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AKG C1000S Review – The Return of the Classic Thick Stick

4.6 out of 5 stars

AKG’s famous C1000S has been in production since the mid-1980s and is still going strong – so it’s no surprise to see the ‘Swiss army knife of microphones’ feature in our chart of the best sub-$200 condenser mics. The newest iteration of this classic small-diaphragm model has seen plenty of tweaks and improvements. Worth checking out? We think so…


Anybody familiar with this much-admired mic won’t be in for any major surprises as the new C1000S sports the traditional ‘thick stick’ design, with a long (just over 9”) chunky body made entirely from a matte grey-finished aluminum (although a champagne colored version is also available).

Sitting on top of this body is a slim foam-lined black grille. It’s not the prettiest of mics out there and there is nothing awe-inspiring about it – just a standard mic that does the job. However, the overall build quality is very rugged and durable, and that will appeal in both a busy studio and a live performance scenario.


Under the hood you will find a gold-plated internal shock-mounted capsule with a small diaphragm. In terms of specs, this mic features a max SPL of 137dB and a frequency range spanning 50Hz to 20kHz. The C1000S also sports a switchable cardioid to hypercardioid polar pattern, which is good if you crave the true sound isolation and excess noise rejection that the increased focus brings.

However, to switch between the two you need to unscrew the mic, fit a plastic cap (included) over the capsule, then reassemble the mic. This is the same process for the 80Hz bass-cut switch and a switchable -10dB pad. All this assembly and reassembly of the mic is not the most convenient way to use these features, but they remain a welcome addition nonetheless.

The XLR connection will happily fit into an audio interface with 48v phantom power, although if phantom power is not available, this mic also takes two standard AA batteries to deliver up to 120 hours’ worth of power – a useful feature, particularly for live applications. Finally, it comes packaged in a sturdy foam-padded aluminum attaché case and comes with a mic stand adapter and a foam windscreen.


The C1000S is a great all-rounder, suitable for everything from speech and vocals to a wide range of instruments, with the respectable max SPL allowing for use with both guitars and drums. It delivers a clear sound and, edging towards the brighter end of the spectrum, this mic can help vocalists (particularly females) cut through the mix compared to warmer mics.

Meanwhile, the option of running this mic from battery power, combined with the rugged build, means the C1000S is also a worth condenser mic for live applications as much as it is studio recording. With this in mind, it’s easy to see why this mic holds its ‘Swiss army knife of microphones’ nickname!


What we end up with from the new C1000S is an updated version of an already solid mic. AKG have not reinvented the C1000S, but they have made improvements that help this all-purpose mic feel even more versatile than before. The ability to run it without phantom power will be enough for many people! It’s not without its problems, but providing AKG continues to improve this mic, we should see the C1000S remain as popular for decades to come.

For more info about the AKG C1000S, click here.
For more Condenser Microphone Under $200, click here.

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