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Vintage AKG C414 BE, how much is it worth?
Old 2nd October 2008
  #1
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Vintage AKG C414 BE, how much is it worth?

i just got this vintage akg c414 be, i got a deal on it but i don't really know much about it... except for brand and model and that it sounds really good. I was just wondering what's the average price on one of these microphones in case i want to sell it, cause i saw one on ebay selling for 2,200 and it says it has the "original c12 capsule". i was wondering if this mic comes stock with the c12 capsule, or do people just mod some of them with that capsule...? any info about this would be great, thanks.
Old 2nd October 2008
  #2
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nukmusic's Avatar
 

what type of deal did you get on something you know nothing about?
Old 2nd October 2008
  #3
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geareyes's Avatar
1) Open your 414eb up.

2) If the mic contains the correct CK12 capsule that was issued with the mic it will have a red backplate.
Old 2nd October 2008
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nukmusic View Post
what type of deal did you get on something you know nothing about?
Well, i know no akg 414 that works good, costs 100 dollars, none that i've seen at least. and i saw this same model selling for 2 grand on ebay. even if it's worth 200 bucks which i doubt, i got a good deal. What i wanna know is, how good.
Old 2nd October 2008
  #5
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Don Clendenon's Avatar
 

if it has a silver body with a pad and bass rolloff switch on it then its an origianl 414. there are 4 screws on the botom of the body and 3 screws that hold on the windscreen. if you remove the body and the windscreen and you see that the capsule has a brass ring arouind it then its a ck12. if the ring around the capsule is white plastic then its not a cck12. if it has the bras ring and no ripples in the diaphragm and no bald spots its probably worth a couple grand. if its the plastic ring then its worth maybe 800
Old 2nd October 2008
  #6
Gear Head
 

it's definitely got the pad and rolloff and the right color. So i'll check out the capsule and see if it's the right one. but if it's worth 800 and not 2 grand trust me i ain't crying about it!heh Thanks by the way!
Old 2nd October 2008
  #7
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jjblair's Avatar
People are paying $2k for them now? Sheesh.
Old 2nd October 2008
  #8
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CompEq's Avatar
 

If it's got a red pigtail for the XLR, I may know the guy it was stolen from.
Old 3rd October 2008
  #9
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I removed the grille and there's no plastic ring around the capsule, looks like brass to me.thumbsup Does this mean it's a c12 capsule? it's red on the backplate also, if i'm not mistaken. and by the way, mine doesn't have a pigtail on it!
Old 3rd October 2008
  #10
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geareyes's Avatar
For simple verification and condition,post a pic.
Old 3rd October 2008
  #11
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jjblair's Avatar
Here's what the two capsules look like. The first is a CK12 brass, the other is the so called "teflon."
Attached Thumbnails
Vintage AKG C414 BE, how much is it worth?-akg-ck12a.jpg   Vintage AKG C414 BE, how much is it worth?-414-teflon-cap.jpg  
Old 3rd October 2008
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
Here's what the two capsules look like. The first is a CK12 brass, the other is the so called "teflon."
I definitely have the ck12 brass capsule mic, now i'm even happier about getting it!!! Thanks for taking the time to help me out, most people wouldn't even bother.
Old 3rd October 2008
  #13
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geareyes's Avatar
Now just listen to it.....If it sounds good, IT is good
Old 3rd October 2008
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geareyes View Post
Now just listen to it.....If it sounds good, IT is good
First thing i did!!!! and it does!heh
Old 3rd October 2008
  #15
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BOWIE's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeadInMagazines View Post
First thing i did!!!! and it does!heh
Congrats man! One thing about the 414's with the brass capsule, they fail in time. Not many are still around. You may want to consider selling it while the diaphragm is still good and the market is hot.
I have one that had the original capsule replaced by AKG long ago. It still sounds far better than any modern 414 but is only worth about $800 because it's not the brass capsule. Damn good mic though.
Old 3rd October 2008
  #16
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CompEq's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeadInMagazines
and by the way, mine doesn't have a pigtail on it!
Cool, glad to hear it. Just keepin' an eye out for my bro.
Old 3rd October 2008
  #17
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BlueSprocket's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BOWIE View Post
Congrats man! One thing about the 414's with the brass capsule, they fail in time. Not many are still around. You may want to consider selling it while the diaphragm is still good and the market is hot.
I have one that had the original capsule replaced by AKG long ago. It still sounds far better than any modern 414 but is only worth about $800 because it's not the brass capsule. Damn good mic though.

