Does this live vocal mic create a sound that justifies its high price?
Item: Telefunken M80 Handheld Vocal Microphone
Price: US $249, UK £226
At A Glance: The Telefunken M80 is a handheld vocal microphone that claims to offer the sound quality of a condenser microphone in a dynamic package that is well suited to both stage and studio. Athough It is primarily designed for live vocal performances, the mic also works well on percussion, brass, and guitar cabinets, making it a useful tool in the studio. The M80’s black chassis and silver grill looks great however it is currently also available in several limited edition colours including gold and chrome.
High Notes: The M80 has a wide frequency response with a noticeable presence boost to help vocals cut through a mix and not sound muddy. It has a mid-range clarity that is seldom heard in live dynamic microphones that lets vocals sound detailed and expressive. The mic is well suited to a wide range of singing voices, both male and female, as well as working well with most musical styles – however it seems to have found particular favour amongst male rock singers. It can handle high sound pressure levels, has good feedback rejection and it is also available in a wireless format for performers who like to move around on stage.
Off Pitch: Although the microphone sounds great, there is a lot of competition in the live microphone market – at around twice the price of the ‘industry-standard’ SM58, some singers may find it hard to justify the extra expense. The M80 can be slightly more prone to plosive sounds than some other dynamic mics if you sing particularly close to it, however singers with a good mic technique should not find this to be much of a problem.
A VoiceCouncil Reviewer Says: The M80 is available in two versions: the “Standard Version” which includes a mic clip and bag; and the “Studio Set” which includes a mic clip, wooden box, and an additional black head grille. Its claim to sound like a studio condenser microphone maybe slightly exaggerated, however it is still a great sounding live mic that is built to last for many years. Singers who like to hold their microphones will also appreciate its rubber finish, which makes it very easy and comfortable to grip in your hand without risk of it slipping. Overall the M80 is a microphone definitely worth checking out if you are looking for an upgrade from a SM58 or similar; however there are also several other great sounding microphones from other manufactures that you may feel suit your voice better such as the Heil PR35, Audio Technica AE 6100 or Audix OM7, as well as live condenser microphones such as the Neumann KSM 105 or Shure Beta87A.
Manufacturer’s Website: http://www.telefunken-elektroakustik.com
Chris Kennedy is the principal product reviewer for voicecouncil.com. Chris is a musician in the United Kingdom – you can see more about his work at www.chriskennedymusic.co.uk You can also see more articles by Chris here.