The AKG C 1000 S is an extremely versatile mic suitable for studio and stage applications. I've found that it works really well on classical nylon string guitar.
Best inexpensive cardioid condenser mic
Some 10 years ago, my basement recording studio Maxern Records needed two cardioid condenser mics for recording vocals on my Roland 1680 16-track Recorder. Cardioid condensers are essential for full-sound vocals, and, lacking money for anything more expensive, I got two AKG C 1000S. The vocal recording quality of these highly sensitive microphones is awesome. I just had the good fortune of procuring the 3Xs more expensive Neumann TLM 102 Condenser Mic. I am writing this review to tell you to buy the AKG C 1000S for recording vocals, when its price fits your budget.
I am a big fan of AKG, I think they make great stuff and this mic is no exception. I own two that I use primarily for stereo miking on acoustic guitar and drum overheads. Both have come out very well, especially considering the price of the mics. On acoustic it sounded full, but detailed. With drums it was very balanced with a crisp top end that sounded great on the cymbals. I used the XY configuration on the overheads, it seemed to sound a bit better than a spaced pair (I haven't tried any other set ups on OH's yet with these mics). All in all they are great mics, very versatile and worth the money. There are mics out there that I would rather have for sure, but for the money, these can't seem to be beat. I've seen the complaints about it being thin and tinny, but I have never gotten that result with mine.
AKG C 1000 S
I own two of these mics (plus the AKG Perception 200). The first one began to get noisy (an old model I got second hand). I really liked the sound I got with it so I ordered another one from Sweetwater. I use it for live vocals. To me, it sounds warm and clear. It picks up the nuances in my voice. I am pleased with both of my AKGs.
AKG C1000S mic
I had two of these before and they were stolen. I now have another and it is my "go to" mic for stringed instruments. Always reliable and and always in the kit no matter what the gig is.
Great for Fast Transients and Low Budgets
I record in a crappy little room with no sound proofing, so the directional nature of this mic is great. It gets transients very crisply, I use it for acoustic guitar and hi hat mainly. Vocals are meh, it's not very good for that in my experience, but for stringed instruments and percussion it's great.
I have used this mic in a Church setting for the choir for a number of years. It is durable and gives a great reproduction of sound for vocals or instruments. Especially nice is the ability to change the pattern and also to use with phantom power or a 9v battery. When it came time to purchase mics for another application I naturally chose this mic again!
I think they're less expensive now than they were 15 years ago.
Years ago, I saw Alison Krauss & Union Station live and noticed Alison was using the C1000S to mic her violin. At the time, I was paying the bills as a solo acoustic guitarist and $300 was a ton of money to me but since it was good enough for Alison - and her fiddle sounded so full and rich that night, I took the plunge.
I used this mic for most of the '90's in combo with an old Rane AP preamp to mic my old Taylor guitar at the more quiet, intimate venues. IMHO, this mic has the freq response of a nice dynamic with the sensitivity of a quality condenser. There's just not enough going on in the higher frequencies - above 10K - for me, to make it a great recording mic but for guitar tracks that are going to sit in the mix or live applications, it's absolutely perfect. Since this mic is now about 15 years old, has seen lots of road miles and still performs flawlessly, I think "bulletproof" is an apt description of it's build quality.
There are lots of mic's that you can pick up in this price range but I can't think of any that would be quite as versatile - I have used it for acoustic instruments, voice, guitar cabs and hand drums with great results. I don't use this mic as much these days as I have a shelf full of Neumann's and a couple of 414's but, occasionally, I'll pull it out and point it at something and dial it in - it makes me feel good to hook up with an old friend and, like always, it never disappoints.
Joining the Consensus
I have used a pair of these for years in a home studio and in live sound. I concur with the general opinion about versatility. They have worked to my satisfaction on all kinds of stringed instruments as well as vocals. They can become flat and 2 dimensional if not placed right and that might be the factor leading to the criticisms I have read here. Just a thought. For ambient recordings outdoors, they have reproduced the night sounds of summer insects with great detail and clarity when spread 10 feet apart. I sometimes place a third mic in the center and spread them out even farther. Insect sounds can be unbelievably complex and cause clipping even at lower amplitude. These mics work great.
a must-have for rock&roll.
just TRY this mic off-axis on your guitar cab! probably considered an unconventional approach... but the results will most likely encourage you to think outside the box in the future.
i've also had great results about ten inches off acoustic guitars.
"AKG?, that's ok but hey have you got a Neumann?"
OK, let me start off and quantify the issue by telling you that I have 2 (two) of these microphones. In the past and as they do now, they continue to serve me well and have always completed their assigned task in exemplary manner. Whether used as overheads for drums or in conjunction with an AKG C2000 for picking up special nuances when recording an acoustic guitar. However, you will notice one thing, that even though the C1000S is a good piece of equipment that Sweetwater presents at a fabulous price, the microphones do tend to reside on the "airy" side. My advise, if you can afford it, or in reality, "just how important is your music to you?", look into picking up something by the Neumann company. Afterall, those Germans make good beer you know their microphones are going to be great!
A multipurpose condenser at a great price!
The AKG C 1000 S is a truly versatile condenser. I have it used for everything from lead vocals to violins. The price does not fit the performance. There is one thing I don't like about the product, the supplied windscreens tear easily and are only single stage.
The AKG C1000S is a decent condensor mic for the price. I have two that I use for recording. They're well built, and come with a soft case for travel. They also come with a windscreen, and an adaptor to switch between cardioid and hyper-cardioid, which make them versatile. A mic clip is also included. They've held up well for me so far. They record really well, but have a somewhat brittle sound, so use of a mic-pre would help warm up the sound.
not very musical/natural
I had a pair of these mics, my first small condensers. They did not complement my Mackie preamps. Acoustic guitars were stringy, cymbells were unfocused, guitar amps were undynamic, and the C 100 S only complemented a few vocalists, the rest were too airy. It once worked great as a mono drum overhead. Also good on very dull acoustic instruments which need help like a baritone uke. Hip-Hoppers seem to be using them on drums nowadays - perhaps that is why the price has gone up again to what I originally paid. These were dirt dirt cheap for a few years. I never got natural results with them. Much easier to get good sounds quickly with just about any other mic I have now.
ehh---not too hot
This mic is a bit cheap. It, like many in the C series, sounds cheap and thin. It has a tinny upper end. It's OK as a secondary mic on an amp or some percussion, but as your main mic it lacks. It's OK for field work, however, but not as good as the Rode NT3. See the reviews on the NT3 for more...
...regardless, if you have the money to spend on THIS mic, you can pick up something better. The NT3 is in the same class price-wise, but performs much better. If you're in the market for an inexpensive small or med. diaphragm mic, get the NT3 before you blow your money on the C1000. A lackluster effort from AKG. I give it a 4 of 10 for value (only because the sound you get from it can be bettered by a cheaper, competing mic), quality a 6 of 10 (interchangeable capsule feature is mostly plastic), features an 8 of 10 (interchangeable capsules a plus) but soundwise i give it a 5 because it just sounds too tinny and thin.