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Shure SM48 vs. SM58: A Full Comparison Guide

Shure SM48 vs. SM58 A Full Comparison Guide

Choosing the right microphone is essential in getting your message across to your audience.

Whether in professional settings such as recording studios and large conference halls or more casual settings such as your local karaoke place, the best mic will yield the best results.

Enter Shure Incorporated, the industry-standard when it comes to high-quality microphones!

This article will be delving deep into the specs and features of the Shure SM48 and SM58 and which of these two microphones is better for you.

Let’s begin the SM48 vs. SM58 review!

Table of Contents

What is the Shure SM48?

The Shure SM48 is one of Shure Incorporation’s excellent cardioid dynamic vocal microphones.

It is a budget-friendly and dynamic mic with agile features that effectively allow artists and general users to use it in various select settings.

What is the Shure SM48-

Shure SM48 Overview

The Shure SM48 is a good starter microphone and is astoundingly cheaper than other microphone brands!

Let’s dive into the specs and features of this microphone below!

Specs and Features

Here’s a more detailed look into the specs and features of the Shure SM48 that allows it to function in its distinct way.

With that said, let’s first do a quick run-through of its specs:

  • Dimensions: 166 mm L x 54.2 mm W
  • Weight: 370 g
  • Microphone rating impedance: 150 Ω (270 Ω actual) for 19Ω  to 300Ω microphone inputs
  • Output level: Open circuit voltage of -57.5 dBV/Pa (1.3 mV)
  • Polarity: With positive pressure, the diaphragm produces positive voltage on pin 2
  • Connector: 3-pin professional audio (XLR), male

Now that we’ve tackled the numbers let’s talk about what the abovementioned numbers mean for its users.

Rejects Off-Axis Sound Via Cardioid Pickup Pattern

Let’s talk about what a pickup pattern is, what a cardioid pickup pattern is, and what it means for the sound quality of your microphone.

Shure SM48 Overview

A microphone’s polar pattern (sometimes pertained to as a cardioid polar pattern) is largely defined by its capacity to record or pick up sound from various or select directions.

The more common and technical term for the previously mentioned capacity of your microphone is DIRECTIONALITY.

Here are the three main categories of directionality by which you can put all microphone pickup patterns under:

  • Unidirectional: microphone records/pick up sounds from one direction
  • Bidirectional: microphone records/picks up sounds from two opposite directions
  • Omnidirectional: microphone records/pick up sounds from all directions

As we have explained earlier, both the Shure SM48 and SM58 employ a cardioid pickup pattern.

Microphones that utilize said pickup pattern have a UNIDIRECTIONAL pickup pattern.

Microphone pattern

The Shure SM48’s unidirectional pickup pattern (the one with the heart-shaped curve in the graph) allows it to avoid picking up any off-axis sound.

This is described as any background noise from a source that is not, direction-wise, in front of the microphone itself.

Superior Gain Before Feedback

Additionally, the Shure SM48 effectively utilizes its cardioid pickup pattern to create superior gain before feedback.

In layman’s terms, this means that the probability of you losing sound quality whenever there’s an increase in the amplitude of a microphone signal is LESS likely.

Tailored Frequency Response

The Shure SM48 boasts of its frequency response range of 55Hz-14kH and how it’s specifically designed for vocals.

  • A frequency response range entails your equipment’s ability to reproduce all the tones that the human ear can detect.
  • A good frequency response range affects the reproduction of the low, middle, and high-frequency tones.

Let’s say that you’re specifically recording vocals using the Shure SM48.

Because it goes beyond just having a good frequency response by being deliberately designed to deal with vocals, then it will be able to accurately reproduce your vocals.

Control Proximity Effect with Bass Roll Off

Many individuals nowadays have an appreciation for songs with a good bass component.

Most people don’t know that a good bass component isn’t completely dependent on the post-production side of things.

Control Proximity Effect with Bass Roll Off

The proximity effect is the phenomenon where a component’s low-frequency response increases as the sound source is brought closer to the microphone.

This effect happens more frequently with directional microphones, especially unidirectional microphones because it cancels out every other sound that is not in front of it.

Now, the bass rolloff allows you to easily control lower frequencies.

It means that you do not have to worry about sounding too muddled when you’re too close to the mic because the Shure SM48 has a built-in bass frequency controller.

Reduced Handling Noise

Handling noise is the unnecessary noise generated by a cable or microphone when it’s being ‘handled’ or moved around.

The Shure SM48 utilizes its built-in shock mount to reduce unwanted noise, which protects the microphone from any excessive contact that creates rumbles in your audio.

