Product Type: Shure Microphone
Newest Review: ... made of metal. So there's no cheap plastic here. The only damages I've seen on the SM58 are scratches on the shaft or dents in the top (but... more
Jedi Knights Have Light Sabres; Singers Have The SM58 Microphone -'May The Mic Clip Be With You'
Member Name: Caveat-Emptor
Date: 11/10/10, updated on 11/10/10 (145 review reads)
Advantages: Great Sound, Presence Peak For Clarity, Good Feedback Rejection, Tough As Old Boots
Disadvantages: Not The Cheapest Good Dynamic Mic Out There, Stiff Competition From Other Great Mics
My Introduction To Moving Coil Induction
(It may sound complicated but at least it rhymes :-)
I won't bore you with lots of background on the history of the Shure Company or that of the Shure SM58 Microphone since there's already bags of info available from some of the other SM58 reviews if you're so inclined -lol!!...
I'd rather give you my personal opinion as both a (recently dragged out of retirement) singer songwriter/guitarist; now you know why I don't write on Dooyoo much anymore... ah the good old days...sigh ;-)
... so that you can, if you're considering purchasing a microphone perhaps find a few useful insights to help guide you.
I'm just upgrading my own PA (public address; speakers + amps + mics etc) system, and needed a new mic for my backing singer and percussionist (who also just happens to be my girlfriend too; small world -lol!!) ... So we decided on an SM58 (since that's what I use too).
So after a quick search on the net we bought one from Amazon for £96 including free postage. I used to sell mics years back when I used to work in guitar/music music shops so I already knew what sound, polar pick up pattern (nothing to do with artistic polar bears -lol! I'll explain later for anyone unfamiliar with microphones ;-) and qualities, I wanted from a vocal microphone.
Not Sure What To Buy? ...
Then Give Your Vocal Cords A Try :-)
If you want to buy a vocal mic (or to put it another way; are you sure you want a Shure? Sorry couldn't resist it -lol!) but don't have much experience of them, I'd always gently suggest that you visit a good music shop and try a wide range of them out; there is no such thing as the best vocal mic...
... we all have different voices and different requirements so test a range of high quality mics out if you get the chance, then you'll have the best chance of finding the one that suits you best!!
Testing mics in a shop is not a time for shyness if you want to find your ideal one- saying 'testing, one, two is not going to tell you anything... See how easily it feeds back (that shrill nasty high pitch sound you sometime hear at gigs -some mics depending on polar pattern and design feedback much more easily than others -though room acoustics, EQ and proximity to the speakers etc are contributing factors too of course), how clear is the sound? Is there a lot of handling noise? If you're a singer testing mics then you need to sing -lol!! (and don't forget to take a friend or two for a second opinion).
Seriously; any music shop assistant worth their salt will respect you for your efforts and try to help you (if they don't you're in the wrong place, try somewhere better instead!)... Who knows if they like you may get offered a gig or job in a band too; and all you were after was a mic!! :-)
Break Resistant Clip? Mr Shure; Get A Grip -Lol!!
So a few days later our SM58 arrived. Included with the mic was a mic clip which screws onto a boom or straight mic stand to enable hands free use (the clip was quite brittle plastic; I don't favour this type for serious gig use as they snap so easily if trodden on (and when you're setting up or packing away that's a distinct possibility if you have lots of equipment to pack up and lots people around).
As you can imagine; the Shure mic clip went straight into the 'spares' bag and I used a rubber mic clip instead -lol!! Strangely Shure describe their supplied mic clip as break resistant - my humble opinion as one who has played over a hundred gigs this year so far is that the mic clip looks break resistant in the same way that brick houses look like they might float!
Also included is a nice black zip-up bag for the mic which protects the mic when not in use.. not that an SM58 needs much protecting; they have a reputation for being near indestructible.
Only Captain Scarlet Is Truly Indestructable!!
Dropping an SM58 is fairly unlikely to do it any harm, though you can bend/warp the metal grille fairly easily (this doesn't affect the sound; but if you do want to replace a damaged grille - it's worth knowing that the metal grilles are screw off and easily replaced... generic replacements are cheaper than Shure grills if you're on a budget; last time I saw a generic one it was about £6).
Certainly the SM58 has possibly the best reputation for ruggedness of all vocal mics, but in truth any well built dynamic mic (dynamic mics are very common and require no power supply; your voice or other sound vibrates a diaphragm inside the mic which creates a small voltage as the coil moves through a magnetic field and this gives us the sound; that's why dynamic mikes are also known as moving-coil mics) is pretty tough...
...at least when compared to ribbon mics or condenser mics which are a bit outside the scope of this review - suffice to say that they're generally far more fragile than dynamic mics).
The SM58 isn't really (at least not quite) indestructible though... there are some very thin wires inside the cartridge, and also it's possibly to damage it by blowing into the grille/top of the mic hard (the practice of blowing on a mic to hear if it's plugged in; as I've occasionally seen done in live situations is never a wise one; replacement cartridges are not cheap -lol!).
I Didn't Understand Twin Peaks;
I Do Understand Presence Peaks :-)
So why did we buy an SM58? Well I like the slight presence peak (upper mid range boost) it has that makes singing/speaking more intelligible... I've lost track of how many times I've heard someone talking/singing through a mic and it was just a muffled muddle of unfathomable syllables!!
