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  • AndyW 11:30AM
  • DeuxDoigts_Tonnerre 11:30AM

AKG C411 PP, contact mic, any experience?

Craig BumgarnerCraig Bumgarner Drayden, MarylandVirtuoso Bumgarner S/N 001
Anyone have any experience with the AKG C411 PP contact mic? Internet research is all positive, at least what I see. Some people compare them favorably to the DPA4099. One third the price. The PP model gives you a ten foot cable with standard (not mini) XLR connector. Required phantom power, hence the PP. ~$150 street. Has anyone tried these?

Craig
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  • Greetings,

    I caught your question via Google Alerts, so I joined this lovely forum to post a reply.

    You've most likely read my review of the AKG C411 PP on B & H Photo's site, yet if you have not, see it here:

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/858836-REG/AKG_2571Z00040_C411PP_CONDENSER_MICROPHONE_w_MINI.html

    I love these units, though I've not done a lot of specific testing on guitars. I've used these for years and for the money they're very hard to beat. The interesting thing is, I could not find the PP version anywhere in the US, only various stores in Europe. This motivated me to get B & H to carry the unit via special order. They were incredibly helpful and gracious to do the research and make the PP version available in the US. I still can't figure out why no one carries them here. Lots of L versions, which are great for wireless setups, yet unwieldy in a straight to phantom powered mixer situation.

    Cheers!

    PS: I am not an AKG or B & H rep, simply a satisfied user of this device...
  • Craig BumgarnerCraig Bumgarner Drayden, MarylandVirtuoso Bumgarner S/N 001
    PierreGee,

    Thanks for your reply. Can you expand a little on the tone? I read your review, but there is only one sentence that addresses tone. Most pickups are convenient enough, but many are overly bright and have a very tinny sound on the high end. This seems to be accentuated by aggressive playing with a stiff pick like we do on the gypsy guitars. Many pickups which sound decent when finger picked sound awful when played hard with a stiff pick.

    The reason I'm not just buying one to see is the PP version, which is the one I would want, does not seem to be stocked in the US, even by B&H. It is special order and not returnable. So, I was hoping to get some user impressions.

    Over on the Manoucheries site, I found one post which quickly reviews most of the current pickups, dated January, 2012. It says about the the AKG C411: " Fairly difficult to find the right position and as almost all the small microphone in this series, there are very smart and aggressive and requires a lot of EQ." Just one person's opinion of course.

    Here is the link:

    http://guitarejazzmanouche.com/forum/vi ... 11#p276866

    The other quality I am interested in is dynamic range, the ability to play soft and loud without amp volume changes. Many pickups have a much narrower range that the acoustic instrument has.

    Thanks,

    Craig
  • lezardlezard IrelandNew
    I was just about to order an AT pro 70, But this seems like an intresting alternative.
    I found this vid on youtube that apparently features one, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HlSLU-ajMA.
  • Hey Craig,

    Glad I checked back, I thought I'd get email notifications for replies, yet did not.
    PierreGee,
    Thanks for your reply. Can you expand a little on the tone? I read your review, but there is only one sentence that addresses tone. Most pickups are convenient enough, but many are overly bright and have a very tinny sound on the high end. This seems to be accentuated by aggressive playing with a stiff pick like we do on the gypsy guitars. Many pickups which sound decent when finger picked sound awful when played hard with a stiff pick.
    Craig

    The closest thing I can relate to your application / musical context, is that I play an octave mandolin amplified via the AKG C411 pp through a Mackie mixer channel and on into a Bose L1 PAS system. I play a fairly wide range of material that goes from a whisper with finger flesh and nails to a roar that's propelled with a large pick. Compared to the piezo pickups I've heard, this unit has a much wider and flatter frequency response and is just much more natural sounding. I believe this design incorporates a moving coil microphone element, although I may be misinformed on this. To me it get's very close to an actual microphone, yet because it's mounted directly on the surface of the instrument, you don't get that air quality that's present with a microphone. If I cream a note really hard (perhaps too hard even for straight acoustic tone), it will bark a bit. I'm spoiled by the fidelity of the Bose system, which makes everything sound better, so that needs to be considered. I've only run the C411 through a bass amp coming off of a standup bass and I'm very happy with that sound as well.
    PierreGee,
    The reason I'm not just buying one to see is the PP version, which is the one I would want, does not seem to be stocked in the US, even by B&H. It is special order and not returnable. So, I was hoping to get some user impressions.
    Craig

