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Our guide to the AKG Lyra for Musicians, Conferencing, Streaming and more
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Our guide to the AKG Lyra for Musicians, Conferencing, Streaming and more

Increased access to the internet and other technological advancements have given ordinary people a platform to create and share their own media. There has been a content creation boom. Musicians, Vloggers, Gamers and Podcasters around the world are benefiting from a surge in high-quality, affordable production tools that would have once been out of reach. Hit records are being produced in bedrooms, journalists are conducting live TV interviews using internet video calls, and gamers are sharing their online experiences in real time using live streaming services. And right now, many of us are working remotely where high quality audio conferencing alongside video services can make life just a little bit easier. In this blog we'll take a look at the AKG Lyra as a solution for all these applications.

For those aspiring to produce their own media content, having the right tools for the job is so important. It's fair to say that aside from the visual aspects, a lot of media that we've mentioned relies heavily on audio. But if your primary skill isn't audio engineering, how do you ensure that you achieve a professional sound with minimal fuss? 



Meet AKG Lyra - an Ultra-HD USB condenser microphone. Its studio quality sound, simple controls and extensive compatibility make it super easy to capture stunning audio. In this blog, we’ll tell you a bit more about AKG Lyra and what makes it a stand out choice amongst the other USB mics out there.


An Overview

Our unboxing video of the AKG Lyra Ultra-HD USB Microphone

AKG Lyra has the look and feel of a professional broadcasting microphone. Its distinctive look resembles something you might see on a talk show, or in a radio studio. It comes with desktop stand, so it can be placed on your work surface straight away. Lyra is designed to be robust and portable, whether you're using it in a studio or on location. The knobs and buttons on the front and back give you immediate hands on control of the microphone settings. A USB-C to A cable is also included, along with Ableton Live Lite 10. All you will need to add to get started is a compatible device to connect to (from the list below), and of course your creative talents! 


Under the Grille

If we look behind the metal grille of Lyra, you will find what AKG call an ‘Adaptive Capsule Array’. This is made up of not one, not two, but four microphone capsules. That would seem like a lot of capsules for one microphone! So why does Lyra need four, when most microphones just make use of one? 

The Adaptive Capsule array can be configured to record in 4 different modes, 2 mono and 2 stereo. This gives Lyra an adaptable edge, meaning it can handle a number of situations. This might sound complicated, but it's really very simple. Let's take a look at each of the 4 recording modes in a bit more detail.

Front

Sets the capsule array to record from the front side of Lyra only. The resulting recording is monophonic, meaning the signal is equal in both the left and right channels. Any sound sources behind LYRA won't be picked up directly, so you will need to make sure the front side is facing your subject. This mode is most commonly used for capturing a single voice.

Front and Back

This mode activates the capsule array on the front and the back for even capture from all directions. This mode is still monophonic, so sound sources will be evenly balanced left & right, no matter which direction they originate from. This mode works well for interviews and conversations.

Tight Stereo

Uses the two front side capsules to capture audio in stereo. When you listen back after recording in this mode, you can hear audio the direction the audio is coming from. Sound sources will need to in front of LYRA in this mode, as the back side capsules are inactive. This mode is great for capturing instruments or scenes which would benefit from a sense of space.

Wide Stereo

Wide stereo pairs the front and back capsules on the left and on the right to create a much larger stereo image. Sound sources surrounding the microphone are much easier to pick out when listening back. This is great for recording band practice or live sessions where your mic position options are a bit more limited. 

Plugging In & Setting Up

No XLR cables, interfaces or mixers in sight - AKG Lyra plugs straight into your audio capture device via USB. One cable, minimal fuss - saving you from any complications and reducing the footprint on your working area. All the components you need to record are housed within Lyra.



AKG Lyra is compatible with the following platforms:


  • MacOS Lion 10.7.X and higher

  • Windows 8 and higher

  • Android 9.X and higher 

  • iOS 10.X and higher


For Android & iOS devices, you will need an adapter to convert its connector socket to USB-A. USB-C to A  and Lightning to USB-A adapters are widely available from tech retailers. Once that’s sorted, just plug in LYRA and you’re ready to go!

Simple Controls

AKG Lyra proves that capturing high-quality audio doesn’t need to be complicated. With the Capsule Array doing most of the hard work, all you need to do is fine tune some of the settings to get the perfect result. The controls on Lyra are easily accessible and simple to use.


Front view


Mute

A quick access Mute button can come in handy for all sorts of situations. Particularly if you’re using Lyra for live audio applications. If you need to take a quick break from a live stream or conference call for example, hitting the mute button temporarily disables the audio without disconnecting the microphone. The Mute button lights up when switched on, so you will always know if it's active just by looking at it. 


Headphone Volume

The headphone volume control links to the headphone output on the underside of Lyra. It gives you direct control of the signal level to your headphone from the front panel. This control has no effect on the input recording level, so you can adjust it to suit you, without worrying about messing with your Mic settings.


Rear View


Microphone Gain

Setting the gain correctly for any microphone is very important. It ensures that the input level is loud enough to be heard, but not so loud that it distorts. The Microphone gain control for Lyra is located on the back side. It gives precise level control and provides a lot of volume. Best practice to set the microphone gain before you start, and then leave it alone during capture.


