If you're looking for a hyper-versatile microphone you can use for quality recordings ranging from vocals to drums to bass to brass instruments to guitars, and pretty much everything between, AKG C414 XLS and XLII are fantastic options to look at.
Caution: Before you read further, you should know that these are high-end, $1000-plus professional microphones. Aimed at serious music producers looking to take their studios to next-level fidelity.
They also need a professional recording environment for best results. So if you’re on a tight budget, just starting out with recording, and need a simpler solution to recording audio for your podcast or home studio, we suggest taking a look at Shure SM7B or Shure SM58 instead.
In summary, both of these microphones are large-diaphragm condenser mics. They offer enormous value and studio-grade sound quality. The multi-pattern feature offers a level of versatility that lets you adjust settings for your specific recording needs. The AKG C414 XLS is the warmer and darker of the two and the better allrounder. The AKG C414 XLII, on the other hand, gives you a brighter top-end. Probably one of AKG's most legendary microphones, the AKG C414 has been a constant work in progress, with updates being made throughout the years. The latest LED-lit avatars boast 15 major upgrades, according to the official AKG website.
While these are a testimony to AKG's innovative spirit, what does it actually translate to in reality? Let’s have a look at these two and find out.
Staying true to the classic look of the AKG C414, both the XLS and XLII are easily identifiable as descendants of their lineage.
The most noticeable difference in this department is the gold mesh the AKG C414 XLII sports in contrast to the silver grille of the AKG C414 XLS. These mics, however, both come with LED’s. A first-timer in the AKG C414 history. More on that in the Features section.
Both weigh in at 300g. And are 38 mm long, 50 mm wide, and 60 mm high.
Both come with large diaphragms and a multi-pattern capacitor. This gives the microphone its extensive frequency bandwidth (20 - 20,000 Hz). Add the multiple cardioid patterns you can choose from, and it’s easy to understand why the C414’s have been such a staple with some of the world’s most respected studios.
One feature that’s not just a random cosmetic gimmick to get with the times but has genuinely useful and specific uses are the LED lights.
- It shows you the cardioid pattern selected.
- It acts as a clip indicator. (For those who came late, ‘clipping’ is when the audio levels are too high and distort).
- They are placed to facilitate optimal placement of the mic. A clear vision of the LED from the instrumentalist or singer’s perspective means the performance is being ‘aimed’ correctly. An extremely handy feature. Especially for those dimly-lit, moody recording sessions.
The AKG C414 XLS stays closer to the sonic character of the legendary C414 B-ULS. This is possibly the ‘’..most popular AKG C414 version since 1971’’ according to the official AKG website. Neutrality and transparency were the primary areas of focus during the conception. Both are apparent while listening. This is your quintessential all-rounder. And probably more suited for those looking to buy a pair together for stereo micing.
AKG C414 XLII
The primary difference between AKG C414 XLII and XLS is the capsule. A tribute to the legendary AKG C12 microphone from 1953, it comes more presence in the highs and spatial reproduction. The perfect high-end vocal-mic.
Both microphones are priced at $999 each.
In conclusion, this is how the AKG C414 XLS and XLII stack up against each other:
- Design: Tie
- Sound: Tie
- Price: Tie
The jury is out. You can’t really go wrong with either of these mics. Both are winners! All you need to figure out are your specific needs.