If you’re trying to choose between the Samson Q2U and the Shure SM58, online reviews from blogs and microphone community forums such as podcasting groups will leave you confused.
Some users elucidate good reasons why the Q2U is a better mic than the SM58, while for others, the opposite is true. It implies that both mics provide their users with exceptional service; thus, purchasing any of the two is worth their price.
This article analyzes the Q2U and SM58 mics in detail to deliver enough information that will guide you to select the best one depending on your use.
Related: Samson Q2U vs. Audio Technica ATR2100.
Accessories: The Kits
Samson Q2U Mic
The Samson Q2U basic pack includes everything you need to begin using the mic. You get the mic together with a pop filter windscreen, a tripod stand and mic clip, and both USB and XLR cables in the box.
Few mics come with all these equipment pieces, and thus the Q2U mic offers excellent value for money, especially at its price. Also, the Q2U mic comes in different bundles, which add in other accessories such as headphones, gear boom arm, etc.
Shure SM58 Mic
Like the Q2U mic, the Shure SM58 mic is available in different packs. You can opt to purchase with or without the XLR cable, a mic with an “On/Off” switch or not, a package with an XLR to USB signal adapter, or the stage performance kit.
We recommend the stage performance kit for beginners, which contains the mic, a mic stand plus a mic clip, a storage bag, and an XLR cable. The accompanying accessories are perfect for live performances and studio recordings.
Design and Features
Samson Q2U Mic
The Q2U mic has two input ports, a USB port, and an XLR port.
Since the USB cable is provided in the kit, you can directly connect this mic to your computer and start recording using specialized software. You do not need to install any drivers for the mic to function; you simply plug and use the mic. However, you may need to change your computer sound settings to register the sound input.
When you need a more professional setup, like connecting to an audio interface or mixer, the XLR cable allows you to do so easily.
With both USB and XLR ports, you can use them concurrently as a reassuring safety net to ensure any breaks do not affect the recording.
The flexibility in using the mic makes it ideal for novices who want to begin recording at the lowest cost and for professionals who already have access to advanced audio equipment.
Shure SM58 Mic
The mic has only one input port for the XLR connection.
You need to connect the mic to an audio interface using the XLR cable to use this mic. Alternatively, if you would like to connect the mic directly to your computer, you will need an XLR to USB signal adapter, which you can purchase separately.
Related: The Best Microphones For Recording in Podcasting.
The mic has a headphone jack that allows you to connect headphones and monitor your recording in real-time, without delay or echo. This helps to promptly notice any anomaly with the recording and rectify it immediately instead of waiting until post-production to realize there was a problem.
There are volume buttons on the lower end of the mic for adjusting the headphone’s volume. It is best not to adjust the volume while recording, as the button press may be captured.
Lastly, there is an “On/Off” power switch in the handle of the mic, which eases muting the mic.
The mic is simple and does not have any additional features except the model with an “On/Off” power switch to enable and disable the mic.
Samson Q2U Mic
The pop filter improves the sound quality and makes the mic clearer. The mic performs best when used in podcasting, creating YouTube videos, zoom meetings, conference calls, and similar uses.
Though you can also record music with this mic, it has some self-noise which you can ignore because it does not entirely detriment the recording.
However, the mic lacks sound detail. It cannot effectively capture the richness of subtle sound from musical instruments. Hence the mic is not ideal for live music performances.
Shure SM58 Mic
The mic is superior when it comes to capturing detailed sounds from different vocal profiles. Thus, the mic is ideal for studio recording and live performances. The mic’s built-in features enhance its capability for ensuring the utmost sound clarity.
The mic is equipped with an internal pop filter that reduces the effect of plosives and wind noise. Also, the mic has an in-built shock mount, which eliminates any mechanical vibration during use, ensuring no self-noise.
You usually need to add these accessories separately for other microphones, and they may not function as efficiently as in an in-built design.
The Q2U and SM58 are both dynamic mics with a cardioid polar pattern. These mics are unidirectional and only capture sound from the front side. They effectively reduce ambient noise that comes from the sides or behind the mic.
Despite the Q2U mic being designed to lessen background noise, there is no consistency when using the USB and XLR cables. The USB cable is less efficient than the XLR cable in reducing background noise.
The SM58 mic is perfect for eliminating the background noise. Also, the mic is less susceptible to the proximity effect (a user getting too close to the mic resulting in low frequencies being exaggerated).
When you set up the Q2U mic, its recording volume is sufficient, unlike the SM58 mic, which requires you to boost the gain to reach a similar volume level. With the SM58, you will have to increase the gain on the audio interface to nearly 3/4 for the recording to be audible enough.
The Q2U mic requires you to be careful and delicate when handling the mic, especially while plugging and unplugging the different parts. It would be best to prevent the mic from falling or any other abuse that may damage its functionality.
On the other hand, the SM58 has been built with a solid design and is tough to withstand harsh situations. Unlike the Q2U mic, when it falls, you are concerned about whether it will continue functioning. With the SM58 mic, it can survive the most forceful falls and still work like a new one.
When it comes to durability, the SM58 is far more durable than the Q2U. It does not imply you should not take care of your SM58 mic.
The Q2U mic is promoted as a podcasting microphone, and it performs exceptionally well in this area despite its low cost. If you are not planning to do onstage performances, this is the ideal microphone.
Conversely, the SM58 is marketed as a stage performance microphone, and with its built-in features, it performs outstandingly in live performances. If your main reason for purchasing a mic is to do studio recording or conduct live performances, this is the most appropriate mic for you.
So, how you plan to use your microphone is a crucial element in identifying your perfect mic because different mics are optimally designed for specific purposes.