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Modified right-angle version of the legendary SM57 dynamic microphone

By Phil O'Keefe

 


Recording engineers are known for having a wide range of opinions when it comes to their preferred methods and tools, and that's certainly true of microphones. Ask any ten engineers what their favorite vocal microphone is and you'll probably see quite a bit of variety in the answers. But in spite of that, some microphones are more universally loved and used than others. Certainly one of the most popular microphones of all time is the Shure SM57. This dynamic microphone has been a live sound and recording studio mainstay for years. In fact, it's probably recorded more guitar amps and snare drums than any other microphone ever made. So how do you improve on a legend? Granelli Audio Labs felt they had a way to do just that, and the result is the G5790. 

 


What You Need To Know

  • The Granelli Audio Labs G5790 uses an actual SM57 as the foundation upon which it is built. They use brand-new Shure SM57s and then modify them to produce the Granelli Audio Labs G5790.
  • What's different? The shape! The SM57 is incredibly popular, but its shape and length can sometimes make placement a bit challenging. Since a stock SM57 is 6 3/16" long, you need to have quite a bit of room directly behind whatever you're aiming it at. You also need to allow for enough space for the cable that plugs into the rear of the microphone, which extends that distance even further, even when using a cable with a right-angle XLR connector. Without such a connector, you need two or three inches more beyond the length of the mic. The Granelli Audio Labs G5790's angled shape means only about 4" of the mic is forward of the angled elbow; less room behind the mic is required, and since the L shape moves the remaining length of the body and the XLR connector out of the way, you're able to fit the mic into much tighter locations.
  • What's not different? The sound! The microphone sounds just like the SM57's you're already familiar with. The frequency response, sensitivity and other characteristics have been independently tested and confirmed to be essentially the same as an unmodified SM57. The G5790 will sound as much like a SM57 as any other SM57 will. In direct comparisons with three different SM57s that I have on hand at the moment, I was unable to hear any significant differences.
  • Yes, the chamber behind the capsule is a contributor to the sound and performance of the stock microphone, and Granelli Audio Labs has taken care to insure that their modification has a similar chamber and doesn't alter the sound.
  • Would you prefer to do the modification yourself and want to use your existing microphones? No problem - Granelli Audio Labs offers a Do-It-Yourself Conversion kit for $49.99 that includes the machined 90 degree aluminum "elbow" and all the wires, heat shrink tubing and instructions you'll need to convert a stock SM57 into a G5790.
  • The shape allows the G5790 to be used with small, simple desk type mic stands on guitar amps and keep everything nice and close. The right angle allows the cable and connector to be pointed straight down instead of projecting out and in front of the amp as far as a standard SM57 and cable would. It may not seem like much, but on a tightly packed stage, every little bit helps, and the G5790 is less likely to be accidentally knocked out of position than a stock SM57.


Limitations

  • You can't send in your existing SM57 for modification by Granelli Labs - they only modify and sell new microphones, although you can order the parts and do the modification to your pre-existing microphone(s) yourself if you wish.
  • The Granelli Audio Labs G5790 is not a Shure product, and it is not covered under Shure's warranty, However, Granelli Audio Labs does provide their own two-year warranty.
  • Currently the G5790 is the only mic that Granelli Audio Labs offers. Here's hoping that they'll offer similar modifications for other microphones in the future.


Conclusions

The G5790 is a simple yet brilliant idea, perfectly executed. By taking a well-cherished live and studio microphone standard and putting that 90 degree angle into the body, they've increased its flexibility and made it a lot easier to place into tight locations. Crucially, they have done so without changing the sound of the microphone. It's still the same mic you've known, loved and used for years, it's just a lot easier to position in close quarters. Low slung cymbals and hi hats are no longer the impediment to using a '57 that they once were. That alone will go a long way towards keeping both drummers and engineers happy since the engineer will still be able to use the placement they want to get the desired sound without having to ask the drummer to adjust or modify the positioning of the various elements of their kit. Anything that helps both drummers and engineers do their best work without compromises is a welcome tool, and the G5790 certainly fits the bill. Every well-stocked mic locker needs at least one of these bad boys in it.


Resources

Granelli Audio Labs G5790 small diaphragm dynamic microphone ($199.00 MSRP, $149.99 "street" - available direct from Granelli Audio Labs)

Granelli Audio Labs website

 



Phil O'Keefe is a multi-instrumentalist, recording engineer / producer and the Senior Editor of Harmony Central. He has engineered, produced and performed on countless recording sessions in a diverse range of styles, with artists such as Alien Ant Farm, Jules Day, Voodoo Glow Skulls, John McGill, Michael Knott and Alexa's Wish. He is a former featured monthly columnist for EQ magazine, and his articles and product reviews have also appeared in Keyboard, Electronic Musician and Guitar Player magazines. 



 
 
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