If you feel like talking, can we discuss SM57's....

FortyEight

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To the OP-

take your 57, put it right up to the grill, and have it pointed straight at the center of the cone. Record about 10 seconds worth of playing, then turn the head of the mic about 1" off axis, record another 10 seconds (preferably the same riff or playing). Repeat this until you reach the edge of the speaker cone, then listen to the playback. I'll bet you're gonna hear a HUGE difference in the tone through those snippets (should be 6-7 snippets), and one of those is going to be the speaker's sweet spot-it will be pretty obvious to your ears once you hear it.

I use 57s on guitar cabs and snare drums, occasionally toms or even a kick or overhead in a pinch, and have used them for vocals-if you stay about 6" off the mic, it sounds a fair amount like an SM7B (yes I actually did this comparison myself!). 57s are VERY sensitive to placement, more so than a lot of mics I've used over the years, and take some time and experimentation to really dial them in-but when you do, it's a sound you instantly recognize from a zillion records.

Good luck, and don't give up on that mic-it's an industry standard for a reason!

Franc Robert

thank you. this is the most helpful post in this thread. i have not done this yet. probably others assumed i already did this but i have not. im a little slow sometimes. a lot to learn.

likely i have not always had the placement optimal.
 

kafka

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Then why use the other mics?

A painter may have nothing but green paint. It's possible to make beautiful pictures using only green paint. There's nothing about green that will stop you. If you need a picture today, you can use the green paint. But it will be green.

After a while, you may really want to use another color. You might even like a different color better. You may find that you like using certain colors together.

The SM57 is a vocal mic. It was intentionally designed to be a vocal mic. It has a steep rolloff starting at ~200Hz, and a noticeable proximity effect. This can be used to balance bass, but you have to get the mic close in to do it. Close micing has it's own effect on the sound. There's also a very characteristic upper mid presence peak, and the HF response drops off sharply in the top octave.

It's also a dynamic mic. Dynamic mics have heavier diaphragms, and naturally suppress transient detail. Great for controlling e.g. spit and throat gravel. Not so great when you want a certain amount of fine detail.

The SM57 is a cardioid mic. It has it's own off-axis response, which may be more or less noticeable based on how close you have to get the mic to get the on-axis bass to respond the way you like. This may be useful to you, or it may not.

One way to learn how to position a mic is to spend years using nothing but SM57's. You'll definitely learn how to control your sound using position, which is everything. Ultimately, all equalization is nothing but the process of controlling frequency response through reflections. Whatever you learn with an SM57 will be applicable to other mics.

You may want your music to sound like this, or you may not. You may be tired of it. Once you hear it, it's kind of hard to un-hear it. It may drive you up the wall eventually, and you may ask yourself for the love of god, can I please just listen to something that sounds like my ears hear it? Or, you may decide you really like orange.
 
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codamedia

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It's a $100 workhorse mic that still holds it's own in the industry, 56 years (and counting) after it's initial release in '65.

Engineers (live & studio) have mic boxes for a reason... every mic does something better/different than everything else. The '57 is likely the cheapest mic in the box, but it WILL be there along with it's younger brother, the 58.
 

beyer160

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It's a $100 workhorse mic that still holds it's own in the industry, 56 years (and counting) after it's initial release in '65.

Engineers (live & studio) have mic boxes for a reason... every mic does something better/different than everything else. The '57 is likely the cheapest mic in the box, but it WILL be there along with it's younger brother, the 58.

Indeed. I don't do much recording any more so I haven't used a 57 in years... but when I do I ALWAYS have some available. It's like a safety net- a backup mic you can use for basically anything, and it's entirely possible that someday it'll be THE mic I need.

Something that's been recommended to me but that I've never tried is to rewire a 57 to bypass the output transformer, making it unbalanced. Then, you plug it into an active DI box, or one with a nice (i.e., expensive) transformer. Not the $25 Horizon ones (which are fine for their intended purposes, but not for this experiment). The idea being that the transformer in the SM mics limits the frequency response, and the capsule will sound different plugged into a higher bandwidth one. That's on my list of rainy day projects I'll probably never get to because if I need a mic with a wider frequency response than a 57 I'll just use a different mic, but it's a cool idea.
 

rand z

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A utility mic that has earned it's reputation.

Vocals?

I believe that Tom Petty, who could have any mic he wanted, used one for many year's.

Certain voices, maybe Tom's, might be enhanced by their design and frequency response.

imo.
 

FortyEight

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@kafka. thank u for taking the time to write that response. it was helpful.

i think my main goal is to always try and get stuff to sound like it does to my ear real time. but it seems to me that is a pipe dream with my budget and mics. i wouldnt mind figuring out how to better use the 57 but i guess thus far the 58s have been easier to get closer to the sound i hear.
 

SneakyPup

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I've always liked them over the 58 for vocals since my band days. Lately I use them in my home studio for vocals with the Shure set-screwed windscreen, when a condenser hears me too well these seem to capture that live band vibe.

IMG_1474.JPG
 

kafka

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I believe that Tom Petty, who could have any mic he wanted, used one for many year's.

Certain voices, maybe Tom's, might be enhanced by their design and frequency response.

I mostly associate Petty with a Sennheiser 441. Although, I imagine he's used every mic on the planet. The 441 is a truly wonderful mic, particularly for a dynamic.
 

nedorama

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I mostly associate Petty with a Sennheiser 441. Although, I imagine he's used every mic on the planet. The 441 is a truly wonderful mic, particularly for a dynamic.

He was using 57's live until Robert Scovill convinced him to try a Telefunken M80 as Petty sings very quietly. Robert was FOH mix engineer for 25+ years... in terms of recording, anyone's guess.
 

Rick330man

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You want a cheaper decent sounding mic on a budget? Try an EV Co4 they sound clean, The only down side is a bit more handling noise than the SM57's. Another good budget choice is the ES-57 or ES-58. Once you learn how to place and Eq them they sound fine especially for the price. For sure there are better sounding mics ... I have a few expensive dynamic mics which get used here and there. Once again, unless you are recording nobody is going to know the difference. I own around 40 mics ... the SM57's, SM58's and Co4's get the most use. I personally prefer the Sennheiser e945 to the Beta '58 for vocals the Beta's are way over priced. Then again you have to look at cost vs performance. There are reasons why the the SM57 and SM58 have been around so long.... they are rugged, sound decent and don't cost a lot.

Interesting.

I've got an EV PL84 and a pair of PL24s that I really like. Years ago, the singer in our old band did a contest of sorts with various vocal mics. She came with a Beta 58. She liked the PL24s better, but liked the Sennheiser 835 best.

Threads like these give us all a few more options to think about.
 

bottlenecker

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yeah, me too.

A 57 is easier for a lot of people to use, and easier to mix later. A more hi fi sounding mic can get better results, but can also get worse results, especially later in the mix.
Is a porshe 911 a better car than a camry? It depends what you need it for, but it depends even more on who you are.
 

studio

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A 57 is easier for a lot of people to use, and easier to mix later. A more hi fi sounding mic can get better results, but can also get worse results, especially later in the mix.
Is a porshe 911 a better car than a camry? It depends what you need it for, but it depends even more on who you are.

I'm a Porsche kinda guy!

But I do like SM57's and I drive a Mini Cooper!

 

Sparky2

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I use the Shure SM 57's to mic guitar amps out to the PA.

My brother likes one as a vocal mic as well.
I favor the SM 58 for that, but that's just a personal preference.

Never had a single problem with one.
Or a married problem either, for that matter.

;)

s-l1600.jpg
 




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