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Shure SM58
Shure SM58

Shure SM58

4 4 (27 Reviews)
Industry standard stage microphone
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Published by John Eppstein on 29th December 2011
User Review
Sound Quality
4 out of 5
4
Ease of use
5 out of 5
5
Features
4 out of 5
4
Bang for buck
4 out of 5
4
Overall: 4.25 4.25
Shure SM58

This is the industry standard mic for stage vocal use. It's not the best sounding stage vocal mic but it's not bad, it's quite rugged, and it's affordably priced. It's ubiquitous and has been for a long time.

Internally this is the same mic as the SM57, with the addition of the ball filter.

Moving coil dynamic. Cardioid pattern. Rugged ball pop filter. No switches.

Not my favorite live vocal mic but I'll use it, unlike the "improved" Beta 58, which I avoid like the very plague.

Did I mention this mic is rugged? It's no "Buchanan Hammer" - it IS possible to break it if you slam it around hard enough - but it takes some doing. Replacement parts are readily available. This ruggedness has caused it to become an industry standard for general live performance. Better sounding alternatives tend to be less robust and are nearly always significantly more expensive.

And, yes, there have been major records released that used 58s on the vocals - usually live or low budget productions, but if the performance is there this mic won't get in the way.

EDIT: This is directed to the "Shure lovers" who run the ratings of these mics up far higher than they realistically deserve:

Do you really judge the quality of a mic by how many times a drunk can bounce it off the floor of a bar?

I don't.

I judge it by how it SOUNDS. If it doesn't sound good it doesn't matter how rugged it is.

Shure 58s (and 57s) sound OK, but they're certainly not "great". Beyer M88s and M69s are GREAT. Even Electro-Voice N/D 767s sound better than 58s and they're about the same price now. Audix makes some very good sounding dynamic mics.

Sure, I use Shures. They're the lowest common denominator of professional microphones. But if I need a GREAT mic I look elsewhere.

Part of this is because Shure's unit to unit consistency isn't that great. You can't tell by ear, but if you actually run a bunch of 58s (or 57s) on a pen graph analyzer you'll find raggedness in the presence region of the mic that is inconsistent from unit to unit. These are small variations, but on a stage with multiple open microphones they add up in a way that has a detrimental effect on gain before feedback. I say this based on research we did when I was working for Bill Graham's sound company, FM Productions, back in the late '70s when Shure still manufactured their dynamic microphones in the USA. I can pretty much guarantee their quality has not been improved by moving manufacturing out of the country.

Understand that I'm not knocking the mic - it fits its niche in pro audio very well as the intersection of acceptable sound quality, ruggedness, and price - but to give it a perfect score when there are so many better sounding microphones available (some in the same price range) is absurd.

ADDITIONAL EDIT: This is in response to comments and incorrect info posted in the review by mlikiss below - the Beta 58 DOES NOT require phantom power. It is a moving coil dynamic just like the SM58, with the exception of a hypercardioid pattern and neodymium magnet.

I also (after considerable experience with both models) disagree with the assertion that the Beta 58 sounds better (see my review of the Beta). If fact I dislike the Beta so much that the only way I'll use one is if there is no other professional quality mic available. They have all the flaws of the SM58 with the addition of a strident harshness that I find really annoying. I'll take the SM over the Beta any day.
  #1  
By Steaudiophen on 30th December 2011
User review
Sound Quality
5 out of 5
5
Ease of use
5 out of 5
5
Features
5 out of 5
5
Bang for buck
5 out of 5
5
Overall: 5 5
Shure SM58

Does this one need an explanation? It is a classic and is worth every dollar. I used to host open mic nights at a bar and people would be a little off their game sometimes(drunk?). They can take many spills. Not just limited to hitting the floor either. Really! Drunk people spit a lot. So the only bad thing I would say is they will retain that beer and cigarette breath for a few days, which is a user error. If you want a vocal (+other applications) mic that has lasted through the years you can't really go wrong with a 58.

This mic sounds great - my drunk person beating on it was just to show that it can take a beating without losing much. If you drop a TLM103 you are going to wreck an awesome piece of equipment and may whoever owns it want to destroy you. The point was just to note that it can take a beating week after week and still perform well.
Last edited by Steaudiophen; 30th December 2011 at 09:17 PM.. Reason: Email
  #2  
By mlickiss on 4th January 2012
User review
Sound Quality
3 out of 5
3
Ease of use
5 out of 5
5
Features
5 out of 5
5
Bang for buck
5 out of 5
5
Overall: 4.5 4.5
Great for its purpose

This really should be a review for the LOW end Theory section.

