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Title: Best alternative to SM58?
Post by: ThomasKielhofner on April 24, 2011, 02:40:45 am
I've searched this on the old forums but only came up with topics about acceptable alternatives to meet riders.

I run sound at a smaller bar in town and we already have a stock of SM57/SM58. Bands that come through play blue grass, folk, classic country, and funk. What I don't like about the SM58 is the excessive proximity effect/nasally sound and lack of high end. I've found the old work horse is fine for most singers, but others not so much, which is why I'd like to have an alternative mic on hand. I do understand you will almost always need to use EQ (even with great mics), but I can only do so much with our Mackie VLZ board and it's single swept mid band.

I've already had the chance to listen to Beta 57, 58, and 87, Heil PR 30, and Senn. e838 that bands have brought in themselves. I like the PR30 but I was hoping to spend less and be able to buy 2-3 mics. The Sennheiser e838 sounded good to my ears, but I've never been able to listen to the e835 or e845 (which I'm interested in). What are your opinions on the sound of the e835 and e845 compared to the SM58? Do you have any other suggestions for reasonably priced better sounding mics? If there's nothing noticeably better than the SM58 in about the same price range I'd be willing to just pick up one mic in the $200-300 price range now and buy more later.


Thanks.

Thomas
Title: Re: Best alternative to SM58?
Post by: Matt Martin on April 24, 2011, 02:58:38 am
I myself am replacing all of my 58s with Senns e845 mics. I find these to an awesome little mic, and as tough as Chuck Norris. I find them to have a very natural sound, giving me better results. I always take my 58s as well though, some people just sound better through them, but if I'm dealing with a new band, the e845 has never let me down!
Title: Re: Best alternative to SM58?
Post by: Dave Scarlett on April 24, 2011, 09:06:54 am
I've been through the same decision making process and decided on the AKG D7. I'm really happy with them and it fits right into your budget. For even less the D5 is a good choice too.

Title: Re: Best alternative to SM58?
Post by: g'bye, Dick Rees on April 24, 2011, 09:28:43 am
but I can only do so much with our Mackie VLZ board and it's single swept mid band.


I think I see your problem......

Look for a used MixWiz.  You can get one for the cost of 3-4 replacement mics.
Title: Re: Best alternative to SM58?
Post by: Scott Bolt on April 24, 2011, 11:00:41 am
I like the warmth and clarity of the EV ND767a; however, they also have a close pickup pattern.  This is typical of microphones that reject stage noise and provide higher gain before feedback.  It is usually considered a good thing ;)
Title: Re: Best alternative to SM58?
Post by: Robert Patch on April 24, 2011, 11:32:38 am
AKG C535 is sort of the Swiss army knife all purpose condenser mic that will sound better than an SM58 in most situations.  You can find them used under $200.
Title: Re: Best alternative to SM58?
Post by: Luke Robinson on April 24, 2011, 12:18:11 pm
I have had a chance to try out many mics on vocals. Recently I am having a love affair with the Heil stuff. the PR35 is absolutely excellent! if you are looking to try something a little more affordable try the PR22. I just did a gig when i had access to a hand full of them and I was very pleasantly surprised with their performance on vocals and on snare drum. If you get the package they call the utility (I would call it normal) meaning it does not come with multi colored grills, it is only around $115.
Title: Re: Best alternative to SM58?
Post by: Mark Gensman on April 24, 2011, 12:52:29 pm
If you are on a budget and want to try a great inexpensive mic that sounds better than an SM58, try a GLS ES58. You can get three of them for $90. They are my go to mic for most acoustic/bluegrass gigs.

Staying in the same price range as the SM58, you might try Sennheiser e835's.
Title: Re: Best alternative to SM58?
Post by: Dave Dermont on April 24, 2011, 01:12:31 pm
but I can only do so much with our Mackie VLZ board and it's single swept mid band.


I think I see your problem......

Look for a used MixWiz.  You can get one for the cost of 3-4 replacement mics.

Actually, a larger selection of microphones along with enough experience to know which ones to use where can lower the need for input channel equalization.

I am a firm believer in microphones being the best place to spend money. A good microphone will always be a good microphone.

The various "solutions" people place between the microphone and loudspeaker are all, to some degree, turd polish.

I'd consider the various flavors of Sennheiser and/or Audix. I've heard a lot of the e835 and the OM3, and they seem to be good alternatives to the SM58 for around the same cost.
Title: Re: Best alternative to SM58?
Post by: ThomasKielhofner on April 24, 2011, 02:57:36 pm
but I can only do so much with our Mackie VLZ board and it's single swept mid band.


I think I see your problem......

Look for a used MixWiz.  You can get one for the cost of 3-4 replacement mics.

Actually, a larger selection of microphones along with enough experience to know which ones to use where can lower the need for input channel equalization.

I am a firm believer in microphones being the best place to spend money. A good microphone will always be a good microphone.

The various "solutions" people place between the microphone and loudspeaker are all, to some degree, turd polish.

I'd consider the various flavors of Sennheiser and/or Audix. I've heard a lot of the e835 and the OM3, and they seem to be good alternatives to the SM58 for around the same cost.

A new board is the next big upgrade, I'm just waiting on the bar to get the money together for a GL2400. I also believe good sound starts at the mic though, which is why I started this topic to get some opinions on different mics.  :) Thank you all for the suggestions so far.
Title: Re: Best alternative to SM58?
Post by: g'bye, Dick Rees on April 24, 2011, 04:40:26 pm
but I can only do so much with our Mackie VLZ board and it's single swept mid band.


I think I see your problem......

Look for a used MixWiz.  You can get one for the cost of 3-4 replacement mics.

Actually, a larger selection of microphones along with enough experience to know which ones to use where can lower the need for input channel equalization.

I agree about the mic/input quality.  I refer more to what you do to build a mix with your choice of input devices.  The limitations of the VZ channel strip EQ kind of cramps whatever mics you have in the mix.

A lot of the alternatives mentioned are tighter patterns than the 58, so that brings mic technique into play as well.  I have a lot of alternatives to the 58's in my mic locker, but it really depends on the person using them as to whether they will work or not.......

Shure SM58, the LCD of dynamic mics:  Lowest Common Denominator



Title: Re: Best alternative to SM58?
Post by: Bennett Prescott on April 24, 2011, 04:51:10 pm
I think I see your problem......

Look for a used MixWiz.  You can get one for the cost of 3-4 replacement mics.
Agreed! 58s are the least of your problem, you may just need to clean the grilles anyway.
Title: Re: Best alternative to SM58?
Post by: Dave Dermont on April 24, 2011, 08:15:26 pm
I think I see your problem......

Look for a used MixWiz.  You can get one for the cost of 3-4 replacement mics.
Agreed! 58s are the least of your problem, you may just need to clean the grilles anyway.

You know, back when my house gig had a 56 channel PM-3500 and nothing but SM 57s and 58s, I had very little want or need for more console, but a bigger selection of mics would have been nice.

Yeah, yeah... I guess I could have complained that I did not have a Midas H-3000, but I'm a reasonable guy.

When I go into a room with traditionally crappy installation that has a Peavey or Mackie, or Behringer mixer with a couple dead channels and an intermittent Aux send, and the best mic in the box is the one with the $19.95 Music-Go-Round price sticker still on it, a couple real microphones (including SM57s and 58s) is what's gonna make a difference at that gig on that night with the smallest amount of effort and/or resistance from the house crew (which is usually one guy, who also tends bar on Tuesdays and Wednesdays)

When money is tight, and your looking for the best bang for the buck, an addition to the mic box is always worth considering.

That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.

Also, the next time you see a used Mix Wiz (that really works) selling for the price of three SM58s, please let me know.
Title: Re: Best alternative to SM58?
Post by: g'bye, Dick Rees on April 24, 2011, 08:34:45 pm
the next time you see a used Mix Wiz (that really works) selling for the price of three SM58s, please let me know.

Dave.....

Send me a PM if you're interested.  I know a guy who has a gently used original model (no FX) for a VERY reasonable price.

DR
Title: Re: Best alternative to SM58?
Post by: Dave Dermont on April 24, 2011, 09:19:17 pm
the next time you see a used Mix Wiz (that really works) selling for the price of three SM58s, please let me know.

Dave.....

Send me a PM if you're interested.  I know a guy who has a gently used original model (no FX) for a VERY reasonable price.

DR

I don't really "need" another mixer, but you never know...

