AKG C1000s on Vocals – Microphone Demo

On this 5th installment of my mic demo series I’m out to find out if the AKG C1000s is indeed the “Swiss Army Knife of Microphones” by using it for vocals and acoustic guitar.

As a Drummer, I’ve come to know the AKG C1000s as either an overhead or a hi-hat mic. Being a small-diaphragm condenser, I also noticed that engineers would typically use it for acoustic guitars, and I had bought it for those exact three purposes.

AKG C1000s

However, as I like to experiment with different microphones on each vocalist I get to record, I started including the C1000s in the shootouts. Eventually, I found myself coming back to it more often that I would’ve imagined. More than once I found myself favouring it for vocals over more conventional, large-diaphragm mics.

Recently, I found myself using it quite a lot while recording Tali for our project Shadow Ensemble, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to demo the mic and also give a peek into how we record a guide track for a new song. The acoustic guitar here was also recorded with the C1000s, together with its pick-up panned hard left for a fuller sound.

What’s your surprising go-to studio weapon? Share your thoughts below!

Song: ‘A Wolf at the Door’ (Original) by Shadow Ensemble
Listen to our debut EP: shadowensemble.bandcamp.com
Music, lyrics & guitar by Tali Magory
All recorded with the AKG C1000s
Video shot with Nikon D5300

Dynamic vs. Condenser in Home Studio – Which Microphone Should I Use?

On the new video in my mic demo series I’m out to challenge an old and common misconception – Do I have to use a condenser mic for professional sounding vocals, or can a dynamic mic sound just as good? Listen to Shure SM7B vs. Rode NT2-A and share your thoughts!

As many self-taught, home studio owners I went on a long journey of trial and error in search for the right gear. Looking at what seemed to be the choice for professional studio technicians as well as internet forum dwellers, I fell under the spell of condenser mics. They seemed to embody the only proper way to record a great sounding vocal track. Dynamic mics seemed to be a compromise for vocals, only good for keeping things like feedback and bleed under control in a live setting.

I borrowed, then purchased a large diaphragm condenser and by the time I had a few home recordings under my belt, I arrived at the following conclusions about home recording with a condenser mic:

  • The less than perfect acoustics of my room would cause audible reflections in quiet or Acapella recordings
  • Even the slightest outdoor noise could destroy a good take
  • Some singers would come-off as very harsh sounding
  • I was de-essing like crazy

At the same time, I discovered that some of my favourite vocal recordings of all time were actually made in a live setting and used a dynamic mic. Say all that you will about the benefits of condenser mics, but you can’t take them up on stage, and that doesn’t stop many live DVDs from featuring great sounding vocals.

So what are the benefits of using a dynamic microphone to record vocals at home?

  • They’re ideal for recording with less mic-bleed from other, close-by instruments
  • Dynamic mics are more tolerant towards those nasty early reflections of an untreated or semi-treated room
  • You can record even when it’s not dead-silent outside (and keep the A.C. on!)
  • Keep harsh vocals under control and let your de-esser take a break

This doesn’t mean you should ditch the condenser concept by any means. When used with proper placement technique in an acoustically treated room, the condenser microphone is great for producing crisp, great sounding vocal tracks.

However, the condenser mic is a delicate creature; don’t buy the first flashy model you see before you take care of your room’s acoustics and learn about proper mic placement. I find it best to keep an open mind and use a microphone that suits your recording environment and your singer, whether it’s a dynamic or a condenser mic.

Let’s Hear It!

I created the following demo using two similarly-priced dynamic and condenser microphones:

Shure SM7B – A legendary broadcast mic and studio favourite of many male singers.
Rode NT2-A – An excellent condenser by this Australian manufacturer, a step-up from the very popular NT1-A which I covered before.

Can you tell the difference? Is there anything missing or in-excess in any of the takes? Share your thoughts below!

Vocals courtesy of Misha Soukhinin
Visit his channel: youtube.com/Hatachtonim
Song: “שיר נהיגה” (Original)

Mic Comparison & Demo – Audio Technica AT2020 vs. AT4033a

Video demo and comparison between AT2020 vs. AT4033a, a couple of large diaphragm condenser mics by Audio Technica. Vocals courtesy of Ruth Danon.

Gear-heads and audio enthusiasts, I’ve got another mic demo for you.  Third in this series of videos, this one checks out a couple of large diaphragm condenser mics by Audio Technica: AT2020 vs. AT4033a (an earlier edition of the newer AT4033/CL).

Although they belong on two different price ranges, I was almost equally pleased by their output. A new AT2020 retails at less than half of a AT4033CL and around a $100 cheaper than a used AT4033a.

Technical Specs. for the Audio Nerds


AT2020 AT4033a/CL
Polar Pattern Cardioid Cardioid
Frequency Response 20-20,000 Hz 30-20,000 Hz
Open Circuit Sensitivity –37 dB (14.1 mV) re 1V at 1 Pa -32 dB (25.1 mV) re 1V at 1 Pa
Impedance 100 ohms 100 ohms
Maximun Input Sound Level 144 dB SPL, 1 kHz at 1% T.H.D. 145 dB SPL, 1 kHz at 1% T.H.D.;
155 dB SPL with 10 dB pad (nominal)
Noise 20 dB SPL 17 dB SPL
Dynamic Range (Typical) 124 dB, 1 kHz at Max SPL 128 dB, 1 KHz at Max SPL
Signal-to-Noise Ratio 74 dB, 1 kHz at 1 Pa 77 dB, 1 kHz at 1 Pa
Phantom Power Requirements 48V DC, 2 mA typical 48V DC, 3.2 mA typical
Switches N/A Flat, roll-off; 10 dB pad (nominal)
Low Frequency Roll-off N/A 80 Hz, 12 dB/octave
Weight 12.1 oz (345 g) 13.4 oz (380 g)
Dimensions 6.38″ (162.0 mm) long, 6.69″ (170.0 mm) long,
Output Connector Integral 3-pin XLRM-type Integral 3-pin XLRM-type

Overall Impression

The AT2020 gives a great bang for the buck. It avoids a very common drawback of condenser mics in its price range – that infamous high frequency glassiness you get with on-axis recordings. I was surprised by how little de-essing was required. Its self-noise was a bit more evident in comparison to the AT4033a, but nothing I’d worry about, even in an acapella setting.

The AT4033a provided an even more pleasing result around the highs with a slight emphasis on the low-mids. Combined with being the quieter mic, that’s definitely something I’d prefer to work with. Having said that, if you’re running a home studio on a budget, the AT2020 isn’t far behind and would be a great way to start your mic collection.

Which microphone sounds best to you? Share your thoughts below!

Vocals courtesy of Ruth Danon
Visit her channel: http://www.youtube.com/ruthdanon
Song: “Down by the Salley Gardens” (W.B. Yeats)