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Is AKG C414 EB really that special? Condenser Microphones
Old 13th February 2018
  #31
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Quote:
Do you think music now sounds better than it did in the 50s and 60s ?
One could argue in terms of clarity yes it does!
Old 13th February 2018
  #32
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Originally Posted by Mark Adams View Post
One could argue in terms of clarity yes it does!
Then again one could argue the opposite.

I'm not sure there's much point in making value judgments about this unless we have some sort of agreement on terms.

I've spoken to many people who make the kind of argument you describe which is also similar to something the OP said. I suspect that you're both the kind of people that grew up with the treble knob on your music at about 2 to 4 o'clock, and like it that way.

I can understand that... since I have a good imagination.

But the point I always come back to is that however you feel about that kind of hyped high end - which is also well illustrated by many modern condensor mics - it is not much like the natural sound of musical instruments, unless maybe you are hovering over and almost touching your ear to the cymbals or the bridges of stringed instruments.
Old 13th February 2018
  #33
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Originally Posted by Pine View Post
The threads on this forum claim it can cure cancer.

But I don't get it... It's a decent mic for its age and it's praised chiefly for handling the highs with little sibilance. Yes, it does that well and goes for many thousands of dollars nowadays. I use and enjoy the newer AKG models (the XLS and XL II) and both do what the EB does, except they're better, to me. I hadn't heard the EB's and was very curious after reading about them here. So looking around, I finally found a studio that has one (original brass ring CK12 model). After extensive comparisons with the new models (especially the XL II, which looks like what AKG replaced the EB line with, since it's tuned nearly exactly the same way), I realized that the modern mic is better in every way. It too manages to put out ample high end without sibilance but is much more clear and distortion-free. Can't really understand why the old, inferior model is still so revered.

Anyone here heard them all and feels the same way? Very curious.

I don't necessarily think thread majorities are favoring the EB. Some guys say that, some don't.

I owned 4 eb models that I bought new in 1975 or so. Used them a lot and eventually sold them. I now have two xls models I bought new over the past 3-4 years. I like them. Haven't tried the XLII flavor; maybe I will eventually, maybe not.

I don't discern a huge difference when I solo old 1970s tape track lead vocals done with an eb compared to stuff I record now with xls.
Old 13th February 2018
  #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thenoodle View Post
I don't discern a huge difference when I solo old 1970s tape track lead vocals done with an eb compared to stuff I record now with xls.
Agreed -- soloed, they sound very similar.
Old 13th February 2018
  #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pine View Post

Imagine going back through time machine and handing one of these new 414's to a great engineer working in the 50s or 60s... What are the chances they'd be complaining that they're too clear and analytical sounding? Maybe they'd complain about the near-0 self noise these have? I imagine they'd grab the thing and offer you a bunch of u47's for it.
I've always found that scenario amusing.

Go to Abby Road in 67, in the midst of the engineers trying all sorts of manipulation to do bounces and keep the noise down, and using inline filters to do eq on instruments.

Give' em a pair of blackface ADAt's and a modern mid-level 16 channel live sound board with three-band parametric eq.

What would the reaction be?

Modern fashion is to believe that they would they would run holding their ears and yell for someone to get that awful sounding crap out of here. ( Arrrgh! it sounds like being drenched with cold water! I can hear the gaps!)


I think they would probably be massively impressed.
Old 13th February 2018
  #36
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arsmusic's Avatar
What do you guys use the 414 on that it is so good on? Years ago 20 maybe I bought a c414 B-ULS. I think this is the one I got. If was indefinably not the tl-II. It was one of the first mics I ever had besides a 57. As the years went by I stopped using it and eventually sold it. Over the past few years I have heard a lot about 414's. What about them is so good. And what are you using them on?
Old 13th February 2018
  #37
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Originally Posted by Space1999 View Post
Just because your mic can extend past 20k and 20Hz
Doesn’t mean you should use all of that range. In fact that generally means you need to think LPF and HPF.
And the inherent phase shift that entails.
Old 13th February 2018
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arsmusic View Post
What do you guys use the 414 on that it is so good on? Years ago 20 maybe I bought a c414 B-ULS. I think this is the one I got. If was indefinably not the tl-II. It was one of the first mics I ever had besides a 57. As the years went by I stopped using it and eventually sold it. Over the past few years I have heard a lot about 414's. What about them is so good. And what are you using them on?
Mine are a pair of original 414 aka "comb" with new Tim Campbell capsules (repros of the original brass capsules).

These (while the darkest version of the mic) are a bit bright for my tastes. I have a lot of mics relative to the channels I would record at one time which means no particular need to use any one of them out of a lack of options.