Thanks!
Title: Re: Best alternative to SM58?
Post by: g'bye, Dick Rees on April 24, 2011, 09:50:27 pm
the next time you see a used Mix Wiz (that really works) selling for the price of three SM58s, please let me know.

Dave.....

Send me a PM if you're interested.  I know a guy who has a gently used original model (no FX) for a VERY reasonable price.

DR

I don't really "need" another mixer, but you never know...

Thanks!

Never mind......
Title: Re: Best alternative to SM58?
Post by: Greg Harwood on April 25, 2011, 09:09:38 am
Give the EV PL80 a try.  It's a great sounding mic.
Title: Re: Best alternative to SM58?
Post by: Justin Bartlett on April 25, 2011, 03:13:16 pm
I've used the Sennheiser e835 extensively, and it's a nice option at its price range; I like it significantly better than the SM58.  We recently switched most of our vocal mics over to the e865 though; it's a significant improvement above the e835 both in sound quality and coverage pattern.  Neither one has the durability of an SM58 (the e865 is a condenser), but as long as you don't abuse them, they'll work great.

The e865 sounds noticeably better than either the SM58 or the e835 (in my experience), and has much better GBF and stage bleed rejection, but it does have a somewhat higher price tag.

I have also been impressed with Shure's SM86 and SM87 under the right circumstances.

I don't have any experience with the Heil stuff, although I hear mostly very good things about them here.
Title: Re: Best alternative to SM58?
Post by: Robert Patch on April 26, 2011, 01:06:45 pm
Even in my limited experience, some people sound better on an SM58 and some sound better on an e945 and some sound better on a PR-35.  It's nice to have and get to know a variety of mics. 
Title: Re: Best alternative to SM58?
Post by: g'bye, Dick Rees on April 26, 2011, 01:24:28 pm
Even in my limited experience, some people sound better on an SM58 and some sound better on an e945 and some sound better on a PR-35.  It's nice to have and get to know a variety of mics.

This brings us to the problem of the "artist" preferring a particular mic no matter how it sounds.........

I once had a reggae artist keep refusing the mics I would hand him and going back to the wireless mic he had brought even though it had STOPPED WORKING!!!!!!
Title: Re: Best alternative to SM58?
Post by: Chuck Simon on April 26, 2011, 02:31:20 pm
Quote
This brings us to the problem of the "artist" preferring a particular mic no matter how it sounds.........

Yeah, stupid artist!  Tom Petty is so dumb he prefers an SM 57!  Too bad he doesn't read this forum! ::)
Title: Re: Best alternative to SM58?
Post by: Dave Dermont on April 26, 2011, 05:27:28 pm
Quote
This brings us to the problem of the "artist" preferring a particular mic no matter how it sounds.........

Yeah, stupid artist!  Tom Petty is so dumb he prefers an SM 57!  Too bad he doesn't read this forum! ::)

Tom Petty?

SM57?

That's SO 20th century!
Title: Re: Best alternative to SM58?
Post by: Robert Patch on April 26, 2011, 07:47:11 pm
This brings us to the problem of the "artist" preferring a particular mic no matter how it sounds.........

I once had a reggae artist keep refusing the mics I would hand him and going back to the wireless mic he had brought even though it had STOPPED WORKING!!!!!!

Perhaps that WAS the one that sounded best on him.
Title: Re: Best alternative to SM58?
Post by: Chuck Simon on April 26, 2011, 09:40:35 pm
Quote
Tom Petty?

SM57?

That's SO 20th century!

Yeah, your'e right.  He probably moved on to a Beta 57 by now ;)
Title: Re: Best alternative to SM58?
Post by: Tim Weaver on April 27, 2011, 01:31:15 pm
Heil PR20ut. It can be had for the same 100 bucks as a 58, has a great sound with way less proximity effect and can be used anywhere on stage. It is just as good on the snare as it is on vocals. It will also be my next addition to the mic case....


Just FYI, I am a huge supporter of the SM58. I have not been moved enough by any other mic in this price range to change. Until now that is. The Heil is that good.
Title: Re: Best alternative to SM58?
Post by: Robin Whyte on April 27, 2011, 04:59:43 pm

I have the Sennheiser E835(s) and love it.  It's warm on the bottom without ridiculousness, and the high end has a nice little kiss off to make it sound sweet and open.  Robust sensitivity vs. the Shure is a bonus.

