The first thing that comes to mind when you talk about the American audio brand Shure is their collection of legendary handheld mics, like the SM58. However, they also offer some excellent stand-mounted models – the 55SH Series II being one of them! On the face of it, it’s an impressive dynamic microphone that looks like something straight from the 1950s… surely that deserves some attention. In this review, we give it exactly that!
If there is one word that perfectly describes this microphone’s visuals, it is ‘retro’. It’s safe to say that the 55SH Series II is aesthetically similar to something you may see Elvis using back in the day – the fact that Shure call it ‘the Elvis Microphone’ just drives that home!
The overall build quality for a sub-$200 mic is something else, with a tough and durable chassis that’s more than fit for the stage. With true ‘50s style, Shure builds this microphone completely from diecast metal and finish it in that cool old-school satin chrome. Add an external pop filter and you’ll really achieve a true vintage look!
The good news is that the striking retro theme stops on the surface – underneath, the 55SH Series II features modern components designed to meet current standards of performance. To start, Shure has implemented their internal capsule suspension system, eliminating the need for an external shock mount. As a matter of fact, this mic comes with a swivel mount built into the chassis, allowing you to gently tilt it 45 degrees forward and 80 degrees backward to find the perfect angle for you.
Aside from the large on/off switch, there are no additional switches, keeping everything simple on stage. In terms of specs, the frequency response for this model ranges from 50Hz to 15kHz and uses a standard cardioid polar pattern. It’s clear that Shure has geared the 55SH Series II mainly for vocal use, with a max SPL at just 94dB.
While the looks alone will sell hundreds of these mics, it’s the performance that really makes the 55SH Series II a true contender. Despite its lower max SPL and the frequency response curve being optimized for vocals, this microphone can be used to record instruments with a good deal of success.
But capturing vocals is where it is most comfortable and for this it sounds excellent – clear, with good transparency. It adds a little warmth to the recording and behaves very much like Shure’s legendary SM58. Ultimately, it behaves very well both inside the studio for both vocal recording and broadcasting, as well as on the stage. Meanwhile, the built-in noise reducing features, like the shock mount, really keep ambient noise at a low.
Shure’s 55SH Series II offers a strong and versatile performance in a unique and gorgeous chassis with a solid retro vibe. Thankfully, it is much more than looks alone, and proves a proper workhorse microphone that can be used for many different applications. When a mic has as much character in sound and aesthetics, you know you are onto a winner!