I received the AKG D112 about a month ago to use on my band's new demos. I had the intention of using it as a kick drum mic (obviously) and on my Ashdown bass cab (Ampeg SVT 3 Pro head).
I have used both a Shure Beta 52 and an Audix D6 in the past for recording and the Beta I have used live as well, so I was interested to hear the difference with the AKG. Other reviews I had read, about which kick mic to use, suggested that the AKG would pick up more of the "click" of the kick compared to the Beta 52. This was interesting for me as my drummer does not have a hole in his kick drum and so getting a good "click" is quite hard.
For recording I placed it about half an inch from the skin of the kick off centre and covered it in some pillows to stop spill (the advantage of recording in a living room!). Needless to say it was not going to pick up all of the "click" of the drum so we also placed an SM58 pointing up towards the beater on the other side of the kick. I have found in the past that even with a hole in the kick you don't get all the smack you want, so usually place a mic to pick this up anyway. It also makes for nicer mixing possibilities. Both of these mics went through my Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 preamps (look out for my review on that as well).
I can honestly say that the AKG did a brilliant job of picking up the thud and pump of the kick drum even being outside of the kick. Mixed with the 58 and shoved through some Liquid Mix Distressor emulations I have been able to achieve a very professional sounding kick within my mixes. Compared to the sound of a Shure Beta 52 I would say the AKG has a less sterile sound. On mixing with the Beta I have always found it hard to get an aggressive thud without it sounding tacky, but perhaps that is my own opinion.
Within live use it has done very well as well, certainly got the subwoofers going!
I have yet to try it on my bass amp, but I'm sure it will do a great job in conjunction with an SM57 or condenser.
Actually, I could not disagree with the original reviewer more. I've hated this mic since the day it came out, allegedly as a "replacement" for one of the world's all time great kick mics, the D12E, which it resembles only in name. (See my review elsewhere in this forum).
This mic has a unnatural response, not particularly good sounding low end and a distracting clackiness. About the only "kick mic" I dislike more is the Beta 52.
It does handle high SPL well, but you'd expect that as a given for anything intended for kick.
The world's recognized 3 best dynamic mics for kick drum are the EV RE-20, the AKG D12E, and the Beyer M-88. The other, REALLY great kick mic is the Neumann U-47 FET condenser, which unfortunately I do not own. NONE of those mics have a "scooped" or "tailored" response curve. Do you REALLY want some guy in a room at a factory who has never heard the drum you're trying to get a sound on (let alone the drummer) determine what your EQ curve should be? Do you really think the same curve works for all drums?
And I particularly dislike the "tailored" response of this mic. It's got a major case of "sounds funny".
Most people who like this mic have never had an adequate opportunity to use one of the really great kick mics (which tend to cost about twice what the D-112 does, much more in the case of the Neumann).
OTOH, if you're doing speed metal and you're after that "ticky-clicky" kick sound, this could be the mic for you.
I used the AKG D112 in live drumming applications for years. When I first started my project studio, the D112 was my go-to for kick drum. I was struggling to get the right balance between the click and the boom of my 24" DW kick. I tried every possible placement and position, and still couldn't get it right. When I demo'd the Audix D6, I sold the AKG D112 to a local live sound engineer and I've never looked back.
Because of its shape, the D112 isn't the easiest mic to fit inside a kick drum. It offers no adjustments to pickup patterns and has no pad switch. I had far more success using the AKG D112 in live applications, and I know many other live sound engineers who prefer using it because they know how it will perform.
The best redeeming quality of the AKG D112 is its durability. After countless freezings, thawings, stompings, beer spillings, and a deep-throating from an inspired groupie, that mic refused to die.
Waste of $, too many other options that are better
This is a mic i have never understood the hype about. I know a lot of people swear by it but I can't make that claim. I'd be willing to bet this mic is on some of my favorite records so it's obviously usable, just not my first pick. The build quality is just fine. It's sturdy enough to last decades but that's not enough of a sale for me. I either own or have owned all the competitors. The only one I sold faster than this one was the Audix A6. This always sounded boxy and low mid/muddy to me. It doesn't seem to let the low end through (or boost it) like some of the other options. Maybe it sounds good on floor toms but I can't imagine it'd be better than what's already in my locker. I sold it for an RE20 and never looked back. It's funny, seems like people either love this thing or hate it (and love the beta52). I'm of the latter group. The ones I've kept and frequently use frequently are Fet47, Beta52 and RE20.
