Shure SM86 Cardioid Condenser Vocal Handheld Microphone


92 out of 100. Incorporating 475+ ratings and reviews.

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Shure SM86 Cardioid Condenser Vocal Microphone

Gearank High Notes

Gearank Recommendation

The SM86 first appeared on our recommended list for Live Vocal Mics from March 2016 until August 2017.

It was also on our Condenser Mic list from October 2018 until March 2020.


This is essentially the condenser mic version of their very popular SM58 dynamic mic, designed specifically for singers to enjoy.

It has a tailored frequency response that peaks in the 2-5kHz range, which works together with its condenser capsule for improved vocal clarity.

To reduce handling noise the Shure SM86 has a three-point shock mount and it has an internal windscreen which effectively reduces wind and breath sounds.

Shure designed this mic to take on the road so if you look after it you shouldn't have problems with durability - and that claim is backed up by most customer reviews, just remember you can't throw it around like you might with the SM58.

If you really like the Shure brand and want to take a step up from the SM58 then this is a good mic for you.

This is still the same great vocal mic that it was when we recommended it, the only reason it dropped off our list of recommended live vocal mics is because there are now more highly rated options which you can see in our guide to The Best Live Vocal Mics.


  • Type: Condenser (electret bias)
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: 50Hz to 18kHz
  • Proximity Effect:
  • Impedance: 150 Ohms - recommended minimum load impedance: 600 Ohms
  • Maximum SPL: 147 dB
  • Applications: Live and recorded vocals
  • Power Requirements: 11v to 52v phantom power

Shure SM86 Frequency Response Chart

Shure SM86 frequency response chart

Shure SM86 Polar Pattern Chart

Shure SM86 polar pattern chart


Here is a good comparison of the Shure SM86 to the Shure SM58: