When you look out for a good microphone for your podcasting or recording, you will have a myriad of options out there, each having its own characteristics, features, and pricing accordingly. Now, when it comes to a microphone for a professional setup, you often tend to go for the expensive premium ones that deliver exactly what a high-end production process demands. However, for a home studio, for an entry-level production, a school project, or for any general podcasting, the case is slightly different. Most people tend to look for cheaper options that can give them good performance as well as durability. But oftentimes, when going for cheaper microphones, there is something lacking around the corners, and in most cases, it is the quality. Check out the following AKG P120 Review to understand why we have suggested it in the first place.
What Is the AKG P120, and What Are Some of Its Features?
AKG P120 is a vocal condenser microphone that does a pretty good job in delivering high performance and exhibits solid durability at a modest price. It is a fact, most condenser microphones are generally expensive. So, if you are getting this type of microphone at a budget-friendly option, people automatically raise eyebrows on how the product is really going to be. Also, in such situations, people generally prefer a dynamic mic for their home-based productions.
This microphone here, AKG P120, however, is a counter to all those inexpensive products that do not really live up to the expectations of the users. Being able to provide a great performance combined with incredible audio quality, has backed it with many great AKG P120 reviews from the users as well as professional reviewers.
Is It Good for Podcasts? Who Can Use These Microphones?
AKG P120 is ideal for all those who are looking for a versatile mic for recording vocals or instruments for casual podcasts, etc. It is a great option for those who have just started with the production and need an inexpensive mic to start with. AKG P120 is also a good option for those working professionals who require one during virtual conference calls, teachers who require a mic to amplify their voice and volume during online classes, etc.
This mic also can be great gaming buddy if your headset doesn’t come with one. You can just sit comfortably and play your games while chatting with your teammates, giving them instructions, etc. The microphones have a solid ability to pick up your voice with clarity and make you sound pretty decent for its price. Although low end, you can use this microphone for open stage performances in a smaller setup like private parties, etc.
So basically you get everything that you require for your home studio, live performances, etc. without having to spend an extravagant amount of money.
In the next section, we are going to do a comprehensive AKG P120 review that will include the significant features of this product, its price, performance, etc. we are also going to share an AKG P120 setup instruction link that will help you to start using this mic easily.
AKG P120 Review
AKG P120 is an impressive piece of audio tool to use for multiple different purposes. Unlike some other cheaper products, this microphone does a wonderful job balancing every aspect of a good microphone, right from the different features. Sonic capability to design and build. But before we get into the details, let’s have a quick rundown on the technical specifications of this mic. You might also want to know the AKG K7XX specs.
Technical Specs at a Glance – AKG P120 Review
|Type of Microphone||Condenser|
|Pick up pattern||Cardioid|
|Frequency response||20 Hz to 20,000 kHz|
|Size of the diaphragm||16.93 mm|
|Sound Pressure Level (SPL)||130 dB (without pad)150 dB (with pad)|
|Load Impedance||1000 Ohm|
|Connector type||Balanced XLR|
What Can You Expect in the Box?
The box includes:
- AKG P120
- one stand adapter
- AKG P120 manual.
AKG P120 Review: Design and Build
One of the major reasons why this microphone has gained several favorable AKG P120 reviews is its unmatchable build quality at the price tag below $100. The entire construction of the microphone is done with metal that makes it highly resistant to any type of external damage. In fact, the build is so sturdy that even if it accidentally falls on the floor, it isn’t going to break down easily, which makes it ideal for any kind of handling and rigorous environment. The mic can also hold up well against high-temperature or extreme humidity.
One of the benefits of this exceptionally strong body is if you are a beginner and haven’t handled a mic before, this can be something you can use to practice without worrying about damage. Additionally, if the AKG P120 setup is near some kind of RF transmitter -be it a wireless (RF) communication device or any other wireless microphone – the metal body acts as a barrier preventing the RF waves from entering inside.
As for the looks, the headphone features a minimalistic but modish appearance that can complement anyone’s style and personality. P120 weighs 455 grams, which isn’t very lightweight but is quite appropriate for the mic to sit stably on the desk or stage without toppling over. Also, you will not experience the distracting noise from it that is usually caused due to the vibration of the platform because of high volumes.
The upper half of the microphone has a grille finish that encapsulates a small-sided diaphragm and the other components. Even though the diaphragm is just ⅔ inch and very light weighing, it is designed to give a clean sound. (more details on this in the next subsection). It is made of gold sprayed plastic to help protect it from short-circuiting.
Right under the mesh portion lies the controls of the microphone that are extremely easy to use. There are two dedicated switches, one for bass-cut filter and the other is pre-attenuation pad selector. The bass cut filter enables you to reduce the unwanted rumbling noise, or the proximity effect, ensuring a crystal clear sound. Bass filter offers a huge advantage if you want to use AKG P120 for podcasts.
The second control, the pre-attenuation pad, is of huge help in adjusting the Sound Pressure Level (SPL). The mic can handle the SPL of up to 150 dB pretty well. It detects the signal coming from loud sound sources and offers headroom of 20 dB to dampen it, so it doesn’t get distorted or overload the equipment.
If you flip the mic around, at the bottom, you will see the XLR connector and with this, it is pretty much about the physical construction of the microphone.
AKG P120 Review: Significant Features and Sound Performance
AKG P120 has impressive features that make it a great option for versatile applications. To start with, it is engineered with a cardioid polar pattern, which means the mic’s sensitivity is on the front part while it has minimum sensitivity at the sides or at the back. So it will not pick up sound from behind or anywhere else.
Cardioid mics are great for recording, voice-over, solo vocal or instrumental performances, etc. where the ambient sound from the side and rear will be limited, so the actual sound pick-up is crystal clear. However, you should also note that the mic picks up every little sound clearly that comes from its frontal side. Therefore, it is important to keep this portion clean of any unwanted noise.
With a frequency response ranging between 20 Hz to 20,000kHz, it pretty much covers the entire frequency spectrum of the human hearing range. This means that the mic has the full capacity of picking up every bit of sound clearly and accurately, provided you place the microphone correctly. Even though the shock mount is absent in this model, it has a -33 dB sensitivity with the sound pressure level tops around 150 dB when the attenuation pad is turned on. The small-diaphragm is tuned to deliver spotless and high-quality audio with ultimate precision, irrespective of whether you use it at home or in a professional studio.
Signal to Noise Ratio
The 72 dB signal-noise-to ratio produces a warm sound, one of the best you can get from condenser mics with this kind of price tag. AKG P120 works well on 44 to 52 V magnitude of voltage and a current of 3 mA or less. This makes it compatible with USB-enabled audio interfaces, and the best part is the microphone’s performance doesn’t get affected or interfered with at all. You can get a perfectly clear sonic performance without reducing the number of devices, which makes it competent for professional recording as well.
With the help of the pre-attenuation pad provided, the microphone can effectively lower any kind of overloading caused due to an extra amplified source by regulating the signal coming in. P120’s bass-cut filter also makes it suitable for use in places with higher ambient noise. Switching on this filter helps reduce the unwanted rumbling and low-pitched sounds coming from the surroundings, ensuring a nice, clean output. The filter works at 300 Hz and downwards at 6dB per octave. This makes AKG P120 for podcast or recording ideal both indoor and outdoor.
Now, for any good microphone to work efficiently, its load impedance should ideally be 20 times greater than the output impedance. If you look at P120, it has an impedance of 200 ohms whereas the load impedance suggested for it is over 1000 Ohm, making it powerful equipment for recording or even using it in live shows.
If you look at the overall sonic performance, the high-end vocals are sharp and crisp, well-balanced mids, and accurate lows. The unidirectional patterns help in picking them up with higher precision even in a noisy environment. The sonic capability of the microphone has been highly rated and earned great AKG P120 reviews, which is sure to boost up your confidence level in case you have a second thought about it.
AKG P120 review: AKG P120 setup
AKG P120 is an easy-going microphone that can be set up in the blink of an eye without any hassle. The microphone’s USB connectivity ensures the entire installation process is extremely user-friendly. This means that if you are a beginner and have absolutely no idea about the setting up of a mic, even then you should be able to handle this on your own. This requires no special technical knowledge to start with it. Also learn about AKG P420 settings from here.
Additionally, the mic is compatible with a wide range of OS like Windows 10, Windows XP, Vista, and Mac OS X which gives you the flexibility of using it for desktop recording as well. The integrated analog-to-digital signal converter proves to be beneficial in ways like you will not need any extra devices for this mic to function when connected with the PC. You can record different instruments like guitar, drums, etc.
There are several step-by-step tutorials online that can guide you further. Click here to see a detailed tutorial on AKG P120 setup.
AKG P120 for Podcast- Price
This mic will cost you around $90.00 on Amazon. As mentioned earlier, AKG P120 for the podcast is one of the best condenser mics that you will get for such a reasonable price.
AKG P120 for Podcast and Recording- Pros and Cons
As we have seen, this microphone has a lot to offer for its price, which gives you a broader scope to use it in multiple different applications. But, with a lower price tag, it does have a few downsides that are worth noting, even though it reflects the company’s efforts in making it as much suitable for studio use as possible. Understanding the cons will also help you figure out if you would need any additional accessories or anything else to get the apt results.
Here’s a list of the various pros and cons that will help you judge better and see if this is something that suits what you are looking for.
- Owing to the design and size, the microphone is extremely portable.
- Simple controls buttons and easy to set up design makes it perfect for first time users.
- Offers impressive acoustics with excellent detailing.
- The unidirectional pickup pattern promotes great voice pick up, making it ideal for vocal recordings as well as instruments alike.
- Solid, impact resistant built protects or from potential damages.
- The USB connector makes it compatible to use with PCs.
- Great option for people looking for a budget friendly microphone.
