AKG D112 Microphone Review – A Studio Essential with a Cool History and Loads of Versatility

Sharing is caring!

I. Introduction

The history and development of the AKG D112 microphone is a fascinating tale of innovation and persistence in the pursuit of capturing the perfect low-end sound.

AKG Acoustics, already well-established for their innovative and high-quality audio equipment, recognized a need in the market for a microphone tailored to handle low-frequency instruments. They realized that many available microphones at the time struggled to capture the true essence of bass drums and bass guitars, often resulting in a less-than-ideal sound quality.

In the early 1980s, AKG engineers began conducting in-depth research and experimentation to develop a microphone that could excel in capturing low frequencies. They explored various diaphragm materials and constructions, working tirelessly to refine the design that would eventually become the D112.

One of the key challenges faced by the engineers was to create a microphone that could handle high sound pressure levels without distortion. After numerous trials and refinements, they successfully developed a large-diaphragm dynamic capsule that was capable of withstanding these intense levels while maintaining accurate sound reproduction. The large diaphragm allowed the microphone to capture low frequencies with depth and detail, resulting in a rich and full-bodied sound.

As the design of the D112 evolved, AKG engineers also focused on minimizing interference from background noise and electrical sources. The solution came in the form of an integrated hum-compensation coil, which effectively cancels out the impact of these disturbances. This innovative feature set the D112 apart from its competitors and made it a top choice for both studio and live sound applications.

The distinctive egg-shaped design of the D112 was another breakthrough. This shape not only gave the microphone its iconic appearance but also contributed to its superior performance. The egg-shaped enclosure houses a bass resonance volume chamber, which enhances the microphone’s low-end response and results in a tight and punchy sound. This chamber, combined with the large-diaphragm dynamic capsule, gives the D112 its unique sonic characteristics.

After years of research, development, and testing, the AKG D112 was finally introduced to the market in 1986. It quickly gained widespread recognition and became a favorite among recording and live sound engineers. Its ability to capture low frequencies with precision and its rugged construction have cemented its legacy as a classic and indispensable piece of audio equipment.

The AKG D112 has seen various updates and iterations over the years, with the most recent version being the AKG D112 MKII. Despite these improvements, the core design and principles that made the original D112 successful have remained intact. The continued popularity of the AKG D112 is a testament to the ingenuity and dedication of the engineers who brought this microphone to life, creating a lasting impact on the audio industry

With its sweet audio quality, versatile design, and durability, it’s no wonder the D112 is a popular choice for studio applications. In this review, we’ll dive into the fascinating history of the AKG D112 and explore why it’s a must-have microphone for any serious recording studio.

II. Key Features

The AKG D112 sports a large diaphragm design that captures a wide range of frequencies with amazing accuracy. The result? A fuller, richer sound, especially in the lower frequency range. Dynamic microphones like the D112 are built tough and can handle high sound pressure levels (SPL), making them perfect for close-miking loud sources. Condenser mics, on the other hand, need external power and are a bit more delicate.

With its cardioid polar pattern, the AKG D112 picks up sound mainly from the front while rejecting off-axis noise. This helps you get great isolation of sound sources, especially in a busy studio. Better isolation means cleaner recordings without bleed from other instruments or unwanted room reflections.

The AKG D112 comes with a unique bass resonance volume chamber that boosts its low-frequency response. This cool design feature makes the D112 perfect for capturing bass-heavy instruments like kick drums and bass guitars. The chamber ensures you get all the depth and punch of the low frequencies without sacrificing clarity or detail.

III. Audio Quality

The AKG D112 delivers a smooth and detailed frequency response, ensuring accurate and natural sound reproduction. Its large diaphragm helps capture the subtle nuances in the source material. My personal opinion is that this mic has a really forward upper mid range and can sound somewhat “paper baggy” or ugly on its own. Be that as it may, it’s important to realize that these midrange frequencies are extremely important for cutting through the mix on smaller speakers. The D112 can handle high SPLs like a champ, making it perfect for close-miking loud instruments like kick drums and guitar amps without distortion or signal degradation. How does it stack up against the competition? Sure, there are other dynamic microphones out there, but the AKG D112 stands out with its exceptional audio quality, versatility, and durability. Plus, features like the bass resonance volume chamber set it apart from the rest. When it comes to value and performance, the D112 consistently ranks as a top choice among recording pros worldwide.

IV. Applications in various recording scenarios

The AKG D112 is a champ at capturing a wide variety of instruments and vocals, making it an indispensable tool in any recording studio. Plus, it’s equally great for studio recording, live sound reinforcement, and broadcast applications. Its adaptability and audio quality have made it a favorite among audio engineers, musicians, and producers alike.

The D112 is famous for capturing kick drums with amazing clarity and punch. It’s also great for percussion and brass instruments, giving you a well-rounded sound.

While the AKG D112 is best known for its exceptional performance with kick drums, its versatility allows it to excel in capturing other instruments as well. Some popular alternative uses for the D112 include:

1. Bass guitar cabinets: The D112’s ability to handle high sound pressure levels and capture low frequencies accurately makes it an excellent choice for miking bass guitar cabinets. Position the microphone close to the cabinet, either directly on-axis or slightly off-axis, and experiment with different distances to find the best tonal balance.

