The AKG Pro Audio C214 Professional Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone is one of the most commonly known and widely used universal vocal and instrument recording devices around.
No, you’re not going to find it in the vocal booth at a super high-end studio, but there’s a good chance that you will come across one in a studio at some point.
When you purchase this Microphone it comes as a bundle with a foam pop filter that covers the entire top of the unit, a shock mount, and a high-quality carrying case.
It has more than just a power switch
It is much more than it appears to be. Obviously, it’s a microphone, but it doesn’t just have your average power switch and that’s it. It features two switches and multiple hidden features.
One of them is a preattenuation pad switch that when activated allows you to add 20 dB of headroom to your recordings. This helps to prevent distortion of loud or close-up instruments or vocals. So, the preattenuation pad prevents the microphone’s output level from overloading the mixer input, particularly in the low range of frequencies.
The other one is a Bass Cut filter switch. It helps filter out low-end distortion, rumble, and wind noise. Anything under 160 Hz is lowered 6 dB/octave. It also helps to minimize the proximity effect that happens when placing a microphone within 6 inches of the instrument or voice being recorded.
I record my vocals with both features switched to the “ON” or “Activated.” This helps considerably to clear out a lot of unusable frequencies before any other effects or processing. That inadvertently helps alleviate computer overload. However, this does produce a very low-sounding recording that usually needs some level of amplification. I just use software to level them out. Either with Dark Audacity or in whichever DAW I am currently using.
The Good, The Bad, & The Not So Ugly
The good clearly outshines the bad when it comes to this microphone. With tons of features, hidden or otherwise, you’ll get the most bang available for your buck. At nearly a third of the price of the more common C414, what it lacks in flair, it more than makes up for with its built-in features.
When designing the C214, they literally thought of everything. You can tell they took the input they were given seriously and engineered a work of art, in a technical sense.
There’s almost no limit to the type of instrument that can be recorded as long as you are in a room that has been prepared for sound reverberation. Any normal studio is great. You can use a room draped with moving blankets or sound defusers, but a room filled with objects is a good start.
- Preattenuation Switch To Allow for More Head Room
- Bass Cut Switch to prevent rumble.
- Universal Studio Mic for almost all situations
- High-Quality All Metal Construction
- Engineered for Sound Engineers by Engineers Feedback
- Gold plated XLR Connector and advanced back plate of the transducer element
Pros of the AKG Pro Audio C214 Condenser Microphone
It features a preattenuation pad switch. This switch increases headroom by lowering the output to the mixer by 20 dB. This helps reduce hiss and rumble from breathy vocals or harsh instrumental strikes.
There’s also a Bass Cut switch. The Bass Cut switch activates a filter that affects all the frequencies below 160 Hz at -6dB/octave. As mentioned above if used in a close-miking situation it helps to prevent the proximity effect.
It’s basically a universal microphone in any sound-conditioned studio setting. The C214 is great for almost every type of recording scenario outside of the stage setting and even pretty good for that too. There’s a long list of instruments that this microphone is great for recording but only 2 on the list say they are only okay, as opposed to excellent.
The all-metal body ensures efficient rejection of RF interference. The C214 is built tough for longevity. It has state-of-the-art hand-selected components that meet the highest quality standards. All the electronics inside are made of high-grade metals to ensure the best sound recreation.
Designed with all of its predecessors in mind. Its design is based on feedback from sound engineers who use the C12, C12 A, C414, C414 EB, C414 B-ULS, C414B-TL II, and the C414 XLII microphones which have been in use for years and are available all over the world.
Gold Plated XLR output connector for lossless signal recording. They use gold because of its excellent conductivity. It allows for the best signal, especially when using the highest quality cables.
Cons of the AKG Pro Audio C214 Condenser Microphone
The unit can’t be used without an interface with phantom power. It requires 12 to 52 V as per IEC 61938. Use only an IEC 61938 standard phantom power supply. So, if your input-output device doesn’t have phantom power, it is useless.
This can be a bit costly if you need to buy an interface and cable, which are both needed to use this microphone correctly. However, you do get what you pay for.
Unlike a Dynamic Microphone, this unit doesn’t have an off switch. This means that the C214 can be damaged very easily when it comes to connecting and disconnecting it from its power source.
Make sure to never unplug the mic when it’s powered on and connected to phantom power. First, completely shut down the interface or computer altogether. Then disconnect the unit.
If you need to connect it, make sure the interface or computer is completely powered off beforehand. Then connect it. After it’s connected correctly, go ahead and turn on the interface or computer.
The C214 is a Great Starter Mic for Anyone Who’s Serious
If you’re serious about upgrading but still on a budget, this is a great choice. It doesn’t even come close to breaking the bank but offers immense value for any recording artist, producer, sound engineer, or video producer.
I wasted a lot of money moving from a $100 USB Microphone to a $150 USB Mic, to a $200 USB Mic. Then, finally on to a $350 USB Microphone. Which all work great for podcasting or narrating videos, but they aren’t nearly as good as any XLR Microphone.
If I’d had known better at that time I would have started with the AKG C214 and a Focusrite Scarlett Solo. That’s exactly what I needed to get the best possible value at a professional level, but for a budget price.
Now, if you’re advanced in knowledge and experience plus you have the money for it, the best option would be the C414 XLII, which is the model the C214 aspires to be. That’s not to say you won’t get a tremendous amount of value by going with the C214. It goes great with a pair of Sennheiser HD 280s for your best chance recording professional sounding track.
Package contents of the AKG Pro Audio C214
- 1 AKG Pro Audio C214 Condenser Microphone.
- 1 H85 Shock Mount for connecting to a microphone stand.
- W214 Foam Windscreen
- High-Quality Case For Storage of Microphone and Accessories.
The accessories that come with it are top-notch.
AKG Pro Audio C214 Condenser Microphone Price
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My Opinion of the AKG Pro Audio C214 Condenser Microphone
I use this microphone for vocals mainly but it also gets a lot of use with my Rode RodeCaster Pro podcast mixer. I love how beautiful my voice sounds through it compared to my USB mic or some of my other cheaper ones. I normally think I sound nasally or distorted, but not through this device. The ability to record better music vocals and backup tracks has undoubtedly jumped to the next level with its use.
It’s not only good for vocals and instruments, I also use it to record sound effects and foley. Its crisp dynamic range and clear flat response are perfect for professional-sounding recordings. I went from using a conference mic to a USB mic, to an XLR mic and the difference was exponential. Like moving up from a bicycle to a 150cc motorcycle. Then, jumping up to a 1500cc motorcycle. I’m sorry for the analogy but I figured that’s an easy way to visualize what I’m saying.
It may sound unbelievable, but you will actually be able to hear that much of a difference. When I hooked up the C214 and used it for recording for the first time, I was blown away, and I didn’t want to stop using it. It was like my creativity fountain was overflowing because I felt good about how much better it was than before.
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