Behringer XM8500 for Ham Radio

My recent foray into amateur radio audio quality has had me looking at microphones, and since the audio process I just bought has an input for dynamic microphones, I got to researching those.

I didn’t go looking at Heil Sound for microphones, since I wanted to do this on a budget, and you can certainly burn through a lot of money shopping at Heil.

One of the long-time kings of vocal microphones has to be the Shure SM-58. Tailored frequency response for the human voice makes it a good bet for over-the-air voice audio. The current price for an SM-58 on Amazon USA is $99.

Upon doing some Googlin’ for an SM-58-like microphone, I came across the Behringer XM8500 microphone. It looks like the SM-58, it is a dynamic microphone with a cardioid pattern, XLR connector, and a very similar frequency response. The asking price currently for the XM8500 on Amazon USA is a few cents over $20.

What is the catch?

It seems there is no catch. The Behringer XM8500 is modeled directly after the Shure SM-58. Compare the frequency response curves. I have overlaid the ICOM IC-7300 widest transmit bandwidth over the XM8500 frequency response to illustrate the sort of frequency response you can expect within that range.

The Behringer XM8500, like the Shure SM-58 rolls off nicely below 100 Hz, and has emphasis starting at 1 kHz rising to 3 kHz which is perfect for a cutting voice tone. The XM8500 has a higher output level than the SM-58 though, so it won’t require as much gain.

Here’s a comparison test between the SM-58 and the XM8500…

…and a comprehensive review of the XM8500.

So, I bought a XM8500, a microphone boom, and some pop shields.

I am getting very good audio reports using this microphone and my UR6QW audio processor. See that page for more information on settings, etc.

If you want information on adding a DC blocking capacitor when using a dynamic microphone on a transceiver which is designed for use with an electret condenser microphone, see this post.

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AD5GG works in the real world as an RF design engineer. Occasionally, he posts articles on this very site. Sometimes they're even worth reading. Please feel free to comment on posts using the comment system at the end of each post, and use the discussion forum.

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Gary Skaggs
6 years ago

*I* think the Behringer will be a good get for you. My personal experience with Shures and Behringers (many years on church platforms) is that the Shure will work just as designed even after it is used to drive a nail, while the Behringer is just a weeee bit more likely to not be in one complete piece after nail-driving. SM58s being used as a weapon in bar fights are legendary, especially when swung by the mic cord.


… Gary

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