Shure 55SH Series II Review (2020)

The Shure 55SH microphone has an art-deco design that refers to the old automobile design from the late 30s. Originally, it was named the Unidyne, decades ago. And the mic took the audio industry by storm with its unique construction and a top-quality vocal reproduction. It looks magnificent but is also quite heavy.

It’s a dense microphone and has submitted its shot in the hall of fame. The design of this microphone is globally recognized. But in terms of performance, it is one of the top products particularly if you are looking to record vocals.

In this Shure 55SH Series II review, we will be discussing all of the features that make it such a great microphone, and also some of the few areas that hold it back.

Sound Quality

Clear reproduction of vocals makes 55SH one of the most popular microphones in the audio industry. The mid-range frequencies will get more attention when you use this microphone but the low-end frequencies won’t get noticed much.

The proximity effect is when you notice an increase in loud bass when you get closer to the mic. You will notice it a lot in a smartphone mic. You need to maintain a slight distance from it especially when you are doing vocals.

If you are recording in an untreated room with a lot of woodwork, this mic won’t record much reverberation caused by the sound reflected from the wooden surfaces.

Such is the clarity of this mic when it comes to recording. Therefore, it is one of the best options for you to consider while recording vocals. No matter how low or high your voice is with Shure 55SH, the output will always be true to life.

Elvis used to hold this mic from the back but try not to do it if you want the best sound quality. If you do that, the sound from your hand brushing from the mic can devalue the output significantly. In that case, it may distract from your voice.

Its design is quite retro but the realtor has nothing to do with this mic when it comes to the sound quality. The components inside this mic match well with the standards of the modern era.

Build Quality

You are not going to find many mics on the market that are as robustly built as the 55SH. It features an iconic automotive grille that can take a serious toll over time. You won’t have to worry about the mic if you drop it accidentally (Although, I don’t recommend you try to drop it!).

The microphone only features a single toggle switch to turn it on or off. There are no complications in the design and the switch is easily accessible. There is a foam filter that is present right underneath its metal grille and can handle any fricatives and plosives very well.

If you want to be 100% sure that these fricatives and plosives are not there, you can always go for a pop filter to completely eradicate the issue. But if you don’t want to go for any pop filters, the mic’s construction is good enough to eliminate them. If you keep it around six inches away from the sound source, no hisses or pops will occur at all.

The mic also features a shock mourning cartridge on the inside for reducing any sound that is caused by the mic stand. And it is a huge benefit, especially, during any performance. 

This mic comes with an internal system for capsule suspension and the mic doesn’t need to have an external shock mount in it. It has solid looks that are good enough to sell several microphones. The user-friendliness and sound output of this mic do the real magic.

Controls

As it has a classic design, the mic doesn’t feature any special controls except that toggle on/off switch. Apart from that, you will only find a swivel mount on this mic to connect it with a stand.

And you will need it because the mic itself is pretty heavy and requires proper care and handling being cardioid. With the swivel mounting, you can move the mic in 125-degree motion in which 45-degree motion is right in front and 80-degree is towards the back.

This swivel movement will not be even due to the hefty weight of the mic. But the clicks in the movement will fade away with time. Your purchase also includes a thread adapter (⅝-inch to ⅜-inch) if your microphone is not compatible with the regular ⅝-inch thread.

Ambient noise will not be an issue because it is designed to keep any such feedback at bay. And you won’t have to go for any specially treated rooms or hardware arrangements to pull this off.

This magic is not the best option if you are looking to record various instruments. But you can do that with one of these quite well. However, you should go for a different mic, perhaps the Beta 52A or Beta 57a if you want to record any other sound sources than vocals.

Hardware requirements

If you are planning to bring the 55SH on stage, you will need to go for an adequate mic stand. If you are working from your desk, you can opt for a boom arm mourning for more than sufficient results.

Furthermore, no matter where you use your mic from, if you are using the 55SH, you will need an XLR cable to go with it. If you want to go for a guitar amplifier, you will require an XLR cable that can terminate in a quarter-inch plug.

Does the Shure 55SH Series II require phantom power?

You won’t need to run this dynamo with phantom power but you surely need something that can transmit the sound signal like a USB interface or an amp.

Polar Patterns

All dynamic mics are pretty sturdy if you compare them with any of those condenser mics. Moreover, they are a lot less sensitive than condenser mics. It means they can handle loud noises before you notice any signal distortion.

During those live shows, maintaining adequate distance from the mic can be pretty difficult. Therefore, you might end up brushing against it or speaking louder. But this is where its dynamic design comes to play its role. You may experience any distracting effects by accidental noises far lesser in the recordings. However, you still need to use it a bit carefully.

Single polar pattern

Unlike most of the super-cardioid microphones, this one comes with a single pickup pattern. It means the sounds present right in front of this mic is detected the most. The mic can pick up a few sounds from its sides but there will be no sounds that get recorded from the rear end of the mic, unlike the Shure Super 55 which has is a regular cardioid microphone.

The recorded pattern of this microphone is heart-shaped in a graph that is typical of a cardioid mic. Cardioid mics have a huge benefit associated with them and you can conveniently place your mic wherever you want. But just the direction of the mic needs to be right in front of the instrument that you want to record.

As it is a cardioid mic, you can also place it around your loudspeakers. And you won’t have to deal with any feedback problems. Therefore, it is a top choice if you are working on those live projects.

Shure 55SH Series II Pros and Cons

Pros

  • You don’t need phantom power to run this microphone.
  • The microphone has a clear vocal reproduction.
  • It also offers highly effective rejection off-axis.
  • Highly durable construction due to die-cast design.
  • The microphone features a swivel mount with 125-degree of rotation.

Cons

  • It is a pretty heavy microphone and requires a mounting stand.

Also read the Shure 55sh vs Shure SM58 comparison here.

Conclusion:

The Series II 55SH by Shure lasts for a long time. Whether you are a touring performer or a pod-caster dwelling in an apartment, the Unidyne microphone does the job effectively.

It comes with a shock mounting cartridge and reduces any vibrations of minor level as well as noise. The mic features a cardioid polar pattern that further reduces any background noise due to its directionality. Therefore, it is a preferred choice for a variety of musicians and recording artists for a long time.

This microphone has been frequently tagged as the Elvis mic. Because you can see him using it on various occasions throughout his career. And since that time, it has only gotten better with a few upgrades. 

If you deal with old school rock frequently, this is your go-to microphone. It is a great option for in-studio and live performances. Want to buy a mic that can rock your socks off!

Choose the 55SH Series II by Shure.

If you’re after something more budget friendly, check out the AKG P120.

About Shawn Shepherd

Hi, I'm the owner of the Hifi Guide and have been an audio lover enthusiast for over 16 years. I have a Bachelor's degree in Sound Engineering and I work on producing content for the Hifi Guide in my spare time. My love for audio stemmed from my Dad who was an audio technician, and now I share my knowledge here on this website!

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