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Audio Review: AKG D7

May 6, 2009 12:00 PM, By John McJunkin

A handheld mic that makes good on its reference-quality claim.


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AKG's second claim is that the mic exhibits exceptionally high gain before feedback because of its frequency-independent supercardioid pattern. That AKG managed a supercardioid pattern is not magical; this is not difficult. The impressive feat is to maintain a consistent frequency curve throughout the entirety of the pickup pattern, and AKG truly does accomplish this. Again, in subjective listening tests, I found that within the supercardioid pattern, the frequency curve was indeed remarkably consistent. To be sure, this supercardioid is quite tight by design, but I was impressed with the consistency around the various angles of approach. I was able to achieve some pretty substantial gain before feedback, even with the mic quite close to the monitor loudspeaker. The polar pattern is not so tight as to be performer-unfriendly, and it truly helps to reject feedback.

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I'll address AKG's claims of improved intelligibility from the mic's 80Hz high-pass filter and ultralow p-pops from an inner windscreen. Indeed, the 80Hz high-pass filter focuses the microphone's output in the range of frequencies important to transducing the human voice. If you have a contrabass, you might choose a different mic, but AKG intends this mic for the vast majority of speakers and singers, and they simply don't produce any important energy below 80Hz. As to the reduction of p-pops by the mic's internal foam windscreen, it's as good as can be expected in a supercardioid dynamic mic of this type, which will inherently exaggerate plosives. This is no small feat, and I'm impressed that this mic nearly eliminates major thumps and bumps without additional suppression of low frequencies via equalization.

As to minimized electrical interference due to the humbucking coil, I simply heard no hum or other RF noise whatsoever, and this mic is quiet in terms of self-noise as well. AKG's Laminate Varimotion diaphragm, to which I've had a bit of previous exposure, does indeed provide consistent performance. Finally, the pneumatic-mechanical interior shock mount that isolates the microphone element is effective and nearly eliminates handling and cable noise. A handheld microphone must reject handling noise, and AKG clearly considered this and acted accordingly.

The bottom line is I really like the clarity and resolution of this mic, and I'm also impressed with the warmth and fullness it exhibits. The AKG D7 is a top-shelf handheld microphone, and I can strongly recommend it for applications that require a superior mic.

John McJunkin is the principal of Avalon Podcasting in Chandler, Ariz. He has consulted in the development of studios and installations, and he provides high-quality podcast-production services.

PRODUCT SUMMARY

  • Company: AKG
    www.akg.com
  • Product: D7
  • Pros: Consistent frequency response throughout polar pattern.
  • Cons: Metal surface a bit slippery for handling.
  • Applications: Spoken or singing vocals requiring a handheld mic.
  • Price: $239 (D7); $259 (D7 LTD)

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Polar pattern: Supercardioid
  • Frequency range: 70Hz-20kHz
  • Sensitivity: 2.6mV/Pa (-52dBV)
  • Maximum SPL: 147dB/156dB (1%/3% THD)
  • Equivalent noise level: 18dBA (IEC 60268-4)
  • Signal-to-noise ratio: 76dB (A-weighted)
  • Impedance: ≤600Ω
  • Recommended load impedance: ≥2000Ω
  • High-pass filter: 80Hz, always active
  • Connector: 3-pin XLR
  • Dimensions: 7.3"x2" (LxD)
  • Weight: 12oz.
  • Special features: Integrated humbucking coil





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