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Shure SM58 Microphone Review

 

Since its introduction in 1966, the Shure SM58 microphone has become known as possibly the best microphone available for live and studio applications, and after picking one up and testing it extensively, it’s easy to see why.

 

The SM58 is a cardioid (unidirectional) dynamic mic geared towards live vocal use. It has been produced in two versions, wired or wireless, and made either with or without a switch, should you feel the need for one. The wired version connects via a balanced 3-pin xlr plug, and all versions have a frequency response from 50 to 15,000Hz - ideal for even the highest pitched vocalist. With its recognisable silver steel mesh grill and slim profile, it weighs in at approx. 298 grams (or 10.5 oz), making it a superb lightweight option.


The first thing we noticed when plugging it in for a band rehearsal, and at several gigs, was the sheer clarity the microphone adds to the vocals, whilst cutting out a lot of surrounding noise from the rest of the band. It also does superbly well in cutting out pop and wind noise. The midrange to upper frequencies shone through in the lead vocal, adding warmth where other microphones leave many a vocal sounding tinny and ‘lacking’.

 


What we also came to notice through extended use was how the microphone sat in our hands. Its slim profile and light weight ensured no discomfort by the end of a 1-hour set, even whilst moving vigorously on stage. As with all clumsy front men, there were occasions when the mic was dropped, however, the worry of breaking such an exceptional microphone was soon washed away as it kept on coming back for more. This was also true whilst being carted between venues and rehearsals inside a gear case full of other microphones and leads.

 


Whilst reviewing, we were also lucky enough to test out its performance in the studio for laying down vocal tracks on several recordings. The warmth from live use was thankfully not lost in the studio either, allowing the natural vocal to flow into the recordings. The clarity was more obvious in the studio, as there was no interference from the other instruments.

 

The SM58 is a fantastic microphone well suited to rock and powerful vocals. It performs best when up close and personal with the singer’s lips, due to the increased bass at close range from the proximity effect, so remember this when picking up and plugging in!

 


SUMMARY: This microphone takes a (literal) licking, and keeps on ticking! Whether it’s studio application or live performances, you need a reliable and clear microphone, and this is it. It won’t break the bank, or anything else given its lightweight, slender design. Every vocalist should own one (or two, just in case).



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