Most producers will eventually get to the point where the need a solid mic at their disposal in their studio whether it's a pro or bedroom style operation. A multiple-pattern large-diaphragm condenser mic is more or less essential if you want to record decent vocals, acoustic instruments or percussion.
AKG has recently launched the C314 which uses the same one-inch dual diaphragm capsule as the C414 XLS, so producers can really capture every little detail in their recording (vocal or instrumental).
The C314 is built in Austria and has some incredible DNA from the C series mics that AKG offers. The C314 sits between the popular C214 and the C414 models, so this is a solid choice for prosumer studio producers that want excellent performance for a reasonable price.
AKG's C314 Mic Images
The higher end mics in the series offer a whopping nine patterns as opposed to the C314's four (Cardioid, Supercardioid, Omnidirectional and Figure 8). This is MORE than enough if you are doing simple vocals and acoustic recordings and is the standard offering for most prosumer to pro-level mics.
What Does It Come With?
The mic comes with a spider shock mount, windscreen and stand adapter all sealed in a "James Bond" style aluminum case. The case is lined with fitted foam, so you are not going to have any issues with protection unless you throw it out the window of a moving car, and even then it might be fine.
The C314 is built in Austria so that's a good start. Once you take it out of the case and handle the mic and it's components, you will immediately realize this is a well-built piece of equipment. It's got a double mesh black grill with a gold-ish coat on the front side which is a nice touch to easily tell back from front. There is also an integrated capsule suspension system to reduce noise and give you a cleaner sound.
Using The C314
The overall design is nice and straight forward, the pattern control is easy to switch, and the mic fits seamlessly into the mounts. On the left side of the mic, you can easily reduce the signal strength by 20dB and on the right side you will find the bass-cut filter. Everything is easy to get to and switch into the position that your require.
The LED light below the pad switch will remain green when powered but flips to red should you be exceeding your input threshold. It's easy to see when you are overloading, another simple but nice touch for usability.
How Does It Sound?
I'm using an Apollo Twin Duo by Universal Audio to record in audio, so I've already got a head start on sound quality. However, the C314 performs significantly better than the mic that I was using in my set-up before.
Since I didn't have any vocalists handy to sing into the mic I tried it out on my own to record some bits into Ableton and it came out incredibly clean and clear. Probably a little too clear, get that vocoder ready please... yikes.
I used the AKG K553 Pro's to monitor the recording and it was bright and vibrant considering my singing voice is diabolical. I also decided to test some strumming on the Ukelele, which came out great as well giving some intimate details of the fingers moving across the strings and those subtle little squeaks and smudges. It also made me realize I need some practice on the Uke; it catches all the blunders too.
If you are in the market for a versatile mic that works great for vocals, acoustic recording, percussion and amplified instruments the C314 is a fantastic choice. It gives you the flexibility you need with top-notch sound at a price that is fairly reasonable for a pro-level mic. MSRP $899