This mic is spectacular for what it does. It holds up, takes a licking, and keeps working despite any abuse I can give it. In terms of sound, I have to say that its cousin the Beta 58 is superior, but that one requires phantom power which shouldn't be a problem, but it is not always available, and it is more expensive. Also, as much as I love the Beta 58, if I am in a situation where I think it may get dropped, or knocked over, I much prefer the SM58. It can be dented, wet, kicked, and still work; and more importantly, the sound it produces is preferable to my ears over many of the similar models.

The key to me is use for price, and in the value category, as a low budget musician, I was able to get this mic on sale for a great price, and it has served me very well. It is not the best mic out there, but in the $60-$90 range, I would be hard pressed to find better. This is a low end mic purchase that will last. I would not recommend using it when recording, or even when playing most of the time. But for garage band type practice, or the gig where there is the potential for the mic stand to be tipped, it definitely fits the bill.
  #3  
By gravyface on 6th January 2012
User review
Sound Quality
4 out of 5
4
Ease of use
5 out of 5
5
Features
5 out of 5
5
Bang for buck
4 out of 5
4
Overall: 4.5 4.5
Indestructible and versatile would be two words I would use to describe it. In a live setting, you just can't beat (or should I say you can beat it; without mercy) the durability of this sucker.

Put it in front of a singer who knows what they're doing and it can sound good to great live.

Probably the best feature is that it's an SM-57 in disguise: a mic that needs no introduction among recording amateurs and professionals alike for everything from snare drums to guitar cabinets. Screw the cap/filter back on, and you can take it out of the home/project studio and into the bar for the show tonight.

And because it's not an SM-57, you can actually find a bunch of them for dirt cheap in your local classifieds.
  #4  
By MikeMcD on 6th January 2012
User review
Sound Quality
4 out of 5
4
Ease of use
5 out of 5
5
Features
2 out of 5
2
Bang for buck
5 out of 5
5
Overall: 4 4
Does this mic really need any more reviews?
Sturdy as a brick and actually useable!
I've heard of people taking the mic off of a stand in a live set-up, using it to hammer in an exposed nail on the stage, and then put it right back up on the stand for the following show. The thing can take a beating. I believe the durability tests that Shure put this mic through involved dropping it out of a multi-story window.
And as far as sound quality goes, It's useable! Not great, but certainly not bad. I know singers who refuse to sing through anything else, on stage or recording. As a previous reviewer stated, If the performance is there, this mic won't get in the way.
In my opinion if you're involved in live sound OR recording, you should have at least one of these.
  #5  
By Tube World on 6th January 2012
User review
Sound Quality
2 out of 5
2
Ease of use
4 out of 5
4
Features
2 out of 5
2
Bang for buck
3 out of 5
3
Overall: 2.75 2.75
SM58 was a great mic when it came out in 1966, but not now

The mic was designed in 1966; it is sturdy, strong, and it gives that mid push that helps vocals go through a mix. However it lacks the top end that most newer dynamic mic's offer these days. All the wonderful upper freq's of vocalist that allow you to hear the beauty of their tone is cut off like a sock over the mic. For Roger Daltry swinging a mic around the stage, the SM58 might be ok. But now with the Blue Encore 100, EV, Audix OM, AKG, Audio Technia, and Beta 58 out there that offer more top end while still being rugged, it's no contest. All of the newer mic's capture more of the freq's that are being sung into it and are allowing you to hear more of those sounds. Some may like the SM58 and thats fine, I am not trying to change anyone's mind.

The point I am making is don't go blindly and get a SM58. Try it out against a AKG D5, Blue Encore 100, or Audix OM series mic and see which one offers you the sound your looking for. As an engineer, I look for a more accurate mic that will capture of the vocalist sound. Dynamic mic's are useful since they push the mid's freq's which allows the vocals to be in the front of the mix. The newer dynamic mic's though can get a little more of a condenser sound by allowing you to hear of the higher freq's
  #6  
By Arthur Stone on 10th January 2012
User review
Sound Quality
4 out of 5
4
Ease of use
4 out of 5
4
Features
3 out of 5
3
Bang for buck
4 out of 5
4
Overall: 3.75 3.75
Shure SM58 dynamic microphone

Background: This mic is rightly described as legendary...if anyone was asked to draw a microphone it would be the SM58 shape...it's part of the culture. Produced since 1966, it is generally the standard for live performance (although several new contenders from Shure and other companies are up-and-coming); ironically the SM (in SM58) stands for 'studio microphone) and it has it's place in that role too - particularly through a decent preamp.

