Top 7 Best AKG Microphones - Musician Nerd

Updated on Dec 29, 2020



AKG microphones come from one of my favorite brands, with a wide range of products that can be used for many different things. AKG is one of those microphone companies that excel in both the lower end and higher-end markets, with their project studio line making amazing budget studio options & the C12 being one of the best high-end tube mics.

For this article, we’ve compiled a list of the best AKG microphones from low end to high. No matter what your budget is, you’ll find the best AKG mic for your range. Afterward, we’ll dive into the history of AKG as a company, and how they came to be.

Without further a due, let’s go through their best microphones.

The Best AKG Microphones

Our Picks


Best Overall

1. AKG C214


The AKG C214 is one of AKG’s best condenser microphones, offering a great balance between quality and cost. While not the most affordable mic on the market, for a studio microphone under $500, it’s really impressive.

AKG C214 Large Diaphragm Kit
AKG C214 Large Diaphragm Kit

I’ve had the pleasure of using one of these on several occasions. This XLR microphone uses a Unidirectional polar pattern. What this means is that it’ll only pickup sound coming in through the front, while muting out noise from the sides & rear of the capsule.

The wide range frequency response rate offers a high level of detail into everything you record. It’s modeled off of the AKG C414, which is a much more high-end model that is used in professional studios.

If you want something for recording vocals, the AKG C214 is a great choice. For instruments it can work well as it handles an SPL of up to 156dB. It’s extremely versatile and one of the best AKG microphones.

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USB Microphone

2. AKG Lyra


The AKG Lyra is another favorite of mine, and one of the best USB microphones on the market. It’s one of AKG’s most popular as it’s as simple to use as “plug and go”, while also being very affordable.

AKG Pro Lyra USB Microphone
AKG Pro Lyra USB Microphone

I love the integrated desktop stand, which gives the added bonus of suspending your microphone in the air. The stand helps absorb shock, and the microphone offers the legendary AKG microphone sound via the 4-capsule adaptive array.

The AKG Lyra is perfect for podcasts & videos thanks to the added features. These include microphone mute, zero-latency headphone monitoring, and gain control. You can also quickly modify the capture modes with the physical interface on the front of the microphone. This makes the AKG Lyra one of their most versatile microphones as you can change the polar patterns to fit your every need.

Overall, you’re getting a feature-rich microphone at a reasonable cost. This is my favorite USB-compatible AKG microphone by far.

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Studio Microphone

3. AKG P220


The AKG P220 large diaphragm condenser microphone is one that we’ve written about numerous times in the past. We love this AKG microphone a lot as it’s the perfect beginner studio microphone fit to record both vocals and instruments.

AKG P220 Pro Audio Condenser Microphone
AKG P220 Pro Audio Condenser Microphone

The large diaphragm found in the AKG P220 has a very low mass, giving you a warm & clear sound for your vocals, guitar, or bass. The richness in your audio is pristine for such an affordable microphone, and the switchable bass-cut filter & attenuation pad makes it even better for loud audio sources. The AKG P220 can handle sound pressure levels up to 155dB SPL.

The wide-range frequency response results in a deep, clear recording that captures every little detail from your sound source. So much detail, in fact, that I recently saw a video of someone using this as an ASMR microphone. Thanks to the cardioid polar pattern, this unidirectional condenser microphone will only pick up audio from the front of the capsule.

It’s clear why they named this a “project studio” microphone. It’s incredible for beginners setting up a studio in their own home. For under $200, you’re getting a lot for your money, which is why it’s one of my favorite AKG microphones, and one of the best cheap microphones the market could offer.

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Instrument Microphone

4. AKG P170


The AKG P170 is specifically built for instruments and is recognized by the signature “pencil” shape. This small-diaphragm high-performance microphone is great for recording overheads, percussion, acoustic guitar, and other instruments.

AKG Perception 170 Professional Instrument Microphone
AKG Perception 170 Professional Instrument Microphone

The lightweight diaphragm, measured at ½-inch, gives you incredible clarity thanks to the rapid transient response. Transient response is in charge of recording rapid soundwaves, which is essential to keep up with the fast vibrations your guitar strings or drum cymbals produce.

The AKG P170 is definitely a solid instrument microphone that isn’t given enough credit. I’ve used several over the years and have found them to work great in both studio & live settings.

If your primary focus is recording instruments, give this AKG microphone some extra consideration. For maximum quality, I like to pair it with the AKG P220 (see: how to record acoustic guitar). If you want the best mic for acoustic guitar, then give this AKG microphone a try.

