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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!



  • Furious_PhilFurious_Phil Posts: 1,344Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO
    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.
  • 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?
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 14,625Administrator, 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.
  • Furious_PhilFurious_Phil Posts: 1,344Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO
    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
  • Thanks a lot for your comments guys - I will check out all of your proposals.
  • RockstarJerryRockstarJerry Posts: 4Member
    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.
  • Furious_PhilFurious_Phil Posts: 1,344Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO
    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
  • jamespleasestopjamespleasestop Posts: 29Member, STREAMING PRO
    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: 14,625Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    That's funny about changing out the innards of the mics. The Placebo Effect...
  • CherieCherie Posts: 121Pro, 2.0 PRO
    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.
  • Furious_PhilFurious_Phil Posts: 1,344Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO
    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.
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 14,625Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    edited April 2017
    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.
  • BobbyDee77BobbyDee77 Posts: 41Pro, 2.0 PRO
    I just tested a Sennheiser e935 and my Shure SM58's in a side by side sound test. All volume and settings were set exactly equal. My little feelings got hurt when the Sennheiser destroyed my SM58's. I thought it might be a closer competition, but it wasn't. I like the e935 over the e945 as well, but that's just the sound/tone that I preferred- the e945 is a great mic as well- there is just a more "real/organic" sound for me with the e935. So instead of taking the Sennheiser back to Guitar Center, I'm keeping it and now it's my "go to" live mic. I will do a live/club test down the road with the e935 and e945 again and see how it goes in a live setting- I am always willing to make changes where needed.
  • Furious_PhilFurious_Phil Posts: 1,344Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO
    I took it one step further... I bench marked a Sennheiser E835 against an SM58.
    Even the 835 destroyed the '58! The guys in the band were all "What the hell did you do???" lol
  • Furious_PhilFurious_Phil Posts: 1,344Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO
    edited December 2017
    Recently picked up a Sennheiser e945 and it beat the living snot out of my e835.
    - Noise rejection was stellar...
    - Presence and cut through the mix was amazing
    - up close proximity boominess: barely there
    - Ruggedness over 9000!

    For studio, I am probably going to start with either a Shure SM7B or a Sennheiser Mark4 for best bang for my buck... if I can find a used Neumann TLM102 for a comparable price, then that'd be my target!
  • For live performance, I use the sm57. It's not omni directional so I dont have to worry about the sound bleeding back into it, and I just like the raw sound of it.

    Peace, Tony
  • Furious_PhilFurious_Phil Posts: 1,344Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO
    LOL, You and Bono!!!
  • bentkbentk Posts: 1,225Pro, 2.0 PRO
    I have the SM58 and it's pretty good. I would call it 'good' and that's it. It's a solid and affordable mic and it will deliver for sure.

    However, i did see a video with some comparisons, and i must say that the e945 seems amazing for the money @Furious_Phil

    Here, you can find the e945 for around 200 euros, maybe a little more. The Shure SM58 is around 100. So the e945 is definitely on my wish list. From what i heard, the clarity is just so much better, more towards a condenser mic it seems. Of course they are not the same, but condenser mics are known for their good clarity.

    I think that the e945 is worth the money for sure if you are serious about performing.

    Just my two cents!
  • bentkbentk Posts: 1,225Pro, 2.0 PRO
    edited January 2018

    Does the E945 come close to a condenser mic with clarity? I have seen some comparisons, and as i am still interested in the E945 (found it for a good price) i would really like to hear your thoughts specifically on clarity.
    I know it blows the SM58 out of the water, which i am currently using. Even without comparison, i notice that my SM85 is too 'flat' for my vocals. When i sing without a microphone, my vocals are just so much more 'crisp' and clear on the whole, and i want this translated through the mic of course.

    Of course, the E945 is not a condenser, i so i don't expect that ultra clarity, but i just want the most natural representation of the 'clearness' if you will, of my voice.

    And by any chance, did you also use a E935? I think the E945 is more appropriate for lead vocalists.

    One last thing, i notice with the SM85 that i have to be relatively close to the microphone, and that it's very sensitive to its distance. How does this go for the E945?


  • You have to understand that the sure sm 58/57s are made to take a beating so they aren't built to be too sensitive. They are going to sound a little more dull, and trashy. I'm not sure how the new mics hold up on the road or for continual live performances, but you all know I love my trashy sounding 57 lol

    Peace, Tony
  • bentkbentk Posts: 1,225Pro, 2.0 PRO

    I totally understand that, but it is now my only reference point as it is the only reasonable microphone i own. I started with it just to have a 'good' microphone, but find myself wanting something better already. I read a lot of great things about the clarity of the E945, and it's also still affordable compared to some others.