Shure SM58-sm58.jpg Name: SM58.JPG Views: 4336 Size: 4.85 MB ID: 271179" style="margin: 2px" />

Hardware: Made from a tough alloy the SM58 weighs in at around 300g and it is a tough cookie and able to withstand the abuses of the stage. It connects via 3-pin XLR and comes in wireless version; also an on/off switch version. The review model is the standard version. Frequency response is 50-15000Hz and the polar pattern of the capsule is cardoid with a rated impedance 150 ohms (300 ohms actual). The SM58 has an internal shock-mount which is handy for stage use.

In Use: The SM58, as a directional mic, is subject to proximity effect - low frequency increases as the source nears the mic. The directionality also assists live performance by rejecting sound from the sides and thus reducing on-stage feedback. I usually use for any live applications and sometimes in the studio for loud instruments, mic'ing guitar combos, or rap vocals/spoken word. A big revelation was passing it through a BAE preamp - new mic, great tone. I tend to use large-diaphragm condensers but sometimes the SM58 is just right. It's very solid and I feel comfortable using it outdoors. I can't really compare it to anything else

Conclusion: Great mic, should be in everyones mic toolbox. If it's an only purchase or it's for a specific live application or vocalist it's worth auditioning against the Shure Beta update or other mics from Audix, Sennheiser, etc. Definitely a design classic.

References:
SM58 The legendary vocal microphone
Shure SM58 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  #7  
By brianellefson on 14th January 2012
User review
Sound Quality
4 out of 5
4
Ease of use
5 out of 5
5
Features
2 out of 5
2
Bang for buck
5 out of 5
5
Overall: 4 4
Worthy

Okay, no B.S.

I'm not here to sugar coat anything. It costs one hundred bucks, doesn't sound "special," has no features, but does a really good job ... still.

I use it as my gigging vocal mic, which is run through a FMR RNC (compressor) and into an acoustic amp. I really like the end result and wouldn't change it. No, it's not all from this mic, but a combination of the mic, compressor, and amp ... but the end result is really, really good. If I didn't use an SM57 I wouldn't have a problem using the 58 to close-mic a guitar cabinet and I'm sure I could get great results.

Bon Iver's first album was (supposedly) recorded entirely with an SM57, which isn't too far off from a 58 and the result was one of the best albums of that year. Also, see this article ...

FLOOD & HOWIE B: Producing U2's Pop

Read under the section, "A Change is as Good as a Rest." Basically says Bono uses an SM58 on every album.

Can't deny they're capable mics ... and really forgiving on EQ sculpting.
  #8  
By Insain on 16th January 2012
User review
Sound Quality
4 out of 5
4
Ease of use
5 out of 5
5
Features
4 out of 5
4
Bang for buck
5 out of 5
5
Overall: 4.5 4.5
I own four SM 58's, and I do not see myself in the position of ever needing to replace them. These are a TANK. From the windscreen's construction, to the XLR plug on the bottom, these will live through anything you can throw at it. I've had them dropped by clumsy singers, thrown and spun around on the XLR cable they were attached to, hit by a drummer when I lacked SM57's for the TOMS, and blown into by a guitar cabinet all while performing wonderfully and reliably on stage. You can get a SM58 new for around 90$-100$, or used (in my area) for around 50$. Knowing how hard-hatted this microphone is; I would consider buying them used and saving the 40-50$.

Take notice, that the SM58 is essentially a SM57 with a larger windscreen, and bigger wind capsule. Adding a foam windscreen the the SM57 usually does not work as good as the SM58 alone.

I would not recommend these for anything in the studio, outside of drum and guitar cabinet microphones. They can really accentuate the lower tones of a vocal performance in a controlled environment. They are great in a live situation though, because they take whatever singing style you can throw at it.
  #9  
By mikethedrummer on 16th January 2012
User review
Sound Quality
3 out of 5
3
Ease of use
5 out of 5
5
Features
3 out of 5
3
Bang for buck
5 out of 5
5
Overall: 4 4
While the sound quality is average at best, the mic still sounds good and is an incredible asset in a live scenario. Its a plug and perform mic with a basic cardioid pickup pattern. Put it on a stand, plug it in, and it rocks. If you spring a few extra dollars you can get one with an on/off switch. Either works for you or against you (depends on how drunk the singer is.)

For a $100 mic, you get what you pay for tonally. Its real value comes from its durability and ability to capture a decent tone for any average venue. You're buying a mic you know will last you years, decades even.

