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Which Vocal Mic?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Dkerwood, Jan 7, 2006.

  1. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    I'm torn. I'm usually an SM58 guy, and I use a 57 to mic my guitar amp (when I play bass, I usually run direct). Well, this last gig was a small one with little PA support, so I plugged the 57 in just for kicks.

    SIDEBAR: I used to use an instrument mic for vocals, and I finally got extremely frustrated with the sound I was getting out of it, so I switched over to a "vocal" mic, and a couple of years ago switched permanantly to a SM58. A about five years ago I did a gig where I had to sing on a PG57, and I hated it. The sound was so bassy and compressed. The idiot soundman had put a PG58 on my guitar amp at that gig, so I just switched the mics and was happy again. In fact, after that gig, I pulled out my old instrument mic and used that for my guitar amp, even while I was using a $10 Nady Starpower for vocals...

    BACK ON TOPIC: For whatever reason, I really liked the 57! It felt like it had just a bit of natural compression, and the stage noise rejection was amazing... I mean, I know that the 57 and 58 are essentially the same mic with a different windscreen, so I didn't expect there to be a huge difference, but what do you know?

    The only thing I didn't like about the 57 is this. Since my mouth was SO close to the mic, I had to turn the level down farther than usual. This meant that if I stepped even a few inches away from the mic, signal dropped off significantly, so the point where I had to hover near the mic even more than I typically do. This isn't a big deal, but it's something to mention.

    It'll be interesting to try this out with our big rig PA, and see if the "natural" compression of the 57 is overkill once the PA's compressor is back in the mix.

    So how about you guys? SM58 or SM57? And an even more broad topic - do you use a "vocal" mic to sing, or an "instrument" mic?
  2. Mr. Pitiful

    Mr. Pitiful

    Jan 22, 2003
    Fargo ND
    As a lead vocalist and bass player, I would recomend the Shure 58. I have several more expensive mics in the $200-$300 range, and I still keep finding myself going to the 58.
    You can buy something more expensive, but you probably wont notice the difference in a live situation. Its pretty much the standard vocal mic which everything else is compaired. Plus they are pretty inexpensive, especially for the quality. I dont think you will be dissapointed.

    Mr. Pitiful
  3. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    You might want to try a Beta 57A. I've used one at rehearsals when I was too lazy to dig out my Beta 87C. I really like the sound of it. They seem to do well with male voices.

    Believe it or not, I've been getting the B57As at GC for $90 (they mark them at $139). I've got three of them and use them for miking amps, for which they also are superb.
  4. We have a winner!

    The Beta 57A is my favourite vocal mic. More gain before feedback than any other mic I've encountered and a nice, crisp tone.
  5. I'm a big fan of the 58 beta for vocals, but have used a 57 in a pinch. (with decent results)
  6. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I have to admit that I don't like any of the Beta line of mics. They took what was special about plain 58's and 57's and killed it. The highs are too boosted for my tastes.

    As for which I prefer, the 58. I tend to jump around and find it hard to stand in one spot to sing, so I find the 58 more forgiving of that. Sonically, though, they sound fairly identical to me, even though the 57 has a wider freq range.
  7. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005

    The Beta 87C is uuugly... :smug:

    I used my 57 at church tonight. I loved it. So much more control over volume since I can get louder on a 57...

    It's funny, really. If I'm not mistaken, the mic that the church provides for me to sing into is the SM87 (I think), which should be a really great mic, but I hate it. It's just so muddy and inarticulate. I replace it every other week with some other mic... anything from a Nady SP-1 to a SM58 to the 57 I used tonight... I even busted out the MXLs when I bought them for my home studio. Singing into a large diaphram mic was fun.

    I may head over to GC next week and check out the Beta 57. How on earth do you get them for $50 less than marked? If I can get a Beta for the price of the SM, then I might just ignore how ugly the Beta series is, too. ;)
  8. JansenW


    Nov 14, 2005
    Cambridge, MA
    My worship team uses the SM58's. They're rugged, sound great and mix well. I've also used a Beta 58 in difficult live feedback situations with good results.

