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.