AKG P420 Microphone
The AKG P420 is a budget-friendly condenser mic that has proved its worth many times over in my home studio applications. It’s not a high-end option but comes with an assortment of features that can be utilized in all sorts of recording situations.
This mic is a workhorse and can be used in many different ways. From recording solid vocals and instruments to more obscure uses, it’s pretty solid all-around. It’s not a crystal clear difference maker, but it holds its own and is a great value.
What I Like: Affordable condenser mic. Very versatile. Many features and solid design. Well-built from a trusted brand.
What I Don’t Like: Not a good choice for recording low-end frequencies. This isn’t a game-changing condenser for professional situations.
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- Why Trust Me for This Product Review
- AKG P420: What’s in the Box?
- AKG P420: Technical Specifications
- What’s It Like to Use the AKG P420?
- How Does the AKG P420 Sound?
- Who Should Get the AKG P420?
- What is the AKG P420 Good For?
- Detailed Review of AKG P420
- Final Thoughts
Why Trust Me for This Product Review
I’ve been in the music world for most of my life. I have years of experience playing in and working with bands on the road and in the studio. I’ve used many different types of microphones and have hands-on experience with the AKG P420.
I’ve used the P420 in my home studio setup for 8 years now. That includes dozens of different recording situations with various instruments. It’s been solid the entire time, and I haven’t had any technical issues requiring outside assistance.
AKG P420: What’s in the Box?
- AKG P420 Condenser Microphone
- Shockmount mic-stand attachment
- Thread attachment for mic-stand
- Extra spider-style shock absorber
- Padded case
AKG P420: Technical Specifications
Here’s a quick look at the tech specs for the P420:
- Mic Type: Condenser
- Polar Pattern: Cardioid, Omnidirectional, and Figure Eight (Switchable)
- Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz
- Output Impedance: 200 Ohms
- Color: Black/Silver
- Connector: XLR
- Dimensions: 165mm Length, 54mm Diameter
- Weight: 530 g
What’s It Like to Use the AKG P420?
In my opinion, the AKG P420 has the look and feel of a classic condenser mic, especially when you put it in the spider shock mount and start recording. This accessory makes it easy to angle in any position you want or need for your specific application.
The polar pattern switch is front and center on the mic body, making it easy to access and change on the fly without changing your entire setup. I think it’s an easy-to-use mic that delivers quality results, although it’s not quite a world-class caliber option.
How Does the AKG P420 Sound?
To keep things simple, the P420 just sounds good. It’s not entirely up to great standards, but it’s far from cheap sounding. In my experience, this mic delivers a quality, well-rounded sound with a frequency response that can handle a ton of different situations.
The mic has a warmth to it that you’d expect from a decent condenser, and with all its switchable features, you can adjust placement and patterns to change up things to your liking. It’s not a crystal-clear option with much character, but it sounds solid all around.
When used on instruments that are mid/high heavy, this sound is quality. You get a clear representation that can be expanded upon in the box. It doesn’t have the best low-end response and is a somewhat flat but still viable vocal mic option.
Who Should Get the AKG P420?
The AKG P420 is a recommended addition for any home studio owner. With its solid all-around performance and very approachable price tag, I think this is a no-brainer to choose if you need an affordable condenser mic.
Every studio owner should have a few solid condensers in the rotation, but you need to start somewhere. The P420 is an exceptionally good choice for beginners who are just beginning to build a microphone collection, but I know many seasoned engineers who use them, too.
What is the AKG P420 Good For?
The P420 is a good choice for an instrument mic, especially for piano and strings. You can adjust the pattern to get an excellent, authentic recording of many acoustic instruments, from guitars to horns to keyboards.
It can also work with some drums and vocals, but I don’t think it’s excellent for either of these. It can capture an entire drum set well, but you’ll lack in the low end. And it’s doable for vocals but can sometimes end up a little flat.
Detailed Review of AKG P420
Here is a more in-depth look at the AKG P420 to give you a good understanding of how it will perform in any of your recording applications.
Sound quality is an excellent starting point for any mic you are considering, and the P420 sounds good in a lot of different situations. Keep in mind this is a budget mic, so you can’t expect excellent audio quality here. But this one still performs better than expected.
