Shure is one of the best-known brands among vocalists. And if you’ve been performing for a while, you’ve heard of SM58.
However, how does it compare to its cheaper alternative?
We took our time to look more into this matter and put PG58 and SM58 one against another.
Here’s what we’ll cover in this Shure PG58 vs. Shure SM58 comparison:
- Main Specifications
- Features and Connectivity
- Sound Quality
- Build Quality and Durability
- Practical Use
- Price & Value for Money
- Pros & Cons
Ready? Let’s get started…
The first thing to look into is the frequency range that these mics cover, as well as the distribution over the audible spectrum. The PG58 model is designed to cover anything from 50 to 16000 Hz.
At the same time, SM58 is designed to cover anything from 50 to 15000 kHz. That’s at least from the official records on Shure’s spec sheet.
But what’s interesting is that when we look at their charts, the PG58 has an unusual small bump after the 15 kHz mark. However, this doesn’t mean anything in practical settings as you won’t notice any differences.
The distribution of frequencies over the audible spectrum is different between these two models. The SM58 is more “balanced” going from the bottom-ends and over the mids, while the PG58 model is a bit “thinner” here.
The PG58 then has a boost going from 2.5 kHz and up to 6 kHz. After that, there are some irregular jumps up to around 12 kHz, after which it goes down to 16 kHz.
The SM58 is more balanced, with a steady rise going from 1.5 kHz up to 6 kHz. There’s another jump from 7 to 10 kHz, after which it drops sharply to 15 kHz. This impacts the sound quality, which we’ll discuss a bit later.
The PG58 is essentially a cheaper “copy” of the SM58, today known as the “industry standard” for vocalists. Both are dynamic microphones, featuring a cardioid polar pattern. This is pretty much the standard deal and what you’d expect of a vocal mic.
It’s also important to note that they’re designed to work at regular distances from the sound source, which is a vocalist’s mouth in this case. This goes anywhere from 1/4 inches and up to 7 inches, depending on the singing dynamics.
Sensitivity is expressed in negative decibel volts per Pascal (dBV/Pa) and it’s measured at 1 kHz. There are also other ways to measure it, but in the case of these two mics, it’s the dBV/Pa.
In this particular comparison, the SM58 is a bit better, measuring at -56 dBV/Pa. This gives it just a slight boost of sensitivity that might bring a noticeable difference in practical settings.
It’s important to note that both of these microphones fall into the low impedance category, which is below the 1000 ohms mark. However, they are different in this regard, with PGA58 measuring at 150 ohms and the SM58 at 300 ohms. Overall, this is pretty much the standard deal and they’re pretty much the same in this regard in a practical sense.
Main specifications winner: Shure SM58
Features and Connectivity
Features and Connectivity: Shure SM58
Shure SM58 is one of the simplest microphones out there. In fact, having pretty much no features at all is what makes it so popular among performers. The standard version of the SM58 mic comes without any switches.
There’s also the version with an on and off switch, the SM58S. However, most performing vocalists still prefer to go with the standard switchless version. Aside from this, the mic comes with the standard balanced XLR connector.
Overall, there’s nothing unusual and out of the ordinary for the SM58, just a standard dynamic vocal mic.
Features and Connectivity: Shure PG58
But compared to the SM58, Shure’s cheaper PG58 comes with an on and off switch. And that’s basically the only version of the model.
Once again, we have a fairly simple microphone with no additional “bells and whistles,” just something that’s designed to get the job done.
Of course, PG58 comes with the regular balanced XLR output jack, so it’s pretty much the same deal as SM58 features and connection-wise.
Features and Connectivity: Bottom Line
To be fair, both of these mics aren’t that “exciting” and are just designed to be functional and practical tools for vocalists. Sure, the PG58 does come with a switch, but that doesn’t technically give it an advantage.
If you prefer to have a switch on your mic, then there’s also the SM58S version. But in a practical sense, this never seemed to bother any professional singers as the mic can simply be cut off at the mixing board. Therefore, we’d call it a tie in this particular category.
Features winner: Tie
Sound Quality: Shure SM58
Now, here’s where the SM58 gets the moment to shine. We’ve mentioned the frequency distribution and frequency range. And the SM58 mic gives a much-needed boost to the “presence” part of the audible spectrum, or higher mids and high-ends.
Of course, it won’t be nearly as bright compared to condenser microphones. But the frequencies are dialed in perfectly for live settings. Your voice will sound great while the unwanted noise and feedback will be reduced to a minimum.
Sound Quality: Shure PG58
It’s no secret that PG58 is a cheaper version of the SM58. And you can clearly notice this with the capture quality.
It’s not a bad mic, but it’s definitely not as good as SM58. There’s a “bump” within the desirable vocal frequencies, but it’s still pretty “dull” and “flat” compared to the SM58.
Sound Quality: Bottom Line
Look, there’s a reason Shure SM58 is considered to be an “industry standard” among live performers. One of the reasons is that the mic captures the vocals pretty well, all while keeping the unwanted noises to a minimum.
But while PG58 is a decent mic, its sound reproduction quality is not as nearly as good compared to the SM58.
Sound quality winner: Shure SM58
Build Quality and Durability
Build Quality and Durability: Shure SM58
While the main focus is usually on sound quality, Shure SM58 has mostly been praised for its incredible durability. The microphone’s main focus is on live settings and touring. And we all know how rough things can get on the road.
While we don’t encourage anyone to do this deliberately, SM58 mics can withstand really rough handling, dropping, even different environments. This is what makes it an ultimate live microphone.