    I was not aware that the B&H units were non-returnable, that's a drag. In that case you'd need to find someone in your area that would let you experiment with an L version, hopefully on location at a local store. It would be a hassle to have to order one online and use the return policy, yet that may be what you need to do. The L is supposedly the exact same element, yet requires the expensive mini XLR to std XLR adapter cable. Sadly, and as you well know, there is no way to know for sure if this unit will work in your application until you try it out.
    PierreGee,
    Over on the Manoucheries site, I found one post which quickly reviews most of the current pickups, dated January, 2012. It says about the the AKG C411: " Fairly difficult to find the right position and as almost all the small microphone in this series, there are very smart and aggressive and requires a lot of EQ." Just one person's opinion of course.

    Here is the link:

    http://guitarejazzmanouche.com/forum/vi ... 11#p276866

    The other quality I am interested in is dynamic range, the ability to play soft and loud without amp volume changes. Many pickups have a much narrower range that the acoustic instrument has.

    Thanks,
    Craig

    A typically good place for the pickup is just off the lower back corner of the bridge. Start there and experiment with various positioning. I would not rule out any part of the guitar's body for experimenting, yet the bridge placement seems most balanced and tonally accurate. It's quite stunning how moving the element by micro increments can really change tone, balance and response, yet once you find the sweet spot I think you'll be quite impressed. In my setup with the very standard 3 band Mackie channel EQ, I've only needed to slightly tweak it to taste, never to make up for a lack of frequency response. As for dynamic range, again, I find it quite capable in this area, with the caveat that it's not going have the air of a microphone. This may be considered illegal on this forum, yet I do use reverb on the master bus of the Mackie, which does help to produce some air... 8)

    I wish you luck in finding an awesome solution Craig, hopefully the AKG will fit the bill!

    Best.
  • Thank you Google Alerts, this just in:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=at1iZeFWfQs

    Highly informative... :wink:

    Although, the fiddle bridge mounting position they show in the illustration looks promising...
  • bopsterbopster St. Louis, MOProdigy Altamira M30, Gitane DG-370, Wide Sky PL-1
    I have one of these ordered through B & H. I'll be glad to give a report, make recordings, video, etc., whenever it gets here.
  • Thanks for sharing that you've got one on order from B & H. Looking forward to hearing about your results!
  • bopsterbopster St. Louis, MOProdigy Altamira M30, Gitane DG-370, Wide Sky PL-1
    According to UPS, I will receive the Mic on Monday. Many experiments with various instuments and placements will follow.
  • Craig BumgarnerCraig Bumgarner Drayden, MarylandVirtuoso Bumgarner S/N 001
    Looking forward to hearing you impressions.
  • bopsterbopster St. Louis, MOProdigy Altamira M30, Gitane DG-370, Wide Sky PL-1
    Just arrived via UPS. Delivered at 8:45 CST. UPS gal gets my first praise.

    I will be trying this out with the following equipment: Dell'Arte Robin Nolan modele (petite bouche, Favino sized body), Gitane Dorado Schmitt Modele (Grande Bouche, standard sized body with Maple Back and sides, ebony fretboard), and an Ashbory bass (rubber string bass that can sound like an acoustic. I use it on all my groups CDs). I'll run it through a Fishman Loudbox with Phantom power, and also try it with an Ultrasound DI Max fed into a Phil Jones Cub.

    I've got some work to do. I'm glad there are no gigs this weekend.
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