Log in
Log in

Create an account

Add this product to
  • My former gear
  • My current gear
  • My wishlist
Shure SM57
Shure SM57

Dynamic Microphone from Shure belonging to the SM series

Thread optimal mic placement and technique when using SM57 on vocals

  • 4 replies
  • 4 participants
1 optimal mic placement and technique when using SM57 on vocals
Got any advice for recording male vocal tracks with an SM57?

Currently i have a very small home studio with just a few blankets hanging to remedy the most obvious gross reflections. Interface and DAW aside, I just want advice on how to get the most out of the SM57 for mail vocals.

Currently, I point it directly at the vocalist's mouth, place the pop filter as close as possible and have the singer sing extremely close to the pop filter without bumping into the mic.

The obvious problems with this setup is cramming everything together and forcing the singer to constrain his/her movements, which can adversely affect their performance. I'd like to find a solution for more comfortable and better quality tracks and recording experience. *NOTE* please no advice on changing gear! I have a scarlett 2i2 running through Reaper, and I have no budget to change or adjust any of my gear in any way, so please no 'you should get a condenser for your vox instead' or anything like that. Thanks!
What you're doing currently is the best way. Singing close to the mic will give the singer a "bigger" sound due to the proximity effect, and especially on a 57, a pop filter is important because it's designed more for instruments and doesn't have the built in filtering of a dedicated vocal mic like an SM58 (even on that, you'd still use an external pop filter when recording). Ideally, your vocalist needs to learn to be more comfortable singing in the studio. Even with high end vocal mics, the singer needs to stand close and not move around too much.

That being said, if the singer can't adapt to studio techniques, you might consider having him or her hand hold the 57. You'll lose some quality due to handling noise and not being able to use the pop filter, but if it results in a much better performance, it might be worth it. (Adding an inexpensive foam windscreen might help some in this scenario.) You'll certainly have to edit the vocal more heavily to remove plosives (popped "P"s and "B"s) that would have been reduced or eliminated by the pop filter. This method is worth a try if all else is failing, but it's kind of a "last resort" strategy. Good luck.
You can alter the singer's working distance by changing the pop screen distance. A good thing about distancing the pop screen is, the vocalist's movements will have less of an effect on the recording quality.

The problem, however, is that an SM57 (and most dynamics in general) really neat to be almost shoved down the singer's throat (ie as little distance as possible) to get a quality recording. I would either:
  • make due with what you've got
  • get a good condenser for your vocals
  • try using a foam windshield and getting the vocalist to put it to his/her lips
Like said: tips are needed. Not new gear because there is no budget.
I think in your case it is getting the best of what you have.
You get good results without space or less good results with more space for the vocalist.

This is a tricky one.
Could you post a picture of your situation?

It's not about what you got to use ....    but how you use what you got...

I'm out of town so I can't post a pic of my exact setup, but I found this one online that's very similar. Imagine the mic practically kissing the pop filter on one side, and the vocalist practically kissing it on the other side