I use these for things like hand drums, slotted wood blocks, or other small percussion that isn't particularly bright, where I might want less attack or more lows than I would get from a neutral SDC, or more detail than I would get from a ribbon; or some vocals, positioned further out than other mics; darker acoustic guitars ; or pump organ. I have not tried them on upright bass but probably will soon.
Old 14th February 2018
  #39
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So, are you talking about these mics?

AKG C414 "COMB" MICROPHONE W/ C12 BRASS CAPSULE!- BEAUTIFUL VINTAGE! | eBay

I have about 25 or so mics. Is there actually a big enough difference in paying 3 times the money for one of these? I have mics I use all the time and mics that just sit and do not see much use. I could see a 414 just sitting not sure until I try one again though.
Old 14th February 2018
  #40
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Nice box.
Old 14th February 2018
  #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pine View Post
I tried it with both male and female vocals. As with all top-heavy C414's, the highs are amazingly free from nasty sibilance and the EB has this euphoric sound to it which could probably be desirable in a certain song, but it's just some distortion I'd rather be without for 98% of my vocal takes. When you compare them, it's always obvious that EB is an old mic you're working with and the new AKG's sound like logical upgrades.

I have a feeling AKG engineers are laughing when they see folks these days going nuts about these old AKG mics, believing they're somehow worth more than these modern fine upgrades which I'm sure the people using EB's back in the day wouldn't dream to have.
If you’re getting distortion there was something wrong with the cables, the gain staging, or the mic. There are really no two ways about it. The headroom on that mic is way outside of a zone where you should realistically expect to be hearing “distortion” unless you maybe put it inside a kick drum or something.
Old 14th February 2018
  #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arsmusic View Post
What do you guys use the 414 on that it is so good on? Years ago 20 maybe I bought a c414 B-ULS. I think this is the one I got. If was indefinably not the tl-II. It was one of the first mics I ever had besides a 57. As the years went by I stopped using it and eventually sold it. Over the past few years I have heard a lot about 414's. What about them is so good. And what are you using them on?
A 414EB, BULS, or even TLII (I have little experience with the XLS and none with the others)....can work nicely on guitars and vocals, especially when you want a bit flatter midrange than most Neumann or related designs, but still want some LDC type qualities.

For example, if you are overdubbing a bunch of harmonies, you can stack without it getting as wooly as some mics might get, or with much noise buildup. Same for guitars. Not that it would be my first choice exactly.

A good tube mic preamp can really class up the sound...sort of like “C12 Lite”.
Old 14th February 2018
  #43
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matucha's Avatar
What is special about EB and COMB? The brass capsule and simple electronics. It sounds like a C12 with less magic, more real and direct. And the prices are mostly about the capsule. With teflon capsule it's much cheaper.

Now if you want to hear the difference between new and old, go here: Curing Condenser Confusion: An Audio History of the AKG C 414 - Page 2 of 2 - SonicScoop

To my ears it just gets progressively less natural. You may like that.

I like the teflon EBs for perc, bass, piano and some vocals (yes I may prefer it to brass-capsule at times). Also front of the kit for drums can work pretty well for fat bass and low mids with darker cymbal sound.

EB and COMB on vocals, sometimes it works better than C24 because of slightly more modern sound. Esp EB. COMB is creamier yet not "compressed" like the C12/24 with more realistic sounding transients. It's a palette. Oh... and they sound great as overheads of course.


What is less desirable with old C414? They are a bit noisy if you record really quiet stuff, also the output is low for condenser (that is kind of a good thing for drums).


There are plenty of other useful mics, this one is just one of them and you can def. make many great sounding albums without using C414s.
Old 14th February 2018
  #44
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Back in the 80's 414EB was one of the few good options for vocals and overheads besides ribbons or Neumann or Sony.

A good 414 has a specific color to the sound that is typically desirable for drum overheads.

The 414 started as the C12, and went through more revisions than any mic I have heard of. Each step of the way was to make it cheaper to manufacture. I had a pair of 414 from the late 90's that just sucked.

If you do a search, there is history of every stage of 414 evolution.

The brass cap design has been clones by Advanced Audio. I think AA makes a better 414 today than AKG does.
Old 14th February 2018
  #45
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arsmusic's Avatar
You talking about this one?

CM414 | Advanced Audio Microphones

I heard months ago some of their mics where good. Then I started reading about their c800g clone. The owner as asked if it sound like a real one and he said "I do not know we do not have one to test." At this point I sort of stopped checking into their company. Seems like they were just making mics off freq response charts.
Old 14th February 2018
  #46
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teleharmonium's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by arsmusic View Post
So, are you talking about these mics?

