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AKG Lyra Review (USB Microphone)

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The Lyra is AKG’s Ultra-HD USB microphone, offering the high quality sound that AKG is known for in a portable package. Since 1947, AKG has created high quality audio electronics, mostly microphones and headphones, which are known for their build quality, high fidelity sound, and overall quality. The Lyra is one of AKG’s most affordable products to date, so does it live up to the standard of excellence they’ve set over the past 75 years? Let’s take a deep dive into the features of the AKG Lyra to see if it’s the right USB mic for you!

AKG Lyra USB-C Condenser Microphone
  • Ultra-hd quality audio - 24-bit/192khz high-resolution converters
  • Four-capsule mic array provides multiple capture modes
  • Easy setup and universal compatibility - intuitive, plug-and-play setup and operation
  • Built in headphone output and mix controls
  • Versatile mounting options - use with the integrated desktop mic stand or mount to a standard or boom mic stand

Who is the AKG Lyra USB Mic for?

AKG Lyra USB Microphone Recording Guitar on a Mountain
We took the Lyra to Red Rocks to see how it performs in mobile recording situations.

There are three groups of people that the AKG Lyra serves. The first is the modern musician; in the current era, musicians are expected to be content creators, promoters, marketing machines, and more, as well as musicians. Besides making records, we’re also expected to make Reels and TikToks, YouTube videos, and live streams. And as musicians, we should maintain a high level of audio quality when creating content. While the Lyra won’t replace your studio mic, it does make it easy to capture high quality performances for things like TikToks and live streams, making it a valuable tool for musicians in the digital age.

The second is the interviewer. If you’re looking to level up the sound of your podcast or online course, a mic like the AKG Lyra is a huge step up from your laptop or camera’s built in microphone.

The third is the work-from-home business person who is hosting webinars, presenting on Teams, or taking Zoom meetings daily. The built in mic on many webcams is severely lacking, so a plug-and-play upgrade like the AKG Lyra can make a big difference in presentation quality.

AKG Lyra Features and Controls

The AKG Lyra is a feature-rich microphone, so let’s go over the main features and controls of this mic and break down the user experience.

Features:

AKG Lyra USB Microphone

The AKG Lyra has USB C connectivity, 4 selectable microphone patterns, a built in headphone output, a mute button, a removable, and a built in desktop stand (also compatible with standard mic stands). Like all USB microphones, the Lyra has built in audio-to-digital conversion, meaning you can plug it directly into your computer, phone, or tablet without an audio interface, making it ideal for portable recordings.

One accessory that I wish the Lyra included is a foam windscreen. Anyone recording on the go should have a windscreen for their mics, and the Lyra’s rectangular shape makes it an interesting fit with standard windscreens.

Overall, the AKG Lyra is stacked with useful features that make it an extremely useful tool and a great value.

Connectivity:

This mic connects to any USB compatible device via USB C. The included USB C to USB A cable will connect to any USB device, but you an also use a USB C to USB C cable to connect to newer Apple and Windows computers, USB C iPads, and Android devices. You will need an adapter to use it with an iPhone (at least until they make the jump to USB C).

Next to the USB port is the headphone jack, where you’ll plug your headphones directly into the mic. It’s worth noting that wireless headphones like AirPods will not connect directly to the Lyra, and for latency free recording/monitoring, you’ll need wired headphones.

Controls:

This mic has knobs for microphone gain, headphone volume, and microphone pattern, as well as a mute button. The mute button and headphone knob are on the front of the mic, giving you easy access to controls you may use in a Zoom call or while streaming. The mic gain and pattern are on the back, since you won’t be adjusting those as often.

One quirk of the Lyra is that the microphone pattern knob is on the back of the mic, but the LED pattern indicators are on the front. This isn’t a dealbreaker, but it does take some getting used to. The USB port and headphone jack are also on the bottom of the mic, so the bracket that connects it to the stand can get in the way of easily plugging and unplugging your headphones or USB cable. The front and back of the mic are also not labeled, so just remember that the mute button is on the front and you won’t have any problems.

When setting your microphone gain, you’ll want to be sure you are not clipping (adding distortion by recording too loud). To set audio levels quickly, you can turn the gain up until it’s just barely clipping, then lower the level by 10-15%. That way, it will be recording loud enough without distorting.

Microphone patterns:

Front: This is the most commonly used capture mode for recording. It works well for voiceovers, podcasters, vloggers, gamers, vocalists, acoustic instruments and web conferencing. In front mode, the Lyra captures audio sources from the front of the mic while significantly reducing audio from the back and sides.

Front and Back: This capture mode works particularly well for recording multi-person interviews, podcasters, vloggers, multiple musicians positioned around the microphone and for game sound effects recording. Sound will be picked up evenly from all sides.

Tight Stereo: This setting utilizes two microphone capsules for tight stereo pickup in front of Lyra. It is ideal for recording instruments with stereo spread, performers positioned next to each other in front of the Lyra and recording any other sound source(s) with a natural stereo spread.

Wide Stereo: This capture mode provides greater stereo separation and depth compared to Tight Stereo mode. This setting works exceptionally well for ensemble and ambient recording where a wide left-right stereo image is desired.

When recording in tight or wide stereo modes, you’ll want to create a stereo audio track within your DAW. This will record the left and right channels separately, giving your recording more width.

AKG Lyra Sound and Performance

How does the AKG Lyra Sound?

This mic has a great sound, especially compared to other USB mics like the Blue Yeti or Snowball. The Lyra’s 24bit/194kHz conversion means you can record high quality audio at a high sample rate. It captures frequencies from 20-20kHz, which is the entire range of human hearing.

