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AKG C414-XLS Microphone Review

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Austrian acoustics engineering and manufacturing company AKG has been in the business since 1947, and has produced dozens of microphones that have changed the landscape of recording forever. One of these mics is the AKG C414, an all-purpose mic released in 1971 that quickly became a popular feature in many studios thanks to its clear sound quality and excellent frequency extension.

The AKG C414 has had several iterations over the years, including the AKG C414 XLII, AKG C414 XLS, AKG C414 B ULS, AKG C414 EB, and AKG C414B XLS, but the capsule and sound quality has largely remained the same. Thanks to its solid construction, incredible versatility, and numerous settings and tools, the AKG C414 line has become an industry standard. Check out why in this AKG C414 review below.

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About the AKG C414-XLS Microphone

 

Polar Pattern

Cardioid, Figure-of-eight, Hypercardioid, Omnidirectional, and Wide Cardioid

Frequency Range

20 Hz – 20 kHz

Sensitivity

23 mV/Pa

Electrical Impedance

200 Ohms

Signal to Noise Ratio

88 db(A)

Preattenuation Pad

-6 dB, -12 dB, -18 dB

 

The C414 XLS Multi-Pattern Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphone has become one of the staples of the audio industry. It was designed to have a sound quality and character as close as possible to the vintage AKG C414 B-ULS, which is well known in the industry for being the reference microphone for almost all comparative microphone tests, as well as being one of the most used condenser microphones in the world.

The C414 XLS has impressive versatility, making it a de facto part of every professional sound engineer’s equipment. It’s been engineered for the highest linearity and neutral sound, calling back to the old stalwarts in the C414 line, while also introducing new features. The initial AKG C414 had five available polar patterns, which cemented its place as one of the most versatile large condenser mics available. The AKG C414 XLS takes that further by introducing four more polar patterns for a total of 9, far and beyond what other microphones are capable of.

Besides its flexibility, the C414 XLS also has an incredible low noise floor, as well as a 152 dB dynamic range. This range makes this microphone the ideal partner for any recording environment or sound source, whether you’re working with live vocals or heavy electric guitars. It also has extra features like a locking mode you can use for live sound situations, and a “Peak Hold” LED displaying overload peaks.

AKG C414 XLS Microphone Pros

The AKG C414 microphone range is known for its transparent sound and accurate reproduction, making it ideal for acoustic guitars, drums, string instruments, and more. The XLS in particular has the range’s flattest linearity, suitable for any recording situation but especially when you want to capture a natural sound. And since the AKG C414 frequency response ranges from 20 Hz to 20000 Hz, you can be sure that your mic can hear and reproduce anything from the gentlest voice to the heaviest drum solo.

Versatility Like Never Before

The AKG C414 line has always pushed the limits on what a single large diaphragm condenser mic can do. Thanks to its legacy of multiple polar patterns, users are able to employ the C414 in a variety of different recording situations. From solos to live performances to intimate interviews, the C414’s multiple pickup patterns allow for a flexibility of use that not many microphones can say they have. The AKG C414 XLS takes that even further.

Not only does it offer the cardioid, hypercardioid, figure-of-eight, omnidirectional, and wide cardioid options of its predecessors, it also allows you to “blend” two modes together through intermediate modes in between settings. This makes for a total of nine polar patterns, far and beyond anything other mics are offering.

More Control

User control is the name of the game when it comes to the C414, and it plays its cards admirably. While most mics may feature one volume pad, the C414 features no less than three. Engaging any of the settings at -6 dB, -12 dB, and -18 dB will lower the output by the specified amount, allowing you to avoid overloads when recording louder instruments like drums, guitar cabinets, and brass instruments.

AKG C414 XLS VS XLII

While AKG has retired most of the C414 lines in its cabinet, it currently sells two versions: the XLS and XLII. Besides the two models’ minor cosmetic differences, the main component that sets them apart is the capsule design. The XLS is more neutral and transparent-sounding when compared to the XLII. However, the C414 XLII has the same capsule design as the legendary C12, giving it a 3kHz presence boost that makes it excellent for vocals and solo instruments.

How to Use AKG C414?

Your AKG C414 unit will come with several extra items, including a shock mount, wind shield, and pop filter. To start using your unit, simply set up your shock mount to your desired position and insert your C414 into the shock mount. Then, plug your cable into your microphone, inserting the other end into your preamp. Once your set up is ready, you can start recording!

What is the AKG C414 Used For?

The AKG C414 can be used with a variety of sound sources and in a range of recording situations. Thanks to its 9 polar patterns, it is incredibly versatile and can record anything from live performances to podcasts. The AKG C414 XLS capsule is designed to sound best with acoustic instruments. A lack of harshness may cause some lead vocals to get lost in the mix, however it still performs admirably with voiceovers and background vocals.

The Studio Standard

There are few mics as legendary as the AKG C414. As one of the most versatile mics in AKG’s catalog, it’s been a studio standard for years and has been used on hundreds, if not thousands of hit records. While the C414 line isn’t necessarily advertised as a vocal mic, it’s still able to capture great background vocal takes. There’s nothing better for capturing instruments from kick drums to brass, making it a great investment for any professional or amateur musician’s studio.

What People Are Saying

The AKG C414 line is an industry standard for a reason. Thanks to its quality sound and versatility, the line has remained a popular element in professional and amateur studio set ups around the world. It’s a fantastic, natural-sounding mic that is an asset to any professional or home studio. For people on the lookout for their next condenser, this one’s a must-have.

Where to Buy the AKG C414 XLS Microphone

Upholding a long tradition of excellent mics, the AKG C414-XLS is AKG’s latest in top-of-the-line condenser technology. Whether you’re recording a double bass, percussions, or drums, the XLS’ transparency and wide frequency response will make it an indispensable part of your studio. Find the best deals for the AKG C414-XLS Microphone here.

Sound Quality
9
Design
9
Features
10
Price
8

Summary

The AKG C414-XLS is a natural-sounding mic with high fidelity and an incredible range of polar patterns. It's a must-have condenser mic for any set up, whether home studio or professional.

Total Rating

9.0
Naomi Feller

Originally from the East Coast, Naomi started singing as young as 3 years old. In her early teens Naomi made some embarrassing YouTube videos before settling on a love for Podcast editing. When she's not pouring over endless amounts of audio, she lends her expertise to us here at Shout4Music with her crystal clear and finely tuned microphone reviews.

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