Performance at a glance
Single cardioid pattern
High volume capability (135dB SPL)
Switchable attenuator pad
Switchable bass-cut filter
Two-year parts and labor warranty
Includes shockmount and hardshell carrying case
If you have read any of my other articles about the use of condenser microphones in radio applications you already know that I'm a fan of them. While many of us have added EQ to the output of a mic preamp, nothing beats using a mic that produces the low-end that we want naturally, along with finely detailed high-frequency content. In a business where we strive to attract and keep listeners with our sound, and more specifically the sounds of announcer's voices, I can really think of no other more important single studio item than a good microphone. I like to process mics minimally — and this is easy with a good condenser — so that I give our announcers just an ever so slightly larger than life sound. Use of a large-diaphragm condenser microphone type is the key. Until fairly recently, mics of this type were beyond the budgetary reach of many radio stations, but lately there have been more condenser mics introduced to the market by more manufacturers, so the price points have dropped. AKG has introduced an economical large-diaphragm condenser microphone, the Perception 200.
Even at its low price point, this microphone appears to be rugged and well made. As you can see from its frequency response chart it has a relatively minor high frequency bump centered at about 12kHz and a flat low-end response. The bass cut switch allows the user to attenuate low frequency content through the use of a 12dB/octave HPF with a 300Hz corner frequency.
Click image to enlarge.
KJR Sports Radio (950) in Seattle is a locally programmed sports and talk station at which the microphones make a significant contribution to the overall sound of the station. Edit-bay two is our test studio for new microphones, and we have reviewed many. The test procedure for the AKG perception was simple. A Mackie Onyx 1220 was used for the pre-amp for the AKG along with the mic that has been in use for quite some time (another large-diaphragm condenser). The test equipment is a pair of Sony MDR7506s and my ears. Mics are located adjacent to one another and by alternating them in to the program bus I can make a fair and quick comparison in the way they sound.
Overall I liked the sound of this mic. It was not quite as bright as our standard mic but it had a richer low-end; in fact it needs to be worked six to nine inches away so that the low end doesn't sound like too much. (In practice the low-frequency cut switch could be used should this be a problem.) “P-popping” would likely be an issue should the user work it too closely. The fact that you do work it farther far away means that the end user doesn't have to be quite as cognizant of where they are with respect to it; no one need be concerned with using the proximity effect to unnaturally build the low frequency content of their voices. This mic has its own rich low end that I feel many announcers would appreciate. The other side of the coin is that a microphone such as this needs to be used in a quiet room with the appropriate acoustical design. If the studio you use sounds lively with a more run-of-the-mill dynamic mic, then this is not for you. Room ambience will be exaggerated.
The pickup pattern and frequency response of the Perception 200.
The use of condenser mics is a good way to make your station stand out. Sure, listeners won't know why your jocks sound more real, and usually more intelligible; they'll just realize that they do. The is an economical way to test the waters in the use of a condenser type mic, while minimizing the risk that the talent won't like it. More than likely, they'll love it.
Irwin is a contract engineer in Seatlle.
Editor's note: Field Reports are an exclusive Radio magazine feature for radio broadcasters. Each report is prepared by well-qualified staff at a radio station, production facility or consulting company.
These reports are performed by the industry, for the industry. Manufacturer support is limited to providing loan equipment and to aiding the author if requested.
It is the responsibility of Radio magazine to publish the results of any device tested, positive or negative. No report should be considered an endorsement or disapproval by Radio magazine.