You may remember a shoot-out I did between the Shure SM58 and its big brother the SM7B. It was interesting to hear some of the similarities between the mics, especially since one costs almost three times more than the other.
Ever since then, I’ve wanted to compare the 58 to a microphone I use quite a bit both in my studio and when I play out live – the AKG D5.
I’ve loved the sounds I’ve been able to get out of the D5, but I’ve never compared it directly to the SM58, which dominates the live sound market.
The D5 is a pretty stylish mic, with its black grill and body and nice big AKG logo. It’s also a super-cardioid microphone, as opposed to the standard cardioid pattern on the SM58.
Aside from these differences, the microphones are fairly similar. They’re both dynamic mics, and they both sell for right at $100.
So…does one sound better than the other? Let’s hear.
How It Was Recorded
Here’s a quick run-down of how I recorded these. I left the grill on both, and simply stood about four inches from the front of the grill. I recorded directly through a Focusrite preamp into my 003, and I didn’t use any processing on either take.
Both mics sound good, but I think the D5 has a good bit more high-end content to it. It doesn’t seem hyped to me necessarily. It just seems like the highs aren’t as rolled off as with the SM58.
Also, the bass of the D5 seems to reach a little bit lower. Sadly, this is only really heard when the mic “pops” from my breath, but still, it was something I noticed. This may make the D5 a better choice for bass amps, for example.
All in all, while it definitely depends on how well each microphone sits in the mix, I’m pretty impressed with my D5. It gives some of the benefits of a dynamic microphone, in that it doesn’t pick up as much room noise and is a bit “aggressive,” but it doesn’t sound as much like a dynamic as the Shure SM58 did, particularly in the high frequencies.
What do you think? Which do you like better?
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