AKG Acoustics (originally Akustische und Kino-Geräte Gesellschaft m.b.H., English: Acoustic and Cinema Equipment) is an Austrian manufacturer of microphones, headphones, wireless audio systems and related accessories for professional and consumer markets.
The company operates in Austria, and was founded in Vienna in 1947 by two Viennese: physicist Dr. Rudolf Görike and engineer Ernst Pless.
Originally, its main business was to provide technical equipment for cinemas: loudspeakers, film projectors and light meters. The business slowly expanded and AKG started selling car horns, door intercoms, carbon capsules for telephones, headsets and cushion speakers. The first AKG microphone was used by radio stations, theaters, jazz clubs and cabarets.
About this time, the company developed its first patents, the moving coil technology and the principle of mass load membranes, allowing its products to have extended frequency ranges.
With the creation of the D12 microphone in 1953, AKG achieved international fame, setting the standard for voice transmissions. Being the world's first dynamic cardioid microphone, it possessed excellent sonic qualities for that time, making its way into radio stations and recording studios from across the world. The product was improved through subsequent upgrades, spanning the famous C414 and C12 microphones.
In 1984, AKG became a public company, listed on the Vienna stock exchange. As a blue chip company, it was one of the most traded stocks.
The company was acquired by the American company Harman International Industries in 1994. By this time, AKG's United States subsidiary had been established (in Los Angeles in 1985). AKG Acoustics USA, still headquartered in the San Fernando Valley, also houses regional offices for Crown Audio, another Harman Industries subsidiary.
In 2010, the company received the prestigious Technical Grammy award.
In 2016 it was announced that the AKG Vienna facility will be shut down in 2017. 1945 – Dr. Rudolf Görike and Ernst Pless begin supplying movie equipment to theaters in postwar Vienna.
1949 – AKG founded by Görike and Pless as Akustische und Kino-Geräte Gesellschaft m.b.H.
1949 – AKG begins producing headphones, the first model being the K120 DYN.
1953 – introduces the world's first dynamic cardioid microphone
1955 – founds a German subsidiary
1985 – founds a U.S subsidiary, based in Northridge, Los Angeles, California
1991 – produces its first wireless microphones, the WMS100 and WMS900
1994 – becomes part of Harman International Industries
2006 – produces a limited 60th anniversary edition of the celebrated C414 LTD microphone.
2010 – AKG Acoustics received a Grammy Award for the work the company has done in the recording field. Dinesh Paliwal, the current Chief Executive Officer, picked up the award on behalf of the company.
2010 – AKG announces a partnership with Quincy Jones to manufacture a signature line of headphones featuring stylized designs and modified drivers.
2012 – AKG announces its partnership with disc jockey Tiësto to start manufacturing headphones under Tiësto's name.
2016 – Harman decided to shut down all facility in Vienna in 2017.
2016 – Harman bought by Samsung.
Among its professional products especially noteworthy is the first C 12 (introduced in 1953) and its successors and alternate versions, which include the Telefunken Ela M 250 and M 251 (1960), the C 24 stereo microphone, the C 412, and over a dozen different models which have carried the designation "C 414" in various forms. Those microphones are equipped with the famous CK12 large diaphragm capsule designed by AKG´s engineer Konrad Wolf. The CK12 was a milestone in transducer technology and the first to offer constant frequency response and sensitivity for all polar patterns (omni to figure eight).
AKG microphones have been used for shooting Hans Hass's movie Adventures in the Red Sea and were installed on the MIR space station. They are also mentioned by Dan Brown in his novels The Da Vinci Code and Deception Point.
Some microphone models include:D12E
D130 - an omnidirectional microphone often used by reporters
D19c - dynamic cardioid mic. Often used by Norman Smith and Geoff Emerick as drum overheads on Ringo Starr's drums on Beatles recording sessions (1964-1967)
D222 - a dual capsule dynamic microphone used at the despatch boxes of the UK parliament
D330 - a high-end dynamic vocal microphone used by ABBA.
D112 - a large diaphragm dynamic microphone, popular for bass drums and other bass instruments
C12 - a valve condenser microphone - the original version is now a collectors' item selling for around $10,000
C12VR - "The C12 VR is an enhanced version of the original C12, from the capsule sound to the original 6072A vacuum tube carefully handcrafted in Vienna, Austria."
C214 - a large diaphragm condenser with single Cardioid pickup pattern
C414 - a large diaphragm condenser with multiple variable pickup patterns
C451 - a small diaphragm condenser microphone, originally made between the 1960s and 1980s, recently reissued
C535 - a high-quality condenser vocal microphone. AKG made a gold-plated one for Frank Sinatra.
C1000 - a small diaphragm condenser
C2000 - a side-address, small diaphragm condenser.
C3000 - a large diaphragm condenser
AKG also manufactures a range of high-specification headphones.
The K50 model, introduced in 1959 were the world's first supra-aural and open-back headphones.
The K1000 was the flagship model, but is no longer being produced. It was an open back dynamic headphone.
The current flagship model for the AKG headphone line-up is the K812.
The K702 features a removable cord and is black, the K701 is white. The Q701 also has a detachable cable and comes in three color variants: white, black, and a lime green. All three models are still in production. The K701s have been largely used by professional musicians and technicians in recording studios.
Many top recording studios use AKG K240 headphones as a solution for best general use for both monitor and playback. They received particular notoriety from their prominent display in Eddie Murphy's 1985 music video for "Party All the Time" (which features the K240 Monitor).
Another notable, yet short-lived model was the K280 Parabolic – a multi-driver headphone which focused compression waves to a central point in the earcup.
As well as studio headphones, AKG also manufactures a range of Hi-Fi headphones and earphones for domestic use.