AKG C 12


Type Condenser
Polar pattern Variable pattern
Diaphragm Large
Capsule type N/A
First decade of production 1950s



The AKG C 12 is a studio condenser micro­phone of the highest professional quality. It has been specially designed for use in sound recording and broad­casting studios, and is the choice of many studios both at home and abroad.

Nine different directional characteristics can be selected by means of a remote control unit without any change in frequency response or sensitivity. In addition to three basic characteristics, omni-directional, cardioid and bi-directional, six intermediate patterns (including hypercardioids) are available. The S 12 control unit is connected to the N 12 power supply unit by the RL 12 remote control cable, and the power supply unit to the micro­phone by the MK 12 mic cable.

Technical Data

  • Frequency Range: 20 to 20,000 cps
  • Frequency Response: ± 2 dB related to published curve
  • Directional Characteristics (nine different positions): omni-directional.
  • Cardioid: better than 20 dB front-to-back ratio at 180° sound incidence,
  • bi-directional: 20 dB front-to-back ratio
  • Sensitivity: 1.0 mV/µbar (–60 dB re 1 V/dyne/cm2), unloaded (200 ohms)
  • Equivalent Noise Level: less than 20 dB
  • Impedance: 50/200 ohms (change solder lugs)
  • Tube Complement: 1 x 6072, 6.3 volts DC filament voltage,
  • 120 volts DC plate voltage
  • Mains Connection: 110/125/145/220/245 volts AC at 50/60 cps
  • Stand Connector: 3⁄8", ½", 5⁄8"-27 with micro­phone cable MK 12
  • Dimensions: 10" (255 mm) with connector, 11⁄16" diameter (43 mm)
  • Weight: 1 lb. 3.2 oz. net (560 g), shipping weight 29 lbs. 12.8 ozs. (13.5 kg)

The AKG C 12 was introduced in 1953 and production continued until 1963. The C 12 was the world’s first remote-controllable multi-pattern large-diaphragm micro­phone, and about 2,500 of them were produced during its ten-year run. OEM versions of the C 12 were also produced for Siemens (SM 203, SM 204) and for Telefunken (ELA M 251).

February 2008 update, thanks to Mr. Holger de Buhr: “The truth is that the first remote-controllable multi-pattern large-diaphragm micro­phone was the M 49, originally designed by the Nordwestdeutsches Rundfunk, Hamburg, in 1949 (early postwar German state broadcaster, later NDR and WDR). The first M 49 mics were manufactured with M 7 capsules, and Mayhak Hamburg power supplies were used. Later the M 49 used K 47 capsules and Neumann Berlin power supplies.”

The AKG C 12 is considered “the holy grail” of micro­phones by audio engineers for its beautiful three-dimensional vocal quality—a result of the combination of its hand-tensioned, edge-terminated AKG capsule and the rare GE 6072 triode tube. Original C 12s regularly sell for $10,000 to $15,000 and some have fetched upwards of $30,000—many times their original price (even factoring inflation) thanks to its combination of rarity and high performance. The unit shown in these photographs was won on eBay for $6,862 on October 23, 2005. The C 12 is still influencing the art of large-diaphragm condenser recording micro­phones more than fifty years after its introduction. Its CK 12 capsule was the first to have the acoustic “fingerprint” in its frequency response for which other AKG micro­phones have become famous: a small dip at around two kHz and a well-chosen presence rise.

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