Thoughts on AKG C414 XLII VS Neumann u87 for voice over?

I'm not planning on making any purchases any time soon, but I would like to add a nice large diaphragm condenser mic to my arsenal as many clients require one and currently I only have dynamic cardioid mics (A shure SM58 I never use anymore and an EV RE20 that is my main mic now)

I was looking at the Neumann as it is very highly regarded (though I've heard some dissenting opinions on it here), but I was chatting on Reddit with someone with a similar voice to mine (female, mid to low range) who really enjoys the AKG C414 XLII which got me looking at it.

Curious if you all have any thoughts on either mic or if there is another large diaphragm condenser mic you might recommend? Also anything that is hard to break would be best for me, I'm very clumsy and prone to dropping things lol.

This is specifically for voice over/ audiobooks etc.
 

LazerBeakShiek

Well-known member
A starter LDC that is multiple pattern, the AKG P420 is a solid budget recommendation. $100-150.

You get omni / 8 / cardio, a pad, a bass cut.. If you told people the AKG P420 was a 414 XLII , you would fool a lot of people. Yeah, everyone usually likes the 414's.

Sensitive at 28 mV/Pa , zingy even. A 420 lets you hear the neighbor's attic fan...the guy mowing lawn down the street too. Your RE20 has a sensitivity of like 1.5 mV/Pa ...420 is much stronger. Its cool.
 
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A starter LDC that is multiple pattern, the AKG P420 is a solid budget recommendation. $100-150.

You get omni / 8 / cardio, a pad, a bass cut.. If you told people the AKG P420 was a 414 XLII , you would fool a lot of people. Yeah, everyone usually likes the 414's.

Sensitive at 28 mV/Pa , zingy even. A 420 lets you hear the neighbor's attic fan...the guy mowing lawn down the street too. Your RE20 has a sensitivity of like 1.5 mV/Pa ...much stronger. Its cool.
Cool, thanks for the suggestion! I will definitely get one of these to play around with.
 

keith.rogers

Bobby'); DROP TABLE USER
The original U87 was a tube mic, with a pretty different sound than the FET U87Ai that is currently in production. The C414 XLII is probably similar to the current Neumann with a lot of "air" lift at the top. The C414 XLS is probably closer to flat, but either are fine mics. @rob aylestone has posted that he uses the C414 mics regularly, or that was my impression! (Me, still mucking along with the C214 that was in budget...)
 

RRuskin

Rick Ruskin
The original U87 was a tube mic, with a pretty different sound than the FET U87Ai that is currently in production. The C414 XLII is probably similar to the current Neumann with a lot of "air" lift at the top. The C414 XLS is probably closer to flat, but either are fine mics. @rob aylestone has posted that he uses the C414 mics regularly, or that was my impression! (Me, still mucking along with the C214 that was in budget...)
It was always a transistorized condenser. The tube predecessor was the U67.
 

keith.rogers

Bobby'); DROP TABLE USER
It was always a transistorized condenser. The tube predecessor was the U67.
You are right, of course.

I never have had the opportunity to record with any of those vintage Neumanns, and had somehow confabulated a non-existent model. I have read that the original and Ai model do not sound alike. Of course, my 40+ year old SM58s probably don’t sound like brand new ones either!
 

Papanate

Active member
I'm not planning on making any purchases any time soon, but I would like to add a nice large diaphragm condenser mic to my arsenal as many clients require one and currently I only have dynamic cardioid mics (A shure SM58 I never use anymore and an EV RE20 that is my main mic now)

I was looking at the Neumann as it is very highly regarded (though I've heard some dissenting opinions on it here), but I was chatting on Reddit with someone with a similar voice to mine (female, mid to low range) who really enjoys the AKG C414 XLII which got me looking at it.

Curious if you all have any thoughts on either mic or if there is another large diaphragm condenser mic you might recommend? Also anything that is hard to break would be best for me, I'm very clumsy and prone to dropping things lol.

This is specifically for voice over/ audiobooks etc.


The U87 is going to be better for Voice Overs in my opinion although the AKG 414 iXL11 s decent - I just think it's too bright. For Voice over work I would look at the Shure SM7b. But the EV RE-20 is really good as well. You don't need much - and the differences in the sound are going to be minor (when talking about VO work.)
 

RRuskin

Rick Ruskin
You are right, of course.

I never have had the opportunity to record with any of those vintage Neumanns, and had somehow confabulated a non-existent model. I have read that the original and Ai model do not sound alike. Of course, my 40+ year old SM58s probably don’t sound like brand new ones either!
I had the use of both a U67 & U87. I much preferred the 67.
 

Gtoboy

Well-known member
On female voices both the 87 and the XLII can be shrill depending on which register you speak in , IMHO. Both would benefit from a pop screen and the XLS is better for higher pitched voices IME due to it's flatter frequency response.

Another good alternative with a lower price point would be Audio Technica 4047/4050, or even a used 4060 tube mike. The slightly smaller diaphragm AT 4040 is nice as well.
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
I have both. 414 works on maybe 90% of voices, but the shrill voice comment is very true! Also those people who have gaps in their front teeth. You hear that noise more, even with a pop shield. the 87 works for them better. In general, my go to first mic is the 414. The 87 is brilliant and complimentary to no more than 50% of subjects. If I have a rush job, with a stranger who wants to run in, record, run out with a usb stick. I’ll set up a 414. It’s rare to swap it. With an 87, you alway get that little nagging feeling you want to try another mic on too many people. Of course, they suit some people’s voices amazingly well. 414s don’t have that ‘character’.
 
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