Shure SM48 vs SM58 – Detailed Comparison

Today, we’ll be comparing one of the most popular microphones in the world with another. This is the Shure SM58 versus a lesser, more affordable product from the same company: the Shure SM48.

This comparison is not to find out which is better. Judging from so many standards, that would be the Shure SM58. Rather, the comparison is to ascertain if the SM58 is worth the massive gap in price. 

Buy this Shure SM48S-LC Microphone on Amazon
Buy this Shure SM58-LC Microphone on Amazon

In this article, you have a large body of information on the two microphones. This means that you are about to read a very lengthy writeup. If for any reason you are unable to go through every bit of the article, you can check through the next three sections. These sections will provide you all the information you need in bite-sized forms. 

Table of Contents

Overall Review of Shure SM48 vs SM58

The Shure SM58 is a popular device among many professional artists and sound engineers. This is as a result of its quality and durability. It has retained this impressive attribute since 1966 when it was released.

The Shure SM48 is a lesser, but more affordable device from the same company: Shure. Although it does not possess as much quality as the SM58, it is great when you consider the cost per value ratio. In fact, it offers more than its cost price. This product was first released in the year 2001, way after the release of the Shure SM58.

As will be noticed subsequently in the article, both microphones are dynamic microphones. This explains why they are durable and reliable. However, in terms of sound quality, they are not best suited for capturing extremely subtle high or low notes.

Other than this, these microphones are great devices. Features such as an inbuilt pop-filter, cardioid polar pattern, metallic casing, all make these products a great deal for any user.

What are the Differences Between the Shure SM48 and SM58?

The major differences between the Shure SM48 and SM58 are frequency range, weight, and popularity. The SM58 is a household name among sound engineers and vocal artists. It is highly sorted after by these groups of people because of its sound quality and durability. When compared to Shure SM48, Shure SM58 is way ahead in terms of popularity. In terms of the frequency range, the Shure SM58 is better with a range between 50 -15000 Hertz. The Shure SM48, on the other hand, has a range between 55 – 14,000 Hertz. The SM48 is slightly heavier with a weight of 0.82 pounds. The SM58 on the other hand weighs 0.66 grams. The extra-weight that the SM48 has is not something that is admired by many users. This is because of the stress of carrying the heavy device.

Other than these major differences, the Shure SM48 and SM58 have a lot in common. This is understandable, especially given that they are produced by the same company: Shure. One of the similarities is the availability of three versions for both microphones.

What are the Similarities Between the Shure SM48 and SM58?

The major similarities between the Shure SM48 and SM58 include the following:

1) They are produced by the same company: Shure.
2) Both microphones are dynamic microphones with a cardioid polar pattern.
3) They offer a lot in terms of durability.
4) They do not need phantom power.
5) Both microphones are constructed with an inbuilt pop-filter.

Considering that they are produced by the same company: Shure, there are brand standards that cut across both devices.

As dynamic microphones, both the Shure SM48 and SM58 do not need phantom power to operate. This is unlike what you get with condenser microphones.

The materials used for the production of these microphones make it very durable and reliable. This is especially the case with the casing. Even after some drops, you do not need to worry about replacing the devices.

With both microphones, you have leverage when dealing with noise. This is because they come with an in-built pop-filter. However, to get the best of both microphones, using an external pop-filter is a great idea.

Of all the similarities, the most noticeable is that both microphones are dynamic microphones with a cardioid polar pattern.

What kind of microphone should you use?

The kind of microphone you should use should be largely determined by your voice texture. If you have a thick, powerful voice with a lot of vibrators, you should seriously consider getting a dynamic microphone. This is because these devices are built to amplify loud sounds. Dynamic microphones are also great for amplifying loud-sounding instruments.

On the other hand, for singers or speakers with a soft, subtle voice, you should opt for a condenser microphone. These mics are tailored to accommodate the high pitched voice texture of such people. However, using a condenser microphone will require getting a phantom power. This is something you do not need to worry about with a dynamic microphone.

Dynamic microphones are known to capture loud sounds, while condenser microphones are known to capture more subtle sounds.

Which is more durable: Dynamic vs Condenser microphones?