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Vocal Microphone

5. AKG D7


The AKG D7 Dynamic is potentially their best microphone for vocals, with a varimotion diaphragm for clean, crisp sound & outstanding performance. What we’re talking about here is a more high-end stage mic that doesn’t get enough credit.

AKG Pro Audio D7 Vocal Microphone
AKG Pro Audio D7 Vocal Microphone

A lot of vocal mics emphasize the mid-range, but thanks to the dual thickness varimotion diaphragm on the AKG D7, we get an open sound for all frequency ranges, giving our audio a more complete & deep sound. It’s able to give warm lows & crispy highs in the cleanest fashion.

There’s a suppression laminate diaphragm material that damps the critical resonance peaks, preventing high amplitude from our frequencies. There’s also a mechano-pneumatic suspension that eliminates unwanted handling noises. The precision metal dust filter can also help protect the capsule from sound changing pollution.

This is one of my favorite performance microphones and is well worth the money. A lot of vocal mics fall around $100, so this one comes at a premium, but AKG microphones knocked it out of the park!

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Best For Drums

6. AKG D12 VR


The AKG D12 VR is a large diaphragm dynamic microphone that is commonly used for kick-drum applications. However, I’ve used this one for videos in the past, and it does a wonderful job at capturing your voice. That being said, this is more of an "instrument" style AKG microphone.

AKG Pro Audio D12-VR Dynamic Microphone
AKG Pro Audio D12-VR Dynamic Microphone

The reason it does so well with kick drums is that it uses a thin diaphragm to enhance the low frequencies. The low-end control has a warm sound to it, thanks to the C414 transformer, and excels on higher signal levels.

They offer 3 active filter presets so that you can match the microphone's sound shape to the kick drums. The sound pressure limit is an impressive 164dB, and the D12 VR automatically reduces the output level by 10dB.

The AKG D12 VR is a little more niche than the others, but it kills on the drums. While I’m not a drummer, people I’ve played with in the past used this in their home setups for the kick.

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Best High End

7. AKG C12 VR


Wow, look at that price tag! Yes, the AKG C12 VR is the most expensive microphone on this list, and quite honestly, it’s probably the most expensive throughout this whole website. I work with mics of all different shapes and sizes, but I don’t hardly see mics go above a few thousand unless they’re special edition or something.

AKG C12-CR Tube Condenser Microphone
AKG C12-CR Tube Condenser Microphone

The AKG C12 VR is actually phenomenal. That’s not too crazy, given the price, but the sound quality of this mic is beyond anything I’ve ever used, and it’s no wonder it’s one of the most famous tube microphones on the market.

With the edge terminated CK12 capsule & original 6072A vacuum tube, we get a sound produced that is of the highest quality a microphone could offer. The inner electronic components are the absolute top of the line, giving us very low noise & very reliable performance.

Tube microphones, similar to ribbon microphones, are less commonly found, but offer a huge gain in quality for the right price. I’ve had the pleasure to record with the AKG C12 VR, and found it works really well for a plethora of things. It does an amazing job for vocals & guitar, and thanks to the bass cut filter & preattenuation pad, it can handle loud sound sources like drums as well. It’s very expensive, for sure, but if you want the best of the best with complete versatility, AKG microphones has you covered.

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History Of AKG Microphones

AKG was founded way back in 1947, in Vienna, Austria. Not so surprisingly, they saw success almost right out the gate, with their microphones being used in Jazz Clubs & radio stations within months. Impressively, unlike today, these microphones were made by hand, by a small team of workers. The first two years of the company were dedicated to microphones, but by 1949, they grew into the headphone market.

Throughout the 50’s they made headlines producing some of the most revolutionary microphones and sold one of their first C12 models to BBC in London. AKG continued to innovate and develop some of the best AKG microphones that we see to this day throughout the 50s and ’70s and going public in the ’80s.

Throughout the massive expansion of AKG microphones, they worked on fun projects like the “Audimir” space project, where they used AKG products for room simulation in outer space.

I’ve personally read & written about the history of many musical instrument companies, but AKG microphones have some of the most entertaining histories out there. I encourage you to read more about them as a company.

credit: AKG.com/history.html


Conclusion

Hopefully you were able to find the best AKG microphone for you on this list. It should be no surprise that a well-established company like AKG can have such a verasatile product catalog. The ability to mix and match some of these, whether you're recording an entire bands' worth of instruments, or just need something for your vocals or speech, AKG microphones have you covered.

If you went ahead and bought something from this list, let us know in the comments below how it's working out for you! We love to hear your feedback, and even better, love to hear the creations that you make with these mics!


Posted on Dec 23, 2020

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