AKG 414...then and now

Discussion in 'rec.audio.pro' started by xy, Aug 22, 2003.

  1. xy

    xy Guest

    Does anyone know the history on this mic design?

    It seems like this mic changes it's spec over time, and then people
    say "this version sucks. the 414 buls is bull-sh-t."

    Do all the current production one's stink? or is there a good one
    being made right now

    I've seen studio photos of many top-tier artists recording with this
    mic, so it's got to have something to it.
  2. Preben Friis

    Preben Friis Guest

  3. I believe, as I was looking at AKG earlier, that the entire history of AKG
    is on their website now. I may be wrong, but it seems I saw it. If not,
    I'll look through my "history" button and see where I've gone that made me
    think so.

    --


    Roger W. Norman
    SirMusic Studio
    Purchase your copy of the Fifth of RAP CD set at www.recaudiopro.net.
    See how far $20 really goes.




    "xy" <genericaudioperson@hotmail.com> wrote in message
    news:6c38b64b.0308221206.23995e20@posting.google.com...
    > Does anyone know the history on this mic design?
    >
    > It seems like this mic changes it's spec over time, and then people
    > say "this version sucks. the 414 buls is bull-sh-t."
    >
    > Do all the current production one's stink? or is there a good one
    > being made right now
    >
    > I've seen studio photos of many top-tier artists recording with this
    > mic, so it's got to have something to it.
  4. M. Im

    M. Im Guest

    DSatz@msn.com (David Satz) wrote in message news:<e6a68193.0308251003.6486d0d1@posting.google.com>...
    The old original C 12 capsule had
    > a certain character that people have found a great deal of use for, and it
    > is much sought after. Almost no one in the classical recording business
    > thinks much of the imitation C 12 capsule;



    Sony Classical (Stephen Epstein) uses them (C12VR) as spot mics for
    soloists on some recent releases.

    M
  5. xy

    xy Guest

    thanks Dave,

    i new it changed over time, but not that much!

    it's almost like for AKG, the word "414" means multi-pattern, large
    diaphragm, solid state mic in a cheese-wedge casing with a rolloff and
    pad switch. 414 is almost like a "category" rather than a specific
    electronics specification.
  6. genericaudioperson@hotmail.com (xy) wrote in message news:<6c38b64b.0308221206.23995e20@posting.google.com>...
    > Does anyone know the history on this mic design?
    >
    > It seems like this mic changes it's spec over time, and then people
    > say "this version sucks. the 414 buls is bull-sh-t."
    >
    > Do all the current production one's stink? or is there a good one
    > being made right now
    >
    > I've seen studio photos of many top-tier artists recording with this
    > mic, so it's got to have something to it.


    I have a pair of 414-ULS modified by Audio Upgrades. I used them on a
    children's choir concert (spaced omni configuration) recently through
    Millennia Media M2a/b and Mytek 8X96; I was very pleased with the
    result. I like the 414 after the modification.

    Eric
  7. Ty Ford

    Ty Ford Guest

    In Article <e6a68193.0308251003.6486d0d1@posting.google.com>, DSatz@msn.com
    (David Satz) wrote:

    To others of us, the
    >whole idea of a "vocal microphone" is a questionable concept at best,
    >similar to asking "which brand of camera is best when taking pictures of
    >flowers, and which brand is better for taking pictures of children?".


    good analogy.

    >So: The C 414 B-ULS has relatively flat high frequency response on axis,
    >and is widely considered useless by people who believe that using a good
    >equalizer to add a controlled high frequency peak to a track made with a
    >relatively flat microphone is fundamentally different from using a
    >microphone that has a high frequency peak built smack into its response.
    >
    >Apart from the capsule used in the B-ULS model, some early models had the
    >original C 12 capsule and others use AKG's later imitation of their own
    >C 12 capsule, which AKG unfortunately continues to call "C 12" as if it
    >were even remotely similar (it's not). The old original C 12 capsule had
    >a certain character that people have found a great deal of use for, and it
    >is much sought after. Almost no one in the classical recording business
    >thinks much of the imitation C 12 capsule; some people in pop and jazz
    >recording, however, hate it less than they hate the relatively flat B-ULS'
    >response, and to them a "414" means the C 414 B-TL II model by default.
    >
    >That's as much as I've been able to figure out about all this so far.
    >
    >Oh, and: there are modifications available for the B-ULS electronics
    >which some people like a lot.


    The only two now available from AKG are the TL II and the BULS. I compared
    the TL II with the BULS at my studio before buying. The BULS was much more
    direct sounding.The TL II sounded scooped and phasy. I got a pair of the BULS.