Dynamic microphones are more durable than condenser microphones. Even after some drops, many dynamic microphones are still able to work fine. Dynamic microphones are built for strength and durability. As a result, you will not have to worry about replacing the device very soon. The same cannot be said for condenser microphones in general. This is something you will have to factor in while purchasing a condenser microphone. They are as subtle as the sounds they are built to amplify.

If you are very particular about durability, then a dynamic microphone should be your first point of call.

Does the Shure SM48 and SM58 have a cardioid polar pattern?

The Shure SM48 and SM58 have a cardioid polar pattern. This means that both microphones accept sounds very well from the front, less from the sides, and none from behind.

To get the microphones to produce it bests, you should speak or sing directly in front of it. Especially for singers, a microphone with a cardioid polar pattern is very important. At the very least, it helps to mask the inconsistencies in breath control for some.

Why are microphones with a cardioid polar pattern important?

Microphones with a cardioid polar pattern are important especially when singing, speaking, or performing in very rowdy venues. This is because, at such places, there is bound to be a lot of noise interference. To ensure that unwanted sounds are not picked up by the microphone, a device with a cardioid polar pattern is very important. Rather than pick up sounds coming from every direction in close proximity, it will pay maximum attention to sounds directly from the front, little from the sides, and none from the back.

Also, when many persons have to use the microphone, the lead singer can get his/her voice more noticed by singing from the front. This should only be the case when there are very few microphones available.

By using a microphone with the cardioid polar pattern feature, even noise interference from the monitor can be totally avoided. This explains how important it is for a microphone to possess this feature.  

Shure SM48 Vs SM58 – Cost To Performance Ratio

Should you buy the Shure SM58 or SM48?

Buying either the Shure SM58 or SM48 should be determined by your budget. If you can afford the popular and revered Shure SM58, buying it will be a great choice. However, if you cannot spend so much on getting a microphone, getting the lesser and more affordable Shure SM48 is equally a good choice. It terms of cost to performance ratio, the Shure SM58, and SM48 are worth the price they come with. As a result, you will not regret getting either of these products judging from the price and value they offer.

As a result of the cost of the Shure SM48, many users are gradually tilting towards it. This is especially for those who do not need something mindboggling in terms of sound quality.

Buy this Shure SM48S Microphone on Amazon
Buy this Shure SM58 Microphone on Amazon

Shure SM48 vs SM58 – Comparison Table

Shure SM48

Shure SM58

Frequency Response 55 – 14,000 (Hertz)50 – 15,000 (Hertz) 
Weight0.82 pounds  0.66g
Versions AvailableSM48S-LCSM48-LCSM48-LC (With wind-screen)SM58S-SM58-LCSM58-CN

Prices and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

What Scenarios are they Best Suited for: Shure SM48 vs SM58?

There are many situations where the SM58 and SM48 will be of great use. On the other end, there are a few instances where one thrives over the other. Let us go over some of these.

Why should you get a Shure SM48?

You should consider getting a Shure SM48 for the following reasons:

1) You should get a Shure SM48 because it is better than most karaoke microphones.
2) The Shure SM48 is great for multiple sounds.
3) The Shure SM48 is a device that works well for recordings, as well as live applications.

The Shure SM48 is a lot better than many microphones used in Karaoke houses. Rather than making you sick, you can be sure of having a great time with no side effects.

When two or more people have to use the microphone, the Shure SM48 cardioid polar pattern makes multiple use possible. Even at this, it’s the inability to pick sounds from the back, and its in-built pop-filter ensures that the microphone handles noise interference well.

Especially in a room with good acoustics, the Shure SM48 is a great device for recording. For a person with a loud and powerful voice, this microphone is great.

Why should you get a Shure SM58?

You should get a Shure SM58 for the following reasons:
1) The Shure SM58 is a popular, tested, and trusted microphone.

2) The Shure SM58 is great for speakers and singers.

3) The mid-range produced by the Shure SM58 is impressive.

4) The Shure SM58 comes with an effective in-built pop-filter to help reduce noise interference.

5) As a dynamic microphone, the Shure SM58 is a great option for amplifying loud sounding instruments and voices.

