The Right Mic for Your Voice – Dynamic Mic Breakdown

Choosing the right Dynamic Vocal Microphone for you!

This can be a particularly difficult decision to make. There are so many dynamic microphones available at similar price points, all with extremely high quality standards, and often similar prices.

We’re going to attempt to shine a little light on the key differences between three of the most popular options; the Rode M1, the Shure SM58, and the AKG D5. Armed with a bit of knowledge, we hope you’ll have a far easier time making your next microphone selection!

There are 3 major elements to take into consideration when choosing the right microphone for you and your voice:

Polar Pattern

A microphones Polar Pattern describes how sensitive the mic is to sound waves coming from different angles. This means it will pick up sound waves coming from within the polar pattern, and reject those beyond it.

Cardioid: Sensitive to the front and sides of the microphone capsule.

Supercardioid: Sensitive to the front and sides of the microphone capsule, as well as a small area behind the capsule.

Frequency Response

The frequency response of a microphone refers to the range of frequencies the microphone will pick up. Any soundwaves beyond either end of the microphones frequency response will not be picked up.

Sensitivity

This describes how sensitive the microphone is to sound waves. It is measured in mV per 94dB. Put simply, this is the voltage the microphone produces when exposed to a SPL (Sound Pressure Level) of 94dB (1Pa), which is the normal standard of measurement.

Now that we have a basic understanding of our elements, let’s have a look at our microphones and highlight some of their differences, and decide which type of voice or environment each would be best suited to.

Shure sm58Rode M1AKG D5
Polar PatternCardioidCardioidSupercardioid
Frequency Response50Hz - 15kHz75Hz - 18kHz70Hz - 20kHz
Sensitivity1.85mV/Pa1.60mV/Pa2.60mV/Pa

The Shure SM58

The industry standard for over 50 years, and is known primarily for its build quality. The SM58 has unwavering reputation of being practically unbreakable, with many of them surviving decades of use.

With a comfortably low sensitivity, the SM58 can be handled aggressively on stage with minimal noise.

Our Recommendation: If you’re looking for a mic that can take a beating, both in terms of ruggedness, and in terms of noise, and sacrificing the highest highs isn’t a problem for you, the Shure SM58 is the mic for you!

The AKG D5

With the highest numbers in terms of both Sensitivity and High Frequencies,  the AKG D5 does not have it’s primary focus on the loudest of stages. 

Adding even further to it’s sensitivity, it is the only mic in our comparison with a Supercardioid polar pattern.

Our Recommendation: If you are looking for a stage mic that more closely resembles your studio condenser microphone, with a focus on nuance and crystal clear highs, the AKG D5 is the mic for you!

The RODE M1

Defining the One-Size-Fits-All position, is the Rode M1. 

While the Sensitivity is even lower than the SM58, allowing aggressive handling, the high end response is considerably higher, providing a crispy high end. The only compromise with the M1 is the low end, with response starting at 75kHz.

Our Recommendation: If you need a rugged option with a great high-end, and don’t mind sacrificing some low-end, the Rode M1 is the mic for you!

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