Shure SM57
Shure SM57

SM57, Dynamic Microphone from Shure in the SM series.

crankyrayhanky 04/20/2012

Shure SM57 : crankyrayhanky's user review

« Super Magnificent 57 »

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This is a dynamic microphone; utilization includes live and studio settings.


The famous Shure 57...there is a serious love/hate on this microphone. I've been on both sides of the pendulum, so here's my experiences...
It seems that every major guitar tone in the studio and live applications use the 57. World famous mic that one has to have...and even better, it's actually affordable! After decades of using dozens of other mics, I decided to buy (2) of these mics.
First impression was awful! couldn't get a decent sound in my home recording setup...I'm not sure if my ears were used to condensers & ribbons, but this mic presented a 0/10 for me. Back into the case they went; I assumed they could be useful for live band or drum tom mics or whatever so I kept them. As time went on, every gig I played- from crappy bars to 1200 seat theater, the 57 was put right up on my amp grille. I returned to my studio to try the mics again.
This time I had quality preamps. Instead of lo/mid level pieces, i actually had a Universal Audio 6176 to plug into...with proper placement, I realized that the 57 did indeed have that familiar magic sound- a desired hi pass to eliminate the rumble, a lo pass to avoid the piercing highs, and a mid frequency that loved guitars. I was suddenly hooked! Finding the sweet spot was a chore- I don't have a separate engineer and a control booth; I have 1 large room and work the mic with my headphones blasting, searching endlessly for the sweet spot. Dead center is a horrible sound- unfortunately most live engineers stick it right there on a gig-YUCK. Right where the center meets the cone is a good spot to shoot for- too much cone is too warm, too much center is to bright, but somewhere in between lies the SPOT. Once the spot is located, I grab another 57 and put it right next to it in perfect parallel. Both mics right up as close to the grill as possible. Molting these 2 mics together yields a perfect rock/metal tone for guitarists.

Time went on and I needed to sell of my 6176...bought another, then needed to sell that too, lol. I'm now using an inexpensive GAP73 & an 11R for my mic pres- humble and inexpensive, yet more than serviceable preamps. I realized that the 57 still sounds great, but huge attention to placement is the key. It can easily turn to crap mud or piercing highs, but find the sweet spot and it is golden.

Overall- great bang for your buck! Getting a pro-proven piece of gear for under $100 is extraordinary. I didn't go much into it, but these mics can sound killer on snare top (awesome application!), snare bottom, toms, vocals, you name it, it will do the job....and it will take a beating! I love that these are so cost effective, I can leave them setup for recording and just leave them there day after day. i wouldn't dare do that with an expensive ribbon or condenser, but with the 57, I'm like set it and forget it. Once I find my sound, it stays there for months!