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PROS: Tight bass drum response, solid EQ selection.
CONS: May be pricey to some.
One thing that always separates a good studio from a great studio is the selection of microphones for drums – kick drums, specifically. They lay down the beat, and with a bad mic, even “fixing it in the mix” is tough. AKG’s D12VR Cardioid Dynamic Kick Drum Mic is the perfect solution for bad kick drum sounds.
It looks like a typical drum mic, but on the edge is a 3-way selector, allowing for the option of three different active filters. Knowing which one is selected is easy: a color-coded LED light indicates the mode. Green is a low-end boost filter. Red is a mid-boost filter, and blue sports an increase in the high end, while still maintaining the tight low end necessary for the kick.
Phantom power is required to use the selectable filters, but without phantom power it still works, just using its own natural sound. Some quick experimenting with the three different EQ selections, depending on the type of music being recorded, might be needed. They each all have their unique tone on their own. Starting with that, it’s one of those “hard to get a bad sound” items. When being used in an actual mix with compression and EQ, the mic expertly makes the bass drum come alive without sounding muddy or boomy. Your mileage may vary, depending on the sound that’s desired, but when you start with a microphone with a good “naked” sound, it’s hard to go wrong. Because it’s designed for low-end frequencies, it also works well on bass cabinets, and can provide extra low end thump to guitar cabs as well.
A great sounding studio needs a great sounding kick drum mic, and the AKG is a great place to start. At a $499 street price, it might be a little expensive for some, but after giving it a good listen, it’s tough to not give the D12VR some serious consideration.