When it comes to microphones for live sound purposes, the Shure SM58 is often described as the holy grail.
But there’s a new kid on the block. Or, at least, a newer kid:
The Sennheiser E835.
This mic offers many of the same features as the SM58, and is pretty much the 58’s closest rival.
But, is it better?
Well, that’s what we’re about to find out.
Here’s what we’ll cover in this Sennheiser E835 vs Shure SM58 comparison:
- Overall sound
- Build quality
- Frequency response
- Possible uses
- Look and feel
- Polar pattern
- Price & Value For Money
- Pros & Cons
Ready? Let’s get started…
1. Overall sound: Sennheiser E835 vs Shure SM58
Overall sound: Sennheiser E835
The Sennheiser E835 is certainly a mic that is tailored for vocal performances, with a flat lower mid-range and some pronounced presence boost in the upper mids.
This translates to a sound that is very forward and provides a lot of clarity and intelligibility to voice recordings.
Depending on the vocalist, you may find the E835 to be a little sibilant, and much of these S sounds live in the range where the E835 is quite pronounced, but this can always be taken care of with a nice de-esser plugin.
The mic sounds great on applications like a snare drum or toms, accenting the attack and slap of these instruments. I’d be careful using the E835 on an overly distorted guitar amp, though, as these tend to already be quite fizzy around the 4kHz range, and this microphone might push that tone to the limit.
Overall sound: Shure SM58
The Shure SM58 sounds fairly similar to the E835, which makes sense, considering they are designed for many of the same purposes.
However, it is less aggressive in the upper mids and has an altogether less ‘polished’ sound, that takes more nicely to further shaping at the desk.
It has a gentle roll-off from around 100Hz, so it’s great for recording guitars and vocals which don’t have a lot of energy in this space, but I wouldn’t put it in front of a bass cab unless you’re pairing it with a DI.
Like the E835, the SM58 is mid-focused, more so in the upper mid-range, where the mic’s frequency response is most pronounced.
Again, you might sound a little nasal or sibilant on some vocalists, but it’s ideal for pulling vocals forward in a dense live mix.
Overall sound: Bottom Line
The choice of mic here really depends on if you need something that’s going to have a very specific sound right out of the box (in which case go with the E835), or a microphone that provides a nice blank canvas for further EQing at the mixing desk (in which case we’d recommend the SM58.
Since this is really a matter of application, this one’s a tie.
They are both seriously professional-sounding mics.
Overall sound Winner: Tie
2. Build quality: Sennheiser E835 vs Shure SM58
Build quality: Sennheiser E835
The Sennheiser E835 perhaps doesn’t have quite the same reputation as the SM58 does for durability, mostly because it hasn’t been around as long.
Despite that, the E835 is still a solidly built microphone and will serve any road-faring musician well.
It features a rugged, all-metal body and a tough metal grille that needs a pretty tough knock to dent, keeping the mic capsule inside nice and safe.
Build quality: Shure SM58
Shure’s SM58 is pretty much the benchmark when it comes to microphone build quality.
Seriously, there are videos of people dropping them out of apartment buildings and running them over in their car, and they still work perfectly.
Though that’s not exactly what you’re probably going to get up to, it’s important to know that your 58 is going to go the distance if you’re taking it on tour, throwing it in the back of the truck every night without a heavy-duty case.
The 58 is built similarly to the E835, with all-metal housing and metal grille. Due to the circular shape of the 58’s grille, it is probably slightly more susceptible to denting.
Build quality: Bottom Line
The E835 is built like a tank, for sure, but the SM58 is an SM58, a rugged mic that’s been tried and tested for years. You just can’t beat that build quality.
Build quality Winner: Shure SM58
3. Frequency response: Sennheiser E835 vs Shure SM58
Frequency response: Sennheiser E835
The frequency response of the E835 is definitely most pronounced in the upper mids, with the biggest boost at around 5kHz.
It remains fairly sensitive until around 12kHz, where the response drops off quite steeply, so while it’s forward and present, it isn’t super bright or sparkly.
On the low end of things, the response of the E835 slopes down gently from around 600Hz, and then drops off more steeply after 100Hz or so, which helps to eliminate any unwanted stage rumble or low-frequency handling noise.
Frequency response: Shure SM58
The frequency response of the Shure SM58 is more or less what you’d expect from a live vocal mic.
It’s flat throughout the lower mid-range, with a broad, subtle dip across the 300-600Hz range to help tame boxiness in vocals, and it drops off steeply after 100Hz, since there’s not much energy in that range in a human voice.
On the other end of the spectrum, the 58 is quite well-shaped, with boosts at 3kHz, 6kHz, and 10kHz providing clarity, presence, and air to a vocal performance,
Then, as you’d expect from a handheld dynamic mic, it drops off quite steeply after 10kHz.
Frequency response: Bottom Line
Though a microphone’s frequency response is in large part a matter of preference and application, the SM58 has a more natural mid-range and less pronounced upper-mid boosts, which gives the mic a more transparent sound that takes well to post-processing such as EQ.
Frequency response: Shure SM58
4. Possible uses: Sennheiser E835 vs Shure SM58
Possible uses: Sennheiser E835
The E835 is a live vocal microphone through and through, however it might also be suitable for recording:
- Snare drums
- Tom drums
- Kick (beater side for attack)
- Guitar amps
Possible uses: Shure SM58
The Shure SM58 is built for live vocal performance, but it can also be a great choice for podcasting and YouTube content creation on a budget, especially if you’re working in an untreated room.
Otherwise, all of the applications that apply for the 835 will work well for the 58 as well.
Possible uses: Bottom Line
It’s a tie, they are for all intents and purposes the same mic, just with different sounds and appearances.
Possible uses Winner: Tie
5. Look and feel: Sennheiser E835 vs Shure SM58
Look and feel: Sennheiser E835
The Sennheiser E835 offers a sharp, modern appearance, with a dark grey brushed aluminum-like finish and a jet black grille.
The flattened top of the mic grille is, in my opinion, a classy touch.
It’s fairly weighty (330g), so it doesn’t feel like a cheap plastic toy, and you can tell that this is a durable mic by the feel of the metal body.
Look and feel: Shure SM58
By contrast, the SM58 looks a little dated.
I mean, it was first released in 1966, and I don’t think the design of the mic has even changed since then.
Sure, it’s a classic look, and it looks like what you’d expect from a microphone, but I’ve found that the silver steel finish of the grille ends up looking quite dirty over time.
However, it feels as it should, like a stage microphone that is built to go the distance.
Look and feel: Bottom Line
Both mics weigh the same, and feel pretty similar in the hand as a result.
Maybe it’s a matter of opinion, but the E835 appears to offer a more modern, sexy, and sleek looks, so Sennheiser wins this round.
Look and feel Winner: Sennheiser E835
6. Polar pattern: Sennheiser E835 vs Shure SM58
Polar pattern: Sennheiser E835
The Sennheiser E835 has a cardioid polar pattern, meaning it picks up sound from the front, a little from the sides, and rejects it from the rear.
Polar pattern: Shure SM58
The Shure SM58 also uses a cardioid polar pattern, which is pretty much what you want with a live vocal mic as you’re often pointing the rear of the mic down at the stage monitors.
This rear-rejection reduces the chance of feedback between the monitor and your mic.
Polar pattern: Bottom Line
It’s a tie, they are both cardioid microphones with a tight pickup pattern and excellent off-axis rejection.
Polar pattern Winner: Tie
7. Accessories: Sennheiser E835 vs Shure SM58
Accessories: Sennheiser E835
This is a no-fuss mic, by all standards, shipping with a standard mic clip and a small carrying bag.
Accessories: Shure SM58
Shure ships their 58 with similar accessories, though the mic clip feels a little sleeker, and the bag has a nice leather feel and appearance to it. They also include a mic stand thread adaptor, and handy little velcro cable tie which I’ve found endless use for when coiling up cables after a gig.
Accessories: Bottom Line
This one’s a no-brainer: the SM58 ships with a better bag and mic clip, and even includes a velcro cable tie.
Accessories Winner: Shure SM58
8. Price & Value For Money: Sennheiser E835 vs Shure SM58
Price & Value For Money: Sennheiser E835
The Sennheiser E835 slips in just under the $100 mark, which is pretty affordable as far as microphones go.
The only other thing you could really ask for is for an XLR mic cable to be included, but considering this isn’t standard with pro-level gear, it’s forgivable.
A velcro cable tie wouldn’t hurt, though.
Price & Value For Money: Shure SM58
The SM58 also costs $99, so these two units are directly comparable in terms of price.
The 58 comes with a couple more accessories, and is the more flexible mic when considering sound and frequency response.
Price & Value For Money: Bottom Line
So, the SM58 does offer better value for money, but only just
Price & Value For Money Winner: Shure SM58
Image Source: https://www.amazon.com/Shure-SM58-LC-Cardioid-Dynamic-Microphone/dp/B000CZ0R42
9. Pros & Cons: Sennheiser E835 vs Shure SM58
Sennheiser E835 Pros & Cons
- Sleek, modern look
- Built for touring
- Forward, present sound
- Can be a little sibilant
- Slightly less malleable sound palette than the SM58
Shure SM58 Pros & Cons
- The gold standard in live vocal performance microphones
- Built like a tank
- Excellent accessories
- Takes well to post-processing like EQ and compression
- Sort of dated appearance
Conclusion & Takeaway
To summarize our findings in this Sennheiser E835 vs Shure SM58 comparison, here are the winners for each category:
- Overall sound – Tie
- Build quality – Shure SM58
- Frequency response – Shure SM58
- Possible uses – Tie
- Look and feel – Sennheiser E835
- Polar pattern – Tie
- Accessories – Shure SM58
- Price & Value For Money – Shure SM58
Overall: Shure SM58
On the whole, the Shure SM58 comes out on top in this battle, offering superior accessories, a more fine-tunable sound, and an incredible build-quality that just can’t be beaten.
However, we should note that it’s only just the winner, meaning the Sennheiser E835 is still an incredibly capable mic, and one that might for better for you if you need something that has a very distinctive character out of the box, and also offers a more modern, classy look and feel.
Products Comparison Table:
Spec / Feature
48 x 180 mm
51 mm (2 in.) 162 mm (6 3/8in.) 23 mm (29/32in.)
40 – 16000 Hz
50 to 15,000 Hz