We all know that the Shure SM57 and AKG D 112 are pretty ubiquitous on snare and kick on countless recordings, right? Why? Because they are affordable and sound pretty damn good! Many an engineer, myself included, have tried other mics, but come back to the 57/112 combo because it works. But we still want to find a set of mics that works better and helps differentiate our recordings a bit from all the others that use the 57/112 — and makes us feel like we're trying a little harder to not follow the herd. Well, I think I've found those mics.
I've always been a big fan of Telefunken, so when the M82 was introduced as a kick drum mic, I was eager to check it out. Well, guess what, it sounds great! It has a low-mid tuck tailored for kick that gets it much closer to record-ready than the D 112. I've had similar success with the Earthworks KickPad inline pad/EQ [Tape Op #45], but the M82's kick-friendly tuning is built into the mic, which I appreciate. All I can say is, I've used the M82 for every drum session I've done for the past six months, and I've been really pleased with it. I've also used the mic for bass cabinets and the bottom end of a Leslie with good results.
Robert "Bob" Cheek is a Seattle-based engineer who works in my Panoramic House and Dock studios. He was pretty stoked when the M82 showed up. He'd been using one alongside the M80 at Matt Bayles' Red Room Recording and was really digging both of them. "You gotta' check out the M80, it's like the Heil but even better." The Heil that Bob was referring to is the Heil PR 20 [#40], which has been our go-to snare mic at The Hangar (and now Panoramic) for years in lieu of the SM57.
I've only used the M80 a few times (with great results), but here's what Bob had to say about it: "I've been using the M80 in Seattle and at Panoramic quite a bit. I love it on both top and bottom snare — the main reason being that it seems to require very little EQ compared to an SM57, especially in the top end. The M82 is also great and requires less EQ than a D 112. I also A/B'ed it with a couple mics on bass cab, and it won the shoot out by far. I used both mics on recent sessions at Panoramic for Band of Horses and The Tumbleweeds Band."
Bob asked Matt to chime in on the mics: "I find the M80 indispensable now that I have it. I love it on snare — less muck through the low mids and snappier in the upper frequencies as well. The M82 has some versatility to it. It can be just as snappy but less "modern" (scooped) than a D 112, which is a good thing, but can also be set for a flatter sound without feeling dull and thuddy like a D 112. I also have a pair of M81s, the mellower version of the M80, and use them on guitar — even bass sometimes where I might try an MD 421 or PR 40 [#56] to combine with an LDC like the Bock iFet."
Thanks Matt! Thanks Bob! Thanks Telefunken! Both mics include a nice leather bag, a well-designed mount, and a Telefunken mic cable with a 90-degree female connector for easier placement on drums. -JB