AKG C636 condenser microphone - music gear review

Music Gear Review: AKG C636 Master Reference Handheld Condenser Microphone

AKG by HARMAN has the AKG C636 master reference handheld condenser microphone based on the C535 handheld vocal stage microphone. The C636 has a custom-tuned, 24-carat gold-plated 3/4-inch back electret condenser capsule. Able to handle 150dB SPL, the C636 is designed to minimize the three most annoying problems with handheld live vocals mics: feedback, handling noise and “p” pop/wind noise or plosives that come from close-in use.

The C636 fights feedback with its uniform cardioid polar pattern and a specially-designed suspension and grille that minimizes unwanted sound reflections coming into the back of the capsule. To counteract handling noise, the C636 capsule sits on an absorbent rubber bearing that decouples it from the mic’s zinc alloy body. There is also a substantial brass layer below the capsule that serves as a counterweight to increase stability.

Finally to prevent pop noise, a three-layer system is used. It consists of the grille itself, a foam layer behind it and a computer-modeled mesh magnetically attached to the top of the capsule.

The AKG C636 is available in a brushed nickel finish or matte-black. It weighs 312 grams and requires +48-volt phantom powering. It sells for $499 MAP.


Barry Rudolph is a recording engineer/mixer who has worked on over 30 gold and platinum records. He has recorded and/or mixed Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hall & Oates, Pat Benatar, Rod Stewart, the Corrs, and more. Barry has his own futuristic music mixing facility and loves teaching audio engineering at Musician’s Institute, Hollywood, CA. He is a lifetime Grammy-voting member of NARAS and a contributing editor for Mix Magazine. barryrudolph.com