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AKG Acoustics (originally Akustische und Kino-Geräte Gesellschaft m.b.H., English: Acoustic and Cinema Equipment) was an acoustics engineering and manufacturing company founded in 1947 by Dr. Rudolf Görike and Ernest Plass, and headquartered in Vienna, Austria. AKG now exists only as a brand owned by the South Korean firm Samsung Electronics and managed by Harman International Industries.

AKG Acoustics
Founded1947; 72 years ago (1947)
  • Dr. Rudolf Görike
  • Ernst Pless
HeadquartersNorthridge, Los Angeles, California, United States [1]
ProductsMicrophones, Headphones, Digital Hi-Fi Sound Systems
Number of employees
ParentHarman International Industries
The AKG C214 condenser microphone

The products currently marketed under the AKG brand mostly consist of microphones, headphones, wireless audio systems and related accessories for professional and consumer markets.



The brand originated as a company in Austria, and was founded in Vienna in 1947 by two Viennese: physicist Dr. Rudolf Görike and engineer Ernst Pless.[2]

Originally, its main business was to provide technical equipment for cinemas: loudspeakers, film projectors and light meters.[3] The business slowly expanded and AKG started selling car horns, door intercoms, carbon microphone 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.[4]

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.[5][6] 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.[7]

The company was acquired by the American company Harman International Industries in 1994.[6] 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.[8]

In 2016 it was announced that the AKG Vienna facilities (headquarters, manufacturing, and engineering) would be shut down in 2017, with a transfer of brand headquarters to California, USA. Most current AKG-branded products are made in Harman's Chinese production facilities.[9][1]


  • 1945 – Dr. Rudolf Görike and Ernst Pless begin supplying movie equipment to theaters in postwar Vienna.[10]
  • 1949 – AKG founded by Görike and Pless as Akustische und Kino-Geräte Gesellschaft m.b.H.[2]
  • 1949 – AKG begins producing headphones,[11] the first model being the K120 DYN.
  • 1953 – introduces the world's first dynamic cardioid microphone[10]
  • 1955 – founds a German subsidiary[11]
  • 1985 – founds a U.S subsidiary, based in Northridge, Los Angeles, California[11]
  • 1991 – produces its first wireless microphones, the WMS100 and WMS900
  • 1994 – becomes part of Harman International Industries[11]
  • 2006 – produces a limited 60th anniversary edition of the celebrated C414 LTD microphone.[12]
  • 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.[13]
  • 2010 – AKG announces a partnership with Quincy Jones to manufacture a signature line of headphones featuring stylized designs and modified drivers.[14][15]
  • 2012 – AKG announces its partnership with disc jockey Tiësto to start manufacturing headphones under Tiësto's name.[16][17]
  • 2016 – Harman decided to shut down all facilities in Vienna in 2017.
  • 2017 – Harman was bought by Samsung Electronics.
  • 2017 - Headquarters of the AKG brand is transferred to California, United States [1]


AKG Samsung bundle earphone

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.[18]

Some microphone models include:

  • D12E - a dynamic cardioid microphone with a bass boost between 60 and 120Hz utilized for sources with high sound pressure and low-frequency content
  • 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)[19]
  • D190
  • D222 - a dual capsule dynamic microphone used at the despatch boxes of the UK parliament
  • D220
  • D330 - a high-end dynamic vocal microphone used by ABBA.[citation needed]
  • 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." [20]
  • 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.[21]
  • D409
  • D5
  • C1000 - a small diaphragm condenser
  • C2000 - a side-address, small diaphragm condenser.
  • C3000 - a large diaphragm condenser
  • SOLID TUBE - Vacuum tube large-diaphragm microphone, cardioid polar pattern for multiplicity of applications. Born in 1997 with exceptionally natural, warm sound, tube sound enriches digital recordings, complete with many useful accessories and aluminum carrying case. The AKG SolidTube, the flagship of the Project Studio Line, is the first microphone that combines the sound of classic vacuum tube technology and the benefits of advanced solid state componentry at an affordable price. Mechanical ruggedness, high SPL capability, and low self noise are as natural SolidTube features as its warm tube sound. The heart of the SolidTube is the ECC 83 (12AX7) vacuum tube. It provides excellent transfer characteristics and is readily available from musical instrument dealers carrying spare parts for guitar amps. A ground lift switch on the power supply eliminates unexpected ground loops quickly and easily. Standard accessories include a spider type shock mount, pop screen, power supply, cable, and strong carrying case. Tune microphones are very popular for their warm sound. The SolidTube emphasizes even harmonics and adds low-level distortion that the ear perceives as an enhancement to the sound.


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 a unique fully open 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.[22] 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. One notable use includes Samsung, their parent company using AKG to "tune" their headphones that come equipped with Samsung's most-recent flagship devices, starting with the Galaxy S8 and S8+, the stereo speakers as of the Galaxy S9,S9+ and Note 9.

In 2017, the Y50 model was awarded Product of the Year for on-ear headphones by What Hi-Fi? magazine.[23]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Retrieved August 25, 2018
  2. ^ a b Tulga Beyerle; Karin Hirschberger (1 January 2006). A Century of Austrian Design: 1900-2005. Walter de Gruyter. pp. 181–. ISBN 978-3-0346-0889-3.
  3. ^ "History". AKG by Harmans. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  4. ^ Retrieved April 2, 2014
  5. ^ Retrieved April 2, 2014
  6. ^ a b Tina Grant (2004). International Directory of Company Histories. St. James Press. ISBN 978-1-55862-507-5.
  7. ^ Retrieved on April 2, 2014
  8. ^ "Retrieved on April 2, 2014". Archived from the original on April 7, 2014. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  9. ^ m.b.H., STANDARD Verlagsgesellschaft. "Kopfhörer: AKG-Werk in Wien schließt". Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  10. ^ a b "History of AKG Acoustics GmbH – FundingUniverse".
  11. ^ a b c d AKG history milestones Last accessed March 30, 2007
  12. ^ "Professional Audio Solutions - Headphones and Microphones - AKG Acoustics". Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  13. ^ "AKG Honored With Technical Grammy Award For Contribution To Recording Arts & Sciences".
  14. ^ kamakshi. "Harman AKG comes out with a Quincy Jones Signature Line of headphones". Luxurylaunches.
  15. ^ "Page Not Found".
  16. ^ "Tiësto Collaborates With Audio Manufacturer AKG For A New Range Of Headphones - Magnetic Magazine". Magnetic Magazine.
  17. ^ "Sites-AKG-US-Site".
  18. ^ "Professional Audio Solutions - Headphones and Microphones - AKG Acoustics". Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  19. ^ Brian Kehew; Kevin Ryan (2006). Recording the Beatles. Curvebender Publishing. pp. 180–181. ISBN 978-0-9785200-0-7.
  20. ^ "C12VR on AKG'S website".
  21. ^ "Harman-Harman International Opens New Headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut".[permanent dead link]
  22. ^ "Best Studio Headphones for Professionals and Beginners". Archived from the original on May 21, 2015. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
  23. ^ "On-ear headphones". What Hi-Fi?. Retrieved 2017-12-01.

External linksEdit