When it comes to purchasing a high-quality and reliable microphone, many experienced musicians and recorders will point you in the direction of Shure.
They are known worldwide for their excellent microphones that are super durable as well as sounding great too.
The trouble begins, however, when it comes to deciding which Shure microphone is going to be right for you, as there are so many different great microphones on offer, it’s hard to tell which one is going to be the best choice.
Two of the most popular choices are the SM48 and the SM58 microphones, two dynamic microphones which are immensely similar in most ways but also have their differences.
Chances are that these two microphones might be your final choice, so now you have to choose between the two of them.
So if you’re wondering whether the Shure SM48 or the Shure SM58 is going to be right for you, then read on through our comparison guide, where we’ll give you all the information you need to know!
SM48 Dynamic Microphone
Despite what some people might think, the SM48 isn’t just the younger brother of the SM58, and for some people, the SM48 is actually a much more flattering choice for their voice type.
This rugged dynamic microphone has a unidirectional cardioid pickup pattern that rejects off axis sound. It also has a frequency response range of 55-14000 Hz, which does make it rather similar to the SM58, but not quite the same.
As many people who have used the SM48 will tell you, it has an incredibly distinct and unique sound, which is actually caused by the lack of an impedance transformer on the inside of the microphone.
This means that the highs are more prominent, the proximity effect is reduced, and the mid-range has a different sound from how it normally would.
The SM48 is a quiet microphone, so it’ll take a strong voice (or some preamp and boosts) to allow it to really shine.
You will need an audio interface to connect the SM48 to a computer, and appropriate cables. The SM48 comes with an XLR cable, but you may need an adapter if your audio interface has quarter-inch inputs or something else.
Audio interfaces come in all shapes, sizes and prices, so make sure to do your research before settling on one.
Overall it’s a great budget dynamic mic for both amateur and professional musicians alike!
SM58 Dynamic Microphone
The SM58 is known as a legend when it comes to microphones and has been used for everything through the years, from presidential speeches to rock music, its extremely recognizable grill and shape have seen a lot of action over time.
The most notable thing about the SM58 is just how consistent its cardioid polar pattern is, which helps to produce the crystal clear vocal clarity and warmth that it has become so well known for.
With a pneumatic shock absorber and built-in pop filter, you can also trust that the SM58 is better at handling noise or plosives whilst in use too.
Plus, the years of usage on stage have shown time and time again that the SM58 is more than handling the rowdiness of on-stage performances, so you can be sure that its rugged build quality is more than capable of holding up.
SM48 VS SM58 Dynamic Mics Comparison
When you look past the initial similarities at the first glance, you’ll soon discover that these two microphones are completely different, which is why they’re worth comparing!
The reason why so many people use and adore the SM58 in a live capacity is because of its fantastic frequency range, which expands from 50 to 15000Hz, in comparison, however, the SM48’s range is a lackluster 55 to 14000 Hz.
Although, most people won’t actually notice this reduced range, especially when you consider the crowd noise and instruments that also fill the room during a live show. So it’s ultimately your choice on this one!
Whilst their appearances are extremely similar, it is worth noting that the SM48 is actually heavier than the SM58. The SM48 weighs in at just over 0.8 lbs, whereas the SM58 only weighs 0.62 lbs.
This might not seem like much, especially with both microphones being rather light to begin with, but when it comes to performing, this weight difference soon becomes noticeable.
In fact, if you were to ask any performer which microphone they’d be more comfortable with holding for a full 2-hour set, we can guarantee you they’d probably prefer the lighter option, as it can be quite strenuous having to hold a heavy mic throughout the duration of a gig.
In which case, the SM58 is probably a much better option of the two if you want a microphone that isn’t too heavy whilst on stage!
In reality, the sound of the microphones is arguably what matters most when it comes to deciding which one is going to be best suited for your needs.
The SM58’s legacy and history of providing excellent sound quality when it comes to live performances does give it the initial edge, but let’s take a closer look.
Both models are equipped with a shock mounted cartridge and a cardioid polar pattern, helping to ensure that recordings remain clear and undistorted.
However, the SM48 also features an improved bass response which is great for use on instruments such as kick drums or bass guitars.
The SM48’s sound is amazing, no doubt about it, but the clarity that comes with the SM58 is almost unbeatable and is perfect for cutting through dense mixes, which makes it suited to a microphone used for both live lead vocals and backup vocals.
So, when it comes to sound, you’re probably much better off opting for the SM58. Its tried and tested quality is why so many people continue to use them without a brief consideration for any of the other options.
So whilst the SM48 is an impressive microphone, it’s still in the SM58’s shadow! For best results, using an external pop filter with both microphones is recommended.
This is where the SM48 truly shines because it’s a fantastic option for those who have a tighter budget than most, especially if it’s your first time buying all of the equipment you need for your first live show.
The SM48 is a more than suitable substitute if you can’t quite afford the asking price of the SM58.
Overall, it’s clear that the SM58 is clearly the better microphone, and its legacy shows that. Both are durable microphones that can withstand the rigors of live use and both are great value for money However, if you’re looking for a great budget microphone, the SM48 is a great choice.