SM57 vs SM58- I don't think they sound alike

Discussion in 'Recording In Progress' started by Ecadad, Sep 19, 2019.

  1. Ecadad

    Ecadad Tele-Holic

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    I've always been told that the Shure SM57 and SM58 are essentially the same mic with different grills, and that they sounds indistinguishable. I know that people use both of them for micing up amp cabs and vocals.

    But I have one of each (I've had many of both over the years), and I sear that the SM57 is crisper, less muddy, and more harsh than the SM58, specifically when used on vocals. It doesn't matter if I have a foam pop filter on the SM57 or not, it sounds very different than the 58 either way. I almost prefer the 57 for vocals, but it depends.

    Has anyone else noticed this, or am I imagining it?
     
  2. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Of course they don't sound alike.
     
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  3. Stisch

    Stisch TDPRI Member

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    They do use the same capsule abd body, but the grill assembly changes the sound slightly.
     
  4. AndyPanda

    AndyPanda Tele-Meister

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    Back in the 70's I worked in the repair shop of a music store and when Shure sent replacement capsules to repair a mic, it was the same capsule for either 57 or 58 and same transformer in the handle -- only the pop filter is different.
     
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  5. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

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    The first part is true, the second is not. The headbasket on the 58 makes a difference- take it off, and they'll sound closer.

    Congratulations on using your ears, and not relying on what others tell you.
     
  6. Digital Larry

    Digital Larry Tele-Afflicted

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    Isn't the 58 "1 louder"?
     
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  7. Blue Bill

    Blue Bill Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    :lol: LOL
     
  8. memorex

    memorex Friend of Leo's

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    The ball on the 58 prevents blast and reduces proximity effect. But maybe you want that, so you have to consider whether you're singing ballads or punk metal.
     
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  9. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    While they share the same innards, if you look at the graphic representation of their "envelope" it's different. But it's no longer relevant really, get a Sennheiser. o_O
     
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  10. L.A. Mike

    L.A. Mike Tele-Afflicted

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    I don't know the specifics but a 57 sounds good to me to mic an amp with and the 58 sounds good to sing through at a gig. They don't work as well the other way.
     
  11. muscmp

    muscmp Tele-Afflicted

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    completely different animals!

    play music!
     
  12. fendrguitplayr

    fendrguitplayr Poster Extraordinaire

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  13. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    If you're looking for "crisper", try an old high impedance Shure PE 585. Twenty or so years ago, for a lark, I took my old 585 from about 1970 to rehearsal. We then were using SM 58s for vocals....that was (and I guess still is) the "standard" for vocal mics. I had to use an adapter to even plug the 1/4" plug on the 585 into the PA, but when I did, everyone was just amazed at the crispness and "presence" of that old mic. Most of the time they're not practical for gig usage, cause you can't patch in cable after cable for long runs, (although in the past we used 1/4" extension cables with good results) but it's still interesting to compare. After that practice, I went on "pawn patrol" to find old 585's, and accumulated several.
    While I agree there's "some" difference between an SM 57 and 58, it usually doesn't matter (to me) on a gig. ;)
     
  14. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    Check out fendrguitplayr's post just below you.....they're hardly "completely different animals!".....more like the same animal, just different colors. ;)
     
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  15. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    What you have been told is true. However, it doesn't mean that they sound the same in the end. Each can do the other's job in less-than-critical applications. But they are not just different models with different specs without reason.

    Think of the same car with two different high quality sets of new tires. The heart of the car is the same. Same engine, same amount of power. But how "the rubber meets the road" is different, and there will be slight performance differences as a result. It's kind of like that with the 57 and 58. Pretty much the same mic internally, but the grill differences tend to change the way the sound meets the mic.

    I prefer 57s for most things, myself. You have more control over the e.q. via precise placement close up, and I rarely need the slight differences that the 58's grill offers. But I don't split hairs, because I am not using them in critical applications. Either one of these can do 95 percent of the other one's job, for most real-world applications.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2019
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  16. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    It's the years of accumulated nicotine drool.
     
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  17. PingGuo

    PingGuo Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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  18. Ecadad

    Ecadad Tele-Holic

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    I've mostly noticed that the SM58 needs a lot of EQ to make the vocal sound decent, while with an SM57 I can get away with very little EQ on the vocal
     
  19. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    One can also find that certain kinds of grill cloth change the sound of your guitar amp audibly.
    Never mind proximity effect of getting 3/8"- 1/2" closer to the diaphragm without the ball.
     
  20. AndyPanda

    AndyPanda Tele-Meister

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    Not even different colors, they are just wearing different hats! :lol:
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2019
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