Shure 55SH Series II Classic Dynamic Mic
It might look like a prop from Good Morning Vietnam, but underneath the 55SH is a serious vocal mic.
Shure have brought a classic microphone up to date by fitting entirely new acoustic components into a traditional alloy body. Paul White finds that this mic is not just a pretty case...
I must confess that, after seeing the technical spec of this microphone, I expected a rather unremarkable performance — which just goes to underline the fact that you can't judge the sound of a microphone from its spec sheet. You really have got to hear it. It transpired that the 55SH Series II produced a full, confident sound with no obvious peakiness and no tendency to sound harsh. Compared with other well-known dynamic mics in my collection, I felt the 55SH Series II produced a more open, natural sound and with rather more weight and authority. Indeed, some of the other dynamics sounded distinctly thin or 'squeezed' next to it.
Though primarily a live vocal mic, there's no reason at all why the 55SH Series II shouldn't be used in the recording studio on those occasions where a dynamic mic is better suited to the singer than the more obvious choice of a capacitor model. It has creditably low handling noise and shows better immunity to popping than many other mics I've tried, but even so, I'd still recommend a pop shield in the studio with any mic. The sound is fuller and punchier than tends to be the case with capacitor microphones, while the reduced top end response of the dynamic capsule helps minimise sibilance. The presence peak helps the lyrics cut through without employing additional EQ, and for some rock and pop work, dynamics do produce a more 'comfortable' sound than capacitor microphones, even though they are certainly less accurate.
Aside from being an obvious good looker, the 55SH Series II is a very competent vocal microphone that has also been used to good effect on brass instruments and harmonicas. I've even heard of one famous performer using it in the studio as a kick drum mic but, though I've not tried it for this application, I feel the bass roll-off which is built in to improve its characteristics as a vocal mic might rob it of weight in this application. For the musician who wants a vocal mic for both stage and studio, the Shure 55SH Series II is sensibly priced, performs well, and looks great.
55SH Series II £213.33 including VAT.
HW International, (Contact Details).
Review by Paul White
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