A thumbs up for a classic mic that deserves a home in every venue.
  #10  
By asdfdsa on 22nd January 2012
User review
Sound Quality
4 out of 5
4
Ease of use
4 out of 5
4
Features
4 out of 5
4
Bang for buck
4 out of 5
4
Overall: 4 4
I have two main purposes for using an sm58. The main purpose is a very very durable live mic used for vocals usually, and that must be the main reason everyone else uses the mic as well, it just seems to be its place - it is supposedly the number 1 sold vocal mic there is, its durability and legacy no doubt the reason why. The mic displays good rejection, suitable for live venues, and an in-built windscreen / popper blocker to help with any sibilance or outdoor wind. It really is not the best sounding mic especially for vocals, but during live performances, its 'everyone will sound at-least decent' characteristic is what keeps it going, as well as the fact that you can drop and throw it without a care. It is a bit of a closed-off sounding mic, as is a trait displayed by many dynamics, with a mid-focused presence. This'll actually help the vocals cut through and its somewhat 'boxy' tone has been heard all throughout live recordings over the years, as this guy and its near-twin the sm57 have been live standards.

That leads to the other use of this mic, essentially being another sm57. Short a dynamic for guitar, snare, or other loud mid-oriented instruments? Screw the top off the 58 and now you have a 57 (nearly exact). Sometimes these mics will go for less money than the 57 used so that may be a good idea for someone to pick up if they care about a couple bucks.

Overall it is a good mic that you can throw up on many things, but don't expect a great sound, with the exception of running it through a nice signal chain and using it on the appropriate sources, namely what the sm57 is most used for snare, guitar, etc. For it's reputation, reliability, ease of acquisition, low price, versatility, and standard-referenced sound and character the sm58 is just one of those mic you should have, and if you're doing live stuff chances are you'll need it.
  #11  
By freerange on 22nd January 2012
User review
Sound Quality
1 out of 5
1
Ease of use
4 out of 5
4
Features
1 out of 5
1
Bang for buck
2 out of 5
2
Overall: 2 2
Me No Likey SM58

I do not care if it is a classic.
It must perform. This mic. does not perform.
Back in the day there were not many choices. 57- 58 was a viable choice back then. But we are not talking old school fine dynamic mic stage/recording sound like a Sennheiser 421. It is not 1972 any more.
The worst advice any newbie gets is buy a 58 or 57. All you have to do is compare the sound to any Audix vocal mic. Or just about any other modern stage mic. Can millions of users be wrong? Yes.
This mic sounds dull. Lifeless. Did I mention DULL? It sucks to have to try to sing and monitor yourself onstage if you are using one of these because the presence is not there. The gain before feedback; pathetic.
As I have "evolved" from sound guy to singer, my hatred of the 58 only increases.
There are really cheap mics that kill 57's. I would much rather mic a loud guitar cabinet with bottom of the line Audio Technica drum mic. I would also much rather mic drums with cheap AT drum mics. Cheap like a set of 4 costs what 1 SM57 costs. A 57 on snare is popular, but there are lots of popular things that are not good for you. I actually know a 57 trick that makes it usefull for minimal mic drum recording, but I do not want to encourage the use of these things for anything other than paperweights.
The polar response pattern is OK for 40 years ago. There is so much more gain before feedback available with the Audix product, due to the tight pickup pattern. You can instantly make your stage monitors sound better and louder with much less sound check and ringing out the monitors if you ditch the 58.
I love Sure the company. They make some great microphones, phono cartridges and audio equipment. I would kill to have one of their top end wireless monitor setups. Or a mint vintage VocalMaster PA. With 545's. That is the s**t. Lounge music Baby!
Call me a hater, of the worst popular mic of all time- the 57 and 58.
The Beta 58 is a different animal. Killer stage mic. It has all of the presence, gain, air, detail that you need to have "studio sound on stage". If you must have a 58, you should have that one. It only costs twice what the Audix costs for the same sound quality.
Use these mics to record??? That is a joke, right???? Are you that desperate and/or deaf??? The amount of downstream hardware and/or software processing necessary to make one of these sound like something would buy a carload of much better mics. Get a cheap Audax OM series, set the eq flat, or better yet bypass it, and make some noise. The back rows might actually hear you.
The 57/58 does have fabulous low handling noise, if that is important to you. There is a well isolated capsule in the 57-58. BFD. The cheap Audix product is poor in that regard. The solution for that is the same as for "shy bladder". Focus on the grip and stance.
  #12  
By manysounds on 22nd January 2012
User review
Sound Quality
4 out of 5
4
Ease of use
5 out of 5
5
Features
4 out of 5
4
Bang for buck
5 out of 5
5
Overall: 4.5 4.5
This mic sux

This is the worst microphone ever.
Nobody should use it for anything.
It doesn't sound good on any singers at all, except really nasally whiners.
It doesn't sound good on guitar amps, it doesn't sound good on kick drums (in a pinch) and you'll never hear it on any major recordings. You can't even use it to record acoustic guitar when you take the ball off. What a piece of crap.
/sarcasm
$400 dollar mics don't sound as good and you can knock out a mule with it. They last forever. I have one older than me and it sounds pretty much the same as the newer ones. Low handling noise, consistent pattern. NOT a feedback magnet, IMO but definitely not the best singer's choice for loud bands. It is a WIDE pickup pattern. Does a fine job on percussion.

