It's funny how you don't often think of aesthetics when you think about microphones, but they are essential on some level. The AKG Lyra brings a bit of that classic broadcasting design from the 60s to its USB mic, which can add a fresh element to your content if you are on screen using it for YT vlogging, podcasts, etc. We always see the same mics, those oblong mics that everyone uses in their content that are frankly a little boring - even though they get the job done. Now the Lyra gives the best of both worlds, distinctive design and great sound.
If you know anything about microphones, you know that AKG (founded in Austria in 1947) has been making some of the best in class mics for a long time. We use a C314 in Magnetic Studios on some of our recordings, and you can see some of the same legendary design DNA pulling from the C314 and classic C414. The Lyra is part of AKG's Content Creator Series targeted at the prosumer to pro that needs flexibility, portability, and great sound.
Construction & Design - With heavy nods to nostalgic design and some of its heavy-hitting condenser mics, the Lyra is one of our favorite looking USB mics on the market. The design is as beautiful as it is functional with logical controls that are exactly where they need to be and features a stand that detaches if you want to put in on a taller stand or boom.
On the front of the mic, you have capture mode indicators lights (not patterns that often confuse newbies). These modes are Front, Front & Back, Tight Stereo, and Wide Stereo. The mute button and headphone volume knob bookend the capture modes led indicators, and the mode and mic gain knobs are on the opposite side, so you can make sure your mic is running just the right amount of pick up and not clipping.
The Lyra uses a USB-C connector and is pretty much plug and play on a Mac or PC, even a mobile device. This functionality is great for newbies as you get stellar sound out of the box and don't need an audio interface to run it, your system sees it as an audio device - select it for input/output and go.
The Lyra has everything you need right on the mic, aside from software like Ableton or Logic. If you don't have a ton of cash and are just looking to get into podcasting or basic production, Ableton Live Lite is fantastic and inexpensive. The mic is powered from the USB, so no need for external power.
How Does It Sound? Keep in mind, this is still a USB mic and has its limitations, but for YouTubers, Gamers, Podcasters, and intermediate music producers, it's quite good. The mic has four capsules to capture your sound in Ultra HD and comes with an internal shock mount, and even a diffuser built right in to help clean up your signal to get the best sound possible. With up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution and a 20Hz to 20kHz frequency response, you hear the lows and highs quite clearly - so it's essential to make sure to use the right pattern setting and monitor your gain - more on that later.
The capture modes are about as intuitive as you can get, with Front being for solo recording, Front & Back for interviews with another person or group, so you position the host on one side and interviewees on the other, Tight Stereo for recording instruments close up like an acoustic guitar and Wide Stereo for bands, or bigger rooms, to mainly catch all the sound. You can adjust these settings along with gain using the knobs on the rear of the mic.
To monitor your input, you can plug your headphones into the 3.5 mm standard mini-jack on the base of the mic, so you know precisely how your recording is sounding.
Pro Tip - When you are doing interviews, it's crucial to do a sound check with your headphones to make sure there is not too much background noise and that both you and your subject are being picked up clearly. Any kind of background noise will be audible and a distraction, so it's always best to find a quiet spot. It's also not a bad idea to pick up your headphones once or twice during the interview to double-check your monitoring. There is NOTHING worse than doing an interview and realizing that you are too soft, too loud, or there are a bunch of distracting background noise.
If you are using the Lyra for something like a Zoom or Skype, it's also a good idea to route your audio through the mic's output, so you get the highest quality sound. This configuration is also a clutch for interviews over Skype/Zoom, so the subject sounds decent, and you continuously monitor everything.
The mute button on the front can be convenient to mute yourself during group calls, etc. but also can throw you off if you are new to recording. If you can't hear yourself, make sure to check that the mute button is not depressed, this happens a lot with new content creators.
Should I buy this? The AKG Lyra is a fantastic tool for newbies and pro content creators alike and hard to beat at the price point. The other mic that would be something to consider in this category would be the Yeti X from Blue, which is also worth a look. If you are starting or are a pro podcaster looking for great styling, sound, and portability, the Lyra is one of the best mics in the category and price point. It's easy to use, versatile and sounds great when set up correctly.
MSRP: $149 / £139 / €169
- Transfer Protocol: USB 2.0
- Transducer: 4 x proprietary, permanently polarized back plate, condenser capsules
- Capture Modes Selectable: Front, Front & Back, Tight Stereo and Wide Stereo
- Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
- Bit Depth / Sample Rate: 24-bit / 192 kHz
- Maximum SPL: 129 dB SPL (0.5% THD)
- Power Requirement/Consumption: 5V USB / 75 mA
- Headphone Impedance: 16 ohms
- Headphone Power Output (RMS): 43 mW
- Headphone THD: <0.009%
- Headphone Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 22kHz
- Headphone S/N Ratio: 98.0 dB
- Height: 247.5 mm (9.72 in.)
- Width: 107.90 mm (4.23 in.)
- Length: 152.50 mm (6 in.)