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suggestions needed from those using AKG C 414 XL II

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suggestions needed from those using AKG C 414 XL II

Postby musicmanjim » Fri May 12, 2017 3:51 pm

I'm in need of suggestions of what preamps YOU are using when recording with your AKG C 414 XL II …..

I am in the market for something that smooths out the brittleness and warms up the over all recording when using this mic. I am not rolling off anything…. just keeping it flat…..

I am using this mic for a professional female soprano singer…. singing art songs…. not rock, pop, etc…. but, regardless of the genre, this mic should sound much smoother when recording.

My current preamp is through the Presonus Studio Live 16.4.2 mixer going into a Mac Pro Quad Core, recording into D.P. 8

When I record with this mic, the sound is MUCH TOO bright…. (brittle sounding actually)

In the past… like 43 yrs ago, I recorded this same gal using an Electro Voice RE-10 dynamic mic…. recorded FLAT….…. she sounded like an angel…. smooth warm tone across entire frequency range. This mic is no longer available.

she still sounds like an angel (protected her voice over years, as a professional would)

any and ALL suggestions would be greatly appreciated…
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Re: suggestions needed from those using AKG C 414 XL II

Postby rickorick » Fri May 12, 2017 4:47 pm

I have an Universal 2-610 that I use with a couple dvx 160A's. I use it with the 414's,421's
and M149, I think it sounds fine I also have an Avalon 737 and that's good also, I have a male friend who has a Sound Delux 195 it's older and he sounds good on that.
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Re: suggestions needed from those using AKG C 414 XL II

Postby Gravity Jim » Fri May 12, 2017 5:31 pm

I would try another mic before I went out and bought a preamp to fix this problem.

If she sounded great in an EV RE series mic (variable "D" off-axis rejection), then I'd borrow a Shure SM-7 or an EV RE-20 (or 27) and try that. I honestly don't think you're going to get the results you want by using a different pre-amp... the difference in audio between one pre and another using the same mic will be way less obvious than simply using a different microphone.

I'll bet a dime to a dollar she'll sound awesome in an SM-7.
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Re: suggestions needed from those using AKG C 414 XL II

Postby mikehalloran » Fri May 12, 2017 6:54 pm

Besides the Variable D that lessened proximity effect, the RE10/11 had a roll-off beginning at 10K down 5dB at 15K Hz with no discernable "presence peak". The RE 15/16 were the same mics with tighter quality control. The 11/16 had pop screens that altered the frequency response a little.

The RE20 isn't dissimilar except that it has a wider frequency response and it's not quite as flat.

The SM 7, 57 and 58 use the same capsule but do not behave as if they're the same mic inside.

Where a different mic pre isn't likely to change the response of the 414 that much, it can make a big difference with a dynamic or ribbon mic if it has variable input impedance. Those REs and the Shures have a 150 Ohm output impedance that really wants to see a 600 Ohm input (the old Bell Telephone standard) that old tube preamps were built to (a solid state mixer will often have an input impedance from 1500–2500 Ohm). Put an RE 10/11/15/16 orSM 7/57/58 into a variable impedance mic pre and you can change the top and bottom end, affect the transient response and over-ring, smooth or sharpen the presence peak just by changing the load that the mic sees.

Here's the thing. You have fond memories of the way she sounded with an RE but what was it plugged into?

Anyway, you can make a variable impedance input matching device with a 1K linear pot, a metal box and a pair of XLR jacks, one M and one F.
https://groupdiy.com/index.php?topic=58296.0

You can buy a phantom powered unit with a 12/25dB boost, the CloudLifter CL-Z (I love mine and use it on my dynamics and ribbons including an RE 15).
http://cloudmicrophones.com/products/cloudlifter-cl-z/

Variable impedance preamps are available from under two hundred $ to many thousand$. Many popular units are reasonably priced from $300–$1,400, however. Salespersons push these when you buy a ribbon (as they should) but most don't know that your dynamics will record better, too.
https://www.sweetwater.com/store/search ... &Go=Search

There are high end mic pres that can certainly shape the sound of a condensor mic. They have EQs and some like the Manley Vox Box can do quite a bit more—for $4,140, it had better.
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Re: suggestions needed from those using AKG C 414 XL II

Postby Tonio » Fri May 12, 2017 8:59 pm

You have to match the mic w/ the vocalist and/or what ever the source is, and what you're aiming for.
Switching to a SM58 may make a difference.

Have you tried different options on the 414? omni , cardiod, super cardio patterns?

proximity / position makes a difference too. You just need to play a round with the options, perhaps the room and size./dampening in question may make changes also.
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Re: suggestions needed from those using AKG C 414 XL II

Postby HCMarkus » Fri May 12, 2017 9:07 pm

43 years ago, most speakers did not have the response today's do, and analog tape tended to smooth high frequencies. With that in mind, EQ is not always such a bad thing... :D.

