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Shure 545SD Review - Classic Instrument Microphone

December 12, 2023

Today we bring you our Shure 545SD review. We continue having a look at "Classic" line microphones by Shure and the next one is more instrumental. The Shure 545SD is a classic Unidyne® dynamic microphone, embodying a timeless design and a rich history in the world of audio. Known for its durability, reliability, and warm sound, the 545SD has been a favorite among musicians, broadcasters, and audio professionals for decades.

The Shure SM57, a rather well-known (at the same time the best-selling instrumental microphone in the world) modern mic, is based on the Shure 545SD. The origins of this mic took place in the 60th, it was a time when people fell in love with “dirty” sound mics once again and harmonicas became popular. So meet a good old star from a great time, who was produced in the twenty-first century so you could enjoy the sounds your parents enjoyed in modern conditions. Let's explore the key features and qualities of this iconic microphone in this comprehensive Shure 545SD review.

Best Price on Shure 545SD Classic Instrument Microphone

The Shure 545SD's durable design, reliable performance, and warm sound reproduction make it a valuable tool for musicians and broadcasters alike.

Shure 545SD Package Bundle Classic Package

Shure 545SD Specifications

  • Microphone Type: Dynamic
  • Form Factor: Handheld
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid (Unidirectional)
  • Cartridge: R45
  • Cartridge Shock Mount: rubber vibration isolator inside
  • Frequency Response: from 50Hz up to 15000Hz
  • Impedance: Dual-impedance operation (more in overall build and features section) /  rated impedance is 150Ω (250Ω actual)
  • Output Level (at 1,000Hz): L-58.0dB (1.3mV) / H-35.0dB (17.6mV)
  • Connector: 3-pin XLR
  • Switch: Built-in magnetic reed on/off switch with lockplate. To lock the switch in the ON position, remove the screw on the lockplate and turn lockplate 180°. Reassemble and tighten screw.
  • Housing: Chrome-plated die casting with ARMO-DUR grille and stainless steel screen
  • Size: L 157mm x W 32mm
  • Net Weight (without cable): 255 grams (9oz)
  • Set includes: Shure 545SD microphone, swivel mount for mic stands
Shure 545SD Polar Pattern

Overall Build and Features

The external design of this mic is minimalist and simple. The handheld form factor provides easy maneuverability for a range of applications from stage performance to studio recording. No buttons, no knobs, nothing but a monolithic structure that does its job well. Don't worry if you drop it on the floor, the chrome-plated casting and steel screen will prevent damage (but we don't recommend dropping it on the floor on purpose). The overall look is not as elegant and beautiful as, say, the Shure 55SH Series II and it is like a dark horse with great performance. Shure's "Classic" lineup also includes the Shure 565SD microphone, which has identical functionality and appearance, but features a spherical mesh grille that is more suitable for woks (check out the review at the link).

A few words about features. First, the on/off switch. It was designed for two purposes. Just to be there, and to be unnoticeable and silent. It is based on magnetic technology, to lock it in position you have to remove the lock plate and turn it and then reinstall the screw.

Shure 545SD switch button

You can also change the microphone impedance. The default microphone impedance is 150 ohms (250 ohms actual) for use with microphone inputs rated from 19 to 300 ohms, and "High" for use with high-impedance microphone inputs. To change the impedance of a microphone (the Shure 545SD has this feature), refer to the user's manual included in the box or use the Shure impedance selection guide.

The swiveling adapter in the packaging can rotate 90 degrees. Vertical, horizontal position - wherever you want, and of course there is a huge number of different stands and boom arms for it (5/8 -27 thread). Shure also offers optional accessories for the 545SD. For example, A2WS Locking Microphone Windscreen is a perfect solution to reduce unwanted breath / wind noise, A26M Dual Microphone Mount allows you to place two microphones on one stand - this function can be useful when you want to capture sound on two different microphones at the same position.

Sound Quality

As usual, let's move on to the main part of our Shure 545SD review and take a look at the sound quality characteristics of this microphone.

