For a long time, users were wise to steer away from a condenser microphone under $100. But those days are gone. You can now safely consider adding such a microphone to your studio. And if you can only spend less than $100, take a look at what AKG is offering in this category.
AKG is a world leader in microphones and have effortlessly transitioned into offering budget mics for the home studio. That alone should put you at ease. Get used to that feeling, because once you plug it in, you’re going to feel even better.
It offers the kind of workhorse neutrality that you need to record a variety of sources, without over-hyping any specific frequency range. It has the hypersensitive gain that you expect from any large diaphragm condenser(LDC), a welcome addition to a home studio, though you do run the risk of picking up errant noises from the outside world. Refer to your trusted mic placement techniques and you can eliminate most problems.
The construction is top-notch, with the kind of solid chassis that you expect from more costly mics. And there are a few goodies thrown in to help you get more mileage out of this mic: a switchable -20 dB pad for louder sources and a high pass filter to reduce rumble before you make it to editing.
One of the drawbacks of the 120 is that it has a pretty high self-noise rating, which could be problematic in recording quieter sources. This is rarely in issue in the beginning project studio, but if you plan on recording a delicate classical guitar from a few feet away, this might not be the mic for you.
The biggest audience for the AKG 120 is probably going to be podcasters. With a standard XLR out as well as a USB out, this is immediately usable for those without an audio interface. That’s right – just record directly into your computer. In a way, this might give it an even bigger edge for the absolute beginner. With nothing more than a computer and the 120, you can start recording today.
The more serious project studio can find plenty of uses for the 120, but those on a budget or looking for a streamlined setup will find the greatest use from this microphone.
You don’t have to buy mountains of gear to get started in your studio, just hook this mic right into your USB jack and get going.