AKG was created in 1971. The AKG C414 XLS was created in 2009. It originated from the C12. The C414 was available in 2 versions. Either, the C414E, with cannon type connector or, the C414C with a connector to the “Din standard”. The C414XLS comes with a AKG custom mount, its versatile, has three attenuation levels (-6,-12,-18dB), three different switchable bass-cut filters (to reduce noise, subsonic noise or for proximity effect) and a overload warning with audio peak hold LED. By far my favourite feature is the ability to choose from multiple different polar patterns. You can switch from a cardioid pattern (heart shaped), a figure 8 pattern, a hypercardioid pattern, an omnidirectional pattern or a wide cardioid pattern. All polar patterns pictures are below.
The AKG C414 XLS gets a 5 star rating form me because I love how you can customize it so much. It makes it able to record professional studio recordings, professional stage miking, lead vocals & lead instruments, classical music recording and even ensemble recording. My experience with this is that it sounded really nice, I used it to mic over head a drum and it worked very well I had no problems with the sound. To hear it click here. Some other members in this microphones family are the C12A, the C12B, the C412 and the C414Eb.
The TLM stands for ‘Transformerless Microphone”. This means the usual output transformer is replaced by an electronic circuit. It still will ensure good common mode rejection and prevent RF interference. The TLM 103 was created by Neumann. Neumann was founded in 1928 and and based in Germany, it is a manufacturer of professional recording microphones. Most of their microphones are used for broadcasting live and for music productions. The TLM 170 was the first of their microphones with with balanced outputs but no output transformer. This series was expanded to include: the KM 100 modular series of small microphones, the cardioid TLM 193 using the capsule of the U 89 and TLM 170, the small-diaphragm KM 180 series, the large-diaphragm cardioid TLM 103, the variable-pattern TLM 127 and the TLM 49 cardioid vocal microphone.
The TLM 103 features low self-noise and the highest sound pressure level transmission. It has a large diaphragm capsule with a cardioid (heart shapped) polar pattern (see bottom of post). It has a flat frequency response up to about 5 kHz, and above that, a wide flat 4 dB presence boost. It is capable of handling sound pressure levels up to 138 dB without distortion. People tend to use this microphone often at live events because it is so good at blocking out background noise and has hardly any self-noise. It can also be used at professional broadcasts and for commercial recording studios. I used this to do my Streeter and I found that it sounded really good. I could hardly hear any background noise, it sounded natural and I couldn’t hear any self-noise from the microphone. Because of this I gave this microphone a 5 star rating. To hear how the voice sounds on a TLM 103 click here.
EV stands for electro-voice which is the manufacturer. In 1927 Lou Burroughs and Albert R. Kahn began a small business servicing radio receivers. This put them into debpt cause of the great depression so they decided to move towards audio products and in 1930 they created the name “Electro-Voice”. In 1967 the EV RE20 was created. The EV RE20 is a directional microphone with a dynamic caridioid polar pickup pattern. It has a wonderful proximity effect (5k) for low frequency instruments. It features a variable-d design and heavy-duty internal pop filter. This makes it work very well for up close voice recording. It also comes with an internal element shock-mount that reduces vibration-induced noise. It has a voice tailored frequency response, a large diaphragm, a humbucking coil and a bass roll-off switch. Its frequency response is 45-18,000Hz. Being a dynamic mic, the EV RE20 does not need phantom power but it does need a good amount of gain at the preamp, about 55-60 db. The EV RE20 has a heart shaped polar pattern that rejects sounds from the back while capturing them from the front and the front left and right. Below is a picture of the polar pick up pattern of the EV RE20.
The EV RE20 has often been used for radio shows because of all the pop filters it works great for the close up talking. I tested the EV RE20 out and it did sound great that’s why I gave it a 5 star rating I loved the proximity effect it had on my recording thanks to the patented Variable D design. I think this microphone can also be used as a voiceover microphone because people often get very close to the voiceover microphones and the EV RE20 is built for that. I tested this out myself and thought it worked very nicely. To hear someone talking into the EV RE20 click here.
Some family members of the EV RE20 are the RE27N/D neodymium equipped industry standard broadcast microphone with superb resolution and depth for voice, the RE320 that requires low noise and produces a dynamic response, the RE510 condenser capsule that has a supercardioid polar patterns to enhances acoustic isolation and off-axis rejection with a low frequency roll-off switch, the RE410 premium condenser cardioid vocal microphone and the RE920 horn and instrument microphone.
The SM57 was created by Shure. Shure can be traced to 1937, when Shure engineer Ben Bauer developed the first single-element directional microphone, the Unidyne, which had a cardioid pickup pattern. Then in 1959, another Shure engineer, Ernie Seeler, advanced the microphone design significantly with the Unidyne III. Seeler torture-tested the Unidyne III threw three years of research and development. The end product of his testing was the SM series of microphone capsules. The SM stands for “Studio Microphone”. Today the microphone is widely used during amplified concerts but it can also be used to mic an orchestra. The SM57 has also been used in many presidential debates, to hear how it sounds when someone talks into it click here. The SM57 is an industry standard for snare drums, toms, guitar amps and other components of rock groups which is why I gave it a 5 star rating, it worked perfectly wen I used it to record a band.
