Today, we’ll be comparing one of the most popular microphones in the world, the Shure SM58, with it’s younger, more affordable, brother, the SM48. This Shure SM48 Vs SM58 comparison is not to find out which is better, it’s definitely the SM58, but to find out whether the SM58 is worth the large price gap.
This is article is packed with all the information you need concerning these two mics, and as such, it is quite a lengthy article. If you do not have the time to read through the entire article, check through the next three sections. These sections will provide you all the information you need in bite-sized forms.
Shure SM48 Vs SM58 – Comparison Overview
Both of these microphones are really good. The SM58 is the most popular microphone in the world and has been that way for a long time. It has a frequency response of 50 – 15000 Hertz, weighs 0.66 grams and is available in three different versions.
The Shure SM48, on the other hand, has a slighter smaller frequency response range of 55 – 14,000 Hertz, is slightly heavier at 0.82 pounds and is also available in three different versions.
Although different, both of these microphones come with a lot of similar features. The most noticeable of these similarities is that both of these microphones are dynamic with a cardioid polar pattern.
Dynamic microphones are known to capture loud sounds, while condenser microphones, on the other hand, are known to capture softer more subtle sounds. So, if you have a big, powerful voice, or you’re trying to record some instruments, these are the microphones for you.
Also, dynamic microphones are built for strength and durability so you won’t have to worry about getting another microphone for a few years or more.
A cardioid polar pattern basically means that both of these microphones accept sound well when it’s coming directly front its front, not so much from its sides, and rejects sounds coming from behind the microphone.
This is great if you’re going to be performing live with the microphone. You can easily place your monitor directly behind the microphone. This way, your singer gets to hear himself properly from the monitor, and the microphone doesn’t pick up any feedback from the monitor.
Shure SM48 Vs SM58 – Cost To Performance Ratio
Choosing one of these microphones should definitely be a thing of budget. If your budget allows you to get the more expensive SM58, perfect. If you have a tighter budget, then get the SM48. Whichever one you end up with, you definitely would not regret one bit.
In terms of cost to performance, both of these microphones are great. You will definitely get the quality that you pay for. The more affordable SM48, though, seems attractive to most people because of its lower cost and excellent quality.
Shure SM48 Vs SM58 – Comparison Table
|Frequency Response||55 – 14,000 (Hertz)||50 – 15,000 (Hertz)|
|Versions Available||SM48S-LCSM48-LCSM48-LC (With wind-screen)||SM58SSM58-LCSM58-CN|
Shure SM48 Vs SM58 – What Scenario Is What Microphone Best Suited For?
There are many scenarios where both of these microphones work excellently well. And there are a few where one microphone thrives over the other. Let’s look at all of them.
| While making research about these two microphones, we found a customer who bought this particular microphone because he was always getting sick when he used the Dj’s microphone at Karaoke. |
After getting his own microphone, he stopped getting sick. This brings us to the first scenario where this works well, Karaoke. If you love Karaoke and you don’t want to get sick using the microphone everyone else using, you should get this.
|This microphone works well for recording interviews. First, it looks nice, so it wouldn’t look out of place in a formal setting. Secondly, it’s a great sounding microphone that works as well for speaking, as it does for singing. |
The mid-range produced by the microphone is excellent. This gives the person’s voice a certain punch that allows you to use this even over background music. Finally, with its built-in pop-filter, this microphone is well equipped to reduce the pop-sounding effect when pronouncing consonants.
|This microphone works well for choirs. This is because of its cardioid pattern. Because of its cardioid pattern, two or three choristers can use one of these microphones once. Also, because it rejects every sound coming from behind the microphone, the choir conductor’s voice isn’t heard at all because they are usually behind the microphone.||Much like interviews, this microphone also works for other speaking functions like voice-over, radio, lecturing, spoken word pieces, voice recording, and so on. |
|This microphone works well for both recordings, and live applications.||This microphone works great when used to mic instruments. This is one scenario that is not that great with the SM48. Also, it’s slightly better for live productions because it requires minimal work to get it sounding excellent.|
Shure SM48 Vs SM58 – Features Common To Both Microphones
Type – Dynamic
There are two main types of microphones. One is dynamic, the other is condenser. If you do anything with audio, then you have definitely come across some condenser microphones in the past.
Condenser microphones are better suited to pick up really delicate sounds with a lot of detail and accuracy. To do this, condenser mics have a diaphragm (which is a lightweight membrane) inside them. Sound pressure causes this diaphragm to move, which then creates an output.
More importantly, condenser mics requite power from an external source (referred to as “phantom power”). This is what creates an extremely high output.
Dynamic microphones, on the other hand, do well with loud sounds. This is because dynamic mics come with wire coils in them that help amplify whatever sound is picked up by the lightweight membrane (diaphragm). So, they don’t need phantom power.
Because they don’t make use of phantom power, the output from these mics are considerably lower than the output from condenser mics. This is good if what you’re trying to record is already loud on its own.