2. Floor toms: The D112 can be used to capture the low-end punch and resonance of floor toms. Place the microphone 2-4 inches from the drum head, at a slight angle, to capture a blend of attack and low-end warmth. Be mindful of potential phase issues when using multiple microphones on a drum kit.

3. Trombones and tubas: The D112 can be effective in capturing the rich low-end frequencies of brass instruments like trombones and tubas. Position the microphone a few inches away from the bell of the instrument, pointing towards the sound source, and adjust the distance and angle to achieve the desired tone.

4. Electric guitars: While not the most common choice for electric guitar cabinets, the D112 can add an interesting tonal character when used in conjunction with other microphones. Its ability to handle high sound pressure levels and capture a tight low-end makes it a viable option for really bringing out the woofy low end resonance of a guitar cabinet.

5. Percussive instruments: The D112 can be used to capture the low-end punch of various percussive instruments, such as djembes, congas, and cajons. Position the microphone close to the instrument, pointing towards the sound source, and experiment with different angles to capture the desired tone.

6. Voiceover and broadcast: While not its primary intended use, the D112 can be used in some voiceover and broadcast applications. Its hum-compensation coil helps reduce electrical interference and background noise, and its low-end response can add warmth to certain vocal tones.

Keep in mind that the D112’s primary strength lies in capturing low frequencies, so it might not be the best choice for instruments that don’t produce significant low-end content. However, it’s always worth experimenting with different microphones and techniques to find the unique sound that works best for your specific application.

V. Durability and Build Quality

The AKG D112 is built like a tank, making it perfect for professional use. Its all-metal body and strong grille protect the internal components from damage, ensuring a long and happy life for the microphone.

The D112 can handle various environments, whether it’s being used in a controlled studio setting or tackling the challenges of live sound reinforcement. Its ability to perform consistently under different conditions makes it a reliable choice for recording pros.

Investing in an AKG D112 is a smart move for studios, as its durability and versatility make it a long-term asset that can handle a wide range of recording tasks.

VI. User Experience

A. The AKG D112 is a breeze to set up and integrate with your existing studio equipment, thanks to its standard XLR connector and compatibility with most mic stands and clips. Its intuitive design ensures a seamless recording process, even for users who may be new to the microphone. Recording professionals consistently rave about the D112 for its exceptional audio quality and versatility. To get the most out of the AKG D112, it’s important to experiment with different placements and angles when recording. This can help you find the sweet spot that best captures the desired sound characteristics of the instrument or voice being recorded.

Personally, i think the D112 on its own has sort of an ugly character, but I almost always to multi-mic the kick drum. I find that having 2-3 mics can give you a plethora of different tones just from moving the mics around in small increments and playing with their volume relationships in the mixer. It is in this context that the D112’s frequency response shines. Combining the AKG D112 with other microphones can provide a more versatile and detailed kick drum sound. Here are some excellent microphone choices to pair with the D112 for this purpose:

1. Yamaha Subkick: A low-frequency capture microphone designed specifically for kick drums, the Subkick uses a speaker cone to capture sub-bass frequencies that conventional microphones might miss. When combined with the D112, it adds depth and warmth to the overall kick drum sound.

2. Shure Beta 52A: Another popular kick drum microphone, the Beta 52A has a tailored frequency response for capturing low-end punch and attack. Using it alongside the D112 can provide additional control over the kick drum’s tonal balance and allow you to blend the two microphones for a more nuanced sound.

3. Sennheiser e902: With its fast transient response and deep bass reproduction, the e902 can complement the D112 by capturing a slightly different tonal character. This combination allows you to achieve a more rounded kick drum sound that covers a wider frequency range.

4. Neumann U47 FET: A large-diaphragm condenser microphone, the U47 FET is known for its high-quality low-end reproduction. Pairing it with the D112 can add warmth and detail to the overall kick drum sound. As a condenser microphone, the U47 FET can capture a more open and natural sound compared to a dynamic microphone.

5. Audio-Technica AT4040: This large-diaphragm condenser microphone provides a smooth frequency response and excellent dynamic range. When used alongside the D112, it can capture the resonance and room sound of the kick drum, adding depth and space to the mix.

6. Solomon Design LoFReQ: Designed as a sub-frequency microphone, the LoFReQ captures the low-end frequencies that some traditional microphones might miss. Paired with the D112, it can help emphasize the depth and power of the kick drum.

When using two microphones on a kick drum, it’s essential to check for phase coherence to avoid any unwanted cancellations or comb filtering. You can adjust the distance and angle of the microphones or use phase alignment tools in your DAW to ensure optimal phase coherence. By combining the D112 with any of the microphones mentioned above, you can achieve a rich and powerful kick drum sound with plenty of detail and control.

VII. Conclusion

The AKG D112’s fascinating history, innovative design, and “unique” audio quality have made it an essential tool in the professional studio environment. Its versatility and durability make it a reliable choice for a wide range of recording scenarios. If you’re looking to invest in high-quality microphones, you should definitely consider the AKG D112. Its proven performance and exceptional value make it a worthy addition to any audio professional’s collection. To truly appreciate the capabilities of the AKG D112, give it a spin in different recording scenarios and experiment with various placements. This hands-on experience will reveal the full potential of this industry-standard microphone and show you why it’s been a trusted choice for pros for decades, and since it can be readily be found on the used marker for as low as $150 or less it is a no brainer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: