Shure KSM9 Condenser Microphone Review

Shure KSM9 is a professional on-stage condenser mic. This model is renowned and remains a favorite choice of many musicians. It offers a natural, open sound, with a very balanced low-end, beautifully smooth midrange and brilliant highs. Giving just enough brightness to put you in line or slightly ahead of the instruments, I find it working great for all types of voices too. As expected from professional equipment, you’ll get that superior quality and low noise levels. The unique feature of KSM9 is a switchable pattern (cardioid vs. supercardioid), which gives greater flexibility for any situation or environment.

Sound & quality

Shure KSM9 has a fantastic quality and it gives a very natural sound. Aside from singers, we’ve seen it working for acoustic artists too, for example guitar players etc. Just make sure to point it where you want to and it will do the rest. As for music genres, KSM9 works best with latin, jazz, pop music, rock and similar. For more aggressive styles like metal, technically you’ll still get a better quality vocal, but among those loud and heavy guitar riff sounds you may probably not be able to notice the difference.

In terms of frequency response, the sound of KSM9 is very well tailored, and it does sound much better than a typical ‘flat-response’ condenser. The lows are being naturally rolled off to avoid that unwanted mud and boominess. The entire midrange, which corresponds for vocal and most instrumental sounds is precise as never before. The higher range gets some gentle boost, resulting in more transparency and helping to cut through more easily. KSM9 is also amazingly crispy and I find it quite amusing. It maintains a great accuracy at higher freqs (where other mics err), and even those high-pitched harmonics sound so much natural!

ksm9It is also nice to admit the technological advancements implemented in this unit. Aside from its precious, gold layered, low mass diaphragm, KSM9 uses first class electric components for its preamplifier circuit. This helps to achieve an extremely fast transient response and make the sound more vivid.


This mic has a number of features that make the overall experience even more enhancing… First of all, is a state of art suspension system for the capsule, which results in reduced handling noise.

Condenser mics are generally considered as sensitive to handling vibrations; however, in case with KSM9 the difference is tremendous. Second, nonetheless very important feature is a unique grille design that does an impressive job in reducing popping sounds. They call it a three-stage grille or simply triple grille.

Last but not least is an interchangeable polar pattern. Shure KSM9 has two modes: cardioid and supercardioid. Both patterns are standard and both can be as useful in different situations. For example, as a lead singer you will naturally lean towards a more balanced sound of cardioid. However, when the stage gets more aggressive and louder, you will need the improved rejection and gain before feedback of supercardioid. Unlike with other mics, both patterns of KSM9 work flawlessly. Thus, it is like you buy one mic but end up with two, and you can switch them whenever you want, which is quite very awesome.

Who should use it

Any artist or singer who has enough money for professional gear could use KSM9. This microphone can give a colossal improvement to your vocal and it actually deserves every dollar spent. Comparing to other Shures, it is a great step up from their Beta 87A and miles ahead of Beta 58A. They are just in completely different leagues. Therefore, if you can afford this mic, go ahead and start digging that difference.


  • Very natural, crispy, balanced sound
  • Cuts through beautifully
  • Switchable patterns
  • Low self-noise
  • Low handling noise
  • Minimum popping & breath noise


  • Guess what, you can’t afford it.
Best Price on Shure KSM9
Review score
  • Excellent! - 9/10


  • Damon

    Great write up. How vulnerable are these mics to dropping on the stage? How careful do you have to be in handling? Are some types more durable than other similar in the live performance category?

    • Peter

      KSM9 is a top line mic and I assure you it’s pretty tough – the capsule is well protected, and if dropped, the internal suspension can easily handle the shock. The electronic circuit is maybe complex but it doesn’t utilize any vulnerable components (such as triodes, crystal oscillators, etc.) and all parts are high grade. It may likely suffer from cosmetic defects, such as grille deformation and less likely scratches. The grilles are of course replaceable… Yet, considering the price of the unit, you’d still want to treat it with all due respect and I hope this is a no-brainer. The event in which it gets out of order is quite unlikely, however, with a good amount of acceleration, anything can be achieved. :D

  • corey

    Great site. Between the KsM9 and the E935 which would be better for handheld studio rap/vocals? I own a SM7b and want a mic with similar quality for when I feel like holding the mic and being free.

  • Peter

    That’s a tough one. But guess you are looking more into a dynamic type of mic. SM7b is unique though, so don’t expect you can get the exact same performance from another handheld. From those a reviewed, Heil PR35 would be the closest match in how it sounds while also being studio worthy. Keep in mind, Heil mic is more sensitive, which is both a pro and a con. Depending on your style, it may require some minor adjustments to your pronunciation, but in the end it is still more forgiving than a condenser.

  • Nick

    Hi Peter
    As lead vocalist of prog metal band im in doubt between the dynamic KSM8 and the KSM9..

    What would you recommend? I’ve heard sales reps say that the KSM8 is better than a lot of condensors out there so presumably I’m buying quality with the 8 but still lean towards the 9 since I want to get most out of my live sound.. How ever since my genre is pretty heavy what is your experiance with the feedback rejection on louder stages with the KSM9 VS the quality of the KSM8.. Will the difference in sound quality (depending on EQ + sound guy ofc) by noticable between the 8 and 9?

  • Peter

    KSM8 is a dynamic with a darker tone. Many singers love its ribbon-like feel, and although it may turn out beneficial for screaming or growling with a metal band, in your case, for a clean vocal you may need a brighter mic, so that it can cut through a dense mix more easily, such as KSM9, which also offers supercardioid mode for improved rejection, as long as you fix it on a stand and don’t move around much. Cardioid is more natural but may need a louder vocal to combat feedback.

  • Julio López

    If you could choose for worship music between Shure KSM9, Neumann KMS 105 or Sennheiser E965, what do you prefer?

  • Lightnin Cox

    Spring, 2023
    I’ve been singing and playing guitar for over 50 years. I retired a couple years ago. I didn’t quit playing music, I just quit throwing speakers around at 3:00 in the morning. I’m still pretty busy in the studio. I used an SM58 most of my career and switched to a KSM9 about 10 years a ago. The KSM9 was an incredible upgrade!
    When I started singing and playing guitar there were not near as many genres. There are so many now I really don’t know what to call the music I write and play. Maybe some Polyethnic Cajun Slamgrass, mixed with a little C.S.N.Y. Or something along those lines. I think I sound much better using a mic than I do naturally, because I’ve learned how to master the use of the proximity effect, and also raising and lowering the strength of my vocal by backing off or with the KSM9 just going off axis slightly. I love this microphone more than any I’ve ever used for live use, and I think I’ve used most of them at one time or another. It has one caveat or drawback, if I can agree with another gentleman that I read a review from. It’s expensive! However, if you’re a professional, or your music means more to you than just about anything else, it’s a very small price to pay for excellence. I think it’s much harder to buy a second one for your studio use. lol
    I recently started singing with a vocalist in my live studio who has a much weaker, softer, but very beautiful voice and I’ve been letting them use mine. So I need another as we sing together frequently and I’ve just noticed that Amazon has the KSM9 for less money than I’ve ever seen it! It’s the charcoal grey model, and I guess there’s no time like now!
    The only thing I can think to add is that, as old as I am, this is the first review I’ve ever written! Honest. Much love to you all! Lightnin

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