AKG D5 Review – Supercardioid Dynamic

AKG D5 is a cheap but rugged supercardioid mic. It offers similar but slightly superior sound to Shure SM58. Tighter pick up pattern also gives it more flexibility to deal with gain before feedback. This mic can thus be considered as a more viable, cheaper alternative. However, it does suffer from the same disadvantage, which is the lack of detail. When comparing to more advanced handhelds, D5 may kind of sound inarticulate but as a budget piece of equipment it actually performs pretty well.

Sound & quality

This mic has a promising frequency response that offers same amount of brightness as SM58 but without any abrupt bumps in high end. The low end is more stable as well – there is no mud and yet it gives a pleasant amount of richness. The high end is somewhat gentle but it has more clarity than Shure, and of course, it cuts through better. On the other hand, I find that transient response has a room for improvement. It just sounds a little blurry, and although those with shrill or harsh voices could potentially benefit from this, in normal circumstances it could be robbing you of some detail…

Gain before feedback

akg_d5_adD5 relies on AKG’s patented laminated diaphragm that is claimed to be less resonant and therefore more resistant to feedback. This appears to be true when comparing to SM58… and it’s quite decent, but slightly inferior to some Sennheisers. Provided it is supercardioid, D5 is also less likely to trigger feedback off axis, i.e. when not pointed to monitors. However, like all supercardioids it can trigger feedbacks if the monitors are placed in the middle rather than to the sides, because the rear end of the mic becomes receptive. If you are planning an upgrade from SM58 (cardioid) then please be mindful of those differences.

Features, build, durability

AKG D5 is equipped with an integrated pop filter that does a good job in reducing pops and blowing or wind noise. In terms of handling noise, it does not stand to the claims and it’s noticeably worse than Shure. Nevertheless, I believe it has more to do with its supercardioid pattern that naturally makes it more receptive – rather than a flawed design.

The microphone design is simple but very durable. It has a die-cast metal body and the mesh grilles are made of spring steel. This implies that even if you smash the grilles nothing will happen, as they will just spring back to normal. It’s also unlikely to develop scratches, unless it meets concrete or other coarse materials, so it’s one less thing to worry about.

Three reasons to buy

  1. Anyone who needs an affordable, decent sounding mic can look into D5. Although SM58 is more common, it actually takes a good sense and lots of time to fiddle with EQ, whereas this mic performs much better out of the box.
  2. Amateur singers don’t necessarily need mics that provide lots of detail. On contrary, they may even benefit from the extra smoothing that D5 provides. Especially those with imperfect technique and harsh or shrilling voices.
  3. In addition to the above, this is also the mic you can pass to anyone without any back thought because it’s cheap and durable. If you’ve ever worked with drunkards who occasionally tend to drop mics, you will understand.

Pros

  • Good bang for the buck
  • Balanced frequency response
  • Decent overall sound
  • Above par gain before feedback
  • Easily cuts through the mix
  • Very durable, rugged design

Cons

  • Lacks detail/ blurrish

Review score
  • Very good! - 8/10
    8/10

COMMENTS

  • George

    What mic would you recommend for a rock singer… D5 or e835?

    • Peter

      Both are actually great budget mics. AKG D5 is more versatile, it works with different vocals and can easily handle something heavy. On the other hand, if you mostly play soft and melodic, e835 would suit it better.

      • I agree 100 percent. I started using this mic because of price and the fact that my 787a stopped working. It has surpassed expectations as I have set lists of quite diverse vocal styles.I have grown to love this under rated microphone.

  • I’ve been using a D5 now for about 2 years in a hobby/cover band. I bought it because it seemed to have a little bit of SM58 voice, but with less proximity/boom, improved clarity, and better gain before feedback.

    I got mine at B&H for $63 shipped, at that price it is a fantastic value.

  • joe

    The supercardiod aspect intrigues me…I would like to try a “decent” but inexpensive one to see how it goes (studio only). And this is priced well below the 58 beta, which I’ve heard wildly diff opinions of.

  • Michael Georges

    The only issue I have with these mics is a presence peak at 11khz which can be an issue when running monitors pre eq from the foh console. Great bang for the buck overall.

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