SM 57 vs. high-quality ribbon mic for recording...yer thoughts?

Discussion in 'Recording In Progress' started by RoscoeElegante, Feb 28, 2020.

  1. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

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    Which do you prefer, why, your views of both types' merits and limitations, etc.

    Subjective, sure. But that's what I'm interested in here. Given your tastes, which do you prefer, for what types of tones?

    Do they make nice when used together?

    Placement & angle preferences?

    Also, I don't have a high-quality ribbon mic, but want to get one. Recommendations?

    Finally, an old-schooler, such as the Shure 55SH.
    https://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro...f1uJc3Es_14qMEi7ei6SIPu8pRYzIW3waAuusEALw_wcB
    Apt for recording? How does it color the sound? Good when used simultaneously with which other types of mics?

    Thanks!
     
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  2. AlbertoMilanese

    AlbertoMilanese Tele-Meister

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    It all depends on the genre/style and volume you are planning to record. If you want warmer tones, ribbon is a sure bet.
     
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  3. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

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    For amps? SM57. Why? Because you really only need to worry about axis of speaker, and not about room.

    Unidyne/55? Not worth the money for recording. You're paying for aesthetics. If you want to stick with dynamic for vocals, get an SM58 and be done with it.

    There are plenty of workable condensers in those price ranges. For vocals, start there.
     
  4. ahiddentableau

    ahiddentableau Tele-Meister

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    The comment that comes to mind for me is that it seems so many players are fixated on the royer and other fancy ribbons because they keep seeing them in recording videos and threads and hearing about them in interviews with famous players (speaking generally--I'm not saying this is what you are doing). But that's not the right reason to choose a mic. You choose a mic because it gives you the particular sound you're looking for. Some guys like warm and some guys like bright, wet versus dry, etc. So I think you should know yourself and what you're looking for and then buy accordingly. For me, I like relatively bright and dry, so I'd go with the 57. Besides, I dig the subtle mid bump you get with the 57. You know you, so you just have to decide accordingly.

    Second, and this goes to what was said above, you need to think about the environment in which you're going to record. Because most ribbons have a figure 8 polar pattern (I know the 121 does) so they're going to pick up a heck of a lot more of the room than a 57 will. This also means that room acoustics matter way more. That makes a ribbon harder to use well. I like that I can take a 57, get my mic placement set, and then move on.
     
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  5. fretWalkr

    fretWalkr Tele-Meister

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    SM57 is THE go-to mic for guitar amps. If you're talking acoustic guitar it's a different story. But for amps, an SM57 is cheap, reliable, durable, and just hard to beat. There are plenty of other options, all will work and be more or less effective. But you can't go wrong with an SM57.
     
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  6. Euphonica

    Euphonica Tele-Meister

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    I don’t like the sm57 for anything except the snare anymore. For guitar cabs I like drum mics like the AKG D112! For bass I like a 421 or a Beta52A.
     
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  7. bftfender

    bftfender Friend of Leo's

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    have a MXL r144 i use a lot..we liked it more on a song than a real expensive one...use it on everything..i have been using close mic & rhen moving a mic back until it really akes a full sound...finding sweet spots lately..really is spreading the guitar nice in the mix. A figure of 8 ribbon picks up real nice & even backwards does a nice flavor.

    57's i like for harder stuff but use others for better results these days..have a Blue Spark that does 3' back capture good.

    here is a cool one MXL dx2..has large & small capsule..can blend,,very good at capture of that speaker sound

    have to say at this point..mic'ing properly has as much effect on the song as the gear does..no rules..use your ears..run a looper & move that mic around...crazy amounts of dif tone available even with a 1" move or an angle adjustment Never Again.jpg New year dsl.jpg dangerous ribbon.jpg MXL d2 side.jpg Optimized-74SRstudio.jpg momma jtm50.jpg
     
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  8. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks for the feedback, all.

    To get more specific:

    My sounds/songs go from folky acoustic Americana to bluesy classic rock.

    I have a dead room, a moderately live room, and a room with really great natural reverb.

    I am recording both electrics and acoustics.

    Regarding electrics' tones, I like both dry and crisp, and warm and round.

    Sometimes just one as fits the song/guitar part, but sometimes both.

    So I should ask,

    1) Do SM57's and ribbon mics go well together? E.g., I'm recording a Tele part that I want both crisp and round. Will using two mics of such different characters generate that richness, or do they clash/cancel each other out somehow? Or is using just one type and EQing whatever frequencies I want to add to dry it up/round it out the best way (though I do like live-sounding sounds best)?

    2) Given that a ribbon mic picks up more of the room, is it better than an SM57 for recording acoustics in semi-live or live rooms?

    3) Given that a ribbon mic picks up more of the room, is it not the best choice when I want the amp's reverb fairly prominent? Would it wash that out because it's picking up so much of the room's resonance?

