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AKG C414 The Ultimate Comparison: XLS vs XLII vs B-ULS vs EB

Published February 2023

To celebrate AKG’s 75th birthday, we’re shining a light on perhaps their most iconic microphone.

The C414 has been in production for more than 50 years, and a lot of Internet mythology has grown up around the different variants. So we got together two of the most famous historic 414 models alongside the current XLS and XLII and headed to Half-Ton Studios in Cambridge to record the same song four times.

Our unique video gives you the chance to hear how all four models sound on drum overheads, bass, electric and acoustic guitars, male and female vocals, piano and hand percussion — and in a complete mix.

Four different AKG C414 microphones are compared side by side by recording the same track with each. The different versions of the C414 microphones, including the C414EB with the CK-12 capsule and the C414 B-ULS, are tested on different instruments and vocals. The different switches and specifications of each microphone are also highlighted. Ultimately, a straightforward mix with minimal processing is played back to demonstrate how each microphone sounds across all the instruments and vocals in the mix.


00:00 - Introduction
01:14 - C414 EB & Drum Recording Setup
02:03 - Drum Sound Comparison
02:54 - C414 B-ULS & Guitar Re-amp Setup
04:14 - Guitar Sound Comparison
05:09 - Bass Sound Comparison
05:58 - C414 XLS & Acoustic Guitar Recording Setup
07:15 - Acoustic Guitar Sound Comparison
08:04 - C414 XLII & Vocal Recording
09:04 - Male Voice Sound Comparison
09:43 - Female Voice Sound Comparison
10:20 - Piano Sound Comparison
11:09 - Percussion Sound Comparison
12:25 - Full Mix - C414 EB
13:20 - Full Mix - C414 XLS
14:15 - Full Mix - C414 XLII
15:09 - Full Mix - C414 ULS

Sound On Sound have also teamed up with AKG to give away a highly desirable C414 XLII stereo set. Featuring nine polar patterns, multiple pad and filter settings and a self-noise figure of just 6dBA, today’s 414s have class-leading specifications. The C414 XLS captures exactly what you put in front of it, adding nothing and taking nothing away, while if you prefer something with more character, the XLII model is tuned to recall the sparking high end and rich lows of the classic C414 EB from the late ’70s. The stereo set includes a matched pair of these premium studio mics along with custom shock-mounts and a stereo bar, all housed in a super-sturdy flight case.

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AKG 75th Anniversary 160px logo

This SOS video is brought to you in association with AKG.

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