When we think about microphones, the first image that comes to our minds is probably of the Shure SM58. The model originally came out in 1966 and it has been a staple in the music business ever since. It is one of the go-to dynamic microphones for live performances due to its ruggedness and great sound quality.
However, there are a lot of other models on the market, from the same category, that are worth considering if you’re looking to buy a dynamic microphone. One of them is the Sennheiser E835. Just like Shure, Sennheiser is a highly renowned and trustable brand in the music making scene.
Both the E835 and the SM58 share a lot of similarities and are marketed towards similar applications. However, they still have some differences that may make one or another the best model for different customers.
Today, we are going to put these different features side to side in our Sennheiser E835 vs Shure SM58 article to help you decide which one is the best option for you. We will take into account features such as durability, frequency response range, and sound quality.
Tip: After you’re done reading this article, make sure to also check our Best Microphone for Vocals guide to learn about other models.
Table of Content
- Sennheiser E835 vs Shure SM58 – Main Features
- Buying Guide – What to Look For When Buying Dynamic Microphones
- Sennheiser E835 vs Shure SM58 – Verdict
Sennheiser E835 vs Shure SM58 – Main Features
- Dynamic Cardioid Microphone
- Frequency Response: 40-16000 Hz
- Nominal Impedance: 350 Ω
- Sensitivity: 2,7mV/Pa
- Weight: 330g
- XLR Connection
- Slightly wider frequency response, if compared to the Shure SM58.
- This microphone is known for its pronounced mid range frequency boost and clearer and richer sound. While it may sound too bright in some cases, it helps to cut through the mix in a band setting.
- The sound is very consistent even when varying the position of the singer.
- On/off switch.
- The capsule can handle really loud screaming voices very well.
- Great feedback rejection.
- The high end boost in the frequency response can be too bright for some applications.
- There is slightly more handling noise than the Shure SM58, but the difference is very small.
What We’ve Liked About the Sennheiser E835
The Sennheiser E835 is excellent and will suit a wide range of applications, especially a live performance. The feature that we’ve liked the most is that the model has a lot of presence in the mid range and a high end boost, which helps to cut through the mix and makes it brighter than most other dynamic microphones.
Another great feature is that its consistent and can maintain a great audio quality even if the singer is moving a lot or varying positions (singing off-axis, for example). This is a huge plus when tracking live vocals.
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- Dynamic Cardioid Microphone
- Frequency Response: 50-15000 Hz
- Nominal Impedance: 300 Ω
- Sensitivity: 1,85mV/Pa
- Weight: 298g
- XLR Connection
- The Shure SM58 is one of the most durable and incredibly rugged microphones there is.
- There is very little handling noise due to the built in shock mount.
- The capsule is very well-built so it is great at only picking up sounds coming from the front of the mic and rejecting everything on the sides and back.
- When it comes to weight, the Shure SM58 is slightly lighter than the Sennheiser E835, making it a great option for those who prefer to hold the microphone.
- The on/off switch is only present in the more expensive version of the microphone, the Shure SM58S.
- Slightly lower impedance allows running longer cables without loss of audio quality.
What We’ve Liked About the Shure SM58
The Shure SM58 is the go to microphone of the music industry. Highly reliable and suitable for a wide range of applications, one of the best features about this mic is that it is very well constructed and is probably the most durable model in the market.
It has a little less sensitivity than the Sennheiser E835, but on the other hand, it can stand higher sound pressure levels, making it suitable for loud singing. The only fact we didn’t like was that the on/off switch is only present in the Shure SM58S version.
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- Both dynamic microphones are well suited for live performances, due to their cardioid pick up pattern. There is very little background noise.
- The handling noise is pretty low for both mics.
- Both microphones come with extras such as a carrying pouch and mic stand mount.
- Neither of the mics requires phantom power since they are dynamic.
- Both can handle loud vocals and high sound pressure.
- Built in pop filter on both models.
- Both have an all metal body and are very durable.
- Same price.
- The Sennheiser E835 has more sensitivity than the Shure SM58, which can be good for lower volume singing.
- The Sennheiser E835 has a high end boost that makes the vocals brighter and helps it cut through the mix. Compared to it, the Shure SM58 may sound a bit muddy but it is a matter of personal taste.
- The Shure SM58 can stand higher amounts of sound pressure, making it particularly great for loud singing styles.
- The Shure SM58 has a more pronounced proximity effect. That is, the closer you are to the microphone the more energy you will have on the low frequencies. This can be a good or a bad thing, depending on your singing style.
Tip: If you’re into beatboxing and want to learn more about what characteristics to look for when buying microphones for this type of practice, we recommend our Best Microphone for Beatboxing article.
Buying Guide – What to Look For When Buying Dynamic Microphones
Before we discuss our top pick, we’re going to list a few useful facts and things to keep in mind when buying dynamic microphones.
Representation of the cardioid polar pattern. Notice how the sound pickup area is concentrated around the front of the microphone capsule (top part). Source: Galak76 VIA Wikimedia.
The polar pattern of a microphone capsule refers to how much sound it will pick up depending on the position of the source. There are many variations: cardioid, super-cardioid, omnidirectional, figure-eight; But the one that is the most used for vocals and is present in the two models in this list is the cardioid type.
A cardioid polar pattern capsule will focus on picking up sounds that are located directly in front of it and ignoring most or everything that is coming from behind or from the sides of the microphone. This is especially great to prevent background noise and give your vocals a more focused sound.
The frequency response is probably one of the most important points to take into account if you’re looking to buy any microphone. Basically put, it refers to how the mic behaves across the frequency spectrum. Some mics may have a more pronounced mid range, while others have better bass.
