If you’re in the market for a microphone that can deliver a big sound at an affordable price, then read on. At first glance, the AKG C4500 B-BC looks like the right fit for any broadcast announcer, and that’s exactly where this microphone shines; however, that is not its only application.
The C 4500 B-BC was developed for digital broadcasting. It is immune to electrostatic and magnetic fields and provides a wide range and low self-noise.
The C4500 is a large diaphragm condenser microphone that can operate on a variety of phantom power supplies ranging between 9 and 52 VDC. The C4500 has a 20 dB preattenuation pad that increases its Sound Pressure Level (SPL) range. To prove this theory, I placed the microphone just inches from a Marshal guitar amp, and had the guitarist play to his heart’s content. The microphone handled the SPL’s with no problem. However, I was not overwhelmed with the sound at first; it was too “boomy.” I then backed the microphone up so the total distance to the amp was 12 inches. The microphone recorded a sharp sound with a tight low-end response. This mic would be a good choice in this application. Another fine application for this microphone would be when you’re recording a bass drum. It handles the sharp attack without any distortion and delivers a low-end response of which any mixer would be proud.
I recorded a variety of professional voice over talents using the C4500 B-BC and really fell in love with the performance. The sound was well rounded with a smooth bottom end and great presence in the upper midrange frequencies. This gave the impression of a big sound that could cut through the music and effects of any radio or TV spot and still deliver great presence with a clean, intelligible response.
As I recorded each voice over talent, I tried different micing positions. The first position was just off axis of the subject’s mouth about six inches away. This position responded well, but lacked ever so slightly in clarity. The second position was six inches directly in front of the subject’s mouth. This position had the best overall frequency response compared to other positions and also did not obstruct the talent’s view of scripts. Although, if I placed the microphone level with the voice over talents chin and pointed it upwards toward the mouth, I found the siblance factor to be slightly less. This position came in handy when recording female voices that sometimes spike in frequency around the 5 KHz to 7 KHz range. One of the studio booths I happened to be recording in had a low rumble present. That proved to be a problem when recording until I switched the bass cut filter on the AKG C4500 B-BC. This filter starts to slope at 120 HZ using a 6 dB per octave scale. This filter not only reduced the low rumble in the studio booth but also reduced the rumbling wind outside. Furthermore, I tried this microphone as a public announce mic on a small outdoor stage and it performed beautifully.
The AKG C4500 B-BC handled a variety of recording applications from musical instruments to voice overs and public address settings. This microphone is a must have for any radio or television studio. It’s reliable and can handle the toughest of situations. Moderately priced and backed by the AKG reputation, how could any engineer go wrong?
Rob Fritts is senior sound designer/mixer for Henninger Digital Audio located in Arlington, VA.