Build quality. While both are very durable, the SM58 may just be the most durable piece of equipment ever. It’s extremely robust, to the point of unbelief. The folks at Shure ran over it with a car, dropped it from 6 stories, put holes in it with a shotgun, and it still worked. Pretty incredible.
Overall Sound. Being a condenser microphone, the SM86 is more prone to background noise, while the SM58 rejects it better. The SM86 is also less punchy, with a reduced overall presence. The SM86 is also not quite as muddy or boomy due to it’s gradual roll off from about 1k. The SM86 is also designed to work better in live situations, but you may not be able to discern a difference. To me, the SM58 comes across as kind of congested and muffled sounding in comparison to the crystal clear 86. To sum it up, the SM86 will provide a more refined, detailed sound.
I prefer the sound of the SM86, but then again it depends on what you need.
A live, indestructible vocal mic that doesn’t require phantom power?
Stu is determined to help you make sound decisions, and strives to deliver the best and most in depth content on the internet! In his spare time, he likes to fish, paint, play guitar, attend church, take photos, record videos, graphic design, and more. His strict attention to detail and perfectionist attitude are what allow him to excel and stand out among-st the crowd.