My only real gripes with the 58: It definitely acts hyped up in the mid-upper-mid range and that causes issue with some voices and system feedback. It can be a bit wooly once the ball gets enough spit in it. It has no presence peak so it doesn't jive too well in a mushy room. The Beta version is terrible IMO.
  #13  
By S.J.Band on 25th January 2012
User review
Sound Quality
4 out of 5
4
Ease of use
5 out of 5
5
Features
5 out of 5
5
Bang for buck
5 out of 5
5
Overall: 4.75 4.75
sm58 was my very first microphone, its good for home studio recordings and as a starters mic.

It have a small popfilter under its hood, that makes it easy to use by unexperienced vocalist.

I on occasions use it to record some guitar through amp tracks, - it gets the job done. (Note that I own other mics).

Me and band used to use it on our Bassdrum before we got a real kickdrum mic., - gets the job done.

I still use it on my guitar amp on bigger places we peform.
  #14  
By connorh on 30th January 2012
User review
Sound Quality
3 out of 5
3
Ease of use
5 out of 5
5
Features
2 out of 5
2
Bang for buck
5 out of 5
5
Overall: 3.75 3.75
Great for live or a coloured recording

The SM58 is a classic dynamic microphone, favoured by Bono and featured in many classic U2 recordings. It produces a very different sound to the condenser microphones typically chosen to record a vocal performance. The rationale for using a condenser would be the flatter frequency response and better reproduction of higher frequencies, so that the recorded sound is similar to that of the actual performance. The dynamic SM58 has a mid-range frequency boost, equivalent to adding an equalisation boost at the mid frequencies. The high frequency representation is also lacking, and overall there is a bumpy frequency response.

I meet many engineers who would shudder at the idea of using this microphone to record vocals, however it all depends on the track and the type of sound you are after. Of course recording a classic Whitney Houston song though a £100 SM58 would seem like sacrilege, and it would be. This microphone heavily colours the sound, it does not produce a natural colouration. However this might be exactly what you are after in your edgy rock track to help the vocal cut though a mix and stand out in a desirable way. Why stop at vocals, there is mention of U2's engineers even using SM58s as drum microphones.

The SM58 is a great microphone for live performance on stage. It is sturdy and robust, as many Youtube videos of 58s being thrown out of windows and run over by cars will confirm. Many vocal performers like to hold a microphone rather than sing into a static mic. on a stand, and again this is a great choice for this.

This is a great microphone for live performance and great for making recorded vocals a little bit special.
  #15  
By Vcru on 31st January 2012
User review
Sound Quality
4 out of 5
4
Ease of use
5 out of 5
5
Features
2 out of 5
2
Bang for buck
5 out of 5
5
Overall: 4 4
I have not met one person who does recording of any sort that doesn't own or has used this microphone. There is not an incredible amount to say about this microphone as it is a cardioid dynamic microphone. It is built like a cement brick and you could hammer nails with this piece of equipment.

It is known as mainly a live vocal mic however, I have used it for multiple reasons and situations. It has been a good mic for certain rap vocals and even some female singers I have recorded. I have used it on guitar amps and a snare. It all really depends on the sound that one is going for. Some people may say that they would never even think of using this microphone on vocals.

One thing to make sure is that if you are using it for a quieter source such as vocals that you must have a preamp that will have enough gain to power this mic otherwise you will have to be basically touching your lips to it.

Many people hate on this microphone but I believe unless you are a very important or rich studio owner you will probably own one of these in your lifetime and find some use for it! If you buy this mic I do not think you will regret it!
  #16  
By mahasandi on 17th February 2012
User review
Sound Quality
2 out of 5
2
Ease of use
3 out of 5
3
Features
2 out of 5
2
Bang for buck
2 out of 5
2
Overall: 2.25 2.25
Yup we have all used one of these.
Actually I like hearing stories about how someone got such a result out of this mic etc.... actually its the song , not the mic.
It has a fizzy metallic sound and though the same capsule as a 57 which is much better sounding to my ears it proves once again just because a km184 has a km84 caplsule they do not sound the same it's the implementation.

And if you need a stage mic it is tough and can take a beating.
I recall many years back first recording and using the 58 and it is better then some of those mics at radio shack that had on-off switches but really it is
hard to say I would use it today.

