AKG C3000

Large-diaphragm Capacitor Microphone

Published in SOS January 1994
Bookmark and Share

Reviews : Microphone

PAUL WHITE checks out AKG's elegant newcomer and finds that it combines styling with an ability to deliver the goods.


The AKG C3000 has been heralded in some quarters as the affordable alternative to the AKG C414. Whether it sounds like a C414 remains to be seen, but there are several differences between the two mics other than the very obvious cosmetic ones. What might be fairer is to describe the C3000 as an affordable, high quality studio mic that has much in common with the C414, though without the same multi-pattern switching and without quite such a high paper specification.

Available in several versions, the C414's continuing popularity is no doubt down to its 'large diaphragm' sound. While small diaphragm mics are the most 'technically correct' when it comes to achieving great accuracy and an exemplary off-axis response, there's something about the character of a large diaphragm mic that seems to warm and flatter sounds -- especially vocals. The C414 is a true capacitor design, featuring a dual diaphragm capsule. This enables the mic to be switched between cardioid, omni and figure-of-eight pickup patterns.

Though the C3000 is also a large diaphragm capacitor mic, its capsule design is quite different. Here the main diaphragm is very similar to that used in the C414, but behind it is a small-diaphragm capsule, the output of which is combined with the main capsule to produce either a cardioid or hypercardioid response. There's no figure-of-eight and no omni option on this mic. The capsule response is selected by means of a recessed switch on the side of the microphone body, and further switches are fitted for switching in the -10dB pad and the LF roll-off filter, which comes in at around 500Hz and falls away gently.

Unlike the C414, which has a definite classic look to it, the C3000 is the epitome of '90s design. The sleek, die-cast zinc alloy body is finished in satin black with a green trim line, while the capsule itself sits on an elaborate elastic spider suspension to minimise stand-borne noise. Transformerless circuitry, based around discrete FET and transistor devices, is used in the internal preamp, and the microphone will run from phantom power in the range 9 to 52 volts.

An examination of the frequency response of the mic shows it to be nominally flat up to 2kHz, above which there is a slight ripple, followed by a presence peak of around 3dB at 7kHz. The response rolls off slowly above 10kHz and below 100Hz and there is very little difference in the response curves between the cardioid and hypercardioid settings. A useful frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz is quoted in the specifications.

Large diaphragm mics have the ability to be electrically quieter than small diaphragm models, because of the statistics relating to the interaction of individual air molecules with the diaphragm. The trade-off is a greater degree of HF roll-off as the capsule is used off-axis, but as most large diaphragm mics are used on-axis, at fairly close range, this is rarely a disadvantage. In the case of the C3000, noise performance is defined mainly by the quality of the internal electronics, the equivalent A-weighted input noise being 18dBA. Though this isn't as low as can be achieved by more rigorous preamp design, it is low enough to be insignificant for most typical applications. The maximum SPL that can be handled by the mic is around 140dB and a dynamic range of greater than 120dB is quoted.


As it comes, the C3000 is packaged in a padded plastic case that looks like a lunch box designed by British Nuclear Fuels. A stand adaptor and clip are provided, but you have to find your own lead. There's also no external elastic shock mount, as the internal mounting arrangement is said to eliminate the need for it. Personally, I feel that an external shock mount is still a vital fashion accessory! A nice touch is that a small flange moulded onto the end of the mic prevents it sliding out of the clip when suspended upside down.

By far the most popular application of the C414 is to record vocals, and I imagine that AKG see the C3000 as being predominantly a studio vocal mic. However, it's also extremely suitable for use with acoustic guitars, wind, percussion and as a drum overhead. In the latter application, the LF filter is useful, as it helps minimise phase cancellation between close-miked drums and the same sounds being picked up in the overheads.

Tested on both sung and spoken vocals, the C3000 turned in a powerful, solid performance. As with the 414, there's a slightly bright edge to the sound, as might be expected from the shape and position of the presence peak, but it doesn't go so far as to make the mic sound over-sibilant or to throw the top end out of balance with the bottom end. The low end might be described as full or warm, but it isn't mushy or flabby; instead the mic delivers a tight and well-controlled sound across the whole vocal range. Similar results were in evidence when the mic was used on acoustic guitar. There's enough top to bring out that 'new string' zing, but at the same time, the weight of the instrument is maintained rather than tending in any way towards thinness.

In comparison with other quality large diaphragm mics, the C3000 comes over as having its own character. While it's always difficult to put the sound of a mic into words, I'd say the C3000 is slightly on the 'pushy' side of neutral with an effective, forward presence and a slight sizzle which helps to create a lively, exciting vocal sound that projects well in a busy mix. It also has a slightly 'throaty' quality which helps create an intimate, 'in your face' effect without having to resort to sheer level to achieve the same result.

The qualities previously described also have much in common with the performance of the C414, but I don't think you should be looking at the C3000 as something you'd buy if what you really wanted in the first place was a 414 -- it's really a quite different microphone. Indeed, it would demean the C3000 to write it off as a 'second best' C414 because it's a fine microphone in its own right.

AKG have pitched the C3000 so that it competes on price with the Audio Technica 4033, the Microtech Gefell UM70 and Beyer MC834, making it very attractive for the serious project studio owner as well as for the professional. It stands favourable comparison with any of the models mentioned, but at the same time, they all sound quite different to each other -- making the ultimate choice a subjective one. If you're a fan of the classic AKG vocal sound and you don't envisage needing more than the two cardioid patterns on offer, then I don't think the C3000 will disappoint you.


AKG C3000 £528

• Classic AKG vocal mic sound.
• Practical and elegant styling.
• Many secondary uses.