It also has a switch.  Would never sing live without a switch.

Title: Re: Best alternative to SM58?
Post by: Jay Barracato on April 27, 2011, 05:19:02 pm
Quote
Tom Petty?

SM57?

That's SO 20th century!

Yeah, your'e right.  He probably moved on to a Beta 57 by now ;)

If I recall rightly Scoville has traded the Neumann's he was using for Petty for Heils PR35's.
Title: Re: Best alternative to SM58?
Post by: Dave Dermont on April 27, 2011, 05:23:29 pm

It also has a switch.  Would never sing live without a switch.


Switches are evil.

NO mics with switches on stage!

The only place you should use a mic with a switch is at the console for talkback.

A mic with a switch is a tell-tale sign of a crappy bush league mic. It's been that way for a long time, and it needs to stay that way.

Title: Re: Best alternative to SM58?
Post by: Tim Weaver on April 27, 2011, 05:31:24 pm

I have the Sennheiser E835(s) and love it.  It's warm on the bottom without ridiculousness, and the high end has a nice little kiss off to make it sound sweet and open.  Robust sensitivity vs. the Shure is a bonus.

It also has a switch.  Would never sing live without a switch.



Your noob flag is flying, noob....
Title: Re: Best alternative to SM58?
Post by: Dave Dermont on April 27, 2011, 05:33:31 pm
Quote
Tom Petty?

SM57?

That's SO 20th century!

Yeah, your'e right.  He probably moved on to a Beta 57 by now ;)

If I recall rightly Scoville has traded the Neumann's he was using for Petty for Heils PR35's.

I'm not sure what Scovi is using with Petty these days. Scovill did not mix Petty for a few tours, but came back after his first couple years pimping for Avid.

We talked about this at length during a web chat back in the day. I have the first couple web chat transcripts. My plan is to have them back online ASAP.
Title: Re: Best alternative to SM58?
Post by: Jay Barracato on April 27, 2011, 05:49:17 pm
Quote
Tom Petty?

SM57?

That's SO 20th century!

Yeah, your'e right.  He probably moved on to a Beta 57 by now ;)

If I recall rightly Scoville has traded the Neumann's he was using for Petty for Heils PR35's.

I'm not sure what Scovi is using with Petty these days. Scovill did not mix Petty for a few tours, but came back after his first couple years pimping for Avid.

We talked about this at length during a web chat back in the day. I have the first couple web chat transcripts. My plan is to have them back online ASAP.

Dave, I seem to remember the press release was fairly recent so I am thinking it was the 2010 tour. I am not sure my memory for those types of details goes much further back than that. Don't ask which mag I saw it in either.
Title: Re: Best alternative to SM58?
Post by: Robin Whyte on April 27, 2011, 05:51:25 pm
Switches are evil.

NO mics with switches on stage!

The only place you should use a mic with a switch is at the console for talkback.

A mic with a switch is a tell-tale sign of a crappy bush league mic. It's been that way for a long time, and it needs to stay that way.


Luv a guy who sees the evil in things.  But times are a changing, tons of good mics out there with switches.  The 835 is a great mic, switch notwithstanding.

And when the feedback starts, it's the artist - usually the singer - that is left doing the funky chicken on stage trying to get it to stop.  A switch is a life, and more importantly, an image saver.  Once you've done the funky chicken, it's hard to get your cool back.

Title: Re: Best alternative to SM58?
Post by: Rob Spence on April 27, 2011, 06:44:36 pm
Switches are evil.

NO mics with switches on stage!

The only place you should use a mic with a switch is at the console for talkback.

A mic with a switch is a tell-tale sign of a crappy bush league mic. It's been that way for a long time, and it needs to stay that way.


Luv a guy who sees the evil in things.  But times are a changing, tons of good mics out there with switches.  The 835 is a great mic, switch notwithstanding.

And when the feedback starts, it's the artist - usually the singer - that is left doing the funky chicken on stage trying to get it to stop.  A switch is a life, and more importantly, an image saver.  Once you've done the funky chicken, it's hard to get your cool back.