- Bass cut filter provided to eliminate the extra low frequency sounds that can affect the audio quality otherwise.
- Attenuation pad helps in lowering the loud sounds to result in a presentation that is pleasant to hear.
- SPL of 150 dB proves that the headphone is quite powerful in handling sounds, which is great for professional use.
- Affordable price tag.
- The mic doesn’t come with a shock mount. (The shock mount is specifically important as it absorbs the low frequency noises caused due to the handling noises or when the microphone comes in contact with something. This then helps in a good quality recording without any disturbances. This is also specially useful in a smaller set up, where the noises are more clearly audible.)
- The microphone has the tendency to pick up the air sounds, which makes it unsuitable for outdoor use, although it can be used for small scale live shows indoors.
- P120 has higher self noise that you usually find in the cheaper headphones, which affects the overall sound character. But what you can do is record the white noise for 5 to 7 seconds before you start the actual recording. Later you can edit that part.
Brief Background of How the Microphone Came Into Existence
While the actual term “Microphone” was coined only around the 1900s, the concept of the microphone and its function came into existence centuries ago. Today, with development in technology, a microphone comes in different varieties, serving different purposes. They are used in the studios, entertainment industries, workplaces, etc. for different applications. However, the very firsts of their kind were invented and modified by scientists in an attempt to amplify the sound to address a large mass where a normal human voice couldn’t rise so much.
Robert Hooke, the famous physicist, as he is known today for his invention of the very first communication device ever known to the world, came up with what was called “Lover’s telephone”. This device had two cups connected together from their ends with a string-type wire. This is where the invention of the telephone and the sound transmitting to distances had begun.
Later, around 1861, another scientist named Joanne Phillipp Reis built a sound transmitter where he used a metallic strip fitted to the vibrating diaphragm that would produce sporadic current flow but couldn’t be reversed. This concept was further worked upon and improved in 1876 by Alexander Graham Bell.
The First-Ever Electronic Microphone
Bell came up with two microphone designs. The first one was a microphone that used DC current to generate and receive audio signals by a moving transmitter. The second one he designed was the sound transmitter for the telephone using “Liquid Transmitter”. This proved to be more effective in transmitting signals than his previous design.
Emile Berliner and Thomas Edison worked on Bell’s liquid transmitter concept and improved on it by adding metallic components for proper voice telephony in their own way. It was the carbon microphone whose patent was later awarded to Edison. A few years later, around 1877-78, after Edison’s carbon microphone patent, a Britain-America-based music professor and inventor designed a proper carbon microphone whose archetype is still used to build the modern-day microphones today.
The 20th century saw several new and advanced developments in the engineering of microphones, starting with the vacuum tube amplifier that was used to enhance the volume of the microphones and other devices. Later came the condenser mics and the ribbon mics, mini mics, clip-on style mics, and around the early 2000s, MEM microphones (Microelectronic systems) came into existence that was used in mobiles, laptops, PCs, etc.
Various brands came into existence, making their own designs and different types of microphones using various technologies. Sennheiser, Neumann, AKG were some of the first brands to offer microphone solutions to the world.
Coming to our microphone here, whether you use AKG P120 for the podcast, recording in your home studio, or for small-scale live gigs, the mic is pretty powerful for its price. It is a general-purpose microphone for all the budget people out there. Most people prefer this for vocals or guitars for its cardioid polar pattern that captures the sound exceptionally well, but it can be used for other instruments like drums, strings, etc., and for many other applications. The mic manages to offer excellent sonic performance and with its stable and sturdy all-metal body, it is meant to stay with you for very long.
You may experience some pops or hissing sounds when using the mic but with the help of a pop filter and some acoustical treatment, AKG P120 delivers a superior quality that you cannot expect from an inexpensive microphone. The low rumbling sounds coming from the surroundings, the footsteps, the wind noises, etc. can be effectively reduced thanks to its low-cut filter switch. The only thing that you need to keep in mind when using P120 is that it has to be positioned properly if you want to get the best out of it. Hope you liked our AKG P120 Review. You might also want to check our AKG N700nc review from here.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
No, unfortunately, AKG P120 doesn’t come with a shock mount, but the bass-cut filter in the mic can help remove low-frequency sounds to some extent. For more details, read our ‘AKG P120 Review’.
This microphone is best used for podcasting, YouTube video recording, and other home-based recordings and studio projects. It also works great as a gaming mic as its unidirectional pickup pattern picks up your voice well for smooth and clear communication with your teammates. While it may not be great for big live shows, it is good for performances in a relatively closed and smaller environment. Make sure to read the ‘AKG P120 review’ on our website for more details.
It can be challenging to find a good quality condenser microphone under $100, but if you are looking for alternatives that can replace this one in the best possible way, then, Shure SM58 is a good one. However, it is a dynamic microphone with all the qualities that this type of mic usually has. In case you are particular about sticking to the condenser alternative, then AKG Pro Audio P220 is something that you can consider for $35 more than its predecessor P120.