Microphone Questions

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Quap, Jul 10, 2020.

  1. Quap


    Oct 14, 2008
    Lubbock, Texas
    I've been picking my buddy's brain for home studio things, he recorded his own album at home so I consider him knowledgeable, and he said I need a condenser microphone.

    I'd like to record vocals and occasionally my acoustic guitar or mic a cab. Is a higher end condenser needed? Can a Shure 57 or 58 do the job I need?

    I am running a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 through a MacBook with Garageband.
  2. ugly_bassplayer


    Jan 21, 2009
    57 and 58 are the same mic. (One has a pop filter for vox.....)
    And yes, they will work awesome.

    My 2 cents.
    akrachanko, imabuddha and westrock like this.
  3. Quap


    Oct 14, 2008
    Lubbock, Texas
    See, this is why I ask questions here.
  4. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    It's not a pop filter, it's called a head basket. Otherwise yes, they have the same body and mic capsule.

    @Quap, you do not need a condenser, high end or otherwise, but it's nice to have different flavors of microphone.
    imabuddha likes this.
  5. Quap


    Oct 14, 2008
    Lubbock, Texas
    I am just beginning and building out the home studio so something that is versatile and doesn't destroy my Sweetwater credit card is nice.
  6. ugly_bassplayer


    Jan 21, 2009
    Well over here in good ole Quebec, the slang for the head basket is pop filter.
    And yes I worked a few years for a pro sound reinforcement company. Hated every second of it to.

  7. SidNitzerglobin


    Feb 12, 2019
    It can do the job & will be a lot more durable, idiot proof, & less expensive than most condensers, but a C12, 414, or U87 (or knock off equivalent) would be a bit more upscale in the sounds.

    It's been a good 20 years since I was doing it regularly, but in the studio we just about never used an SM-57/8 as the sole mic for vocals or acoustics when a good condenser was available unless you were purposefully going for a more lofi character to them. They were mostly used for guitar cabs & snares.

    They're still a good workhorse of a mic to have though IMO, & should get you usable sounds on most sources.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2020
  8. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    That's so bizarre considering that pop filters are a unique and distinctly different thing as it relates to microphones. That's like calling the tires on a car the steering wheel :p
    friend33, mcnach and HolmeBass like this.
  9. ugly_bassplayer


    Jan 21, 2009
    Eh....wadaya gonna do.
    I know.....but hey.....

    Its also called "la boulle du micro"

    The mics ball.

    Last edited: Jul 10, 2020
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  10. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    A dynamic mic can do it.
    But Some Condenser come with multi-pattern switches which can be very advantages.
    Omni pattern is actually very good for many acoustic instruments, or to mic a cab from a few feet back where you can pick up multiple drivers.
    Figure 8 switch along with a cardioid mic for MS processing. Although Studio One 5 claims they can turn any stereo channel to MS I haven't tried it yet.
    And Cardiod switch for when you need it.

    Three mics in one.
  11. And I

    And I

    Feb 19, 2009
    Witchtown, MA
    Acoustic guitar sounds will benefit hugely from large diaphragm condenser mic positioned properly. There are many today in the undsr $200 range that are quite good. Audio Technica and SE Electronics might be good companies to look at.

    But if you don't have a good sounding room to record in, i'd stick with the 57/58 and do some proper acoustical treatment before investing in mics.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2020
    MonetBass, Gabbs, hbarcat and 4 others like this.
  12. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    Yes, own any large diaphragm condenser mic over about $100. A 57/8 is great for guitar amp. Don't use a 58 for vocals- they haven't been state of the art since 1966.
    There you have it- contrasting views on the SM58. I've made a living mic'ing vocals for 41 years and seen a lot of mics come and go. The 58 went.
  13. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    I thought this was well put. For stage use a dynamic mic is more rugged and the Shure 57/58 are really good mics with a long reputation for good sound and durability.

