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Review: AKG Ara Dual-Mode USB Microphone by Harman (model C22)

A high-quality, affordable desktop USB mic for content creators and music makers

(image credit: AKG)

The AKG Ara Dual-Mode USB Condenser Microphone by Harman (model C22) is the latest addition to the renowned AKG brand’s lineup of microphones, and it’s a standout choice for content creators and music makers alike. This dual-mode USB microphone is designed to deliver professional-quality sound with utmost convenience, whether you’re at your desktop or on the go.


The AKG Ara captures high-resolution sound at up to 24-bit, 96kHz resolution, ensuring crystal-clear speech clarity and stunning vocal and instrument tracks. This elevates the quality of your recordings to a professional level, whether you’re a podcaster, YouTuber, gamer or musician.

One of the key strengths of the AKG Ara is its versatility. With its two capsule array modes with dual pickup patterns, you have the flexibility to focus on a single voice or instrument or capture everyone in the room. The directional Front (cardioid) pattern is perfect for podcast hosts, bloggers, gamers, and recording instruments, as it allows you to focus on sound directly in front of the microphone while rejecting noise from other directions. On the other hand, the Front + Back (omni) pattern is ideal for capturing interviews with multiple speakers, tracking multiple singers and instruments, or recording ambient sounds in different locations.

(image credit: AKG)

The compact footprint of the AKG Ara makes it adaptable to any space. It also comes with a weighted, integrated base stand, but you also have the option to use it with a desktop boom arm or a common microphone stand. This versatility ensures that you can position the microphone in the most convenient and optimal way for your recording setup.

Setting up the AKG Ara is easy, thanks to its USB connectivity and its compatibility with almost any device, making it a plug-and-play solution. Whether you’re using a Mac, Windows computer, iOS, or Android device, connecting the AKG Ara is as simple as using a standard USB-C connector or an OTG adapter. The microphone also features a built-in headphone jack, allowing you to monitor your audio in real-time without latency issues.

Testing Experience

(image credit: Future)

TWICE was able to get hands-on testing of the AKG Ara and we put it through a series of recording situations in our home office studio setup, primarily as a desktop podcasting mic and an ambient guitar recording mic. Firstly, the recorded sound quality exceeded our expectations, with the 24-bit, 96kHz resolution delivering exceptional clarity and depth to our recordings.

Speaking vocals sounded rich and detailed, and our guitar playing was captured with precision while reaffirming our significant other’s claim that we need to practice a lot more and not quit our day job quite yet. We liked how easily the selectable focus patterns provided the versatility needed for different recording scenarios, allowing us to isolate individual voices or capture the ambiance of the room. We found the controls on the front of the mic to be intuitive and easy to operate, and it was easy to switch between patterns, adjust the mic volume, and monitor our audio with the built-in headphone jack.

(image credit: Future)

Setting up the AKG Ara with our PC and Samsung smartphone was a breeze, thanks to its plug-and-play functionality. The microphone was recognized immediately without the need for additional drivers or software installations. We did have to use a USB-A to USB-C adapter to connect to the smartphone, as one is not included with the AKG Ara. Alternatively, you could use a USB-C to USB-C cable to connect a compatible smartphone.

While the AKG Ara comes with the powerful Ableton Live 11 Lite audio production recording software, this program does have a steep learning curve, so if you are inexperienced with audio recording software, you may want to check out our sister site TechRadar’s list of the best audio editing software for some easier entry options.


The AKG Ara Dual-Mode USB Microphone by Harman is a standout choice for content creators, podcasters, gamers, and musicians seeking professional sound recording. Its ability to capture high-resolution audio and its selectable focus patterns offer versatility and adaptability for various recording scenarios. The microphone’s plug-and-play simplicity and compatibility with a wide range of devices make it incredibly user-friendly and at just over $100, it’s a great microphone for budget-conscious content creators.

Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting your creative journey, the AKG Ara delivers on its promise of exceptional sound quality, ease of use, and adaptability. Elevate your sound recording experience with the AKG Ara and unlock the true potential of your creative projects.

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See also: Dirac Collaborates With ASUS To Provide Immersive Sound Experiences