Today, we are pleased to review the Shure SLX2/SM58 wireless microphone.
About the SLX2/SM58
Technically, this is an SM58 microphone with an SLX2 handheld transmitter built-in, which is a unique combination of mic created as part of a larger series of SLX2 wireless products offered by Shure.
This series of SLX wireless transmitters includes several other mics, while Shure offers other series of transmitters, such as the BLX. Depending on what transmitter is built in to the mic, will determine what your receiver unit will be. More on that in a bit.
Here below are the selection of mics offered by Shure that feature the SLX2 transmitter. Each mic has a different head, while possessing the SLX2 transmitter built into the mic handle.
One big reason someone would want the SLX2/SM58 is because they like the build of the SM58, in particular. Shortly, we will talk more about the SM58 and why it is a popular choice for microphone users.
Why would you want this mic?
There are a number of situations in which this mic would theoretically come in handy. Some of these might include:
- On stage vocal performance for a band or musical act of some kind
- Theatre groups, church groups
- Lectures, conventions, other speaking engagements
- DJ’ing, MC’ing
- Karaoke nights
- Any situation in which a wireless mic might be used
- A situation which requires a wireless mic and has a multiple people needing to each have their own wireless mic
Now, part of the point of this review is to determine whether this particular microphone would be a good fit for these situations.
The above scenarios we listed would certainly all benefit from a good microphone in general, and a wireless microphone that out-performs the competition would be a natural choice, over a corded mic.
The real question is: is that choice the SLX2/SM58? We shall weigh the pros and the cons.
But first, let’s take a look at what Shure offers with this mic in terms of features.
Quick Features of this Microphone
- Size = 11 x 5.3 x 3.3 inches, 1.45 lbs (easily portable)
- SLX Wireless systems compatible
- Uses 2 AA alkaline or rechargeable batteries, with battery life up to 8 hours, and battery fuel gauge
- Mute option
- Backlit display screen
- Auto frequency / auto transmitter selection (Picks up compatible receiver device nearby)
- Frequency response = 50 to 15000 Hz range, operating in 518.000-542.000 MHz
- Uniform cardioid pickup pattern for minimizing background noise and identifying the main sound source
- Durable, with classic Shure SM58 design
- Sells separate or complete with receiver (see seller for details)
- Easy to set up
Here is a video offered by Shure to show how this system can be set up.
Some of the features listed are indeed offered by other mics, while some are fairly unique to this one. If you’re on the market for a wireless mic, the question then becomes, are these features that you would want in a wireless mic. And, does this microphone actually offer the features mentioned as they are described here.
One thing to look at to determine whether this is true is the reputation of the brand who makes the mic, Shure.
The Shure Name
The Shure name has never been in question, but if you are new to mics, and particularly wireless mics, you may want to know a few things about the name behind the mic you’re buying.
To be frank, when it comes to different kinds of live performances, there probably aren’t too many people – whether you’re a pro or not – who haven’t heard of the brand name, Shure.
In fact, if you ask around, you’ll soon learn that Shure is basically THE go-to brand when it comes to microphones that get used for just about anything performance-wise, these days.
They may not be the only game in town, but they darn sure are omnipresent, and for good reason.
For example, it doesn’t matter if it’s a band playing a live concert, a formal speaking engagement at a school or university, having a night of karaoke fun, a church event, or a DJ doing some MC’ing – Shure mics are used across the board for just about anything related to either vocals or recording.
Simply put, Shure is an industry standard in the world of microphones. Indeed, it is rare that this company produces a “dud” product.
Now, this may sound to you like we worship the ground Shure walks on. This is not the case. However, if you’ve spent any time in the music industry, it would be false to say that the Shure name has no meaning. Certainly, the rep of this company precedes it.
Wired Vs Wireless Mics
As you know by now, the Shure SLX2/SM58 is a wireless mic. At this point, it might be time to question – if only for a few minutes – if a wireless mic is really, truly what you need.
To state what would be obvious to anyone has used mics to any extent, but may not be obvious to absolutely everyone in the world – microphones either have cords, or are cordless, aka wireless.
In the past, microphones required a cord or wire to transmit the audio signal to a nearby receiver, but this is not necessarily true nowadays.
These days, microphones are found to be wireless just as often as not, since technology has advanced significantly to provide users with the ability to avoid tripping over long, tangled mic cables, at a relatively affordable price.
Speaking of affordable, the Shure SLX2/SM58 sells for around $200 or so (as of mid-2019), and this is by no means the cheapest mic you can get, if you’re looking at a wall of mics, for example.
But, if you are looking for one of the best wireless mics on the market, and you know the value of having a wireless mic, then what almost seems expensive almost becomes a good deal, based on what the mic offers.
