AKG C1000 - the mic people hated for 30+ Years

rob aylestone

I've dragged another older mic out. I bought 2 C1000s - which I think were the silver ones that took over from the original black one from the late 80s - so the unofficial Mk2. They're long gone because they were so widely slated here in the UK, that owning them was tricky. I got this one when they swapped from 9v internal battery to 2 x 1.5V batts. I thought I'd see if I (and loads of others in the magazines) misjudged them? I think I really did - this one actually sounds fine, to be fair.
Thanx for the video. Great stuff.

I used a pair of C1000's (the silver one) for over a decade and they sounded fine. Nobody ever told me my drums sound "brittle", "thin" or anything else. I think sometimes people will just jump on a bandwagon and repeat what everyone else is saying to sound "informed".
My own dislike stemmed from every damn school and college who joined the new music technology qualification in the UK, using these mics. At that time (1996, I think) they had to record a pop piece and a stereo, 'natural acoustic' piece and I listened to thousands, and maybe that formed my head to match other people's comments. Now, I'm wondering of it was just poor mic placement, poor eq, and poor management that produced all the horrible recording. I'm having trouble relating the bad recordings to the sound I got today?
Yeah, personal experience definitely influences our opinion, justifiably so. This mic might just be better for some things than others. For example, I've tried it on acoustic guitar and it did sound thin and brittle. But, for some reason, it was fine with my overheads.

Like you said, maybe it's mic placement. I use overhead mics the way they're supposed to be used: as OVERHEAD mics to capture the whole kit. Too many people think over head mics are "Cymbal mics". So, they point them right at their cymbals, which is ludicrous. Maybe pointing them right at the cymbals will make any mic sound thin and brittle. I point them at the snare and measure to make sure they're equal distance from the snare.

I now use 3 overheads (I know...people think that's wacky). 2 Rode nt-1's for left and right overheads, and 1 C1000 as middle overhead pointing straight down at the snare. I then compress the hell out of the middle mic (C1000). It really fills up the mix.

I think my drums sound ok....Just got to work on playing. I'm way out of practice....

Kind of sloppy? Standard set pretty high of that is sloppy - actually what got me was the fact it was 100% drums and hardly any ringing, so you reall know how to tune them, and when you had the long fast drum patterns, the occasional cymbal hits really were just sitting there and not compressed to hell. I usually hate drums but that was pretty good!
Wow! Thanx.

I don't say it's sloppy to sound pretentiously "humble". I haven't played enough lately and haven't seriously practiced in over a year. I play way more guitar these days. So, my drumming doesn't "flow" in this video...to me anyway.

I've had those drums for about 40 years. They've been to hell and back and still sound great.

In case anyone cares, everything was done in REAPER for that video, including the video itself.

(Oh, and I hate drum solos, too. I can make an exception and watch Buddy Rich for about 5 minutes. But nobody else. Not Neil Peart, not John Bonham. It just makes me yawn) :)
Sorry Rob. I didn't mean to hijack your thread. But talking about the C1000's got my attention and I just wanted to inject my personal experience.
When the C1000 first came out there wasn't that much competition. You either had the £20 condenser mics from the likes of Eagle or Altai or you had mics like the C451 or SM81. Most of the decent alternatives were more expensive but the slightly larger size of the C1000 made it look more impressive and it could handle most sources sufficiently well to please the people that bought it. I had some that came as part of a package from Thatched Cottage Audio - who probably also supplied them to lots of schools.

When I bought my Line Audio CM3s I put them up against the C1000 on acoustic guitar. The CM3s sounded more refined while the C1000s had a more prominent midrange and made the guitar sound harsher.
I didn't think the drumming was sloppy at all. But it's always hard to tell when there are no other instruments playing along. And sometimes, it's the other instruments that aren't keeping up and that makes a drummer sound sloppy, even when they're not.
Anyway, I digress.
I thought I recognized a bit of "Flight of the Rat" by Deep Purple. I'd already been impressed by Ian Paice's playing on the "Shades of Deep Purple" and "Fireball" albums when I heard "Deep Purple in Rock." I originally had it on cassette {this is back in April of 1980} and it was wound to the start of side 2, so "Flight of the Rat" was the first song on the album I heard. Over 40 years later, I still play the album that way. Anyway, that solo of Paice's is very percussively musical and has always stuck in my head. I hate drum solos generally {there's one by Jon Hiseman that I can tolerate}. Funny thing is, I don't mind listening to a drummer practicing solo, but I don't like solos.
Again, I digress.
I was given a Rode something or other and a C1000 back in 2010. Initially, I didn't seem to get good vocal recordings with the C1000. I thought it made voices sound brittle and thin. But it's actually good for backing vocals when you want that kind of sound. It's also good on acoustics and electrics when I want that more aggressive tone. It mics a bass guitar well and a double bass. I recently tried it on drums as part of the overheads {well, they're underheads really, as I place them under cymbal height}, mismatched with the Rode, and I thought it was good.
I hate drum solos, too. I can make an exception and watch Buddy Rich for about 5 minutes. But nobody else. Not Neil Peart, not John Bonham. It just makes me yawn
I saw Buddy Rich back in '84. He was quite the showman. In a way, his drum solos in that gig were the point, rather than any of the pieces the band played. Much of the audience were there for the fireworks, whereas I wasn't. He did an interesting "Norwegian Wood" which surprised me though.
And the year before, I'd seen Rush and I was ever so disappointed. It was quite a day, 3 friends of mine that had been convicted of attempted robbery were sentenced {they got surprisingly short sentences. I wouldn't have been so lenient !}, then I'd played the best pool I've ever played, ever, I was whanging in shots from everywhere and really pissing off my mate who thought they were flukes, then I'd do it again, then I went to see Rush at Wembley Arena. When Neil Peart did his solo, I wanted to jump on the stage and break his sticks. It was so showy, had absolutely nothing to do with the song it came in the middle of and it bored the pants right out of my trousers. There was a bit where he threw his sticks up in the air and caught them and the crowd went bananas while I was just :facepalm:.
I was a rather cynical 20-year-old !
Yeah, I agree with everything you said here. Ian Paice is my all time number 1 favorite drummer. I do a lot of his stuff when I play. He happens to play left-handed like me, too. :) The part I did that you're talking about (starting slow and speeding up with those triplets) comes from him. He does it in "Flight of the Rat", but I think he also does it on "Made In Japan" in "The Mule". I think the first drummer to do that kind of thing was Don Brewer of Grand Funk.

I saw Rush 3 times back in the day. It's almost sacrilegious to say anything bad about Peart, but I've said it before and I'll say it again. He's over rated. Grossly over rated. I love what he plays in the actual songs. But his solos are just a hyped up flurry of single strokes played on a lot of different drums. He's good. But I'll take Ringo any day. The mark of a good drummer is how interesting he can make SONGS while still sitting in the pocket. Take away speed and self-indulgence and RIngo is as good for his band as Peart, Bonham, and Paice are for theirs.