Ever since what might be termed as the rise of popular music in the late 40s, there has been this quest to make a great microphone. Companies have pushed each other to achieve this, but only a few stand out. Shure is one of those. Can you pick one of the Best Shure microphones? Not an easy task
Founded in Chicago as a supplier of radio parts, they have grown to become an internationally recognized manufacturer. These days the microphones are manufactured in Mexico and China, and the quality of build is excellent.
A rich heritage…
When you mention Shure, you think of some of the best microphones the world has known. They have produced a never-ending, it seems, range of quality mics. The Unidyne series through the 40s and 50s. Then came the SM series in the mid-60s. The Beta series in 1989 and still it goes on.
So when you write a review of the best microphone from Shure, where on earth do you start? But then where do you finish, and what do you not include? Let’s make a start with the latest version of the mic that became famous for being used on Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ album – the SM7B.
Top 8 Best Shure Microphones Of 2021 Review
1 Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Microphone – Best Vocal Dynamic Shure Microphone
This was always a very good mic and is quite widely used. And being used on one of the best selling albums of all time elevated its status. To be included in a list of the best Shure microphones at all, it has to be special. And this is special.
This Dynamic mic has a typical rugged Shure build quality, which is always an asset and a Cardioid pattern. It measures 7.47 by 3.78 by 5.81 inches and weighs two pounds. It will, therefore, need a sturdy stand.
This is a mic built to be able to handle a variety of scenarios. But it is in the recording studio that it excels. Either being used for vocal or instrument recording or as a radio broadcast mic, it is just excellent.
It is able to produce a natural sound for speech, vocals, or instruments because of its flat wide-ranging frequency response. It has plenty of features built-in to add to the sound quality.
There are bass roll-off controls and a presence boost with a display showing settings. It also has a very efficient built-in pop-filter, though people still do use an external filter as well. It is a sensitive mic, and you need to ensure all ambient noise is removed.
External interferences from computer screens or electromagnetic hum are removed by extra filters. It has an air suspension shock isolation system that will reduce handling noise to zero or very close. The result of all these built-in features is a clean sound that is not affected by any background noise whatsoever.
High-quality vocal recordings…
This ensures that it is going to excel in the recording studio where this level of performance is essential. This is a mic that is going to give your recordings, especially the vocals, a big lift. Used correctly, it will produce high-quality results.
And it isn’t just Michael Jackson that has used this microphone extensively in the studio. It is also the choice of a variety of artists from country-pop superstar Sheryl Crow to rockers such as Anthony Keidis of Red Hot Chili Peppers and James Hetfield of Metallica.
As with most Shure mics, the price point for what you get and the quality produced is quite staggering. It can be a bit power-hungry, and you may find you need a good preamp. One of the Best Shure microphones around? Of course, it is.
- Great build quality with plenty of built-in features.
- Excellent flat wide frequency response.
- You may need a quality preamp to get the best from it.
2 Shure SM-57 Cardioid Dynamic Instrument Microphone – Most Versatile Shure Microphone
This microphone from Shure might be considered as one of the industry standards. It might even be the most famous microphone ever. There are very few singers, musicians, or recording engineers who haven’t used it.
It was designed as a mic for instruments but has also been widely used for vocals as well. It is quite happy to perform in the studio or on stage. If you want to record vocals or drums (especially the saner drum), it will be hard to find something better at the price point, if at all. But it also excels when miking up amps.
Let’s just mention that apart from being the most commonly used snare drum microphone ever recorded, as well as probably the most used on electric guitar combos and cabinets. It has also been widely used in the studio and live by the likes of everyone from Paul Rogers of Free to Lemmy from Motorhead!
It is a dynamic mic and has a cardioid pattern that makes it ideal for a variety of uses. On stage, if working with one instrument, the pickup sound from other instruments located nearby is low. This also reduces the risk of feedback and gives you a little more gain.
