If you’ve ever looked into getting a pair of studio-style headphones, then you have most likely discovered the brand AKG. They make many popular audio products, including the K240 headphones that introduced me to this brand many years ago. As a part of the larger Harman Kardon family of audio companies, AKG has a long history of quality products, and today we are looking at the Ara microphone. The Ara is a two-pattern USB condenser microphone that is outfitted with simple controls and all of the basics you would expect from an established brand like AKG. Follow along to see, and hear, how the Ara performs.
Microphone Transfer Protocol: USB 2.0
Microphone Transducer: 2 fixed-charge back plate, permanently polarized condenser capsules
Microphone Capture Modes: Selectable; Front, Front & Back
Microphone Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
Microphone Bit Depth / Sample Rate: 24-bit / 96 kHz
Microphone Maximum SPL: 120 dB SPL (0.5% THD)
Microphone Power Requirement / Consumption: 5V USB / 75 mA
Headphone Output Impedance: 16 ohms
Headphone Power Output (RMS): 12 mv (16 ohm)
Headphone THD: 0.03% (USB -20dbfs input) ; 0.35% ( Acoustic 94dbfs input)
Headphone Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
Headphone S/N Ratio: 91db (USB input) ; 76db ( Acoustic 94dbfs input)
The Ara comes packaged in a standard retail box that features a prominent image of the microphone on the front of the box, along with a bit of information about the microphone itself and some of the suggested uses, such as podcasts, video, gaming, and music.
Around the back of the box we find additional feature information, as well as a few more product images and diagrams that provide additional information. A small box towards the bottom of the box provides some of the technical specifications that buyers would be most interested in, along with a graphic showing what is included along with the microphone.
As expected, the AKG Ara comes bundled with a few additional accessories to get you up and running. The most prominent is a 2m USB-C to USB-A cable that is used to connect the microphone to your device of choice. Unfortunately this cable’s length somewhat restricts your placement options, though this mostly comes into play if you choose to mount the Ara on a microphone arm, as much of the cable length will be consumed via the arm.
There is also a 3/8″ to 5/8″ microphone stand adapter to support multiple stand and arm options. While this is a pretty standard inclusion with most microphones, I still appreciate seeing this included, as it is one less thing to worry about when making the transition from the included microphone base to an arm or stand.
In addition to the hardware accessories, AKG has also included a license for Ableton Live 11 Lite. The software is designed to make recording and producing your own songs easy, thanks to the included workflows, samples, and more. A basic user guide and warranty information is also included.