When it first appeared in 1953 the AKG D12 was presented as a high quality, general purpose musician’s microphone. Suitable for instruments and vocals. As such, it very rapidly gained popularity. (A bit like a Shure 55, but without the chrome and the stylish good looks!)
AKG Advert from the late 50’s
With the growth of multi-track recording in the 1960’s the D12’s particular ability to handle low frequencies at high SPLs was soon acknowledged and increasingly it gravitated to bass drum duties. By the time I started recording in the mid-70’s it was the bass drum microphone of choice for most recording studios. (Certainly on this side of the Atlantic.) Apart from the D12 itself, there were a number of similar (theme and variations) microphones from AKG including the D20, D25, D30 etc. Slightly different frequency responses, shock mountings and filters.
Interestingly, for the kick drum (mic’d with a vintage AKG D12), I opted for the standard setting, sending the signal to a Tube-Tech EQP-1A copy for some tone shaping. I often augment the classic three-mic Glyn John’s method with an under snare mic and our Neumann KM84i sounded great through the WA-412, even though it lacks a high-pass. The D12 Dynamic Cardioid Microphone is of the moving coil operated type and has an exceptionally smooth, wide-range response. It is designed for use in mobile equipment, recording and public address work for which applications it is particularly suited owing to its unidirectional 'Cardioid' pick-up pattern which greatly reduces feedback, echoes and audience noises.
In 1978 the AKG D12 was reissued as the AKG D12E and now came with an XLR socket.
A couple of weeks ago I sat down to write this blog post on the AKG D12 and had intended, as usual, to illustrate with some suitable recorded examples……. Now here’s the problem.
If I am commissioned to record a fabulous Stradivarius violin, or a superb Steinway piano, my intention (as you might expect), would be to reproduce the sound of that instrument as faithfully as possible along with the acoustics of the studio or concert hall. The same might be true for a great saxophone, a terrific trumpet or a classic guitar through a vintage amp.
However, in the world of rock’n’roll drumming things are very different!! It would appear that pretty much the last thing anyone wants to hear is the actual sound of the bass drum!
After some preliminary research I soon discovered that all the drummers I know ‘treat’ their bass drums in some way or another, ranging from bits of tape, damping rings, Moon Gel, special heads, cushions, pillows and even a duvet! Many of these bass drums also require considerable amounts of EQ whatever mic you choose …… and then it depends what sort of music you are recording. A great heavy metal bass drum sound doesn’t really work for jazz! Consequently I haven’t recorded any examples as it seemed completely pointless, and would probably demonstrate more about the drummer’s taste in soft furnishings than about the qualities of the microphone. I think that all I can say is that the AKG D12, and its close relatives, will put up with any amount of SPL and respond well to whatever EQ you throw at them!
Whether or not the D12 is / was the greatest bass drum mic in the world, who knows? Maybe? It has appeared in front of more famous bass drums than most!
Audio-Technica AE 2500,
ElectroVoice RE 27,
Sennheiser D 441-U(2pieces),
Sennheiser D 421-II(3pieces),
Sennheiser D 421 vintage,
Sennheiser e 845s,
Shure SM 57(2pieces),
Shure beta 57,
Lanier 250 (2pieces),
Neumann u47fet vintage,
Neumann u87 vintage,
Neumann u89 (5pieces) vintage,
Neumann u69fet (stereo),
Neumann km84 vintage,
Neumann km85 (2pieces),
Neumann km86 vintage,
AKG C414-EB (2pieces),
AKG C414-EB (2pieces) silver vintage,
AKG С414 vintage,
AKG C414-b-uls (4pieces),
Sanken CU-32 (4pieces).
AKG C12 vintage,
AKG C61 (4pieces),
Beag (clone Schoeps 221) 2pieces,
Lomo 19а19 2pieces.
