The 55SH by Shure is an iconic mic that’s been used for decades. It’s actually considered a legendary vocal mic and one that has been used by some of the biggest names in the music industry, including Elvis Presley. Offering a clean, crisp sound, the mic’s cardioid polar pattern makes it a great choice for vocals broadcasting, and micing acoustic instruments.
Our Verdict: The 55SH is a mic that has undergone several redesigns over the years, but with each new release, the mic is equipped with bigger and better features that allow you to use it for podcasting, vocals, broadcasting, and micing instruments. The sheer tonal quality and versatility of the mic are what makes it a must-have for both live performances and studio recording sessions. A great buy for the price, this is one mic you’ll want with you at your next show or in the studio. While the mic may not have a lot of flash in terms of fancy features and settings options, it continues to offer the type of solid performance and sound quality that made it a star way back in 1939.
Overview and Features
This model was first released back in 1939. Back then, due to the mic’s futuristic appearance, it was instantly considered a classic. The 55 became a staple in the music industry and was used all over the world by some of the biggest stars including Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra. Since 1939, more than twenty different versions of the 55 have been released. But with each version, you’ll notice that the overall design remains the same.
The microphone features an elegant chrome housing, that gives it a look that’s both modern and vintage at the same time. It can be tilted eighty degrees back and forty-five degrees forward, thanks to its swivel mount. You’ll also find a built-in on and off switch, in addition to the shock-mounted cartridge. Despite the fact that the mic still has the same vintage design that all vocalists know and love, it comes equipped with some modern features that allow you to get the most out of the mic’s sound quality. This includes the internal capsule suspension system, which eliminates the need for an external shock mount.
Aside from the power switch, there are no other controls. This simple design is perfect for the beginner. It also makes the mic easier to use during a live performance or in a studio environment.
The connector makes the mic much easier to use and there are currently dozens of boom arms and stand styles to choose from that are compatible with this model. One issue with the connector is the way it’s positioned. It’s so close to the threaded hole in the mic’s base that there’s no room for a threaded washer, which is usually used on most booms and stands. In order to use one, you’ll have to remove the washers to allow the connector to plug in.
This model offers a frequency range of 50-15000 Hz. The sound quality makes the mic perfect for podcasts, broadcasting, singing, and micing instruments. The frequency response will give you saturation on 5000 Hz to 9000 Hz. Despite the fact that the mic has a frequency response curve that’s optimized for vocals, and a lower max SPL, this model can still be used to mic a variety of instruments.
However, if you want to learn how to sing higher, then this mic is literally designed to capture any vocal style. Vocals is where this model is the most comfortable and it offers a sound quality that’s best described as excellent. It provides a clear sound with impressive transparency. It also can add much-needed warmth to any recording and works well for both live performances and in the studio use.
Advantages and Disadvantages
- Classic design
- Built-in swivel mount
- Low price
- Perfect for vocals, instruments, and broadcasting
- Simple controls
- Clear, crisp sound
- XLR connector may not be as compatible with booms and stands as the manufacturer claims
The 55H Vs. The AKG Pro Audio C414 XLII Vocal Condenser Microphone
For a dynamic mic, this model offers a sound that’s much brighter than what you would expect. Compared to the AKG Pro Audio, this mic is less compressed and much clearer. It’s also much warmer when in the low midrange. Unlike the 55, this model by AKG comes with more bells and whistles, including an overload warning complete with audio peak LED lights, three different bass cut filters to choose from, and the nine selectable polar patterns that allow users to choose the right setting based on application. This model by Shure is much simpler and a better choice for new musicians and vocalists. However, if you’re looking for a mic that can help improve vocal quality and one that’s loaded with a variety of features, then the AKG may be the model for you. If you don’t care about fancy features and instead prefer a more traditional sound, then this Shure mic is the way to go.
Conclusion and Rating
A mic that has been updated and redesigned throughout the years, this latest release of a well-loved classic features a design that has yet again really improved upon the original version. These design changes allow musicians and vocalists to continue turning to this mic for live and recorded performances.
Considered one of the best vocal microphones, the 55SH is a true classic that has undergone several changes throughout the years, using modern features that have allowed us to use this mic for a total of seventy-five years. Offering a crystal, crisp, and clean sound, this model has managed to withstand the test of time and it’s one you can expect to be around for many more years to come. I gave this model a rating of four and a half out of five stars.