Home Condenser Microphone Reviews AKG perception 420 Review [With Video]

AKG perception 420 Review [With Video]

by Stuart Charles Black

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Hi friend and Welcome!

Before we get into the specifics of the AKG Perception 420 condenser microphone, grab a snack, sit back and relax because…

You’ve come to the right place!!

What I will bring you in this review

  1. Ratings/Price
  2. Specifications
  3. Summary
  4. Pros
  5. Cons
  6. Video Review
  7. Who this mic benefits?
  8. What you will need?
  9. Consensus/Conclusion
  10. Final Word

Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!

AKG Perception 420

Check Amazon! | Check Sweetwater! | Check eBay!


  • Microphone Type: Condenser
  • Mono/Stereo: Mono
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid, Omni, Figure-8. What is a cardioid capsule?
  • Diaphragm Size: 1″ (25.4mm). Large Diaphragm vs. Small Diaphragm.
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Max SPL: 135dB (155dB w/Pad). What is SPL?
  • Output Impedance: 200 Ohms
  • Signal To Noise Ratio: 79dB (A-weighted)
  • Self Noise: 15dB (A-weighted)
  • Low Cut Filter: 300Hz (-12dB/octave)
  • Pads: -20dB
  • Color: Black
  • Connector: XLR. What is XLR?
  • Weight: 1.17 lbs.
  • Manufacturer Part Number: 3101H00090


I was curious as to why this XLR mic cost a bit more than other similar options, and I found out it’s because it allows you to record 3 different polar patterns! What is the difference between a USB microphone and an XLR microphone?

Let me give you a rundown of each type of pattern:

  1. Cardioid – These are very common and great for recording vocals in the studio. They pick up sound from one direction (no, not the band, lol).
  2. Omni – These pick up sounds from just about every direction equally. They are less susceptible to plosives (the popping sound made by certain consonants in speech)
  3. Figure 8 – This type picks up sound from the front and back, and is good for recording two voices at the same time, or a vocalist and a guitarist.

So yeah, this mic, therefore, becomes incredibly versatile and useful for many different studio applications.

It’s pretty neutral overall but does have a rise from around 2kHz – 6kHz.

This makes it fantastic for recording vocals and instruments as it will give you some nice presence and sparkle without going overboard.

If you’re familiar with recording acoustic guitar, a lot of mics typically pick up a lot of unnecessary low-end information that we don’t need.

Whenever I EQ my own recordings, I have to go in and give the air regions around 5kHz+ a boost while cutting most everything below 100Hz or thereabouts. 

With the P420, you’re not going to be having to tweak it quite as much as there’s already a boost in the frequency response.

Here is what it looks like:

Image Credit: Recording Hacks

As you can see, it’s pretty flat-ish with a gradual rise right where you need one.


  • Three types of polar patterns for versatility.
  • Excellent at recording vocals as well as instruments.
  • Remarkable reproduction of the voice.
  • Mostly neutral, with a little extra emphasis on the highs.
  • The shock mount that comes with it is extremely solid.
  • One reviewer compared it with the Neumann TLM 103 and couldn’t find that much of a difference!
  • Very natural sounding.
  • Ideal for recording grand piano, woodwind, and brass instruments as well as drums and percussion instruments.
  • Rugged aluminum carrying case & shock mount.


Well, after scouring the internet and looking at this mic from many different perspectives, I could not find a glaring con that really stood out to me.


Check out this informative video review + sound test!!

Who does this microphone benefit?

  • People who want to record instruments, as well as vocals.
  • People who want a flat and neutral response from their recording: i.e. an honest reproduction of their voice.
  • People who need versatility out of their mic. This one does it all!
  • Drum overheads.
  • Electric guitar amps.
  • Can handle sound pressure levels of around 155 dB.

What you will need?

This mic requires:

A couple of great options are the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 and Universal Audio Volt 2.

Universal Audio Volt 2 Review

I own the Volt 2 and previously owned the 1st generation 2i2.

I had to sell it because it wasn’t compatible with Windows 10 (I got a new laptop), but it’s a fantastic product and they’ve since come out with a 3rd gen model. Highly recommended!

You could also go with the Volt 2 which is what I am currently using in my studio.

It actually has a bit more gain than the 2i2 (55dB vs. 48) so if you need more, go with that instead.


The AKG Perception 420 is an extremely versatile mic with 3 polar patterns for added flexibility.

It can handle high sound pressure levels, places just the right amount of presence where you need it, and is heavy and robust enough to keep your mind at ease.

Learn More:



Final Word

Well, that’s about it for today folks! I hope you’ve enjoyed my AKG Perception 420 condenser microphone review!!

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know below or contact me!!

What do you think about Perception 420? Let me know as well! Until then…

All the best and God bless,





Be sure to check out my Reviews and Resources page for more helpful and informative articles!


AKG Perception 420 Condenser Microphone











  • Three types of polar patterns for versatility
  • excellent at recording vocals as well as instruments
  • very natural sounding
  • rugged aluminum carrying case
  • flat and neutral, with a little extra emphasis on the highs


  • none!

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Peter May 29, 2015 - 1:30 am

Hi Stu. Great article on the AKG Perception 420. Now I understand why it’s a little pricey. It may cost more, but it’s more versatile with three different polar pattern settings. Without this knowledge, I would have never considered such an expensive mic. With all that it can do, it’s a fair deal. Although it retails at $329, I found it for approximately $175 on Amazon. Not bad.

Stu May 29, 2015 - 2:30 pm

Thanks Peter! Yeah I’m actually thinking about getting a new mic and had some options in mind, but this one almost tops the list! I may splurge and get it lol. That is a very good deal in my opinion.. Thanks for stopping by and I wish you the best! Come back any time..

Yoko May 29, 2015 - 7:43 pm

I didn’t know about mic well so your article was very helpful! Thank you for sharing!

Stu May 30, 2015 - 10:10 pm

No problem Yoko! Glad to help and thank you for stopping by!

Brian July 24, 2015 - 2:22 am

For almost getting a perfect 10 this mic really isn’t that expensive. Like you said, compared to a mic costing $1,300, there wasn’t much difference. Thanks for doing this review and all the homework for me 🙂 I may check this one out, but it seems to me a “look no further” type of mic. Thanks for the help!

Stu July 24, 2015 - 2:28 am

Hey Brian!

No problem at all! I was ecstatic when I heard about this piece. Hope you decide on it!


Rick Wilson August 1, 2015 - 4:38 pm

Hi Stu,
First I applaud (pun intended) your comments on that certain band 🙂 I like pure, unadulterated sound reproduction. It is unfortunate that a lot of today’s performers aren’t that talented and it really shows when they don’t use all the electronics to modify their recordings. The discount on the price from your link to Amazon is really a nice benefit too!! Anyway, great article with a lot of easily understood information.

Stu August 1, 2015 - 5:05 pm

Hey Rick!

I think it’s also a shame because a lot of these performers are talented, but won’t invest (or can’t invest) in proper gear to back it up..

Thanks for stopping by my man!


David August 11, 2015 - 3:02 am

AKG makes some great large diaphragm condenser microphones; however, this is my first introduction to the 420. Sounds like a great all-round recording mic. For now, I’m quite happy with my Audio Technica 2035, although it doesn’t provide the three polar patterns. I recommend anyone beginning in home recording start with one good large diaphragm condenser mic, then add special purpose mics as needed.

Stu August 11, 2015 - 11:07 pm

Hey David!

Yeah the AT 2035 is really a great microphone. I’ve seen so much praise heaped on it .. The AKG perception 420 doesn’t get much attention but it should because it’s so versatile.. Thanks for stopping by man! Hope to hear from you again soon…


Marvin August 23, 2015 - 9:33 am

Stu, as a lifelong musician and having been in many a recording studio, I appreciated your thorough post/review on the AKG Perception 420 Condenser Microphone. It is a bit pricey, but with so many upsides, it can do the job of 2 or 3 other less expensive mic’s, it would seem.

I like the “flat” and neutral feature. You can add all the reverb, echo, etc. you want with other gizmos, but to me having the real sound recorded exactly as it is for the ground zero take is preferable.

Good article, I have a couple friends with home studios, I will pass this on to them.

Stu August 25, 2015 - 10:40 pm

“Hey Marvin, what do you make of all this?”

Haha i know you know what that quote is from.

But anywho, thanks much for stopping by man! I am really considering the 420 when I purchase my next mic. It seems like such an all in one great buy! I also do appreciate neutral sound when it comes to mics as well as headphones. I find it’s more beneficial to my mixes. Please do pass the site on! I would greatly appreciate it!

Hope to hear from you soon,


Aaron September 30, 2015 - 2:59 am


This looks like a great mic. Some day when I get acoustic again, I’ll have to hit up your site.

I currently use an electric drum set (Alesis DM10x) and I am not in need of a mic. I am, however, in need of training to record my drums via Midi to FL Studio or some other program. I am kind of lost right now! What program would you recommend for electric drum recording?

Awesome post,

Stu October 3, 2015 - 11:14 pm

Hey bud,

Yeah the Perception 420 is a pretty sweet mic! Hope you bookmarked this site for future reference..

As for the electric drum recording, that’s not really my realm but I found you a link! Hopefully it helps you out man.. How to record electronic drums Any other questions just ask me! Hope to hear from you again..


Chris October 20, 2015 - 1:42 pm

Hi, the mic looks a great option but I’d like to check on a few points first. I often get singers who suffer from quite terrible sibilence in their voices ( the awful S sounds that cut through ). I don’t particularly like side chaining compressors and I’m not overly keen on De-essers. What is the natural tolerance to plosives like on this particular condenser?

Stu October 23, 2015 - 1:01 am

Hey man!

The AKG Perception 420 is very true to the sound of your voice and is commonly referred to as neutral, but also very forgiving. Sibliance is a non issue here because the high end isn’t overly bright. The downside for you is that this mic won’t make your clients sound particularly amazing or anything. It’s a great mic, but you may want to consider other options!

If I had to recommend a great all around option for you, it would be the AT2035!

Any more questions just ask! Hope to hear from you again..


Pete Williams December 17, 2015 - 10:56 am

Hey Stu

I used to use the AKG all the time to record group vocals in the studio. Switching Omni Directional or Bi-Polar was a good choice to get some stereo to the soundboard. Also, I would use this as either drum overheads or just for an ambient room Mic’.

The flat natural sound is what every studio engineer wants to capture, and with this Mic’ you can. There’s plenty of effects in the rack to play with after you’ve got this down.

Thinking back, this is also a good Mic for tracking down Acoustic guitar and getting decent sounds with different Mic’ Placements. AKG was always out of the box when I worked. It’s that good.

All the best Stu, good read & summary here.


Stu December 18, 2015 - 5:14 am

Hey Pete!

Thanks a lot for the comment. The 420 is definitely at the top of my list for potential mics I may purchase down the road. That almost perfect rating is pretty sexy. 😛 It seems like a jack of all trades type of piece. I appreciate you giving some possible scenarios in which it would excel, especially for people who may be on the fence. Hope you end up stopping by again!

Take care and God bless,


Michael Maamari March 1, 2016 - 12:08 am

Hey there!

Thank you for this very informative and helpful post. My friend is an amazing writer and talented singer. He’s always shopping around for the right type of microphone and the accessories that come along with it.

This one is not as expensive as some of the others I’ve seen. I’ll definitely make sure to recommend this to him 🙂

Stu March 3, 2016 - 5:27 am

Thanks man!

Have him drop by anytime! If either of you has any questions, just Contact me.. 🙂



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