Shure SM86 Handheld Condenser Microphone

Cardioid Condenser Vocal Microphone
Shure SM86 Handheld Condenser Microphone image 1
Shure SM86 Handheld Condenser Microphone image 1
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Shure SM86 Handheld Condenser Microphone
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Studio-Quality Live Vocal Microphone!

Following in the footsteps of the SM58 and SM57, the SM86 has everything the SM line of Shure microphones has stood for all these years - durability, quality performance, and reliability. The difference is that this new SM handheld microphone brings with it a remarkable sound quality that only a condenser mic can deliver!

Shure SM86 Condenser Microphone at a Glance:
  • Extremely rugged condenser mic for studio quality onstage
  • Tailored frequency response optimized for vocals
  • Internal shock mount and pop filter reduce handling noise

Extremely rugged condenser mic for studio quality onstage
If you've spent any time in a recording studio you've probably experienced the benefits of a good condenser mic: great transients, balanced frequency response and wide dynamic range. The Shure SM86 packs those qualities into a rugged steel case to give you condenser quality in a handheld stage mic. The phantom-powered SM86 operates on voltages ranging from 11 to 52 volts DC so it can be used even with inexpensive mixers. It also works well in studio environments, which makes it a comfortable choice for vocalists who both perform live and record.

Tailored frequency response optimized for vocals
The SM86 makes a great vocal mic. Its frequency response of 50Hz - 18kHz includes a presence peak in the 2-5kHz range that ensures clarity and projection for all vocal ranges. Plus, the SM86 works well with vocalists who like to work both close to the mic and up to 18 inches away, delivering a robust sound and bass response that smoothly moves from enhanced and powerful up close to smooth and even farther away.

Internal shock mount and pop filter reduce handling noise
The unidirectional (cardioid) pickup pattern of the SM86 means it admirably rejects off-axis noise, reducing bleed from other onstage sound sources. Shure designed it with a built-in three-point shock mount that minimizes handling noise, and a two-stage pop filter to reduce wind and breath "pop" noise. The SM86 is an excellent selection for use with both stage monitors and personal in-ear monitors.

Shure SM86 Condenser Microphone Features:
  • Condenser cartridge for studio quality sound
  • Tailored frequency response for a clear reproduction of vocals
  • Rugged construction withstands the rigors of touring sound
  • Cardioid polar pattern minimizes unwanted background noise
  • Excellent choice for stage monitors and personal in-ear monitors
  • Built-in three-point shock mount minimizes handling noise
  • Two-stage "pop" filter reduces wind and breath noise
  • Includes vinyl storage pouch and clip
  • Requires +48V phantom power
Take the Shure SM86 onstage with you!

Additional Media

Studio Microphone Buying Guide

Tech Specs

Microphone Type Condenser
Polar Pattern Cardioid
Frequency Response 50Hz-18kHz
Max SPL 147dB
Output Impedance 150 ohms
Signal to Noise Ratio 71dB
Self Noise 23dB
Color Dark Grey
Connector XLR
Weight 0.61 lbs.
Included Accessories Stand Clamp, Microphone Pouch
Manufacturer Part Number SM86

Customer Reviews

Based on 18 reviews
Write your review

Shure is sweet!

I've been a musician for over 40 years and have tried almost every mic there is. I always come back to the SM-57 to mic my amps and the SM-beta 58 for vocals. The closest contender vocally (in my opinion) is the Audix OM-5. I read a ton of reviews on the SM-86 and decided to give it a shot. As always the guys at Sweetwater are incredible (Aric Brenner is my guy), and the mic arrived in 2 days perfectly packaged. I'll keep the rest short. This is a dream mic for my vocal range. It has the tonal characteristics of the beta 58 but for lack of a better term, it has more "punch". Highs are brilliant and lows have rich tone. But it doesn't stop there. I hooked it to my home studio and it blew away my Rode NT1. Being honest, it didn't quite measure up to my Neumann but I'd still record with it all day! The last test is to mic my Taylor acoustic but I already know what the result will be. I'd highly recommend this product for a wide variety of applications.

