AKG C 451 B

Small-diaphragm Cardioid Condenser Microphone with Selectable Pad and High-pass Filter
AKG C 451 B image 1
AKG C 451 B image 1
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AKG C 451 B
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A Classic AKG Condenser Mic Reborn!!

AKG's C 451 was one of the all-time great studio condenser microphones. Though the original C 451 mic ended production many years ago, it's still an extremely popular staple in studios all over the world. The enduring popularity of the C 451 inspired AKG to bring this mic back in the C 451 B.

AKG C 451 B Condenser Microphone at a Glance:
  • Ideal for overhead drum miking and capturing rich transients
  • Sonically identical to the classic C 451 with improved design
  • Increased stability and switchable highpass filter
Ideal for overhead drum miking and capturing rich transients

One of the C 451 B's most common applications is for drum overheads, and many engineers say there's nothing quite like it for miking cymbals - the metallic "crash" and brilliance come through perfectly. The C451B is also an excellent tool for accurately capturing signals rich in transients such as instruments with a percussive sound, acoustic guitar, or for overhead miking.

Sonically identical to the classic C 451 with improved design

Sonically identical to the original, which featured the much-acclaimed CK-1 cardioid capsule, the new C 451 B is incredibly precise and accurate. AKG made the C451B with dramatically improved specifications. Using an extremely light diaphragm, the new C451B is almost totally insensitive to handling noise. Other features include an all-metal body for excellent protection from RF interference and high reliability for excellent results under almost all conditions.

Increased stability selectable pad and highpass filter

The C 451 B capsule is permanently fixed to the preamp to increase overall stability under mechanical stress. It includes a switchable preattenuation pad to increase the C 451 B's SPL capability. A switchable highpass filter at 75Hz or 150Hz prevents low-end distortion. The AKG C 451 B microphone makes a great addition to any professional studio or recording setup.

AKG C 451 B Condenser Microphone Features:
  • Cardioid condenser mic with outstanding transient response
  • Frequency range 20Hz-20kHz
  • Sensitivity 9 mV/Pa (-41dBV)
  • Max. SPL 135/145/155dB (0/-10/-20dB)
  • Equivalent noise level (CCIR 468-3) 29dB
  • Equivalent noise level 18dBA
  • Signal/noise ratio (A-weighted) 76dB
  • Preattenuation pad 0dB, -10dB, -20dB selectable
  • Bass filter flat, 12dB/octave at 75 or 150Hz, selectable
  • Impedance <200 ohms
  • Recommended load impedance >1000 ohms
  • Current consumption <2 mA
  • 3-pin XLR connector
  • Satin nickel plated finish
  • Requires +9V to +52V phantom power
The AKG C 451 B condenser mic is a top studio performer!

Additional Media

Studio Microphone Buying Guide

Tech Specs

Microphone Type Condenser
Polar Pattern Cardioid
Frequency Response 20Hz-20kHz
Max SPL 135dB (155dB w/Pad)
Output Impedance 200 ohms
Signal to Noise Ratio 76dB
Self Noise 18dB (A weighted)
Low Cut Filter 75Hz, 150Hz (-12dB/octave)
Pads -10dB, -20dB
Connector XLR
Weight 0.27 lbs.
Manufacturer Part Number 2895Z00010

Customer Reviews

Based on 8 reviews
Write your review

Excellent for Acoustic Guitar

I have a project studio and record primarily acoustic instruments (Guitar, piano, various stringed instruments, hand percussion and vocals etc) Already own a set of Neumann KM 184's and an AKG C214 Large Diaphragm but have always had a fondness for the AKG small diaphragm sound ever since I started out years ago with a Vienna made C1000 (which I still have and love). I wanted another set of small diaphragm's and the 451's deliver big time. To be totally non technical I would describe the AKG's sound as open and airy especially on fingerstyle acoustic guitar. I tell people think of the old Windham Hill guitar sound. (yes I know they used Neumann's too). You will not go wrong with this mic if you play acoustic music.
Music background: Project Studio / Pro Musician

This Is The Mic You Are Looking For!!

