In the world of microphones, AKG is a big name, to say the least. The C414 is widely considered to be their flagship model. The C214 is the C414’s cardioid equivalent. It has a similar construction and an identical capsule, but it is smaller and less expensive.
AKG is an Austrian company that has been in the acoustics engineering business since 1947. They have produced many classic microphones throughout the years, some of which changed the landscape of audio recording. The C214 is certainly no exception.
The AKG C214 is a large-diaphragm microphone with a fixed cardioid polar pattern. It has many of the same qualities as its bigger condenser equivalent, the C414, which has been a staple microphone used in studios all over the world since the early 70s.
In this AKG C214 review, we will look at all the specifications of the C214, and we’ll discuss the pros and cons of this microphone.
The AKG C214 Review in Detail
The capsule used in the C214 is a large 1-inch edge-terminated diaphragm that producers super-detailed and up-front sound. The dynamic range it can handle is up to an impressive 143dB whilst still accurately capturing the transient details.
The capsule itself is suspended within the microphone enclosure which reduces resonance and mechanical noise. This further improves the sonic accuracy this microphone captures.
It’s well-known that condenser microphones with large diaphragms are great for capturing detailed and nuanced sounds. While the C414 is generally preferred for capturing vocals, the C214 is considered a more versatile microphone for capturing pretty much any sound source.
The C214 really shines when you use it to mic up a guitar cabinet. The C414, on the other hand, can be slightly overly sensitive for this purpose. The C214’s large dynamic range makes it ideal for recording a loud guitar amp and it will capture the subtle nuances of your electric guitar and amp.
This makes it ideal for recording classic guitars and tube amplifiers as the detail and dynamics created by more “vintage” gear is something that you can’t quite replicate digitally. The C214 is also more than suitable for recording vocals too.
This retro-looking microphone has a really solid and durable construction which makes it a real workhorse in the studio. It has an all-metal body and a double-meshed grill which makes it virtually indestructible.
You won’t have to worry about damaging it when traveling or taking it on tour. The body of this microphone is also scratch-resistant and it blocks out any radio interference for pristine recordings.
The C214 has an incredibly low amount of self-noise, at approximately 13dB(A), which allows for crystalline recordings even with its high sensitivity. This sensitivity, however, may be a drawback if you don’t have an ideal recording space with good isolation.
This is a necessary price to pay for great sensitivity and a whole lot of headroom. The microphone can work with phantom power sources between 12 and 52 volts.
The AKG C214 comes with a spider suspension mount which reduces handling noise when recording. It also helps reduce excess noise from floor vibrations. Additionally, it comes with a foam windscreen to prevent plosive noises and pops when recording vocals either sung or spoken.
All of this is packaged in a solid, durable, metal carrying case which is incredibly handy. Inside this metal carrying case, the microphone and additional components are packaged in foam. This is ideal for taking this microphone on the road or moving it from studio to studio.
The C214 features a switch to roll off the low frequencies. This attenuates any frequencies below 160Hz, which helps eliminate any unwanted buzz, hums, or rumbles from your recordings. This can be caused by electrical equipment, floor vibrations, traffic, or handling noise, and other menacing noisy things.
When the switch is applied, it will not have a noticeable effect on the sound of a vocal recording or an instrumental recording, although you may not want to use it if you’re recording a bass cab. This filter also helps to minimize the proximity effect which can happen when close-micing sound sources.
Additionally, you can apply the pre-attenuation pad, which increases the microphone’s headroom by a whopping 20dB. This is ideal for recording very loud instruments such as snare drums or cranked guitar amps. This prevents the mic’s output from overdriving the input of the mic preamp, which may lead to clipping and distortion.
AKG C214 Usage
The C214 is a total all-rounder microphone. It works equally well on vocals as it does on piano. It really shows its strengths when used to mic up an electric guitar cab, but it’s also perfect for recording acoustic guitars, especially when using a pair of them to capture the stereo sound.
