I've had this mic for a few years now and am very happy with it. Compared to other similar priced LDCs I found it to stand out.
I've used this mic pretty often for female vocals (mainly rough but sometimes ended up using as final on a track), for acoustic and electric guitars, distant mic for trumpet and for viola and cello. I've found it to be a great low budget mic for these applications.
I did try it a pair of them as overheads once as an experiment but was pretty unimpressed. I also don't like using it for male vocals, not really sure why but the top end just sounds plain wrong, whereas it seems to complement female vox better.
IMO a worthwhile investment for a budget all round LDC if you havent got money to splash on lots of mics.
I also wish it connected (name wise) to the C1000, which I find horrible sounding and useless, and a lot of people I know seem to tar it with the same brush, when they sound worlds apart in quality, at least to me.
The AKG C3000 is a quite small condeser microphone. Kind of eggy shaped. Black housing. Not really a beauty. The ones I had came with swivel mounts, but the optional AKG H100 universal shockmount works quite well with this microphone.
Ease of use and sound;
The placement of the microphone is fairly simple. The clip mount (or the H100) is easy adjustable - or perhaps is it not that easy at all. Perhaps it is not only hard, but extremely difficult, placing these mics and, in particular, finding the sweet spot of it. That can of course be because there simply isn't a sweet spot on this microphone. This mic, along with the Røde NT1, is one of my idiosyncrasies. I dislike the sound of this AKG C3000 mic just as much as I dislike the sound of nails on a blackboard and even more than forks and knives scratching on a plate!
I can't possibly begin to explain you how much I would urge you to NOT nuying this microphone. It's an Austrian made ear-ice-pick painted black. Don't go there. It's cheap, and it is a fizzy, ear piercing piece of crap. Don't even use it for something you want sounding bad. If you have to buy it, use it for door stop or peperweight - all though I could find WAY more good looking paper weights in the world of audio equipment! ...or you could throw them at someone you don't like. The neighbours kids or a persistant door salesman...
Don't go there - it's a useless piece of crap! IMHO that is...
The fact that it served well for the time until I got some better microphones alone, makes for some extra points, from my personal experience with it.
It looks cheap, but it is cheap too!
I never liked it on bassy stuff, low male voices or low-note instruments, but when it had to record trumpets and girls, it proved OK. Especially on trumpets, I chose the C3000 recording, from a Rode NTK recording, a mic I had at that time against the AKG.
It's not a mic to talk about in general, people all over the forums rave against it and you'd look like an idiot for saying out loud that you like it.
I myself feel a bit neutral about it, it served me 'well' the 2 years I spent with it and that's all.
There are far better mics out there. BUT! if you're looking for a budget microphone, maybe you don't want to spend a couple of grand for the 'classics', then this is one to go with.
Firstly the cons Not the most attractive mic out there, or the best.
On the other hand currant prices are about £199 which for the AKG Quality in general and for the quality of this mic in particular is amazing, you wont get many good condensers from such a well respected brand, I recommend this Mic for any studio.
The top end on this mic can be a little brittle, if paired with the wrong source, or if too much eq is applied. That said, I find it a lot better mic than others have suggested here.
In a pinch, a pair will work for OH's...my first choice? No, of course not. That said, it does have a relatively faithful top end, and is a fast sounding mic, leaving things like your snare punchy in your OH mix.
I first used a pair of these on a budget choir / ensemble gig, where I was not the one providing the equipment. The person that had me come out and set up, had a pair of these, some C1000's, and some 58's and 57's.
We ended up spot miking several things with the dynamics, and used these 3000's as a spaced pair at stage front, and I have to say they did a pretty decent job of capturing what went down accurately enough.
They sounded more "expensive" than they were, and everyone was quite happy with the way the recording came out. We were all surprised at how much high freq detail they picked up at that great of a distance.
One other time on a small jazz session, I used a 3000 on snare top, as the fear of it getting hit by a stick was not so great. I ran this mic, and an SM57 side by side, thinking I would use the C3000 on the sections where the brushes were played.
I ended up using the C3000 track on it's own for almost all of the mix, and it produced a nice fast, articulate snare sound. I haven't tried it, but I bet this mic would be great for snare bottom too.
