by Brendan G-W
Welcome to part two of three in Gear Nebraska’s vocal microphone battle royal. Last week we looked at the E/V 767a and this week brings the juggernaut of live sound – the Shure SM58. The SM58 is one of the most recognizable and most widely used vocal microphones in live sound settings. Shure has been producing these things since 1966.
The dynamic microphone features a uniform cardioid polar pattern to help reduce background noise. The mics frequency response ranges from 50 Hz up to 15,000 Hz. Shure boasts that its microphone is tailored for vocals and gives the mic about a five-decibel boost between 2 kHz and 9 kHz, with a slight dip around 7 kHz to help feedback suppression.
These microphones are built like freaking tanks. They can be dropped, thrown and stomped on and keep working.
I first learned live sound engineering about 13 years ago in a fairly large room that housed everything from concerts to movies to public speeches, and the Shure SM58 was the go-to microphone — for, literally, everything. Because of that, I had become accustomed to these mics until about nine years ago when someone posed the simple question of “Why?” I didn’t have an answer, so started finding other mics to justify my choice of the 58. All that did was push me further away from the 58. It is average at best and Shure has made a brand and a fortune off of that mediocrity. Compared to other similarly priced microphones, the 58 sounds thin, lacking richness and the ability to pop the vocals out from the background.
Check back next week for the conclusion to this riveting account of vocal microphones and see which microphone earns top honors.
Brendan G-W is an Omaha native. Some of his fave things this week are people selling stuff on craigslist.org that aren't total jerkballs and the fresh herb garden growing on the porch — looking real good herbs, real good. Did he offend your delicate nature? Leave a comment here or send hate mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.