Shure KSM32 Condenser Microphone Review
The KSM32 is the first product in Shure’s series of high-quality studio condenser microphones. Designed for professional studio recording, the KSM32 is an embossed, high-compliance large diaphragm side-address cardioid microphone characterized by Shure’s trademark rugged construction and durability. Despite its design as a studio microphone, the KSM32 can certainly hold its own in a live application as well.
I know what your asking, “embossed diaphragm?”. Embossing the diaphragm creates tiny diamond shaped rises to create a 3D texture. This process increases the surface area of the diaphragm resulting in better low frequency response and increased durability.
The fine folks at Shure call the KSM32 “proof that sensitivity and toughness can live in perfect harmony.” And that is very accurate. This microphone offers full spectrum frequency response (20Hz – 20kHz), making the microphone extremely versatile: vocal, percussion, and instrumental (even acoustic) recording. It’s also suitable for use in both close-micing and overhead / room recording applications.
The Shure KSM32 uses a Class-A discrete preamp with no transformer for fast, flat transient response. A flat response is beneficial because while some microphones boost certain frequencies to color the sound, a flat response offers a more authentic reproduction of sound, which, in itself offers more flexibility. It’s like having a blank canvas. The KSM32 is a well-made microphone using quality parts. It has a gold-layered, low-mass Mylar diaphragm and is equipped with a 15dB attenuation switch on the back of the microphone for ensuring you get just the right sound.
The microphone’s preamp eliminates crossover distortion and significantly reduces harmonic and intermodulation distortions. And like its successor, the Shure KSM32’s internal shock mount effectively minimizes handling noises and vibrations from the stand while the three-phase integrated grille minimizes wind and breath noise, plosives and softens sibilance for a clean and natural sound.
The KSM32 provides a pretty uniform polar response and with it putting out a low level of self-noise (13dB), the KSM32, though a bit noisier than the KSM44, is still a really solid choice for recording quiet sources and voice-overs. The KSM32 is a sensitive microphone and you’ll have to find what works for you if you’re using it to record vocals. It comes with a pop screen, but it’s still sensitive enough to noticeably pick up plosives. So be sure to adjust its position in whatever way you need to adjust it to ensure you’re still getting the crispness and clarity this microphone brings without the ugly plosives and sibilance.
The KSM32 comes in either champagne or charcoal gray and comes with several quality accessories including the ShureLock shock mount, a ShureLock stand mount, a protective velveteen pouch (for its sensitive side), and a locking aluminum carrying case (for its tough, durable side).
I really like my KSM32. As versiatile as this mic is, I wouldn’t think twice about replacing my current workhorse studio mic with the KSM32. There are a lot more expensive options, but for the money, I doubt you’ll find a better value.
Shure KSM32 Condenser Microphone Resources:
- Shure KSM32 Microphone User Guide
- Shure KSM32 Microphone Specifications Sheet
- Shure KSM32 Microphone Brochure
Shure KSM32 Microphone Frequency Curve and Polar Pattern