AKG has a very strong offering in the affordable condenser microphone range. In fact, they are so dominant that they offer two different sub-$200 condenser mics that show off very similar features – the P420 and today’s focus, the lower-priced P220. Both are large-diaphragm condenser microphones with nearly identical designs – so is there any point opting for the more expensive model when this one exists? Let’s take a closer look and find out…
As we have noted, the P220 is very similar to the higher-priced P420 in design – in fact, on the face of it, they are identical. The P220 features the same rugged feel, as well as the same clean and minimalist all-metal chassis, with a matte black finish. The grille also features that nice vintage champagne color to break up the monotone.
Aside from the AKG logo on the front, that’s about as exciting as it gets! Compared to some of the models you can see on the market at the moment, the P220 is extremely stealthy and keeps a low profile in terms of aesthetics – hinting to its ultimate purpose of getting the job done in the studio.
So, no different to the P420 in design, the P220 must be different in the features department? Correct! Well, in part – the specs are largely the same, with a 20Hz to 20kHz frequency response and a max SPL of 155dB. What the P220 lacks compared to its slightly pricier older brother is a dual-diaphragm, which means it has a fixed cardioid polar pattern (compared to the three on offer from the P420).
The P220 does retain the handy -20dB attenuation pad as well as a bass cut filter switch. Output also comes in the form of a balanced XLR connector, so phantom power is required to run this mic. In terms of accessories, AKG ships the P220 with a good shock mount and a cool padded aluminum carry case.
Like the P420, the P220 is capable of just about any application you have in mind. Recording vocals is no issue, and this mic offers a full, clean and crisp recording with just the right amount of warmth. Thanks to the -20dB pad, which pushes the max SPL to the full 155dB, recording a wide range of instruments is no bother either. Ultimately, it’s robust and reliable – a real workhorse. For these reasons alone, the P220 is one of the most popular condenser mics in this price range.
AKG’s P220 is a performer’s mic and very strong for both vocals and instrument recording, from piano and guitar to a full drumkit. Providing you can cope with the fixed cardioid pattern, this is worth buying over the more expensive P420 as the performance is so similar. If you need the polar pattern flexibility, check out the P420 instead.