SM48-LC without On/off switch and including a windscreen.
The SM48 is a great alternative to the 58 if you’re on a tighter budget, and you’ll get just about the same quality. The 58 is a little better for live acts, and more professional application, but the 48 holds it’s own quite well. It’s rugged and dependable, and provides good feedback rejection, while also rejecting handling noise and off axis sound.
If I could describe the SM48 succinctly, it would be: 90-95% of the SM58 at 50% of the cost. So it will get you almost as good of quality, but will be markedly lower in price.
Crisp, clear, clean sound. Great clarity.
Rugged and durable.
Good feedback rejection. Also good at rejecting wind noise, handling noise, and off-axis sound.
Distortion at close proximity, some plosive issues at times.
Who this mic benefits?
Close miking guitar cabs
What you will need?
Because it’s a dynamic microphone, it will not require 48v phantom power. However, you can still use it with your audio interface, mixer, preamp, amp, MIDI (What is MIDI?) controller etc. What does an audio interface do? Just make sure you keep the 48v switch off.
Some other things you may need:
If you’re in studio, Acoustic Sound Treatment never hurt! Although it’s a dynamic mic and will reject background noise pretty well, I still like to have it.
A pop-filter (the SM48 has an internal one, but a windscreen is ideal for this mic).
A shock-mount (the SM48 has an internal one).
Thoughts from Stu’s notepad
It’s not a very loud mic, so you will probably have to push the gain a lot more than you’re used to with an SM58.
There will be some plosives that come out with this mic due to the upper mid-range boost, but it’s nothing major.
You may have to be very close for it to pick up a good sound.
You may need more compression and EQ to get the most desirable sound out of this one.
Rugged, durable, and pretty versatile. Has a crisp, clear sound, but may not come through as bright, or cut through a mix as good as an SM58. Great for backup vocals, and smaller, solo applications. Gain should be turned up quite a bit to get optimal sound.
Similarities & Differences
The sound signatures are very close, and you probably won’t be able to hear a difference. Most reviews I’ve come across say that if there is a difference, it’s very small and may not even be noticeable in a live setting.
Tonal quality and Sensitivity. There is a slight difference in tone with these two if you purchase the SM48 model with the On/off switch. The SM58 has the added benefit of being more sensitive and responsive. The SM48 by contrast is a bit flatter and sounds a tad duller.
*Gain. Not quite as loud at similar gain settings as the SM58, but the gain can always be bumped up to accommodate. This is one of the biggest things to remember about these two mics.
Transformer. Because the SM48 doesn’t have a transformer, it sounds more open than an SM58, with less of a mid-range punch.
Cutting through the mix. The SM48 doesn’t cut through as well as the SM58.
Overall sound. While there were a lot of people claiming the two sounded nearly identical, others disagreed and claimed the 48 sounds more muffled in contrast. The SM58 has a fuller sound as well, and comes across slightly brighter and cleaner. With the SM48, your vocals may not sound as “alive” before EQ.
Build. Both are rock solid as usual, but the SM58 may be tougher.
Head. The grill on the SM48 is slightly larger than the SM58.
Mid-range. The SM48 has a little less present of a mid-range than the SM58.
Frequency Response.50Hz-15kHz for the SM58, and 55Hz-14kHz for the SM48.
Weight. The SM48 is a little heavier at 0.82 lbs. vs. the 0.66 of the SM58.
A good rule of thumb for these two mics is this:
If you’re only going to be using it for voice-over, backing vocals, and spoken word type stuff, save your money and get the SM48, as it’s perfect for this reason. The SM48 doesn’t work as well for recording applications, and more professional use unfortunately, and excels best with PA work, Karaoke, smaller gigs, etc.
Stu is determined to provide the truth about all things audio, and strives to deliver excellent content to you the reader! In his spare time, he likes to fish, paint, play guitar, attend church, take photos, record videos, graphic design, and more. His attention to detail and perfectionist attitude are what allow him to excel, but it can be both a blessing and a hindrance at times.