Shure SM58 vs SM48: In-Depth Comparison

Shure SM58 vs SM48

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When it comes to dynamic microphones for vocal performances, two models often spark a debate among audio enthusiasts: the Shure SM58 vs SM48. Both microphones have established their presence in the market, offering unique features and specifications catering to musicians and sound technicians alike. In this article, we will delve into the key differences between these two popular models and offer insights to help you decide which one is the better microphone for your needs.

The Shure SM58 has long been the go-to microphone for many singers, and for good reason- boasting a proven track record for reliability and sound quality. It features a cardioid polar pattern, providing vocalists with a comfortable performance experience and superior sound. On the other hand, the SM48 offers a more budget-friendly option, costing half the price of its SM58 counterpart, though it sacrifices some aspects such as frequency range and clarity in comparison.

As we explore the nuances of the Shure SM58 vs SM48, factors such as frequency responses, off-axis responses, handling characteristics, and transient responses will be considered. Ultimately, the right choice may boil down to individual preferences and specific applications, but arming oneself with knowledge will prove invaluable in making the most informed decision.

Overview of Shure SM58 vs SM48

Shure SM58 vs SM48

Shure SM48

The Shure SM48 is an affordable and well-performing dynamic microphone with a cardioid polar pattern. This makes it a suitable choice for live performances and recording applications, especially for vocalists and presenters. It offers a solid construction and consistent sound quality, making it a reliable option for those looking for a budget-friendly microphone.

However, the SM48 has a more limited frequency range compared to the SM58. This means that its sound clarity might not be as high as the SM58, but it still delivers good performance for its price range.

Key features of the Shure SM48 include:

  • Cardioid polar pattern
  • Durable construction
  • Affordable price
  • Limited frequency range
  • Ideal for starters and budget-conscious users

Shure SM58

The Shure SM58 is a legendary dynamic microphone with a cardioid polar pattern that has been widely used in live performances and studio recordings for decades. Due to its durability, high-quality sound, and consistent performance, the SM58 has become the industry standard for vocalists and musicians.

The SM58 offers a wider frequency range than the SM48, which results in better sound clarity and presence. It also has a more sturdy and adaptable design, making it a preferred choice for professional use.

Key features of the Shure SM58 include:

  • Cardioid polar pattern
  • Professional build quality and design
  • Wide frequency range
  • Excellent sound clarity
  • Industry standard for vocalists and musicians

Both the Shure SM48 and SM58 are excellent microphones for a wide range of applications, with the SM58 providing a higher quality option for professional use, while the SM48 serves as a more affordable choice for those just starting out or working on a tight budget. Either microphone can effectively capture vocals and other instruments making them versatile options for any user.


Dynamic Microphone

Both the Shure SM58 and SM48 are dynamic microphones. This means that they utilize a moving coil diaphragm to convert sound pressure into an electrical signal. This design makes them robust, resilient to high sound pressure levels, and less sensitive to environmental factors such as humidity and temperature changes. Dynamic microphones are particularly well-suited for live performances and demanding studio applications, and an added bonus is that they don’t require phantom power!

Cardioid Polar Pattern

Shure SM58 and SM48 both feature a cardioid polar pattern, which is one of the most popular microphone pickup patterns, especially for vocalists. A cardioid pattern captures sound in front of the microphone while reducing the sensitivity to off-axis or ambient noise. This pattern helps to minimize feedback and isolate the main sound source, making it an excellent choice for live sound applications and vocal performances.


The SM58 and SM48 both have a professional 3-pin XLR cable connector for their output. XLR connectors are the industry standard for microphones and other audio equipment, ensuring compatibility with a wide range of sound systems, mixers, and recording interfaces. The XLR cable connection provides a balanced signal, which helps to reduce interference and deliver a clean, high-quality audio.

By incorporating dynamic microphone technology, a cardioid polar pattern, and an XLR connector, the Shure SM58 and SM48 provide reliable, high-quality sound suitable for a variety of applications. Despite their differences in price and performance, these two microphones share the crucial features that make them practical and versatile choices for both professionals and enthusiasts alike.

Differences in the Shure SM58 vs SM48

Frequency Response and Range

The Shure SM58 and SM48 differ in their frequency response and range. The SM58 has a frequency response of 50Hz-15kHz, whereas the SM48 has a frequency response of 55Hz-14kHz. The SM58’s cleaner and more present mid-range allows it to cut through the mix better than the SM482.

Weight and Build Quality

When comparing the two microphones, weight and build quality display some noticeable differences. The SM48 is heavier than the SM58, but this does not compromise the SM58’s adaptability and sturdiness. Despite being a more basic version of an excellent starter microphone, the SM48 still offers decent audio quality.


The sensitivity of the microphones also varies. The SM48 requires slightly more gain to achieve the same volume as the SM58. Consequently, this could make a noticeable difference in the audio quality and presence of the two microphones during live performances or recordings.

In summary, the Shure SM58 and SM48 dynamic microphones have different frequency responses, build quality, and sensitivity levels. This section outlines these differences to provide a better understanding of the distinctions between the two microphones.