Stellar Vocal Mic Much More Versatile Than Expected

I bought this mic primarily for my own use; I don't like to swallow the mic when singing, plus I'm usually playing guitar and looking cross-eyed at a music stand, so creating some space without riding the gain too high is a requirement. However, the first uses were on other musicians, and as the result of a couple of happy accidents, I realized how great this mic can perform at a series of shows featuring world and alt-folk music.On the first night, one of our guest artists -- a violinist -- needed a vocal mic for speaking to the audience. Not a problem, I'll put out the SM86 for him, since I wouldn't be able to mic him close. However, he left his violin's DI setup at the hotel, so the mic ended up on violin as well. Beautiful, rich tone and no feedback. On the second night, I instructed the sound crew to place the SM86 for the riq (like a Middle Eastern tambourine) and SM57s on the three doumbeks for the first act. When I see that they have rearranged themselves so that the lead drummer, an internationally reknown player, was now sitting in front of the SM86, I held my breath and the gain on the mixer, having never run this type of percussion through this mic, until he played his first licks. Holy smokes! The SM86 made the performance jump to life; by comparison, the SM57 sounded dull and honky on the other drums. The mic never complained no matter how hard he slapped the drum head. All of the playing on the rim of the drum sounded crisp and detailed. I expect this from a condenser mic, but I was blown away at the discovery of this "off-label" use. I little bit of EQ to bring out the rim never made the sound harsh. So...I instructed the sound crew to use the SM86 on all lead drummers for the rest of the show. In summary: this is a stellar vocal mic, but after this past weekend, I now consider this to be the most versatile mic in my kit.
Music background: Voice, guitar, sound systems

shure sm86

This mic really brings vocals to the front. clear and crisp with perfect balance. I've been using sm58's and 57's, and those are good mics, but the sm 86 takes it to a new level. I highly recomend!
Music background: active musician/singer

As Good or Better Than Lrg Studio Mics

First off, Sweetwater's service is exemplary! As for the Shure SM86... to be honest I've been recording professionally off and on since the 1970's in both live and studio situations. I have used a lot of $600+ mics including the more expensive Neumann U87. Oh and I'm not being paid to write this review. These days the market is flooded with cheap mics in the ($50 to $300 price range or there abouts) all competing fiercely for your wallet, but what do they all have in common?... apparently crystal clear sound but most are a little thin sounding in the final mix, some are harsh in the top-end, some have too much sibilance issues, and the proximity effect isn't that great and certainly not as great compared to the Shure SM86 considering it's meant to be for live use (but surprisingly good for recording too). If you insist on having a decent large studio condenser mic then don't get less than for example: AKG C 414 B-XL II, Neumann U 87 or Shure-KSM44. You can use the Shure SM86 to record vocals in the same room with the TV on and the dog snoring loudly. OK! A slight exaggeration hehehehe but you get the picture. Having said all that! The point is, a lot of home studio music producers insist that you should get a large studio condenser mic to rec vocals but the point they miss most is that almost all and possibly all of those cheap ($50 to $300 or there abouts) larger studio condenser mics falls short of excellence no matter how good the mic positioning is, no matter how good the mic pre is, no matter how good the Waves L2 is, no matter how good the room treatment is, or whatever is used to help sweeten up the sound! The Shure SM86 has a warm, rich, up-close in-your-face sound that is specifically designed to make vocals sound great and has incredible proximity that is very smooth, not harsh at all and perfect for both male and female vocals and makes the vocals stand out in the mix, whatever mix that may be, be it a flood of screaming guitars, bass, drums and orchestra. Honestly the Shure SM86 is absolutely outstanding. But hey, it's your money to be spent, it's your choice.
Music background: Professional audio engineer and composer since 1978

Extremely versatile!

I have used this mic for 4 years every week as my vocal mic and it's good for ANY kind of vocal if you know how to use it. Just recently, in my home studio, I also tried it on my acoustic guitar and it was incredible. No EQ required, it just sounded good. Not too shimmery and not too low-mid either, just a straight flat but warm sound. So I bought a second one that now lives as a goto mic in my studio.
Music background: Hobbyist, Home Recordist, Producer, Gigging Musician
See also: Condenser Mics, Shure, Shure Condenser Microphones, Shure Condenser Microphones