Works on just about any sound…
The natural presence and the frequency response of 40 to 15,000 Hz are well-known. They ensure a great sound when recording drums, guitars, and vocals. And it is famed for its versatility at being able to cope with most things. It is the sort of mic that you have in the studio as a default mic to use in any situation.
There won’t be many professional studios you go where you won’t find at least one, if not a box full.
Tough as old boots…
Of course, being Shure, it has a very strong build. When you see one for the first time, the headshell itself seems vulnerable. Not a bit of it. Tough as old boots this one. It will take anything you can throw at it, literally, and just ask if that’s the best you can do. And the way it has been used on some stages, it needs to be that tough, as we mentioned, Lemmy used it live!
Having a mic in your setup that is this versatile that produces this much quality is essential at any level. The price point it is offered makes it an easy decision. Just go and get one, or two? It is the best budget microphone you can buy, and certainly a very strong contender for the Best Shure microphone ever!
- Versatile, great for vocals as well as instruments.
- Tough build at an excellent price point.
3 Shure 55SH Series II Iconic Unidyne Dynamic Vocal Microphone – Best Vintage Looking Shure Microphone
It was 1939 that Shure introduced the model 55 Unidyne. It was used by a number of well-known artists, including Billie Holliday. But it was when Elvis picked it up in the 50s that it really took off.
It wasn’t Elvis’ favorite mic, that was the Electro-Voice RE-15. But those epic images of him doing his stuff with the Shure 55 Unidyne are eternal. The insides have changed, of course, but the shape is still there. It still screams ‘Jailhouse Rock’ at you. If you want to employ some pure nostalgia in your recordings or on stage, here it is.
Modern performance from a vintage case…
This is a piece of music equipment that doesn’t need to try and pretend to be vintage. Just look at it. But with the inclusion of modern technology, you have a modern performance inside a classic look.
It is a dynamic mic with a cardioid pattern that is tailor-made for live work but also for studio use. Essentially this is a vocal mic. It will also handle certain instruments quite well, as well as guitar cabinets. It has a frequency response of 50 to 15,000 Hz.
You may need a microphone stand?
Needless to say, it has that tough Shure build quality with a die-cast casing able to withstand a few knocks. It measures 7.5 by 2.18 by 3.1 inches and weighs a fraction under two pounds. No lightweight, and some are going to find it heavy if used handheld.
Plus, a pop filter…
Underneath the rugged metal grille, there is a foam filter. This is a feature specially placed for its vocal use. The idea is to reduce plosives and fricatives. This it does, but you may still want to use a pop filter.
You may find, though, that at a distance of six inches from the mic, you won’t need it, and the built-in filter will do the job. To further reduce unwanted noise, the cartridge has an internal shock-mount to eliminate any handling or mic stand noise.
It has a swivel mount that is self-tensioning. It will move 80 degrees backward and tilt 45 degrees, and there is an off and on switch placed conveniently.
If you want a great mic essentially for vocals and think a bit of nostalgia and vintage aura would be nice, this is the one. Great mic, great performance, great price. How many more times can we say that this is one of the Best Shure microphones?
- A very good vocal mic with more than a hint of 50s nostalgia.
- Great sound at an attractive price point.
- A bit heavy for handheld use.
4 Shure MV88+ Video Kit with Digital Stereo Condenser Microphone for Apple and Android – Best Shure Microphone for Smartphones
Moving from Elvis, Jailhouse Rock, and 50s nostalgia up to the modern-day. This is a mic from Shure that is made for connection to Apple devices. Though it is also Android compatible. It should be said, though, that not all Android devices provide enough power or support USB audio.
This is a mic designed for a specific use. That of working with Filmmakers, Vloggers, and for the creation of Podcasts. It has a connection to the ShurePlus audio and video apps. These extend the operational performance to give you a high level of control over your recordings. Also to share and save your work in various formats.
Plenty of options…
Other than control over your audio in real-time, there are five built-in DSP options, stereo width, and gain controls. Recordings are made to a high quality with a bit/sample rate of 24-bit/48 kHz. On the mic, there is a built-in headphone output for monitoring. It has polar pattern options that give you a range of recording options.