The SM57 has a sturdy construction and ability to work well with instruments that make high sound pressure levels like percussion instruments and electric guitars. I noticed it also worked well for me when I used it to reinforce the sound from the guitar amplifier. The SM57 also has a cardioid pick up pattern that reduces background sound and the generation of unwanted background noise. Its frequency response is 40 to 15000 Hz and it does need a fair amount of gain at the preamp, about 55-60 Db. The connecter for the SM57 is a three-pin male XLR. Below is the polar pattern of the SM57 along with its frequency response.
The only problem I encounter with this mic was that once or twice it created a high-frequency peak from the high-end that distorted a little. Another family member to the SM57 is the SM58 which is and XLR conneter microphone with a ball grill and pop filter.
Pics: – http://shureblog.co.uk/content/uploads/2014/03/sm57-snare.jpg
AKG or ‘Akustische und Kino-Geräte’ is a company founded by physicist Dr Rudolph Gorike and businessman Ernst Pless. ‘Akustische und Kino-Geräte’ translates to ‘Acoustical and Cinema Equipment’ in English. Gorike and Pless believed that the film industry would flourish post war when Vienna was in ruins because people wanted a distraction from the hardships surrounding them. This led to a series of products that redefined the sound of recorded music. AKG created the world’s first diaphragm dynamic cardioid microphone called the D12 in 1953. When it came out it was used in radio stations, theatres and recording studios.
The AKG D12 was intended to reduce the pick up of extraneous sound and the production of feedback. It was based on new developments in microphone technology at the time that would eliminate much to the shrillness characteristics in earlier microphones and it also extended the frequency response deeper into the bass range. The AKG D12 is a reference large-diaphragm dynamic microphone with a cardioid polar pattern. The microphone has a thin diaphragm to enhance the low frequency performance. It is versatile enough to be used on drums, vocals, guitars and bass. In my experience I liked how it sounded on dark and heavy music. I gave it a 4 star rating because it sounded pretty good especially for its time. Unfortunately these microphones have been discontinued but they are still used sometimes for there aesthetic. Below is a picture of the AKG D12 polar pickup pattern. To hear what the AKG D12 sounds like hooked up to a drum set click here.
If you are interested in the AKG D12 some other microphones in its family are the D112 which has a more economical design that incorporated a 4k Hz presence peak, the D12VR that is a large-diaphragm dynamic cardioid microphone with an XLR socket parallel to that in a double-barrel configuration, the D12E plastic surround had its XLR socket coming out directly from the bottom of the microphone works well on toms. Some other family members of the D12 worth looking into are the D20B, the D25, the D30, the D36 and the D45.
The MD 421 was created in 1960 by Sennheiser. It was used in the field of professional sound technology but also in the field of amateur. Television users knew this microphone as the press conference microphone in the 1970’s to the 1980’s. The MD421 was pushed back from this field after the 80’s due to people wanting smaller looking microphones. Although it is still used quite often in the music world for the way it picks up drums, brass and percussion sounds.
The MD 421 is a dynamic front address microphone; to properly use it you just speak right into the logo. This is because the MD 421, at a directional index of 1000 Hz and 180 degrees is at least 18 dB, so the sound from the back with a frequency of 1000 Hz produces an 18dB lower signal as sound from the same intensity reaching the front. The MD 421 has a large diaphragm that is cardioid dynamic. It has a humbucking coil for low noise pickup. It has a 5 position bass rolloff switch, this helps to minimize the sound of shaking the microphone. The MD 421 has a high frequency response from 30 – 17,000 Hz with high sensitivity and a slight increase in response to high frequencies. Below are some pictures of the MD 421’s polar pattern, its frequency response and the dial on the bottom of the MD 421 that helps to sculpt the low end.
The MD 421 has a very high tolerance of SPL and is decently vesicle; because of these features it works great around loud noises. Lots of people use this microphone to mic toms, horns, electric instruments, kick drums and even loud speakers. My experience with this microphone is that it sounds great on axis but if you go off axis you will get a sort of sound leakage. This is because the cardioid dynamic microphone isn’t that tight. When I tried to mic this up to a drum set it had some weird multi phasing issues around the multi mic area with the drum kit. When I did finally get the tom set up the off-axis leakage caused the cymbals to sound weird and phasey. This caused me to bump my rating down to 3 stars. Something I think this microphone could work well for is recording a screamo singer in a studio. Because the MD 421 is really good at recording loud noises and in a studio our singer would not need to be moving off the axis or have other microphones near by. If you want to hear what the MD 421 sounds like when someone signs into it there is a video here. If you are interested in the MD 421 some other microphones in its family are: the MD421-U that has a 3-pin plug that is symmetrically wired and fitted with a roll-off filter, the MD 421-2 that has a large 3 pin Tuchel plus for European broadcasting wired symmetrically and is a low-impedance microphone with no roll-off.