The Shure SM58 has proven over time to be a reliable microphone. Little wonder it is very common among artists and sound engineers.

Considering its frequency range, cardioid polar pattern, and weight, it is a great device for speakers and singers.

Although fares better with an external pop-filter, it has an inbuilt pop-filter that can help reduce noise interference to a reasonable extent.

Compared to condenser microphone products, the Shure SM58 is way better at micing loud instruments and for persons with a loud voice.

Buy this Shure SM48S Microphone on Amazon
Buy this Shure SM58-LC Microphone on Amazon

What are the Features Common to the Shure SM48 and SM58?

The features common to the Shure SM48 and Shure SM58 include the following:

1) They are dynamic microphones.

2) They have a cardioid polar pattern.

3) Good sound output even when long cords are used.

4) They are durable microphones.

5) They have similarities in look, case design, and accessories.

6) They both use the XLR connector.

Type – Dynamic

What type of microphone are the Shure SM58 and SM48?

The Shure SM48 and SM58 are dynamic microphones. As a result, they are great for amplifying loud sounds and voices. Also, as with most dynamic microphones, they offer so much in terms of durability. This is especially when you compare them to condenser microphones, which is the other type of microphone available.

What are condenser microphones best suited for?

Condenser microphones are best suited to pick up very delicate sounds with a lot of detail and accuracy. This is especially if the sound is soft and subtle. To do this, condenser microphones make extensive use of a diaphragm: a lightweight membrane inside them. Sound pressure causes this diaphragm to move, thereby creating the output.

More importantly, condenser mics require power from an external source: phantom power. This is what creates the extremely high output it is known for.

Do Dynamic microphones need Phantom power?

Dynamic microphones do not need phantom power. Unlike condenser microphones, dynamic microphones are great at dealing with loud sounds. This is because of their wire coils which help amplify whatever sound is picked up by the lightweight membrane: the diaphragm.

Which sounds better: Dynamic vs Condenser microphones?

Condenser microphones sound better than dynamic microphones. This is because dynamic microphones do not make use of phantom power, making the output considerably lower than the output from condenser mics. However, a dynamic microphone is more durable and preferable for amplifying loud-sounding instruments and voices.

Buy this Shure SM48S-LC Microphone on Amazon
Buy this Shure SM58-LC Microphone on Amazon

Which is cheaper: Dynamic vs Condenser microphones?

Dynamic microphones are cheaper than condenser microphones in cost and maintenance. If you are looking for a more affordable option, you should seriously consider a dynamic microphone. This is not only about the sale price, but durability and maintenance.

Because of the way the condenser microphone works, you would need to get a phantom power, something that is not needed for a dynamic microphone. Also, items such as batteries are not needed for the dynamic microphone.

However, it should be noted that the condenser microphone is better sounding than the dynamic microphone. This is especially when the aim is to amplify soft and subtle sounds.

to maintain a dynamic microphone, you will not have to stress yourself. They are very easy to maintain, as a little care will see these microphones lasting for many years.

Below is a helpful video to help you understand these types of microphones.

Video: Dynamic vs Condenser Microphones, What’s the Difference?

Cardioid Polar Pattern

A polar pattern explains a microphone’s ability to hear sounds coming from different directions.

There are different types of microphone polar pattern, which explains why microphones are more or less sensitive to picking up sounds when compared. An example is an omnidirectional microphone. These microphones have a sphere polar pattern, making it possible to pick up sounds from every direction.

What are the disadvantages of an omnidirectional microphone?

The possibility of noise interference is a major disadvantage of the omnidirectional microphone. Because these microphones pick up sound from every direction, there is little that can be done about steering clear of noise and unwanted sound. This is especially when it is used in a rowdy and busy environment.

Which polar pattern is best for vocals?

The cardioid polar pattern is best for vocals. These microphones are selective on how they pick up sound. They amplify sounds better from the front, less from the sides, and none from the rear. As a result, the vocalist can use the device in light of this feature. When the vocalist wants maximum output, the rendition is made directly in front of the microphone, and he/she can limit the output by singing into the sides.