On the other hand if you have never used one its a good first mic to learn some things on its not terribly expensive and you can use it for something.
Though I seem to prefer the 57 for every chore..so actually maybe a good first mic is a 57 not a 58 i mean no need to take that step!

so I think every one can just say use a 57 dont bother with the 58 ok!!!
  #17  
By nugznmugz on 23rd February 2012
User review
Sound Quality
4 out of 5
4
Ease of use
5 out of 5
5
Features
4 out of 5
4
Bang for buck
4 out of 5
4
Overall: 4.25 4.25
The mic people love to hate

I like them. I have a few. You know what, they sounds great if you've got a good singer. Check out this video...



Billy Preston - 'Round in Circles - Midnight Special 1973 HQ - YouTube

Sorry couldn't get the video to post properly so just follow the link I guess...

They're rock solid, you can always screw the pop filter off if you need a 57, and they're cheap.

Get some. Period.
Last edited by nugznmugz; 23rd February 2012 at 06:43 AM.. Reason: trying to get youtube links to work...
  #18  
By Obrada on 14th March 2012
User review
Sound Quality
5 out of 5
5
Ease of use
5 out of 5
5
Features
5 out of 5
5
Bang for buck
5 out of 5
5
Overall: 5 5
SM58 - maximum SPL

Dear Slutz of Gear,

I would give 10 for Sound Quality, Ease of use, Features and Bang of Buck.
Even in Serbia this mic has good low price...for what you pay you get more when we talk about SM58.

I'm not going to talk about using this mic because we already know the purpose.

I recently come across some information about this mic and i thought that I must share info with you ... so there you go.

Realistic Maximum Sound Pressure Levels for Dynamic Microphones

Microphone users often ask "What is the maximum sound pressure level that a dynamic microphone can handle without distortion?" Using the Shure SM58 as an example of a typical dynamic microphone, Shure Engineering performed experiments to answer this question. Like most technical matters, the answer is not simple.

As a point of reference, 140 dB SPL is the accepted threshold of pain for the human ear. The maximum sound pressure level (max SPL) from a human voice as measured by Shure is 135 dB SPL at 1 inch from the mouth. A kick drum played very loudly may exceed 140 dB SPL, but has never been measured by Shure above 150 dB SPL. The loudest orchestral instrument, a trumpet, can theoretically produce a MAX SPL of 155 dB SPL at 1 inch, but only in its upper register. Note that the distribution of energy (sound pressure) in speech, music, and noise is dependent on the frequency. For example, the human voice does not produce much energy below 100 Hz and its frequency of MAX SPL would be higher than 100 Hz. Exactly how much higher depends on the individual voice.

Unlike a condenser microphone which has internal electronics that may overload, a dynamic microphone distorts when its diaphragm hits a physical barrier, like the magnetic pole piece, and can move no further. The excursion of the diaphragm is frequency dependent and the excursion is greatest at the resonant frequency of the diaphragm. Therefore, the MAX SPL of a dynamic microphone like the SM58 is frequency dependent. This means that low frequencies will produce distortion at a lower SPL than higher frequencies.

For the SM58, the frequency range to first exhibit distortion is centered around 100 Hz, close to the resonant frequency of the microphone's diaphragm. At 100 Hz, the measured MAX SPL is 150 dB SPL and the electrical output of the microphone is 0 dB V or 1.0 volts. Note this is a line level signal, not a mic level signal.

In the 1 kHz range, the SM58 measured MAX SPL is about 160 dB SPL due to the change in microphone sensitivity at the higher frequencies. The electrical output of the microphone at 160 dB SPL is +10 dBV or 3.2 volts.

In the 10 kHz range, 180 dB SPL is the MAX SPL of the SM58. However, this is a calculated measurement as Shure Engineering had no means to create such enormous and dangerous SPL. For comparison, NASA reports that a space shuttle launch measures 180 dB SPL and higher at 10 meters.

In the 20 kHz range, the MAX SPL is calculated to be around 190, due to the response falloff of the SM58. But now the point of absurdity has been reached because at 194 dB SPL the sound pressure varies from twice normal atmospheric pressure (at the wave peak) to a total vacuum (at the wave trough). Plus the sound source must be moving at the speed of sound just to generate a wave of this intensity.

In summary, a well-designed dynamic microphone of professional quality will never reach its distortion point in "normal" conditions. If one does encounter distortion when using a professional dynamic microphone for an extremely loud source, it is most likely that the electrical output of the microphone is clipping the input of the microphone preamplifier. [Remember that at 150 dB SPL, the SM58 will provide a line level output!] To solve this problem, an in-line attenuator ("pad") must be placed before the preamplifier input, or the microphone must be moved farther from the sound source. In general, the sound pressure level will decrease 6 dB for each doubling of the distance.
  #19  
By Dutchy15 on 14th March 2012
User review
Sound Quality
4 out of 5
4
Ease of use
5 out of 5
5
Features
3 out of 5
3
Bang for buck
5 out of 5
5
Overall: 4.25 4.25
Shure SM58

There is an unwritten list of workhorse microphones that'll do the job anywhere, anytime and under any condition. The MD421 is on that list, and the SM57. And the SM58. It doesn't sound "great", but it sounds good enough for millions of engineers around the world to use it. Including me, actually.

