ProSoundWeb Community

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

Pages: [1]   Go Down

Author Topic: Vocal mic shootout - SM58 vs Sennheiser, AKG, Electro-Voice and other Shures !  (Read 43181 times)

Adam Harzuf

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1

Hello all,
I've been a sound engineer for a few years now and hi-fi and loudspeaker enthusiastic for more then a decade (and recentely an engineer). Lately I grew tired of the workhorse (still, respect), so I went to test some microhpones after some reading.

First, let me tell you what I don't like about the SM58..
1. The SM58 (and many other mics) has bad ~3.15-4kHz peaks that also produces distortion into higher harmonies, while still being quite a veiled microphone. I find myself working these frequencies too often, and the borderline between muffled and harsh is too thin in my opinion. I know this is also a problem of tweeters efforting, or cone breakup in 4 way systems, so I think that a high performance vocal mic has to excel and balance that. After the test, I still haven't found a perfect one, and it makes sense- a good microhpone will capture excessive highs just as they are- from zero to few cm away from it.

2. I almost always have to cut the 315,250,400,500,200Hz (in order of popularity..) on my GEQ, even after balancing amplifiers. I dislike this, as overusing the GEQ kills the signal. I wish for a mic that has more control (not necessary less amount) over this range. To me they always sound like narrow Q peaks with the 58.
These frequencies accumulates as more mics are on stage, and go down further as the show goes on...What a mess! And I find myself cutting down lows a lot on the channel EQ as well.. When will this lowmid war with mics will end?
I know that this area (well, more like its lower part) is caused by the decreasing directivity of the loudspeakers, but that's a reason to design a mic that excels in handling that spill. Which leads me to the next point..
 
3. I just can't stand the way the spill and especially the cymbals sound through the front 58's. There's quite a bit of spill, and it's harsh and useless. a gate doesn't really help in many cases. I can live with that amount of spill, but I want it to sound usable! So advice for a microphone with either less spill, or better sounding, better both.

4. Feedback. The 58 is quite alright in that department, but I wish for an improvement.

5. Definition, precision – just not enough of it.

6.Proximity effect- a bit too much boominess for my taste. I prefer a  microphone that's more consistent over distance.

Day 1:
I went on my own to the AKG shop. Microphones  Tested on JBL Vertec and other JBL systems in a non treated room- With my own thin sounding voice (more of a female range..)
 
D5- The D5 transmits less of the 250-315Hz muddiness of the 58, has sharper and natural highs and a slight improvement in resolution. This is a nice upgrade over the SM58- a bit better in everything. Because it sounds balanced, I would like try to tune a system with, other then just use it for a specific singer. Great price.

D7- Is quite similar to the D5, but the highs are a bit exaggerated. Not a worthwhile improvement over D5 for the money. and I don't feel like I can tune a system with this thing, too bright.

C 535 EB- Tonality of the microphone was nothing special above SM58, just tad different. I didn't bother to go into details with this one. The mic in the store had popping problems because of phantom power from the mixer being disconnected through the cable. Same cable worked fine with D7. This is an issue that I don't want to encounter with condensers on stage and is a major reason for me to avoid them.

C5 – there was nothing special about this microphone. Being a condenser puts me off.

Day 2:

Me and my colleague (with his thick manly voice), which is also a sound engineer, went to several shops with an SM58 in our hand.  If a microphone suits both of us, it means something!

The Shure store- Tested on some home loudspeaker (crap service, really), not too fine in resolution. I'm afraid I might not do justice to the test with the conditions, but I'm sharing my thoughts, nevertheless.

Beta 87a – I remember this microphone as being a noticeable improvement over the SM58, but this test didn't show this at all. I suspect that the system wasn't resolute enough for this, to a certain extent, but I still think that if it was a very good microphone we would notice some marked improvement. Perhaps my view of things has changed with experience as well.
The microphone resembled an SM58, but instead of lacking frequencies above 10kHz, it had too much of them. No real improvement anywhere else. Price and being a condenser puts us off.

Beta 87c – quite similar to the 87a. Not much to talk about.

I wish I would test the Beta 58a/57a in the Shure store, but we didn't feel like staying there, honestly..

The Electro Voice store:
Tested on a very nice Dynacord 15” speaker.

N/D767 – Something is wrong with this mic to our ears. The 1-2.5kHz sounds funny, the lows are exaggerated, although resolution is higher then the 58. But it sounds bad overall. We tested another one, just to be sure.

