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AKG D12… or not? – opinions please.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
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AKG D12… or not? – opinions please.

My current go-to mics at my studio for recording kick drum tend to be either the Sennhieser e602 or an Audio Technica ATM25. I also have an Audix D6 that gets put into action from time to time for particular projects and an AKG D112 which gets used the least out of those 4 microphones.

I was recently listening back to some recordings that I had done when working at other studios using an AKG D12 on the kick drums and I really like the sound that was captured. Maybe the combination of those particular drums that feature on the recordings, the heads fitted, the tunings, the players etc contributed most to the sound of those kick drum recordings but It’s really got me considering purchasing a D12 for my studio. However, I have read a great many reports of vintage D12’s commonly having issues with their capsules etc and even if still working, suffering from weak output and/or diminished low-frequency response etc so I’m wondering if this would be a high risk purchase that is highly likely to provide me with problems and end up being a venture that was not cost efficient. I would really appreciate your opinions on this and hear of your experiences of the D12. In addition to this, for those of you that own or have used a D12 extensively, what would you consider the nearest sounding alternative?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
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bicarbone's Avatar
I have just purchased my second D12 because it is such a great mic... when it is in good working condition! Easy rules : test it yourself or make sure you can return it if it doesn't work properly. Ask for extra care when packing if you have it shipped to you. Don't drop it, or you will kill it.

Nothing else sounds really close to a good D12 (except a D20 maybe haha). Good alternatives are MD 421, EV RE20, Beyer M88... and the D12 VR is not a D12 but still a good mic.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
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What's the current situation regarding availability of replacement parts should they be needed, and reputable places for repair of these microphones (ideally in the UK)?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
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There are no replacement parts available from AKG, only from private technicians / aficionados around the globe. I don't know any one in the UK, only a great guy here in Switzerland. In short when a D12 capsule dies, consider your mic is dead.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
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thismercifulfate's Avatar
You should try an EV RE20. It has a lot of what I love about a D12, but they’re still in production and serviceable.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
Here for the gear
I recently shot out a D12, a d112, and a beta 52A for some of my tracks. They all have their own sound, it really just depends on what you like.

The D12 to me sounded a lot nicer than the d112 to me, but I ended up getting the beta 52A. I just love the scooped, huge bassy kick sound that it seemed to give without touching the EQ.

But I love the D12 too. Awesome mic. Il get one eventually.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
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Poopypants's Avatar
 

I've bought two D12's and a NOS capsule and I still don't have a working D12. I give up. Beyer M88, AT 4047, atm 25, RE 20, and a cheap ribbon are all getting the job done. I love the D12, but can't seem to get my hands on one that works.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
Gear Addict
I have all 3 of those mics. Finding a good D12 is problematic. I'm too scared to use mine and mostly use the E602.

Tony
Old 4 weeks ago
  #9
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RoundBadge's Avatar
also you might try a d25 or 30/36.same vibe and more $ but deeper low end.
sounds like a bass drum.need more modern low oomph?..blend w a front fet mic and/or sub kick.
just demoed the new d12vr and in "flat"[passive] mode it sounded artificial and boxy next to my d25.no thanks.
the other "eq" settings also sounded forced/artificial to my ears with absolutely none of the mid range punch and "thwack" the d25 has.the 25 feels like a fist punching you in the gut.
the 12vr [in phantom mode]feels like someone is poking you with a few fingers with added lows/highs.
Also the SE "V Kick" sounded weird to me.super scooped and artificial imo.
made my beautiful 1940's Radio King bass drum like a bad rock sample.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bambony View Post
I have all 3 of those mics. Finding a good D12 is problematic. I'm too scared to use mine and mostly use the E602.

Tony
arguably worse than not having one at all
Old 4 weeks ago
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bicarbone View Post
There are no replacement parts available from AKG, only from private technicians / aficionados around the globe. I don't know any one in the UK, only a great guy here in Switzerland. In short when a D12 capsule dies, consider your mic is dead.
do you happen to know whether he's also doing repairs of other akg mics? if so, i'd appreciate if you could pm his contact.