This feature is a win for users who intend to utilize the Shure SM48 in settings wherein rough handling is more conducive (such as live performances).

Wear and Abuse Resistant

While some microphones don’t have it, having a steel mesh grille and handle will greatly protect your microphone from easily getting damaged when you accidentally drop it.

It’s good that the Shure SM48 is designed with a steel mesh grille and handles that make it more sturdy and protect your audio from picking up any unwanted wind noise.

Reduces Unwanted Background Noise

Because the Shure SM48 has a built-in pop filter, the microphone’s design further allows users to use it without having to worry about their audio sounding too breathy or windy.


Without paying any additional fees, the SM48 comes along with a stand adapter/swivel adapter and a zippered storage bag.


  • Cardioid polar pattern makes it effective in noise rejection.
  • The built-in pop filter greatly lowers the possibility of your microphone picking up plosive sounds.
  • The Shure SM48 is a dynamic microphone specifically designed to capture your vocals (especially in a live setting).
  • Its frequency range is specifically designed to work excellently – however high or low the frequency.
  • Its build quality, with its shock-mounted cartridge and steel mesh components, makes it one of the most durable microphones out there.
  • With its low output impedance, the Shure SM48 is designed against picking up unwanted noise and interference, especially when longer cables are utilized.
  • It utilizes an XLR connector which is an industry standard for microphones.
  • It’s easy to carry around using its free carrying pouch.
  • Because of its relatively low price, it’s perfect for those on a tight budget.


  • Better utilized for live performances than for studio recording sessions
  • It may not be the best option to capture the ambiance
  • May require an external audio interface for home recording
  • Users may need to purchase a separate pop filter to cancel out wind noises in outdoor settings.
  • It’s unidirectional.
  • If you’re looking to share the Shure SM48 with multiple people at the same time, then it may not be able to capture the other voices (such as backing vocals)

What is the Shure SM58?

What is the Shure SM58-

Deemed as the first choice of vocal performers worldwide, the Shure SM58 is a highly versatile dynamic microphone from the same company responsible for the Shure SM48.

Along with utilizing a cardioid pattern feature, the features of this Shure microphone make delivering warm and clear vocal audio an incredibly easy feat!

Shure SM58 Overview

Despite having similar features as the SM48, the Shure SM58 has a price to performance ratio that can definitively speak for the price difference between the Shure SM48 and SM58.

Without further ado, let’s talk about the specs and features of the Shure SM58!

Specs and Features

Deciding between the Shure SM48 and SM58 is preceded by looking into the details of both dynamic microphones and deciding which set of specs and features fit your needs best.

Bouncing off of that, here are the Shure SM58’s specs that you may find useful to look into:

  • Dimensions: 162 mm L x 51 mm W
  • Weight: 298 g
  • Microphone rating impedance: 150 Ω (300 Ω actual) for low-impedance rated microphone inputs
  • Output level: -54.5 dBV/Pa (1.85mV)
  • Polarity: With positive pressure, the diaphragm produces positive voltage on pin 2
  • Connector: 3-pin professional audio (XLR), male

Now, it’s alright if you didn’t understand most of what just went down with all the numbers and the ohms. The next portion will be easier to digest.

Highlight Primary Sound Source

Like the SM48, the Shure SM58 also utilizes a cardioid polar pattern feature that allows the mic to isolate the primary audio source or sound you intend to highlight.

What’s more, the Shure SM58 also effectively minimizes background noise.

Frequency Response

With its comparably wider frequency response range (50 to 15,000 Hz), the Shure SM58 can capture audio more accurately.

Additionally, its design allows it to brighten the midrange and bass roll-off of the audio or sound that it picks up.

Cuts Down Handling Noise

No one likes that hissing sound that mics sometimes pick up!

The Shure SM58’s built-in pneumatic shock-mount system prevents the microphone from picking up unwanted noise.

Other lesser quality dynamic microphones might accidentally pick this noise up.

Built-in Spherical Wind and Pop Filter

Wind and pop filters are essential for microphones to reduce any unnecessary noise that comes from gusts of wind, heavy breaths, and other vocal plosives.

With these features inherently built in the Shure SM58, live performances, lead vocals and studio recording sessions are easier to manage.

Break-resistant Stand Adapter

Some performances can demand more energy and heart to be poured into them. In these instances, the Shure SM58 can definitely pull through!

With its break-resistant stand adapter that can rotate 18 degrees, its users can freely perform without having to fear causing unwanted equipment damage.


