Shure SM58 Vocal Microphone Review

A well-known line of Shure mics “SM” is a good example of standard professional microphones with acceptable price. Today we review Shure SM58, it is vocal microphone with cardioid polar pattern. This model is based on a 565SD microphone and it widens overall model concept in many ways. Nowadays this microphone is so popular that any bar, night club, hall – any place with scene probably has one, so this microphone became a legend. Shure SM58 produces for fifty years (from 1966 to the present day) and they released the fiftieth anniversary model of this mic – Shure SM58-50A here you can check our review. Shure did not stop there, they release more variations of this model – with cable or without, with build in on/off switch, with XLR to USB adapter. These variations widens this models purposes even more, make it more versatile so every person will be able to enjoy this experience. So technical specifications first, as usual.

Specifications

Microphone Type: Dynamic
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
Frequency Response: from 50Hz up to 15000Hz
Impedance: Rated Impedance is 150Ω (300Ω actual)
Sensitivity: –54.5 dBV/Pa (1.85 mV)
Connector: Three-Pin professional audio connector (male XLR type)
Form Factor: Handheld
Housing: Dark gray, enamel-painted, die cast metal; matte-finished, silver colored, spherical steel mesh grille
Size: L 162mm x W 51mm
Net weight: 298 grams

Overall Build and Features

The overall design of this model is pure classic, this stick with pop filter is iconic since 1960 and nothing really changed the game. This enamel panel and steel mesh grille will be popular even in fifty years. The ball grille is always a good decision for that type of models because it defends cartridge, it don’t allow you to get too close and it filter the sound from unwanted noises. The construction is rather durable, but less than 565SD for example because of plastic parts. Don’t forget that the storage bag is included and there won’t be any problems with transporting.

This microphone model is available in four different package bundles / variations (Shure SM58-LC without cable / Shure SM58-CN with XLR cable / Shure SM58S with On/Off switch / Shure SM58-X2u with XLR to USB signal adapter), which is quite good and allows you to purchase exactly what you need, also it’s an opportunity to save some money. If we talk about extended version of 58 than it is time to say some words about switch and other special features. Speaking about switch – it is average looking for this types of Shure mics. Magnetic and silent, that’s all. Special adjustable clip is included in every set so it will be simple to find good stand for it. Let’s take a closer look at the package bundle with XLR to USB signal adapter.

Shure SM58-X2u Overview

Shure X2u is a device which replaces the audio interface for sound recording. Buying a microphone in this configuration you will save money because there is no need to purchase an audio interface, as X2u contains all the features for high-quality recording. X2u is smaller than the microphone SM58 and it’s easy to place it together in zipped pouch, so it gives you an advantage to take devices wherever you go and it’s easy to use – just plug and play. Also Shure X2u sold separately from microphones that allows you to use it with any other.

All Shure X2u Features:

Plug and Play to any USB port of our computer, (compatible with Windows 10, Windows 8.1 64-bit, Windows 8, Windows 7, Vista, XP, 2000, and Mac OS X 10.1 or later).
Built-in signal preamp allows you to control microphone gain.
Zero latency monitoring of real-time audio playback.
1/8 Headphone jack with volume control on front panel for sound monitoring.
Recording sample rate is 16bit / 48kHz (better than CD Quality).
Provides +48V phantom power which allows you to connect any studio condenser microphone.
LED input signal level indication & LED USB connection indicator.

Sound Quality

Sound characteristics of this mic are really good, but if you want to sound like a pro – connect this mic to mixer with good characteristics, audio interface, or use X2u bundle version, which will provide quality recording. All technical features of this mic impose us to use it for vocal & speech. Cardioid polar pattern eliminates unwanted noises and do it pretty good with the help of pop filter. But if you have willingness to use it with instruments it will do well too but it will be better for you to buy some VST EQ software or analog EQ after microphone signal. There is another innovative feature in this model. Pneumatic shock-mount system cuts down handling noise, so you can forget about unpredictable noises from external mechanical impacts.

Here are some audio examples of Shure SM58 recordings

How to Distinguish Counterfeit Shure SM58

This mic is really popular all over the world that is why it is easy to get confused and buy counterfeit especially when you are not in US. Here are some tips that will help you to distinguish fake Shure SM58.Shure SM58 Counterfeit

  • There is no SM58SK version of this mic (Counterfeit SM58 often with “SK” prefix).
  • Under the pop filters curve there is aluminum part, not plastic.
  • There is no sticker with a word ‘caution’ on a capsule in the original version.
  • On a fake microphone protective grid and XLR connector contacts don’t contain silver. Because of this, they are susceptible to faster oxidation.
  • Inconsistency in sound quality and performance. Fake microphone buzzing at low frequencies; capsule does not hold a high dynamic loads, which cause distorting sound; sound is transmitted from the body to capsule.
  • Transformer and wires are not fixed properly inside of mic housing.
  • Price on counterfeit microphone is lower on 20% – 40%.
  • Every mechanical impact influence sound on fake models.
  • Always be careful buying microphones, especially if you do it on the untrusted site.