    Regards,

    Ty Ford

    For Ty Ford V/O demos, audio services and equipment reviews,
    click on http://www.jagunet.com/~tford
  8. David Satz

    David Satz Guest

    Eric JT Chang wrote:

    > I have a pair of 414-ULS modified by Audio Upgrades. I used them on a
    > children's choir concert (spaced omni configuration) recently through
    > Millennia Media M2a/b and Mytek 8X96; I was very pleased with the
    > result. I like the 414 after the modification.


    Have you used the figure-8 setting of the microphone much? By any
    chance did you compare it before/after the Williams modification?
    Or for that matter did you have a chance to compare the cardioid
    response of the microphone before/after the mod? Any comments from
    your experience would be appreciated.

    --best regards
  9. David Satz

    David Satz Guest

    M. Im wrote:

    > Sony Classical (Stephen Epstein) uses them (C12VR) as spot mics for
    > soloists on some recent releases.


    Yes, but are you sure that these are stock C 12VRs? I ask this because
    I attended the NY AES section meeting at which David Smith discussed his
    modifications to these microphones, and to old [-style] condenser mikes
    in general; I got the impression that he reworked anything recent from
    AKG rather extensively, but [a] I could be wrong since he was being a
    bit protective of certain information and maybe these microphones
    were stock regardless of what David Smith may do to other microphones.
  10. Rob Adelman

    Rob Adelman Guest

    I like the C12vr. I think it was overpriced, but still a very nice
    microphone.

    -Rob

    David Satz wrote:

    > M. Im wrote:
    >
    >
    >>Sony Classical (Stephen Epstein) uses them (C12VR) as spot mics for
    >>soloists on some recent releases.

    >
    >
    > Yes, but are you sure that these are stock C 12VRs? I ask this because
    > I attended the NY AES section meeting at which David Smith discussed his
    > modifications to these microphones, and to old [-style] condenser mikes
    > in general; I got the impression that he reworked anything recent from
    > AKG rather extensively, but [a] I could be wrong since he was being a
    > bit protective of certain information and maybe these microphones
    > were stock regardless of what David Smith may do to other microphones.
  11. David Satz

    David Satz Guest

    I wrote:

    > To others of us, the
    > whole idea of a "vocal microphone" is a questionable concept at best,
    > similar to asking "which brand of camera is best when taking pictures of
    > flowers, and which brand is better for taking pictures of children?".


    whereupon Ty Ford wrote:

    > good analogy.


    I can't take credit for that one. It's from Victor Campos--not the actor,
    the audio consultant (a colorful character from the Boston area with a
    flair for self-promotion and many good ideas about audio).


    But then I wrote:

    >So: The C 414 B-ULS has relatively flat high frequency response on axis,
    >and is widely considered useless by people who believe that using a good
    >equalizer to add a controlled high frequency peak to a track made with a
    >relatively flat microphone is fundamentally different from using a
    >microphone that has a high frequency peak built smack into its response.


    And that was almost 100.0% unclear. Let me try again, please:

    [1] The C 414 B-ULS has relatively flat high frequency response. Its
    deviations from flatness are plainly audible, but they're on the pleasant
    and subtle side--not a knife edge to cut through other stuff (that perhaps
    shouldn't be where it is, if it needs so badly to "be cut through").

    [2] There seem to be many engineers who arm themselves with a spread of
    different microphones, and spend fair amounts of time trying out different
    microphones for each application, listening and trying something else until
    they find something they like. Then they "track" and are committed to the
    pickup they've chosen. This, to them, is how a sound engineer should work.

    However, if you record only in dead rooms and use only a cardioid pattern
    like so many engineers, the main audible differences among microphones will
    be due mainly to on-axis frequency response. When two microphones have
    distinctly different frequency response, the subjective differences in the
    resulting tracks will manifest themselves through other aspects of sound
    such as detail, spatial qualities, etc. But use a good EQ to match the
    frequency response and those other qualitative differences often melt away.
    Certainly not always and not 100%--but often to a very surprising extent.

    There's an important lesson to be learned from that experience, if people
    would just be open to it and think it through. Instead of wasting quite
    so much session time trying microphone after microphone, folks could make
    their sonic decisions at leisure (after the session is over) and revise
    those decisions at any time if need be.

    But the belief systems promoted by microphone manufacturers and dealers
    ("Our microphones contain magic!") preclude taking this approach seriously.
    So many engineers never try using flat-response microphones and never try
    seriously to develop the needed EQ skills. So they never find out what's
    possible, and they go on believing what they believe about microphones.

    [3] People in the above group tend to take each new "flavor of the month"
    microphone too seriously, and undervalue the more neutral-sounding "long-
    term investment"-type microphones.

