December 2021 - 24

REVIEW
AKG Ara Professional
Two-Pattern USB
Condenser Microphone
A versatile and easy to use USB
microphone at a great price
REVIEW BY PAUL VNUK JR.
I
n the April 2020 issue, we were introduced to the
AKG Lyra Ultra-HD Multimode USB Microphone,
and today we are taking a look and a listen to the
latest mic in the AKG galaxy, the Ara Two-Pattern USB
Microphone. While Ara is a lite version of Lyra in
some respects, it would also be fair to say that it's a
distillation of the elements that made Lyra such a star.
Ara
Ara and Lyra are built around a similar capsule technology.
Lyra uses a four-capsule adaptive array-essentially, two pairs
of stereo side-by-side miniature diaphragm capsules offering a
choice of front, front and back, or tight and wide stereo. Ara
uses a single stacked dual-capsule configuration with a choice
of front or front and back (cardioid and omni patterns). This
makes Ara handy for two-person recording scenarios with one
person on each side of the mic.
The aura of Ara
Ara sports a similar brushed nickel, dark matte blue finish, but
with a more petite 9.05 " x 3.58 " body and more rounded styling
compared to the hard lines and Art Deco geometry of the Lyra.
Also, like the Lyra, the Ara is a desktop-style microphone
featuring an attached yoke. Nicely, its 3 " base is easily
detachable, allowing you to place it on a traditional mic stand.
The same can also be done with the Lyra, but detaching its
base is much more fiddly.
Connections and switches
On its underside, Ara has a USB-C socket (2-meter USB-C
to USB-A cable included) and a 1
/8
" headphone jack. On the
front of the mic are a pattern switch and a dual-function headphone
control / LED-equipped push-button mic mute.
Set-up and use
Ara uses class-compliant drivers on Mac and PC along with
iOS and Android tablets and phones. This makes it dead simple
to set up and start recording.
While Ara offers direct realtime control over its zero-latency headphone
output, you must set your recording levels inside your device
or recording application. By contrast, the Lyra contains a dedicated
gain knob. This control along with the stereo pattern options are the
only functional differences between the two mics, except for that
Lyra can record at 192 kHz while Ara tops out at 96 kHz.
24 RECORDING DECEMBER 2021
Price: $99
More from: akg.com
Sound
Sonically, Ara has a clean, open, and detailed capture with
a nice midrange fullness and weight-the exact words I used to
describe the Lyra. Similarly, Ara does well to reject plosives, which
present as an occasional spitty blast of air rather than deep distorted
thumps. If you do find plosives an issue, Ara offers plenty
of clean gain; backing off the mic a few inches sounds excellent.
Where Ara differs to my ears over the Lyra is that I find its
proximity effect (i.e., the radio announcer voice) just a hair richer,
or perhaps just easier to achieve thanks to its larger grille
and the location of the capsules inside. Like most mics, switching
to omni mode lessens the proximity effect and adds a touch
of clarity. Ara offers a bit more focus as well as a mono mic.
Record and create
While USB microphones are favored by podcasters, gamers,
and for video conferencing, Ara also does well as a general
purpose recording microphone, especially on acoustic guitar,
where its proximity effect and clarity can be used to great effect.
It also works well on hand percussion and, of course, vocals.
Choices, choices...
The price difference between Ara and Lyra is about $50,
making either one an affordable USB option, so rather than a
cost decision, the model you choose will come down to your
intended use and visual preference. Do you need a clear, dimensional
stereo capture or a more focused, traditional mono
mic? Both offer a tremendous clear sound that should excel at
any and all of your content creation needs.
Frequency Response: ..........................................20 Hz - 20 kHz
Bit Depth / Sample Rate: ....................................24-bit / 96 kHz
Maximum SPL: ................................................120dB (0.5% THD)
Power Requirement / Consumption: ...............5V USB / 75 mA
Headphone Impedance: ................................................16 ohms
Headphone Power Output (RMS): .................................43 mW
Headphone THD: .......................................................... <0.003%
Headphone Frequency Response: ......................20 Hz - 20 kHz
Headphone S/N Ratio: ....................................................... 91dB
http://www.akg.com