If you are looking for THE pencil condenser mic for your specific need, or just the first one you are going to add to your collection, you just found it. I am serious. Do not even bother looking at others, because you will not find the performance and versatility this mic offers at any other price point until you get way up there in price. I have to disclose that I am a Sennheiser fanboy who never paid much attention to AKG mics, but my Sales Engineer (Ryan Sloan) recommended this to me and it hits the ball completely out of the park. First of all, the presence is simply spectacular. It doesn't matter if you are micing cymbals, a hi-hat, an accoustic guitar, a horn, whatever. It just sparkles and shines spectacularly. The fact that you can add a 10 or 20db pad makes it incredibly versitile, but the low-cut filter is amazing. If you are micing overhead cymbals or a hi-hat, cut it all the way down at 150Hz. If you are using it on an accoustic guitar and want to keep some of the low end from the body of the guitar, cut it at 75Hz instead. If you want to mic a room or choir and want all the frequency range, then don't cut it at all. It is like having several mics in one. One last use that you may not have thought of for this type of mic---vocals. Now out of the box it is way too sensitive to sing into as it picks up every puff of air that passes by it, but I did a little experiment just for my own entertainment. I put the windscreen on it (yes, it comes with its own windscreen!) and was amazed at the clarity and crispness of my vocals. The windscreen took away nearly all of the breathing sounds to make an incredible sounding vocal. Crisp, detailed, and picked up every nuance coming out of my mouth perfectly! I realize that this is not the primary application for which this mic was developed, but I wanted to add this to my review as some potential purchasers may only have the funds to buy 1 really good mic at the time they read this. I just wanted to make sure all readers understood that this mic is not a 1-trick pony. Buy this one, and you can record what you may have thought it would take you 5 mics to adequately cover. Bottom line is that this mic is another product that far exceeds my age-old measuring stick, the PRICE TO PERFORMANCE RATIO. Just buy this mic. Be amazed just like I was!
Music background: Recording Engineer, Live Sound Engineer, Vocalist

An Industry Standard

The AKG C451B picks up where the C451 left off. Always an industry standard, this AKG small condenser mic is often overlooked nowadays for some of the newer ribbon mics, which are also great. This mic should be in the mic locker of every writer, performer and engineer. I use it to track my Martin up close for the pick sound I love in so many acoustic tracks. That's how we came to love the sound of Cat Steven's guitar on his classic recordings. Listen to his guitar in "Peace Train" and you will hear "that sound." This mic is just way too cool. I've even heard and "seen" the C451B used for NYC voice-over sessions by engineers in the know. What a gem of a mic. It's so adaptable. I can't believe there was only one review prior to mine on the C451B. Get this mic if you love high definition of your acoustic guitar. Thanks for allowing me my opinion.
Music background: Singer/Songwriter/Producer/Engineer


I recently purchased a pair of these mics and wow. What a sound! The main 3 applications I use these for are overhead mics, Acoustic guitar coupled with another mic, and horn players also coupled with another mic. For me, the standout is really the Acoustic guitar. You can really get that high end shimmer while your lows are still supported. Great mic. Buy it. You wont regret it
Music background: Recording Engineer, Student

On Stage

I bought this mic primarily to pick up my mandolin while on stage with a noisy band. (There are several comparable products, but my Sweetwater contact, Jason Koons, recommended the 451B, and his word has, over the years, earned some weight.) I performed with the mic for the first time last night, and I found it entirely satisfactory: powerful and transparent -- no EQ needed. The aural image had all the air we associate with normal hearing. Wonderful. So -- if you find yourself beginning to cringe at the muddy Velveeta offered up by even the best onboard acoustic pickups consider this mic. It is certainly the way forward for me. In fact, I leave half a star off only because I'm a religious man.
Music background: Playing, writing, and engineering

Sweetwater Advice

Brad Lyons

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to audition and use one of the most popular microphones of all time, the small diaphragm AKG C451B. The demand for the original, but discontinued C451EB was so strong that AKG decided to design and manufacture the C451B. The C451B is not a re-issue of the original C451EB but an improvement on a classic microphone. The capsule used in the original C451EB was the well known CK-1. In order to design the C451B, AKG gathered what was believed to be twelve of the best CK-1 capsules in the world. A new classic was designed and named the C451B. The original C451EB's capsule could be removed to insert a -10dB or -20dB pad. While revolutionary in it's design, AKG improved on that design by permanently fixing the C451B's capsule to the preamp and building the pads into the design of the microphone. With the original C451EB's one can imagine placing a pair over a drum kit, only to realize that you need to insert a pad. Imagine next pulling down the microphone, inserting a -10dB pad and realizing (after the microphone is back into place) that it needed a -20dB pad instead. This was one disadvantage to the design of the original that is no longer an issue with the C451B.   So, who should take advantage of the C451B? Anyone who is interested in a classic sound with contemporary design and reliability. I've found it to be perfect for close-miking cymbals or as drum overheads. I've spent years recording large drum kits in studios, usually close-miking every cymbal. I wish I would have had a dozen C451B's!  For recording acoustic instruments such as an acoustic guitar, the C451B provides crisp, clear results.  The C451B is ruler-flat from 200Hz to 5kHz with a presence peak making it ideal for anything that needs a little high-end sparkle. I have a good friend who engineers at a University who swears by the C451 for everything classical, including choirs. A good auto mechanic once told me that he has the right tool for every job. Microphones are one of the most important tools an audio engineer uses. With it's great sound and the efficient and reliable design of the C451B, can you do without it in your tool kit?
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See also: Condenser Mics, AKG, AKG Condenser Microphones, AKG Condenser Microphones