Shure SM58 vs Sennheiser e 845 vs Shure BETA 58A

We have already compared Shure SM58 with Shure SM48 / 565SD / 55SH. Now it’s time to compare SM58 with its main competitors from the same price range and category (Handheld Vocal Microphone). So let’s star our comparison.

Firstly, let’s start with comparison of Shure SM58 and Sennheiser e 845. Microphones are identical in their configuration and both come with a holder & pouch. Difference in price is not significant – from $10 to $40, depending on the variation of the microphone (with on/off switch or without). In overall build and technical specifications – it is quite two different devices. They differ in polar pattern, frequency response, impedance. Sennheiser e 845 has supercardioid polar pattern which provides consistent sound quality on varying distances & moving off axis, which in one case can be super-awesome feature and in other case this microphone can catch unwanted sounds as it’s supercardioid polar pattern, while Shure SM58 has cardioid polar pattern that helps to eliminate unwanted sounds. Also both microphones have different capsules and significant differences in frequency response, which greatly affects on the sound. Unfortunately, we don’t have audio examples to listen & compare, but after hours of searching all the forums and reviews we can safely say that Shure SM58 – provides warm sound, while Sennheiser e 845 gives your sound clarity. We recommend you go to the local store and check the sound of both mics. So, the technical differences you can see in our table.

Shure SM58 and Shure SM BETA 58A have a lot in common. Firstly, they are both dynamic mics and both have a pumping pneumatic shock-mount, which is great feature for rejecting unwanted sounds and handling noise. The frequency of both mics is tailored for vocals and speech, so they perfectly cope with this task. The first differences: Shure SM58 has cardioid polar pattern and Shure BETA 58A has supercardioid polar pattern. Another differences that BETA 58A has neodymium magnet for high signal–to–noise output. Also BETA 58A more expensive on $60 than SM58, but does not have On/Off switch, which is quite disappointing. In addition, two mics have different frequency response (you can see the pictures in the table), as a result BETA 58A has punchy sound, while SM58 has warm smooth sound. You can hear the difference in audio examples below.

Shure SM58 Sennheiser e 845 Shure BETA 58A
Transducer Type Dynamic Dynamic Dynamic
Polar Pattern Cardioid Super-cardioid Super-cardioid
Frequency Response 50Hz to 15000Hz
Frequency Response on Scheme
40Hz to 16000Hz
Frequency Response on Scheme
 50Hz to 16000Hz
Frequency Response on Scheme
Sensitivity –54.5 dBV/Pa (1.85 mV) 1,8 mV/Pa −51 dBV/Pa (2.8 mV)
Impedance 150Ω (300Ω actual) 350Ω 150Ω
Pros Warm and Smooth Sound for Live Vocals, Speech & Podcasts
4 Package Bundles Configurations
XLR to USB Adapter – Configuration Type
Prevents mechanical noise and vibrations
Metal Housing
Low Price
Price / Quality
Clear Sound for Live Vocals, Speech & Podcasts
Available with On/Off Switch and Without
Prevents handling noise, hum compensating coil
High gain befour feedback & consistent sound quality on varying distances, moving off axis due the supercardioid polar pattern.
Metal Housing
Punchy Sound for Live Vocals, Speech & Podcasts
Prevents mechanical noise and vibrations
High gain befour feedback & consistent sound quality on varying distances, moving off axis due the supercardioid polar pattern & neodymium magnet.
Available in wireless versions
Metal Housing
Cons Not so good for studio recording solutions Not so good for studio recording solutions Without On/Off Switch
Check the Price

Three Reasons to Buy

  1. Perfect solution for live artists, recording vocals & speech, podcasts, instruments (especially with X2u or audio interface) and in all entertainment area. 
  2. The second and the main reson to buy this microphone is Price / Quality ratio. For its money you’ll get a microphone which copes with all tasks, and has proven itself around the world as an ideal device. So almost every club, concert hall, restaurants, rehearsal base and recording studios use it.
  3. Available in four variations on the market. You can choose exactly what you need and in some cases save some money.

Final Verdict

This is one of the cheapest models in SM line and still it is a good choice even if you are professional (and we know many examples of famous bands using this model). The mixture of traditions and innovations again demonstrated that one approach will not nullify another but complement it.

The price of this model does not mean that it will have bad sound, it means that Shure can provide good classic with its firm quality and still does not get greedy, so let us say another time “Good guys, Shure, keep on your pious price policy and thank you from the community”.

Lowest Price on Shure SM58 (Free Worldwide Delivery!)
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Global Shure SM58 Rating
  • Sound Recording Quality - 8.1/10
    8.1/10
  • Overall Build & Features - 8.4/10
    8.4/10
  • Design - 8/10
    8/10
8.2/10