One name has been at the forefront of microphone design and use in the live arena for longer than most of our readers have been alive. It’s hard to imagine any musician today not having used a Shure microphone at some point, and quite understandable why so many use them as a regular tool in their live performance rig. With the SM58 being an industry stalwart for vocal performance microphones and the BETA58 taking that sound one step further, Shure have now gone and raised the bar once again with a revolutionary new dual diaphragm design in the KSM8, the first of its kind and a bold step forward in hand-held microphone design.
SLICK NEW LOOK
To say that I instantly thought of German design when I took this microphone from its rigid zippered pouch is an understatement. This microphone looks like a leap ahead for Shure, and a step away from their classic shapes into a more refined, streamlined look to the housing for their new KSM8. The fact that I had been sent the nickel-cased model even further emphasised this point, giving the microphone a very bold, yet sophisticated look. This is the standout model, with the brush-finished black version a little subtler in appearance. But, it’s not really the looks that make this microphone so special, it’s the sound. A sound that is derived from a very clever dual diaphragm design that completely changes how we will consider microphone choice for live performance in the future.
TWICE AS NICE
This new DualDyne design from Shure takes the dynamic microphone into new sonic territory and opens up a wide range of applications and uses for a hand-held dynamic microphone. The clever design drastically alters the proximity effect that dynamic microphones suffer from and introduces a new level of dynamic control to the singer’s voice. No longer do you need to swallow the microphone to get a consistent sound; you can finally make use of a wider sweet spot and get greater control without the need to use a condenser microphone on stage. Yet, with this added range that it offers, the cardioid pickup pattern still holds true, and the KSM8 offers great side rejection, as you would expect of a microphone that is going to be worked heavily in very loud environments. The dual diaphragm also offers an extended high frequency response, with a little more air to the signal than you might have expected from a dynamic microphone. This is coupled with a smoother low frequency response than many of you would be used to when using Shure microphones. The overall result is a microphone that needs very little work at the mixing desk, it simply behaves the way you want it to and sounds the way you expect it to by simply plugging it in.
For more info on Shure products, visit jands.com.au.
Hits and Misses
Solid construction, ready for rugged stage use
Eliminated proximity effect for greater dynamic range
Excellent frequency response across the board
This may become the new standard in live vocal microphones
It might carry a price tag beyond some singers’ budget