A serious professional singer knows that the right vocal microphone is important. Depending on the style of music, the singer’s vocal quality, and the atmosphere in which the performer is working, the proper live mic makes a real difference. Shure SM58 is the most recognizable name in live vocal microphones because of its rugged construction and consistent reliability. Any good sound man probably owns several SM58s. Other top contenders are the Sennheiser’s E935 and the Shure Beta 87A.
Most live vocal microphones are dynamic microphones. This type of mic is more rugged and resistant to moisture and stage abuse. The Shure SM 58 is a dynamic microphone. Certainly the mic’s legendary toughness is important, but it can also withstand and reproduce even the sloppiest singer with clarity. This microphone can handle loud vocal bursts, close proximity to the mic, and less refined vocal quality. It also gives true representation through the monitors, which singers will love.
SM 58’s gentle cousin is the Beta 87A. Oddly, this live vocal microphone is a condenser mic, so it’s more sensitive to vocal quality. A rocker would kill it but a jazz singer or folk singer will shine. The Beta 87 is a good choice as a budget recording microphone, too. The condenser style of engineering means that it will better pick up vocal nuances in a controlled setting such as a recording studio. DIY musicians will be pleased with what it can do for their next CD project.
The final vocal microphone to consider is Sennheiser’s E935. It is also a dynamic microphone, so it’s more rugged for stage use. The deficit in this mic is that it is not as forgiving of vocal quality as the SM 58. It sounds best with a clear, crisp voice. Think of singers like Sting. His vocal quality is very consistent. However, a rocker like Melissa Etheridge, who has that rough, smokey quality that can go from fragile to wailing, is definitely suited for the Shure brand. So, SM 58 will rock, Beta 87A will croon, and Sennheiser E935 will soar. Pick the one that works for you.