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Wives in husband calling contest make Shure SM58 distort!

The Shure SM58 is normally regarded as an unburstable microphone. But these husband-calling wives have other ideas...


Now this is scary... Wives compete in the annual husband calling competition in the Illinois State Fair. Here are some links to videos of the event. Take your pick...

link 1 | link 2 | link 3 | link 4

(Unfortunately since the publication of this article some or all of the links might have disappeared. Take my word for it however, these wives really put the sound system through its paces. DM December 2019)

What is really scary though is that when these women reach the tops of their voices, the Shure SM58 microphone that they appear to be using seems to distort.

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But this is a rock microphone. It doesn't distort for the heaviest of heavy metal. So why should it distort now?

One answer might be that these women are even louder than a rock vocalist. What is much more likely however is that the distortion is occurring in the preamp of the mixing console, not the microphone.

The quick and easy solution is to lower the gain or, if necessary, switch in the pad. (Most mixing consoles have a pad switch right next to the gain control.) A wise sound operator will be at the ready to lower the gain at a moment's notice and, if necessary, compensate for the reduction in level by raising the fader.

The moral then for anyone working the console at a husband calling contest is to keep one hand on the gain, the other on the fader.

And if you hear your own name called, be very afraid...

By David Mellor Wednesday September 26, 2012