    All the best,

  • Furious_PhilFurious_Phil Posts: 1,344Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO
    I don't have an E935, but I do have an E835, E945, and SM57 and an SM58.

    The SM57 generally gets used for mic'ing my amps, but I have used it as a vocal mic before. With some EQ, it isn't too bad. Its what I used for my contirbution to VideoAce's Christmas song challenge.

    The SM58 is also decent, and great if you're a loud singer... however it starts to feel a bit muffled in comparison with the Sennheisers.

    Senn E835 was an immediate improvement in clarity and nuance. It kept its sound tonality even when I moved off axis to the capsule, and didn't boom too much when I was all up in its grill. The guys noticed the difference immediately.

    Senn E945 entered another dimension of clarity and refinement. Again, the guys noticed it immediately, and I found that I didn't have to run with as much volume to the monitors, as I was able to hear the nuances without difficulty. This in turn made me more acutely aware of where I was losing support, and where I could focus more on finesse. It is very directional, so as to superbly reject stage noise... meaning you have to keep your mouth lined up on it to stay in the goldielocks zone.
  • Most of the places I perform, the 57 is fine. I don't play on high end systems with all the new latest greatest stuff so for me, the more expensive mics wouldn't necessarily give me a better sound (plus the acoustics in some of these clubs are herendous), and I like to move a lot, and my mic and stand move with me so if I drop it, it goes flying somewhere. I'm all good.
  • bentkbentk Posts: 1,225Pro, 2.0 PRO
    It is the clarity that i am looking for, and the SM58 does not provide this level of clarity. As Phil mentions, it's another dimension of clarity. The comparison i saw also immediately made me want the E945. The direction of the mic is totally fine, i just wonder how it picks up the sound. The SM85 starts to lose a lot of sound when you back away a little, i want something less dramatic. Of course you can mess with the gain, but that has its limits too.

    Thanks so much for your detailed answer @Furious_Phil
    I guess my mind is pretty much made up, but am always interested in more thoughts and opinions.

    As for not playing on high-end systems, you will still notice a difference between certain microphones to a certain extent. The difference between ultra high end will of course not be present, but for me a 500+ microphone is not needed anyway. Having that said, the Shure still is very good, and i will not be getting rid of it! I am not talking down the SM58/57s, just looking for that little extra.

    All the best,

  • Furious_PhilFurious_Phil Posts: 1,344Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO
    If you're dead-set on Shure, the Beta58 is about as close to the mark as you're going to get, but imho the E945 still beats it out.

    The E945's real super power is the rejection of off-axis sound. I have noticed that it stays pretty consistent between 4 fingers away and 2 fingers away... however, with lips occasionally touching the grill, you will get more warmth, but not the low end boom response.
    SO this mic is best suited for singers with good low and midrange tone... probably not the greatest for screechy high end singers?
  • bentkbentk Posts: 1,225Pro, 2.0 PRO
    I don't use a lot of low-end. I probably mainly use the mid-high end range. However, i am not sure how i can tell. My vocal sound is thinner than Ken's, more towards his student Adam. Not exactly the same, but it doesn't have that beef to it that Ken has, nor am i looking for that. I regularly exceed the A5. Barely use high ultra resonant head voice!

    As long as it can replicate the clarity, i would be tremendously happy. It surely will out-do the SM58.
  • Furious_PhilFurious_Phil Posts: 1,344Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO
    I meant a shrill female voice might not work with it... I'm sure you'll love it to pieces!
  • Let me ask you guys this. If those mics have more clarity, and sensitivity, how much of the sound bleeds back into them?
  • Furious_PhilFurious_Phil Posts: 1,344Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO in stage sound? The E835 was about the same as an SM58 for bleed-back... the E945 has very little due to its super-cardiod pattern. It picks up only what is right behind it, and your head is typically blocking it... I also use a noise gate to shut it down when I'm not on it, to prevent any ambient sounds from inadvertently leaking out
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 14,625Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    @bentk, you'll love the 945. You'll never regret it. Nice presence and clarity. Very clean. Worth the extra bucks if you like a clean sound.
  • bentkbentk Posts: 1,225Pro, 2.0 PRO
    @highmtn, @Furious_Phil

    Thanks so much for the info on the E945. It's good to hear about your experiences, which i consider very reliable. I guess my mind is made up!

    I am indeed looking for a clean and crisp sound, so this should be the way to go.

    Thanks again!

  • Furious_PhilFurious_Phil Posts: 1,344Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO
    Hey Ben,

    One last thing... Shop around, for price. I think Sennheiser may still have an online sale on... and don't be afraid of going to different music stores and getting them to price beat (within reason. I saved about $50 doing this :smile: )
    Happy hunting!

  • bentkbentk Posts: 1,225Pro, 2.0 PRO
    Thanks for the suggestion!

    Couldn't really find any great Sennheiser deals here, but i live in the Netherlands. Did find it for 19 euros cheaper than usual though, every penny counts i guess!

    Man, really starting to look forward to it now, haha.

    All the best,

  • Well you guys have sold me. (plus I did some reading) I just ordered a E945. I'm not sure if it was a deal or not, but I got it for $210. Does that sound about right?

    Maybe my 57 will have to retire to instruments only if the 945 sounds as good as people say.

    Peace, Tony
  • Furious_PhilFurious_Phil Posts: 1,344Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO
    Not bad... I got mine for $210 Canadian... which is about $170 US :wink:
  • bentkbentk Posts: 1,225Pro, 2.0 PRO
    @videoace Looking forward to what you think about the E945!

    the price seems to be similar here but in euros, so with the exchange rate that makes it more expensive, with no regard of tax that is. The normal price here is 219 euros, and found it cheapest at 199 with free shipping.
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 14,625Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    I bought mine sight unseen, sound unheard. I just compared the specs to my 835 that I liked, and saw that it had to be quite a bit better. The store had a 935, which I liked better than the 835. I had to pay for the 945 up front get it and try it out. I was not disappointed. The 945 sounded lots better to me than the 835 or the 935.
  • AlvisAlvis Posts: 108Enrolled, 2.0 PRO
    edited January 2018
    @highmtn @videoace @Furious_Phil
    Guys, you sold me too! I've been wanting to up my game by getting my personal mic, and I think I'll order a 945 soon! Thank you all for sharing the valuable info and your personal experiences with it. I'm super excited now. As I have a limited budget, can I use it for both my weekly 3-hr band rehearsals and occasional gigs? Would that wear it down fast?

    And is it ideal for male high-pitched singing (like Led Zeppelin and Steelheart) and distorted sound (Judas Priest and Skid Row, etc)? Looking forward to your input.
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 14,625Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    It won't wear down unless you're dropping it or spraying gobs of beer or saliva into it. It's perfect for Zeppelin or other similar styles. I actually have a Neumann stage condenser mic that costs more than 3 times what I paid for the 945, and I have a hard time deciding which one I like better. So buy three 945's and put some change in your pocket before you consider something like that.
  • AlvisAlvis Posts: 108Enrolled, 2.0 PRO
    edited January 2018
    @highmtn Bob, thank you so much for your fast reply! Based on your reply and other info in this thread, I truly believe the E945 will be the perfect one for my very first personal microphone! Thanks again!!
  • Furious_PhilFurious_Phil Posts: 1,344Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO
    As an added bonus, the 945 is a pretty decent studio mic as well! While not a Neumann U87, it is pretty damned decent for demos and whatnot.
  • AlvisAlvis Posts: 108Enrolled, 2.0 PRO
    @Furious_Phil Awesome! Thanks for the info!! Can't wait to get my 945!
  • cjfoxcjfox Posts: 16Member, 2.0 INTERMEDIATE
    Just a thought, it makes a big difference whether you're using the mic for stage or studio. Studio you can take full advantage of any extra nuances an expensive mic can give. Live, the system will be EQ'd to the response of the main mic, if you have multiple brands of mics on stage. the EQ will be a compromise of all the mics. That's why you will see the same mics on a big live show, often the 58 is the default of whet the sound guys EQ for.
  • Furious_PhilFurious_Phil Posts: 1,344Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO
    Oh completely! mid to high end studio condensers pick up every breath, grain and nuance; but the downfall is that they are fragile and allot more expensive. That isn't really conducive to harshness of going on the road. Luckily, the newer breed of stage mics are almost approaching the great sound of the studio... at least a far sight more than 20 years ago when all we had was primarily the SM58 workhorse.
    But I do agree with your statement that having a variety of mics on the stage is going to cause issues with the soundman. To that end, I am a big advocate of having a homogeneous microphone stage environment.
  • olskoololskool Posts: 68Pro, 2.0 PRO
    edited February 2018
    I use an electrovoice nd767a. It's a very crisp sounding microphone. Beautiful actually.
  • Furious_PhilFurious_Phil Posts: 1,344Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO
    Yeah I think I had the same mic, but the capsule got damaged during a cross-country move, so I never got to really use it :-(
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 14,625Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    At 70Hz-17kHz that should be a pretty sweet-sounding mic.
  • AlyonaAlyona Posts: 288Member, Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO
    My fav is Shure 58 - use it for many many years. I heard that the quality is changed through the years. But mine is more then 25 years old - dad gave it to me after they moved from their rehearsing studio.
  • Furious_PhilFurious_Phil Posts: 1,344Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO
    @Alyona, is that an SM58 or Beta58?
  • AlyonaAlyona Posts: 288Member, Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO
  • Furious_PhilFurious_Phil Posts: 1,344Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO
    I used the SM58 for many years as well, but it didn't work all that well for my voice, as I don't output allot of volume. I test drove a Sennheiser E835, and it was allot closer to picking up the subtle rasp of my voice without making it sound brittle or harsh... almost sounded like I added an aural exciter to my signal chain.
    Last year I took Bob's advice and bought a Sennheiser E945, and it was that much difference again! It had really good noise rejection and crisp sound, without sounding harsh... Then I got the VoiceLive Play, and OMG!
    Between the new gear and a year of KTVA training, people were blown away!
    I can only imagine what it would do for you, as you have a really nice full range... I only hope to have chops like you in the future!
  • AlyonaAlyona Posts: 288Member, Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO
    @Furious_Phil Thank you! I will need to try that!
  • cjfoxcjfox Posts: 16Member, 2.0 INTERMEDIATE
    After following this thread a used e945 came up in my neighborhood, so I got it. It does sound very different from the SM58, but I like it. As mentioned, it has a lot more presence, and even with multiple singers, I could easily pick out my voice, although it was blended and not like I was way louder. It sounds more compressed, although I'm not using compression. The system I was using it on is a small practice PA, not high end at all, but the mic sounded great. I can hardly wait to try it on some other systems, particularly some local jams where they have crappy mics (not even a 58).
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 14,625Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    Yes, you got a lucky break. I bought mine sight unseen, and paid for it up front. I was not disappointed.
  • bentkbentk Posts: 1,225Pro, 2.0 PRO
    Anybody had the chance to try the AKG C5 or C7?