What polar pattern does the Shure SM48 and SM58 have?

The Shure SM48 and SM58 have a cardioid polar pattern. This can be noticed from the heart-shaped curve at the top of the device. Because the Shure SM48 and SM58 have a cardioid polar pattern, they function by accepting sounds from the front, less from the sides, and none from the rear.

Given the polar pattern, the Shure SM48 and SM58 will pick up sounds without 180 degrees from the front. However, for the best sound, it is best to place the microphone directly in front of the sound source.

Below is a helpful video to help you understand how a cardioid microphone works.

Video: Cardioid Microphone Polar Pattern (Part 3 of 6)

150 ohms Output Impedance

Impedance refers to the degree of AC voltage resistance and is measured in Ohms. Most microphones come with an impedance below 200 ohms.

Why do you need a microphone with low impedance?

A microphone with low impedance is important because it will allow you to run very long wires without experiencing sound degradation. You can as well use long cords to connect the microphones to an output source. This will be possible without losing sound quality.

Both the Shure SM58 and SM48 offer this feature with a low-end impedance level.

Buy this Shure SM48S-LC Microphone on Amazon
Buy this Shure SM58-LC Microphone on Amazon

If you are keen to know what high impedance value can cause, you can observe electric guitars. This is because many electric guitars have pickups with high impedance. As a result, they tend to lose a bit of their top-end sound when the cable gets too long.

Case Design

The Shure SM48 and SM58 have a lot of similarities in case design. As Dynamic microphones, they have a casing that is built to enable them to stay for a long time. With a solid metallic design, you will not have to worry about changing any of these microphones soon.

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.

Video: DIY Mic Pop-Filter (Using Home Supplies)

Connector

What kind of connector do the Shure SM58 and SM48 use?

The Shure SM58 and Shure SM48 use the standard Three-pin male connector, otherwise known as XLR. This is the most popular kind of audio connector, making it an advantage as it will be easy to get.

Buy this Shure SM48S-LC Microphone on Amazon
Buy this Shure SM58-LC Microphone on Amazon

Accessories 

The content, as well as the box housing these two microphones are nearly identical. In the box, there is the microphone, 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 have in common.

Now, we’re going to look at all the features that either of these microphones has, that the other does not.

Buy this Shure SM48S-LC Microphone on Amazon
Buy this Shure SM58-LC Microphone on Amazon

Shure SM48 Vs SM58 – Features Unique To Each Microphone

What are the Features Unique to the Shure SM48?

The features unique to the Shure SM48 include its frequency response of about 55 to 14,000 Hertz and its 3 versions which are the SM48S-LC, SM48-LC, SM48-LC (with a windscreen).

Although both of these microphones are available in three versions each, there are slight differences between these different versions available.

What are the versions of the Shure SM48 available?

The 3 versions of the Shure SM48 available for sale are:

1) SM48S-LC

2) SM48-LC

3) SM48-LC (with a windscreen)

SM48S-LC is the most expensive version. This is because it comes with an on/off switch, unlike the other two versions.

SM48-LC does not come with an on/off switch and is the most affordable option.

SM48-LC does not come with an on/off switch, but with a windscreen. This makes it more expenssive than the SM48-LC, but not as expensive as the SM48S-LC with the on/off switch.

Which of the 3 Shure SM48 microphones should you buy?

You should buy the SM48S-LC if you can afford it. This is because of the on/off switch it comes with. This feature comes handy many times. However, if you cannot afford it, either of the other two versions should work just fine.

You can watch the video below to hear what this microphone sounds like.

Video: Shure SM48 Dynamic Mic Review / Test

Buy this Shure SM48-LC Microphone on Amazon
Buy this Shure SM58-LC Microphone on Amazon

What are the Features Unique to the Shure SM58?

The features unique to the Shure SM58 include a frequency response range of around 50 to 15,000 Hertz, as well as its 3 versions: SM58-LC, SM58-CN, and the SM58S.

Frequency Response – 50 – 15,000 (Hertz)

Why is a wide frequency response for microphones important?