If you in the market for a cheap kick that kinda has a hyped frequency for kick drums the d112 is one of many. The audix d6, beta 52 etc. There's a lot to choose from the basically all make bass drums sound similar un like a mic if a slightly flat frequency response.
Some people don't like this but one thing this mic definitely stands for is it's live application. It's a pretty robust mic and can take high spl's. It's one of those mics that you can chuck in front of something with out much care on placement and it sound pretty much the same every time no surprise. So when you use it live you know what your gonna get and it's a no worry no hassle get the job kinda mic.
They way I see it is that for this application you could use any other of the bog standard kick mics and get the job done this mics doesn't stand out in particular.
In the studio I'd go with something else flatter that has more options. But in the studio it works fantastic on big floor toms and has excellent off axis rejection.
You can't go wrong with this mic but there's nothing particularly great about it either.
Absolutely love this mic, it is the best single kick mic in my opinion, I can always get a great sound with this mic and its been used on countless hit albums, you can get a great sound with just the d112 or combine it with other techniques and/or multiple mics for a huge sound, this is one of the few mics that is great for both live and recording situations, I've used it on both but it is my favorite kick mic for recording by far, I get a full sound that needs little tweaking in the mix, love it!
Get this if you want that AKG D112 bass drum sound on everything
This mic will make everything you put it on sound similar. Great if you want a punchy and present kick drum or bass sound. Just don't use it on kick drum one take and then bass guitar sound the next. Your instruments will be fighting against one another for the same space. The D112 seems to heavily boost around the 100hz and 4khz range. If this is exactly what you need for a given instrument then this mic will be perfect! However, if it's not just right then you'll be spending a lot of time eq-ing and then you'll have subsequent issues to deal with.
When you hear this mic on a great monitoring system you really hear just how much this mic messes with the incoming source and its tone. So much so that I would limit its use to primarily live sound situations where the same bass drum is being used for every band that comes through. These are great for project studios with a sub par monitoring environment but want a quick way to a semi clicky bass drum sound. Since it's difficult to hear just how altered your sound is, you'll still have a close to proper-ish sounding bass drum.
Perhaps this is why I haven't seen many proper studio's using this microphone for kick drum or bass guitar amp. Usually it's an MD421, or re20 and the like. Perhaps that is just my experience, as it is a little bit limited.
I used to use this exclusively on kick drum, with good results, i play alternative rock music.. Honestly i bought it cause it was more expensive than the Shure Beta 52a and in my naive head more expensive translated to better quality.. Not true in this case for me.. Then I bought the Beta 52a and compared them side by side in sound and i much preferred the Shure over the AKG, the boom & click of the kick came RIGHT OUT with the Beta 52a, but with the D112 i had to do a lot more EQing to get it where the Beta 52a just seemed to already sit naturally.. I'd say the D112 would be more suitable for Jazz than Rock, because it has a more natural "un-hyped" albeit less exciting sound.
So now, my D112 has been demoted to Floor Tom duty, but lemme tell you, my floor tom has NEVER sounded better!! It replaced a Sennheiser e604... so in my opinion, the D112 is a KILLER floor tom Mic, and a decent Kick Drum Mic for Rock.
With Real Sonic Love,
Spread The J.E.L.L.i.!! J.E.L.L.i.
This was my first kick mic. I remember getting it as a christmas present a while back. It served me well for the level I was at then. However I feel as if I have out grown this mic. In kick applications, I have to put heavy EQ on the channel, which annoys me to no end. And as stated many times before, all my kicks sound the same.
Bass cabinets are worse. I get a lot of boominess around 100 and I have always had more of an issue with certain notes sticking out. I actually prefer micing bass cabs with a 57, because id rather have a more natural sound than a boomy mess. I have always found the d112 to not sit well in my mixes.
But the one thing I will give this mic... Is durability. I ran over it once with my car and it still works totally fine. I do find this mic to be alright for live applications as well.
All in all it's a good beginner mic. But be warned that you will need a decent eq to back this mic up.
This is one of the classic kick drum mics. Great presence on the kick also good for use on bass guitar. If you shop around at the guitar center used site you can pick one up for $100 to $125 if you are patient. For the money you can't go wrong.
