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10.26.2010

Review of Behringer XM 8500 Microphone by Terry White

My name is Terry White and I am a guitarist/musician and have been for a little over 20 years, and have been a member here at Rockhouse for several years now.

The music business can be expensive, very expensive and if there is a less expensive way to get something accomplished I research everything I can to find it.

If there is a topic or a product that you may want more information about please feel free to ask, post some of your own suggestions. If I don't have the answer for you I am sure that someone here will have. This is a never ending education for us all.

This is one of those reviews that’s really pretty simple but at the same time I really am not sure where to start so I am just going to start at the time that the microphone arrived.

I was shipped a pair of Behringer XM8500 microphones and the first thing I noticed when I opened the package was the fact that Behringer packs these microphones in a small very hard, and well cushioned plastic carrying case. Nothing large or bulky, just big enough to hold a single microphone along with a microphone clip. There is a small latch at the top that holds the case securely closed and it is cushioned well enough to be dropped from arm’s length without any damage. How do I know this, well I dropped it while it was in the case several times and it still works just fine.

(Please do not do this to your own if you have one, I only did this so that I could say for sure that in the case that you might accidently drop one while it’s in the storage case there is a really good chance that there will be no damage at all)

Once I opened the case and took the mic out I immediately noticed that it was much better constructed than I had thought it would have been for its price. It is constructed of very heavy and durable metal that you normally find only on microphones costing much more.

You know the kind of low end construction you normally get for a low price, we have all gone out to a local electronics or value store (not going to mention any names here) and bought the cheapest mic that we could find simply because we did not have enough money to buy a better one, and they are usually constructed mostly of plastic, and last only a few months and sound like your singing into a tin can, and still had to pay about $30.00 for it.

Those days are over.

Behringer has done it once again; I’m shocked I really am. For the price of those old cheap microphones I just mentioned you can now get a high quality professional microphone that can stand up to being dragged from one show to another over and over and still work and sound great.

Getting Started: When I plugged it in the cable seats securely and stays connected. No hum or any other noise to speak of that I could notice. If feels good in the hand. This is no dinky little mic.

Sound: Here is where you are just going to have to go out and get one to believe me. I tested it against the closest microphone I could find to compare it to, the Sure SM58.

Now I know there are going to be a lot of people that are going to read this and say, yea right, it’s a Behringer how good could it really be. Also I am not bashing Sure microphones, I use it as an example in order to have a microphone to compare the Behringer to, and I happen to have one here.

Here is my opinion: After using it myself for a couple of hours and making up my own mind I decided to do a little experiment. I used some dark colored masking tape and covered anywhere on both microphones the Sure SM58 and the Behringer XM8500 so that no one could tell which mic was which and I asked 3 other vocalist to try each microphone one at a time. They could choose any song they wanted and could use all the time they wanted. I had the mics run through only a pair of Peavey PR15N active loudspeakers, no mixers, no special noise suppressors, just plugged straight into the small onboard mixers on the speakers. (I wanted to use Behringer speakers but I don’t have any. Yet!)

The results were the same with all 3 people; every single one of them chose the Behringer XM8500. They all agreed that it just simply sounded better. The clarity was good with just a touch more bass than the SM58 but dialing back the bass on the Peavey’s onboard 3 band EQ just a touch balanced that out right away.

After I removed the tape and let them all see that they had just choose the Behringer over the Sure microphone none of them could believe it. But 2 of the 3 people I used for this test have now gone out and purchased a set of 4 of the XM8500’s and are currently using them, this has all happened in just the last few days.

Bottom Line: I have no idea how Behringer is able to manufacture the products that they do for such low prices but you know what, I really don’t care. The bottom line is that if you are lucky you can go out and find a Sure SM58 microphone for around $99.00 I say lucky because more often than not you will pay a little more, or you can go out and buy the Behringer XM8500 for as little as $19.99 and you will get all around quality, sound, and durability that is every bit as good and in my opinion better than the Sure microphone and its at one fourth the price. And you get a cool little carrying case instead of a little vinyl bag to store it in.

One more quick note, I had to test it with a guitar amplifier so I used one of them to mic off my 412 speaker cabinet for my guitar amplifier and it sound great. No feedback at all. So it’s not only a great vocal microphone but it also works great if you need to mic off you guitar amplifier or other instruments.

I think it just ROCKS that we finally have a company making gear that your average musician can afford to purchase and still get a high quality product. Not all of us make millions of dollars a year and it looks like Behringer is one of the only companies that seems to understand that.

Don’t take my word for it, buy one and see for yourself. Most of us spend far more than $20.00 for decent guitar cables.

Link: Behringer XM 8500 Microphone

Terry White
©2009 - 2010 Terry White & Fred Russell Publishing, All Rights Reserved. This article can not be used without permission from the Author. To Contact the Author email curt@RockHouseMethod.com

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Terry. I also own 3 of the XM 8500 microphones and they are great. Behringer did a fantastic job designing and manufacturing them (even though they are made in China).

The name of the other microphone you used for comparison is Shure SM58 not Sure.

Anonymous said...

Excellent review & thanks Terry. Count me in for 3 of them used heavily on the road for 10 years & they're bulletproof. Great product & great price ~ pretty rare today & way to go Behringer!

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