Lightning and USB-C cables are included for connecting to iOS and other compatible devices and desktops. However, it should be noted that the MV88 doesn’t support adapters for connection to other inputs; it is Lightning (iOS) only.
Quality at a reasonable price…
It is a compact mic and stand measuring 7.5 by 4.4 by 4.4 inches and weighing just one pound. And has its own stable tripod stand. It is set at a reasonable price point, and as usual, has a quality build from Shure.
It is designed for certain tasks and performs in that environment as you would expect a Shure to perform.
- A good package for those making audio and visuals.
- Compact and easy to use.
- Not really a very cheap option.
5 Shure BETA 52A Supercardioid Dynamic Kick Drum Microphone – Best Shure Microphone for Kick Drums
Shure is known for making great microphones. Some of those microphones have a wide variety of uses and applications, which is one of the things that make them so popular. Occasionally though, they make a microphone that, whilst it has options, is designed for one main purpose. One of which is the Beta 52A.
This is a dynamic mic that is designed to work with the kick drum. The way it is built, it looks like it. Made from die-cast metal, it has a steel mesh grille that is going to handle some wear and tear. It has a stand adapter that locks into place, making set up inside the bass drum easy. And it also has XLR connections.
High gain design…
Inside is a super-cardioid pattern that delivers high gain, has a low feedback ratio, and ignores unwanted noise. There is a Neodymium magnet for the high signal to noise ratios.
People who record drums will tell you that there is often a problem with sound bleed and overspill. Microphones picking up more than one drum or cymbal. Recognizing that you can’t avoid it, Shure has come up with a modified pattern that rejects the most unwanted noise.
Any potential mechanical noise is reduced to virtually nothing. This is courtesy of a pneumatic shock mount system that kills any vibrations. It has a massive SPL of 174dB. Therefore, even at very high sound pressure levels, it gives a studio-quality performance. Designed to pick up the low frequencies, this mic excels at its job.
Whilst we are just talking kick drums, how about placing it in front of a bass cabinet. We think you might get a surprise at the results. Once again, Shure has come up with a mic excellent at one aspect but quite capable of performing at another.
How can you describe it?
Excellent and designed to produce results. And the price? Competitive as always.
- It has a very tough build and a built-in locking stand adapter.
- Fantastic results at a very competitive price.
- Nothing we can see.
6 Shure BETA 87A Supercardioid Condenser Vocal Microphone – Best Vocal Condenser Shure Microphone
The BETA 87A from Shure is built to a serious level even by Shure’s own standards. They are well-known for their ability to handle just about everything that is thrown at them. However, when you get to a vocal microphone, that toughness and rugged build has to go a stage further. With this mic, it does. To be able to handle performances night after night takes a certain quality.
This mic brings together the best of what is required for studio work to the necessary for a live show. Its condenser design with the super-cardioid pattern picks up every emotion and nuance of the vocal performance. Capturing the style changes with precise articulation. And one of the great things about this mic is that it can be used for a variety of genres.
If condenser mics sometimes have a problem, it is that they can be very sensitive. This means they will capture nearly everything that is going on around them. This can end up with feedback and a total loss of control of the sound.
The super-cardioid pattern of the mic collects just the most direct signal sources. You have to be right in front of this mic, or it will reject you. We aren’t going to say there is no overspill, but it will be negligible.
It has a frequency response of 50Hz-20kHz, and there is consistency across the frequencies. It will give you much more gain before feedback occurs. Being a condenser mic, this will require +48v Phantom power.
A very good mic for vocals at a great price point.
- A powerfully built mic that is built for constant use.
- Good vocal reproduction at a cost-effective price.
Also see: Shure SM58 Review
7 Shure BETA 56A Supercardioid – Best Shure Microphone for Horns
The Beta 56A is designed with a frequency response to give instruments, including horns and woodwind, and drums a high quality recorded sound. It has a super-cardioid polar pattern, which reduces the amount of ambient sound and focuses very much on the target source. This pattern is known to have a threshold that reduces feedback.
