The MB85 is a hand-held vocal mic, presumably designed for live work. It's similar, but not identical, in appearance to the classic Shure SM58.
I recently wrote a review comparing Thomann's MB75 microphone to the Shure SM57, and in that review I described the A/B testing that I did with the two mics. In those tests, the Thomann mic won! Yes, the Thomann MB75, costing about a quarter of the price of the Shure SM57, scored above the '57 in all counts!
So it was with a great deal of keenness and hope that I set about doing a similar test with this mic, the Thomann MB85. I set it up against one of my Shure SM58 mics, and did almost exactly the same tests that I did with the '57 and the MB75. I recorded two identical tracks on my computer, with no compression or EQ settings at all. One track used the Thomann MB75 and the other used the '58. I recorded both speech and singing. Then I compared the two and decided which one was better. So are we ready for the fanfare…?
Ah. Well, not quite. On this occasion the Thomann mic didn't quite make it. It came close, but the SM58 did actually win out on this occasion. The MB85 had a very slightly more "middle-y" sound and not quite as rich a lower end. The top end was perfectly respectable and overall the sound was very acceptable indeed - it's just that up against the '58 it didn't quite sound as good. I'm not saying that with a decent bit of EQ the MB85 could not be made to sound exactly like a '58; it's just that you'd obviously need an EQ to get that '58 sound from it. The sound of the mic is perfectly good on its own, but the '58 does make a good standard to judge it against, and the '58 wins out slightly on this occasion.
I also tested it for handling noise. I got the MB85 and the SM58, and swung them from hand to hand, then shook them (not violently - just in a similar way you would a pair of maracas) in my hand, and recorded the results. It has to be said that BOTH mics scored extremely well in this test, with hardly any handling noise coming from either of them. But again, the '58 came out fractionally on top here, with a little less handling noise being audible. I might add, though, that handling noise is not really going to be an issue with EITHER of these two mics; they were both very quiet and would be perfect for live vocals.
Although the MB85 didn't win on this occasion, it is a very good mic with a perfectly acceptable sound, and given the price compared to the SM58, I can't really see it as being anything less than a complete bargain. If you're on a budget, this is unquestionably the right mic for live vocals.