Or, keep it stored properly when you aren't using it, and if the day comes when the capsule needs to be cleaned/rebuilt, send it to someone who knows how to do that. Tracy Korby in Nashville is quite good with the CK12s.

I would keep the microphone in a plastic bag if you have it inside a case. Over time the foam linings in the case flake off and this stuff builds up on the capsule. This ultimately helps lead to "capsule failure". Even if you don't have a case, the bag will keep other dirt/debris off the mic.
Old 4th October 2008
  #18
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BOWIE's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueSprocket View Post
Or, keep it stored properly when you aren't using it, and if the day comes when the capsule needs to be cleaned/rebuilt, send it to someone who knows how to do that. Tracy Korby in Nashville is quite good with the CK12s.

I would keep the microphone in a plastic bag if you have it inside a case. Over time the foam linings in the case flake off and this stuff builds up on the capsule. This ultimately helps lead to "capsule failure". Even if you don't have a case, the bag will keep other dirt/debris off the mic.
Unfortunately, the C-12k's suffer from a tensioning issue that is usually unavoidable. Maintaining the mic is always a good idea but everything I've read has stated that once the tension starts to fail, there is nothing that can be done to save it without changing the sound of the mic. This is what I was refering to.
Old 4th October 2008
  #19
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I bought a 414 eb brass capsule in great condition for 1000 dollars on gearsluts classifieds half a year ago. there is no way they are worth 2000 dollars.
bigos
Old 4th October 2008
  #20
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jjblair's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by BOWIE View Post
Unfortunately, the C-12k's suffer from a tensioning issue that is usually unavoidable. Maintaining the mic is always a good idea but everything I've read has stated that once the tension starts to fail, there is nothing that can be done to save it without changing the sound of the mic. This is what I was refering to.
Not quite sure I agree with the idea that all CK12s are doomed to tension failure. I have 6 mics with CK12s (four of them 414EBs), and none of them have tension issues. Only one of them maybe is a little darker on one side. But none of them lack tension to the point where they get stuck to the back plate. Also, I have fond in most cases with CK12 where this happens, a proper capsule cleaning can solve this problem.

Now finding somebody to clean them is another question. Klaus cleaned mine, but with his waiting list these days....
Old 4th October 2008
  #21
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BlueSprocket's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
Also, I have fond in most cases with CK12 where this happens, a proper capsule cleaning can solve this problem.
I quite agree. The capsule often has to go through a fairly massive amount of abuse to need a complete rebuild. But I've seen that too.

The CK-12 backplate is certainly more intricate than any of the other common backplates designs, but the diaphragm is the same as on other mics, just a little more gold on there. I can't think of too many reasons why the diaphragm would be more prone to tension loss than on a 67.

Based on the logic that all CK-12s will fail. People should start getting rid of their C12s and 251s too, fast!
Old 4th October 2008
  #22
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jjblair's Avatar
Not to mention that the CK12's diaphragm is glued to the mounting ring.

I asked David Bock about this tonight, and he agreed with me.
Old 4th October 2008
  #23
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BOWIE's Avatar
You guys are entitled to your opinions but I'd rather trust Klaus on this one: "Only a small percentage of original CK12 diaphragms remains which still have usable tension on them. I'd estimate that to be between 20% and 25%.
Because of the large, unsupported center of the CK12 diaphragm and the aging of the carrier material that was used, a loss of tension over time and abuse is common. Tension loss will collapse the diaphragm under load conditions (60V. polarization applied) against the backplate, rendering the capsule useless."

He goes on to say, "Should your diaphragms be defective, I I know of no aftermarket diaphragm repairer at this time who offers a product of comparable build-quality and acoustic performance to the original AKG CK12. "

JJblair, the glue is the very reason that they cannot be repaired.

