Included Accessories: Stand Clamp, Microphone Pouch
Manufacturer Part Number: SM86
The Shure SM86 is a condenser microphone specifically designed for vocals. Condenser mic vs. Dynamic mic. The mic itself has a very crisp, sharp sound and does extremely well with live vocals, as well as in studio. It works for a lot of different applications as well, and has good off-axis sound rejection.
Overall, it’s a smoother, warmer, and more natural sound.
Good rejection of off-axis sound.
Great clarity for vocals. Very detailed.
Flat, but warm sound. Natural, clear, and present sounding.
Cuts through the mix beautifully at live shows.
Very rugged and durable, but not as durable as an SM58.
Great mid-range clarity as well.
Feedback with louder genres and vocals may present itself as an issue. Could also pick up unwanted sounds at very high levels.
Currently there are no good video reviews for this product.
Pop-filter or windscreen if using in studio is recommended.
Mic stand or desktop stand.
Art Voice Channel
Thoughts from Stu’s notepad
You won’t have to work as hard when singing into it, because it brings out the detail in your voice with such startling clarity.
You may have to increase the gain with it. It does have pretty high gain before feedback.
Make sure the mic is parallel with the mouth for best results.
May not do as well in any kind of light or heavy wind situation. Reports are that even 10mph winds diminish the overall quality. Keep this in mind if you will be primarily using it outside.
The mic does have a bit of a spike around 8kHz. A 2dB reduction should fix this.
A crystal clear mic that may sound a tad distorted at the highest levels. Still great gain before feedback overall, and a rugged mic for the most part.
Similarities & Differences
Both mics sound very similar.
Both are condenser microphones.
Polar Pattern. The SM86 has a cardioid pattern vs. the supercardioid of the Beta 87A. This means that the SM86 picks up sound from one specific area of the mic, generally right in front. That said, the 86’s pattern isn’t quite as tight as the supercardioid pattern of the Beta 87A. The supercardioid pattern has an even tighter area of pickup than the cardioid, but has the added benefit of rejecting sound from the sides, as well as ambient sound better. The downside is that it’s a little bit more sensitive to sound coming from behind, and sometimes causing feedback.
*Treble. While both do sound similar, the Beta 87A may sound a bit too bright at the top end, or simply sound a little over-exaggerated. The SM86 by contrast is a lot smoother.
Mid-range. The 87A’s mid-range may be a bit too forward and excessive, while the SM86 comes across as more normal and true to life.
Overall sound. The 87A has an edgier sound, and will cut through a mix a little better. The SM86 is more natural sounding.
I think the SM86 is the go to option, as it’s a lot cheaper and sounds more true to life. The 87A is a good mic, but may be a bit raw depending on what you need it for.
That said, if you prefer a warmer, more natural sound, and a great all around vocal mic, the Shure SM86 is your boy.
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.