  • The cardioid polar pattern makes it inherently effective in canceling out unwanted noise.
  • Brightened midrange and bass roll-off help the Shure SM58 generate a fuller sound than other dynamic microphones.
  • No external pop filter is needed!
  • Wide frequency range further helps ensure the audio quality and accuracy
  • Uses the standard XLR connector
  • In-built pop filter and windscreen allow the mic to capture clear quality audio.
  • The break-resistant adapter assures that it won’t break under pressure however much you travel with your Shure SM58.
  • Comes with a carrying pouch for artists and professionals who are on-the-go


  • Similar to the Shure SM48, the Shure SM58 is unidirectional, meaning it is designed to isolate sounds directly in front of it.
  • It also cancels out other sounds that may be essential if they are not in front of the mic.
  • The price gap between SM48 and SM58 is noticeable – the latter not being too tight budget-friendly

SM48 vs. SM58: The Showdown

SM48 vs. SM58- The Showdown

After going through the distinct specs and features of the two dynamic mics, now is the perfect time to put said dynamic microphones side-by-side!

Let’s break down the categories for the SM48 vs. SM58 showdown!

Build and Design

Although both have built-in steel mesh grilles and handles and pouches for your convenience when traveling, the Shure SM58 is slightly heavier (298 g) than the SM48.

The former’s design includes a spherical windscreen and a built-in pop filter.

The victor between Shure SM48 and SM58 is the Shure SM58.

Despite being slightly heavier, its build and design are still more sturdy and adaptable than the SM48.


Despite covering most grounds in ensuring good audio quality, SM48 is still the most basic version of excellent starter microphones.

With the Shure SM58, its built-in filters allow its users to use it in a wider range of settings or environments without having to fear losing good audio quality.

So, usage-wise, the Shure SM58 wins the debate between the Shure SM48 vs. SM58.

Sound Quality

Considering the frequency range of both microphones, the SM58 has a wider frequency at 50 to 15,000 Hz.

On the other hand, the SM 48 has a shorter range of 55Hz-14kH.

The SM58 has a wider frequency response and can capture a larger range of sounds, making it the better choice in terms of sound quality.


On the one hand, prices for the SM48 start at 49.99 USD.

On the other hand, the starting price for the SM58 is 99.00 USD.

With that being said, the SM48 is the more affordable one, but it depends on how much you can afford and how much you want to invest in your microphone.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a Dynamic Microphone Better than a Condenser Microphone?

Dynamic and condenser microphones have specialized uses.

On the one hand, a dynamic microphone is designed to capture loud and strong sounds, which is why both the SM48 and SM58 are recommended for live settings.

On the other hand, condenser microphones capture softer sounds and higher frequencies.

If you’re looking for a microphone that’s more geared towards professional studio settings, then condenser microphones are a great alternative versus a dynamic microphone.

Why Do You Need a Microphone with Low Impedance?

A low output impedance allows a mic to drive LONG cables without endangering the clarity of your audio.

Lower impedance mics use a balanced signal, which results in better immunity to noise and outside interference.

Why is a Wide Frequency Response for Microphones Important?

As we’ve mentioned earlier, the frequency response of your equipment is the basis for how accurate it produces or recreates the sound that it picks up.

The wider the frequency response, the closer the produced sound is to the original source.

Do You Need an External Pop Filter?

Pop filters are essential in preventing your equipment from picking up plosive noises.

If you don’t mind a few breaths or ‘pops’ to be picked up by your equipment, then an external pop filter will not be necessary.

Final Verdict: Which One Should You Get?

Final Verdict- Which One Should You Get-

With all that said, which of the two Shure mics should you get?

Use SM48 If…

We recommend the SM48 for people who like to travel lighter with their equipment while still having decent audio equipment that’s sturdy and can deliver audio well in live settings.

The SM48 is great for casual uses like karaoke and backup vocals and singers!

Additionally, the SM48 is the BEST choice if you’re not looking to spend as much on your starter equipment.

Use SM58 If…

The SM58, despite being the more pricey choice, consistently won the showdown portion of this article.

Its built-in filters, break-resistant adapter, and even its impressive frequency range make it worth what you pay for.

If you are looking for more professional equipment that delivers excellent sound quality, the SM58 is the way to go!

Go for the SM58 if you’re looking to invest a bit more into your career.


That wraps up the Shure SM48 vs. SM58 review!

Rest assured that regardless of which mic you are going for, you will have professional-level performance or meeting with crisp and clear vocals!

About the author


After becoming obsessed with the beats that were the soundtrack to his youth, Nick became a student of hip hop, digging for vinyl records, looking for the perfect break. Before he got his hands on an MPC sampler, he would mash these records, beats, and breaks into mixtapes and live DJ sets.