    In a studio setting, if there's a condenser available I'd give the edge to it for sound quality and sensitivity.

    I personally have a 60's Shure 55S converted to a Super 55 with an updated cartridge. Just finished updating it, including new red foam.

    Shure front-1.jpg Shure side-1.jpg
    SidNitzerglobin and REV like this.
  14. Isn’t sm58 omnidirectional and SM57 unidirectional?
  15. ugly_bassplayer


    Jan 21, 2009
    Same mic.

    HolmeBass likes this.
  16. vvvmmm


    Dec 6, 2016
    Hi, my name is vvvmmm, and I'm like kinda a mic addict. Trust me, you do not wanna know.

    It's a rabbit hole.

    That said, the 57/58 series is totally wonderful, useful and usable.

    But my advice, get the Shure Beta 58 - it's the version with the blue stripe on it's, eh, round part.
    filmtex likes this.
  17. If you take time, and use proper mic placement, with the Shure 57 or 58 you can achieve just as high a quality recording as you can with a very expensive condenser, that you don’t know how to properly use. Good recordings come more from making sure you have proper distance of the mic to a reflecting surface, making sure you have set up the mic at the proper spot on the speaker (or voice/instrument), and more from making sure it is recorded at the proper level - than they do expensive gear. Move the mic around on the speaker. Move it around the room. Make sure you don’t have too much or too little echo from room acoustics. LISTEN to the results recorded at many different angles. That will tell you what sounds good to you, and help you find the sound your looking for. ALWAYS get a good sound to start with before you add anything else.
    Too many people buy a lot of expensive gear (they don’t know how to use), and use far too many plug-ins and effects, to try and make up for bad recording techniques.
    After trying this, you will realize what new gear you need, if any.
    imabuddha and ugly_bassplayer like this.
  18. Weberman


    Apr 8, 2014
    Nilbog, Ohio
    I do scratch vocals with a 57. It isn't perfect, but can work with the right EQ. My vocals need to cut, so the 57's sound works okay as a starting point - lots of mids and a presence bump. I re-record them later with a condenser, but the 57 would be useable, if I had no other option. The SM7, which has a similar midrange sound, has been used on a lot of recordings by major artists and engineers.

    On acoustic, a condenser (small or large diaphragm) or ribbon will get you a much more "professional" sound. The honk of the 57 makes most acoustics sound a bit ugly, and masks articulation. Of course, many acoustics you hear are recorded with two mics, with each aimed at a different part of the guitar. Whatever the case, if you are looking for a "hi-fi" acoustic sound, a 57/8 will need a lot of EQ, which can kill the sound.

    One thing with dynamics like the 57 is to play with proximity (too close really muddies up the sound), and get a good pop filter. Also, when EQing, it is often better to cut offending frequencies rather than boosting, and use makeup gain to March the level - unless you have a really "musical" EQ, like a Pultec.
  19. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia bassist, arranger, aelurophile Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    +1 for a large diaphragm condenser for vocals and acoustic guitar. For recording I pretty much only use dynamic mics for drums and guitar amps.

    You can get a very decent condenser for not much more than a 57/58. I've got a Rode NT-1A that I'm really impressed with.
    MonetBass and DirtDog like this.
  20. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin Estimator Extraordinaire

    May 13, 2015
    Greenville, NC
    The SM58 is the end-all be-all vocal mic where I live. I have 4 of them but only as guitar amp mics and one of the guys in my band, insists that the 58 is the best vocal mic ever made. I also have a bunch of Sennheiser e835's and we use them as singing mics for everybody else in the band. I know when I set up mic trim on the PA that it takes more to get the 58 up to level than the e835.

    To get back on topic, I've found that I prefer condensers as overhead drum mics. The cymbals just sound more alive versus using a regular mic. I have a pair of very old Realistic (Shure) condensers that are powered by a single AA battery, that work great. I'm sure that a newer condenser would be an improvement but I just haven't gotten around to getting new mics yet.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2020
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