N/D967 – very nice sounding mic, with a bit of exaggerated lows on both of our voices (anything below ~200Hz is bumped. E/V resolution in general is higher then other contenders to our ears by now, and this mic in no exception. The 58 veil is removed. We though that this might be a good mic for getting nice low end from toms and EG cabs but not to tune a system with. Not the highest value at $200.

PL80c – this is an excellent microphone and one of our definite favorites. It presents a natural voice quality (“oh this mic sounds like you!”-and this worked for both of us), definite increase in intelligibility. SM58 sounds really muffled in comparison. Actually, we went “yuck”. Price is very good at $100.

PL44 – this is almost the absolute winner of all microphones, except for the N/D468. It is like a PL80 but wins in the  “oh this mic sounds like you!” aspect.. However, the PL80c is slightly fuller sounding. Excellent resolution and tonal balance. It's a supercardiod pattern which we like, but only experience will tell how good they reject feedback and how stage wash sounds through them. Price is amazing- $80. My friend tried to get a good price for 10 pieces.

N/D468 – This is like a PL44 but with a bit more presence without any noticeable excessive frequencies added. Hard to describe, but both of us like it best. Natural+meat doesn't go together on a lot of gear, but this one hit the nail. The only problem is that it's not a vocal stage microphone! Too delicate, I would only buy it as a personal microphone if I were a singer. As a vocal microphone, it has a unique style for sure. EV, you should make a hand held stage version of this thing ASAP! Price is more then fair at $170, considering that this is the probably the best sounding microphone of all tested.

RE510 – this microphone was comparable to the  PL44, PL80 and N/D468, just tad on the bright side, but being a condenser and not shy on price ($200), we consider it a good option if you personally like its sound, money no issue, and you don't have to deal with loud/small stages. Very nice overall, well done. Thumbs up for being super cardioid, I wouldn't consider any cardioid condenser for live.

The Sennheiser store:
Tested on fair quality 15” loudspeakers. The salesman didn't allow too much loudness and cared more about feedback then service.. So the conditions weren't  as nice as the EV shop, but it was adequate enough to reasonably understand what we're hearing.

e935 – this microphone has a sharper and more resolute response in the ~1-2kHz and above, compared to the SM58. Below that is in the same league. There's a slight improvement in resolution over the SM58, probably because of that. Not a worthwhile improvement over SM58 considering the price ($170), but still an improvement. I know that feedback rejection and stage wash sound is better then SM58 with e935 from experience, thumbs up for that.

e835 – To our surprise, this microphone sounded better then the E935. If the E935 improved the midrange and up, this one improved everything. Better 200-400Hz control, and a bit less of it. I'm sick of cutting down this area with my GEQ and this looks like a good mic to tune a system with, which says a good thing about the microphone. However, it still didn't wow us, after the EV stuff. Price is attractive at $80.

To our winners:
Usability/price/quality –
1st- EV PL44.
2nd- EV PL80
3rd – Sennheiser e835/AKG D5 - without direct comparison it's hard to tell.

Quality/natural  –
1st EV N/D468
2nd EV PL80c/PL44
3rd  EV RE510/ e835/ D5 – without direct comparison it's hard to tell.

Well, after all that, the winners will still have to prove themselves in real life situations – feedback rejection, the sound of stage spill, durability, diversity. All areas in which the SM58 does a fair job, which made it the standard.

We have also learned that there is no “condenser sound” vs. “dynamic sound”. It's down to the specific microphone, and I'm glad to say that the illusion of a condenser being an upgrade from dynamic is now shattered.

Ok, I'm off now to purchace the PL44..
« Last Edit: August 02, 2011, 02:10:09 am by Adam Harzuf »
Logged

Ron van Middendorp

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1

Hi Adam,

It´s been quite a while since you wrote this shootout. What are your experiences so far with the PL44?
Logged

Ray Aberle

  • Classic LAB
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3407
  • Located in Vancouver, WA (and serves OR-WA-ID-BC)
    • Kelcema Audio

BlameDutchie,

Welcome to the ProSoundWeb! Per the Rules of Participation as clearly posted when you registered and in the Required Reading for New Members, you must post using your Real, Full Name to participate. Would you mind popping back into your Profile and updating your Display Name to reflect your Real, Full Name?

Thanks!

-Ray
Logged
Kelcema Audio
Regional - Serving Pacific Northwest (OR, WA, ID, BC)

Doug Hammel

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 105

First issue I see is you are listening to a lot of mics on several different setups. There is no consistency so of course you are going to get varied and probably frustrating results.





Hello all,
I've been a sound engineer for a few years now and hi-fi and loudspeaker enthusiastic for more then a decade (and recentely an engineer). Lately I grew tired of the workhorse (still, respect), so I went to test some microhpones after some reading.

First, let me tell you what I don't like about the SM58..
1. The SM58 (and many other mics) has bad ~3.15-4kHz peaks that also produces distortion into higher harmonies, while still being quite a veiled microphone. I find myself working these frequencies too often, and the borderline between muffled and harsh is too thin in my opinion. I know this is also a problem of tweeters efforting, or cone breakup in 4 way systems, so I think that a high performance vocal mic has to excel and balance that. After the test, I still haven't found a perfect one, and it makes sense- a good microhpone will capture excessive highs just as they are- from zero to few cm away from it.

2. I almost always have to cut the 315,250,400,500,200Hz (in order of popularity..) on my GEQ, even after balancing amplifiers. I dislike this, as overusing the GEQ kills the signal. I wish for a mic that has more control (not necessary less amount) over this range. To me they always sound like narrow Q peaks with the 58.
These frequencies accumulates as more mics are on stage, and go down further as the show goes on...What a mess! And I find myself cutting down lows a lot on the channel EQ as well.. When will this lowmid war with mics will end?
I know that this area (well, more like its lower part) is caused by the decreasing directivity of the loudspeakers, but that's a reason to design a mic that excels in handling that spill. Which leads me to the next point..
 
3. I just can't stand the way the spill and especially the cymbals sound through the front 58's. There's quite a bit of spill, and it's harsh and useless. a gate doesn't really help in many cases. I can live with that amount of spill, but I want it to sound usable! So advice for a microphone with either less spill, or better sounding, better both.

4. Feedback. The 58 is quite alright in that department, but I wish for an improvement.

5. Definition, precision – just not enough of it.

6.Proximity effect- a bit too much boominess for my taste. I prefer a  microphone that's more consistent over distance.

Day 1:
I went on my own to the AKG shop. Microphones  Tested on JBL Vertec and other JBL systems in a non treated room- With my own thin sounding voice (more of a female range..)
 
D5- The D5 transmits less of the 250-315Hz muddiness of the 58, has sharper and natural highs and a slight improvement in resolution. This is a nice upgrade over the SM58- a bit better in everything. Because it sounds balanced, I would like try to tune a system with, other then just use it for a specific singer. Great price.

D7- Is quite similar to the D5, but the highs are a bit exaggerated. Not a worthwhile improvement over D5 for the money. and I don't feel like I can tune a system with this thing, too bright.

C 535 EB- Tonality of the microphone was nothing special above SM58, just tad different. I didn't bother to go into details with this one. The mic in the store had popping problems because of phantom power from the mixer being disconnected through the cable. Same cable worked fine with D7. This is an issue that I don't want to encounter with condensers on stage and is a major reason for me to avoid them.

C5 – there was nothing special about this microphone. Being a condenser puts me off.

Day 2:

Me and my colleague (with his thick manly voice), which is also a sound engineer, went to several shops with an SM58 in our hand.  If a microphone suits both of us, it means something!

The Shure store- Tested on some home loudspeaker (crap service, really), not too fine in resolution. I'm afraid I might not do justice to the test with the conditions, but I'm sharing my thoughts, nevertheless.

Beta 87a – I remember this microphone as being a noticeable improvement over the SM58, but this test didn't show this at all. I suspect that the system wasn't resolute enough for this, to a certain extent, but I still think that if it was a very good microphone we would notice some marked improvement. Perhaps my view of things has changed with experience as well.
The microphone resembled an SM58, but instead of lacking frequencies above 10kHz, it had too much of them. No real improvement anywhere else. Price and being a condenser puts us off.

Beta 87c – quite similar to the 87a. Not much to talk about.

I wish I would test the Beta 58a/57a in the Shure store, but we didn't feel like staying there, honestly..

The Electro Voice store:
Tested on a very nice Dynacord 15” speaker.

N/D767 – Something is wrong with this mic to our ears. The 1-2.5kHz sounds funny, the lows are exaggerated, although resolution is higher then the 58. But it sounds bad overall. We tested another one, just to be sure.

N/D967 – very nice sounding mic, with a bit of exaggerated lows on both of our voices (anything below ~200Hz is bumped. E/V resolution in general is higher then other contenders to our ears by now, and this mic in no exception. The 58 veil is removed. We though that this might be a good mic for getting nice low end from toms and EG cabs but not to tune a system with. Not the highest value at $200.

