Up until a couple of years ago, Audix was a well-kept secret, only known by the 007-type audio engineers. Today it makes a wide range of quality microphones, including this latest little gem, called the Micro-D ($249).
Product PointsApplications: Live sound, studio, drums, percussion, acoustic/orchestral instruments
Key Features: Low profile; unique mounting system; hypercardiod pattern; gooseneck
Contact: Audix at 800-966-8261, 503-682-6933, Web Site
Officially, the Audix Micro-D is known in the catalog as a model ADX20-D. The Micro-D is a miniature condenser mic of the clip-on genre. The model I tested featured a mini gooseneck mount called a “D-Vice” that has a spring-loaded universal mount that attaches to any drum or percussion rim.
The capsule of the Audix Micro-D is a tiny hypercardioid condenser element contained in a brass housing. Audix can supply an optional cardioid capsule, if that is more suited to your needs. The Micro-D functions on standard phantom power in a voltage range of 9 through 52 VDC. The capsule is suspended in a rubber shockmount, allowing the capsule to be well-cushioned in even the most punishing of situations. Attached to the shockmount and goose neck assembly are two small rubber O-rings, separated by about 2 inches, that serve as strain relief for the permanently attached signal cable. The four-foot signal cable terminates in a mini XLR connector that then plugs into a power supply module that contains the standard sized XLR connector. The entire package is finished in a black, durable, epoxy-type finish. Other accessories include the previously mentioned cardioid capsule, a spring-loaded alligator style clamp and a D-clamp for attaching the mic to lugs of percussion instruments in the event a standard rim is too wide or strangely shaped.
Audix supplied me with three Micro-Ds, so I was able to mic two rack toms and one floor tom simultaneously. The first test subject was the drum kit for country music star Andy Griggs.
I found the D-Vices made the installation of the Micro-D extremely easy and solid. In fact the D-Vices are a vastly superior method of attaching mini condenser mics of any brand. The gooseneck assembly was very rigid, requiring a bit more effort to bend it to shape, but then it retained that shape infinitely better than other mini mounts I have encountered. The O-rings strain-relieved the wire quite well, requiring a minor adjustment about every fourth gig or so.
The sound quality of the Audix Micro-D was impressive. The bandwidth and frequency response were superb. The floor tom was reproduced with complete clarity and full depth, requiring no EQ at all. The Micro-Ds on the rack toms exhibited precise attack, and very natural sound quality.
I tried the Micro-D on snare drum as well, and the results were identical: excellent attack, smooth response and well-defined snap. On several occasions, I tried the mic on acoustic guitar, saxophone, clarinet and percussion toys (bells, wind chimes, maracas and shakers) and each time I was just a little more impressed with the Micro-D. The percussion instruments were exceptionally clear and present, especially the shakers. The saxophone and clarinet were smooth and natural, never sounding electronic and never needing to be overly EQed. I experimented with brass instruments as well. Only the trumpet offered anything close to harshness, and very minor at that!
The Audix Micro-D is an exceptional instrument microphone. It has the clarity, attack and SPL absorbency you would want for a hard percussion instrument, but the dexterity and sensitivity required for a soft percussion instrument. It exhibited exceptional softness and bandwidth for clarinets and saxophones, and a smooth friendliness for acoustic guitar. It has the toughness to survive the most robust of rock and roll drummers and never cringed at the loudest of percussion instruments. I was most impressed with the Audix Micro-D.
DW drum kit, Yamaha Custom Recording drum kit; saxophone, flute and clarinet of unknown origin; Yamaha acoustic guitar; Soundcraft Series FIVE, Yamaha PM4000 FOH mixing consoles; Soundcraft SM20 monitor console; dbx 2231 graphic EQ.