    I also meant to ask about recording a violin/fiddle and mandolin. I've never recording either of those instruments before. Any tips about them, mic-wise and otherwise?

    Also, drums. Is a ribbon mic too sensitive to use if, on some songs, I want a one-mic approach to micing drums?

    Finally, how does the 55SH Unidyne (that I already own) color guitar tones? I do like those Sun Studio guitar and vocal tones. Does a 55SH do interesting things with amps, or even drums?

    Thanks again!
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2020
  9. bftfender

    bftfender Friend of Leo's

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    IMHO ribbon all day long for your situation,,the 57's are harsh to my ears..i use it on purpose for the metal but never when we do country or any king of full chord work. I use a pencil also a lot combined with ribbon

    Also we dont use any reverb on anything on recording process.it tends to wash out the sound...dont think we have in the 25 years been doing this. The room will produce the best effect of naturalness..but we dont get so caught up in it..

    we focus on a great capture with the instruments & amp/speaker all very well pre planned so its a natural in the mix for the particular song. The mic's we move around ..here is a pic of a crazy one

    this corner was the were the mojo must of been that day piss mic1.jpg
     
  10. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks, bftfender.

    Is there a ribbon mic you particularly like? I am lucky to have the semi-live and very live room, so I'd like to use those spaces' qualities a lot, if possible. I know that a lot of people say record dry and then color as you wish, and I'll do that on some parts of some songs. But capturing and tweaking the live sounds is, overall, what I'd both prefer and what seems to work best for me.
     
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  11. Martin R

    Martin R Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    We had pretty much finished twelve songs with everything but vocals. Someone loaned us a really pricey ribbon mic, (sorry, can't remember the brand). We recorded a lead on it just to see what it sounded like. It was soooo different from the 57.

    My ear is incredibly untrained so the description isn't very technical. The word that came to mind was "presence". It seemed punchier and clearer but not raw. We went back and re-recorded all the Tele parts with the ribbon.

    YMMV

    Deluxe and Ribbon mic 1.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2020
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  12. bftfender

    bftfender Friend of Leo's

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    have a MXL r 144...got it for $50 on Reverb...been on every recording ever since..take it with me & studio likes it..i think it just became part of my sound...pretty low noise floor also mxl r144.jpg
     
  13. bftfender

    bftfender Friend of Leo's

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    think you got it, best way to describe it,,i was trying to explain..thanks

    ..presence...that is what it brings !! so lively in a mix
     
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  14. Geoff738

    Geoff738 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Personally love ribbons on guitar amps.

    As for using a ribbon and 57 together? Royer actually makes a mic clip for using one of their ribbon mics and a 57.

    As for dynamic mics on a cab I prefer the SM7. But lots of mics can work there. 421, EV 609/906 I think, Beyer 201 or 88, the little Sennheiser Tom mic, can’t remember the number, is actually pretty good if a bit grainy. The Audix and Heil mics have their followers too.

    But for me 90% of the time it’s an AEA R84 ribbon about a foot out from the cone. Just gives me what I want and none of the stuff I don’t want.

    Cheers,
    Geoff
     
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  15. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've personally found that no matter what I mic a guitar amp with, I can EQ it later to sound the way I want.
     
  16. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Ιn 35 years working in the studio I have used any mic and mic combination under the sun..

    Trust me you don't need anything else than ONE decent DYNAMIC mic(I prefer the E906 and the M201TG over the SM57 but the later is fine) placed in the sweet spot between the cone and the dust cap to get a GREAT sound that will work fine in ANY type of music and mix.

    Spending $$$ and valuable time with multiple combinations of mics , stereo amps and sixty different microphones on an amp will give you back around 1% of what you put in it ..
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2020
  17. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks, Nick. How is the E906 or M201TG at picking up room ambience, too? And it's good for recording acoustics?
     
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  18. Tuneup

    Tuneup Tele-Meister

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    Ribbon mics if you can afford them, Royer R10 is ~$500 new, also don't forget the pre amp, if you buy a $1000 mic but you have a $129 audio interface, do you think you're getting the mics best?
    Royer sells the R10 is a tuned pair if you like, I usually use the R10 facing directly or slightly angled, I use a Shure SM57 as well and use that off center.
    This is all for guitar by the way, both acoustic and electric.
     
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  19. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Zero room ambience picking (thank God).

    As a second acoustic guitar microphone pointing at the bridge both are great
     
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  20. bftfender

    bftfender Friend of Leo's

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    MXL ribbon on bass
    MXL DX2 on cab
    Blue Spark 3 ft' out

    cranked out 2 songs this weekend at home






    Bend Blue Spark.jpg Winter Skies tele (2).jpg
     
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