Shure KSM44A Large Dual-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone
Gearank High Notes
- February 2020: Highest Rated Studio Vocal Mic from $500 to $1000
- October 2018: Highest Rated Studio Vocal Mic from $500 to $1000
- November 2017: Equal Highest Rated Studio Vocal Mic from $500 to $1000
- October 2016: Equal Highest Rated Studio Vocal Mic from $500 to $1000
The Shure KSM44A is a multi-pattern large-diaphraghm condenser mic featuring dual gold Mylar diaphragms, a subsonic filter to handle rumble, and transparent low-noise preamp with pad.
The KSM44A is capable of handling single sound sources with its cardioid mode, two adjacent sources with the figure-8 pattern and a good capture of the room with omni.
It's a premium quality mic with features that make it viable for almost any recording situation, used by many recording engineers including Joe Barresi who put the mic to good use on Queens of The Stone Age's fourth album.
- Type: Condenser
- Polar Pattern: Cardioid, Omnidirectional, and figure-8
- Frequency Response: 40 to 20,000 Hz
- Impedance: 100 ohms
- Maximum SPL: 131 dB
- Attenuation: -15dB pad
- Filter: -15dB pad
- Power Requirements: 48V phantom power
While some users found the sound to be "colored", it is in a way that sweetens the incoming audio and makes the recorded track need less processing during mixing. Female vocals in particular benefit from the coloration as one user noted that the vocal tracks they recorded sounded "ethereal". Violins and violas sounded smooth with just the right amount of high frequencies to sound clear but not sibilant. Many of the reviews that the Shure KSM44A received are from experienced engineers, and their general sentiment is that this mic is well worth the money. Many consider it as the flattest, clearest and most neutral of the mics in this price range, to the point that some describe it as the best mic in their collection - which incidentally includes mics that are priced above one grand. Its super quiet operation and tank tough reliability were also appreciated, along with its ease of use. As one reviewer puts it: "If you can't make great music with a KSM44A, you're doing it wrong."
It has a slight low frequency dip that may affect low frequency heavy sources like bass cabs or deeper sounding vocals as well as overly thinning out some acoustic instruments. There are also those who mentioned that some positioning adjustments were required to flatten the subtle brightness of the sound.
The Shure KSM44A is a true "end game" microphone. You know you've reached new heights when you've come to appreciate the nuance and exceptional performance that mics like the KSM44A bring to your mic collection. While not the kind of mic to color your sound and make it mix ready, the raw tracks taken from the mic rewards vintage-style signal chains with amazing sound that sits perfectly on top of mixes. Just like a top chef's prized knife, it doesn't do much to augment your skill. What it does is allow you to craft your best, unimpeded.
Although this was previously on our recommended list, there are now more highly rated options available which you can find in our guides to Condenser Mics: Small to Large Diaphragm and Studio Vocal Mics.