You can usually find the graph for the frequency response for any microphone on the manufacturer’s website.
Shure SM58 Frequency Response Graph (Source)
As an example, here is the frequency response graph for the Shure SM58. We can see that there is a bass roll off from 50Hz to 200Hz. The response stays pretty linear until 2kHz to 10kHz, where we have a very pronounced peak.
This means that the Shure SM58 is very good at cutting through the mix since this range of frequencies (2kHz to 10kHz) is usually where the presence of the vocals is. Our ears are very good at picking up details from this interval.
The sensitivity, as the name implies, refers to how sensitive the capsule of the microphone is and how good it is at picking up all of the details of the sound source.
The Sennheiser E835 has a higher sensitivity than the Shure SM58, which makes it more suitable for soft singing and vocals with a lot of dynamics, while the latter can handle more sound pressure and will perform well with loud vocals.
The output impedance of a microphone, technically speaking, measures the AC resistance of the equipment in ohms. In practice, this number will dictate how long of a cable you can use without having any loss of quality in the signal and to which equipment you can connect your mic to.
Most professional microphones, as is the case with the Sennheiser E835 and the Shure SM58, have low-impedance (usually ranging from 50 ohms to 600 ohms). This means you can rest assured there will be no loss of signal on long cable runs and the equipment will be compatible with most equipment (audio interfaces, mixers, preamps) in the market.
Sennheiser E835 vs Shure SM58 – Verdict
Top Pick – Sennheiser E835
In our tests, we’ve found that both dynamic microphones are very good for professional vocal use and will perform very well across a variety of situations (studio recordings, live performances, etc), but we decided to pick the Sennheiser E835 as our favorite.
One of the main reasons for this is that the Sennheiser E835 sound fantastic and is impressively bright and clear. This is not always the case with dynamic mics: many of them sound muddy and require a lot of eqing for making vocals sound their best.
We can’t deny, however, that the Shure SM58 is amazing at what it offers too (after all, it is the standard of the recording industry). The model exceeds any expectations when it comes to durability and ability to handle high amounts of sound pressure (perfect if you have a louder singing style).
And while both microphones have very similar applications and uses, as well as the same price range, we found that the Sennheiser E835 won’t need that much EQ to sound its best, which can save a lot of time, especially in a live vocal situation. It also has slightly more sensitivity than the Shure’s model.
Are Dynamic Microphones Good for Recording Studio Vocals?
While we are used to seeing large-diaphragm condenser microphones being used to record vocals in recording studios, you can achieve a great result with a dynamic microphone too, and it may even be preferable if you’re working with screaming vocals, for example.
Dynamic microphones such as the Sennheiser E835 and the Shure SM58 may be a good option for those looking to record at their homes and who don’t have an ideal recording environment. Since dynamic mics have less sensitivity than condenser ones, they will pick up less background noise.
What Equipment Do I Need For Recording With a Dynamic Microphone?
Nowadays it is easy to record music without even leaving your home. To do so, apart from the microphone, you’re only going to need an audio interface to connect the mic to your computer and a digital audio workstation software (DAW).
When it comes to audio interfaces, there are a lot of options suiting different budgets. We recommend the M-Audio M-Track Duo if you’re looking for an affordable option. Trustable audio interface brands include Audient, UAD, Focusrite, among others.
You’re also going to need a digital audio workstation software. There are countless options on the market but the most popular ones are Logic Pro X, Pro Tools, Ableton, Studio One, and FL Studio. Please look at our Best DAW Software of this year article if you want to learn more about the subject.
Also, make sure to use high-quality cables and gain-stage correctly the signal that is coming into your audio interface.
What Are the Differences Between Dynamic and Condenser Microphones?
The main difference is in the capsule and in their uses. While the capsule of a condenser microphone is designed to pick up the largest amount of details possible, dynamic mics are engineered to focus only on the sound source and ignore background noises.
With that being said, condenser mics are well suited for recording studios and situations where you don’t need to deal with noise. They also have a more transparent sound. On the other hand, dynamic mics are perfect for live performances and noisy situations.
Do I Need A Pop Filter to Use the Sennheiser E835 and Shure SM58?
No, both these microphones have a built-in pop filter on their grille.
Which One is the Best for Live Performances?
Both these microphones are very good for live vocal, but our top pick was the Sennheiser E835 due to it sounding brighter, therefore, requiring less Eqing; As well as being able to perform consistently regardless of the position of the singer.
Do I Need a Preamp to Use the Sennheiser E835 and Shure SM58?
Yes, a preamp is always needed in order to bring the mic to line level therefore improving signal quality. However, an external one may not be needed since most audio interfaces and audio mixers already come with a built-in preamp.
In our tests, we’ve decided that the Sennheiser E835 is the best microphone for this price point and between the two since it features a brighter sound, better mid range, and slightly more sensitivity. Both mics are similar, though, and will attend similar applications.
We must note, however, that the Shure SM58 is also an amazing choice that has been the industry staple for years. When it comes to build quality, durability, and being able to withstand high levels of sound pressure (loud singing, for example), Shure’s model really shines. It is, after all, a matter of preference.
If you’ve become interested in any of these two models, you can find the link to their Amazon product page on their respective titles in this guide.We hope you’ve liked our Sennheiser E835 vs Shure SM58 article. If you’re planning on buying a microphone, please make sure to check all of our related articles about the subject and research extensively before making any decision. Don’t hesitate to contact us for further discussion or if you have any questions!
Ian Sniesko is an experienced music producer and musician who loves to share his knowledge about the best audio equipment for making and enjoying great music. For the past 6 years, Ian has written extensively about the audio equipment industry and has contributed to many of the top music magazines.