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Welcome to our review of the AKG D12 VR microphone, a powerhouse in the realm of large-diaphragm dynamic microphones.

Boasting exceptional versatility, this microphone offers three different sound presets, allowing for optimal performance in a variety of recording situations. With the ability to capture rich, detailed audio with remarkable accuracy and a durable design, this is one good mic to have inside the studio or on stage.

So, if you’re in the market for a vocal mic or a drum mic, then you best read more about the D12 VR in our review here!

About the AKG D12 VR Microphone

AKG D12 VR Microphone Review
AKG D12 VR Microphone


Model NameAKG Pro Audio D12VR
Connectivity TechnologyXLR
TypeDynamic Microphone
Polar PatternCardioid
Frequency Response17 – 17000 Hz
Audio Sensitivity1.2 mV/Pa
Power SourceCorded Electric with XLR Plug and output transformer
Item Weight1.1 pounds
Item Dimensions9.06 x 7.87 x 3.94 inches
Recommended ApplicationsDrums, Percussion, Vocals, Singing
Inclusions1 x D12 VR Microphone, 1 Mic Bag

The AKG Pro Audio D12 VR is a powerhouse of a dynamic mic, renowned for its versatility and exceptional sound quality.

One of its standout features is its three selectable sound presets, allowing users to tailor its performance to various recording environments. The large diaphragm captures audio with remarkable detail and clarity, while the variable resonance feature enables precise control over low-frequency response.

Whether in the studio or on stage, the D12 VR delivers robust and accurate sound reproduction, making it an ideal choice for professional musicians and audio engineers alike. 

Similar to other dynamic mics, its rugged construction ensures durability both on and off the stage. You’re sure that this baby can take on close-miking a bass drum, kick drum, or a bass amp and it will still come out intact. However, its superior performance solidifies its place as a top contender in the realm of dynamic microphones.

When Did the D12 Come Out?

AKG D12 VR Microphone Review

The D12 first entered the market in the early 1950s. It quickly gained popularity as a dynamic mic renowned for its robust low-frequency response, making it a favorite choice for capturing bass instruments such as kick drums.

Over the years, AKG has continued to refine and update the D12 design, with the D12 VR model being one of the latest iterations. Keep in mind that the VR stands for “Vintage Reissue”, which means this mic has gotten numerous upgrades and improvements from the original D12 from appearance to performance.

Unlike older mics, the D12 VR now offers modern features, different settings, and enhanced versatility while retaining the vintage sound characteristics that made the original D12 a legend in the world of audio recording.

What is the D12 VR Good For?

AKG D12 VR Microphone Review
See more product details on Amazon.

This is a versatile microphone suitable for a wide mix of applications. Its dynamic design and large diaphragm make it particularly well-suited for capturing the deep, resonant tones of bass instruments such as kick drums, bass guitar, and double bass.

In fact, the D12 VR is designed specifically for capturing drums and percussions. At first glance, you can see how the design and its durability would make it a great kick mic. With its active filter presets you can hear how it can take the kick sound further.

The D12 VR’s three selectable sound presets allow users to tailor its performance to different environments and musical styles, making it equally suitable for studio recording and live sound reinforcement. These three sound presets or filter settings can be toggled using the three-position switch. These filter settings are namely “Original”, “Linear”, and “Vintage”, which we will tackle more later.

To cut it short, each filter setting will enable users to tailor the mic’s performance depending on the intended application and preference. This means you won’t need any other mic to record multiple music genres — you would only need just one.

Overall, the D12 VR is a top choice for professional musicians and audio engineers seeking a dynamic mic that excels in capturing rich, detailed audio with exceptional clarity and accuracy.

Does the D12 VR Need Phantom Power?

AKG D12 VR Microphone Review

Similar to other dynamic microphones, the D12 VR does not need phantom power to operate. It generates its signal through electromagnetic induction (corded electric) rather than requiring external power like condenser mics.

Users can simply connect it to a compatible audio interface, mixer, or preamp with a standard XLR cable, without the need to engage phantom power. This makes it a convenient choice for various setups, particularly those where phantom power may not be readily available or necessary.

Without phantom power, the D12 VR will operate in passive mode to deliver the pure sound of a kick drum, bass drum, or other instruments.

However, it is only by applying phantom power that you engage the three active filter settings of the D12 VR. These active modes can automatically reduce the output level by 10 dB, which in our opinion can make the mic sound good and sculpt the audio quality more perfectly.

Benefits of the Sennheiser E906 Mic

AKG D12 VR Microphone Review

What makes the D12 VR such a green-light audio device? Let us list down all the reasons by sharing with you its main product features and benefits!

Switchable Filter Presets

The D12 VR’s switchable filter presets offer users versatility and adaptability in a single microphone. By providing options like “Original,” “Linear,” and “Vintage,” the D12 VR allows users to tailor its sound to different environments and musical styles. These filters can be toggled using a switch with lights (green light, blue light, pink light) to indicate which filter you’re in.

The “Original” preset faithfully reproduces the classic sound characteristics of the original D12. It emphasizes a full-bodied low end with a warm, vintage tone, making it ideal for capturing the deep, punchy kick drum sounds commonly found in rock, blues, and jazz music. The “Original” preset delivers a timeless sound reminiscent of classic recordings from the mid-20th century.