    They seem to be 'live' condenser microphones. I am interested if anybody has experience with these, or similar ones.

    All the best,

  • project_indigenousproject_indigenous Posts: 8Pro
    edited October 2018
    Bentk... All voices are different, I would try out the microphones you are interested in, side by side (A-B test) For best results on your voice. Myself, I love the AKG C535 but I am also waiting to hear the AKG C636 which might be my new microphone. Good luck
  • Gaston_JaureguiGaston_Jauregui Posts: 1,001Moderator, Enrolled, 2.0 PRO
    for live performances I use SM58, I also have used SM57 (for amps) and I have heard its just the same as SM58 except for the windscreen, so if it sounds different it should be a small Eq thing, or change the windscreen, which I believe the sm57 is cheaper so you could change the windscreen depending on what you are using it for, I also like Sennheiser E835,which is kind if the sm58 sennheiser version as far as im concerned,
    another thing if you´ve heard Glenn Hughes in Australia DVD he uses a Beta 58a and the dvd sounds great
  • Furious_PhilFurious_Phil Posts: 1,344Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO
    Yeah, Shure Beta 58's are pretty great and tough as nails!!

    I haven't had much luck with AKG's, the one I bought on Flea-Bay was DOA. I think it was the model that Freddie Mercury swore by???

    I've used SM58's in a pinch, but I just don't get the clarity I'm used to.
    And you're right, the 57 and 58 use the same cartridge, albeit the windscreen allegedly shapes the sound a bit differently

    I used the Sennheiser e835 for about a year, and it was a measure-up on clarity from the 58. The noise rejection was maybe a little better than the 58??

    The Sennheiser e945 is a beast unto itself!
    It is very sensitive to all of your hard-won vocal nuances, yet rejects stage noise superbly!
    The only caveat I've found is that you have to keep your pie-hole right up on it and in line with it, as you'll get volume drops if you don't. I discovered this during a playback at a recent gig. I was playing some pretty difficult Dokken guitar work, which forced me to look at the fretboard during the tricky parts. As luck would have it, some of those tricky parts were while I was singing. ;)

    Maybe some day I'll be a solid enough singer to maybe not have to play guitar as much... maybe just the solos???
  • Goran123Goran123 Posts: 15Member
    edited October 2018
    Here is my experience with mics:

    Shure SM58 is bad mic (unless you equalize it...then it's ok)

    Beta 58 is very similar. Louder and has more bass and treble.

    Sennheiser e935 is much better. Very natural and clear sound.

    Sennheiser e945 is amazing! ☺🎤 It makes singing easier for me. I can sing without stress and tension...also - it sounds great.
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