AKG D 40 Instrument Mic

in Road Tests
AKG D 40
I find it refreshing that microphone makers can still bring out great product offerings instead of resting on their laurels, in some cases, for many decades. AKG is not resting, and the D 40 instrument microphone shows that it is listening to its customers and showing a bit of innovation.

I received an AKG D 40 mic for this Road Test review, and it was love at first sight. First of all, any mic that includes a zippered carrying pouch gets my admiration, as I stow all my mics in their pouches in a mic locker. This means I am not hunting for loose pouches and labeling them for different contents.

But enough about pouches, the AKG D 40 microphone also comes with an H 440 universal clip bracket that fits most drum rims and other metal lips as some brass/wind instruments have. Thus, I do not have to hunt for accessory drum mic clips for each D 40 I may own. Each bracket is universal with standard mic stand threading to mate with the D 40’s built-in stand clip, which means no wimpy plastic clips to age and crack.

The Gear

Getting down to the microphone itself, the AKG D 40 is a stubby profile instrument mic that works well on tight tom-tom applications and general purpose applications like guitar amps and acoustic instruments. The frequency response is rated at 50 Hz to 20 kHz, but the frequency response plot shows a reasonably flat response between 80 Hz and 15 kHz. Minor dB bumps at 130 Hz and 3.5 kHz do not detract from, and might even be used to accent, certain instrument applications.

The D 40’s pickup pattern is a pretty normal cardioid with its weakest rear rejection at the lowest frequencies. The 2.5 mV/Pa sensitivity is fairly good for a dynamic mic and the 1% THD SPL point is a decent 147 dB level with a 3% mark at 156 dB, which shows graceful degradation in high SPL applications. Its 18-dB SPL (A-weighted) noise floor means that there will be plenty of dynamic range.

AKG D 40
The Gigs
Coming in at 8.7 ounces, I found the AKG D 40 a nice looking and sounding instrument microphone. I removed the black mesh windscreen and found a large and tightly fit dynamic diaphragm that shows to me that the D40 will do well on percussion instruments, from floor toms all the way up to bongos. The shock mount is also well designed and soft enough to handle rough handling as performance usage.

My auditions in both shop and gig usage confirmed the “goodness” advertised in the specifications and the visual inspection. The AKG D 40 became an all-around performer with hardly any artifacts to identify its uniqueness. On drums, the D 40 showcased its large diaphragm capability with transparency on the low frequencies through the important midrange percussion resonances. On guitar amps, the flat extended presence made good for both rock ‘n’ roll and country-type applications, where fiddle and pedal steel guitar nuances were picked up instead of muffled, like many other instrument mics.

In trying to summarize the AKG D 40 microphone, it will become your jack-of-all-instrument mic with its wide frequency range good enough for condenser mic comparisons, but capable of taking some high-SPL percussion applications as well. Its short profile and built-in stand clip are beautiful engineering, and the added H 440 rim bracket is icing on the cake. For what it is, I found no flaws, only strengths.

AKG D 40 Instrument Mic

What It Is: Dynamic instrument mic.
Who It’s For: Anyone.
Pros: Rugged, short profile, great mountings, wide frequency range.
Cons: None.
How Much: $160.00 SRP.
Web site: www.akg.com