    From a marketing perspective a more neutral-sounding microphone may not
    seem to offer value for its price, as compared with a peaky microphone
    that clearly "has more character" and is immediately distinct sonically
    from whatever else a person might compare it to. This creates a real
    sales advantage for crap microphones--and behold, more of those are being
    made and sold today than ever before.

    No microphone is completely neutral, but in my opinion it ought to take at
    least several trials of a microphone under varying circumstances before one
    can tell just what it is doing to the sound. If you can tell right away,
    then the microphone is of questionable value. But many people approach the
    choice of a microphone with precisely the opposite mindset, unfortunately.
  12. Wayne

    Wayne Guest

    While Ty Ford was in a caffeine induced stupor, he wrote

    >The only two now available from AKG are the TL II and the BULS. I compared
    >the TL II with the BULS at my studio before buying. The BULS was much more
    >direct sounding.The TL II sounded scooped and phasy. I got a pair of the
    >BULS.
    >
    >


    Good grief, what preamp were you using. <gr>

    Wayne
  13. xy

    xy Guest

    how can a single diaphragm, mono signal sound "phased"?


    >
    > The only two now available from AKG are the TL II and the BULS. I compared
    > the TL II with the BULS at my studio before buying. The BULS was much more
    > direct sounding.The TL II sounded scooped and phasy. I got a pair of the BULS.
    >
    > Regards,
    >
  14. "David Satz" <DSatz@msn.com> wrote in message
    news:e6a68193.0308261009.334f99d3@posting.google.com...
    > And that was almost 100.0% unclear. Let me try again, please:



    < good stuff snipped>

    Nice post with some good points, David. FWIW I didn't think the first one
    was unclear though.

    --
    John Cafarella
    End Of the Road Studio
    Melbourne, Australia
  15. Rob Adelman

    Rob Adelman Guest

    xy wrote:

    > how can a single diaphragm, mono signal sound "phased"?
    >


    Because of it's off-axis charactestics, as the source moves around. Some
    microphones are more supseptible to this effect.

    My thoughts of the TLII are that it is overly bright, unnaturally so. Of
    course that can be useful sometimes too.
  16. xy

    xy Guest

    maybe it's dual diaphragm. i think it's single
  17. yoshida

    yoshida Guest

  18. David Satz

    David Satz Guest

    genericaudioperson@hotmail.com (xy) wrote:

    > maybe it's dual diaphragm. i think it's single


    All electrically switchable multi-pattern condenser microphones, including
    the AKGs, have dual-diaphragm capsules.

    The only way to switch patterns with a single-diaphragm capsule is to
    change its backplate arrangement mechanically, as in Schoeps capsules
    (and in one of the newer Shure models, now that the patent has run out).
  19. M. Im

    M. Im Guest

    DSatz@msn.com (David Satz) wrote in message news:<e6a68193.0308261009.334f99d3@posting.google.com>...
    > I wrote:
    >
    > > To others of us, the
    > > whole idea of a "vocal microphone" is a questionable concept at best,
    > > similar to asking "which brand of camera is best when taking pictures of
    > > flowers, and which brand is better for taking pictures of children?".

    >
    > whereupon Ty Ford wrote:
    >
    > > good analogy.

    >
    > I can't take credit for that one. It's from Victor Campos--not the actor,
    > the audio consultant (a colorful character from the Boston area with a
    > flair for self-promotion and many good ideas about audio).
    >
    >
    >


    The correct analogy, but not as funny is, "vocal microphone" and
    "portrait lens." Any microphone can used for vocals and any lens for
    portraits. Nevertheless, there are some popular and successful
    techniques linking certain types of lenses to portraiture and certain
    types of microphones to vocal recording and thus the development of
    such phrases.

    M.
  20. echang@cvrecording.com (Eric JT Chang) wrote in message news:<f2d83441.0308252021.317c5882@posting.google.com>...
    > genericaudioperson@hotmail.com (xy) wrote in message news:<6c38b64b.0308221206.23995e20@posting.google.com>...
    > > Does anyone know the history on this mic design?
    > >
    > > It seems like this mic changes it's spec over time, and then people
    > > say "this version sucks. the 414 buls is bull-sh-t."
    > >
    > > Do all the current production one's stink? or is there a good one
    > > being made right now
    > >
    > > I've seen studio photos of many top-tier artists recording with this
    > > mic, so it's got to have something to it.

    >
    > I have a pair of 414-ULS modified by Audio Upgrades. I used them on a
    > children's choir concert (spaced omni configuration) recently through
    > Millennia Media M2a/b and Mytek 8X96; I was very pleased with the
    > result. I like the 414 after the modification.
    >
    > Eric

    Children!!? Everyone knows that mic is intended for flowers! ...or is
    that what the upgrade was for?

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