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

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

  1. telepraise

    telepraise Tele-Holic

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    Schmee is right. The 58's response curve is tuned to the midrange of the human voice, the 57 is flatter and better suited to mic'ing drums and guitar amps, or anything else brutally loud. He's right about the Sennheiser too, much clearer, more natural sounding mic. The E835 is a better mic, made in Germany, and cheaper too. Go figure
     
  2. wildschwein

    wildschwein Tele-Afflicted

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    The capsules are essentially the same. The 58 has always sounded better to my ears. It has more low end and a flatter overall sound whereas the 57 has an upper mid spike of some sort and I prefer the 58 in every scenario. I don't like the industry standard sound of 57s for guitar cabs.
     
  3. kiwi blue

    kiwi blue Tele-Afflicted

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    Whereas I love the sound of a 57 on guitar amps. I like a 58 on amps too. To me a 58 has more chime to the top end and a has 57 a little more bite (on amps).

    Any A/B comparisons between the two need to take into account that the ball end on the 58 means the capsule is further from the front end of the mic. In other words, if you align the very front of a 57 and a 58, the capsule on the 57 will be closer to the sound source, which brings into play the proximity effect when close miking. You need to position them so that the capsules are aligned, and then make comparisons. Of course the fact that you can get a 57 capsule closer to the amp is a valid difference meaning you can get more proximity effect when close miking. This makes the 57 more flexible in that application.

    I once did a test recording using a 58 with the ball end off and a 57 on an amp, with capsules aligned, and both recording the same performance. The sound was very close, but even then there was a subtle difference in the top end and I preferred the 57.
     
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  4. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

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    On the website for Electrical Audio in Chicago (Steve Albini's studio), they have a list of all their mics with a brief description. The one for the Beyer 201 reads, "This is what an SM57 would sound like if it was a microphone."

    I have a few 57s in a box somewhere, but I haven't used them in years.
     
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  5. bobk

    bobk Tele-Meister

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    When I was gigging all the time, the 57 was my go to vocal mic..........I liked it better than the 58.........sounded different to me
     
  6. G.Rotten

    G.Rotten Tele-Holic

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    I prefer 58's for vocals & 57's for amps (also hi-hat/snare in a pinch). I happen to have a couple of 60's PE-588's I inherited from my Dad that I feel is right in the middle & I like for everything (but rarely use due to sentimental reasons).

    57's also seem to make decent harmonica mics from what I've seen.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2019
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  7. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    Yup, but it's also vocalist dependent. The 58 can help some vocalists with loud but thin tones. The 57 can help an overly soft and/or warm vocalist seem to project better.

    Again, it's a function of what tends to happen in real-world use. People tend to get closer to the 57, and thus end up with a warmer sound...yet also with a slightly snappier high end due to the missing foam ball on the inside of the 58's grill. Gives the tone more cut and articulation, but also supports low end "warmth" (as long as you have a singer who understands how to use distance-to-mic as a tool).

    But again, we're talking slight here. It could hardly be appreciated in a real-world live sound situation in anything but the most acoustically incredible space, with the most incredible sound system, the most incredible sound engineer, and a really technically skilled band. In most real-world scenarios (which means largely amateur or semi-pro), 57 and 58 are effectively interchangeable...especially with a decent mixer and someone who [at least kinda] knows how to use it. Considering that we usually aren't talking about spanking new mics here either, I believe that you're more likely to hear the differences between any two individual 58s or 57s that have lived different lives, some easier or harder than others, than you are likely to hear it between a factory fresh 57 and a factory fresh 58.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2019
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  8. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's

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    Different sounds, as many others have said.

    Harsh? That’s likely your EQ and not the mic. I can’t imagine how many hundreds of thousands of vocals have been delivered live and/or recorded with an SM57.
     
  9. jimash

    jimash Friend of Leo's

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    My Sm58 is so old, all the foam inside is gone and it sounds pretty present.
     
  10. codamedia

    codamedia Friend of Leo's

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    Same guts, different grills. Don't underestimate the impact of a different grill design. Besides the tonal difference there is a practical reason for each grill design... the '58 protects the diaphragm more - making it a better "common choice" for somebody to spit in for a few hours every night while the '57 design allows the diaphragm to get a little closer to the sound source.

    Anyone that owns a multiple numbers of mics also knows that "no two 58's sound the same", "no two 57's sound the same" and "no two mics of any make/model sound the same". This becomes even more prevalent with age, use and care, but line up 6 brand new mics (same make/model) and they will still have subtle differences between them.

    and on a final note... just because a particular mic works best for "your" voice... that doesn't mean it will be the best choice for somebody else's voice. (replace voice with guitar, snare, trumpet, etc...)
     
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  11. muscmp

    muscmp Tele-Afflicted

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    i would believe that we are both correct.

    play music!
     
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