---

i like the d112 mostly better than the d12, unless it's for a high tuned bass drum of a jazz kit - on very loud stages, i prefer using other mics on kick out (and don't use the d12 outside of the studio anymore).
Old 4 weeks ago
  #12
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bicarbone's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
do you happen to know whether he's also doing repairs of other akg mics? if so, i'd appreciate if you could pm his contact.

---

i like the d112 mostly better than the d12, unless it's for a high tuned bass drum of a jazz kit.
pm'd you
Old 3 weeks ago
  #13
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BIG BUDDHA's Avatar
i used a D12 as a kick drum mic, every day for Recording, for over 10 years.

way back then (80s and 90s) they were functional and reliable but nothing spectacular.

moved on to RE-20s then D3600s and U47-fets, and lately the D112.

i consider the D12 too old to be worth buying in 2019, as they will have seen a lot of use and abuse, and old dynamics often have a use by date.

Buddha
Old 3 weeks ago
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIG BUDDHA View Post
i used a D12 as a kick drum mic, every day for Recording, for over 10 years.

way back then (80s and 90s) they were functional and reliable but nothing spectacular.

moved on to RE-20s then D3600s and U47-fets, and lately the D112.

i consider the D12 too old to be worth buying in 2019, as they will have seen a lot of use and abuse, and old dynamics often have a use by date.

Buddha
i wouldn't buy one in 2019 either but mine has been working for ca. 30 years without any issues. i also agree on that it ain't spectacular in any way.

d12, d112, m88 (with a pop filter!), m380, re20, md421, md441, d6, beta92, e902, even sm57 and many more... - lots of options already with dynamic mics!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge View Post
also you might try a d25 or 30/36.same vibe and more $ but deeper low end.
sounds like a bass drum.need more modern low oomph?..blend w a front fet mic and/or sub kick.
just demoed the new d12vr and in "flat"[passive] mode it sounded artificial and boxy next to my d25.no thanks.
the other "eq" settings also sounded forced/artificial to my ears with absolutely none of the mid range punch and "thwack" the d25 has.the 25 feels like a fist punching you in the gut.
the 12vr [in phantom mode]feels like someone is poking you with a few fingers with added lows/highs.
Also the SE "V Kick" sounded weird to me.super scooped and artificial imo.
made my beautiful 1940's Radio King bass drum like a bad rock sample.
Interesting. I really like the d12vr (and I have an original d12 too). It’s not the same at all, but for me the d12vr is what I always wanted a kick in to be - it takes eq pretty well, and I always pair with a fet47 outside anyway.

I hate the d112, never got a decent sound out of it. Like the m88, I own a beta 52 but don’t think I’ve ever even used it.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #16
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matucha's Avatar
Mine started to "fart" on bassy signal like 5 years ago and that was it... maybe I should let someone to try to revive it as was really great on kick. I miss that bass resonance it has.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #17
Here for the gear
 

Got lucky and found a d12e with a NOS capsule last January for $500. It sounds incredibly good, and is pretty versatile besides being great on the kick. Got some really amazing results puting it in front of the guitar amp with rhythm heavy parts.

A quick look at ebay now showed one that looked like a reasonable deal for $500. I say in spite of its vastly variable sound quality based on edition and condition, it can still be worth the risk. There isn’t anything out there that can replace that papery smooth midrange along side it’s bass resonance when you want it. Though Big Buddha maybe right saying at this time it’s a null point since they all have a proverbial expiration date. What I’ve heard of the RE20 (a mic I aim to get eventually), to me has a little more punctuation compared to the D12. All I can say is communicate with the seller if testing is not an option.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #18
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RoundBadge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
Interesting. I really like the d12vr (and I have an original d12 too). It’s not the same at all, but for me the d12vr is what I always wanted a kick in to be - it takes eq pretty well, and I always pair with a fet47 outside anyway.