Wide frequency response is good for microphones because it enables it to properly amplify high and low-end sounds properly. Microphones with this feature are able to project voices and sounds with high and low pitch well enough. On the other hand, with a smaller frequency response, the lower or higher ends of the person’s voice will get muddled or even totally cut off.

Which has a wider frequency response: Shure SM58 vs SM48?

The Shure SM58 has a wider frequency response compared to the Shure SM48. As a result, it is able to capture a wider range of sounds and voices. This is both of high and low pitch alike. This quality is one of the features that make it sorted after by vocalist and sound engineers.

However, the difference between the Shure SM58 and SM48 frequency response is not so much. As a matter of fact, this is not something you will notice except you have to amplify extremely high or low pitched sounds or voices.


The three versions of the SM58 available are:

  • SM58-LC
  • SM58-CN
  • SM58S

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. The adapter used on the SM58-CN is not the same as with the SM58-LC.

The Shure SM58S comes with a swivel stand adapter. A swivel stand adapter gives more room for flexibility than a normal stand adapter.

Lastly, the SM58S 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.

Because you can simply turn off the microphone from your switch, you will not have to mute the microphone from your audio recorder when you are not using it.

You can watch the video below to know how this microphone sounds.

Video: Shure SM58 Dynamic Mic Review / Test

Buy this Shure SM48-LC Microphone on Amazon
Buy this Shure SM58-LC Microphone on Amazon

Shure SM48 vs SM58 – Unique Pros

What are the Advantages of the Shure SM48?

The advantages of the Shure SM48 include the following:

1) It is more affordable. This is especially when compared to the Shure SM58.

2) It has a fair frequency range. Except the sound or voice pitch is extremely high or low, you will not have problems with this device capturing the sound.

3) It comes with a manageable inbuilt pop-filter. In the absence of an external pop filter, this device will fare better than a microphone without an inbuilt pop filter.

4) Its polar pattern: cardioid, is good for noise reduction.

What are the advantages of the Shure SM58?

The advantages of the Shure SM58 include the following:

1) It is louder than the SM48, so you won’t need much audio gain to get the output right. 

2) It is more lightweighted. It offers so much quality with less weight.

3) It has a wider frequency response, which means no cutting off at the high and low ends.

Buy this Shure SM48-LC Microphone on Amazon
Buy this Shure SM58-LC Microphone on Amazon

Shure SM48 vs SM58 – Unique Cons

What are the disadvantages of the Shure SM48?

The disadvantages of the Shure SM48 include the following:

1) To get this microphone to sound beautiful, you would need a reasonable amount of compression and EQ. Whereas with the SM58, you do not need so much. 

2) To capture the voice or sound effectively, you need to put the mic very close to the audio source.

3) The Shure SM48 microphone is not very loud. As a result, you would have to push the gain way up for a louder output.

What are the disadvantages of the Shure SM58?

The disadvantages of the Shure SM58 include the following:

1) It is more expensive.

2) None of its available versions come with a wind-screen.

3) It is not best suited for projecting soft and subtle sounds.

Buy this Shure SM48-LC Microphone on Amazon
Buy this Shure SM58-LC Microphone on Amazon

What are the Common Disadvantages of the Shure SM48 and SM58?

There is one major flaw of the Shure SM48 and SM58. As dynamic microphones, they are not best suited for soft and subtle sounds. To get the most of these microphones, the sound has to be audible and clear. If not, you can end up with a muddy output.

What do People Think About the Shure SM48 and SM58?

Shure SM48

Shure SM58

Except for professionals and sound engineers, many people cannot tell the difference in quality between the Shure SM48 and SM58. This explains the impressive quality of the SM48, despite its low cost compared to the SM58

For professionals who can decipher the difference in quality between both microphones, many attest to the fact that it is not so massive.
The Shure SM58 is best known for its clarity, control, and durability. It can go through unimaginable torture and retain its quality.
Many people appreciate the fact that this microphone is very durable and reliable. As a result, using it for a long time is very possible.Considering the number of fake products circulating, experienced users advise that purchase is made from a reputable source.
Users attest to the fact that it is best suited for any kind of voice application. The good mid-range tones allow your voice to cut through other instruments and sounds. 

