At the NAMM 2004 Summer Session, AKG announced that it was now shipping their new AKG C 414 mics.
For the last 33 years, AKG C 414 models have been some of the world’s most widely-used “studio-standard” reference microphones. They’ve been used on millions of recording sessions by great artists of every musical genre and have a plethora of gold and platinum awards that testify to their fabulous sound. C 414s have also been used for broadcasts and movie soundtracks and have appeared on concert stages too.
With this glorious history as a foundation, AKG introduces the new C 414 family: The C 414 B-XLS and C 414 B-XL II. These models supercede the C 414B-ULS that was introduced in 1986 and the C 414B-TLII that was introduced in 1992.
The new C 414B-XL models retain the “sonic character” and familiar look of its trend-setting predecessors, but every other facet of its performance has been improved with 15 new features and performance enhancements. Both models of the new C 414B-XL family are electrically-identical with transformerless output sections bristling with new technology. However, the capsules are acoustically different so that the two models can be used to cover a wide range of applications.
To test the sonic character of the new models, AKG went to Grammy award-winning engineers like Bill Schnee, Peter Wolf, David Bianco and others who tested the new models in their own studios. All thought that the new models had the essential sonic character of the legendary AKG C 414s but with improved detail thanks to their substantially lower noise and effortless dynamic range.
The new C 414B-XL models have an impressive list of features:
- A fifth polar pattern–wide cardioid–has been added for additional flexibility.
- All mechanical switches have been replaced with electronic switches, making them easier to use and vastly improving long-term reliability. Since the switches are so easy to use, we’ve also added a provision to lock their settings to prevent tampering.
- All switch positions, microphone output overload, and power on/off status are indicated by LEDs. The user can see at a glance the operating status of the microphone. The LEDs are also useful in helping the engineer aim the microphone.
- All function selectors are situated in the low-impedance section of the electronics to prevent problems in high humidity and to minimize switching transients.
- An elastic capsule shock mount system minimizes stand-transmitted and other chassis-borne vibrations from interfering with the audio.
- The three (-6, -12, -18 dB) pre-attenuation settings are achieved by changing the polarization voltage to the capsule, keeping noise and distortion the same in each setting. This also gives you more signal-to-noise control.
- Very tight sensitivity tolerance (±0.5 dB) for superlative unit-to-unit consistency.
- Higher sensitivity than previous C 414 models (+6 dB)
- Three high-pass filters (0 / 40 / 80 / 160 Hz) with 12-dB-per-octave slopes at 40 Hz and 80 Hz, and a 6-dB slope at 160 Hz for minimizing proximity effect. The high-pass filters and varying slopes give you much greater flexibility in use.
- Extremely low self-noise (6 dB-A)
- Incredibly wide dynamic range (134 dB). The mics can be used in sound fields as high as 158 dB.
- Ready for remote control of all selectable functions (optional remote control available in late 2004) with standard microphone cables.
Both C 414B-XL versions are available as stereo pairs factory-matched for uniform frequency response and sensitivity in the cardioid mode. Each C 414B-XL model comes with an all-metal carrying case, an H-85 shock mount, a windscreen, a two-stage external pop filter, a dust cover and an individually-measured frequency response of each microphone. Stereo pairs include the H50 stereo bar, but do not include the external pop filters.
The C 414 B-XLS is designed to accurately reproduce all acoustic instruments and for general purpose use, while the C 414 B-XL II has AKG’s renowned “vocal-friendly” response that brings out the best in voices and is also used for distance-micing of instruments in natural acoustic settings.
The C 414 B-XL family from AKG is built in Vienna, Austria and backed by a 3-year parts and labor warranty.