The cons. It is not great for all situations. Think Metallica "and Justice for all" Clicky heavy metal kick sound. It is a very useable mic in the right situations.
How this mic became a 'classic' kick drum mic, I have no idea. It has the uncanny ability to make 80% of kick drums sound like a dribbling basketball. It is also very sensitive to position in relation to the shell of the drum for better or for worse. I have heard this mic sound good when being used by others, I just find other stuff works better for me. To me it just always sounds loose in low end.
On floor tom I find it a little better but still not anywhere near as good as my MD421 or Audix D4. It has a strange boomy low end on alot of floor toms, again very sensitive to placement.
The only place I have been really happy with the mic is in recording fuzzed out bass tones in conjunction with a good DI. It seems to also work better at capturing the tone of my Ampeg 8x10 than my 1x15
I've had this mic for a few years, and used them for years before that as a very common live kick mic as well. This mic has a distinct sound, and like all dynamics, is very dependant on mic placement. On kick, I've found that I always seem to end up with a better sound if I have this mic outside of the drum anywhere from 6-12" outside the hole in the resonant head. I've seen a number of reviewers and others over the years say this mic sounds 'boxy' or 'clacky' or 'like a basketball', and that's the sound I associate with sticking it inside of the drum. Never cared for this mic placement, I tried many times to get a good sound from this placement and it always comes out as described above.
Once you get to know how and where to use this mic, it becomes very easy to get a good sound out of it. Very punchy thump. And why shouldn't it? It's a famous mic that's been used on many famous records. Like anything, it takes getting to know your tool.
Once I started regularly recording my drummer who has a double kick set, I decided I needed to get a second one. It works as well as the first. The two mics are VERY consistent, I use them interchangably and have never noticed a difference between them tone-wise, which is good since they are probably often used in pairs.
I've also used this mic on bass amp a number of times, my bassist uses an Ampeg SVT Classic with 8x10, and seems like I get a good sound pretty consistently by centering the mic on the cab about 18" out from the grille. Haven't tried many other mics in this spot, though, I suspect with enough experimentation I may find something I like more.
All in all, a classic mic that has many potential uses at a low price, worth having in your locker.
I bought this one for miking a Ampeg 8x10 bass cabinet during the live shows. D112 is a very good, solid made, quite heavy microphone. The ampeg's "trademark" midrange thump is well reproduced thorugh this one.
This is not a "hi-fi" sounding mic. It's kind of muddy in the lows and highs, but that's absolutely perfect for punchy bass guitar tones - it also takes well bass distortion without being harsh + vintage kick sound. The only one better mic I found for bass was EV RE-20, but costs almost 3 times more than D112 and it's huge. I recorded bass in the studio mixing D112 and SM57 and that combo did wonders (low+low mid from D112, the rest from 57)...
Also, it sounds great on kick (good drumsets) like DW. The last time I used this there was no EQing on console and the kick was full, punchy, no "click". Just like the kick drum sounded before miking.
I recommend this mic for anyone who's looking for a kind of "vintage, natural warm sound". It really helps bringing some guitar amps harshness go away. So use it for soooooft kick, non-gritty-harsh bass etc. This is total opposite to Audix mics which are kind of modern sounding (bright, with "click"), so if you are a metal player, go for "edgy" Audix, if you prefer more warm sounds, go for D112.
I've never tried D12E which was made in 70's but people says that it has more midrange and they're more defined too.
I have used this for kick-drum, either inside the drum on a pad/pillow or in front of the kick drum.
It sounds better than the Shure kick-drum mic (beta 56?), but only by a few degrees.
It's accurate and very sturdy, just what's called for.
Sound Quality: This is my favorite newer kick drum mic. It is tight, kinda punchy and focused.... yet has a certain softness I have yet to find in an other contemporary kick drum mics. I like d12 better but it's impossible to find a real d12 that is not beat to hell. And although I don't really think the d112 sounds anything like the d12 I still like it for its differences. Beta 52 is not as good as this mic for certain things. I think beta 52 has more meat but it also has more gristle...so it's a trade off. If you want a good 80s metal or modern Nashville country hair metal kick sound, this is it. If you want boomy 70s or 90s kick sound this is not a good choice. But for polished and tightness, this is your best choice for new offerings in the under $200 point. I also find this mic works better on bigger more tight kick drums. If the kick is a wimpy 20in DW probably this mic will not help it, but it is a perfect compliment to a real rock kick drum like 24 to 26 and possibly a deeper 22.