A slight boost of mid frequencies helps the human voice 'cut' through better and with increased clarity -though not necessarily quality (great studio mics often have very flat responses -no peaks/troughs - so they capture the most natural sound, but those super expensive capacitor mics are not too practical for live gigs; they can be fragile, require a power supply and unless they have a switchable polar pattern will often feedback like they were competing for first place in the world feedback championships!! ;-)
The SM58 is not the only mic to have a presence peak though, so don't think that there are no other dynamic with this feature, but since we already had one SM58 it seemed a good choice to go for two mics with identical spec. to give our voices a consistent blend and mix.
The Deepest Bass Is Close To Your Face!!
I also like (or perhaps I'm just very used to?) making the most of the proximity effect of the mic. The proximity effect is where a sound/voice becomes more bass heavy the closer it is to the mic. If you're aware of the proximity effect you can use it to great effect on certain words and notes when singing. You need to be careful not too overdo the effect though as in some rooms you can end up with a sound that's so bass heavy, singing becomes unintelligible (despite the presence peak - lol!) and we're right back to the undesirable scenario I described earlier...
Any cardioid pick up pattern mic will have a proximity effect to some degree or other, but once you get used to/ know how to get the best out of a certain mic, the proximity effect can be very useful for almost any style of singing/music. For me it's the SM58 mic that I know best in a live situation.
Here's Some Feedback You Really Don't Want To Receive!!
But what else do I like about the SM58? Well I can get a fair amount of volume out of it before I get into problems with feedback. Even in 'tricky' rooms (from a room acoustics/ambience point of view) I rarely need to resort to using a graphic EQ to control any 'ringing' frequencies, and if there's one thing I like it's hassle free PA set ups!!
Now there's nothing magical going on here with the SM58 - it just has (as I mentioned earlier) a cardioid pick up pattern, which in useful (though simplified) terms means the mic only picks up sounds right in front of it and 'rejects' (or is deaf/unresponsive to) sounds behind it (the further off-centre a sound is the less well the mic picks it up).
Now to briefly explain feedback, for anyone who would like to know (this is the simplified version ;-) occurs when the mic picks up sound from the speaker, and the mic then again 'feeds' that sound 'back' to the amplifier that drives the speaker, the speaker outputs the sound yet again, the mic picks the sound up from the speaker yet again and the whole thing is continued ad nauseum until (like a car rolling down a steep hill gathering more and more speed) it gets completely out of control; and hey presto; that's the horribly screeching sound we hear as feedback
The good news is that if your speakers are position well to the sides and preferably in front of a microphone like the SM58 (so essentially the speakers are, if you think about it, behind the mic from the singers point of view... and as you may recall, any sounds behind the mic are 'rejected' (ignored/not picked up) by it -hence (in theory at least; volume levels, room acoustics, reverb/echo levels and EQ also can all work against you to encourage feedback if you're not careful -lol!) no feedback!!
There are even tighter pickup patterned microphones (called hyper-cardioids) than the SM58, but I've always done just fine with my trusty old SM58, so for me/us another SM58 was just the right mic for us to buy.
My Verdict; Singing It's Praises;
Or Is The King Looking Dated??
My girlfriend and I (sorry... my backing vocalist and I -lol!!) are very pleased with our new mic purchase. If you want a great vocal mic you really can't go too far wrong with an SM58, though as I said earlier; unless you're really sure of the sound you want go and try loads of good mics out, as the SM58 is certainly not the only great live gig mic on the market.
The mic doesn't come with a lead, so be sure to budget for one of these too (if your equipment has XLR/Canon inputs as well as ¼ inch jacks go for the XLR leads as they're what's called 'balanced' and thus cancel out a lot of interference and allow for much longer cables without treble loss.
If Your Budget Is Blown Can You Use It At Home?
PS if you're one of the many singers/musicians out there with a little home studio on their PC etc and are wondering if the SM58 will double as a studio mic as well as a live mic; well it's nowhere near as sensitive as a studio capacitor mic, but it's certainly not unknown for rock vocalists to use them in the studio (and decent results can be obtained for most styles of music, though bear in mind that a dedicated studio mic will always have more 'top end' frequencies and a more natural sound.
Also, the SM58 makes a fine choice for guitarists wanting to mic up their guitar combos at home (though arguably an SM57 is a better choice - if I get time I'll try to get round to doing a review on the SM57 at some point ;-) I know there are an endless stream of guitar fine amp modelling devices out there in both hardware and software, but there's nothing quite like the sound of the real thing... as long as you have forgiving or at least hard of hearing neighbours -lol!!
So yes; the SM58 will double as a studio mic too if you can't afford a dedicated studio mic, though it's not the ideal tool, great results can still be obtained if you're careful...
But it's at live gigs where the SM58 earned it's crown as the king of live mics... and decades later the SM58 is still the vocal mic of choice for many singers, and even though there is some stiff competition out there from other manufactures, once you've used a 58 it's easy to see why it's so popular!
Thank you so much for reading my review and I hope you found it interesting!!
Summary: Still The Standard By Which All Other Vocal Mics Are Judged!