It’s a brave microphone manufacturer that’s prepared to take on the venerable Shure SM58. This ubiquitous dynamic mic has been the rock ’n’ roll standard for vocals virtually since its release in 1966 (the 57 appeared a year earlier). Heck, not even Shure could displace SM58 sales with its own Beta 58A. But that’s exactly the brazen kind of behaviour we’ve come to expect from Australia’s own world-class microphone manufacturer.
Rode’s answer to the ’58 is the M1, an Australian designed and manufactured cardioid pattern dynamic microphone aimed squarely at live vocal duties. The M1 offers better specs than the old faithful, the most significant of which is a better frequency response of 50Hz to 18kHz (as opposed to topping out at 15kHz). This extended high-frequency results in a more polished sound than it’s 42-year old ‘contemporary’.
I auditioned both mics, and honestly the similarities are incredible; the M1 winning out on clarity, with the SM58 perhaps winning out on familiarity…
Like the 58, the M1 is built like the proverbial cinderblock outhouse, and for less visual distraction, the die-cast casing and grille are both finished in a matte charcoal (the SM has always featured a rather distracting silver mesh grille). The M1 is also a touch heavier, weighing in at 320g compared to the ol’ SM58’s 298. In short, it’s a tough competitor and in the unlikely event that it does get broken, the mic also comes with a lifetime warranty (despite what some of Rode’s early promotional material indicates).
And just to prove the M1 is pure rock ’n’ roll, it also comes packaged in a container that’s not unlike a beer can (that other great invention). What’s more, if you’re buying up M1s for your entire touring rig the mics also come in a six-pack as well – I kid you not – complete with a cardboard carry case. But, no, there isn’t a slab available yet.
Rode Microphones: (02) 9648 5855 or www.rodemic.com