Even though you’ll be able to find live mics with better sound reproduction quality, SM58 is still the go-to choice for singers of all backgrounds. This is all due to its build quality and durability.
Build Quality and Durability: Shure PG58
Just like with the sound quality, the PG58’s build is okay. Nothing too fancy, but it’s designed to withstand live shows.
It’s not like it’s a super professional-level mic, but it can serve its purpose. It can handle touring and rougher handling, although it has its limitations compared to the SM58. Nonetheless, you won’t regret having such a mic if we’re talking about smaller to mid-sized gigs.
Build Quality and Durability: Bottom Line
Again, PG58 is a cheaper alternative to the SM58. It’s not a bad mic considering its price range, but you can’t expect it to be as reliable as its more expensive “cousin.” While it can serve its purpose and handle live settings, it’s not as good as SM58.
We can notice that PG58 is a bit flimsy and it definitely wouldn’t stand everything that SM58 is capable of. It’s not that bad, but it clearly isn’t the same as the classic Shure mic.
Build quality and durability winner: Shure SM58
Practical Use: Shure SM58
The traits that we just described above are what make Shure SM58 such a popular microphone. Being so simple yet well-made, it achieved its worldwide fame among vocalists of all kinds.
But when it comes to practical implementation, SM58 is a microphone intended for live performances. Sure, it can also serve as a studio microphone and it has seen some action for recording sessions.
However, it’s traditionally not that common in these settings. Its sound reproduction quality is not what you’d generally expect for studio settings.
Basically, the recording quality suffers when you’re looking at a live-oriented microphone. Firstly, you need something that can withstand all these rough settings. Secondly, you don’t want to have a mic that will pick up all the high-ends and cause a lot of noise and unwanted feedback.
Practical Use: Shure PG58
Likewise, PG58 is also intended as a live microphone. Its intended practical use is pretty much the same, finding its way mostly in live settings and some studio settings. However, we know that its overall quality, both in terms of sound and build, is not like with the SM58.
Generally, it’s a good budget-friendly substitute and is more oriented towards amateur or semi-professional singers. It’s also a decent option for home recording enthusiasts who occasionally perform live.
These days, PG58 is usually sold as a wireless version. It most often comes in pair with Shure’s wireless receiver.
Practical Use: Bottom Line
As it’s already obvious, the intended use for both of these mics is pretty much the same. Both are live microphones that can also be used for recording. But on the other hand, SM58 comes with its advantages due to its superior qualities. Ultimately, this makes its practical use much better compared to the PG58.
It’s also worth noting that both of these mics are useful for both lead and backing vocalists in live settings. It can also sometimes be used for instruments, but only as a spare option if nothing else is available. However, SM58’s overall superiority makes it win this particular category.
Practical use winner: Shure SM58
Price & Value for Money
Price & Value for Money: Shure SM58
What’s really interesting about Shure SM58 is that it’s not a very expensive mic. Considering the fact it achieved its “industry standard” reputation, its cost is pretty modest.
In fact, it’s so reasonably priced that even amateurs and enthusiasts can afford it without having to save up too much. And, to be fair, the investment seems like a pretty good one.
Price & Value for Money: Shure PG58
Although a cheaper alternative to the SM58, PG58 in all of its forms is, overall, a solid mic. If you want to save up and don’t feel like the difference would be of much importance to you, PG58 comes as a pretty great choice. Just don’t get your hopes too high, as it’s not a pro-level mic.
Price & Value for Money: Bottom Line
Honestly, it’s a pretty hard decision to say which of these has a better value for the money, considering their respective prices. But although the PG58 model is a pretty cheap alternative (in both XLR and wireless forms), we can’t help but put SM58 ahead.
No disrespect to the PG58, but nothing really beats the “industry standard.” Whether a beginner or an experienced vocalist, we’d say that SM58 takes the cake here.
Price & value for money winner: Shure SM58
Pros & Cons
Shure PG58 Pros & Cons
- Fairly cheap, worth the price
- Good build quality
- The captured audio quality could be better, although it’s pretty good for the price level
Shure SM58 Pros & Cons
- One of the best vocal microphones for live performances
- Pretty affordable considering its qualities
- Sturdy and very reliable
- Good sound quality
- Not so susceptible to feedback
- Nothing for its price and designated use
Conclusion & Takeaway
To summarize our findings in this Shure PG58 vs. Shure SM58 comparison, here are the winners for each category:
- Main Specifications – Shure SM58
- Features and Connectivity – Tie
- Sound Quality – Shure SM58
- Build Quality and Durability – Shure SM58
- Practical Use – Shure SM58
- Price & Value for Money – Shure SM58
- Overall: Shure SM58
Okay, it does seem like we’ve given this one easily to SM58. However, this doesn’t mean that the PG58 isn’t worth it. Some of the aspects were pretty close, especially considering the fact that PG58 is almost half the price.
But although they seem pretty similar at the first glance, there’s a noticeable difference between the two. There’s a good reason why SM58 is the “standard.” And it has been for quite some time now.
If we were to single out one thing that really makes the SM58 so better than most of the options on the market, then it has to be reliability. It’s sturdy, it’s capable of handling rough settings, and it still manages to keep other qualities in there.
PG58 is definitely not to be overlooked. In its respective price category, it works really well. But from our experience, SM58 is a much better investment if you’re even remotely serious about being a live performer.
Products Comparison Table:
0.72 lbs (0.33 kg)
0.65 lbs (0.294 kg)
N/A (for the basic version)