The reason sound guys don't like them is that sometimes the talent turns off the mic, forgets, then curses the sound guy for no audio. It is really a problem in corporate work where the "talent" in this case is not talented in the use of microphones.
Title: Re: Best alternative to SM58?
Post by: g'bye, Dick Rees on April 27, 2011, 07:01:35 pm
Switches are evil.

NO mics with switches on stage!

The only place you should use a mic with a switch is at the console for talkback.

A mic with a switch is a tell-tale sign of a crappy bush league mic. It's been that way for a long time, and it needs to stay that way.


Luv a guy who sees the evil in things.  But times are a changing, tons of good mics out there with switches.  The 835 is a great mic, switch notwithstanding.

And when the feedback starts, it's the artist - usually the singer - that is left doing the funky chicken on stage trying to get it to stop.  A switch is a life, and more importantly, an image saver.  Once you've done the funky chicken, it's hard to get your cool back.



You are entitled to your opinion.......no matter how wrong it is.
Title: Re: Best alternative to SM58?
Post by: Rafi Singer on April 28, 2011, 01:07:16 am
I've personally fallen in love with the switchless Sennheiser e835. They're cheap enough to put on stage with a rapper or hardcore singer, great feedback rejection (comparatively) and sound WAAAAY smoother than a 58 could ever dream of being. I've also had fun with the e935, though I did find a bit of a bump around 10k-ish that I didn't find useful.

I was impressed with Bob Heil's demo of his PR35, though I have yet to front the money to try one out. If it is as good as it sounded in those headphones, I suspect I'll end up dumping some money on them.
Title: Re: Best alternative to SM58?
Post by: Simon Ryder on April 28, 2011, 03:05:07 pm
I have read all the answering posts.

I own a medium sized sound company and I provide for all the way up to A list international touring artists.

I have 40 x sm58s in my mic locker for a good reason.

They work, they last, it's on everybodies rider and they earn me money.

I also own:
just about every alternative except for the Heils. (the list is long)

I am not the biggest fan of the Shure "sound" I find on the whole that they sound a little thin. Every time I try something else, I end up coming back to '58s.

Senns e835 / e845 - very cheap, extremely tough (Pete Doherty - goggle him) used one as a hammet to knock lights out on the lighting grid and it still worked, the down side is they are too variable on individual voices and the old schoolers won't touch them. In the UK, I can buy 2 x e835 for 1 x sm58. Any cheap install gets them, good installs get 58s.

Audix OMs: The balls split, they "spit out" IE get filled with spit by screamers and stop working mid show. I used 3 x OM6s on Nick Oliveri (Queens of the stone age) in 45 minutes, gave up and went back to a 58. It lasted show after show on him. I keep a few OM6s and 7s for singing drummers.

Shure B58: I hate these things. I have 12 of them for rider reasons. They work well on Beat Boxers and that's about it.

Shure B57: A truly superb vocal mic for the lips on grill brigade on a loud stage. Not as good as an OM6 or 7 but won't "spit out" Will not workfor anyone who "works" the mic or has poor technique.

Shure B87: Tolerable condenser - so much better out there. I have a few for rider reasons.

Shure KSM9 - OMG! Shure finally made an amazing sounding vocal mic. This thing is INCREDIBLE!!! Just put it in pace of a 58 turn on phantom and prepare to be amazed. OK they are expensive but this is probably your way forward. You can get them real loud fast in a wedge too.

Senn e935 / 945: I love them on some people. Very clean, blows a 58 out of the water (not a patch on a KSM9 though) costs about 50% more than a 58 in the UK. Still won't work with the old guys who know how to work a 58 though.

Neumann KSM105: Stunning sound - yes it does sound better than a KSM9. It picks up so much stage wask though, that I would never want to tour with one again and do less that arena sized stages - quiet ones at that. The KSM9 is ALMOST as good sounding but is so much more usable.

I have may more vocal mics I could mention here but won't.

My advice in this order:

Stick with 58s for vocals. You could do with at least 6.

Add a couple of B58s for rider reasons

Add a couple of B57s for singing drummers etc (riders again)

Upgrade your mixer.

Upgrade your speakers (and poss amps)

Buy a decent GEQ for FOH

Buy better instrument mics

Buy a couple of KSM9s  for those you really trust not to use them as a hammer.