Dynamic microphones are great for big vocals, loud snare drums, and for micing other loud sound sources. They are also widely known for their ruggedness and reliability. They also do not require any batteries or external power supplies and are usually a lot more affordable than condenser mics.
To take care of these things, you won’t need to sell an arm and a leg. They are very easy to maintain and a little care will see these mics lasting for many years.
If you want more information concerning these two microphones and which is better for you, watch the video below:
Cardioid Polar Pattern
The polar pattern is one thing that people often get confused about when they’re looking at microphones. A polar pattern basically refers to the microphone’s ability to hear sounds coming from different directions.
So, different polar patterns refer to different directions that the microphone would listen to sound best from. An example is an omnidirectional microphone with a sphere polar pattern, which listens to sounds all the way around the mic.
The two microphones we’re looking at today have a Cardioid polar pattern. A cardioid is basically a heart-shaped curve. So, a cardioid polar pattern mainly accepts sounds from its front and sides and rejects sounds from its rear.
Basically, both of these mics would listen to anything in 180 degrees to the front of the microphone. However, for the best sound, it’s best to place the microphone directly in front of the sound source.
Watch the video below for a quick demonstration of the pick-up pattern of Cardioid microphones. It should give you a rough idea as to where to place your microphone in relation to your sound source.
150 ohms Output Impedance
Basically, impedance refers to some kind of AC voltage resistance. Hence why it is measured in Ohms, if you remember your High School Physics. Generally, most microphones come with an impedance of less than 200 ohms.
This type of low impedance allows for you to run very long wires through the microphone, without any sound degradation. So, with these two microphones, you would be able to use very long cords to connect them to an output source, without losing any quality in the sound.
If you want to see what high impedance values cause, then check electric guitars. Many electrical guitars have pickups with high impedance. So, they tend to lose a bit of their top-end sound, when the cable gets too long. And by too long we are talking about cable lengths of just 30 feet.
Both of these microphones have a similar case design. Dynamic microphones are very well known for their ruggedness and durability. These two microphones are no different. WIth a solid metallic design, these will last you for many years, even if you drop them from time to time.
Furthermore, both of these microphones have a built-in pop filter that although is not the best, is still pretty effective. For the best effect, you should consider getting an external pop filter. You can either buy one by clicking here or make one yourself with the help of the DIY video below:
Both of these microphones use the same connector. The connector used is the standard Three-pin male connector, otherwise known as XLR.
This is the most popular kind of audio connector there is. If you’ve worked with audio in the past, you definitely know what this is, and might even have some lying around. So, it shouldn’t be a problem getting one to use for either of these microphones.
The box housing these two microphones are nearly identical, and so are the contents inside the box. In the box, you get the microphone, of course, a stand clip, and a carrying pouch.
With that said, we’ve looked at all the features that both of these microphones- Shure SM48 and SM58. Now, we’re going to look at all the features that either of these microphones has that the other does not.
Shure SM48 Vs SM58 – Features Unique To Each Microphone
Features Unique To The Shure SM48
Frequency Response – 55 – 14,000 (Hertz)
Basically, the frequency response in a microphone determines the range of frequencies that your microphone is going to be able to pick up.
So basically, the wider the range, the more frequencies your microphone is going to be able to pick up. This can immediately tell you that more is better. However, we do have to mention that you might not be able to tell the difference if you listen to these mics side by side.
Although both of these microphones are available in three versions each, there are slight differences between these different versions available.
The three versions available for this microphone are:
- SM48-LC (with a windscreen)
The SM48S-LC is the most expensive of the three. This is because it comes with an on/off, unlike the other two.
The second version does not come with an on/off switch and is the most bare-bones of the three. It’s also the most affordable.
The third and final version does not come with an on/off switch but it comes with a windscreen. So, it’s slightly more expensive than the second version, but not as expensive as the version with the on/off switch.
If you do have the money, we would advise you to go for the first version. The on/off switch will definitely come in handy. However, if you do not have the money, then either of the other two versions should work just fine.
What’s a microphone without its sound? Watch the video below to hear what this microphone sounds like:
Features Unique To The Shure SM58
Frequency Response – 50 – 15,000 (Hertz)
We’ve explained what frequency response is when we talked about it above. This microphone has a wider range, so, it would capture a wider range of sounds. The difference is not so much, so you might not notice it straight out of the box.
However, if you are trying to record someone with a very high-pitched or low-pitched voice, a wider frequency response would definitely come in clutch. This is because with smaller frequency response, the lower or higher ends of the person’s voice may get muddled or even totally cut off.
The three versions of the SM58 available are:
The first version comes with a stand adapter and a carrying pouch. This is the most basic version and is similar to the LC version of the SM48.
The second version comes with a swivel adapter, a carrying pouch, and a 25 feet XLR Male-to-Female cable. Notice that the adapter used on this one is not the same as that on the SM58-LC.
While the latter comes with a normal stand adapter, this one comes with a swivel stand adapter. A swivel stand adapter gives much more room for flexibility, compared to a normal stand adapter.