The thing is that has an incredible reputation, ask anyone to draw a microphone and you'll get an SM58 on paper, and that means everyone who is the slightest bit involved with sound engineering whatshowever uses the mic.

As I said, in my opinion it doesn't sound great, but good enough to do the job. And the great thing about the mic is that you can put it on anything you'd like to. I used it on bassdrums, snaredrums, rack- and floortoms, brass, percussion and off course vocals.
It doesn't sound "great" on any of the sources mentioned above, but it does the job on all of them, which is why the SM58 got it's reputation, and deserves it.
The low end isn't incredible, and neither are the high frequencies, but in between there it delivers a really solid sound, and because of the heavy proximity effect you can easily "dial in" the amount of body by increasing or decreasing the distance between source and mic.

Maybe, the best thing is that you can abuse as much as you want, without breaking it. Try this with a Behringer mic:



Daniël
  #20  
By OldTimey1 on 14th March 2012
User review
Sound Quality
4 out of 5
4
Ease of use
5 out of 5
5
Features
3 out of 5
3
Bang for buck
4 out of 5
4
Overall: 4 4
Just got a new SM58, figured I'd give my 2cents:

For $99, it's a pretty good value. Comes in a nice box, with a vinyl pouch, a mic clip, and good documentation on how to use the microphone. If I had to do it again, I'd consider getting a used one for 65$ or so.

The sound quality is rock-solid. Just sounds like it should. On voice it really excels, as the grill keeps the singer from getting too much proximity effect. It's a nice airy sound for a dynamic and handles FX like reverb and delay beautifully. It tends to feedback at lower gain settings than a SM57, but that's ok. Just sing louder.

Featurewise - It's barebones, but I give it a "6" instead of a "5" because you can easily and cheaply replace the grill. I had mine for 3 days - and then it it toppled over on the mic stand, which dented the grill. No big deal. The mic can handle it.
  #21  
By MechanEvil on 16th March 2012
User review
Sound Quality
4 out of 5
4
Ease of use
5 out of 5
5
Features
4 out of 5
4
Bang for buck
4 out of 5
4
Overall: 4.25 4.25
The Shure SM58 microphone is a workhorse in every sense of the word. One of the world's most popular microphones, the Shure SM58 is a dynamic microphone with a cardioid pattern response which is especially useful on loud stages, as it mainly captures sounds directly in front of it. Though billed as a vocal microphone, the '58 can be used to record guitars, drums and the kitchen sink if you want it to. Pop off the grill and you have an SM57.
It's excellent price point make having one or two at hand an entirely feasible option. It uses an XLR connector. There is no on/off switch.
While many would consider it sacrilege to use a SM58 on a studio recording, there have been hit albums recorded using it on vocals by bands of the caliber of U2 and Lamb of God. And though these are exceptions rather than the rule, it serves to underline that what you put into this microphone is what you get out of it. And by that I don't mean to say there couldn't be a better microphone for a certain job; just that the SM58 can be used for professional sounding results as microphones that cost thousands of dollars more.
That said, it's primary advantage is on the stage, due to its rugged construction, it's ability to be cut through a plethora of other instruments and its dependable nature.
Singing into the SM58, I find that it accentuates mid frequencies while low and high frequencies seem to "roll off" more sharply. The microphone has a character that makes it sound like vocals are being recorded inside a space like a room or a box, i.e. it is not entirely an accurate representation of the original sound, though this is not necessarily undesirable and could be advantageous while fitting the vocals in the mix.
In terms of durability, the SM58 is the heavyweight champion of the microphone world and can take a lot of abuse without packing it in. I've had a microphone stand topple over (once) and the SM58 was no worse for it. The box it comes in has a carry bag, a microphone clip and documentation. My first microphone, I found it reliable and dependable for the price I paid.
  #22  
By trustsound on 17th March 2012
User review
Sound Quality
2 out of 5
2
Ease of use
5 out of 5
5
Features
5 out of 5
5
Bang for buck
4 out of 5
4
Overall: 4 4
Not too expensive

Legendary microphone, but I almost feel undeservingly so. It's a very muddy microphone I'd probably never use it for anything besides talking from the control room, It's built to last forever that's its biggest achievement. The 58a beta sounds alot better.
  #23  
By digitaltoast on 14th April 2013
User review
Sound Quality
5 out of 5
5
Ease of use
5 out of 5
5
Features
5 out of 5
5
Bang for buck
5 out of 5
5
Overall: 5 5
Exclamation 57 ...or... 58

Has anyone actually used these mics? Listened to them?

