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Shure SM57...good vocal mic?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by mmbongo, Jul 12, 2011.

  1. mmbongo

    mmbongo Dilly Dilly! Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Allright, I know little to none about mics so I need some schoolin!

    I'll cut to the chase...I need a vocal mic, I have an SM57...am I fine with that or is there a better vocal mic I can buy for the same price I could sell the 57 for?
  2. It is good for vocals. Sting, Sammy Haggar, Bruce Springsteen have used it for vocals.

    The sound will be good enough, but unless you have money to spend on a quality condenser mic, a SM57 will do just fine.

    Edit: I didn't see this was on live sound. So a condenser won't be idel for a live situation.

    An SM 58 or a sennheiser e835 are in the same price range and are just as good.
  3. Trade it in for an SM 58. The SM58 is basically the same as an SM57 except for the hardware. You can use an SM57 for vocals in a pinch but the SM58 is better suited and an industry standard. Too my ears the SM57 sounds a little harsh in the upper mids/treble area when compared directly to the SM58.
    Jeshua likes this.
  4. paganjack


    Dec 25, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    +1. Generally true, it sounds a little honky sometimes, but it will work in a pinch, no problem. A big part of the sound comes down to technique too, if you get it really close it sounds a little beefier, but from further away, it gets more mid-focused ( to my admittedly amateur ears ).
  5. Chris Squire digs 'em.

    So do I.
  6. mmbongo

    mmbongo Dilly Dilly! Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Sounds like it should be fine for me. I'm not a lead vocalist, just a bass player who does occasional backing vocals. I doubt I could trade even for an SM58, but I may try.

    I'm going to assume that even though it may not be as ideal as an SM58, I'd be better off keeping the SM57 instead of selling it to buy a $50 'vocal mic' such as an SM48 or AKG P3S, correct?
  7. Lot's of singers I've worked with love and prefer singing through a 57 over a 58, even though the 58 is designed to be the vocal mic. Most don't, but a significant number do.

    Since you can't sell the 57 for what a new one would cost, you won't be able to afford an adequate replacement for what you can sell the 57 for. Unless you want to toss a bit of extra money at it, I'd try the 57 first and make sure it won't work for you.
  8. ga_edwards


    Sep 8, 2000
    UK, Essex
    Not to mention it has a narrow focus area. ie you need to sing right into the front of it to get the best response, which can be tricky when playing and singing at the same time. Or those times when you turn your head to visually contact a band mate. If you sing into the side of it, the volume drops right down.

    A 58 has a wider field and can pickup from the side better which may be better suited to some peoples vocal style and stage antics.

    The 58 Beta is even better, as it's more powerful and less prone to feedback - as long as you put foldback monitors in the right place!
  9. I've been using one for 30 years. It fits my voice well. For some reason, I notice proximity effect more with an SM58, which is strange since they are virtually the same mic with different covers. I have a 57 with a foam pop filter.

    A/B it with a 58 or something else, see which you prefer.
  10. This is probably true.

    But if your voice is like mine, and I have a lot of low mid in my voice that tends to muddy things up a bit, that increased mid-to-high response makes the 57 a better fit for me. I sound clearer and more articulate.
  11. TL5


    Jun 27, 2005
    From the Shure web site (links below):

    The SM58 and the SM57 share the same mic element, the Unidyne III. The only difference between these two models is the grill design.(1)

    The SM57 and SM58 microphones are based on the same cartridge design. The main difference is in the grille design. The SM58 was designed for vocal application and it uses a ball grille that acts as an effective pop filter. The SM57 was designed as an instrument microphone where a smaller grille size is preferred. In this application, pop and wind are not usually a concern.

    The SM57 uses an integral resonator/grille assembly, where grille is actually a part of the cartridge. These two grille designs place the diaphragm of each microphone in a different acoustical environment. The distance from the top of the grille to the diaphragm is shorter on the SM57 compared to that of the SM58. This allows for a closer miking position with a more pronounced proximity effect. The different resonator/grille assembly design of the SM57 is also responsible for its slightly higher output above 5 kHz.(2)

    You can even take the ball grill off of a 58 and essentially have an SM57. (3)

    That said, as it applies to the OP, put one of these foam pop screens on a 57 and you'd essentially have an SM58.

    (1) SM57 vs SM58 - proximity effect

    (2)SM57 vs SM58

    (3)Using the SM58 without the ball grill
  12. EricJ


    Feb 28, 2008
    If you decide to shell out some cash, try the low-end Heil. Much better for male voices than an SM58, with less boominess and less proximity effect.
  13. I have this mic and I absolutely love it.

    Blue Microphones | en·CORE 200 - Performance Series

    I've used SM58's and an Audio Technica AT41HE in the past but this Blue Encore 200 is head and shoulders a better vocal mic than both of those (and they are both pretty good mics)
  14. Any particular model?
  15. Kael


    Dec 26, 2004
    Oklahoma City
    SM 57's are so damned useful on in so many applications that there is no way I would recommend selling one unless you had another. I think every musician should own one. That being said, I'd shell out the cash for an SM 58 over the SM 57. The SM 58 just works better on vox.
  16. +1

    The 57 is such a useful workhorse, it's kinda the Swiss army knife of mics, can use it for just about anything in a pinch, esp live so hang onto it.

    I think the 58 works better for vocals IMHO/IME, too, but the one I really like for vocals was mentioned earlier and that's the Sennheiser e835, great mic and the same price as the Shures. Try them side by side and see what you think.
  17. R Baer

    R Baer Commercial User

    Jun 5, 2008
    President, Baer Amplification
    I always found the SM57 to sound a bit too mid forward, for my voice. I preferred the SM58. For my own personal mic, I carried the Beta58A. Basically, a SM58 with a little better clarity and presence.

    Asking opinions on mics is a bit of a loaded question. You really have to find one that works best for your voice.
    sratas likes this.
  18. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    I found the e835 kinda woody on my voice. A 57, using Shure's pop filter works well for me. More money but the Audix OM5 at $150 is a great vocal mic.
  19. mmbongo

    mmbongo Dilly Dilly! Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Thanks for all the info, guys!
  20. Jools4001

    Jools4001 Supporting Member

    20 years ago I used to sing lead vox and I had a 57 for years, absolutely loved it. Suited my voice and it seemed to be less prone to feedback than the 58 I had previously. I would still have it today if it hadn't been stolen.

    I went into a shop to get another 57 when I landed a gig that needed backing vox, but they'd sold out, so I got a Sennheiser e835 instead. I like the Sennheiser even better than I liked the 57, but if I still had my original 57 I wouldn't even have thought about changing

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