AKG D5 Dynamic Microphone Review: Should You Buy?

AKG D5 vocal microphone

If you stop to think about it, microphones have it tough. You yell at them, spit on them, even drop them. The AKG D5 dynamic microphone can take a lot of abuse and keep working. But you don't need to be a rock star or a battle rapper to take full advantage of the AKG D5. Whether you're organizing a conference, recording a podcast, or even starting out in stand-up comedy, you can benefit from a dependable microphone.

So what makes a microphone "dynamic"? First, there are several classes of microphone. Dynamic is one of them. A dynamic microphone can pick up sound from 360 degrees. It has a thin diaphragm of mylar overtop of an extremely tiny hair of copper wire, which gets suspended in a magnetic field. When sound vibrates the diaphragm, the copper wire reverberates in the magnetic field, creating electricity. That electrical current converts into sound. While dynamic microphones come in all shapes and sizes, their underlying technology remains the same.

AKG D5 Competion Comparison Table

AKG D5 Pros and Cons

After looking at this microphone in-depth, we were able to determine what makes the AKG D5 shine, and where it comes up short.

Pros

  • Innovative internal technology
  • Sturdy and rugged
  • Loud, clear sound output
  • Fantastic two-year warranty

Cons

  • Too easily susceptible to feedback
  • Power issues

How It Stacks up to Other Microphones

The last thing we did was compare the AKG D5 to some of the competition to see how it stacks up. For instance, is the famous Shure SM58 still the king of microphones? Or perhaps  Audio-Technica ATR2100 is just as good as the AKG D5? Before we could determine whether or not the D5 is worth buying, we wanted to see if there were better options out there.

Shure SM58

Shure SM58-LC Cardioid Dynamic Vocal Microphone
  • Frequency response tailored for vocals, with brightened midrange and bass rolloff to control proximity effect
  • Effective built-in spherical wind and pop filter. Frequency response: 50 to 15,000 Hz
  • Pneumatic shock-mount system cuts down handling noise.
  • Uniform cardioid pickup pattern isolates the main sound source and minimizes background noise

Shure is the king of microphones. They've dominated this industry since 1925. That's when Sidney Shure set up shop in Chicago. But it wasn't until the 1990s that Shure moved into the top spot with their world-famous SM57 microphone. This mic sets the standard for how professional-grade dynamic mic should sound. You can see Eddie Vedder rocking out with a Shure SM57 in many of Pearl Jam's videos. Eminem uses Shure. Comedy clubs stock Shure. Can the AKG D5 compete?

Shure's next-generation of gold-standard microphones is the SM58, which looks almost identical to the SM57. However, it brings some innovations to the table, including a pneumatic shock absorber which reduces handling noise, and a spherical wind and pop filter. Also, it's designed to be rugged. At 6 inches, it's significantly shorter than the D5. 

Audio-Technica ATR2100

Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone
  • Handheld dynamic microphone with USB digital output and XLR analog output
  • USB output connects to your computer for digital recording, while the XLR output connects with your sound system conventional microphone input for use in live performance
  • Smooth, extended frequency response ideally suited for podcasting, home studio recording, field recording, voiceover, and on stage use
  • Built in headphone jack allows you to directly monitor your microphone output without audible delay
  • Cardioid polar pattern reduces pickup of unwanted sounds from the sides and rear; System requirements Macintosh MAC OS X, USB 1.0 or 2.0, 64 MB RAM minimum, Windows XP/Vista/Windows 7, USB 1.0 or 2.0, 64 MB RAM minimum

Next up in our comparison is the Audio-Technica ATR2100. This dynamic USB microphone is signifcantly more affordable than both the Shure SM58 and the AKG D5. Audio-Technica is a Japanese audio company. They make headphones and other audio equipment in addition to microphones, but their microphones are their bread and butter. Audio-Technica started in 1962, right in the heart of Tokyo.

