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Mic of the Month - AKG D12 VR


The AKG D12 VR was released back in 2012 to coincide with the 65th anniversary of the company. A ‘vintage sound re-issue’ of the much-loved D12, the D12 VR adds an active filter circuit, a thinner diaphragm to enhance low frequency response and the same transformer used in the 70s C414s.


AKG were formed in 1947 in post-war Vienna, Austria by Dr Rudoplh Görike and Ernst Pless, a physicist and businessman respectively. In 1953, the company developed the world’s first dynamic microphone - the D12 – and thanks to its excellent sonic qualities, it was quickly adopted into radio stations and recording studios. The D12 had a fat, punchy sound with a prominent mid-range and was versatile enough to be used on drums, guitar, bass and even vocals. The D12 is a vintage classic.

The D112 was released in 1986 and featured a presence boost at 4kHz which helped the mic become a favourite on the kick drum around that time with the extra presence bringing out the attack of the kick. The D112 is still popular today and can be found in most studios around the world.


D12 VR

The D12 VR is the latest take on the D12 and its appearance is much more like the original featuring the distinctive two-tone grill, albeit much deeper in shape and with a thicker band found around the centre of the mic.

The D12VR is a large diaphragm dynamic microphone with a cardioid polar pattern and has been designed specifically for recording kick drum. A newly designed capsule features an ultra-thin diaphragm which enhances the low frequency performance.

The same transformer used in the C414 during the 1970s can be found inside and this helps warm-up the sound, especially at louder SPLs.

AKG D12 VR Filter Section

When phantom power is not present, the D12VR operates passively without the active filter and delivers an accurate and pure sound. When the microphone is supplied with phantom power, the filter is engaged and LEDs indicate which setting is active. There is an automatic 10dB drop in the output to compensate for the EQ changes presented by the filter.

There are three filter settings and each features a different colour LED. The first setting, with the switch in the central position the LED is red and there is a mid-range dip which can be used to create room for other instruments. This filter setting is based on the original D12 using AKG’s last, unopened original as a reference.

With the switch on the left setting, the mid-range dip is complemented with a bass boost and a green LED. This is setting is recommended for open kick drums. The final setting, with the switch in the right position with a blue LED adds a high-frequency boost to the bass boost and mid-range cut. This setting is recommended for closed kick drums and will capture a more modern sound.

The D12 VR is a solid, well-built microphone and thanks to the active filter, a flexible one too. Although the original D12 was originally built as a vocal mic which then found itself being used on a myriad or sources, the D12 VR is designed specifically for use on kick drum and that is where it will excel. However, try it on piano or a bass and guitar cabs for great results.

View the AKG D12 VR on our web store.