    Heard great things about the Audix OM2's so I just got in some in to use but haven't compaired them yet to the SM58's.
  9. FriscoBassAce


    Dec 29, 2004
    Frisco, Texas
    Independent Manufacturers Representative
    I've got 5 trusty SM58's for all the vocal duties in our band. We use SM57's for miking guitar cabs and the snare. For the money, you just can't beat the 58. That's why it's called the workhorse of the vocal mic world.
  10. patrickj


    Aug 13, 2001
    Baltimore, MD
    I also use SM57 (for both vocals and micing my cab). No complaints here.
  11. Folmeister

    Folmeister Knowledge is Good - Emile Faber Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    Tomball, Texas
    I have been using the same SM57 for everything for the last twenty years. It is dirty, scratched, has a dent in the screen, and smells really bad. But it sounds the same as the day I bought it: good.
  12. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    If it's really an SM-87 you can be pretty sure it's either broken or EQ'd by a monkey. Lots of people dislike them for being too articulate and revealing. Can also be very nasal with the wrong voice, in my experience. You also need to place monitors differently than with a 58 for best results. The 87's my go-to mike for good female jazz vocalists, or even scary Tom Waits/Mr. Tooth wannabes like myself. :cool: IIRC, there is at least one PG model that looks very similar, maybe that's the one you've used?

    57 vs 58? Meh, don't use either one except for miking instruments. The jazz diva in my band has an SM-58, which is < than a regular 58 as far as I'm concerned. But it's all about matching to the individual singer, the PA, and so on. Confidence is extremely important for singers, so I always used to keep at least one 58 around just in case, when I was playing sound provider. I can't remember anyone preferring one to my inexpensive AKG D-880s in my system though, once they heard a direct comparison. 58s have a great track record for durability though, dented grille screens notwithstanding.
  13. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    The audix compare very well with the 58's.
  14. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone. Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    I actually prefer to sing through an SM57 over an SM58 (SM58s are fine though), but I have to stay right on top of it. SM57s aren't very forgiving if you move around too much...
  15. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    Nope. Turns out that it was actually a BG5.1. "Beta Green" series, whatever that means, discontinued in 2002. It's still a condensor, but significantly less expensive (i think) than the 87. Looks the same on the website, so you can understand my mistake.

    The BG is a little bassy for my taste.

    I used one of my 58s for church this weekend, and it also worked quite well. I guess it's six in one hand, half dozen in the other.
  16. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    I figured it was probably something like that. Shure tends to change names in the budget lines every few years, hence my close-but-no-cigar guess.:cool: 87s are pretty expensive, and for a lot of people there's no real advantage over a 58 or whatever.

    I don't have any problem at all mixing or performing with 58s or 57s, I just do a little better with the 87 (non Beta in my case). My voice really doesn't need much bass boost. Actually, some would say that all it needs is for the mute button to be engaged...
  17. JansenW


    Nov 14, 2005
    Cambridge, MA
    That's what I've heard. Looking forward to using them in our Feb. worship sets.
  18. Interesting discussion. I don't have much to add, except that I was surprised to see so many people saying "yeah the Shure 57/58/etc are great", since I remember reading an old thread on here once about vocal mics and about 95% of the discussion was about how Shure 57/58/etc mics are overrated, that there are a handful of other mics that are alot better for the price, and that spending a few extra hundred $$$ on a mic is often well worth it.
  19. Akami

    Akami Four on the floor

    Mar 6, 2005
    I've used a lot of different mics over the years all the way from a Shure 58 to couple different Beyer models to Sennheiser's 441 which I used exclusively at one time and later on the EV 757.

    My present favorite is the Sennheiser 845 or Peavey 585 but after an in-store check I recently bought a couple Audio Technica AE-6100's which we'll be trying out this weekend.

    One very important thing to take into account when purchasing a mic is the same thing you do when choosing a bass; the other guys favorite may not be the right thing for you.

    Case in point; I bought the EV 757's figuring that we'd finally hit upon the perfect mic only to realize in some onstage side by side comaparisons that we both (my ex and I) liked the 757 for her voice, but liked the Peavey 580 much better for mine.

    If the 57 is the right mic for your voice then use one, but I'd highly suggest at least trying out a few others and to bring a huge shaker of salt when someone else tries to tell you which one you need, 'cause your voice and theirs are not likely to be the same.

    A serious singer should choose their mic much the same as they would their instrument and amp. Be open minded.
  20. nysbob


    Sep 14, 2003
    Cincinnati OH
    I prefer & use the 57. It just works better for me...plus it won't shock your lips if there's a ground problem.