It works very well for string instruments generally, particularly violins, cello, and double bass. For recording drums, they work best as a pair of overhead microphones.
In regards to the C214’s frequency response, it is flat from 60Hz right up to 1kHz. Because of this, the low to mid frequencies that it captures is very accurate and solid.
The frequency response dips between 1kHz and 2.5kHz. At approximately 2kHz, the frequency response dips by a couple of decibels. This is, however, quite a desirable frequency response for recording electric guitars in particular, as it prevents them from sounding too shrill.
Additionally, there is a slight boost in the frequency response between 2.5kHz up to 5kHz. At around 2.5kHz, there is a lift of around 2dB. Above this frequency, it dips back down slightly. This gives instruments and vocal recordings a nice brightness.
Between 5.5kHz and 13kHz, there is a steady rise in the frequency response, which gives recordings of instruments and vocals a nice, strong presence. This frequency response really allows vocal recordings to cut through the mix of a song.
Polar Patterns of the AKG C214
The AKG C214 features a well-established cardioid polar pattern, which makes it more directional than its older brother microphone the C414. The response is very linear and it gives a wide range of coverage.
It is great for recording vocals as the vocalist doesn’t have to be overly careful about mic placement. You will still get that up-front and “right there” vocal sound due to the high sensitivity from the large-diaphragm capsule.
The Pros and Cons of the AKG C214
- Durable construction
- Lightweight design, easily transportable
- Excellent dynamic and transient response
- Very low self-noise
- Wide and responsive 1-inch diaphragm
- In-built low-cut filter
- High sensitivity may lead to unwanted noise being picked up
- The frequency response can color the sound somewhat
- You may want to use an improved shock mount
- Can struggle with sibilance and plosive noise
AKG C214 Specifications
- Polar pattern – Cardioid
- Audio frequency bandwidth – 20 – 20,000 Hz
- Equivalent noise level – 13 dB(A)
- Sensitivity – 20 mV/PA
- Preattenuation Pad – -20dB
- Bass cut filter – 160 Hz
- Electrical impedance – 200 Ohms
- Recommended load impedance – 1000 Ohms
- Width – 56 mm
- Height – 160 mm
- Net weight – 280 g
- Audio Output
- Type – Balanced XLR
- Gender – Male
- Contacts – 3-pin
AKG C214 Review Conclusion
The AKG C214 is a totally solid microphone through and through. Its sturdy construction and consistently great performance make it a worthy addition to any recording studio. The excellent sound of this large-diaphragm condenser microphone is impressive to put it lightly.
Not only that, but it’s incredibly versatile. This workhorse of a microphone can be used to record virtually any instrument or vocal style. It sounds great on a multitude of sources, particularly string instruments such as acoustic guitars and even orchestral instruments such as violins, violas, cello, double bass.
While not as expensive as the older brother of this microphone, the C414, we wouldn’t call this mic budget-friendly. It may be more suitable for professionals with recording studios that have great noise isolation, as the high sensitivity of this microphone may cause issues for home recording.
Because of this, we wouldn’t say that the C214 is suitable as an entry-level microphone. Despite its lower cost relative to its duel-capsule counterpart, the C414, the C214 does not sacrifice sound or build quality.
As mentioned earlier in the review, this microphone really shines when used to mic up an electric guitar cab. This is because its sensitivity and frequency response gives the electric guitar a really punchy sound whilst maintaining the subtleties and nuances of the dynamic range. This is particularly true for recording tube amplifiers.
This microphone is advertised as a general-purpose microphone, and we must say, that is an accurate description. It can truly be used to record virtually any instrument, whether acoustic or electric. Its impressive dynamic range is what gives this mic its versatility.
The AKG C214 really lives up to the reputation of AKG and its lineage of classic, game-changing microphones, and it is a world-class microphone, with unbeatable construction and sound quality, and perhaps unmatched versatility.
If you would like to look into some other great mics for your home studio, we have compiled 2 articles that can help you. Check out the Best Microphones for Home Studio and the Best Microphone for Recording Vocals.