AKG C414 "COMB" MICROPHONE W/ C12 BRASS CAPSULE!- BEAUTIFUL VINTAGE! | eBay

I have about 25 or so mics. Is there actually a big enough difference in paying 3 times the money for one of these? I have mics I use all the time and mics that just sit and do not see much use. I could see a 414 just sitting not sure until I try one again though.
That's it. Mine don't have the original capsules. The original capsule makes a big price difference. I'm into the pair for not much more than the asking price on the single mic you linked to, including the new TC capsules and installation.

I can't say what makes sense for someone else. I think it's good strategy to have a pair of multi pattern LDCs, especially if you don't have many mics. On the other hand it's not essential. I wasn't hell bent on getting 414s and wouldn't have done it if they weren't older versions.

I have a pair of old PMLs that I use more... they are darker than my 414 pair and I like their proximity effect for vocals. If I needed mics and was looking for versatility I might go with a pair of the current multi pattern Milabs with the rectangular capsules which are similar to my PMLs... but, yeah, again, brighter.
Old 14th February 2018
  #47
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by arsmusic View Post
What do you guys use the 414 on that it is so good on? Years ago 20 maybe I bought a c414 B-ULS. I think this is the one I got. If was indefinably not the tl-II. It was one of the first mics I ever had besides a 57. As the years went by I stopped using it and eventually sold it. Over the past few years I have heard a lot about 414's. What about them is so good. And what are you using them on?
I always use mine on vocals. It (the XLII) has a built-in presence boost and you hardly do any eq on it if recorded in a good room. And with all that boosted presence, you hardly need to touch the desser either, which is what I really love about it. For female vocals particularly, it sounds much more pleasing to me that a u87 and a whole bunch of other more expensive mics. Haven't used on much else though. Tried once on acoustic guitar and wasn't happy. Better stick to some nice SDC's for that.
Old 14th February 2018
  #48
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arsmusic's Avatar
The idea of 414EB with replaced brass capsules sounds like a good option. I see one available right now with a new Telefunken capsule for about half of the one on Ebay. Though a 414 is not the first thing on my list right now. I wanna pickup on of the reissue u67 that Neumann is putting out in a few months. Maybe after I get that one I will get a pair of 414ebs. I do not really need more mics right now but a wide pallet of mics is always a good thing to have. Already have plenty of ribbons so something between a LDC and ribbons may be a good thing to have a pair of.
Old 14th February 2018
  #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arsmusic View Post
You talking about this one?

CM414 | Advanced Audio Microphones

I heard months ago some of their mics where good. Then I started reading about their c800g clone. The owner as asked if it sound like a real one and he said "I do not know we do not have one to test." At this point I sort of stopped checking into their company. Seems like they were just making mics off freq response charts.
That;s the one. The C12 clone AA offers is actually half way between a C12 and C800 in design. When looking for a C800 clone most point to a VTB, but I have never used that one.

I did have a C800 for 5 years. (Not the C800G). It was a great sounding mic that almost never got used. It could take 156 SPL without blinking and sounded great on mono drum overhead or screaming vocals or a rocket liftoff.
Old 14th February 2018
  #50
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I dunno - I've got an old brass 414EB and a couple of the newer XLII's (I think - I can never remember the damn model number). The older EB model wins every shoot out, and sometimes wins vocal shoot outs agains my U67 or Pearlman. It has its own thing, and there's something about the top end I really like, especially on brighter acoustic guitars. It doesn't have the midrange 'magic' of the big Neumanns, but it's way less boring and sterile than the modern 414's I've heard.

Hard to say if it's worth the current market rate, which has more to do with rarity than anything I guess. I bought mine before the prices got silly, but I don't plan to sell it anytime soon.
Old 14th February 2018
  #51
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arsmusic's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by elegentdrum View Post
That;s the one. The C12 clone AA offers is actually half way between a C12 and C800 in design. When looking for a C800 clone most point to a VTB, but I have never used that one.

I did have a C800 for 5 years. (Not the C800G). It was a great sounding mic that almost never got used. It could take 156 SPL without blinking and sounded great on mono drum overhead or screaming vocals or a rocket liftoff.

I had a c800 (the original one not g) for several years also. It sounded really good on acoustic guitar, female vocals and OH. Though I did not have two of them wish I did. I kick myself for selling it. I really wanna buy a c800g. But think I should buy the u67 reissue before Neumann stops making it in a few years. They told me at NAMM 2018 they have no intent to stop making it but you never know. I grabbed a u47fet when they reissued that a few years ago.

Just saw this shoot out with the VTM and 800g. I thought A sound better in 1 B sounded better in 2 then read the mics. A1 800g B2 800g. Did not listen to 3.

YouTube

Defiantly picking up a u67 and a 800g then maybe on to a 414edb or two.

Is there a noticeable difference between a original brass capsule 414EB and a new Telefunken brass capsule (rebuilt 414EB)? The price is almost cut in half.
Old 14th February 2018
  #52
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by toledo3 View Post
If you’re getting distortion there was something wrong with the cables, the gain staging, or the mic. There are really no two ways about it. The headroom on that mic is way outside of a zone where you should realistically expect to be hearing “distortion” unless you maybe put it inside a kick drum or something.
Not talking about clipping distortion... I mean distortion inherent to the sound that comes out of it - one might call that color though and for certain songs that may sound cool, I agree. But it doesn't have the true-to-life fidelity of the new 414's and the magic of top-end/upper-mid smoothness.
Old 14th February 2018
  #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matucha View Post
What is special about EB and COMB? The brass capsule and simple electronics. It sounds like a C12 with less magic, more real and direct. And the prices are mostly about the capsule. With teflon capsule it's much cheaper.

Now if you want to hear the difference between new and old, go here: Curing Condenser Confusion: An Audio History of the AKG C 414 - Page 2 of 2 - SonicScoop

To my ears it just gets progressively less natural. You may like that.
Thanks for the link. If I had to base my opinion on this shootout (especially with the female voice), then I would agree that the brass 414 is the most natural of the bunch. More importantly, in this shootout, it (and the TL II version to a smaller degree) avoids that mid-range boxyness which you hear with the other mics. It has an overall more pleasant and true-to-life tone, too.

I am surprised by this shootout. This isn't the sound I was getting when comparing them myself. Here the XL II is very disappointing and almost sounds like the $200 Rode NT1-A and not the modern flagship that it is. If my shootout showed results like this, I would immediately sell my new 414's and buy the brass 414, whatever the price.
Old 14th February 2018
  #54
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This is interesting comparison:

AKG C24 vs Lauten LA-320 comparison

Lauten 320 is ~$500 mic, so it's the same pricerange as used C414s. it could be interesting alternative to EBs with CK12 if you're buying them for poor mans C12 sound. It doesn't sound chinese to me and you can tame some of it's sibilance with de-essers or maybe with a tube swap.
Old 14th February 2018
  #55
Teleharmonium if you find them too bright send me an email.
Old 14th February 2018
  #56
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The last 414 shootout I listened to compared nearly all of the 414 incarnations and, from the post 80's teflon capsule group, I ended up preferring what I think is one of the newest models.

I would assume that most of the differences are more attributable to circuity rather than capsule differences.

In any case, isn't whatever 'sound' one can derive from a microphone arguably the result of combined qualities of the recorded source and all the gear used to record the track?

For what its worth I believe these links exhibit the same singer recorded in (3) instances with a 414eb P48 through an Altec tube pre; and in (1) instance with a Neumann M249 and V72 preamp.

New Shoelaces:
YouTube

Possessive Emotion (a John Mayall tune):
YouTube

Diving Duck Blues:
YouTube

Unforgiven:
YouTube
Old 14th February 2018
  #57
JAT
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Akg would replace the brass capsule when you sent in your eBay for servicing- without informing the owner. So a 414 be mightnot have the brass cap and you wouldn’t know it unless you checked.
Old 14th February 2018
  #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Campbell View Post
Teleharmonium if you find them too bright send me an email.
Tim I don't think the capsules themselves are too bright; I think they probably sound about the same as the brass ones would have when they were new and that is what they should be as I see it. In fact I may be talking to you about another pair to go inside some Blue B8 bayonet mount capsules that I don't use.

I find most condenser mics to be bright and I'm very particular where I use them. I don't mind having limited or specific applications for gear according to my tastes or needs, I kind of like it as it can simplify my decision making.

When it comes to vintage gear I tend to want to have good representative examples of them as opposed to tweaking or modding them to suit my tastes (unless it's more of a new build from parts that go into a new rack chassis in which case I am OK with taking liberties). Otherwise, it is hard to relate what you are doing in understandable terms or bounce your ideas off of other engineers for a reality check.
Old 14th February 2018
  #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LSA7 View Post
In any case, isn't whatever 'sound' one can derive from a microphone arguably the result of combined qualities of the recorded source and all the gear used to record the track?
Of course. We can only hear complete signal chains of one kind or another. However if we record the same source and swap out only one variable, we can get an idea of the differences. Sometimes they are subtle and sometimes not.

It's not perfect since the combinations are interactive and endless, but human opinion, memory, and decision making being the dubious things they are, the closer you can get to a side by side comparison with appropriate and issue free components in the rest of the signal chain, the better off you are.
Old 14th February 2018
  #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DPower View Post
And the inherent phase shift that entails.
Which is inaudible and a moot point. Unless you don’t have one of a thousand phase coherent EQs out there like Fabfilter, Waves etc....
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