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AKG D12 VR Dynamic Microphone

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AKG D12 VR Dynamic Microphone
AKG D12 VR Dynamic Microphone
Not Your Father's AKG D12!
During the 1950s and '60s, the original AKG D12 was a popular announcer's mic for radio and later television broadcast studios all over the world--almost a standard. So it was probably a fortuitous accident that a recording engineer first tried it on a kick drum!

AKG D12 VR Dynamic MicrophoneAKG's newly designed D12 VR large-diaphragm cardioid microphone is intended specifically for kick drum recording. It is unique; it has three alternative operating modes (sounds) by way of a switchable active analog filter built into the microphone's body itself. In standard dynamic microphone mode (without phantom powering) the original output transformer from the AKG 414 is in circuit and the electronics are bypassed and do not affect the sound or the mic's operation.

In passive mode, this is the best example of a vintage AKG D12 dynamic microphone ever, I'm already happy! The D12 VR's thin, low mass diaphragm (7 microns thick) does a good job of capturing the loud transient, attack of the pedal's beater hitting the batter head of any kick drum.

With phantom power on, having three other built in response curves instantly and at the ready makes the process of getting just the 'right' bass drum sound faster, with less additional signal processing and with a lot less hassle. It also opens up the mic's use for many more applications waiting to be discovered.

With phantom power switched on, there is a 10dB level drop and there is a choice of three, fixed EQ curves using the D12 VR's three-position, backlit slide switch color-coded for easy identification and visibility.

Let's start with Position #2

The middle (or #2) position lights up 'red' and applies a mid-range scoop leaving the high and low frequencies unchanged--although it does sound slightly bass boosted as if by the proximity effect. I would try this position if I had a drum that sounded too 'boxy'.

The left, 'green' position (#1) copies red's carved sound but also boost the low frequencies and this would be a good sound for small kick drums tuned to higher fundamental frequencies and/or without front heads. This is a very punchy, tight sound--impressive for kick-heavy FOH mixes.

The right, third 'blue' position is both the red and green positions' curves mixed together plus an additional high frequency boost--it's a brighter and slimmer sound (compared to the others) but could work well to thin out and define oversize kick drums with both front and back heads.

I like having all four choices to audition while getting sounds in the studio and I've already included the D12 VR's settings along with cell phone images of its exact placement for recalling drum kit sounds later on in a project.

I've already gotten great results recording bass guitar amps, toms, and loud singers/rappers. The mic is rugged and I like the three, lighted filter switch positions my assistant switches through while I listen and enjoy in the control room. After phantom power is applied, switching between the three active filter curves is silent.

I'm getting back into using dynamic microphones more and more nowadays--especially around super loud sources and the AKG D12 VR greatly expands the range of possible and, to do it, uses one of the best ideas I've seen in a long time.

The AKG D12 VR sells for $499 MSRP and for more information about AKG, visit

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