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Microphone for live performances

Hi guys and girls!

I would like to hear Your opinion regarding microphones for live performances. I have been singing for some years (since the 90’s), and way back when I started, I hooked up with the Shure SM58, which was THE WAY TO GO back then. I consider the SM58 a good and stable lead microphone with a nice sound. About a year ago, when I needed a new mic, some sales guy advised me to try the Beta 58A instead (stating that I was a bit old-school using the SM58). The BETA 58A should have a much brighter sound etc. and in his opinion the best vocal mic on the market at that price, he stated.

I decided to try it out, and I quickly found out that the sound was much brighter and more crispy than the SM58, with some nice EQ boosts. However I became heavily disappointed, when I realized that This mic is somehow divided into two areas when it comes to distance. It seems to have a very sensitive area when singing very close to the mic, and then a less sensitive area when dragging away from the mic. Now especially when high belting in cover versions of Axl Rose, Robert Plant and Steven Tyler etc., I find this feature inconvenient, due to the fact that it generates some kind of "hard breaking point" while changing distance to the mic. I don’t like this feature, and I have now decided to go back to the SM58 again. However I find it hard to believe that the SM58 is THE ONE AND ONLY mic after all these years, and I would like to upgrade if I can find a mic. That “suits my purpose” better.

So my questions are:

Have any of you experienced the same with the BETA 58A?
What kind of microphones do you use?
Any recommendations for new mic’s I should try out - based on my story?

I would be so happy if you would share your ideas about this topic. The SM58 is a cool mic, but maybe I could find an even better one.
And thanks to all of you, and not at least to Ken Tamplin, for establishing this nice fora!

Big Hugs!



  • 11 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 9,927Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    I have probably about 7 SM58's and no betas. I have a Sennheizer 945 and love it. I also have a Neumann KMS 105 and I love it, too. The Neumann I find doesn't have much of a proximity effect like the Shures and even the Sennheizer have. I can sing off-mic and get a good sound with the Neumann. That makes it really nice if I'm singing harmonies and don't want to cover up the other singers. I can be off-mic and you hear everybody at once, clearly.

    The down-side is that the Neumann costs a lot more than the Shures or the Sennheizer. You would probably like the 945. It's really got a nice upper midrange. My bandmates have betas. I'm not that crazy about the sound of them. I can dial-in a really nice sound on the Sennheizer or the Neumann, but the betas seem muddy and limited by comparison.
  • My 2 main go-to's are the Shure Beta87 and the Sennheiser E945.
    I always found the SM58 a bit muddy for my taste... the proximity effect you mention is always a factor; but I like the fact that the 2 I mentioned don't pick up as much ambient stage noise and is more focused on what I am feeding into it.
    It's a hard thing to decide on what works for you, as it takes time and money and using them in the way that you're intending to for the end game.
  • I lean towards Bob...I am a reformed Sennheiser guy, but have plenty of friends that love the Beta87.
    If I were forced to choose, I would go Sennheiser E945
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 9,927Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    edited April 18 Vote Up1Vote Down
    I haven't tried the Shure KSM8. I saw that just after I bought the Neumann. It's probably a pretty good mic, and more affordable than the Neumann. I would recommend trying them out with an A/B comparison at a superstore somewhere.

    The problem is that nowadays, even places like Guitar Center are carrying minimum stock on-hand. I bought both my Neumann and my Sennheizer 945 sight-unseen-unheard. Paid up front. They'll give you store credit if you don't like it after you buy it, but that's kind of risky, especially if you don't feel like taking several hundred dollars that you saved up for a microphone and then deciding to buy other items instead because you don't like the mic.

    I like both of those mics a lot, so I don't have any regrets about them, and didn't want a refund.
  • Thanks Phil! I agree in the SM58 being quite muddy. Regarding the proximity issue, how do you see this when it comes to the beta87 and the 945?
  • Thanks a lot for your comments guys - I will check out all of your proposals.
  • Try Electro-Voice. I used C07 (still strong after 10 years), n/d 767a, n/d 967 concert. All have internal shock mounts integrated for extra protection against accidents and stage abuse. I started using EV mics because I was tired of messing with compression, EQ so much.
    I personally don't like shure mics but I'm not goin to bump on them. The only way to know how a mic is gonna work with your voice is to test them out.
  • Yeah those EV's are nice... I had an N\D 857B, which I really liked until the capsule died :-(
    When I was looking for a replacement, I took into consideration allot of the advice on here, and I've been a Sennheiser E945 guy ever since
  • Anecdotal, but one of the audio engineers at a previous job used to gut SM58s and replace the electronics with those from Rode mics like the M1. He said singers always wanted a SM58 "just because" but the Rodes sound better. I bought an M1 and I've been very happy with it.
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 9,927Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    That's funny about changing out the innards of the mics. The Placebo Effect...
  • Does anyone have a Shure KSM8 Dualdyne? (MRSP $499.) Do you like it? If you are familiar with this one how would you compare it to the Neumann KMS 105? However, the Shure is a dynamic mic & not a condenser.
  • I just landed a Sennheiser E835 (Dynamic Cardiod), and it still beats out the SM58 for clarity and off-axis noise reduction ;) .
    I also like how it doesn't get boomy if you eat the mic, and doesn't get thin if you back off from it.
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