Lastly, the third version comes with an on/off switch, a swivel adapter, and a carrying pouch. Again, if you are not on a tight budget, we advise you to get this option.
With the ability to simply turn the microphone off with a switch, you won’t always have to mute the microphone from your audio recorder when you don’t want to record audio.
Want to hear what this microphone sounds like? Watch this quick review and mic test below:
Shure SM48 Vs SM58 – Unique Pros
- It is more affordable.
- It is louder than the SM48, so you won’t need much audio gain to get the output right.
- It is more lightweight.
- It has a wider frequency response, which means no cutting off at both the high and low ends.
Shure SM48 Vs SM58 – Unique Cons
- To get this microphone to sound beautiful, you would need a reasonable amount of compression and EQ. Whereas with the SM58, not so much.
- You need to put the mic very close to the audio source for it to pick up good sound.
- The mic is not very loud, so you would have to push the gain way up for a louder output.
- It’s more expensive.
- None of its available versions come with a wind-screen.
Shure SM48 Vs SM58 – Common Pros
|Shure SM48||Shure SM58|
|They’re Dynamic||Both of these microphones are dynamic and that’s a good thing, especially if you’re going to be recording voices with them. |
Dynamic microphones work best when recording sounds that are already loud on their own.
Also, unlike a condenser microphone, with a dynamic microphone, you don’t need “phantom power”, which you get at an additional cost.
|Same as the SM48.|
|Good sounding audio with great clarity.||Both of these microphones produce great quality audio. |
In fact, for its price, there are not many other microphones that can produce such good sounds as this one.
|The SM58 is one of the most popular microphones in the world because of how good its sound quality. |
It’s a truly great-sounding microphone.
|Durability||These things are built like tanks! Their solid metallic bodies are able to withstand numerous drops without getting hurt. |
In fact, with little or no care, you will still be able to get optimal quality from this microphone in a few years.
|Same as the SM48.|
|Good Connection||Both of these come with XLR input, which is expected. |
This input is the most popular for microphones and as such, makes this an interface to work with easily.
You can pick up an XLR to USB to connect this directly to your computer but for the best audio, we would not recommend that.
|Same as the SM48.|
|Good Polar Pattern||These two microphones have a cardioid polar pattern. For a proper explanation of what that is and how it works, refer to the subheading above. |
This polar pattern is good because when you’re on stage, you can easily place the monitor at the back of the microphone, facing the singer, without worrying about the mic picking up feedback.
|Same as the SM48.|
Shure SM48 Vs SM58 – Common Cons
|It can sound muddy||This is one thing that is very common to dynamic microphones. |
The sounds are naturally clear if your voice is clear and audible.
However, if you’re recording a singer whose voice is naturally very quiet or muffled, the mic can sound muddy.
If that is the case, you might want to consider getting a condenser microphone for that singer.
|Same as the Shure SM58|
Shure SM48 Vs SM58 – What Do People Think About It?
|People who got this mic think that it sounds almost as good as the Shure SM58. In fact, for people who were not professional audio gurus, they couldn’t tell the difference. |
And for people who could tell the difference, they did not feel like the difference was so much that you won’t want to use this microphone at all.
|The SM58 is the most popular microphone on the planet, period. That alone should tell you how good this microphone is. |
The Shure SM58 is best known for its clarity, control, and durability. In fact, a vocalist for a rock metal band said you can throw this on a drummer’s head and it’ll be fine. Why you would want to do that bothers us, though, lol.
|Another thing people appreciate about this microphone is that it is very durable. Like we said earlier in the article, it’s built like a tank!||One thing people advise is that you get this microphone from a reputable seller. This is because there are a lot of replicas floating around.|
|By the recommendations of people who bought this microphone, it is best suited for any kind of voice application. |
The good mid-range tones allow your voice to cut through a potpourri of other instruments and sounds.
However, as an instrument microphone, it doesn’t work as good. It doesn’t have enough bright tones to make you enjoy the sound, well enough.
|Some people think that the extra money to get the one for the on/off switch is not necessary, though. |
In fact, sound engineers advise that it would be better to get the one without it, so they can always be the one to decide when the sound gets through and when it doesn’t.
Unlike the Shure SM48, this works exceptionally well for both vocals and instruments.
Shure SM48 Vs SM58 – What Do We Think?
Shure SM mics have been popular for decades now and that’s because of the quality that they provide. The Shure SM58 costs about three times what the Shure SM48 costs. So, for the price of the Shure SM48, what do you get?
You get a very durable mic, it’ll last for years, a great sounding vocal mic, and value for money. The Shure SM58, though, has better sound quality, better clarity, and is louder. To get the SM48 to sound as loud as the SM58, you would need to increase the gain on the microphone.
If you have the money, the Shure SM58 is definitely a better microphone. Don’t think too much about it, it’s a great microphone. On the other hand, if you’re on a tight budget, the SM48 is not a bad option. Much more than that, it’s a very good option.
Either of these microphones would give you great sound. We are Shure of that! *wink*