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Mods for the Perception 420

  • Microphone PartsMicrophone Parts
    The mod kit for the AKG Perception series microphones replaces the AKG capsule — a very peaky and harsh K67 type — with a more neutrally voiced K87. The resulting mic delivers a frequency response that is much more neutral, not harsh or hyped, but with better low- and high-frequency extension than the U87.

OmnidirectionalCardioidBidirectionalAKG Acoustics Perception 420

Multi-Pattern Condenser Microphone

The Perception 420 is a large-diaphragm, multipattern FET condenser microphone. It is an update to AKG’s Perception 400; the primary difference seems to be that the pad is now -20dB rather than -10dB.

The mic provides three pickup patterns (omni, cardioid, and figure-of-8) via a switch below the headbasket.

The frequency response graph for the 420 and 400 in Cardioid mode is identical, suggesting that the mics’ internals are the same.


The Perception 220, 420, 820, 100, 200 and 400 share the same capsule platform which is is one-inch, center-terminated and true condenser.

Perception 420Like the rest of the large-diaphragm Perception microphones, the Perception 420’s circuit is based on the U87 Ai; it is a single JFET circuit with negative feedback, powering a small output transformer.

The circuit is implemented with surface-mount parts, with the exception of the JFET, high-value (1G Ω) resistors, input coupling cap, and pad capacitor.

AKG’s Perception microphones were designed by AKG in Vienna. Manufacturing is done in China, under AKG’s “strict quality control.”

SoundOnSound, 2009

As an instrument mic, the 420 comes over as well-balanced and solid, handling high-end detail smoothly without over-hyping it or making everything sound too forward. It works well on acoustic guitar, producing a rich, homogenous sound that balances warmth with detail, again without making the highs seem brittle or forced.

The Perception 420 was removed from AKG’s product line in 2014, but simultaneously (re)introduced as the P420, which is nearly identical save for the color of the body.

Permalink: AKG Acoustics Perception-420

The mic was released in 2008.


Frequency Response - OmnidirectionalClick Graph to Compare!
Perception 420 Omnidirectional Frequency Response Chart
Frequency Response - CardioidClick Graph to Compare!
Perception 420 Cardioid Frequency Response Chart
Frequency Response - BidirectionalClick Graph to Compare!
Perception 420 Bidirectional Frequency Response Chart
Pickup Patterns Pads & Filters
Omnidirectional (28 mV/Pa; 20 - 20,000 Hz)
Cardioid (28 mV/Pa; 20 - 20,000 Hz)
Bidirectional (28 mV/Pa; 20 - 20,000 Hz)
  • Pad: -20dB (Via Switch)
  • Filter: HPF: -12dB/octave @ 300Hz (Via Switch)
Capsule Dimensions Impedance SPL/Noise
Diaphragm diameter: 26.7mm
Capsule diameter: 34mm
200 Ohms (Low) Max SPL: 155 dB
Self-noise: 16.0 dB(A)
Weight Length Max Diameter Interface(s)
525g (18.52oz) 165mm (6.50'') 53mm (2.09'')
  • 3-pin XLR male (1)
Power Specifications
  • Requires phantom power
  • Phantom voltage: 48v

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