AKG P120 Microphone Review (2020)

The AKG P120 is a budget-friendly mic and comes with all the features you need for your entry-level application, unlike the AKG C414 which is more premium. It is essentially the company’s response to all those low-quality cheap alternatives on the market. You will get the best of both: quality and price.

But the question is will you get the same amount of quality that AKG is known for in this entry-level microphone. Well, it’s time to find that out! Keep reading to find out whether this budget-friendly condenser mic is the right option for you or not in this AKG P120 review.

Sound Quality

By now we have established it is a budget-friendly mic. We are going to see whether AKG has done justice to its quality for which the brand has been popular for such a long time. Let’s talk about the sound quality the AKG P120 can manage.

With a cardioid polar pattern, this mic comes with a capsule in a 0.66-inch diameter. You won’t get the shock-absorbing mount in your package as you would in the case of P420. But the P120 claims to have a response of 20 Hz to 20 kHz. This time around the sensitivity of this mic reaches -33 dB along with a maximum SPL of around 150 dB, especially if you have its pad switched in.

Signal to noise ratio

The signal-to-noise ratio of this condenser microphone is around 72 dB. But if you compare its overall dimensions and weight with the P420, you won’t find any difference.

If you use it as a vocal microphone, the P120 can produce a very nice and warm sound that is slightly compressed.

The high end you hear will be smooth but it is not going to be something dull. It will not stray far off from neutral and end up being a 1-trick pony. However, it works well with different sound types including the feminine vocalists to lose some edges and gain some depths.

Noise figure

The noise figure is not too low but it suits well if you are looking to use it for close-miking applications. And it will be around par if you compare it with a range of different FET mics from the previous years.

Frequency response

The frequency response of the P120 mic is not similar to any other large body microphones, particularly in the Perception Series by AKG. A High-frequency peak will happen pretty soon and go higher while being over 4 dB @ 10 kHz.

The low frequency rolls sooner as well. The company claims that the frequency range of this microphone ranges between 20 Hz and 20 kHz. But the negative 3 dB takes place on the frequency graph at approximately 125 Hz and around 18 kHz.

Build Quality

Overall construction

In terms of looks, AKG has used the design and outlook of its P420 mic to construct the P120. However, you will not get a blue-tinted grille in this design. The P120 is designed for both vocals as well as instruments and features the same kind of roll-off controls and pads on it just like the P420.

The AKG P120 is made of metal and can withstand harsh environments pretty well. It can even resist impacts if you drop it on the floor. This mic is pretty much unbreakable. Unlike the P420 that still requires some attention from the user, the P120 can conveniently handle anything that you put in its way.

This is an extremely robust microphone that can stand the test of time and can even handle a few drops without any issues. Therefore, if you are new to handling microphones, this should be your choice.

Under the hood

The P120 features a relatively small-diaphragm but it is large enough to record your vocals. The capsule of this mic is ⅔-inch and features a back-electret construction.

It comes with higher headroom and produces a minimum distortion. But for any of those close-mic applications, this comes with pre-attenuation padding. The diaphragm of this mic is gold-sputtered and provides you with an excellent transient response. With this sort of construction, the mic can withstand high SPL and that is also without any distortion.

Controls

The controls on this microphone are not technical to handle. They are pretty easy to use and very practical. This microphone comes with a bass-cut filter that is switchable and you can use it to eliminate any footfall noise or rumble.

The mic also comes with its attenuation pad that you can switch to handle high SPL. It is good enough for applications that involve attenuation of up to 150 dB.

The attenuation pad comes in very handy as the mic doesn’t come with any position adjustability. Therefore, it solves the problem of being a bit too extra sensitive when it comes to ambient noise.

It is a great option to consider for anyone who does frequent home recording, just like the Shure SM81. However, it doesn’t come with any recording software and you will have to purchase it separately or go for the one you are already using.

The mic also runs on phantom power so you will need to go for a preamp as well. It also doesn’t feature any controls to keep the distortion out while recording vocals so you will have to go for a stand or a pop filter separately. In other words, you will have to make the conditions perfect if you are looking to get the best out of your investment in this microphone.

Polar Patterns

The P120 is a cardioid condenser mic and if you are looking to record vocals or extraordinary proportions, you will need this mic. Such a mic is designed to capture all the details across the frequency range. It is not only the right option for recording vocals but singular instruments as well.

It will not take any sound directly from its behind or elsewhere. However, it is pretty sensitive up on the front and you might notice some large ambient noise coming from it.

Frequency Range

This mic comes with a frequency range falling between 20 Hz and 20 kHz. This range generally covers all the requirements when it comes to frequencies. But at low frequency, you will notice some coloration to increase the presence of the instrument or sound source. You can either use high pass filters to control these or properly place the mic to tackle the situation.

But make sure you keep the position of the mike right in front of the instrument because it’s not going to take much of the ambient noise. Also, ensure you don’t put it too close to the instruments or you will have to switch the attenuation pad on to keep the frequencies from distorting.

Attenuation Pad

With this pad in place, you can conveniently handle large sound sources right in front of the mic to damp the sound without altering its frequency. If you are looking to record the best quality sound, this feature will come in handy. And for this reason, the AKG P120 is the best choice for home recording. It also helps keep the distortions under check and frequencies at their original feature.

Maximum SPL

You might be thinking if you switch the pad in, it will significantly influence the maximum sound pressure level with the P120. But that is not the case. Even with the pad switched in, the mic can configure and SPL up to 150 dB which is quite awesome. Therefore, it is an excellent option if you are looking to record any instruments including electric and acoustic guitars, pianos, and drums. Another versatile mic that I can personally recommend is the Shure Beta 57A which I reviewed here.

AKG P120 Pros and Cons

Pros

  • It is the best option if you are looking for a standard mic.
  • The mic can conveniently work for locals as well as instruments.
  • Modern styled construction with a robust design.
  • All-metal construction that can withstand wears pretty well.
  • There is a switchable filter for the bass-cut present on the mic.
  • You can also use the switchable attenuator pad to dampen loud sound sources.
  • It can conveniently handle a maximum sound pressure level of 150 dB.

Cons

  • It requires Phantom power P48 to run.
  • Not a suitable option for live performances.

Conclusion:

The P120 mic is a good choice for a variety of applications. It is a top choice for vocals as well as electric and acoustic guitar. Plus, you can use it for various bass instruments like drums, woodwinds, and strings. It can manage a high-quality sound at a very affordable price, a deal that you shouldn’t overlook.

The mic has a rugged construction featuring metal and the front grill of this mic protects the interiors from any damage. It is also effective in rejecting any RF interferences and ambient noise. You can conveniently use it with various wireless and other communications systems. So the mic is pretty versatile in use.

It also comes with a switchable bass-cut filter. And you can conveniently roll off any of those low frequencies that are creating any distortion. Practically, this roll-off is great in reducing any rumble caused by HVAC systems, movement noises, wind interferences, and plosives.

About Shawn Shepherd

Hi, I'm the owner of the Hifi Guide and have been an audio lover enthusiast for over 16 years. I have a Bachelor's degree in Sound Engineering and I work on producing content for the Hifi Guide in my spare time. My love for audio stemmed from my Dad who was an audio technician, and now I share my knowledge here on this website!

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