Shure SM86
Shure SM86

SM86, Small diaphragm condenser microphone from Shure in the SM series.


Shure SM86 : Anonymous 's user review


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The Shure SM86 is a condenser microphone in the legendary SM line of microphones. Of course, Shure's nomenclature for its microphones is a little bit irrelevant, considering the company seems to be revising microphones and putting them in different lines all the time.

This comment aside, the Shure SM86 clearly belongs in this line, with its monochromatic look, signature sound, and yes, iconic resilience to damage. That being said, it also picks up the limitations of the microphones, among them being its minimalism. There are no switches to speak of, and while the SM86 is not exactly what one would label a high end stage vocal condenser microphone, things like these are always nice to have, especially when one is dealing with microphones that are not SM58's and SM57's.

But I digress. The microphone itself possesses some very impressive stats: The frequency response of the microphone ranges from 50 Hz all the way up to 18,000 Hz. Granted, it does not go up to 20,000 Hz, but the microphone itself already, sonically speaking, provides a massive improvement over the SM58; the 86 moves the vocals to the front of the mix a lot more effectively. It also has an impressive SPL rating of 147 dB. The only disappointing statistic is the self noise, at 23 dB. Despite the fact that this will not make much of a difference live, a lot of people want a microphone to transition between live and studio. This ensures that the SM86 is not that microphone.


The Shure SM86 is a decent entry into the world of stage condenser microphones, but I feel as if, having used the top tier ones, there is something not quite there. However, the Shure SM86 will knock the socks off of any $100 dynamic microphone, with one exception: the Electro-Voice N/D767a. I actually owned that one, so that review is particularly in depth.

You should check the Shure SM86 out, though. At this point in the price, there are very few microphones that can be considered bad by everyone, so pick your flavor and learn to love it!