The AKG D112 MKII is a professional quality bass drum mic that is an upgrade from the previous model that was MKI. And if you look around any club or pub you have visited recently, you will find that distinctive egg-like mic popping right out from the drums in the background.
Its been around for a couple of decades now, but how good is it in reality? We are going to find out everything about it in this in-depth AKG D112 review. Let’s begin with the sound quality.
This mic has been the stalwart devices that sound engineers look for. It has a robust construction and delivers a custom frequency curve that makes it easy to get the best sound right out of the box.
AKG has truly created an industry standard for drum microphones and with a few tweaks from the previous model, the company has done a fine job to make it even better.
Scenarios to use the MKII
Good for instruments as well as vocals
There is a significant advantage of using MKII as it is a cardioid microphone. It detects and records anything neglecting random sounds. You can conveniently use it for your various instruments as well as vocals.
Enhancing your drum kit
You can conveniently enhance the sound coming out of your drum kit with your MKII. Of course, when you are on a stage with so many other instruments playing, isolation becomes almost difficult to achieve. And this is where the AKG D112 comes in to play its role. You just need to place it in the right spot to get the maximum output from it.
In live performances to eradicate ambient noise
It is also going to be very useful for you in live performance where you are getting so much ambient noise from all around you. Your D112 will continue to isolate the sound you want to focus on and will prevent any feedback.
In untreated rooms
Your D112 just like its previous model is a good option if you are working in untreated rooms that have poor acoustics. If you use it close up it will significantly reduce any reflected sound and will work wonders.
Things to Be Aware of when using the AKG D112
MKII comes with its drawbacks as well. And this happens with most of the cardioid mics on the market. One being the off-axis coloration and the other is the proximity effect.
MKII like most other cardioid mic is no good when it comes to sensitivity for high frequency if you move the sound away from the axis. For instance, if your vocalist is inexperienced, and does not know much about the head movements, the mic will give feedback. This can be bad for the overall recording.
This is the case that mostly happens with any cardioid mic and with the AKG D112 as well. You have to be careful not to place your mic too close to the instrument. Else, the feedback from the mic is going to be very distorted with high frequency.
The MKII gets the same features from the previous version boasting a silver grille with a green flashy line smack in the middle. But the most distinctive change you will see is the new version comes with a microphone stand mount.
The users of the previous model will highlight the mic shaft that turned into an XLR connection. It means the mic required frequent adjustments as it would slip from time to time. The new model retains the same connection but features a threaded mic mount as well.
It means your D112 can easily fit on any regular threaded fitting and stay there, without requiring any readjustments. Now that is a serious upgrade from the previous model. Plus, your purchase of this newer model will include a ⅝ – ⅜ adaptor.
The Austrian company claims this model can conveniently handle over 160 dB of SPL without any distortions. And all the credit goes to the open back construction of this microphone. Additionally, the rugged grille design can easily handle a tough life on the road.
Another feature of the D112’s overall construction taken from the previous model is a large-diaphragm that can offer you a very low resonant frequency. It also means the mic can deliver a response below 100 Hz.
Hand On Performance
The defining characteristic of the previous model was a bespoke curve. It refers to the overall efficiency of pre-equalized sound when you plug it into your desk. The good thing is AKG has carried forward this feature into the new model.
And this means you can get as close to the plug-and-play feature of this mic as possible. You just need to set the mic up in its adequate spot. You can also use the sound from the kick drum right away.
If you look into the frequency response chart of this microphone, you will see a boost at around 100 Hz. And there will be a flat response at approximately around 3000 Hz with another boost, which is greatly different than the Shure Beta 57A which is a super-cardioid dynamic mic.
You will get a full response at the upper mid-level for that particular click of the beater you are hitting on the head of your kick drum.
Here is the best thing about the D112 is that AKG has also continued it from the previous model. It doesn’t come with many confusing controls. All the adjustments you will have to do are either with your fader or with your equalizer.
The mic is pretty easy to mount if you are using a short boom stand for it and positioning it is not a mess either. If you are using it in a small venue you will have to bring up the fader. You will only need a little boost at 50 Hz to bring out the bottom end especially if you are using a PA system because it is not very stellar.
And that is the equalizing you will achieve for getting a solid sound from your kick drum. The music will work pretty well for any indie, rock, or pop bands.
And if you are using it in a larger venue or in outdoors, you will find the positioning of this mic will be a little difficult. Particularly, if you have your kit sitting right next to the rolling riser. It means you can’t place the mic stand on your riser. And this is where you will have to place your mic on the floor and right next to your riser.
Again, you’ll have to bring your fader up for a good sound and get a boost at the bottom end as well. Your middle and top ends will be well defined too. But you will need to place a boundary mic inside your kick drum if you are looking to add a bit more click to your beating sound. Therefore, you’ll have to rely on more than just your MKII.
The polar pattern of a microphone refers to the directionality of the sound it can pick and produce. It is the sensitivity of a microphone concerning the direction of the sound and its angle at which the sound arrives. In simple words, it means how well a microphone can hear a sound coming from different directions.
The D112 just like its predecessor comes with a Cardioid polar pattern. It is the most sensitive to the sounds that are coming right from the front of it. This is not going to be very sensitive to the sounds coming right from its behind. It means your MKII can conveniently isolate any ambient sound and keep the focus of the input right in front of it.
It also offers high resistance to any feedback that is coming from its back and a mid to low resistance to any feedback that comes from its sides. Therefore, it is more effective than any of those omnidirectional microphones. It keeps the focus on the sound that is coming from the drums. The MKII is better suited for any performance on loud stages.
Just make sure you don’t place your mic too close to the instrument or the feedback will be significantly distorted. This is a problem all cardioid mics face. You have to cope with it to get the best performance out of your MKII.
The Shure SM81 is a versatile instrument recording microphone that I recommend. I reviewed it recently which you can check out here.
AKG D112 Pros and Cons
- Enhanced stand mount.
- The mic features a volume chamber for bass resonance.
- It comes with a large diaphragm for delivering precise frequencies.
- Top choice for trombones and bass cabs.
- The D112 MKII boasts an integrated coil for hum compensation that is suitable for kick drums.
- Cuts down any ambient noise effectively.
- Requires proper mic placement to disregard off-axis coloring.
- Not the right option for mixing.
The AKG D112 is a quality piece of equipment any sound engineer would love to have in his/her arsenal. If you are looking for a good quality cardioid mic, there are no better options than MKII.
With its adequate placement, you can achieve the best recording results. You can conveniently focus on the sound your instrument is producing and significantly reduce any ambient noise. It is for this reason the D112 is a good choice for live performances and untreated rooms.
Just make sure you have properly placed your mic and leave the rest to this gem of a cardioid microphone. We hope you enjoyed this AKG D112 review and hope it has helped you in making your next purchase easier!