PL80c – this is an excellent microphone and one of our definite favorites. It presents a natural voice quality (“oh this mic sounds like you!”-and this worked for both of us), definite increase in intelligibility. SM58 sounds really muffled in comparison. Actually, we went “yuck”. Price is very good at $100.

PL44 – this is almost the absolute winner of all microphones, except for the N/D468. It is like a PL80 but wins in the  “oh this mic sounds like you!” aspect.. However, the PL80c is slightly fuller sounding. Excellent resolution and tonal balance. It's a supercardiod pattern which we like, but only experience will tell how good they reject feedback and how stage wash sounds through them. Price is amazing- $80. My friend tried to get a good price for 10 pieces.

N/D468 – This is like a PL44 but with a bit more presence without any noticeable excessive frequencies added. Hard to describe, but both of us like it best. Natural+meat doesn't go together on a lot of gear, but this one hit the nail. The only problem is that it's not a vocal stage microphone! Too delicate, I would only buy it as a personal microphone if I were a singer. As a vocal microphone, it has a unique style for sure. EV, you should make a hand held stage version of this thing ASAP! Price is more then fair at $170, considering that this is the probably the best sounding microphone of all tested.

RE510 – this microphone was comparable to the  PL44, PL80 and N/D468, just tad on the bright side, but being a condenser and not shy on price ($200), we consider it a good option if you personally like its sound, money no issue, and you don't have to deal with loud/small stages. Very nice overall, well done. Thumbs up for being super cardioid, I wouldn't consider any cardioid condenser for live.

The Sennheiser store:
Tested on fair quality 15” loudspeakers. The salesman didn't allow too much loudness and cared more about feedback then service.. So the conditions weren't  as nice as the EV shop, but it was adequate enough to reasonably understand what we're hearing.

e935 – this microphone has a sharper and more resolute response in the ~1-2kHz and above, compared to the SM58. Below that is in the same league. There's a slight improvement in resolution over the SM58, probably because of that. Not a worthwhile improvement over SM58 considering the price ($170), but still an improvement. I know that feedback rejection and stage wash sound is better then SM58 with e935 from experience, thumbs up for that.

e835 – To our surprise, this microphone sounded better then the E935. If the E935 improved the midrange and up, this one improved everything. Better 200-400Hz control, and a bit less of it. I'm sick of cutting down this area with my GEQ and this looks like a good mic to tune a system with, which says a good thing about the microphone. However, it still didn't wow us, after the EV stuff. Price is attractive at $80.

To our winners:
Usability/price/quality –
1st- EV PL44.
2nd- EV PL80
3rd – Sennheiser e835/AKG D5 - without direct comparison it's hard to tell.

Quality/natural  –
1st EV N/D468
2nd EV PL80c/PL44
3rd  EV RE510/ e835/ D5 – without direct comparison it's hard to tell.

Well, after all that, the winners will still have to prove themselves in real life situations – feedback rejection, the sound of stage spill, durability, diversity. All areas in which the SM58 does a fair job, which made it the standard.

We have also learned that there is no “condenser sound” vs. “dynamic sound”. It's down to the specific microphone, and I'm glad to say that the illusion of a condenser being an upgrade from dynamic is now shattered.

Ok, I'm off now to purchace the PL44..
Logged
Doug Hammel

dougcvaudio@gmail.com

Kevin Maxwell

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1114

First issue I see is you are listening to a lot of mics on several different setups. There is no consistency so of course you are going to get varied and probably frustrating results.

I agree with you completely. And this can be an interesting topic with many different opinions. But the original poster posted this in 2011 and this was their only post and if you look at the users profile the last time he was here was in June of 2014.
Logged

Mac Kerr

  • Old enough to know better
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 6356
  • Audio Plumber
Posting Rules
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2016, 02:28:23 pm »

Hi Adam,

Please go to your profile and change the "Name" field to your real first and last name as required by the posting rules displayed in the header at the top of the section, and in the Site Rules and Suggestions in the Forum Announcements section, and on the registration page when you registered.

Mac
Logged

Mac Kerr

  • Old enough to know better
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 6356
  • Audio Plumber
Zombies and other dead things
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2016, 02:30:22 pm »

I am locking this zombie thread by a poster who never responded for the past 5 years.
Logged
Pages: [1]   Go Up
 


Page created in 0.082 seconds with 22 queries.