Shure SM58S Vocal Microphone Review

This is a very old model, introduced about 50 years ago and still in production. It has a fairly good sound, for which it even received a number of awards – though that was in the past. Now, this mic is getting steadily outdated and replaced by more advanced models. On the good side, it is very affordable, and so would be a great choice for any broke musicians and amateur singers. If your mic budget is only $100, you should really look no further. You’ll also be surprised to find it still working a decade later, but remember my advice: don’t get stuck on it for too long!

Sound & quality

Shure SM58s has a relatively good sound, and if it happens to be your first mic, you’ll likely love it. However, this is only until you try some more advanced mics. Shure didn’t stand still for 50 years and produced some better models of course, and so did the other manufacturers recently. Coming back to SM58s, you must understand that this is not a multipurpose mic. It won’t work for podcasting nor instruments, because it is specifically designed for live singing performance. Only in such environment will you get the best of this mic.

sm58sAlthough it has some good gain before feedback and it certainly works for a loud and noisy environment, you will still need to hold it close to your lips to make it sound right. This mic has an accentuated high frequency response that gives it a bit of nasal sound, which can be unpleasant especially for a female voice. On the other hand, a deeper male voice sounds just fine. Shure SM58s has a decent level of detail, but the sound isn’t particularly crisp. Compared side by side with a number of newer models, it may sound kind of muffled.

Despite those disadvantages, it still does way better than other equally priced models as long as live vocals are concerned. If you have an especially harsh voice, or if you sing in a rock / metal band, it will sound smoother. On the other hand, it loses some of the inflection and detail along the way, which is a very typical situation with any dynamic microphones. Perhaps, this would be more important for something like podcasting and may not be particularly crucial for an average jamming… yet, if you want a professional performance it is certainly a no go – unless you don’t mind sounding below your potential.

Build

Shure SM58s has a durable build. Whatever you do with it, it is very unlikely to break. You shouldn’t try using it as a hammer, as has been suggested by some… but it is certainly strong enough to survive a dozen of drops and more. Don’t get too excited though. Most recent dynamic mics won’t fall in pieces either, as all of them have a very simple construction. In case with SM58s, it is just a capsule wrapped in ball-like screen, which by the way acts as an effective pop filter, and an on/off switch. That’s it. The original Shure SM58 doesn’t even have that switch, but I suggest you go for the “s” aka switch version.

Verdict

SM58s is undoubtedly one of the most popular microphones ever made, and yet it is highly overrated. For a $100 mic, it does indeed perform very well. Nevertheless, don’t you ever dare comparing it to high-end or even more or less decent middle-end models! When it comes to live vocals, you may want to invest a tad more. A good mic in a $200 range, for instance, can make a tremendous difference. In the end, if you anticipate a professional quality sound, you better put it this mic far away… or perhaps give it a try at nail hammering.

Pros

  • Durable. Very durable
  • Works well for live vocals
  • Familiar to any sound engineer
  • Decent noise reduction
  • Has an on/off switch

Cons

  • Produces some nasal sound
  • Sounds muffled
  • Boomy

Review score
  • Good - 6/10
    6/10

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