I’ve always gotten a warm and present sound from this mic, which holds true no matter what I use it for. It doesn’t have a ton of character, but it sounds nice, and that presence can be worked on in post if you want to spice things up.
The P420 can handle up to 155dB of sound pressure, so it can take just about anything you can throw at it. That’s a nice element if you want to mic a loud horn or drum set.
Versatility is where this mic really shines. It has a ton of different features and functions that allow this, which I’ll highlight in the sections below. But just know you can use the P420 in all sorts of recording situations, making it a worthy workhorse for engineers and enthusiasts.
I’ve used this mic on guitars, horns, string quartets, drums, pianos, banjos, harmonicas, vocals, and more. I’ve also used it to get a solid room sound when recording live band tracks or as a full drum kit track option.
There aren’t many situations where the P420 has fallen flat, and much of that is thanks to how versatile it can be. For a lower-end mic, this one shines all over the place. If you want a one-mic option to cover a lot of ground, this is it.
The design of the P420 is the secret to it’s versatility. AKG did an excellent job of packing in the features here, allowing users to make the most of a microphone that can do quite a bit throughout the studio.
The mic looks like a standard condenser mic. But look closer, and you’ll see the polar pattern switch on the front that unlocks a world of options. You can simply toggle this switch between cardioid, omni, or figure eight patterns to suit your application.
On top of that, the mic has a wide frequency response ranging from 20Hz to 20kHz. This allows you to handle a huge range of instruments. I think that the low-end range is a bit deceiving, and things get muddy, but it’s good in the mids and highs.
This is also a well-built mic that can hold up to a lot of use and abuse. I’ve had my current P420 for about a decade now, and it’s still going strong despite years of steady application in the studio. I’ve also moved at least five times since I’ve owned it, and it’s all good.
The microphone itself is built solid, with a steel body and cage. AKG made this thing to last, and it shows. On top of that, it comes in a well-designed case that keeps everything out of harm’s way, whether it’s in your closet or on the go.
The spider shock mount is also pretty sweet and a nice add-on that helps you get high-quality recordings. It keeps the P420 suspended nicely, so you don’t need to worry about any unwanted sound being picked up by people moving around or heavy-footed drummers.
The P420 also gets excellent marks for its value. This is one of those mics that is underpriced, in my opinion. You get far more than what you pay for here, and that’s a win for almost every home studio owner.
With a wide range of features, excellent design, and construction, alongside a pretty budget price tag, the value here is impossible to deny. You’ll be happy you purchased this microphone, especially when you’re still using it years down the road.
Remember that this isn’t a high-end option. That should be evident from the price tag. The value isn’t here because of outstanding sound quality. It’s more a reflection of how useful this microphone can be and how affordable it is.
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about the AKG P420.
Is the AKG P420 worth it?
The AKG P420 is an exceptional value, making it a solid choice for any budget-minded home studio enthusiast. It has a wide range of features and sounds pretty good for a lower-priced mic, and it’s very much recommended for this and more.
What is the self-noise of the AKG P420?
The AKG P420 has a self-noise rating of 15-dBA. This isn’t the best, but it is pretty solid for a budget-friendly condenser mic. You’ll notice some self-noise, but it shouldn’t negatively impact your recording projects.
Does the AKG P420 require phantom power?
The AKG P420 does require phantom power, as it is a passive microphone. It’s still a good option for small home studios because nearly all modern interfaces are equipped with powering passive mics with a few small settings tweaks.
When did the AKG P420 come out?
The AKG P420 was put into production in 2008 and has maintained a steady level of popularity since then. It’s been through a few different versions over the last 15 years, but the core design and performance remain the same.
The AKG P420 is a recommended option for any home studio owner who wants a versatile condenser mic that can meet many recording needs. It has a budget-friendly price and is packed with features, making it a more than solid value.
While this isn’t a super-pro condenser to be used for world-class recordings, it can give the average studio owner excellent performance across the board. It’s a solid mic that I’ve used for years and highly recommend.
What have you used the AKG P420 for? What’s your favorite application of this mic, and what polar pattern do you use the most? Let me know in the comments below.