In short, if you see one for cheap, I think it can certainly rival other mics that cost about the same, or more, and it is worth having one or two around.
It's not for high-end recording; it's for live shows
I have a couple of these, and have had them for some time. They are not bad recording mics, but for a little bit more money, you can get a condenser that is a fair amount better.
Where these really excel is they have a supercardioid mode. This sounds like it would be pretty cheesy: they have a large format element in front, and a small-format element in back that they subtract from the front. It's the same idea as a figure 8 pattern, but in this case it makes the mic extra directional.
Anyway, the result is that you can use them live without the problems condensers normally have of feeding back, and for pure voices and acoustic guitars and such (anything you want a clear, bright sound for) they sound a lot better than the dynamic mics people normally use for live work.
I haven't tried them with a band that plays extremely loud, but for quieter acoustic-oriented acts, they work great, even with a large sound system. The switchable bass rolloff is also helpful for live work.
If you are trying to record in the studio, make sure you turn off supercardioid mode. It gives a bit of an odd frequency response that you can hear in a studio environment, what with two elements of different types interacting. I suspect some of the people who really hate it used it in this mode.
These were my first pair of LDCs --both gone now, which will tell some of the story though not necessarily all of it. What needs to be said is that since these were my first, and since almost all of m meaningful experience with LDCs follow them, I may actually lack the language to describe them adequately, even though their sound is forever stuck in my head.
It has a decent build quality, comes in an excellent case, pad and rolloff and dual pattern (cardioid and hyper).
I am afraid to say that to my ears it had a boxiness that I could never quite dial out and that during YEARS of continuous use I learned to ID very quickly in my recordings, in the same way one learns to hear the unfortunate peculiarities of one's recording room over years of repetition--you can hear when you bounce a note off an unfortunately placed window. So it was with this mic. It became a trademark...
I do not find them hyped by comparison to the SP C1--for example--that was the next LDC I bought. First listen to the C1 by comparison was like pulling the proverbial cotton out, but not in a way that I ultimately came to appreciate much either...sigh.
I do not regret them--pretty good deal, usable on a variety of source. There is to my ears something boxy going on in the mids, though.
I'll share my experience with them. When recording 'Track Zero' (that first stereo track of a band performance, that will later be deleted by individual solo recordings), I have always used a pair of Joe Meek JM27. Small diaphragms, but accurate and cheap. If they take too much SPL, or abuse of other types, they can be replaced, no love lost.
Several bands, clients, friends told me than an LDC is better...any LDC. So I bought a pair of silver C3000.
Glassy is the word I'd use. And scratchy. Not pleasing at all. I ended up going back to my JM27 for track zero overheads.
I tried the C3000 on different sources.
Voice - in every case, I have other mics that I prefer; Brauner Panthera, SM7B,AT4047, Sure KSM32, even SM57 and 58. Acoustic guitar - again, the AKG is scratchy on the eardums, as if it overloads on highs. I tried my fave combo, a DPA 4061 inside the body for a big darkness, and the C3000 outside the hole to complement. Once again, any mic can do it better...even the Joe Meek. Amps, guitar and bass - this mic lacked the low end to be usable. Drums - as overheads, they don't capture the THUMP in the drums. Very one dimensional and thin.
I sold them on Ebay, and have gone back to my JM27 pair for track zero. For me', the AKG C3000 just took up more space in my mic box than I was able to justify. It seems odd that AKG makes such a useless thing.
I hate to throw a monkey wrench in the works, but there have been four versions of this mic. The original C 3000 was very different than the other three versions. Unfortunately AKG has supremely confused matters by not changing the name. (And in one case changing the name when there were no changes internally!) I run in to this confusion often, so I wrote an extensive comparison article: Recording Tricks: AKG C 3000 Mic | SilentWay.com
In short, if it's not the two-capsule original model made from 1993-1999, it is a lesser mic. The original model can be identified by the ability to switch between cardioid and hypercardioid with a switch on the back of the mic. It is black and has a logo that looks like multiple pickup patterns.
So, this collection of reviews needs to be split into at least one more category, and all previous reviews should be clarified.