to sing higher, then a mic that’s able to enhance your vocal tone is a must. This model by AKG delivers. Its versatility makes it a great option for a variety of vocal tones, singing styles, instruments, and even public speaking events. This mic still has all the vintage charm but does have a more modern look to it, compared to other mics in the AKG lineup. It’s loaded with all the right features that the vocalist or guitarist will love including the nine polar pattern options and the built-in LED lights that double as a clipping alert. Built-tough and designed to last, I gave this mic a rating of four and a half stars out of five.