Whether I’m jamming, practicing, recording or performing, I need a capable mic. A microphone that keeps those wind and pop sounds out and absorbs all of my limited vocal talent.
I am fortunate to enjoy singing and fortunate to have people out there who appreciate it. I have great friends who I perform with and we live for the rush of performing live.
I have dreams of being on big stages, electrifying huge crowds. That dream is part of why I pour a lot of my time, energy, and soul into music. The other side is the pure enjoyment that I get from this musical passion in my life.
Musical equipment is a natural extension of this passion. There is some amazing equipment out there, incredibly well-built electronics that are beautiful, capable, and durable. I covet some of these, dreaming about how some of these could enhance my abilities. So often these dreams are smashed by the hard realities of a limited budget.
No two microphone brands are the same. You have to consider things like the price, whether it offers a flimsy or rugged construction, the frequency response, the cardioid pick up the pattern, whether it has a transparent sound, and even whether or not it comes with a microphone stand adapter.
As a budget-minded musician, I have come to realize that some musical equipment can deliver amazing results at an affordable price. A microphone that represents that definition and my personal favorite is the Behringer XM8500 Dynamic Vocal Microphone. This Mic is awesome for so many reasons, all of which are more impressive when considering the price.
So, yes, The Behringer XM8500 is great value. According to Alexander Briones of www.gearank.com, “There’s nothing fancy about it in terms of features but it continues to be popular because of its quality to cost ratio.”
Quality. Quality means the standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind. The Behringer XM8500 is that standard to be measured against in this price range. This price range, by the way, is microphones under $50. It is consistently outperforming mics that are over 40% more expensive.
How do they deliver such great value? Well, it starts with a little story about Swiss-born Eli Behringer who is a wunderkind musical technologist. Having built his first synthesizer as a child, this guy loved music and tinkering with electronics and started his company at 16, building and selling instruments and equipment in Germany. Then, in 2002, he built Behringer City in Zhongshan of China, by consolidating ten separate production locations into one vertically integrated plant. What does that mean? Value. Value built by a wunderkind.
Where do you see value?
Audiomastered.com’s recent comparison by Glen Parry stated: “Our top choice! The Ultravoice Xm8500 is simple, durable, and functional. It’s a perfect onstage vocal mic with built-in feedback suppression and pop filter. It has great mid-frequency presence, which is perfect for vocals.” That is value, durable, functional, and great performance.
You can see the durability in its full metal construction. The half a pound (8 ounces) of the Xm8500 is a hefty microphone, which feels substantial in my hand. It can comfortably be a two-hander when you’re really committed to a note. The gold-plated connection point for the XLR cable is thick and reinforced. It secures with a solid click that feels permanent until you engage the release where it slides smoothly out.
This mic doesn’t come with that XLR cable but has a professional, cushioned, and durable case, with a big grippy handle to keep it looking brand new. In addition, it also includes a mic clip, 5/8″ to 3/8″ Mic Stand Adapter and documentation.
Documentation is important when considering your purchase because it gives you a detailed description of the snippet information you may want to review. Some of the technical specifications included would be:
- Transfer Function Mag chart
This is a classic good looking mic with its attractiveness coming from the simplistic design. It is nearly a copy of the Shure SM58 and it’s a good-looking mic.
A black matte anodized finish covers an asymmetrical metal body that increases in diameter until it reaches a balanced head housing the microphone. The matte black anodized is tough and resistant to scrapes and scratches; it also has a decent grip and feels attached securely to your hand.
The quality of the finish extends onto the mic head where it elegantly envelops the mesh of the cardioid polar pattern. A double-edged metal ring bisects the upper and lower part of the mic head and it has the same attractive matte finish. It is also good to note that the matte anodized surface reduces reflections from the studio or stage lighting.
The Behringer XM8500 does have performance-orientated features. It has a built-in suspension; an internal shock mount that does an excellent job of suppressing unwanted movement and handling noise. You only get the sound of your voice!
A two-stage pop filter eliminates the mechanical sound of air hitting the microphone. You can blow and cough on this mic all you want—it will only pick up the sweet vibrations.
The cardioid polar pattern is effectively directional, as described by Geek Rising (a vlog that centers on musical technology): “As you get off access, the amount of pickup drops exponentially. It rejects background noise incredibly well (you could hardly hear the keyboard). So, if you are going to be using a mic in a loud area, this may be a good option.”
The Hi-FI, 50 Hz to 15 kHz range is versatile across nearly the entire human range of hearing and is perfect for picking up the bulk of the vocal spectrum. The take away from all this is that the Behringer XM8500 has the features that matter and will make a difference in your performance.