AMS NEVE 1073 DP-A (2х-channel) 6pieces,
Tube Tech MP 1a (2х-channel),
Manley dual-mono mic pre (2х-channel),
Focusrite red1 (4-x) 2pieces,
millennia media hv-3d (4-channel),
millennia media hv-3b (4-channel),
A Designs Pacifica (2х-channel),
Ampeg SVT_di/tube mic pre.
AMS NEVE 33609JD 2-ch compressor / Limiter,
SSL G Bus 2-ch compressor / Limiter,
AL.SO DYNAX2 2-ch compressor / Limiter,
Manley vari mu_Mastering Version 2-ch compressor / Limiter,
Pendulum pl2 2-ch Limiter,
Manley ELOP 2-ch compressor / Limiter,
Langevin ELOP 2-ch compressor / Limiter,
Chandler Limited LTD-2 compressor / Limiter,
Summit Audio TLA_100a compressor / Limiter,
Tube Tech LCA-2b 2-ch compressor / Limiter,
Urei 1176LN «Black Face» compressor / Limiter (2pieces),
Urei 1176LN «Silver Face» compressor / Limiter,
Urei 1178 dual peak limiter,
Urei La22 2-ch compressor / Limiter,
Teletronix La2a compressor / Limiter,
Retro Instrument 176,
DBX 160SL (blue) 2-ch compressor / Limiter,
SPL Transient Designer2 2-ch dynamic processor,
DRAWMER 1969 Mercenary EDITION
(Full Stereo Preamplifier/Compressor) 2-ch.
TL Audio ivory c5021 2-ch compressor / Limiter.
Avalon U5 (2pieces),
Radial jdi (2pieces),
Manley Massive Passive_Mastering Version,
SUMMIT AUDIO EQF-100,
SUMMIT AUDIO dual program eq (2ch),
Focusrite Red2 (2ch),
A Designs HM2eq Hammer (2ch),
Akg D12 Clone Trooper
Ams Neve 8803 (2ch),
Lomo discrete graphic eq (2ch),
Lomo discrete parametric eq (2ch)
Apogee Big Ben (master digital clock)
Apogee AD-16x (2pieces)
Audio-Technica & AKG headphones.
Fender Dual-Showman head 85 wt,
Marsh BassMan (blonde 62) 50w,
Marshall jcm 800 (100w),
Peavey 6505+ (all tube) 120w rms head,
Akg D12 Clone Headset
Vox AC30h (30w rms) all tube head,
Sound City 50PLUS 50w head,
Fender Super Reverb (4×10),
Marshall «Vintage Modern» 2266C (50wt rms).
Akg D12 Clones
Marshall 1960 A-V (4 — 12″celesion vintage30) 280w rms,
Marshall 1960 A-Х (4 — 12″greenback) 100w rms,
Crate bv412rvb (4 — 12″celesion vintage30) 120w rms,
Framus (4 — 12″celesion vintage30) 120w rms,
ENGL 412 VS Pro Cabinet (slanted) 120w rms (2pieces).
MESА BOOGIE POWЕREHOUSE (4×12″ 1200 W RMS) 4 Ohm,
MESА BOOGIE POWЕREHOUSE (4×10″ 600 W RMS) 4 Ohm.
MUSIC MAN Stingray (1978),
rickenbacker 4003 (2005),
Fender precision bass deluxe (1998).
GRETSCH USA Custom (maple) bd 24/14,
bd22/16, tt10/8, tt13/10, tt14/13, ft16/16;
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Akg D12 Clone
Slingerland (vintage’65) bd20/14″, tt12/8″, ft16/16″;
Tama Lars Ulrich Diamond Plate Steel 14×6.5,
DW colleсtor’s «bubinga» 13×7,
GRETSCH USA Custom (maple) 14×5,
GRETSCH USA Custom (brass) 14×5,
Pearl signature series Joe Jordison 13×6,5,
Ludwig Acrolite Classic Aluminum 14×5,
Akg D12 Clone Kit
Custom maple Massive 14×5.