Today I'm taking a look at the AKG Perception 220 microphone. Priced around $50 more than the Audio Technica AT2020, the AKG packs a number of features into an agreeable (approximately) $200 microphone that are often found on much pricier microphones. Similar to the Audio Technica, the P220 is a cardioid condenser microphone, featuring AKG's renowned 1-inch large-diaphragm true condenser transducer. [youtube id="7RZg_ALqUeE" align="center" mode="lazyload" maxwidth="610"]
Both microphones feature a 20 - 20k hz response, with the AKG just edging out the AT2020 in the signal-to-noise ration department. The AKG clocks in at 78db while the Audio Technica scores only 4 db lower at 74 db. When it comes to miking up some amps or percussion, the AT2020 is capable of handling 144 dB SPL, 1 kHz at 1% T.H.D. while the AKG P220 will handle 155 dB SPL, at .5% T.H.D. One unique advantage that the AKG has over the Audio Technica is it's -20db pad. What this means is that users can simply flip a switch on the P220 if they're going to be miking big amplifier cabinets, and don't want to run the risk of distortion.
Another one of the AKG's fancy switches will apply a bass roll-off filter. This is meant to filter out any unwanted low bass tones in your recording. For example, if used in a home studio, as I suspect many owners of the P220 do, in quiet passages, someone walking seemingly silent across the room, can sometimes register with a highly sensitive microphone such as the P220. To combat this, flip the roll-off switch and record low-end-rumble-free.
Overall, as you can see in the video above, I decided to go with the AKG. The Audio Technica AT2020 in it's own right is a very strong microphone, and I would have no problems using it again. However, if given the choice, I just found the vocals to have a bit more sparkle on the high end, as well as some nice warm tones in the middle and lower end of my voice. Also noteworthy, the Audio Technica ships as mic only, whereas the AKG included a nice matte-black spider shock mount, as well as an aluminum padded carrying case. Certainly not deal breakers, but a further sign of AKG's commitment to quality.
If you've got the extra $50 or so to spend, have a serious look at the AKG Perception 220 over the Audio Technica AT2020. Again, both good in their own right - but in my humble opinion, the AKG is a better piece of equipment. And as an added bonus, I also know that I'm supporting my local economy, as AKG has their headquarters not very far away from where I live.
AKG Perception 220 specifications:
- Type 1" Large Diaphragm True Condenser
- Polar pattern cardioid
- Frequency range 20 to 20,000 Hz
- Sensitivity 18 mV/Pa (-35 dBV)
- Max. SPL 135 dB/155 dB (0/-20 dB) for 0.5% THD
- Equivalent noise level 16 dB-A (IEC 60268-4)
- Signal/noise ratio (A-weighted) 78 dB
- Preattenuation pad 0 dB, -20 dB
- Bass filter 12 dB/octave at 300 Hz
- Impedance <200 ohms Recommended load impedance >=1000 ohms
- Powering <2 mA
- Power requirement 48 V phantom power to DIN/IEC
- Connector 3-pin XLR
- Finish metallic blue/nickel grille
- Dimensions 53 dia. x 165 mm (2.1 dia. x 6.5 in.)
- Net weight 525 g (18.5 oz.)
- Shipping weight 1,970 g (4.3 lb.)