Sound Quality Comparison

Vocal Characteristics

When comparing the Shure SM48 and SM58, there are noticeable differences in their vocal characteristics. The SM58 generally provides a brighter, clearer, and fuller sound with a more present mid-range. This allows it to cut through the mix better, making it the preferred choice for lead vocals. On the other hand, the SM48 offers a slightly more subdued sound with a stronger focus on the mids.

Noise Handling

In terms of noise handling, both microphones perform reasonably well. However, the SM58 has a slight edge due to its better build and sturdier design, making it more adaptable and resistant to handling noise. The SM48 is still a solid option, but its basic construction may make it more susceptible to noise when being handled compared to the SM58.

Proximity Effect

The proximity effect is an increase in bass response when the microphone is close to the sound source. Both the SM48 and SM58 exhibit this effect to some degree, but the SM58 arguably handles it better due to its broader overall frequency range (50 Hz to 15 kHz), compared to the SM48’s 55 Hz to 14 kHz. This means that the SM58 can better capture lows, giving it an advantage in maintaining a balanced sound across varying distances from the vocalist or instrument.

To summarize, the Shure SM58 tends to excel in sound quality, noise handling, and proximity effect management, making it the more popular choice for many musicians and audio professionals. However, the SM48 is still a reliable and cost-effective alternative for those looking for a more budget-friendly option while maintaining decent sound quality.

Price and Value for Money

When comparing the Shure SM48 and Shure SM58 microphones, one of the most significant differences between them is the price. The SM48 is a more affordable option, making it attractive for those on a budget or looking for a cheaper alternative to the SM58.

In terms of the individual features, the Shure SM48 is a relatively decent microphone for its price. It has a frequency range of 55Hz-14kHz and a cardioid polar pattern. The SM48 is available in two versions: with or without a switch. Both options are budget-friendly.

On the other hand, the Shure SM58 is a more expensive microphone but offers several advantages over the SM48. With a wider frequency range of 50Hz-15kHz, the SM58 provides clearer, brighter, and fuller sound quality. Additionally, the SM58 is known for its exceptional durability and build quality, often justifying the higher price tag for professional users.

As for performance, the Shure SM58 is considered the better option for lead vocals due to its presence in the mid-range, allowing it to cut through the mix more effectively. The SM48, while not as clear as the SM58, still offers reasonable value for money for those looking for a less expensive alternative.

In conclusion, both the Shure SM48 and the Shure SM58 offer value depending on the user’s needs and budget. The SM58 is the preferred choice for clearer sound, durability, and professional performances, while the SM48 offers an affordable alternative best suited for casual users or those on a tighter budget.

Pros and Cons

Shure SM48 Pros and Cons


  • Budget-friendly: The Shure SM48 is known for being more affordable than the SM58, making it an attractive option for those with tight budgets.
  • Sturdy construction: Like other Shure microphones, the SM48 is built with durability in mind, ensuring it can withstand the rigors of daily use
  • Unidirectional: This microphone is designed to isolate sounds directly in front of it, helping to cancel out background noise 


  • Less defined sound: The SM48 tends to lack the clarity, brightness, and fullness in sound compared to the SM58, making it less suitable for lead vocals 
  • Lower sensitivity: The SM48 requires more gain to reach the same sound levels as the SM58, which could affect your sound setup

Shure SM58 Pros and Cons


  • Superior sound quality: The SM58 microphone offers a bright and clear sound with a more present mid-range, allowing it to cut through the mix better, which is ideal for lead vocals 
  • Pneumatic shock-mount: The SM58 has a built-in shock mount that reduces handling noise more effectively than the SM48 
  • Unidirectional: Like the SM48, the SM58 is designed to isolate sounds directly in front of it, canceling out background noise 
  • Renowned durability: Shure’s SM58 microphone is famous for its resilience and ability to withstand rough handling or environmental conditions .


  • Higher cost: The SM58 comes with a higher price tag compared to the SM48, which could deter budget-conscious buyers 
  • Limited sound capture: As a unidirectional microphone, the SM58 may not capture sounds from all directions, which could be a drawback if your recording setup requires more flexibility 

Accessories and Extra Features

Pop Filter and Wind Protection

Both Shure SM48 and SM58 microphones come with a built-in pop filter, which helps reduce plosives and improves audio clarity. While the SM58 is known for its ability to cut through the mix with a cleaner and more present mid-range, the SM48 has a more limited frequency response. Although both microphones have similar pop filtering properties, using an external pop-filter can provide additional benefits, such as increased protection from plosives and improved overall audio clarity.

Microphone Stand Clip

Each of these microphones includes a microphone stand clip that securely attaches the mic to a microphone stand. The SM48 and SM58 are designed in a way that they can be easily and securely held in their respective clips. These clips provide stability and allow for easy adjustments when positioning the microphone on stage or in the recording studio.

