The AKG C 414 condenser microphone has been in production since 1971. It evolved from the tube classic C 12 which first appeared in 1953. The C 12 and its close sibling, the Telefunken 250/251, are still coveted by recording engineers around the world. The Telefunken 250/251 were manufactured by AKG and sold by Telefunken with their nameplate and used the same capsule and, in some models, the same tube and transformer.

The C 12 had two models, the C 12 in 1953 and the C 12 A in 1962. The C 414 came about with the introduction of solid-state amplifier technology powered by a DC voltage ranging from+12 to +52 instead of an external supply.

Many more versions have been produced over the years; here are some highlights:

  • 1971: C 414. Used a permanently-attached cable.
  • 1976: C 414 EB. Used a standard 3-pin XLR-type connector. At some point, the classic “CK12 capsule” was replaced with a nylon-backed version that sounded “different”. YMMV.
  • 1980: C 414 EB-P48. Standardized for +48 V phantom power, lower self-noise, improved sensitivity and headroom.
  • 1986: C 414 B-ULS. Introduced a totally new amplifier design utilizing 17 transistors instead of 4. As the longest-living C 414 model, it was in production for 18 years.
  • 1993: C 414B TL. The first transformerless 414.
  • 1993: C 414 B-TL II. A new capsule design fitted to the C414B TL. The same capsule would later be used in the C12VR.
  • 2004: C 414 B-XLS / C 414 B-XL II. Used an internal capsule elastic suspension system for the first time. Also introduced a 5th polar pattern: Soft Cardiod.
  • 2009: C 414 XLS / C 414 XL II. The latest versions, featuring nine pickup patterns controlled by electronic switching.

Although these mics have changed quite a bit since the first pair of C414EB’s that we had, I still find them to be very powerful tools. It is still my favorite acoustic guitar mic. I also use them for certain singers, drum overheads, saxophones and flutes, guitar cabs (in conjunction with other mics), and even bass cabs and Leslie speaker upper rotors. Not bad for a design first evolved from the tube designs of the early 1950′s!!

“River Runs” was recorded and co-produced at Morrisound Recording by Tom Morris. Here is the most recent article featured on usf.edu about this exciting and innovative project:

Call it the journey of a lifetime. When USF Distinguished Professor Chuck Owen wrote his new CD, River Runs, he was inspired by his own personal journeys down America’s most iconic rivers. Now, he has been nominated for one of the nation’s most iconic and prestigious music industry awards.

At the 2014 GRAMMY Award nomination announcement on December 6, Chuck Owen was among the nominees in two separate categories: Best Instrumental Composition for Bound Away, and Best Instrumental Arrangement for Side Hikes: A Ridge Away. Both tracks are part of Owen’s newest CD, River Runs: A Concerto for Jazz Guitar, Saxophone & Orchestra(MAMA Records) – a five-movement concerto, more than an hour in length, combining a full symphony orchestra with a jazz ensemble (The Jazz Surge) and jazz soloists on guitar and saxophone.
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