Meanwhile, the “Linear” preset provides a more neutral and transparent sound reproduction, with a balanced frequency response across the audio spectrum. This preset is well-suited for capturing the natural sound of instruments and vocals without coloration, making it versatile for a wide range of musical genres and applications. If you would like to go for a more modern sound, we suggest you toggle the sliding switch to this filter.

Lastly, the “Vintage” preset imparts a subtle boost in the low frequencies, reminiscent of the warm, saturated tones commonly associated with vintage mics and analog recording equipment. This preset adds richness and depth to the audio, making it particularly suitable for enhancing the warmth and presence of vocals, acoustic instruments, and percussion. Whether seeking to evoke nostalgia or add character to modern recordings, the “Vintage” preset provides a touch of vintage flavor to the sound.

This flexibility ensures that the microphone can excel in various applications, from capturing the warmth and punch of a kick drum in a rock track to delivering transparent and accurate vocals in a studio setting. With these presets, users can mix it up and achieve their desired sound without the need for additional processing, saving time spent on your mixing desk.

Between us two, we think this mic sounds great no matter the preset!

Exceptional Bass Drum and Kick Drum Mic

Renowned for its ability to capture the deep, resonant tones of bass instruments, particularly kick drums, the D12 VR is an exceptional choice for drum recording. Its large diaphragm and dynamic design allow it to handle high sound pressure levels without distortion and good mid-range, ensuring clear and punchy audio reproduction even in the loudest of environments.

The D12 VR even has an optimised bass chamber to help capture the low frequencies and bass boost for your closed kick drums. Plus its ultra-thin diaphragm helps in capturing an accurate sound reproduction of your instruments and vocals. Go wild on your kick drum, and belt out those tunes, this tool can capture all the whole notes, impedance differences, presence peak, bass boost, scooped mids, and more! 

Whether in the studio or on stage, the D12 VR delivers powerful and articulate kick drum sounds, making it a favorite among drummers, engineers, and producers seeking professional-quality recordings.

Durable and Rugged Construction

Built to withstand the rigors of professional use, the D12 VR features a durable and rugged construction that ensures reliability in any setting. Its robust metal body and grille protect the microphone’s internal components from damage due to accidental drops, bumps, or rough handling, making it suitable for both studio and live applications. It can also certainly handle the front head of a drum.

The solid build quality also instills confidence in users, knowing that their mic can withstand the demands of touring, frequent use, and various environmental conditions without compromising performance or longevity.

We all know how mics, especially good ones, can be pretty expensive. Luckily, the durable construction of this mic assures you that it is built to last. Rightly so too as this mic is pretty expensive compared to other mics in the market.

Pros and Cons of the D12 VR

✔️ Versatile switchable filter presets
✔️ Great kick drum mic
✔️ Rugged and durable build
✔️ Can handle high SPL
✔️ Good mid-range
✖️ Quite expensive
✖️ More limited to drums, bass instruments, and percussions

What People Are Saying About It

If you need more convincing as to why the D12 VR is a great mic to have, then hear what another audiophile has to say!

“Nicely built, straight-forward in use, and designed to craft great sound… The D12 VR from Austrian mic-maker AKG is a reference quality bass drum mic suitable for both recording and live work.”


Where to Buy the D12 VR Mic

AKG D12 VR Microphone Review

If you think it’s high time to switch to a new mic, then we would strongly recommend you purchase the D12 VR now. With this great Amazon deal, you won’t regret it!

Frequently Asked Questions

Dynamic microphones are great at capturing a kick drum. Due to their large diaphragm, rugged build, and settings, these mics can certainly take on the low-end, bass, and loudness of a kick drum.

Alternatively, ribbon mics are also renowned for the ability to capture a kick drum’s sound. However, you would just have to be extra careful so as not to damage the ribbon element.

Aside from the D12 VR, you can also take a look at the Audio Technica ATM25. This mic is also known to be a good kick drum mic as it can handle very high SPL and low mids at close range.

No matter the mic you choose though, remember to place it optimally whether at the front head or inside. From our experience, the middle position sounded the best when capturing a kick drum. Placing the mic inside the kick drum, about halfway in the shell between the beater and the hole, sounded great as well.

Just remember to mix and test out various positions as each placement sounded differently and would give off a proximity effect accordingly.

AKG D12 VR Microphone

The AKG D12 VR microphone delivers exceptional performance, particularly for kick drums and bass instruments, thanks to its versatile filter circuit and distinctive sound shaping options. With switchable presets including “Original,” “Linear,” and “Vintage,” users can adapt the microphone’s response to suit different recording environments and musical styles.

It excels in capturing deep, punchy lows while offering a subtle mid-range scoop, enhancing clarity and definition. Its passive mode delivers vintage warmth and character, ideal for adding depth to recordings, while the active mode ensures optimal performance and versatility.

Overall, this stands out as a top choice for professional musicians and engineers seeking a dynamic microphone with unparalleled sound quality and flexibility that can work properly in various settings.



The AKG D12 VR microphone delivers exceptional sound quality and versatility, especially for capturing bass instruments like kick drums. With switchable filter presets and a durable construction, it's a top choice for both studio recording and live performance applications.

Total Rating

Naomi Feller

Originally from the East Coast, Naomi started singing as young as 3 years old. In her early teens Naomi made some embarrassing YouTube videos before settling on a love for Podcast editing. When she's not pouring over endless amounts of audio, she lends her expertise to us here at Shout4Music with her crystal clear and finely tuned microphone reviews.

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