Carrying Pouch

A quality carrying pouch is essential for storing and transporting your microphone. Both the SM48 and SM58 come with a durable zippered pouch that protects the microphone from potential damage during travel. This pouch ensures that your microphone remains in pristine condition, allowing for optimal performance every time it is used.

In conclusion, the accessories and extra features provided with the Shure SM48 and SM58 microphones, such as pop filters, microphone stand clips, and carrying pouches, significantly add to their value and functionality. These features not only make the microphones more versatile but also enhance their overall performance and durability.

Applications and Use Cases of the Shure SM58 vs SM48

Live Performances

When it comes to live performances, the Shure SM58 is a popular choice due to its proven track record as a workhorse dynamic microphone. Its cardioid polar pattern and wide frequency range make it ideal for capturing lead vocals with great sound clarity. In contrast, the Shure SM48 is a more budget-friendly option with a slightly more limited frequency range. The SM48 requires slightly more gain to reach the same sound level as the SM58, which may affect its performance in live settings.


For karaoke applications, the difference in sound quality between the Shure SM58 and SM48 might not be as noticeable for casual users. Both microphones are suitable for this purpose, with the Shure SM58 providing a more premium experience in terms of audio quality and overall performance. If budget is a significant factor, the SM48 may still be the preferred choice, as it offers a reliable and durable option for karaoke enthusiasts.

Recording the Shure SM58 vs SM48

In recording situations, the Shure SM58’s wider frequency response allows it to capture a larger range of sounds, making it a better choice for recording vocals and instruments. However, the SM48 may still be suitable for some recording applications where budget constraints are a factor, or where the slightly reduced audio quality is not detrimental to the final product. As with any recording situation, it is crucial to consider the specific needs of the project when choosing the appropriate microphone.

Final Verdict and Recommendations on the Shure SM58 vs SM48

When comparing the Shure SM48 and SM58, it is important to consider their individual features and capabilities in order to make an informed decision. Both microphones are popular, reliable, and known for their quality and performance in various settings, yet they have distinct differences.

In terms of sound quality, the SM58 has a wider frequency response, ranging from 50 to 15,000 Hz, while the SM48 has a frequency range of 55 Hz to 14 kHz 1. This wider frequency response allows the SM58 to capture a larger range of sounds, making it a better choice for lead vocals and live performances.

On the other hand, the SM48 is more affordable, costing about half the price of the SM58. This makes it an attractive option for those on a budget, especially if the additional clarity and brightness provided by the SM58 are not essential for the intended use.

Regarding construction and handling, the SM48 is slightly heavier and has a more limited frequency range compared to the SM58. The SM48 is only available with a switch, while the SM58 can be purchased with or without a switch 3.

To summarize, here are the key points to consider when choosing between the Shure SM48 and SM58:

  • Sound Quality: SM58 has a better overall sound with a wider frequency response.
  • Price: SM48 is more affordable, making it a better option for those on a tight budget.
  • Construction and Handling: SM58 is more versatile with its switch options and slightly lighter weight.
  • Both will require an interface or preamp like the Scarlett 2i2 or the API 3124+

With these factors in mind, the recommended choice will largely depend on individual preference and application. The SM58 may be the better option for professional singers or for those valuing sound quality, while the SM48 might be more suitable for amateur musicians, podcasters, or those seeking a more budget-friendly option.

Comparison Table and Specs of the Shure SM58 vs SM48

Specs: The Shure SM58 vs SM48

The Shure SM58 and SM48 are both dynamic microphones with cardioid polar patterns. However, there are some differences in their specifications that are important to consider. Here are their key specs:

Shure SM58:

  • Frequency Response: 50 Hz to 15,000 Hz
  • Output Impedance: Rated at 150 ohms (300 ohms actual)
  • Sensitivity: -54.5 dBV/Pa
  • Connector: 3-pin XLR
  • Available with or without a switch
  • Weight: 298 g (10.5 oz)

Shure SM48:

  • Frequency Response: 55 Hz to 14,000 Hz
  • Output Impedance: Rated at 150 ohms (270 ohms actual)
  • Sensitivity: -57.5 dBV/Pa
  • Connector: 3-pin XLR
  • Only available with a switch
  • Weight: 370 g (13.1 oz)


Comparing the Shure SM58 vs SM48, there are differences in their frequency response, weight, and availability of a switch. The SM58 has a wider frequency response of 50 to 15,000 Hz, while the SM48 has a range of 55 Hz to 14,000 Hz. This means the SM58 can capture a larger range of sounds, contributing to its better overall sound quality.

The SM48 is heavier than the SM58, weighing 370 g compared to the 298 g of the SM58. This difference in weight may be a consideration for users who prefer a lighter microphone for different applications or personal preferences. Nonetheless, the SM48 is a great alternative to the SM58.

Additionally, the SM48 is only available with a switch, while the SM58 is available with or without a switch. For some users, the availability of a switch on the microphone might be a crucial deciding factor between these two microphones. The SM58’s versatility in switch options makes it appealing for a wider variety of users and applications. Regardless of which mic you choose, you’ll be sure to get years of usage out of both. 

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Shure SM58

Shure SM48

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