Microphone Pattern

The microphone pattern is another control you’ll want to ‘set and forget’. Turn this dial to select which of the microphone patterns you want to use for your application. As you click through the 4 positions, a blue LED light will appear on the front next to the setting you’ve selected.

AKG LYRA Applications

AKG Lyra is a versatile microphone, with a long list of applications that you can use it for. Here are some example scenarios to give you an idea of how Lyra might be able to help you to improve your sound:


Audio for Live Streaming

Microphone pattern: Front


You can use AKG LYRA to capture your voice during a livestream. Plug the microphone into your streaming device, and set the audio input and output to LYRA. Face the front side towards you for the clearest sound. Noises from other directions should be reduced. Monitor the direct input from LYRA and any other sound sources using the headphone output. If you need to take a break or stop viewers hearing you, use the mute button to momentarily disable the microphone.



Video Conference Calling with High Quality Audio

Microphone pattern: Front

Improve the audio quality of your video calls by using Lyra as your audio device. Conversations between colleagues will be much clearer, and everyone will be able to hear your voice with professional clarity. Plug Lyra into the device you are calling from, and set the microphone pattern to Front. Set the input and output of your video calling service to Lyra. That way, your voice will be transmitted through Lyra, and you will also be able to hear your colleagues through the dedicated headphone output. You can mute yourself momentarily with the mute button.


Recording a Podcast Interview

Microphone pattern: Front & Back


Lyra is ideal for interviews. Place LYRA directly between yourself and the interview subject. Plug LYRA into your recording device and set the microphone pattern to Front & Back. The front and back sides of LYRA should face each of you for best clarity of the recording. The resulting sound is non-directional, and so listeners will hear you both evenly. Monitor your recording through LYRA’s headphone output to ensure you’re getting the best results.



Overdubbing Acoustic Guitar

Microphone pattern: Tight stereo


Lyra is also a great recording tool for musicians. With Tight Stereo mode engaged, direct the front side of AKG LYRA towards an acoustic guitar (or any acoustic instrument). You can experiment with different positions, but we’d recommend directing the centre of Lyra towards the 12th fret. The front left & right capsules will capture directional audio, giving the guitar a sense of space and width when you listen back. While you record, use the headphone out to hear yourself with minimal latency. You will also be able to hear playback from your recording software, so you can play along to your backing tracks at the same time.



Recording a Live Session

Microphone Pattern: Wide Stereo



Recording a group of musicians with one mic can be a bit of a challenge, but Lyra makes it easy! Place LYRA in the centre or in front of the ensemble you want to record. Select Wide Stereo to activate both the front and back sides of the microphone When listening back to your recording, it will feel like you’re sitting in the space with the musicians. Recording with this microphone pattern also has applications in post production and sound design.

Useful Hints & Tips

AKG LYRA’s Ultra-HD quality sound and simplicity make it easy enough to get a good sound. However, with a few extra bits of knowledge, you could really up your audio capture game! Some of these pointers maybe obvious, but you may find them helpful to get the best possible performance out of Lyra.


Keep AKG Lyra at the right distance

The behaviour of all microphones changes depending on their distance from a sound source. If that sound source is your voice, there are going to be a number of things you’ll want to consider. 



If you want your voice to sound as clear and dry as possible, you’ll need the microphone closer to your face. However, as you get closer and speak into Lyra, you’ll notice plosive sounds (‘puh’s’ and ‘buh’s’) will begin to make a pop sound. Particularly if you talk into a microphone closer than 30cm. These can be reduced using a pop shield, or by talking across the microphone. We would recommend a combination of these. If you can't get a pop shield, try direct your speech slightly past Lyra, at a distance of 20-30cm.


Balance your Microphone Gain & Headphone Output

It’s very easy to get yourself into trouble when you have more than one volume control. For example, you could set your headphones so loud that when you set your microphone gain, its far to quiet when it’s played back. 

We recommend that you ALWAYS set your microphone gain first. Don’t even worry about your headphone level to begin with. With LYRA plugged into your audio software, use the meters to monitor your level as you talk normally / play your instrument. Adjust the gain so that the loudest parts of your recording are safely below the red area. If you are too loud, your signal will distort. Anywhere between -3dB and -6dB should be sufficient. Once your signal looks healthy, adjust your headphone level so that you feel comfortable. 


Trying Putting AKG LYRA on a Mic Stand

If the desktop stand doesn’t work for you, you can always mount LYRA to a standard microphone stand. Simply unscrew the base from the microphone and then attach it to a microphone stand with a ⅝” thread size. Mic stands usually come in two standard thread sizes - ⅝” is the ‘big’ one and ⅜" is  the ‘small’ one. Adding a microphone stand to your setup makes positioning LYRA far more flexible, especially if you need to bring it closer to a sound source, or just save on desk space. 



In Summary

If you’re looking to capture high quality audio with minimal fuss, AKG LYRA certainly fits the bill. An all-in-one recording and monitoring device that delivers professional results for your content every time, whether you’re streaming, vlogging, podcasting or recording music or even video conferencing. From those aspiring creators, to those already at the top, AKG LYRA is an affordable solution for your audio needs.


We hope you’ve enjoyed reading Our Guide to the AKG LYRA. For more information on AKG LYRA, please visit our Product Page.

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This new blog is presented by the team at Sound Technology Ltd, a leading distributor of musical instruments and pro audio equipment in the UK and ROI.