When they released the original D12 back in 1953…
Which was the world’s very first dynamic cardioid microphone…
It instantly became a hit, being used in radio stations, clubs, and recording studios everywhere.
And with that one success, AKG became known as a worldwide standard in professional microphones.
And they have remained that way ever since.
With a countless number of legendary microphones to their name, pro studios everywhere recognize them as one of the top brands in the industry.
Yet surprisingly, they aren’t as well known with the home studio crowd as you might think.
So in today’s post, I will introduce you to several of their very best microphones…so you can see for yourself what you’ve been missing.
Now let’s begin. First up…
1. AKG C414
Whether or not you’re already a fan of AKG mics…
I’m sure you’re at least familiar with this one: the AKG C414.
In its 60+ year history, it has been widely-known as one of the top condenser microphones of all time.
It’s the mic that every pro studio has, and every home studio aspires to have…one day.
If you’re unfamiliar with this mic, perhaps the main reason people love it so much is its versatility.
With 3 bass filters, 3 pads, and 9 switchable polar patterns including cardioid, omni, figure-8, and 6 intermediate settings…
You can do just about anything with this mic.
And as you’ll quickly discover after using it for a while…it sounds great on just about everything, from vocals to stereo drum overheads.
It’s a true “studio workhorse“. Check it out:
- C414 XLII – (Amazon/B&H/GuitarC/MusiciansF/Thomann)
- C414 XLS – (Amazon/B&H/GuitarC/MusiciansF/Thomann)
NOTE: The difference between the XL II and XLS is…the XLS is a bit more “neutral”, while the XLII has a bit of presence boost which many people prefer on vocals.
2. AKG C214
For those of us who stay up late at night fantasizing about the legendary C414…
But know in reality that we won’t be able to afford one in the foreseeable future…
AKG has the perfect alternative: the C214.
At about 1/3 the cost, the C214 delivers much of the same quality we’ve come to expect from the C414…
Only using more “cost-effective” parts.
So what does that mean exactly?
Honestly…who knows? (And trust me, I tried to find the answer for you guys).
The only thing I can say for sure is…users love it, and while it may not sound exactly like a C414, it’s still pretty damn awesome.
3. AKG P220
While historically, most of the top AKG mics have been targeted at a “professional” audience…
It’s tough to deny that these days, home recording is getting insanely popular.
So to accommodate this growing demand, AKG expanded their lineup several years ago to include a set of microphones more affordable to the average musician.
Known originally as the “Perception” series, this line of microphones has recently been updated and is now simply the “P” series.
For large diaphragm condenser vocal mics, the most popular model is the AKG P220.
However…there are 3 other vocal mics as well, and so I’ve included links to all of them below:
- P120 – (Amazon/B&H/GuitarC/MusiciansF/Thomann)
- P220 – (Amazon/B&H/GuitarC/MusiciansF/Thomann)
- P420 (multi-pattern) – (Amazon/B&H/GuitarC/MusiciansF/Thomann)
- P820 (tube) – (Amazon/B&H/GuitarC/MusiciansF/Thomann)
4. AKG P170
Also from the P series, there’s the highly popular AKG P170…
Why is this mic so popular?
Because in the category of small diaphragm condensers, there simply aren’t many options out there.
At least…not many that are good, AND affordable on a modest home studio budget.
And as you’ll see, the P170 has better reviews than many other mics in its category costing several times as much.
Get a pair of P170’s and combine it with the P220 which we just covered, and you have the perfect home setup for recording acoustic guitar/vocals.
5. AKG C451 B
While not very well-known among the home studio crowd…
The AKG C451 B is considered a bona-fide classic by recording engineers and industry professionals.
The original C451, which was an enormously popular microphone back in the day…
Got discontinued for some reason, leaving its fans confused and frustrated.
Recognizing the growing demand for this mic, AKG decided to bring it back, reincarnated as the C451B…
Which was basically the same mic, but with a few updated technologies to make it a bit quieter.
Check it out:
6. AKG C1000S
Now I know I’ve already shown you 2 small diaphragm condensers…
But I’m still gonna show you one more (last one I promise 🙂 ).
Known as the “Swiss Army Knife of Microphones“, the AKG C1000S is quite possibly the most versatile small diaphragm condenser mic in existence.
Here’s a rundown of its features:
- 2 gain settings
- 3 frequency settings
- optional battery power
- “low battery” warning light
- cardioid to hypercardioid converter
- “Presence Boost Adapter” that improves speech clarity
- built-in spider shockmount
- recessed on/off switch
Now compare all that to what you get from most small diaphragm condensers, and it’s obvious that the C1000S is truly a one-of-a kind microphone.
7. AKG D5
The one and only handheld dynamic vocal mic on this list…
The D5 can basically be thought of as AKG’s answer to the Shure SM58.
For live performances, it’s definitely considered one of the top options in its category.
Despite being significantly cheaper than both the SM58, and most other similar mics…
It’s still preferred by a significant percentage of those who try it.
One unique feature of the D5: It incorporates a “Laminated Varimotion Diaphragm“, which is the first diaphragm ever, to use a varying thickness across its diameter.
Check it out:
8. AKG D112
With its iconic “egg shape”, the AKG D112 is perhaps the only mic on this list that rivals the fame of the C414.
While some might disagree…the majority of the recording community would consider it the industry standard for kick drums.
Like all bass mics, it has:
- a low-end boost to accentuate the “thump”
- a presence boost to emphasize the “click”
- and a solid frame to withstand the beating of all that vibration.
Despite its never-ending popularity, the D112 has recently been succeeded by a new version: the AKG D112 mkII.
But it seems that the only real difference between the two is the new mic clip, which is now attached to the body. Other than that, it’s the same old classic.
9. AKG C12 VR
For the last mic on the list, I’ll share the greatest of them all…
The flagship microphone in AKG’s current line: the AKG C12 VR.
Based off the legendary C12 which was originally built back in the 50’s…
The C12 VR is AKG’s newest incarnation of the mic that many have called the “holy grail” of microphones.
Using the original CK12 capsule and 6072 vacuum tube, this new version maintains all the integrity of its predecessor…
But with significantly improved specs on self-noise and distortion.
If you’re not yet familiar with this mic, one look at the sticker price and you’ll gasp (or possibly laugh)…
But if you want the best of the best…that’s exactly what it costs. 🙂