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Thread: SM 57, and SM 58's

  1. #1
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    Question SM 57, and SM 58's

    Does anyone know why the SM 57's and SM 58's used to be around $400 (maybe 20 yrs ago or something...) and now you can pick them up for under $200?? I'm talking the Aussie dollar btw....and whats the main difference between the 2 mics?
    Cheers
    Alex

  2. #2
    IbreatheMusic Author Bizarro's Avatar
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    I'm sure there are people on this site with much more detailed knowledge than I have about mics, but I'll sum up what I have come across.

    First, the mic's are cheaper because they are mass produced and everything is cheaper nowadays! It is a very popular mic and every working band usually has at least 5 SM57's and SM58's.

    The SM57 is very directional. It's usually used for mic'ing amps (close to a speaker) or with a vocalist that holds the mic right up to his/her lips and doesn't move much.

    The SM58 is more forgiving from a directional standpoint. Vocalists use this often because you can move around a bit and not cut out!

    These two mic's have been in use forever and they are a sound that we're used to hearing. Edward Van Halen has repeatedly mentioned the SM57 & SM58 in interviews when asked what he uses in the studio! It's hard to argue with the amazing brown sound!

    These mics are durable too, so they stand up to the rigors of setup and teardown, etc. You never want to drop a mic because it'll gradually get destroyed, but these things happen in real life! (Nateman and I played some gigs on the beach this summer and the wind came in and blew over everything that wasn't tied down ) At least it didn't rain, much.

    The mics sound a bit different from each other, but I can't put the difference into words.

    Oh well, that's my 2 cents. Hope it helps.
    -Bizarro
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  3. #3
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    That pretty much sums it up and I agree with everything.

  4. #4
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    I used to use a EV PL95 to mic my rig. It was not as hot as a SM57 or 58 but it was being used to mic an amp!
    I liked it because it didn't 'color' the sound. 57's and 58's have some eqing going on that is good for vocals but makes guitar sound harsh. I found this to be true for live sound, anyway.
    I used to use a combination of the line out signal and a mic and later when I got a mesa studio pre-amp I added the recording out. To me this combination was great because you got the 'pushing air' sound from the mic, big bottom from the recording out plus the 'sizzle' that you can only get from a line out.
    "Listen to the Spaces Between the sounds."
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  5. #5
    Ibreathe Music Advisor EricV's Avatar
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    In the studio, I usually use either two 57s or a 57 and a Neumann U87... works great.
    Last year I was part of some public discussion, it was some event where Iīd sit on stage with another guitarist, a luthier, a sound engineer and some others, and weīd discuss and talk about certain topics in front of an audience.
    When it came to talking about mics, it was insanity. The sound engineer listed several mics which are supposed to be way better than the 57, and he rambled about how much the 57 actually sucks, soundwise.
    My reply was something like "I agree that the SM57, technically, might not be the most sophisticated mic, and that many last-generation mics and tube-mics might sound way better, more brilliant... but the SM57 sure has become a part of the way we perceive guitar sounds since it has been used for so many guitar records. We are kinda used to itīs sound, itīs both a classic and a standard, and thatīs why I still go with that combination... "

    It was a loooooong discussion
    Eric

  6. #6
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    Thanks fellas, great answers
    Exactly what i was hoping for.
    Cheers

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