Shure SM58

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by AUD10, May 11, 2005.

  1. AUD10

    AUD10 Active Member

    Mar 20, 2005
    I'm not Shure (Excuse the pun!) if this post is in the correct forum however I couldn't think where else to submit it :?

    Having compared the Shure SM58's with other microphones, I noticed that it is not as sensitive picking up sound. With an AKG D 880M for instance, the gain does not have to be turned up as high for the same level of output.

    The SM58 is the preferred microphone by many musicians and I am wondering, could the low sensitivity be because I am not setting the EQ on the mixer correctly for the microphone?

    However, if the EQ on the mixer is set to flat when comparing microphones, the other ones still seem to be more sensitive?
  2. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    I don't know the AKG, but the Shure IS a "close-talking" mic, that's fer shure..!

    Is this a real problem or just a few db, either way? How do the mics compare, sound-wise? Which makes everyone sound more like the way you want them to sound?

  3. frob

    frob Well-Known Member

    Apr 23, 2004
    ive used the akg and if i could have picked up a sm58 for $30 i would have.
  4. jbeutt

    jbeutt Active Member

    Mar 2, 2005
    Home Page:
    Different mics are different mics. The SM58 and 57's are great stage mics because they're super durable. Singers have a tendancy to throw, hit and sweat on their microphone. So for a little less sensitivity, you get a mic that's suited perfectly for stage. If you're only talking artistically, like in the studio, well some people like the response of a 58 over something else. So they have to turn the gain up, but they get the sound they want.

    Your eq settings shouldn't change the sensitivity of the mic. Mic sensitivity is sort of a secondary issue when compared to response. Overall sound is the key.
  5. AUD10

    AUD10 Active Member

    Mar 20, 2005
    SM58 / AKG

    The mics are to be used for live speech. I was worried about turning the gain too high and causing feedback.

    The AKG seems to have more clarity i.e. it sounds more open?
  6. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA/ Greenville, DE
    Home Page:
    For live speech, you're dealing with many more variables than just mic sensitivity.

    For starters there's the sound (and overall liveliness) of the room you're working in. Reflections from glass, mirrors, etc. all play a part in controlling feedback. Ditto for your sound system. Speaker placement is key. So is mic placement. For maximum gain, I'm sure you know to have the mic behind the speakers (imagine a line of scrimmage, if you will) and facing 90 degrees the other way.

    The SM58 is a cardioid pattern dynamic mic, well known for its proximity effect. The cardioid pattern will help reject some sound (but not all) from the rear, and the proximity effect makes it an up-close and friendly WARM mic when held nearest the mouth. In fact, the closer you get to the mic, the more "full" the vocal will sound, so it's a great mic for singers/vocalists/presenters who want to "eat" the mic. ("Kiss that mic!" was a mantra of an old friend in the sound bizness for gun-shy singers who'd never get near enough to the mic for him to get enough gain.) Men sound bassier & fuller, women sound "warmer" overall when an inch or two away from the SM58. The built-in windscreen, inside the basket of the SM58, lets you get VERY close as well, without too many 'plosives, but IMHO it also cuts down on some of it's ability to "go long" with its sensitivity. (All part of it's well-known sound, certainly.)

    When you get out beyond a foot or so, the SM58 isn't very useful for much, and I cringe whenever I see people using them on choirs, or sections of a band, etc. They sound like crap at that point; they're only a dynamic mic anyway, so they wont have the detail and crispness of a condenser.

    I was using an SM58 as recently as last night for a dress rehearsal with a violinist doing jazz/alternative performance art, and while the stage was full of hi-end condenser mics on the piano and various instruments, we had an SM58 for her spoken-word segments. It was fine as long as she was right up on it, but lousy as soon as she was more than a foot away, and I could do little with the thin, watery sound. Feedback resulted when I would crank it to get her old level back. (We're still deciding to stick with the 58 or try something else...) The difference between one foot and two inches made a crucial difference in her live sound.

    For spoken word or live speech (esp at a podium, etc.) you may want to look into all the very fine condenser/electret mics (usually a capsule on a long gooseneck variety) made by Audio Technica, AKG, Sennheiser and Shure. There's a lot out there, but they'll all pretty similar in that they mount a small condenser electret element at the end of a stalk and get it right up under the presenter's chin. There's hardly any proximity effect, and you get nice smooth, hot levels from all around the presenter/speaker's zone. Much easier to run that through a PA than an SM58.

    I like the SM58 for many uses, but it's not for everything, and unless you're going with a Phil-Donahue hand-held thing with it, I'd consider something else.
  7. AUD10

    AUD10 Active Member

    Mar 20, 2005
    Condenser/Electret Mics

    Thanks for your really informative reply Joe.

    You are right - the closer the mic is held to the mouth, the warmer the sound and also the higher the output level.

    I had a look at the pop/wind shield on the inside of the grille - it is fairy thick and probably does attenuate the sound somewhat however it is the most effective pop/wind shield I have come across.

    I have tried using SM58s with a choir but the pick-up is really not suited for this and the gain does need to be turned up quite high. Can you recommend any good microphones (condensers?) for a small choir?

    I am thinking of purchasing one of those gooseneck condenser/electret capsule mics for live speech. Can you recommend a good brand out of Audio Technica, AKG, Sennheiser and Shure?

  8. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    I recommend, the Audix O series mic's.
    Any of them...
    the O1, O2, O3, O4, O5, O6, O7, whatever. I like the way they sound on vocals better then the SM57 or the SM58.
    FYI---- I own two 57's and one 58
    Just MO
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