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Shure SM58 review: The no-brainer

If you were to simply Google image search the word “microphone”, the first thing to appear would be a picture of the Shure SM58. This particular microphone is so iconic, so reliable, and so versatile that it has become the Mickey Mouse of audio gear.

In this article, I’ll be reviewing it for anybody who has yet to be acquainted.

Shure SM58 and stand adapter
Shure SM58 and stand adapter | Image: Higher Hz

Final verdict on the Shure SM58 5.0

The Shure SM58 is such a classic microphone that there isn’t really anything negative to say about it. Is it the best microphone ever? Surely not. However, it’s easily one of the most trustworthy and you should probably have one if you don’t already.

What I like

  • Versatile.
  • Extremely affordable.
  • Built like a tank.

What I don’t like

  • Nothing worth mentioning.
See current price at: SweetwaterAmazon

Why you should trust me

Brandon Schock, writer at Higher Hz

I’ve worked with a diverse spectrum of gear over my decade spent in the field of audio production and engineering, both in the studio environments and on live productions.

Working with names such as Shure, AKG, Neumann, and Sennheiser, among many others, has lent me nuanced insights into the practical application of audio equipment, and what value it provides users ranging from novice to seasoned professionals.


Use these jump links to navigate to the desired section of the review.

Polar pattern and frequency response

The Shure SM58 is a cardioid microphone, meaning it’s particularly good at rejecting signals from behind.

It has a frequency response of 50 Hz – 15 kHz as well as an output impedance of 150 ohms rated (300 ohms actual), allowing it to handle loud sound sources.

Shure SM58 microphone
Shure SM58 microphone | Image: Higher Hz

While it might not be the best choice for capturing instruments with lower frequencies such as bass or kick drums, it’s ideal for vocals, guitars, and even snares and rack-mount toms.

Vocals 5.0

It’s rather commonplace to use the SM58 as a vocal microphone. Its built-in pop filter helps to reduce sibilance from a performance, and its presence peak helps to add warmth and clarity.

Are there better microphones for recording vocals? Sure, but the SM58 is good enough for most voice types and singing styles.

Shure SM58 microphone on stand
SM58 microphone on stand | Image: Higher Hz

While its performance in the studio can be hit or miss depending on context, you’d be hard pressed to find a better microphone for live vocals.

Its ability to reject background noise is phenomenal, but the microphone also features an internal pneumatic shock mount which significantly reduces handling noise.

This shock mount is perhaps the biggest reason why it’s so beloved among performers, as it allows them to get extremely physical without picking up any noise.

Whether you want to dance, run, or do cartwheels on stage, there’s not much that can handle it better than the SM58.

Acoustic guitars 3.0

While the SM58 can be used on acoustic guitars, often a condenser is your best bet. If you’re in a pinch, however, you can achieve fairly decent results. Just don’t expect too much sparkle or nuance in your recordings.

Guitar amps 5.0

Considering the SM58 is pretty much the exact same microphone as the SM57 (despite the SM58 having a pop filter), it can work wonders on guitar amps. Its ability to handle loud volumes is especially great for this application.

Bass amps 3.4

While the Shure SM58 won’t be able to capture the lower frequencies that a bass will omit, it can be used well in conjunction with another microphone that can.

Drums 4.5

The SM58 microphone can work wonders on toms, especially if they’re tuned well and dampened appropriately.

The microphone is also capable of getting great sounds out of a snare or even as an overhead for certain things.

Build quality 5.0

The Shure SM58 is one of the most robust microphones ever made and will survive any accidental drops or other unexpected accidents. You could probably use it as a weapon if push came to shove.

Compared to other microphones

The Shure SM58 is, hands down, a great microphone, especially for live vocals. But here are a few alternatives to consider against this timeless classic.

Shure SM58 vs SM57

The SM58 and SM57 are, for the most part, the same exact microphone. The main difference is the pop filter, which is absent on the SM57. This allows it to get that much closer to the sound source you’re trying to capture.

They’re both incredibly useful and you should honestly have both at some point or another. The SM57 is more of a workhorse than the SM58, but you can’t go wrong either way.

Shure SM58 vs Beta 58A

The Beta 58A has an extended frequency response, a higher sensitivity, and is a much quieter microphone. It’s an advancement upon the original SM58, but in some instances, these advances might not necessarily be better for some applications. Just go with the SM58 to start out.

Shure SM58 vs PGA58

Compared to the PGA58, the SM58 has better noise cancellation, better frequency response, and a lower impedance. I recommend you get the SM58.

Shure SM58 vs Sennheiser e 835

The e 835 is a much brighter microphone, so you won’t have to reach for the EQ as quickly as you would with the SM58. However, the Shure is more of a workhorse, and can be used for more applications than the Sennheiser.

They’re both great microphones though, so choose whichever best suits your preference.

Who is the Shure SM58 best suited for?

The Shure SM58 is a must-have for everyone involved in music production, from beginners to seasoned professionals. Every producer or audio engineer should have at least one or two SM58s kicking around.

See current price at: SweetwaterAmazon

Recent updates

  • April 2, 2024: I’ve updated the text for clarity and made some minor changes to the article structure.
  • October 5, 2023: I’ve added quick jump links for faster navigation between the sections.
  • July 13, 2022: I’ve published the original review based on my experience with the microphone.