Shure KSM8 Dualdyne Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
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I evaluated the KSM8 in my typical applications for dynamic cardioid microphones. I tried it as a live vocal microphone and for recording my electric guitar amp in the studio.
For live vocals I found the KSM8 to "p-pop" less severely--plosives still happen occasionally but most of the low frequency energy that makes PA systems speakers "thump" is greatly reduced. Another immediate difference is that the KSM8 has a much "dryer" sound with less room tone and other off-mic sounds mixing in with the vocal signal. This was immediately apparent when I monitored myself using headphones. Compared to other dynamic mics while just talking into the KSM8, it sounds like I'm in an acoustically treated space surrounded by absorption panels! Amazing!
Along with the dryer sound comes much less handling noise--again there's a little but compared to typical dynamics, it is vanishing low in level. The KSM8 has a built-in pneumatic shock mount that suspends and isolates the cartridges thereby nearly eliminating nearly all handling and mechanical vibration.
The KSM8 also has an increased off-axis rejection. Even when I used my Retro Instruments Power Strip mic pre-amp/compressor channel strip with its gain cranked right up, it was difficult to hear much of any sound coming into the back the KSM8. Instantly this means there can be more stage monitor and main levels if desired as compared to other dynamic microphones.
The KSM8 also has an overall smoother sound with less mid-range "peakiness"--generally a good thing for most singers. I do think singers new to this mic, who as part of their microphone technique, use proximity as an effect might have to adjust
On guitar cabinets, I found the KSM8 was also smoother with a slightly less gritty mid-range boost than my usual dynamic mic. Placed in exactly the same position, the KSM8 required a little more mic gain to achieve the same recording level into Pro Tools HDX 12. Though it performed well, the differences between it and other dynamic mics in this application narrowed compared to its clear and overwhelming stellar abilities as a live vocal microphone.
A great new choice for either studio use or live sound, the KSM8 excels as a live vocal microphone with reduced proximity effect, great off-axis sound rejection, and a flatter, on-axis frequency response. The KSM8 is a big winner all around and I want it!
The KSM8 is also available as a handheld transmitter option for use with Axient®, UHF-R®, ULX-D®, and QLX-D® wireless systems, and as a wireless capsule for use with other Shure wireless systems.
The KSM8 pricing starts at $499 and is available in either black or brushed-nickel finishes. For much more, check out: www.shure.com/americas/ksm8.
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