Also, try different polar patterns. Take a look at the XLII response graph; this mic has a presence peak around 5k, especially in cardioid mode. Omni mode smooths the peak and pushes it higher in frequency. Omni mode will also capture more room tone, further warming the sound.

Edit: Ninja'd by Tonio.
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Re: suggestions needed from those using AKG C 414 XL II

Postby mikehalloran » Fri May 12, 2017 9:59 pm

HCMarkus wrote:43 years ago, most speakers did not have the response today's do, and analog tape tended to smooth high frequencies. With that in mind, EQ is not always such a bad thing... :D.

Also, try different polar patterns. Take a look at the XLII response graph; this mic has a presence peak around 5k, especially in cardioid mode. Omni mode smooths the peak and pushes it higher in frequency. Omni mode will also capture more room tone, further warming the sound.

Edit: Ninja'd by Tonio.
Ha! I forgot about that. You can use a Reflexion Filter to block out much of your room if need be when the mic is in Omni mode. Like the EV Vari-D mics, Omni mode has minimal proximity effect.

You can use high and low shelf eq to mimic the similar response of the RE 10. It's possible that, with the smoother response in Omni, you won't find that necessary.
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Re: suggestions needed from those using AKG C 414 XL II

Postby Tonio » Fri May 12, 2017 10:40 pm

Do'h, ya know we may be getting ahead ourselves. OP has a 414 XLII. I was thingking 414EB or U-BLS .
XL II does appear to exhibit harshness compared to the U-BLS or EB. Back in the day EB was used specifically to bring out the upper range for that " saturation" on tape, or a general use LD which has " expected" capture.

But all in all- omini mode does dampen that harshness...and adds the warmth.

I really like my 414 B-ULS in general. But as any situation is different, sometimes I loath it .

Bring out the ribbon , and all is good :mrgreen:
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suggestions needed from those using AKG C 414 XL II

Postby James Steele » Fri May 12, 2017 11:02 pm

Tonio wrote:I really like my 414 B-ULS in general. But as any situation is different, sometimes I loath it.


I labored with that mic trying to use it on my vocals. Even had it modded by Audio Upgrades. The I borrowed a friends Red Type B and that mic just was perfect for MY voice. Sold the 414. I guess it just depends on the source.
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Re: suggestions needed from those using AKG C 414 XL II

Postby Sean Kenny » Sat May 13, 2017 12:21 pm

Gravity Jim wrote:I would try another mic before I went out and bought a preamp to fix this problem.

If she sounded great in an EV RE series mic (variable "D" off-axis rejection), then I'd borrow a Shure SM-7 or an EV RE-20 (or 27) and try that. I honestly don't think you're going to get the results you want by using a different pre-amp... the difference in audio between one pre and another using the same mic will be way less obvious than simply using a different microphone.

I'll bet a dime to a dollar she'll sound awesome in an SM-7.

Totally agree with this. A lot of modern microphones sound very hyped, I in the top end to make them sound attractive to customers. I have a pair of XLSs and a pair of the old black BULS mics I much prefer the latter especially on female vocals. Maybe think about a great river mic pre
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Re: suggestions needed from those using AKG C 414 XL II

Postby sdemott » Tue Jul 11, 2017 3:32 pm

I have to agree with those that suggest a different mic. My wife is a soprano & I find most modern condensers just far too bright for her voice.

I'd go with a nice large diaphragm dynamic (Shure SM7) or a ribbon mic. I don't think a different preamp will get you what you want.
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Re: suggestions needed from those using AKG C 414 XL II

Postby daniel.sneed » Wed Jul 12, 2017 1:07 pm

If you can get your hands on an Oktava MK220, you may give a try with this large condenser.
IMHO, it's smooth sounding and has solid mid and low-mid.
It's my actual go to when tracking voices.
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Re: suggestions needed from those using AKG C 414 XL II

Postby EMRR » Thu Jul 13, 2017 6:06 am

Yeah TL II is the bright version. If pattern and/or off-axis orientation don't get it where you want it, moving to a different mic is the next best option. I have a lot of really 'brown' sounding old tube preamps, and they will only help so much. You can end up sounding like 1930's radio and still be too bright.
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Re: suggestions needed from those using AKG C 414 XL II

Postby James Steele » Thu Jul 13, 2017 4:04 pm

EMRR wrote:Yeah TL II is the bright version.


Or "brighter?" :) I had B-ULS and it was kind of harsh. Never liked it for my own vocals.
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Re: suggestions needed from those using AKG C 414 XL II

Postby EMRR » Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:36 am

I have a B-ULS, and it either sounds great or broken, not much in between. Lives on bass amp the most, clean hollow body electric through a Fender, and on toms. Hasn't seen a voice in 2 decades.

When I had schooling in the late '80's they were popular vocal mics, but not really by 2000.
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