D88 Kick

Music Gear Review: CADLive Audio D88 Kick Drum Mic

The CADLive Series relies on the Equitek studio microphone heritage to offer a live sound product line. The CADLive D88 Kick Mic uses a super-cardioid dynamic capsule with a moving coil motor assembly. It is said to have one of the largest capsules offered--over 1-inch in diameter. It has a TrueFlex™ diaphragm and is powered by a PowerGap™ Neodymium magnet.

I decided to compare the D88 to three other popular kick drum mics: the Shure B52A, Audix D6 and AKG's D112. My simple test put all four mics in exactly the same position in the center of hole cut in the front head of a 22-inch bass drum. All the mics were aim at the beater head with their grills half inside the hole and half outside.

The D88, with a sensitivity of -65 dBV and 80-ohm impedance, had the most output level--good news for gain-challenged console mic pre-amps--I had to use the attenuator pad on the API 1608 console mic pre-amps. The B52 has the most top-end click but not the kind of subsonic size compared to the D88. The Audix D6 was closest in sound to the D88 although more "somber"--with less attack. The B52A was "drier" sounding with not as much of the bass drum's resonant properties that the D88 captured so well.

By comparison, the AKG D112 was boxy-sounding and hard to position--don't get me started about the D-112's wacky XLR location and mount. I like the D88's angled XLR connector especially compared to the B52 where the XLR is too close to its threaded stand mount.

I'm glad to report that the D88 is a winner for me in the studio! I would go to it for kick, floor tom or even a loud bass amp speaker cabinet. It has a max SPL rating of over 150dB, weighs 1.5 pounds and sells for $199 MAP. More at: cadaudio.com/products/cad-live/d88.

Barry Rudolph is a recording engineer/mixer who has worked on over 30 gold and platinum records. He has recorded and/or mixed Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hall & Oates, Pat Benatar, Rod Stewart, the Corrs and more. Barry has his own futuristic music mixing facility and loves teaching audio engineering at Musician’s Institute, Hollywood, CA. He is a lifetime Grammy-voting member of NARAS and a contributing editor for Mix Magazine. barryrudolph.com