The D12E is successor to the classic single-diaphragm kick drum mic the D12. The mics are virtually identical, except for the plastic 'band' where the grilles overlap, and the position of the XLR output. The D12E is also great on bass cabs, tuba, trombone, and many styles of vocalists.
A revolutionary mic when it first appeared, the D12 has a hand-built bass resonance chamber emphasizing the 60-120 hz range, a built-in shock absorber and pop screen, and a very focused directional characteristic to eliminate feedback. The mic was an immediate hit upon release, and remains very well regarded today.
From the original D12 brochure:
- Professional dynamic cardioid microphone
- Sharp directional characteristic gives maximum protection from acoustical feedback
- ideal for stage and bandstand
- Especially smooth frequency response
- Two optional impedances (200 ohms, 50-250 ohms)
- Elastic steel suspension protects acoustical system from vibration and shock
- Swivel-joint connection fits any stand with a built-in thread adapter
"The D12 is the most widely used musician's microphone in the world. Its outstanding acoustical properties have made it the standard by which the quality of any musician's microphone in common use is judged. The slight boost of frequency response near 80 Hz combined with the high front-to-back ratio is the secret of the famous D12 sound. The operational side of the microphone is identified by a light-colored grille cover. The microphone is so little effected by acoustical feedback that echo-free operation is possible even in rooms with poor acoustics, with no howling when loudspeakers are connected.
The sturdy grille cover is fitted with a noise-reducing wind protector and shields the microphone from dust and iron particles."
The AKG ‘D’ Series of microphones debuted in the mid 1950s, and provided a number of different models of dynamic microphone, some having the unique property of multiple polar patterns. For high-end audio recording, the classics in this range are the D12, D19, D20, D25, D30, D36, D45, and their associated variations.
The D19 is different from all the others in this series, being a small diaphragm dynamic cardioid, produced in the mid 1960s, (and also branded as a Telefunken product). It has a wide frequency response from 30 Hz to 16 kHz, and a mechanical bass roll-off filter of -10 dB at 50 Hz. This microphone became famous as the preferred mic for the drum overheads on Ringo Starr’s kit.
The remaining mics in the D Series are all variations on the transformer and diaphragm, or ‘motor’, found in the D12. All of the mics in this range are designed for great low-frequency response, and this is enhanced by the ‘bass response’ chamber built in to the microphone head assembly. This chamber accentuates bass frequencies, allowing the mics to pick up sounds as low as 30 Hz. Naturally, the D Series became a favorite for kick drums and bass guitar cabinets, and they are still revered today.
The D12 was released in 1953, and was the world’s first cardioid-pattern dynamic microphone. Variations on the D12 theme include the D20, with a different motor and a bass roll-off filter. The D20 was a standard kick drum mic for Ringo’s kit at Abbey Road. The D25 is the same mic, but also includes a built-in suspension mount for television work.
The larger D30 was the world’s first multi-pattern dynamic mic, its dual-motor design and built in pattern selector allowed for Omni, Cardioid and Figure-of Eight, and it also included a bass roll-off switch. Zeppelin and the Stones made extensive use of this mic. And the grandaddy of them all, appearing in 1959, is the D36, with a separate pattern box for its dual-motor design that can switch from Omni to Cardioid and all points in between. The D45 is the same microphone, but held in a built-in suspension system, much like the D25.
Today the AKG D Series remains the standard by which all kick drum microphones are judged.