Ease of use: plug it in and press record.
Features: yeah, xlr
Bang for buck: Great bang for the buck, Make sure you have 2 for your Slayer and Pantera metal head clients. \m/
Opinions vary on the usefulness of the AKG D112 for kick drums. I've been in studio situations where the mic sounded awful on kick, and other situations where the D112 beat every other option, including the Shure Beta 52. I think the utility of this mic on kick or bass sources depends solely on the particular drum, bass amp, choice of pre-amp, room, etc. When it works, it works.
I have recently found other uses for this mic. Using the D112 on a small practice amp can add some beef for chunky distorted guitar parts. Just this week I have been recording an early 60's Fender King acoustic guitar. I really dislike the ultra-bright, full spectrum sound of modern acoustic guitar recordings. I've always wanted to get that thin, jangly acoustic tone of the Kinks, Beatles, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, etc. I miked the Fender King with the D112 through a Universal Audio LA-610 with light compression. Voila! This was much closer to the sound I've been looking for. The guitar sounds very clear and present, yet sits just right in the mix and doesn't compete with other instruments. It is always fun to find new uses for a mic that I rarely ever reach for.
I've been using this mic for the kicks in live shows for years and sometimes works well and some not, I'm with Bill. It's the same with other mics. You need to choose the right mic for the instrument. For me it's one of the best for gigs. You know what you get, like the SM58 and SM57. Normally I use it inside the kick, and sometimes out of it. It depends the sound you choose. If I'd like more click I use it inside, if I need more puch and round sound I use it out of it. For close kicks I use it off center and angled about 45º, sometimes I use it with an SM57 close to the beater to get the "click" and the D112 for the "body".
If you like the sound of new metal drummers for me it's better the beta52, and it's easy to get the right sound but for more classic sound I prefer the D112.
I know that there are better mics for the kick drum but in live shows normally you have no other choices. I've used SM57,Sennheiser 421, d112, beta52 and many more mics. If you know what are you doing you can get something usable.
It's a matter of taste.
Last edited by javrt; 28th March 2012 at 10:14 PM..
Reason: Complete it
I am not massively experienced as an engineer so feel free to disregard my views, but I am fortunate enough to work in an institution that has access to a range of kick microphones.
A short while ago I was messing around and did a big comparisson test between all of our microphones - maybe a bit of a weird exercise but I played music back through a PA system and rerecorded it back into the studio with each microphone - so sure granted this is not what you would normally do with a kick mic!
The mics I used were the D112, the D12e and a newer Sennheiser e602
The D12e and the e602 are fantastic microphones! they have a real PUNCH in the spot you want for a great kick sound, and a tight high range which provides a lovely click - the D112 had neither of these elements in its sound and was generally dull across the frequency range with a soft bubble in the low-mid range - it's possible that the D112 has something wrong with it but I don't think this is the case... it sounds pretty crap
I have fallen in love with the D12e and have been recording all kinds of things with it including vocals and piano (I have even used it as an ambient mic!!) - might be worth noting that AKG have reissued the D12e as the D12vr in an ugly package but with some filtering settings when powered by 48v
And the e602 is fantastic as it has a brilliant sound, very clear high-end and brilliant punch for live and studio use, and retails at around £130!! I would recommend this as the best budget kick mic!
After wanting one of these for a long time, I finally found one used well under $100, couldn't pass it up. They are pretty durable apparently, so, used is a pretty safe bet. Dynamic mics tend to get beat up a lot more than condensers and ribbons in my experience of buying a ton of used mics, so, sometimes care is needed when buying used dynamic mics.
I haven't tried it inside the drum, but, just off the outer resonant head of the bass drum (a Pearl Export 22") I just love the classic sound of this mic. It's very midrange focused, somewhat punchy, and somewhat airy. Mixes right in with the overheads without much need for EQ when placed well. By contrast the EV N/D868 is deeper and thicker sounding. I'm keeping both mics. Condensers and high end large diaphragm mics will also get used on kicks, but I can see myself going for the D112 often.
Sounds pretty good on the floor tom, too, certainly usable, and with more bass than an e604, which is welcome on a floor tom track. I have not yet sung into it, Steve Albini mentions this on screamers, or put it on cabs, but I think it's a fantastic drum mic!