Shure SM48 Review – Budget Vocal Microphone

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Shure are nothing short of a powerhouse in the world of microphones. This is especially true in the world of live music, and the chances are, a huge percentages of the microphones you’ve seen at gig venues and festivals have been made by Shure. Their range is growing all the time and the Shure SM48 is one of the slightly newer models they offer. It has a lot of similarities with iconic vocal mic SM58, and it is something of a little (and cheaper) sibling to a microphone you will have seen over and over again. So, in this SM48 review we look at the features on offer and whether it gives some of the more expensive mics out there a run for their money.

SM48 Pros

Fortunately, there is a lot to like about the 48. I want to make it clear that this is not the best microphone ever constructed, but it serves a purpose for those of us on a budget, who don’t want to compromise too much on sound quality.

Features:

  • Designed for vocals. This microphone’s frequency response is made with vocals in mind, meaning it responds to the human voice. This means it won’t be the best for some instruments, and isn’t suitable for mic’ing most drums for instance. A brightened midrange however can mean prominent vocals.
  • A cardioid pickup pattern is designed to reject “off-axis” sounds, meaning it won’t unnecessarily pick up things you don’t intend it to such as other instruments. Great for both recording and live audio and avoiding ‘bleed’.
  • Inbuilt pop shield to help deal with plosives and sounds you don’t want creeping into your recordings or live shows.
  • This is available with an on/off switch, great for mics you don’t want to use the whole time and to avoid feedback and other nasty mic issues.
  • Rugged design. These dynamic microphones are designed with live use in mind, meaning they ordinarily can take a beating and be absolutely fine. Live sound can be a nightmare if equipment is constantly breaking, and vocalists have a tendency to treat their mics like they’re angry with them. Being so well made is one of the benefits of Shure’s dynamic microphone range.
  • Affordability. Lets face it, this is what the microphone is going for, it is a cheaper version of the SM58, at the time of me writing this the SM48 can be found online for half the price of a 58, making it a great option for beginners, small gig venues, band practices and home recording. The price and value for money are almost the whole point of this mic existing.
  • Connects via XLR cable, industry standard for mics, and doesn’t require phantom power.
  • Comes complete with carry bag and microphone stand adapter/connector.

SM48 Cons

Try as it might, the 48 doesn’t quite have the same cutting vocals, and especially for recording. That said, as a live microphone this is a wonderful option, and a huge amount of SM48 reviews on Amazon and other retailers have been hugely positive. Five star reviews for the 48 are very easy to find, with people impressed by what is on offer at the price. If you’re trying to record a number one album, maybe this isn’t the microphone for you, but for live vocals, practice and other uses this could be a perfect solution. Other than that, it is very difficult to find fault with this rugged little mic.

Naturally, if you want to use it for home recording, you’re either going to need to run it through a mixer/pre-amp/audio interface or an XLR to USB converter. This is the same with any XLR connected mic.

Conclusion

The way one reviewer puts it, this is “a lot of microphone for the money”. I couldn’t agree more. I won’t go so far as to say that it is as good as an SM58, if money is no object then going for a different microphone might be wise, but for a durable yet high quality on a budget then this is worth considering. If you use it for home recording, a bit of EQ and tweaking a few effects can have a massive influence on the sound, but this is probably best for demos and rough recordings rather than your bands number one hit.

It is hard to argue with all of the positive reviews out there for Shure’s budget offering, and we definitely recommend it for vocalists on a budget and for live use.

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