I did a LOT of reading on this a couple months ago when I was deciding if I wanted to buy a Brass or Teflon 414-EB.
Old 4th October 2008
  #24
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jjblair's Avatar
Well, I'm glad you started reading about these months ago. I'm telling you, that personally owning 6 of them, the issues don't exist in any of mine, and I have three variations of the capsule. Klaus cleaned four of them for me. I think his figure is a bit hyperbolic, or else only one of them would have been good.

BTW, the the glue is not the reason for the failure. I agree with Klaus about the reskinning, though. I have yet to hear a reskin that I liked. But you are wrong saying that the glue is reason they can not be repaired. It's that the gluing technique is so difficult that they are frequently not repaired properly.

I'll also add that neither Klaus or I have heard Tim Campbell's reskins, so I'm not going to say that nobody can fix them. I have a seventh CK12 that I recently found was reskinned improperly on one side, that I am planning on sending to him, so see if his work sounds as good as it looks.

But how you get from Klaus' number to your statement, "You may want to consider selling it while the diaphragm is still good and the market is hot," is beyond me. You sound a like Chicken Little with that rather unsound advice. And the market will always be hot for CK12s, btw.

I've spoken in great detail with Klaus about this on many occasions. I don't think he would in any way suggest that the 75% of the CK12s to which is is referring are unusable. He may feel that 75% of the ones he's seen are no longer within original AKG factory specs. I know that he checks the pitch of the diaphragm tuning, and perhaps he feels that 75% of the ones that have come is way (and remember, people tend to send him stuff when it's not working) may no longer be tuned to their original tuning. But I would be outright shocked if he felt that 75% of every CK12 ever made had failed. I think you misread his statement.

Also, you have to consider that any of the ones that were going to fail have probably done so by now, and have already been replaced in 414EBs by AKG with teflons, or they are showing up reskinned. I would seriously doubt that 25% of the existing CK12s out there are bad. And I think you are using improper conjecture. Unlike a M7, where the diaphragm substrate will change on its own, you missed the abuse factor that Klaus referred to. You make it sound like any functioning CK12s out there are a ticking time bomb, and that is most certainly not the case, and a silly statement.

One other thing: Unless it is sticking to the backplate, again as I said, which is very often due to being dirty rather than a loss in tension, just because it does not fall within the original specs does not mean it doesn't sound good, or is not usable. Some of the most incredible capsules I ever heard were M7s that were well outside of factory specs, even though with M7s, the issue is hardening and increased tension.
Old 4th October 2008
  #25
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BOWIE's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
BTW, the the glue is not the reason for the failure. I agree with Klaus about the reskinning, though. I have yet to hear a reskin that I liked. But you are wrong saying that the glue is reason they can not be repaired. It's that the gluing technique is so difficult that they are frequently not repaired properly.
I never said the glue was the reason for failure, I said the glue is why the repair is problematic. Again, it's something else Klaus said. Most of what I know about the subject is what I've read from him and I trust what he says about vintage mics. Why you want to argue about it is beyond me.
Old 5th October 2008
  #26
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jjblair's Avatar
I'm arguing because you are giving bad advice, based on reading something you seem to not understand. Maybe you've read Klaus' material on the matter, but I've discussed it with him at length, and even have a lot of personal experience with the capsules. I'm trying to clarify for you what you are reading.

I know giving incorrect advice based on things you've read on the internet is the hallmark of gearslutz, but I had to intervene when you started to insist that the OP should sell his mic while it's still functional and worth something. That's terrible advice and downright incorrect.

A 30 year old capsule, if it has survived this far, and is working properly now, is not just going to up and fail in the middle of the night. You simply don't know what you are talking about, regardless of what you read from my good friend Klaus.
Old 5th October 2008
  #27
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BOWIE's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
I'm arguing because you are giving bad advice, based on reading something you seem to not understand. Maybe you've read Klaus' material on the matter, but I've discussed it with him at length, and even have a lot of personal experience with the capsules. I'm trying to clarify for you what you are reading.

I know giving incorrect advice based on things you've read on the internet is the hallmark of gearslutz, but I had to intervene when you started to insist that the OP should sell his mic while it's still functional and worth something. That's terrible advice and downright incorrect.

A 30 year old capsule, if it has survived this far, and is working properly now, is not just going to up and fail in the middle of the night. You simply don't know what you are talking about, regardless of what you read from my good friend Klaus.
EDIT: Changing what I said a few minutes ago because I don't want to sound rude or get involved in internet arguments so I will just say that I disagree w/ you based on what Klaus has said. If he changed his mind since then, great, I'd love to hear what he thinks now. ~Fin
Old 5th October 2008
  #28
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Jim Kerr's Avatar
 

Hey I got a couple orig c414's w/ ck12's. I lived in NYC and now live in Phoenix AZ, The Desert. Umm..so its super dry here and I'm wondering about storing them. Lets say in an air tight zip lock do you think that they could dry out the cap??

PS, they sound so damm great. They are from around 72 and they are in great near mint shape.
Thanks.
Old 5th October 2008
  #29
Gear Addict
I bought my 414 eb with the ck-12 for £350. That was about 2.5 years ago. I always knew I got a great deal (and my ex-boss bought another 2 from the same guy). I would say they are worth around £500 (=$1000) minimum. Mine is perfect apart from the switches on the back can be noisy. Is there something I can do to clean them? Cheers,



Antti
Old 5th October 2008
  #30
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Klaus's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair
I'm arguing because you are giving bad advice, based on reading something you seem to not understand. Maybe you've read Klaus' material on the matter, but I've discussed it with him at length, and even have a lot of personal experience with the capsules. I'm trying to clarify for you what you are reading.

I know giving incorrect advice based on things you've read on the internet is the hallmark of gearslutz, but I had to intervene when you started to insist that the OP should sell his mic while it's still functional and worth something. That's terrible advice and downright incorrect.

A 30 year old capsule, if it has survived this far, and is working properly now, is not just going to up and fail in the middle of the night. You simply don't know what you are talking about, regardless of what you read from my good friend Klaus.
EDIT: Changing what I said a few minutes ago because I don't want to sound rude or get involved in internet arguments so I will just say that I disagree w/ you based on what Klaus has said. If he changed his mind since then, great, I'd love to hear what he thinks now. ~Fin
I guess no matter how I respond I will disappoint one of the two posters. Here is an explanation of what I meant:

Most if not all CK12 capsules are prone to lose tension over time.
It is unclear to me whether, in addition to the ravages of abuse (both in terms of high SPL and temperatur extremes), there is also a deteriorating factor in these skins that is out of the owner's control, one that can be attributed to 'aging' whatever that means on a molecular level. There are perfectly intact, clean looking capsules that are 50 years old, then there are CK12s from the 1970s which are shot.

Yes, I overstated (or at minimum sloppily explained) the percentage of CK12s I encounter which have catastrophic tension loss - return of the collapsed diaphragm to normal takes longer than 2 seconds - but I know from experience and post-mortem testing of CK12s that a large majority of those capsules that don't fall under the category defined above no longer has the diaphragm tension that they had when they were new. This condition expresses itself in a tubby, mushy low end, and/or in a grossly uneven frequency response lacking in the famous high frequency 'sheen' the capsule usually possesses. These two types of defects add up to to a good 60-75% of all remaining CK12 capsules one encounters in 2008, in my experience.

The bottom line:
It is always self-evident to the ears whether a CK12 is defective. In catastrophic cases, the capsule's diaphragm gets sucked in by the back plate's polarization voltage- just by itself, when you turn on the mic, or with a little help from popping a 'P' with your the lips right in front of the capsule- and then the low end is completely gone, with the output down by at least 15 dB. In less than catastrophic cases of tension loss, when the capsule is gradually on its way out, it sounds less than flattering at the extremes of the response curve.

By the way: there is no correlation between tension loss/sucking in of diaphragms and contamination, regardless of the ill effects that contamination (lowering of the impedance between the two capacitor plates) has. With other words: cleaning a diaphragm will not improve its tension.
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