Shure PGA58 Dynamic Mic Review / Test

Today we're reviewing one of the cheaper dynamic microphones from Shure, the PGA-58.

For this review, I have the mic connected direction to the Focusrite Scarlett Solo (1st Gen), with the input gain set at approximately 75%. I have done no post processing on the audio, it is all raw, but the audio was slightly boosted in finalcut pro X to simply make the audio easier to listen to.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $55-$60 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. Microphone Clip (No 5/8 to 3/8" adapter)
  3. Carrying Pouch
  4. Documentation
  5. Sticker

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 50Hz - 16kHz
  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  3. Sensitivity: -55dB
  4. Impedance: 150-ohms

Performance / Features

The build quality of this microphone is on par with most other Shure microphones. It has an all metal body, and a metal grill that feels like it could handle the stage rather well. It has an off switch on the side which is always handy in spoken word situations, it has the XLR port on the bottom like you'd expect, and it has a good amount of weight to it, coming in at 10.37 oz.

The frequency response is listed as 50Hz - 16kHz. It begins to roll off frequencies starting at around 500Hz, and then is relatively flat up through 3kHz. At that point it has a boost that peaks at around 5.5kHz followed by a steep cut down to 6.5kHz with additional variations of a few dB through ~12kHz, which ends up rolling off at around 15kHz. 

The polar pattern of this mic is listed as cardioid. It does a good job at rejecting noise around the rear of the mic which would be ideal for live situations. This will assist in avoiding feedback from the PA and from on stage wedges. 

The overall performance of this mic is pretty decent. It did not do a great job in terms of handling noise or background noise rejection, but neither of these are bad enough to destroy the microphone. The off axis coloration of this mic does seem to lose a bit of the low end and high end as you move around to 90-degrees giving you a somewhat mid forward sound around the sides. The rear is quiet enough that you're not going to get much coloration from it though. 

Due to the bass roll off beginning around 500Hz, this thing will seem to lack body on instruments. On the electric guitar, I found it to be somewhat muddy, while the acoustic guitar lacked a bit in the low end and didn't have much shine to it. Where this mic really excels is on the vocal performances. It has a flatter response when compared to the SM58, and it rolls off the low frequencies to help ensure your voice doesn't get too muddy. 

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Pros

  • Less boosted High End compared to SM58
  • Cheaper alternative to SM58
  • Great build quality
  • On/Off switch

Cons

  • Dull sound on instruments / Slightly muddy on bassier instruments
  • Not the most flattering off axis coloration
  • Less smooth sounding than SM58

Conclusion

I think this is a rather decent alternative to the SM58 if you're on a limited budget. I don't think this microphone is ideal for acoustic guitar or electric guitar, but I think it is a fine vocal microphone for the $60.00 price tag. The less prominent presence boost, and the roll off in the bass frequencies may not be preferred for some musicians, and it may not stick through a mix as well, but I don't think you will have many issues with this in a live situation. Or if you do have this microphone and you want to start a podcast, or do gaming commentary, I think this would suffice for that as well.

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them on the youtube video, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy it on Amazon
US: http://amzn.to/2myIaI6
UK: http://amzn.to/2mgtHjf
CA: http://amzn.to/2FVlCrb
DE: http://amzn.to/2HK1XuE

Telefunken M81 Dynamic Mic Review

Today we're looking an awesome microphone from Telefunken, the M81.

For this review, I have the mic connected directly to the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 2nd gen, with the gain set at 3:00. I have done no post processing on the audio, it is all raw, but the audio was slightly boosted in final cut pro X to simply make the audio easier to listen to.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $250.00 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone

  2. Carrying Pouch

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 30Hz - 18kHz

  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid

  3. Sensitivity: ~-60dB

  4. Impedance: 250-ohms

  5. Max SPL: 140dB

Performance / Features

The build quality of this mic is outstanding. It has a great feeling machined metal body that has a really good amount of weight to it, which feels nice in the hand. It has a shiny metal mesh grill on the top which seems sturdy enough to handle the abuse of stage use. Inside the grill there is a substantial amount of foam, as well as an additional piece of foam to attempt to curb plosives.

The frequency response is listed as 30Hz - 18kHz. The frequency response on this mic has a slightly recessed mid section that helps with clarity, but avoids having a v-sound or scooped mid sound. The presence boost on this mic helps you cut through a mix, but immediately after the boost, the air frequencies are rolled off drastically to help battle shrill higher frequencies. Lastly, the low end is controlled well. It allows for some decent proximity effect without getting overly boomy or muddying up your mix.

The polar pattern of this mic is cardioid. The off axis coloration on this thing is incredible. At 90-degrees the tone is almost the exact same as at 0-degrees, just quieter. At 180-degrees the rejection is impressive as well. In my tests there was minimal keyboard noise from my Cherry MX blues, and I think would translate great to a live venue. 

The overall performance of this mic is excellent. On spoken word you're getting great clarity with a nice warm sound even with the slight mid-cut while the low end allows you to utilize the proximity effect without ruining a recording. One draw back to this mic is that it did not handle plosives well at all. Therefore if you plan on using this mic on a singer, you may want to add an additional windscreen. The company states that this mic is a great option for taming brighter vocals and guitar tones and for fattening up percussion, horns, and thinner sounding sources. 

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Screen Shot 2018-03-15 at 6.41.27 PM.png

Pros

  • Amazing off-axis coloration

  • Great rear-rejection

  • Sturdy build quality

  • Decent job with handling noise

Cons

  • Did not handle plosives that well

  • A bit expensive in comparison to other handheld dynamics

Conclusion

I think this is a great mic to have in your live mic locker. When comparing this to the industry standard SM58, the slight mid cut and the less prominent low end makes for better clarity in singing/guitar, as well as offering a more forgiving sound for performers with less than optimal microphone technique. The presence boost will also help stick through a mix, and the air roll off will keep the harshness from overwhelming your mix. If you're just looking for a new tone to add to your live sound, I think this would be a great option.

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them on the youtube video, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy the Telefunken M81
US: http://amzn.to/2FE7Tcj
UK: http://amzn.to/2FYio9G
CA: http://amzn.to/2FD6YIQ
DE: http://amzn.to/2IufmZd

Buy the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen)
US: http://amzn.to/2vDFbzK 
UK: http://amzn.to/2w8O2f6 
CA: http://amzn.to/2wKGKfG 
DE: http://amzn.to/2hbtxsV