Hands-on Review: Audix D4

(Jason Castellente | Posted 2011-06-19)

Hands-on Review: Audix D4

I have had the opportunity to use a variety Audix’s drum and instrument mics over the past year and I have to say that I was pleased with the results that I got from them so I decided to write a series of reviews on them.

If you are an avid www.MusicGearReview.com reader, then you may have read the Audix D6 review that I recently wrote.  If you have not, you should check it out by clicking here.

The Audix D4 is quite a different animal then many other mics on the market today.  It is more of a large tom mic that can double as a kick drum.  It intrigued me and I knew I needed to get my hands on it.

When I opened up the box, the Audix D4 was smaller then I expected at a meager 3.9 inches long.  It had the same look and feel as the other Audix mics I have handled with it’s aluminum construction and shiny black finish.  It features a hypercardioid pickup pattern which allows you to focus the mic on a specific point of the drum but still allowing the mic to “breath” due to the nature of the hypercardioid pickup pattern.  The frequency range of the mic is 40Hz-18kHz which gives you a pretty broad range of frequencies to work with.  Looking at the frequency graph of the mic on the spec sheet, you can see the emphasis on the high end while still maintaining consistency over the mid range.  The low end starts diving down after 80Hz which means that you’re not going to get the rock solid low end that the D6 features and that’s okay because this mic has a different purpose as opposed to the D6.

The first experiment I conducted was on a 20-inch floor tom.  When I used other tom mics before, I simply could not get the low end I was looking for out of them.  Although you can certainly understand why this is the case.  The pitches of drum toms vary greatly.  You cannot possibly expect one mic to work on all the toms that are available to you.  When you have a lower-pitched tom such as the 20 inch tom I experimented with, that is when typical tom mics lack and the Audix D4 begins to shine.  The 80Hz dive I talked about earlier helps to focus the mic on the fundamental frequency or main pitch that large floor toms fall into.  I was able to get a clear mid range sound while also maintaining pristine high-end response.

As I listened to it, I realized that this could be a pretty awesome kick mic for a jazz set up.  The mic did not have a ton of low end by still maintained clear, warm attack, which is critical for getting a good sound out of a jazz drum kit.  So, next time I had a chance, I experimented with using the Audix D4 on an 18 inch Gretsch kick drum.  It was exactly what I was looking for with minimal EQ.  In my opinion, the best sound comes from capturing the sound naturally.  The timbre and playing style of the drummer or musician must be captured naturally by the mic to allow the audio engineer, whether it be live or studio, to get the best sound and create the best mix in the end.

Check out the Audix D4 for your application and never stop searching for that awesome sound!

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email the author, Jason Castellente: jason@musicgearreview.com.

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