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[Editor’s note – we recently chose two gear testers to demo the game-changing KSM8 Dualdyne Dynamic mics from Shure – one to test the mic on tour, and the other to put it to use in the studio. They documented their experiences on social media, and were kind enough to write up these final testimonials after performing and recording with the mics for a few weeks.]
First of all, I want to say how grateful we are to have received the KSM8 microphone from Performer and Shure. Having a mic that can actually translate a vocal performance live is so hard to come by, that it is almost comparable to the Garden of Eden. I can honestly say that Shure has taken a huge step in pursuing and pinpointing what technical qualities are needed to help a vocalist deliver a great performance, both live and in the studio.▼ Article continues below ▼
The first thing I noticed was how much output the KSM8 has. You can actually, for once, put some distance between yourself and the microphone without losing volume and detail. This is something I’ve only previously seen in some of the higher-priced condenser handhelds made by companies like Neumann. Alongside the fantastic output level and much-improved proximity effect, comes the ultra-low feedback. I couldn’t believe how hard I could push this mic before hearing the imminent ring of death.
I’m not a live sound guy, but I think this would give any engineer more room to get creative with a mix. In terms of frequency, I was pleased to hear an ample amount of 2 to 4k. This really allows the vocals to cut through even if you’re a quiet singer. Another helpful frequency factor is the present, but not muddy, low end. I don’t know how they pulled that one off but kudos to you, Shure. The last thing I’ll say is, the mic looks slick. When you’re holding it you really feel like you have a top-notch piece of gear in your hand, which gives you a higher overall sense of confidence when you step up on that stage or open up its case in the vocal booth.
So, to wrap it up, I would definitely put this microphone at the top of its class, and even go so far as to say that it transcends the categories of dynamic and condenser. I’m looking forward to seeing what Shure has for us in the future and if this microphone is any indication, it’s going to be amazing.
I do not yet travel with a tour console, mics, stands, cables, or techs. The Moon Taxi crew is small, yet powerful. But my goal remains the same each day – better sound, clearer vocals. I make it work by adding ingredients to perfect the recipe until I get the right flavor. My main focus has been learning the basic concepts using the standard tools to make the best sound possible. I’m at the point to where I can begin hand-selecting the hardware to make a full meal of each show.
Meet the KSM8 of house Shure, Inc., the Valyrian steel sword in my arsenal. The last channel of my input list is the centerpiece of the show!
Beginning with a simple and sturdy design (and in a handsome matte black), the KSM8 Dualdyne is the world’s first dual diaphragm dynamic vocal microphone, a design that eliminates the emcee mic-cupping effects or proximity EQ qualms. It’s a master of the plug-and-play. Most days I only had to gain to 11 o’clock (5-7 dB softer than SM58 capsules used on the three other vocals) to get the power I needed to push the vocals through the mix. With such a tame base level EQ, I found that I would pull a touch from 250Hz, and if needed, boost 6-8kHz for some extra sizzle. Other than -3db, 3:1, quick attack and release compression, this microphone is real-deal-ready straight out of the box.
I used this mic for indie-pop rock, soulful oldies, public speaking engagements, in small venues, basketball arenas and major outdoor festivals, and I can say the power and presence of the Shure KSM8 produces one of the most full-bodied yet natural vocal sounds on the market. Say it with me, plug and play… plug and play.
When the situation is intense and you don’t have those two hours you were promised to sound-check, the last thing you need to worry about is your main weapon showing up for work.
Invest in yourself and your sound.