Reference Laboratory Looking Ahead in Pro Audio
Reference Laboratory - JOHN RAYN & AUDIX D6

AUDIX D6 - read the official sheet...

John Ryan
*: Let me introduce you to my Audix D6

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(*) Freelance Sound Engineer with  Nile Rodgers & Chic European Production

John Ryan

As printed on the box, the Audix D6 is a Sub-Dynamic instrument microphone, definitely designed to properly capture low frequency sound sources and percussion instruments. For this reason, the Audix D6 is my first pick when specifying or chosing among the many kick drum microphones available on the market. Iíve decided to own my personal D6 to take along with me wherever I go and itís a pleasure to share my impressions with sound engineers and tech-conscious drummers on this great product.

I first tried the Audix D6 in 2004, during one of my most challenging jobs ever, mixing FOH for an itinerant festival tour that saw 16 bands playing live on stage every afternoon, three days weekly, for three months, in eleven major Italian cities, then topping the evening with one or tJohn Ryan w/t Nile Rodgers! Read the Nile's quote in news...wo major international headliners (Nile Rodgers [see picture] & The Chic Organization, Kool & The Gang, Kid Creole & The Coconuts, KC & The Sunshine name a few). 
The audio teamís main goal was to treat every band with the same attention. Toni Soddu, our stage manager (well known for his perfect management in this type of battle), had configured a twin rhythm section setup on stage, with everything perfectly matching, as if we had two separate stages. Marco Dellatorre (on monitors) and I (in FOH) both had our Yamaha PM1D with 96 channels configured to allow 40 channels for each of the two setups (stage A & stage B), allowing total control on one layer at a time of all inputs, outputs and effects for each band, plus feeds to and from the A/V mobile units, as well as extra microphones for the MCís and guests. 
The 16 bands were only allowed a quick line check and this was done while the other band was playing (stage A playing live and stage B doing line check, etc). At this point, speed and consistency was the first things we were after. Each band would only perform one song and I wanted each band to sound right within the first few bars, so it had to be right from the start. 
My choice of using a wide range of Audix microphones, as well as a few of the all time favorite brands and models, turned out as being a winner. For this, I have to thank Pasquale Lombardi of Lombardi Service in Termoli for supplying us with a large amount of  Audix microphones, at the time still quite unknown to the Italian market. 
Shortly before starting this tour, I had been introduced to the Audix D6 by my friend Angelo Tordini, CEO of Reference Laboratory and Audix distributor in Italy. The result of trying this large diaphram microphone on the kick drum surprised me, to say the least. I had previously used Audix microphones, but they were lacking a product that would sound right on the kick. The D4 will work at times, but it does take some knob turning and a bit of generosity in the low end with the equalizer. 

John Ryan and his Audix D6The D6 has been designed to respond just like you would expect it to on the kick drum. The proximity effect on it is quite evident, keeping the low end always present, even when itís not quite close to the source. Feedback control is very good, even when youíre forced to use more preamplifier gain to compensate for the distance from the source, but this is a common feature in Audix microphones, thanks to their VLM capsule technology. You could say that the D6 has built in EQ, tuned to picking up a kick drum. The slight enhancement in the 35-80Hz range, attenuation of the low mids (to avoid boominess) and enhancement of frequencies above 1KHz, give this microphone what it needs in the low end as well as the proper definition in the high-mids. Its cardioid pattern works very well in rerejecting off axis signals. Proof of this can be obtained by just placing the D6 in the kick drum and listening to the signal, flat (way in or way out is up to personal taste and requirements). In most cases, I prefer placing the D6 in the hole, a few degrees off axis from the beater head, with just the XLR out of the hole. This gives me excellent attack response and enough air around the capsule to give me the low end I need. 
With one D6 I get the sound I used to look for by double-miking the kick. In a jazz kit, where there usually is no hole, I like to place the D6 slightly off center, parallel to the head and about 4 inches away. The naturalness of the sound, providing the drum head is tuned properly, is awesome. However, as in all microphone cases, experimentation is the secret. There is no single rule on how or where to place your mics on your sources, but proper placement will generally reduce over EQing. My point of view has always been that if your source needs too much equalization, but your PA system is tuned properly, problem probably lies within the combination of the sourceís quality and the microphone used. 

Microphones donít do miracles, they help us in making times. Also, remember that a properly tuned source is of great importance and that it should be the first thing we want to listen to. A badly tuned percussive or harmonic instrument, will never sound right, even with careful microphone placement. If your drummerís heads are tuned properly, simple microphones placement techniques will give you much satisfaction. The best thing about the D6 is that you will probably never touch the EQ...I donít. Also, try cabling your a D6 (and the rest of your mics) with a Reference RMC01 cable and find out how much signal youíve been losing all this time.

John Ryan on web:

Official website:

other links:

Audix D6 (original sheet)

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