At the heart of the 545SD is the Unidyne cartridge, which delivers a warm and natural sound. The dynamic element is capable of capturing a wide range of frequencies, making it suitable for a variety of sound sources. The tailored frequency response, with a gentle presence boost in the range from 2000Hz to 12000Hz, provides clarity and articulation, making it an excellent choice for vocals, instruments, and broadcast applications. Still, Shure has positioned this mic as more of an instrumental mic, and for good reason, the 545SD is highly regarded among blues and harp players.

Shure 545SD Frequency Response
Shure 545SD Frequency Response

Speaking the truth, this mic is a good choice not only for musicians. It may be used in halls, lectoriums, and even in churches. Yeah, we realize that the sound of this mic is a bit harp and raw, but other technical features such as dual impedance and unified connector give you the ability to almost neutralize this tinge in sound, making it almost clear, if you want. The cardioid polar pattern as usual eliminated unwanted noises.

Here are some Shure 545SD recorded audio samples:

Shure 545SD Electric Guitar Recording (audio example)
Shure 545SD Electric Guitar in Mix Recording (audio example)
Shure 545SD Guitar Recording #1 (Marshall JTM45 2245 + 2x12 Greenback + Shure 545)
Shure 545SD Guitar Recording #2 (Fender Deluxe Reverb Clean + Shure 545)
Shure 545SD - Snare Drum Recording #1 Top Mic (audio example)
Shure 545SD - Snare Drum Recording #2 Top Mic (audio example)
Shure 545SD - Snare Drum Recording #3 Bottom Mic (audio example)

Shure 545SD vs Shure SM57

When comparing the microphones, it should be noted that they are similar in overall construction and features. They have the same Unidyne III element, cardioid polar pattern, similar design, and price (these two microphone models are currently priced the same). Both microphones have perfect sound quality, but the Shure 545SD is more saturated with harmonics because of its frequency response (you can see a slight difference in the range from 4000Hz to 12000Hz on our FR comparison picture below), while the Shure SM57 is rougher and more limited as you can hear in our audio example. Special features of the Shure 545SD microphone include a built-in magnetic on/off switch and dual adjustable impedance, which are not present in the Shure SM57.

Shure 545SD vs Shure SM57 (First 545SD then SM57)

The Shure SM57 and Shure 545SD microphone cartridges have different names (R45 for the 545SD and R57 for the SM57), but the construction and architecture of these cartridges are identical, and even the plastic grilles are interchangeable between the two microphones. The only difference between the cartridges is that they are factory tuned to a slightly different frequency response.

In conclusion, we can say that both microphones are perfectly suited for recording acoustic and amplified instruments and vocals. We can't answer the question of which is better, it's like answering the question - which is better, green or blue? Some people like green, some people like blue.

Final Verdict on Shure 545SD

The Shure 545SD Classic Unidyne Dynamic Microphone is a vintage gem that has stood the test of time. Its durable design, reliable performance, and warm sound reproduction make it a valuable tool for musicians and broadcasters alike. Whether you're looking for a touch of nostalgia or a microphone with a proven track record, the Shure 545SD remains a revered choice in the ever-evolving landscape of audio technology.

This microphone is for people who do it. No matter what the task: a productive lecture, a great album, an inspiring speech. The overall concept is based on productivity and simplicity, but on the other hand, it allows you to adjust the sound the way you want it. Add Shure's impeccable quality and really good price and you will realize that it is a great choice for all your purposes.

We hope you enjoyed reading our Shure 545SD review. Feel free to leave your questions and suggestions in the comments section below, we will be happy to answer all your comments.

  • Good Price / Quality Ratio
  • Iconic Vintage Design
  • Durable Construction
  • Warm and Natural Sound
  • Dual-Impedance Option
  • Versatile Applications: Suitable for vocals, instruments, and broadcasting
  • Trusted by musicians and audio professionals for decades
  • Limited features: Lacks advanced features found in more advanced microphones. But despite the fact that the microphone is a bit outdated - it produces excellent sound, has additional branded accessories and replacement parts + still sells well in stores.
Our Score

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