• None at the price.

An excellent mid-price studio microphone
capable of creating the classic AKG vocal sound.



£ C3000 £528 inc VAT.

A AKG Acoustics plc, Vienna Court, Lammas Road, Godalming, Surrey GU7 1JG.

T 0483 425702.

F 0483 428967.

SOS Readers Ads


of Second-User Gear for sale now — don't miss out!

Audio-Technica AT4047 MP

Multi-pattern Condenser Microphone

Thumbnail for article: Audio-Technica AT4047 MP

Audio-Technica have added multiple polar patterns to one of their already successful designs, bringing increased versatility in the studio.

Audio-Technica AT4047 MP | Media

Multi-pattern Condenser Microphone

Audio files to accompany the article.

Audio-Technica AT4050 ST

Stereo Condenser Microphone

Thumbnail for article: Audio-Technica AT4050 ST

There's more to this variation on Audio-Technica's flagship microphone than the simple addition of a second capsule...

Peavey Studio Pro M2

Condenser Microphone

Thumbnail for article: Peavey Studio Pro M2

Paul White explores the capabilities of the understated-yet-powerful Studio Pro M2.

Schoeps VSR5

Microphone Preamp

Thumbnail for article: Schoeps VSR5

Schoeps make some of the most revered mics on the planet, so when they release a commercial version of the mic preamp they use for testing, you have to take it seriously...

Schoeps VSR5 Mic Preamp

Test Measurements

Thumbnail for article: Schoeps VSR5 Mic Preamp

The following charts, made using an Audio Precision Analyser, accompany our review of the Schoeps VSR5 microphone preamplifier.

Blue Encore 300

Handheld Condenser Microphone

Thumbnail for article: Blue Encore 300

Designed as a hand-held live vocal mic, this mic has a cardioid pickup pattern, and seems very robustly engineered.

Cartec EQP1A

Mono Valve Equaliser

Thumbnail for article: Cartec EQP1A

British 'boutique' outboard manufacturers seem to be rather thin on the ground these days, but if this Pultec clone is anything to go by, newcomers Cartec look set to make a big impression.

Prodipe TT1

Dynamic Microphone

Thumbnail for article: Prodipe TT1

Prodipe say they wanted to offer a high-quality, live-sound, cardioid-pattern dynamic mic at a very affordable price.

Sontronics Saturn

Multi-pattern Condenser Microphone

Thumbnail for article: Sontronics Saturn

Sontronics mics usually sound as distinctive as they look - and this one looks more distinctive than most!

MXL Revelation

Multi-pattern Valve Microphone

Thumbnail for article: MXL Revelation

Hot on the heels of the impressive Genesis cardioid valve mic, MXL have unveiled their flagship multi-pattern model, the Revelation. Does it live up to its name?

MXL Revelation | Audio Examples

Multi-pattern Valve Microphone

These audio files accompany the SOS September 2010 review of the MXL Revelation microphone.

Samson Go Mic

USB Microphone

Thumbnail for article: Samson Go Mic

USB mics are nothing new, but the Samson Go Mic is probably the smallest and cutest I've seen to date. This metal-bodied mic,...

AKG Perception 820

Valve Microphone

Thumbnail for article: AKG Perception 820

Does AKGs Chinese-made Perception 820 maintain the Austrian companys impressive reputation?

AKG Perception 820 | Audio

Audio Examples

Hear for yourself how this mic performed during the SOS tests.

Audio-Technica AT4080 & AT4081

Ribbon Microphones

Thumbnail for article: Audio-Technica AT4080 & AT4081

A-Ts brand-new transducer technology has produced a robust design intended to deliver high signal levels as well as that prized ribbon character...

Earthworks DP25C & DP30C

Snare & Tom Condenser Microphones

Thumbnail for article: Earthworks DP25C & DP30C

Despite the ubiquity of the SM57 for use on snare, there are other options — and Earthworks aim to help you capture a more natural sound.

MXL Genesis

Cardioid Valve Microphone

Thumbnail for article: MXL Genesis

We put MXLs Genesis through its paces alongside a much pricier model, to find out just how good a tube mic can be at this price.

MXL Genesis Mic | Audio Files

Hear For Yourself

To accompany our July 2010 Genesis review, we recorded a series of standard tests with the review mic alongside a more established mic (in this case, the AKG C12 VR).

WIN Great Prizes in SOS Competitions!


Home | Search | News | Current Issue | Tablet Mag | Articles | Forum | Blog | Subscribe | Shop | Readers Ads

Advertise | Information | Privacy Policy | Support | Login Help


Email: Contact SOS

Telephone: +44 (0)1954 789888

Fax: +44 (0)1954 789895

Registered Office: Media House, Trafalgar Way, Bar Hill, Cambridge, CB23 8SQ, United Kingdom.

Sound On Sound Ltd is registered in England and Wales.

Company number: 3015516 VAT number: GB 638 5307 26


We accept the following payment methods in our web Shop:

Pay by PayPal - fast and secure  VISA  MasterCard  Solo  Electron  Maestro (used to be Switch)  

All contents copyright © SOS Publications Group and/or its licensors, 1985-2016. All rights reserved.
The contents of this article are subject to worldwide copyright protection and reproduction in whole or part, whether mechanical or electronic, is expressly forbidden without the prior written consent of the Publishers. Great care has been taken to ensure accuracy in the preparation of this article but neither Sound On Sound Limited nor the publishers can be held responsible for its contents.
The views expressed are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of the publishers.

Web site designed & maintained by PB Associates | SOS | Relative Media