I don't think that they sound even close to one another!

Am I the only one? Why do people keep on saying that they are the same mic? If that were the case, I would think that the parts to turn one into the other would be available... But guess what?

Sure the handles are made out of the same material, maybe even are the same part (haven't tested that hypotheses). But, listen to them. Hell, just check the website... Different frequency response, different capsule.

Blows my mind how often this myth is perpetrated and how many blindly, er, deafly pass it on... I suppose I believed it at one point... Before I had heard both mics. Just read a back page proaudio mag writer repeat this myth as fact in a recent column. What does that say about the rest of the mag?

After all that, hopefully you won't believe anything as printed, but listen...

Both are fantastic mics. Yes durability is key in so many areas... But the mass also helps to combat resonances which are certainly prevalent on stage, but also appear in a studio environment.

Ever hear your fancy condenser ring? (Sorry if this missive causes manufacturers to design heavier mics.)

One is these mics is amongst my favorites... Open, detailed, uncolored, natural ... At a certain SPL... And that happens at a particularly useful point.

The other is muffled, colored, damped... Not really that nice of a mic ... At least in a free-field environment. But, that's not where it's used. It's used in front on hunderds of watts of monitor power... Yeah it's pointed the opposite way, but a face makes an excellent mirror at certain frequencies.

It is said that this mic fights feedback, but I disagree. This mic embraces feedback! Requires it! How and why would require me to get out a Smith chart...


Really, can anyone name a more versatile mic? And at a price point that embarrasses so many other mics.

As for used, personally I would stay away in this instance. Although they continue to work... Sound does seem to deteriorate with abuse. And buy from a reputable dealer... These things are counterfeited like crazy. Shure works diligently at shutting down such operations... But just check online sites ... They have mics that look exactly the same with a different name plate ... And I gotta say that the sticker is the easiest thing to duplicate!
  #24  
By mixer mixer on 21st April 2013
User review
Sound Quality
4 out of 5
4
Ease of use
5 out of 5
5
Features
5 out of 5
5
Bang for buck
5 out of 5
5
Overall: 4.75 4.75
Mic is like a cat, both have 9 lives.

There's a reason why this mic is immortal, it just works.

Granted that this mic is the most popular for vocalists and engineers alike, you can never go to a gig and not see one of these on the mic stand.

Of course there are better mics out there that offer better Freq. response for the money, but the SM58 is usually a first choice.

Shure offers a variant that has a switch on it but it's poorly implemented IMO in that it's bulky/ugly.

This mic is dynamic, therefore doesn't need +48v phantom.

Because of it's popularity, beware of counterfeits that look exactly like the SM58 but have horrible tone. Personally, I've been through that route before. Always buy through reputable dealers.

Chances are, your next gig will have an SM58 lookin' at you.
  #25  
By bwgray on 30th July 2013
User review
Sound Quality
3 out of 5
3
Ease of use
3 out of 5
3
Features
2 out of 5
2
Bang for buck
2 out of 5
2
Overall: 2.5 2.5
Unhappy Shure SM58

I honestly thought that this mic would be a great onstage vocal mic, and good for recording...I think I've got a Friday afternoon model.

Compared to other people's SM58's mine is a dull, low gain mic, but with decent flat sound. What brought this mic to life was buying a cheap Art tube preamp ($75), which I use with it all the time, and it's now a good sounding mic.

That said to have to buy accessories, to make it come to life, is not the greatest thing...
  #26  
By residentsparking on 27th January 2014
User review
Sound Quality
3 out of 5
3
Ease of use
4 out of 5
4
Features
2 out of 5
2
Bang for buck
3 out of 5
3
Overall: 3 3
Not a silver bullet

I work sound in a small UK church. It's pretty informal and you never know who'll be stepping up to sing. It's tempting to think that by using an industry standard you're giving all vocalists a level playing field. Not so! The 58 is a rock mic, not really suited for worship duty in my experience.

What's there is mushy and indeterminate, and it tends to pick up A LOT of spill. I put this down to poor polar pattern control across the frequency range. I have relegated the 58s to guitar amp duty and now use ATM41HE (obsolete, but worth looking up) on vocals. I have also had monitor feedback issues with the 58 where a cheaper Sennheiser in the same spot has been just fine. Again, poor polar pattern control.

I realize my situation is quite specific - but not so different from someone considering their first "proper" vocal mic. Best if you can try a few and see what works for your application. One of the most flexible mics we have is a cheapo LD systems back-electret. Cheap as chips and works just as well at 3 inches and 3 feet. But then, beer spillage is not a consideration in church. Feedback is.
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