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4.75 4.75 out of 5, based on 1 Review

Great instrument microphone, good on some vocal setups, clear sounding.

2nd August 2013

AKG D5 by AdamZuf

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75

I have been using this mic for about a year now and I'll share my experience with it and how it compares to sm58 in various applications.
Generally speaking, this microphone is clearer sounding then SM58, less mud, more depth and more highs. However, this doesn't always means that it's better in the mix for vocals. It's excels as an instrument microphone.
I used it in untreated venues, doing mostly jazz, vocal, acoustic, fusion and some rock.

Grand piano - if feedback is a problem, this is a great mic to use if you want the natural sound of the open lid. I can put these not so far from the lid's edge (a bit inside the piano and below) and get reasonable feedback rejection (=reasonable EQ compensation) in dense rock mixes. Just use another mic below the piano for monitoring. I like the tone, not too dark, not too bright.
Makes a Steinway sound a bit more nasal, perhaps aggressive- then it actually is, but that's sometime what's needed.
I appreciate a dynamic microphone that is able to pick the sound of a grand from that distance. With a sm58, I have to use more EQ to get proper sound (but hardly the same results) and more EQ for feedback compensation.

Electric guitar - clear, deep tone, cuts through better, not harsh. Not a new league above shure but preferable.

Vibraphone - this is a great mic for this application, because the miking for this instrument needs to be set up quite high above it, to get all the sounds in a balanced, natural way. I put two D5 about 50cm above the vibraphone as a spaced pair and get usable (but not really loud) monitor levels. Just low cut and add a bit of high mid to cut through the mix. Easy.

Kajon - this mic is great inside of the kajon, a poor man's Beta-91a. Gets both the lows reasonably well (it's no bassdrum mic) and the highs without much box resonance.

Vocals - on some vocals, the highs are not easily treated by EQ. It sounds bigger and better then sm58 when I tune the loudspeakers, and leads to less GEQ cuts.. But it's is less versatile, so it didn't establish itself as my "to go" mic. The fullness of tone does not always work for my style of mixing. The sm58 is a more "laid back" microphone and thus blends more easily into my mix. On cheaper speakers with more limited frequency range, like vocal amps, the D5 will be preferable just for its clarity.

Overheads - Like with the piano, it's able to pick up depth of tone from afar. The sound is quite usable for rock, but still don't get the highs right - quantity or quality. You can't EQ that too much either. The toms do sound killer. If I can describe the sound of this mic as overhead, I would say "hard". Really different then the condenser "airy" sound. The sm58 sounds dull and useless in this application.

Hi Hat - this is a GREAT hi hat microphone, and my favourite. All it needs is HPF set quite high (but I do it with all mics) and some eq only if the hat has some annoying resonance. If positioned correctly, it rejects other drums much better then a condenser, and can be compressed to even out. Not looking back!

Snare - It's hard for me to comment about it because I work the snare more from the overheads, and the close up mic is compressed to hell for a beefy sound. I'm not too fussy about snare mics honestly, and the changes of snares between gigs makes more of a difference for me.

Toms - aiming it almost vertical to the tom (I hate stick sound) achieves good tom sound. However, this mic is a bit big for this application..

Brass - generally, I prefer an sm58 for that, as I prefer a mellower tone. The D5 has too much presence.

Overall, this is a great bang for the buck instrument microphone.

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