This mic is versatile as well. Personally, I am always looking at mics from a vocalist perspective but as www.gearslutz.com reviews this mic is pretty compatible with just about any instrument. “The mic shines on rack toms and may even perform better than a 57 in this situation. It sounds rather good when close micing drums, but the microphone does not perform as well if used to mic cymbals and hi-hat.” So the skin pounders approve!
Yes, you can mic up a guitar amp with the Behringer XM8500 but it’s not going to capture much vibrancy at the high-end. It works great live where an SM58 may pick up lots of noise. It’s a great talkback mic for the studio, great DJ mic (no on/off switch though).
This does not mean the Behringer XM8500 Dynamic Cardioid Handheld Microphone is the perfect microphone for every application. As a unidirectional mic, it is not great for group singers or capturing a group of musicians playing together.
I came across an interesting experiment where Terry White of The Rock House wanted to test out the mic blindfolded. He compared the mic to the Sure SM58 in a blind test. Here’s what he found:
To create at “blind test,” tape was used to cover any identifying markers on the microphones. He then asked three different test subjects to select a song of their choice and sing into the microphones. There was no fancy audio output system; the mic was just plugged straight into a set of speakers.
All three subjects chose the Behringer XM8500 as the model that sounded best, even against more expensive options. Take it from the people who know: musicians. This mic tops that of its counterparts at an economical price point.
The Behringer XM8500 is affordable. It is affordable compared to other mics. It is affordable compared to other mics in its class. It is affordable compared to a round of drinks for the band. Now, I am embracing the value of this affordability.
What that means is the best product at the best price, breaking that down you have the price which is objective and the best product which is somewhat subjective. At the end of all this somewhat hokey equation is how some reviewers formalize their recommendations. I converted the rankings to compare percentages.
- gearank.com rates it a 90%
- gearslutz.com rates it at 70%
- audiomastered.com rates it at 94%
For peer reviews
- amazon.com users rate it at 88%
- guitarcenter.com users rate it at 94%
- sweetwater.com users rate it at 100%
- audiofanzine.com users rate it at 84%
Other mics at this price point aren’t even considered and, if they are, then they are rated poorly. What you are getting with the Behringer XM8500 Dynamic Cardioid Handheld Microphone is a professional level value at an affordable price.
Another way to look at this mic is as your bang around jam mic. So maybe you’re not going to use this as a studio recording mic. Admittedly, I thought it performed great, but the more discerning taste may require refinement in that setting. But don’t let that discourage you from buying one.
This is a handy mic to have around for all your other Mic needs. www.micreviews.com gets it: “The Behringer XM8500 is one of the cheapest microphone models under $50 worth looking at, so if you’re planning on saving as much as cash as possible this could be the model for you. Behringer is also known for their low priced yet decent quality audio solutions.”
Behringer positive reputation has a negative slant to it. Behringer as a company is criticized for stealing or “borrowing heavily” from other companies patents/designs. There has been no formal legal action against them, but admittedly there is a point here. The Behringer XM8500 is nearly identical to the Shure SM58—a mic that is priced on average close to 200% percent higher.
Let’s call a spade a spade or a B flat a B flat. Yes, Behringer’s business model here is to take a good design and reproduce it at a cheaper price. It’s a very common and successful strategy in nearly every industry worldwide. Yes, it can be an unfortunate aspect of the business that dilutes brands and steals livelihoods.
However, done well, it can produce affordable products that are of great value. That is what Behringer does. Behringer makes a lot of affordable gear for the everyday person. They help people like me (and many of you) buy enough gear to meet our needs without having to take out a loan or break the bank.
I’m passionate about music, but I might be just as passionate about the value and the Behringer XM8500 Dynamic Cardioid Handheld Microphone is great value. The music culture and industry values creativity above all else and it does so with good reason. Unfortunately, in this environment, everybody can be an expert and each of us definitely has our own opinions. Therefore, I thank you, reader, for listening to my opinion and the opinion of a few sources I personally respect.
In conclusion, the Behringer XM8500 Dynamic Cardioid Handheld Microphone is an excellent value. A well-built and durable mic with its hefty all-metal construction and reinforced connections.
The Behringer XM8500 has performance-orientated features like the internal shock mount and two-stage pop filter. The cardioid polar pattern is effective in a loud area and the Hi-FI, 50 Hz to 15 kHz range is versatile.
The Behringer XM8500 is excellent to use for vocals and effective to mic up and amp or drum components. This might not be the perfect studio mic, but it excels in live performances and is the perfect mic for the rough and rigor of being on the road.
This versatility, durability, and performance are all delivered at an exceptionally low price.