Phantom power is the name given to a process of delivering direct current to microphones that have active circuitry inside of them. However, not all microphones have a need for phantom power.

Does Shure SM58 need phantom power? No, the Shure SM58 microphone does not require phantom power simply because it does not have any active circuitry within it.

This article will explain what phantom power is and why the SM58 does not need it, whether or not phantom power can harm a dynamic microphone, and what the Shure SM58 microphone is. 

What is Phantom Power, and Why Doesn’t the SM58 Need It?

Phantom power is, by definition, “DC (direct current) electric power transmitted through microphone cables to operate microphones that contain active electronic circuitry.” It is commonly used with condenser microphones.

There are two types of microphones: dynamic and condenser microphones. The Shure SM58 is a dynamic microphone, so it does not require phantom power. For more information on the differences between dynamic and condenser mics, check out this other article. 

However, condenser microphones are more sensitive microphones and include an electrically charged plate. This plate needs extra power to run, so the phantom power sends the correct amount of power to the entire microphone set-up, allowing it to work properly.

More details about phantom power are:

  • It is called phantom power because the power supply for it is invisible. It sends its voltage through the audio wires.
  • It is a direct current voltage, which means it is an electric charge that flows in only one direction.
  • It usually sends between 12 and 48 volts.

What is the Shure SM58 Microphone?

The Shure SM58 microphone is a microphone produced by Shure Incorporated since 1966. This particular microphone is one of the best-selling microphones in the world because it has an impeccable reputation with musicians, particualry for performing live.

Musicians love the SM58 because it is a cardioid dynamic microphone that includes features that are required to produce quality live vocals. Known for its durability and sound, it has remained the first choice for performers for decades. 

The two features of the Shure SM58 microphone that make it great for live vocal applications are:

  • Cardioid microphones are made in a way that reduces sound that can come in from other directions. The microphone looks like an “apple” placed onto top of a large “stem,” which is the part the performer holds. This build prevents feedback from the sides and rear of the person using it, making for quality vocals.
  • Dynamic microphones work by electromagnetic induction. Because of this, they are long-lasting, inexpensive, and resistant to moisture (which is a great characteristic for something that works so closely with a human’s mouth). 

On the Shure.com website, the SM58 Dynamic Vocal Microphone boasts a 5 star rating. Pricing ranges from $99 to $109, depending on features and whether or not a cable is included with the microphone. 

Shure tells how the SM58 is the top choice for rock stars, pop idols, presidents, comedians, and popes. It is definitely an amazing buy for anyone that needs quality vocals for a decent price.

Can Phantom Power Harm a Dynamic Microphone?

While dynamic microphones do not need phantom power to run, they will typically not be damaged by it. Most modern dynamic microphones are made to be able to accept phantom power: they just won’t use it.

It is recommended to check the user manual that comes with your dynamic microphone to make sure that it is able to accept the phantom power without issues. Additionally, phantom power is hardly ever an issue for a professional-graded dynamic microphone.

Moreover, it is suggested to turn phantom power off when you are plugging and unplugging any microphones because of potential power surges and bothersome loud noises that can happen. The power surges that happen can damage equipment over time.

Which Microphone is Best – Dynamic or Condenser?

The fact that the majority of microphones are grouped into two categories – dynamic and condenser – tells us that both types are great; they are just perfect for different kinds of projects.

Dynamic microphones:

  • Work best to record loud sounds
  • Use a wire coil to amplify the signal
  • The output is lower than a condenser microphone
  • Cheaper than a condenser microphone
  • Does not need batteries or external power supplies
  • Reliable and well-made
  • Needs little to no maintenance
  • Capable of smooth, extended responses

Dynamic microphones are perfect for powerful vocals, capturing strong signals, and live performances.

Condenser microphones:

  • Works best in studios to pick up sounds with detail and accuracy
  • More delicate microphones
  • Uses a diaphragm suspended by a fixed plate to pick up amplify lower sounds
  • Need phantom power to run, usually 48 volts
  • Must be handled with care

Condenser microphones are recommended for delicate vocals, capturing high frequencies, and in-studio use.

Both dynamic and condenser microphones are suitable choices, but they are definitely limited to their prospective markets.

How Shure SM58 Measures Up

There are many uses for microphones in today’s technological age. Streaming and podcasting have seen a rise in the use of microphones. Add these modern uses of microphones with the classic vocal performance uses, and there is a high demand for quality microphones.

So, how does the Shure SM58 measure up for each of these industries that require microphones? What features and abilities do the microphone have that make it a great choice for streaming, podcasting, and live vocal performances?

For Streaming

Streaming is the act of transmitting audio and video to audiences and is very popular in the gaming community. It is a continuous flow of video that requires a reliable microphone.

The Shure SM58 offers the following features that are great for streaming:

  • High-quality microphone
  • Solidly built
  • Focused on vocal quality
  • Very affordable
  • Minimizes background noise

Choosing the SM58 as your streaming microphone will require you to also purchase an audio interface, but the quality of vocals you receive from this microphone is well-worth considering it to be your streaming microphone.

For Podcasting

Podcasting is a great way to share information using a voice recording over the internet. Podcasts feature interviews and episodes and rely almost solely on audio.

The Shure SM58 offers the following features that are great for streaming:

  • Legendary vocal microphone
  • Amazing audio quality
  • Very affordable
  • Great for home studios because they minimize background noise
  • Long-lasting and durable

Choosing the SM58 as your podcasting microphone is a smart decision, especially for those that are not equipped with a professional studio and are working from a “studio” set up in their homes. 

For Live Vocal Performances

The Shure SM58 has been the go-to microphone for live vocal performances since 1966, when it was first introduced to the market. It is built to handle a beating and can be thrown around and live to work another day.

The Shure SM58 offers the following features that are great for live vocal performances:

  • Great durability or live performances
  • Suitable for outdoor performances
  • Ideal for recording with loud instruments
  • Offers amazing control
  • Offers pointed focus to vocals

Choosing the SM58 as your live vocal performance microphone is an extremely wise decision, and it will have you following in the footsteps of some of the most famous live performers in recent history. 

The Bottom Line…

The Shure SM58 is a professional quality microphone that produces crisp vocals and offers outstanding reliability and durability that can deal with even the toughest performances. 

It does not require phantom power and is a staple for all vocal and audio-recording needs. While there are other brands of dynamic microphones on the market, there is a reason that the Shure SM58 still maintains its spot as a best-selling microphone decades after it was originally introduced – it is the best.

Rob Wreglesworth

Although Rob has come to accept he will probably never be a world famous musician, he still loves making music at home. He started this blog to share the knowledge he has gained from doing this for over 10 years so that you can create music at home too.
Rob Wreglesworth
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