One mic that we get a lot of questions about is the AKG D112. If you’ve stepped foot in a recording studio, you’ve probably seen a huge range of microphones, each with their own purposes. In this review, however, we will be looking specifically at the AKG D112 mkii, an affordable kick drum mic that probably deserves praise far above its price point!
One read of the specifications and you’ll see that this mic is packed with features that any studio engineer, budding producer, or band would love. The mic has a frequency response of 20Hz – 17kHz, meaning that even the lowest of kick drum sub frequencies will be captured here, as well as all the top end you could need.
Here are the full list of description from the AKG website:
- Capsule – Dynamic microphone capsule
- Polar Pattern – Cardioid
- Audio frequency bandwidth – 20 – 17000 Hz
- It has a max Max. SPL for 0.5 % THD … > 160 calculated dB
- Electrical impedance: 210 Ohms
- Recommended load impedance: ≥ 2000 Ohms
- Sensitivity – 1.8 mV/Pa (-55 dBV)
- Temperature Range: -10 °C to +60 °C (14 °F – 140 °F)
- 115 mm in length
- 126 mm in height
- Diameter – 70 mm
- Net weight of the mic is about 300g
You might be familiar with this particular piece of equipment as a microphone that would be used for kick drums… but AKG believes the D112 has a much broader broader field of use.
In fact, they state on their website that it is suitable for drums, guitar amps, and bass amps in both studio and live applications.
The AKG d112 – A Diverse Microphone For Diverse Needs
The extended frequency response of the AKG D112 microphone would make it a great choice for a bass amp, as this would capture the sound of the lower frequencies that other mics may struggle to reproduce. It would also be useful for capturing the sound of a guitar amp, especially for lower tuned guitars.
One area that confuses many people that first come into contact with the AKG D112 mkii is which side of the microphone is which?
The distinctive egg shaped capsule has been baffling first time users for many years. One half looks like a typical dynamic microphone with its steel grille, and the other side looks more like a high end condenser microphone.
As you’d expect with most microphones, the grille side is the side that you should point towards your sound source… but I felt this was worth mentioning as it comes up quite often when this microphone is discussed in various social settings.
In The Studio With The AKG d112
My experiences with the D112 mic are primarily studio-based, where I have used the mic for capturing kick drum sounds.
It’s very easy and quick to set up, and mounts straight onto any 1/4″ threaded mic stand. The head of the AKG D112 mkii is adjustable, so in combination with the stand it is mounted to, the D112 can be placed in even the tightest of spaces.
The sound quality also exceeds the price tag. You may be tempted to think that a lower priced microphone might not sound as good as something that costs more, but AKG has a strong reputation in the pro audio world.
The AKG D112 mkii is proof that low price doesn’t always mean compromising on great sound.
I often find myself trying out various kick drum mics in the early stages of a studio session… but more often than not, the AKG D112 becomes my kick drum microphone of choice. Every drummer in the world will tell you that their kick drums should sound huge.
All drummers want that low end thump, coupled with the high end clarity of the bass drum’s natural attack as the beater hits the skin.
To my ears, AKG D112 mkii delivers this time after time.
Easy To Use
It’s super simple to get an awesome kick drum sound with this mic. I don’t think I’ve ever had an instance using this microphone where I’ve not been blown away by it. The D112 is one of those microphones that I’ll lean on for years to come.
It doesn’t require phantom power, either… which means you can plug it direct into most interfaces without needing to go through a separate preamp section.
This simplicity means you can get it set up and sounding great, fast. This is all down to the simple dynamic microphone design, which has no internal amplifier circuitry.
This means it can run at a lower power consumption level.
On The Stage With The AKG d112
Due to its large diaphragm, the AKG d112 can deliver surprisingly accurate lower frequencies.
It can also handle up to 160dB SPL with no distortion, which makes it a great choice for a live bass drum mic. In the studio, you won’t need 160dB of headroom, even with the hardest hitter behind the kit.
But in a live situation, with other instruments also pushing the same frequencies, the D112 will retain the full kick drum sound, even in the most testing of environments.
AKG have put some serious thought into the design of this microphone. The polar cardioid pattern is fantastic at rejecting external sounds outside of the source it’s being pointed at. Sure, you’re going to get some bleed, especially on stage in a busy mix, but the D112 will do it’s absolute best to only give you what you want.
If you put this in front of a kick drum or a bass amp, you’ll get the sound you’re looking for.
The other main consideration for a live microphone is how solidly it is built. The D112 microphone can take a beating. It’s robust, well-built, and the threaded stand mount is part of the units chassis.
Even if the stand it’s mounted to gets knocked, the D112 won’t care. It’s built to be used and abused.
Quality Vs. Price
Sure, there are probably better microphones you could use on stage. You always see larger touring acts using more expensive options on their drum kits, mostly because they have the budget for it.
But the D112 offers a reliable set of features, great sound quality, and a bombproof build. As a working kick drum microphone, this will stand out from the crowd.
So, let’s recap on this microphone. The AKG D112 is a fantastic microphone for various applications… both on stage and in the studio.
It’s price point is very attractive to budding producers and sound engineers of all levels. If you’re just getting your first studio or live sound rig together, or if you are working at a professional level, this is a microphone that you can depend on for a huge range of purposes.
It primarily gets called on as a kick drum microphone, but it also sits well in front of bass amplifiers, guitar amplifiers, and even lower frequency bass instruments… such as a tuba or a trombone.
Anyone working with live brass instruments that extend to the lower frequencies will understand how tricky they can be to capture as naturally as possible.
The large diaphragm design means the microphone accurately captures those tricky low frequencies, down to a sub-bass heavy 20Hz.
It’s high SPL rating also means that it can handle a lot of volume with minimal distortion. This means that even the loudest drummer on the loudest stage on the world would have a really tough time making this microphone struggle.
Even when the preamp in front of the microphone is pushed to the breaking point, the integrated hum-compensation coil keeps noise to an absolute minimum.
Would I recommend the AKG D112 for a kick drum microphone? You bet I would.