It has the traditional rugged Shure build with a metal casing and a mesh grille made of toughened steel. As is standard with Shure mics, it is ready to go to work and take a few knocks on the way.
Exactly where you want it…
Always useful for recording instruments, it has a locking stand adapter. This is always a good idea as it creates more options for putting the mic in the most effective position. It has an XLR connector.
Inside there is a quality neodymium magnet that produces a good signal to noise ratio output. Many of the features that you see in other Shure Beta range mics are also present in the Beta 56A. One of the most important is the pneumatic shock mount. This is a system devised to reduce any potential mechanical noise and vibration. This is important in making a great recording as the potential for such noise is common.
A worthy successor…
The 56A is the successor to the popular Beta 56 model. The internal workings are the same; however, there has just been some redesign of the base tightening and mounting operations. As with the Beta 56, this is designed, as we have said, for instruments, but it will also handle vocal recordings. The price point is set at a realistic level.
- A good mic for instruments and vocals.
- Good price point.
- More limited in its operation than some other Shure mics.
8 Shure BETA 91A Half-Cardioid Condenser – Best Shure Microphone for Recording Kick In
If you do enjoy something a little bit different, then this mic is going to interest you. This mic is designed to work within a kick drum. It has what you might call a creative shape and doesn’t need a stand. In use, you can lay it on a cushion or blanket inside the bass drum. It is quite a size and is 10 inches by 5 inches and weighs a chunky two pounds.
For its design, Shure has taken features from their SM91 and Beta 91 models and brought these together in one mic.
Kicks and pianos?
How you use this mic to get the best out if it will rely on its position in regard to the sound source.
This is an Electret condenser mic with a pattern that is half-cardioid. It will, therefore, collect quite a bit of external sound. Inside the shell of a bass drum, that could be a good idea and generate some real resonance. Don’t only think drums for this mic, though. Inside a concert grand piano, this is going to sound great.
No problems with volume…
The frequency range of 20Hz-20kHz is designed to collect those low, low sounds. And with a high SPL rating of 155dB, it is well set up to handle those heavy bass drum transients.
This is a superb and very creative design that features its own preamp. There is also a contour switch; this two-positioned dial will give you the ability to get the best sound possible out of the beater.
It is a powerful mic built in the traditional Shure style. It is designed to do a job. However, it is not a particularly cheap mic compared to the average Shure price point.
- Captures a good frequency range and has a high SPL.
- Doesn’t need a mic stand.
- Quite large and cumbersome.
Looking for more superb microphones for specific tasks?
If so, check out our comprehensive reviews of the Best Condenser Microphones, the Best Vocal Mics, the Best Microphones Recording Electric Guitar, the Best Live Vocal Mic, the Best Microphones for Recording Rap Vocals, the Best XLR Microphones, the Best USB Microphones, or the Best Dynamic Microphones you can buy.
So, what are the Best Shure Microphones?
Excellent mics- we are ‘Shure’ you will agree
Being asked to choose the best Shure mic from a list of their best mics is an almost impossible job. And this from a list that didn’t include what, in our opinion, was one of the greatest, the Shure-SM58. But maybe that was far too obvious a choice?
The one thing that strikes you about Shure mics is the quality of the build. They are all tough and rugged and ready to work. Not all mics are like that. Most also have a variety of potential uses. There are some that are specialized, and for this, they have specific designs. But even then, they can still be applied to other disciplines or instruments.
Buying a Shure?
We would be sorely tempted by the Shure 55SH Series II Iconic Unidyne. A great mic with that vintage look we love in all things musical. But, if we were going out to buy our first Shure mic, we would choose the…
A standard-bearer for Shure, it is still as great as the day it was released. A variety of uses, and excellent at every single one of them, and at a price point that is staggering considering its quality.
It is easily our choice for the Best Shure microphone currently available.
Happy recording or performing.