Typical wireless mics, of the fairly inexpensive variety, are available almost anywhere you buy audio gear these days. To some, any wireless microphone would be preferable to a mic with a long cord trailing behind it, because of the tripping hazards and the clutter.
On the other hand, corded mics have historically always been better for audio than wireless mics, since the cord is typically what ensures audio quality.
That was then and this is now. A good quality wireless mic like the SLX2/SM58 possesses the same exact audio quality as a wired mic, and that’s good news for anyone who might want or need a microphone.
For the record, if one was to go after the industry standard of corded mics, it would lead them right back to the Shure SM58, which this mic literally is, with the benefit of the SLX2 transmitter body.
SM58’s Durable Rugged Build
As we’ve said, Shure is an industry standard brand that is known to make great microphones. Not only that, but the SM58 is the de facto performing mic of all time, probably, especially when it comes to live musical performances.
Indeed, some of the biggest bands in the world will play shows to packed stadiums with an SM58 in their hand.
Keep in mind, the SM58 is the “mic” component of this unique combination of SM58 microphone and SLX2 transmitter 2-in-1 offered by Shure.
Alternately, Shure offers various other SLX products that can be used to supplement an entire wireless system, although you don’t need to have them all. The beauty of the SLX2/SM58 is that it has the mic and transmitter built together, but it still lacks the receiver, which you’ll need to buy as well.
You may wonder, why is the SM58 so popular with nearly every musician under the sun? The SM58 is, above all else, durable, meaning you can drop it, and it won’t break. In fact, go into any band’s jam hall anywhere and there’s a good chance there’s a dented SM58 lying around, still working fine.
You also can’t damage an SM58 by screaming full force into it (not that you would want to do that). This isn’t a delicate “ribbon” mic, so you don’t have to worry about wrecking it by singing or speaking too loud. You could seriously roll around on the ground with this mic, screaming your face off, and it wouldn’t matter to the mic. You might eventually weaken and pass out, though.
Sound recording engineers frequently “mic” (as in record) parts of a loud drum kit with a Shure SM58, and so the idea here is that SM58’s can take a licking and keep on ticking. Indeed, there are not many recording studios that don’t have at least one SM58 used somehow.
Luckily, Shure doesn’t make microphones that are wimpy, and we are happy to report that this microphone is very durable, and can easily handle being dropped (not that we encourage you go out of your way to drop it, but if you did, no big deal).
Superior Sound Quality
As we’ve mentioned earlier, in the good ol’ days, wireless mics suffered from having worse sound quality than their wired counterparts. Why?
Because wired microphones, where the wire connects the microphone to the receiving unit via a fairly heavy duty XLR cable, which gets rid of all unnecessary signals and noises between the mic and the moniter that projects the sound. Basically, this is the “cleanest” way for sound to be transmitted, because it is dedicated.
And so, over the years, people may have been leery about wireless mic set ups. They mics usually cost more due to the bonus that it has no cord to fall over or get tangled up in, but they also sounded worse. That was in the past.
Since it is now technically years from the time when this was a major issue, technology when it comes to microphones has evolved, and the Shure SLX2 transmitter that is built in to this mic is awesome, and the sound quality is great.
In fact, all SLX Shure products use a patented “audio reference companding” which provides “clear sound beyond the limits of conventional wireless technology”.
Of course, this will depend on what kind of reciever you are transmitting to, but generally, the sound quality and build of the microphone itself is excellent, lending credence to the idea that Shure simply doesn’t make bad products, being an industry leader as they are.
Another thing to mention here is the fact that this mic is built with vocals in mind, whether its singing, speaking, or slam poetry. It has a unidirectional setup that does away with background noise and takes the sound of your voice and effectively projects it where it needs to go.
There is also very little “pop” with this mic, due to the steel mesh grille and the internal spherical filter that were made to minimize any kind of breath or hiss or plosive sound that may hit the mic. This, again, is why people use it for all sorts of speaking engagements from graduation, to rock concerts, to singing recitals. Inside, outside – doesn’t matter, it’s all good!
It is worth noting that there is not a receiver included with the Shure SLX2, and you need one specifically to make it work. Otherwise, where is it sending the sound to? If you have some kind of monitor speaker system, this isn’t enough because one thing you should know about wireless mics is that they NEED to be compatible with their receiver.
With all sorts of wireless mics and receiver units out there, you should know that they aren’t all interchangeable, and this is true here as well.
You need to get yourself a unit, such as the Shure J3 SLX24/SM58 Handheld Wireless System, which is one unit that was made to “connect” with the SLX2/SM58, specifically, although there are others too.
You really can’t go wrong. From the build, to the sound quality, to the convenient features built into the mic, the Shure SLX2/SM58 is a winner. The only downside is it’s a bit pricy, but if you are looking for a wireless mic that won’t let you down, this would be a good one to go for.
Highly recommended, 5 STARS!