Handheld Dynamic Mic Shoot-out

Being the podcaster, and general “geek” that I am. I like to produce the best possible (with-in reason of my budget) sound for my audio and video projects. Whether it be a podcast, video, screen cast, voice over. They all apply. i love good sounding audio.

I am also a bit of a microphone junkie. I love geeking out with them, testing them. Seeing how one mic sounds different with my voice compared to others. Seeing how they respond to being “worked” differently. Seeing how they sound in different environments.

A short time ago, I purchased a field recorder, the Tascam DR-07 to use as a field recorder as well as connecting it to my Mackie ProFX8 mixer.

With my new DR07, I’ve been testing and tweaking this “mobile” interview setup using a handheld dynamic microphone, a Samson M10. I connect it to the DR07 with an XLR to 3.5mm cable so I don’t have to use the built in microphones of the  Dr07, that aren’t very good. As i’ve been testing this setup, getting it ready for actual production..I recently decided that it may be worth the investment in the long run, to pick up a Shure SM58. So I decided to grab one, and see if it would improve my mobile interview setup.

The SM58 is among one of the most popular vocal mics over the past couple decades. And is known not only for it’s great vocal sound and low handling noise. But also it’s durability. It truly is a microphone that can last you decades.

So…..How does the $20 Samson M10 stack up against the $99 Shure SM58?

Click here to listen to the first tests I’ve performed with the two, mano-a-mano!

In this test, I use the exact same settings on the DR07. Both microphones are connected to the Tascam via the same XLR to 3.5mm stereo cable. The only thing different in the tests are the actual mics.

Edit 10:12:pm 03/10/2010

I’ve added (below) the screen shot that I took of the wave forms of the two tests in Audacity. The first (top) wave form is of the 1st test which, which I was speaking into the mics from a distance of 4″.

The second waveform is of the 2nd test when I was working the mic closely.

If you’ve ever wondered if it matters how far away you work a mic. You should find that pretty interesting. That image was taken with zero post processing. Audio was raw off the memory card.

Click on the image to enlarge.

Also, notice on the second waveform how many times the Samson M10 was clipping. Up to around 2:17. While the Sm58 never did.

All in all. I’m happy with both mics. The SM58 is quickly becoming my favorite of the two. But there will be plenty of opportunities for me to use the Samson M10.

  • http://twitter.com/App_Anarchy App_Anarchy

    Nice job on the test. I listened on both inexpensive earbuds as well as my Sony studio headphones and found very little difference between the two. I have to admit that I've never been a big fan of the SM58. It's indestructible but I consider it too flat for my voice and taste.With that being said, I was impressed that the $20 Samson sounded as good as the $99 Shure.

  • DizzyDoug

    Thank you..I was very surprised when I listed back to the recordings. I was very impressed with the performance of the Samson M10 during the first test. It really held it's own.
    The second test was more decisive for me. As the M10 was clipping, and also suffering slightly from the plosives. While the SM58 was right at home so to speak with me working the mic as I did.
    I forgot to add the wave forms screen shot that I took. I'm going to add that to the post.