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by on June 23, 2022

There’s a bit of an art and craft to the world of wireless microphones. So many people can’t tell the difference between a Shure SM57, a Shure SE535 or a Sennheiser MD421 – and that makes it hard for me to point out the differences.

The SM57 is probably the standard for “good” wireless microphones. The SE535 is good at recording, but not so good at producing clean audio on stage. The MD421 is great at producing really clean audio with a high dynamic range, but not so good at anything else (and cheap). They are all excellent options to have in your toolbox, but they are also all different and each can be used differently depending on what you want from it.

Shure has changed all that in recent times with their new line of wireless microphones. The Karaoke Amplifier SM58 (which was previously called the SM57) has the same classic design as its older sibling, but now offers excellent cardioid pickup pattern coverage (the most common form), and comes in three sizes: small, medium and large (I am using the large). The new SM58 is about 20% more expensive than its predecessor – but for almost every application you would use a microphone like this, it will be worth every penny you spend on it.

There are other important factors to consider when choosing your wireless mic:

• The size: Smaller mics will work better when you’re talking into something close to you; larger mics will work better when you’re talking into something further away from you (or when there isn’t much distance between yourself and your subject). Bigger mics require more amplification – which has implications for sound quality – so make sure that whatever size mic you choose supports enough input power to make up for this. There are some very nice battery-powered options too – expect to pay extra for these.

• The price: You can get pretty close to full-size mics now too (with similar performance), but they usually cost more than full-size mics do – especially if they have phantom power built-in. Remember that while smaller mics are generally cheaper than their full-size siblings, this only applies if they support output power of more than 1mW; otherwise they don't offer anything over 2mW usable output power (though some have lower specs which still offer decent levels of sound quality).

Posted in: Technology
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