December 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of December 2021

Fade In
Fast Forward
RECORDING’s 2021Holiday Buyer’s Guide
Arturia: MiniFuse 2
AKG: Ara Professional Two-Pattern USB Condenser Microphone
A day in the head of Still Woozy: Making modern pop and beyond
Austrian Audio: Hi-X15
Plugin Outlet: Black Rooster Audio OmniTec-67A
Inside the Box with Joe Albano: Free and Entry-level DAWs
ART: Project Series USB Pre IV Audio Interface
Plugin Outlet: Reverb Foundry Tai-Chi
Audeze: Euclid Closed-Back Planar Magnetic In-ear Monitors
Session Log: The AngelHeaded Hipster, Part 12 Mastering and Beyond: The Final Steps…
Genelec 8361A
Focusrite: Clarett+ 8 Pre
Inside the Studio with Mark Hornsby From the Studio to The Stage
Pioneer DJ VM-80 Active Monitor Speaker
Fade Out: Don’t Wait—Create!
December 2021 - Intro
December 2021 - Cover1
December 2021 - Cover2
December 2021 - 1
December 2021 - 2
December 2021 - 3
December 2021 - Fade In
December 2021 - 5
December 2021 - 6
December 2021 - 7
December 2021 - Fast Forward
December 2021 - 9
December 2021 - RECORDING’s 2021Holiday Buyer’s Guide
December 2021 - 11
December 2021 - 12
December 2021 - 13
December 2021 - 14
December 2021 - 15
December 2021 - 16
December 2021 - 17
December 2021 - 18
December 2021 - 19
December 2021 - 20
December 2021 - 21
December 2021 - Arturia: MiniFuse 2
December 2021 - 23
December 2021 - AKG: Ara Professional Two-Pattern USB Condenser Microphone
December 2021 - 25
December 2021 - A day in the head of Still Woozy: Making modern pop and beyond
December 2021 - 27
December 2021 - 28
December 2021 - 29
December 2021 - 30
December 2021 - 31
December 2021 - 32
December 2021 - 33
December 2021 - 34
December 2021 - 35
December 2021 - 36
December 2021 - 37
December 2021 - Austrian Audio: Hi-X15
December 2021 - 39
December 2021 - Plugin Outlet: Black Rooster Audio OmniTec-67A
December 2021 - 41
December 2021 - Inside the Box with Joe Albano: Free and Entry-level DAWs
December 2021 - 43
December 2021 - 44
December 2021 - 45
December 2021 - ART: Project Series USB Pre IV Audio Interface
December 2021 - 47
December 2021 - Plugin Outlet: Reverb Foundry Tai-Chi
December 2021 - 49
December 2021 - Audeze: Euclid Closed-Back Planar Magnetic In-ear Monitors
December 2021 - 51
December 2021 - Session Log: The AngelHeaded Hipster, Part 12 Mastering and Beyond: The Final Steps…
December 2021 - 53
December 2021 - 54
December 2021 - 55
December 2021 - Genelec 8361A
December 2021 - 57
December 2021 - Focusrite: Clarett+ 8 Pre
December 2021 - 59
December 2021 - Inside the Studio with Mark Hornsby From the Studio to The Stage
December 2021 - 61
December 2021 - Pioneer DJ VM-80 Active Monitor Speaker
December 2021 - 63
December 2021 - 64
December 2021 - 65
December 2021 - 66
December 2021 - 67
December 2021 - 68
December 2021 - 69
December 2021 - 70
December 2021 - 71
December 2021 - Fade Out: Don’t Wait—Create!
December 2021 - Cover3
December 2021 - Cover4
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