Yes, Shure SM58 is good for recording vocals and it is a great microphone to have in your studio.
The shure SM58 is traditionally used as a live vocal performance microphone. But as you will learn later, it can produce great result if you use it for recording vocals.
There are advantages that can arrive from recording vocals using the Shure SM58. For one it is a vocal microphone, design to highlight speech frequency range .
Here we go in detail on the Shure SM58, why it is good for recording vocals and as a studio microphone.
Why not, if there is a question that needs answering. So here we go…
The Shure SM58 is a dynamic vocal microphone that is made to handle “voices with clarity and care”.
At a live show, there is a 99% chance that the performer is using a Shure SM58. This microphone is the top chose for live vocal performance because of its quality and durability.
The cardioid polar pattern of the Shure SM58 means that the microphone only picks up sound coming from the front.
Shure SM58 is designed to reduce handling noise and improve isolation from feedback. No wonder it’s a favourite for live sound situations.
But we are here for vocal performance.
This frequency response of Shure SM58 is 50Hz-15kHz is tailored to highlight vocals. Hence the sloping bass attenuation from 40-100Hz and the 5dB boost between 4kHz-5kHz.
Singing close into the microphone will cause the proximity effect bass boost.
Shure SM57, SM58 – What’s the Difference?
The Shure Ms57 and SM 58 are often compared.
I have seen young engineers mistake them, (even with the names printed around the necks).
The SM57 looks like an SM58 with its mental cap. So it is easy to mistake both microphones – if you remove the grille form the SM58.
Though both mics have similar features, the SM58 was designed for vocal application and the SM57 for instruments.
However, that doesn’t mean the SM57 can’t/haven’t been used for vocal recording.
Without a grille the proximity effect increases and the possibility of picking up more sibilance and pops is greater but that haven’t stopped engineers using it.
Recording vocals with Shure SM58
Enough with the Shure SM57, we are here to take about the SM58, right?
Since no two voices are the same, there is not one perfect vocal microphone.
The same way the microphone affects the vocal tone, the voice timbre affects the performance of the mic.
This is why there isn’t a single “best vocal mic” or why you will find an unusual microphone matching perfectly with a specific vocal tone.
Many top recording artists have found that the SM58 matches their vocal best and have used it as their recording microphone.
I know of an artist who can’t perform without holding the microphone, even in the recording sessions.
Imaging using a sensitive condenser microphone to record his vocals; that would be a difficult task.
A Shure SM58 became his vocal recording microphone.
Haven’t said that, there are thing you must consider when recording vocals with the SM58.
What to keep in mind
The first thing to consider is the bass proximity effect, which can be a good or bad thing.
When the vocalist performs too close into the microphone, a low-frequency boost occurs.
This can fatten up a thin vocal or add more ‘warmth’ to a high pitched one.
However, the proximity effect can also compromise speech intelligibility and make the low-end sound muddy when mixed with the bass and kick.
The other thing to keep in mind when recording with the SM58 is the mic pick up pattern.
The SM58 is a cardioid microphone, which means it picks up directly from the front, which can be a blessing or a curse in the studio environment.
Little ambient noise will get picked up in the recording if the mic placement is done effectively.
But, any off-axis movement from the vocalist will result in a soft recording with an increased ambient noise level.
The vocalist about 6 to 8 inches away from the microphone, signing directly at the capsule is a good position to get the best sound from the microphone.
Having some well–placed sound absorption behind and to the sides of the vocalist will improve the clarity of the recording.
For a long time, I’ve used the SM58 to record my own vocals because it gave it a fullness I never achieved with a condenser microphone.
You won’t know if a microphone can produce the sound that you are looking for unless you use it.
So I will say experiment with the SM58 to find out if it is the microphone for you, just keep in mind what I outline above.