ICMP Reviews: Austrian Audio Microphone OC818

Our resident reviewer gets stuck into Austrian Audio's Microphone OC818...


Some of you might know that after the closure of their Vienna offices, the old AKG team decided to embark on a brand new challenge called Austrian Audio

These microphones have slowly been replacing some of the best existing brands, particularly on the large condenser microphones front.

In the little time this company has operated, it has already shown the world what the experience and dedication of their team is capable of. 

The selection of Austrian Audio microphone covers a vast range of models: 

And finally the OC818 which I will be reviewing today.

Here, I’ll run through some of the features that make this piece of gear a little more special than others.

Key Features 

Ceramic Capsule

This is made to the same critical dimensions as the classic CK12 capsules. 

Often ceramic capsules have greater susceptibility to vibration, higher noise filter floors, and a more limited high-frequency response when compared to the capacitor and electret types.

The ceramic capsules are arguably easier to manufacture on a bigger scale, which means the quality of the capsule will be the same from microphone to microphone. 

This might not be very relevant, but in a recording scenario, often two of the same microphones have different sounds as elements have been built differently. This will help fix the problem!

Multiple polar pattern

Like most of the cardioid microphones, the OC818 offers the option of choosing different polar patterns: 

  • Omnidirectional
  • Cardioid
  • Figure of 8
  • Custom

It is indeed possible to customize the polar pattern based on what we need to capture. This feature is also accessible on the software which I’ll be talking about further down in this review.

Dual Output

This is a great feature to have. The microphone comes with an XLR input and a mini XLR one too. If we only use the main XLR input we are able to control both diaphragms like a normal condenser mic. By plugging in the mini XLR we can now control both diaphragms and record them separately. This will give us much more control over the mix as they will appear as two independent tracks. It’s a bit of a gimmick, but is no doubt a great extra feature and something exciting to play around with.

Polar Designer

The Polar designer is where the real magic happens!

Within this free software downloadable on AustrianAudio.com, you will be able to fully control your recording as well as being able to shape the sound at your demand. Let’s have a look at this plug-in.

The Interface

This software is designed to individually control both diaphragms and mix different polar patterns in post production (after recording).

The main purpose of this interface is the band EQ from which we can select different band shapes and adjust them to our liking. The layout is very intuitive and easy to manage, in fact from the main interface we can create a basic mix in a very few steps.

On the top left of the interface, we can decide how many bands to create. We can simply have two bands for acoustic or string instruments of up to five or more complex takes. E.g. a drum kit, where we would want to have more control overall since we are dealing with all types of frequencies.

The polar designer can be used for many different purposes, it is a great tool to shape the sound of a room; when all the bands are active we can decide in which area of the recording we want to apply a specific pattern."

I recommend trying them out and seeing what works for you. My choice is often to have an omni on low and high frequencies (kick and hats) while I’d use a condenser for all the mid frequencies where the snares and toms live.

Goes without saying that it is a great tool to shape the sound of an instrument. When activating less bands, we can decide what colour to emphasise more. It works well on vocals and acoustic instruments when we want to focus specifically on a close mic approach.

Last but not least, this software has a spillage reduction option to almost cancel all those unwanted noises from our recording. It is a very accurate tool which can detect what you want to apply reduction to. It also analyses for you what pattern you’d be better off using too.

It is important for me to say that there is no right or wrong way to use this software. It is completely personal and varies from project to project, from room to room but it is a great weapon to have at our disposal.

I would highly recommend these mics as their impeccable definition and sturdiness make them reliable in any scenario!

Watch producer Phil Speiser using the microphones via the video below: 

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Vocal courses
by PJ Ciarla
November 2, 2021
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