They're ATR2100 dynamic microphone has both a USB output so that you can connect to your computer, and an XLR output for live and studio performances. Even more interesting, it has a 3.5-millimeter headphone jack, so you can plug in and monitor your own sound quality as you use the mic. The mic's cardioid polarized build eliminates background noise, so you only hear your voice. It's eight inches long, the same size as the AKG D5. Best of all it comes with a lifetime warranty. And this isn't for the life of the microphone; it's for the life of the purchaser.

Sennheiser MD431-II

Sennheiser MD431-II Super-Cardioid Handheld Dynamic Microphone
  • Exceptionally good feedback rejection
  • Shock mounted capsule provides very good rejection of handling noise
  • Hum compensating coil
  • Integral pop filter
  • On/off switch (reed switch) can be locked in the ON position if required

Finally, we looked at the Sennheiser MD431-II. This is an expensive microphone which considers itself "premium." We wanted to give you an idea of what a microphone in some higher price points looks like. Sennheiser started up in Germany two weeks after the end of World War II. Seven engineers from the University of Hannover, finding themselves with nothing to do now that the war was over, set up shop building audio equipment. They have the honor of creating the earbud headphones back in 1962.

The Sennheiser MD431-II is a super-cardioid dynamic microphone. A steel mesh grill houses a pop filter, while the entire top is protected by a shock-suspended capsule. Finally, there's a locking on/off switch, so you don't have to worry about accidentally turning off your mic in mid-concert. Also, it comes with a two-year warranty.

What Sets the AKG D5 Dynamic Microphone Apart?

At first glance, the AKG D5 looks like any average microphone. It's a mesh ball sitting on top of a handle. Also, it's a wired microphone so there's an XLR microphone cable coming out of the bottom. But inside the microphone is where the AKG D5 starts to shine. Unlike other dynamic microphones, the AKG D5 has a variable-thickness diaphragm. It has different thicknesses intended to draw sound in and focus it into the center. Also, the diaphragm is laminated, creating extra smoothness. The end result is a crisp sound with no mechanical feedback. This microphone is intended for live audiences, and that's where it shines.

AKG D5 Vocal Dynamic Microphone
  • Rugged construction
  • Handheld dynamic vocal microphone designed for lead and backing vocals
  • Patented AKG laminated varimotion diaphragm
  • Super-cardioid polar pattern for high gain before Feedback


How We Made Our Review

Because we wanted to create as fair a review as possible, we went to several different sources to dig up as much information as we could. First, we visited the AKG website to see what they said about their own product. 

Finally, we compared the AKG D5 to three of its competitors. This way, we were able to see how well it stacks up to the competition. After all that, we were able to determine if you should buy this microphone or not.


Specifications and Features

The AKG D5 dynamic microphone is a rugged piece of hardware. It looks and feels solid. Because it weighs just under two pounds, it has a premium feel to it. Also, it's nearly eight inches long, which makes it difficult to drop. At three inches thick, men and women can both hold this microphone comfortably. The grill is built with springy steel-wire mesh.

But it's inside where the magic happens. As we mentioned, AKG has included a variable-thickness diaphragm to draw sound in. This creates a more precise sound than some other microphones.


Warranty

It comes with a limited two-year warranty. We love good warranties because it means the manufacturer is confident in their product. And while most microphone manufacturers only include a one-year warranty, AKG shows they are supremely confident in this microphone.

Should You Buy the AKG D5?

If you were to compare the AKG D5 to the Shure SM58, you would be hard-pressed to not pick up the Shure and head to the cashier. However, we were able to look at the AKG D5 in some detail, and then see what others thought about it. Only after that did we compare it to the king of microphones. Because the AKG D5 is a great piece of gear, we can enthusiastically recommend that you buy it, especially when compared to the Audio-Technica and the Sennheiser. But, the Shure SM58 is still a better microphone. We have to say that the Shure is the mic to buy. However, if there are none around, then grab yourself an AKG D5. It's the second best dynamic microphone in this review.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I do podcasting, but use the AKG D5 and it blows away the Shure on sound. I don’t have to worry about feedback, but seldom here positive things about the Shure. Almost everyone has a better microphone.

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