However, when used as an instrument microphone, it doesn’t have enough bright tones to make you enjoy the sound. 
Experienced professionals and sound engineers prefer the version with the on/off switch. This is so that the user determines when the sound gets amplified by the microphone or not.

Shure SM48 Vs SM58 – What Do We Think?

How expensive is the Shure SM58?

The Shure SM58 costs about three times what the Shure SM48 costs. But for that price, you get a durable and great sounding vocal microphone. Little wonder the SM58 has stayed popular after all these years. If your concern is getting value for money, the Shure SM58 is great at doing that.

Which should you buy: Shure SM48 vs SM58?

If you can afford it, the Shure SM58 should be your choice. On the other hand, if you’re on a tight budget, the SM48 is not a bad option. It also offers so much, not just as the Shure SM58.

Buy this Shure SM48-LC Microphone on Amazon
Buy this Shure SM58-LC Microphone on Amazon

Check out these other in-depth articles/reviews…

Shure SM48 vs SM58 – Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Record Rock Guitar?

To record a rock guitar, you should use a dynamic microphone. If possible, you should opt for a polar pattern that is cardioid. This way, the microphone will be selective of how it captures sound. The microphone should be stationed close to the amplifier. Before proceeding, you should select a convenient tone on the amp. Make all the necessary adjustments to the tone before proceeding.

Generally, recording a guitar can be a very strenuous task. It is more complicated with rock guitars because of their sound pitch, which can reach up to extremely high and low notes. The volume is also why dynamic microphones are better than condenser microphones for this purpose.

Buy this Electric Guitar on Amazon

Does Shure SM48 Need Phantom Power?

The Shure SM48 does not need a phantom power to work effectively. This is because it is a dynamic microphone and can function without an external power source. The same cannot be said about condenser microphones. They are very delicate and require a phantom power to work.

Other than this requirement, condenser microphones are not as durable and dependable as dynamic microphones. However, they offer the best amplification for unclear, soft, and subtle voices and sounds. On the other hand, dynamic microphones are best suited for amplifying loud sounds. This can be projecting the sound of a snare drum, wind instruments, and a powerful voice.

Is It Bad to Use Phantom Power on a Dynamic Mic?

It is bad to use phantom power on a dynamic microphone that is unbalanced. On the other hand, a dynamic microphone that is balanced will not have problems when phantom power is used. This should be the determinant if phantom power will be used on your dynamic microphone. To use phantom power, a circuit that is balanced is required. In the absence of this, it should not be used.

Generally, dynamic microphones can operate well enough without phantom power. This is because of the way they are constructed. On the contrary, condenser microphones are the sorts that are used with phantom power.

Do Microphones Wear Out?

Every microphone can wear out. However, many of them are built to last for a very long time. This includes recently produced condenser microphones that go through rigorous tests. With time, the materials used to construct them wear off. However, this should be a long time for good products.

To extend the span of the microphone, you should be careful about where you store it. When exposed to harsh atmospheric conditions, materials such as the metallic casing and parts can begin to rust. To avoid this, you should keep the microphone in an ideal environment.

Can Sharing Mics Spread Disease?

Microphones are capable of spreading communicable diseases. When previously used by people who have ailments, the pathogens are left on the device and if not thoroughly cleaned, subsequent users are at risk of contracting the disease. Places like karaoke houses are very prone to such situations. As a result, you should be careful about how you use a publicly held microphone. 

If you must use a publicly held microphone, ensure that you maintain hygiene by washing your hands before and after use. During the period you use the device, do not touch your face. These are simple but helpful tips on preventing communicable diseases when you use a publicly held microphone.

How Do You Clean a Shure Microphone?

To clean a Shure or any other microphone, you can use a microphone cleaning kit or spray. Other than this, you can also do it yourself with a toothbrush soaked in water and mouthwash. After getting the items, take off the grille covering and remove the foam inside it. Clean the foam as it must have had a lot of accumulated dirt. Afterward, focus on cleaning the grille covering. 

Use the toothbrush to properly scrub the exterior and interior of this metallic casing. You are to dry the grille with a clean dry cloth after using the toothbrush. This will prevent the residual water from affecting the microphone when in use.

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