I hate the d112, never got a decent sound out of it. Like the m88, I own a beta 52 but don’t think I’ve ever even used it.
I think it was the Vr eq circuitry that put me off the most.I’d rather just do my 1084/560 tricks than use a little ic chip to do the heavy lifting.either way I didn’t feel compelled to buy it after putting it next to its vintage siblings.
I was never a big fan of the d12.
Always sounded like it was missing the lower octave next to the 25 30 and 36’s.
I like the 88 too.cool on toms.
Never liked the 112 either.
Had one in the 90’s and later gifted it to a friend
Old 3 weeks ago
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge View Post
I think it was the Vr eq circuitry that put me off the most.I’d rather just do my 1084/560 tricks than use a little ic chip to do the heavy lifting.either way I didn’t feel compelled to buy it after putting it next to its vintage siblings.
I was never a big fan of the d12.
Always sounded like it was missing the lower octave next to the 25 30 and 36’s.
I like the 88 too.cool on toms.
Never liked the 112 either.
Had one in the 90’s and later gifted it to a friend
I like the middle slot on the EQ - I was slightly underwhelmed without it, but that and the right positioning sounds like a kick in should sound to me! I know what you mean re IC circuitry...but also if it works, it works right?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #20
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ljona's Avatar
 

I would get one. It´s glorious as kick out on my old, dry, mid rangy Sonor BD, with 52A inside.
Currently putting it in the hole with R88 40cm in front of kick in M/S for older style vibe.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #21
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RoundBadge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
I like the middle slot on the EQ - I was slightly underwhelmed without it, but that and the right positioning sounds like a kick in should sound to me! I know what you mean re IC circuitry...but also if it works, it works right?
I liked the middle slot the most too.had I kept it,it would've stayed in the position for sure. but every time I out up the old mics I had decreased interest in the purchase.
I'm totally up for having a more modern option so the search continues.
ever try the T-usa M82?
agree about the sound in flat non phantom mode.totally meh for 500 dollar mic to me.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #22
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Piedpiper's Avatar
Anyone compare it to a Heil PR48?
Old 1 week ago
  #23
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Piedpiper View Post
Anyone compare it to a Heil PR48?
I own a vintage AKG D20, AKG D12, and Echolette ED12. I can tell you they all relatively live in the same sonic world. I use them on kick drum and my 1964 B-15 bass cab. These mics are boxy period and don’t have the high spl capabilities of modern mics. But once you listen back there are no other mics that can do what they do vibe wise. Not the Heil PR48, or the newer D12 or any other mic that has been mentioned on this post.
Old 1 week ago
  #24
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I would agree completely if I didn't think it was going to drive the prices of the few remaining good ones even higher.
And one of mine just died.
So I disagree that they are of any value whatsoever...
Old 1 week ago
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by scorpiwoman View Post
I own a vintage AKG D20, AKG D12, and Echolette ED12. I can tell you they all relatively live in the same sonic world. I use them on kick drum and my 1964 B-15 bass cab. These mics are boxy period and don’t have the high spl capabilities of modern mics. But once you listen back there are no other mics that can do what they do vibe wise. Not the Heil PR48, or the newer D12 or any other mic that has been mentioned on this post.
I certainly don’t think the D12VR sounds like an original D12. To me, it sounds like what the D112 should have sounded like!
Old 1 week ago
  #26
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
I certainly don’t think the D12VR sounds like an original D12. To me, it sounds like what the D112 should have sounded like!
I agree the VR doesn't sound like the older mics, but it does sound good and I use it all the time as well. bass and kick can be a tricky beast because what sounds good by itself might not work in overall context of a song. The boxy sound of the older D12 mics add a boarder (or outline) to the bass and kick which can often help define its location. Likewise, a clean bass or kick can often sound undefined in the mix, felt but not heard.
Old 1 week ago
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by scorpiwoman View Post
I agree the VR doesn't sound like the older mics, but it does sound good and I use it all the time as well. bass and kick can be a tricky beast because what sounds good by itself might not work in overall context of a song. The boxy sound of the older D12 mics add a boarder (or outline) to the bass and kick which can often help define its location. Likewise, a clean bass or kick can often sound undefined in the mix, felt but not heard.
I’d say a “cleaner” kick can often stand out but not necessarily in a good way, whereas the more rounded sound fits in (at lower levels even if it’s not distinct is still felt). Hence the reason in older songs a not so clear kick still works.
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