The Lyra really captures all frequencies well, giving depth to your recordings. When recording an acoustic guitar, I was able to really hear the deep, warm sound of the lower strings as well as the brightness of the higher notes, which was a nice surprise. The stereo modes are a huge bonus as well, since most USB mics only offer mono recording.

Recording a guitar with the AKG Lyra USB Mic
Recording content on the go is easy with the portable AKG Lyra

When compared to any camera, phone, or webcam mic, the Lyra is streets ahead. Of course, a USB microphone that retails for less than $200 is not going to sound as good as a purpose built studio mic plugged into a high quality interface, but at the end of the day, this mic isn’t meant to replace a studio setup. When compared to other USB mics, the Lyra is at the top of the pack when it comes to sound quality. AKG has created a great microphone for mobile recording, podcasting, and video voiceovers, as well as mobile recording when you’re pressed for luggage space.

(Important note: the AKG Lyra is a condenser microphone, meaning it’s meant to pick up detailed sound. While the Lyra does a decent job of limiting background noise, condenser mics are designed for recording studio applications more so than live settings. For that reason, it is not a great choice for use in high-noise settings. If you’re planning on buying this for Zoom meetings or podcast interviews, keep in mind that you will want to use a mic like this in a controlled environment. A busy airport terminal or convention show floor are not the ideal location to use a condenser mic, and background noise will be picked up by any condenser microphone. If your main goal is background noise rejection, you will want to grab a dynamic microphone like the Shure MV7.)

Final Thoughts on AKG Lyra

If you’re looking for a microphone to increase the audio quality of your content creation, or for mobile music recording, the AKG Lyra is a great choice. Considering the affordability of USB mics (no need to purchase an interface), the AKG Lyra is the best sounding recording setup under $200. You can simply plug it in to your computer or mobile device, plug in headphones, and get a high quality mono or stereo track in minutes. In my opinion, the AKG Lyra is the best USB microphone it its price range, earning it our coveted “would buy” rating.

If you want to take a deeper dive into what we look for in USB mics, check out our USB Microphone Buyers Guide below!

AKG Lyra USB-C Condenser Microphone
  • Ultra-hd quality audio - 24-bit/192khz high-resolution converters
  • Four-capsule mic array provides multiple capture modes
  • Easy setup and universal compatibility - intuitive, plug-and-play setup and operation
  • Built in headphone output and mix controls
  • Versatile mounting options - use with the integrated desktop mic stand or mount to a standard or boom mic stand


USB Microphone Buyers Guide

Connectivity

USB microphones are popular for their plug-and-play simplicity. When considering connectivity, keep the following in mind:

1. USB Type: Most USB microphones use a standard USB Type-A or Type-C connector. Ensure compatibility with your computer or device.

2. Compatibility: Check whether the microphone is compatible with your operating system (Windows, macOS, Linux) and recording software.

3. Cable Length: Consider the cable length provided with the microphone, especially if you need flexibility in positioning.

Sound Quality

Sound quality is a crucial factor for any microphone. Pay attention to these aspects:

1. Bit Depth and Sample Rate: Higher bit depths and sample rates generally result in better audio quality.

2. Frequency Response: Look for a microphone with a wide frequency response range to capture a broad range of audio frequencies accurately.

3. Sensitivity: Consider a microphone with adjustable sensitivity or gain control to adapt to different recording environments.

Polar Patterns

USB microphones come with various polar patterns that determine how they capture sound:

1. Cardioid: Ideal for solo recording and podcasts, capturing sound primarily from the front while minimizing background noise.

2. Omnidirectional: Suitable for group recordings, capturing sound from all directions equally.

3. Bidirectional (Figure-8): Great for interviews or duets, capturing sound from the front and back while rejecting side noise.

4. Stereo: Ideal for capturing spatial audio and immersive soundscapes, mimicking human hearing with two microphones.

Choose a polar pattern that aligns with your recording needs.

Condenser vs. Dynamic: Pros and Cons

USB microphones are available in two primary types, each with its advantages and disadvantages:

1. Condenser Microphones:

  • Pros: Exceptional sensitivity, capturing nuanced audio details. Ideal for vocals, podcasts, and studio-quality recordings.
  • Cons: More sensitive to environmental noise, requiring a controlled recording environment. Typically more expensive.

2. Dynamic Microphones:

  • Pros: Robust and durable, with excellent noise rejection. Ideal for live performances, instruments, and high-SPL recording.
  • Cons: Less sensitive, may not capture subtle nuances as well as condenser microphones.

Choose between condenser and dynamic based on your intended use and recording environment.

Budget Considerations

Budget plays a significant role in your USB microphone choice:

1. Entry-Level: Basic USB microphones offer decent sound quality for beginners and are cost-effective.

2. Mid-Range: Mid-priced models provide better audio quality, build quality, and features for more serious content creators.

3. Premium: High-end USB microphones deliver professional-grade sound and features for studio-quality recordings but come with a higher price tag.

Consider your budget carefully and prioritize features based on your specific needs.

AKG Lyra USB-C Condenser Microphone
  • Ultra-hd quality audio - 24-bit/192khz high-resolution converters
  • Four-capsule mic array provides multiple capture modes
  • Easy setup and universal compatibility - intuitive, plug-and-play setup and operation
  • Built in headphone output and mix controls
  • Versatile mounting options - use with the integrated desktop mic stand or mount to a standard or boom mic stand

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About the Author: Adam Sliger

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I'm the founder of makethatlouder.com, and a producer, musician, and songwriter based out of Orlando, FL. I have 10 years experience producing and owning a commercial recording studio. I write and produce music for artists, TV, and for my solo project, Night Winds. When I'm not writing and recording, I'm into food, coffee, and riding rollercoasters!

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