Buy a couple of channels of decent compression (BSS 402)

Buy a better reverb.

Title: Re: Best alternative to SM58?
Post by: Dave Dermont on April 28, 2011, 03:14:13 pm
I have read all the answering posts.

I own a medium sized sound company and I provide for all the way up to A list international touring artists.

I have 40 x sm58s in my mic locker for a good reason.

They work, they last, it's on everybodies rider and they earn me money.

I also own:
just about every alternative except for the Heils. (the list is long)

I am not the biggest fan of the Shure "sound" I find on the whole that they sound a little thin. Every time I try something else, I end up coming back to '58s.

Senns e835 / e845 - very cheap, extremely tough (Pete Doherty - goggle him) used one as a hammet to knock lights out on the lighting grid and it still worked, the down side is they are too variable on individual voices and the old schoolers won't touch them. In the UK, I can buy 2 x e835 for 1 x sm58. Any cheap install gets them, good installs get 58s.

Audix OMs: The balls split, they "spit out" IE get filled with spit by screamers and stop working mid show. I used 3 x OM6s on Nick Oliveri (Queens of the stone age) in 45 minutes, gave up and went back to a 58. It lasted show after show on him. I keep a few OM6s and 7s for singing drummers.

Shure B58: I hate these things. I have 12 of them for rider reasons. They work well on Beat Boxers and that's about it.

Shure B57: A truly superb vocal mic for the lips on grill brigade on a loud stage. Not as good as an OM6 or 7 but won't "spit out" Will not workfor anyone who "works" the mic or has poor technique.

Shure B87: Tolerable condenser - so much better out there. I have a few for rider reasons.

Shure KSM9 - OMG! Shure finally made an amazing sounding vocal mic. This thing is INCREDIBLE!!! Just put it in pace of a 58 turn on phantom and prepare to be amazed. OK they are expensive but this is probably your way forward. You can get them real loud fast in a wedge too.

Senn e935 / 945: I love them on some people. Very clean, blows a 58 out of the water (not a patch on a KSM9 though) costs about 50% more than a 58 in the UK. Still won't work with the old guys who know how to work a 58 though.

Neumann KSM105: Stunning sound - yes it does sound better than a KSM9. It picks up so much stage wask though, that I would never want to tour with one again and do less that arena sized stages - quiet ones at that. The KSM9 is ALMOST as good sounding but is so much more usable.

I have may more vocal mics I could mention here but won't.

My advice in this order:

Stick with 58s for vocals. You could do with at least 6.

Add a couple of B58s for rider reasons

Add a couple of B57s for singing drummers etc (riders again)

Upgrade your mixer.

Upgrade your speakers (and poss amps)

Buy a decent GEQ for FOH

Buy better instrument mics

Buy a couple of KSM9s  for those you really trust not to use them as a hammer.

Buy a couple of channels of decent compression (BSS 402)

Buy a better reverb.

You seem like a very wise man.

Thanks for sharing some of that wisdom.
Title: Re: Best alternative to SM58?
Post by: ThomasKielhofner on April 28, 2011, 08:38:21 pm
Thanks for the great recommendations everyone.

Our equipment list is the following:

(2) JBL SRX 725's as mains
(2) JBL SRX 728's for subs
(2) QSC RMX 5050's for power
(1) old BSS 2 way passive crossover
(1) Mackie VLZ Pro 32 channel mixer
(3) DBX 231 1/3 octave GEQ's on main outputs and each monitor mix
(1) DBX provocal reverb
(1) Tascam CD-RW900SL CD Recorder
(2) DBX 266XL compressors
(1) Crappy Alesis GEQ for emergency insert duty
(5) SM58
(6) SM57
(1) Shure PG drum mic kit
(6) Whirlwind IMP2 DI's
(1) Horizon 24 channel snake

For now I think I'll just stick with the 58's we have, although further down the road I might consider picking up some additional mics. From what it sounds like the money would be better spent now on a new mixer, and then better reverb/compressors. A digital crossover/processor is also on the list, I'd like to do aux fed subs.
Title: Re: Best alternative to SM58?
Post by: g'bye, Dick Rees on April 28, 2011, 08:45:50 pm
Thanks for the great recommendations everyone.

 From what it sounds like the money would be better spent now on a new mixer....

You betcha!!!!!