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What should i do with my shure sm57 mic?

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  • What should i do with my shure sm57 mic?

    I purchased an sm57 mic to test how my recorder sounds with this great mic. it doesn't sound that clear. i was expecting professional studio type quality from sounds recorded with my br-800 recorder. I haven't used the mic since i tested it. what should i do with this mic? its about $100. i don't want to waste it.

  • #2
    What would you do with it? Pretty simple - Keep it or sell it.

    There are many mics that sound good for guitar but consider this.
    An SM57 has been used on countless hit recordings and is revered in the industry for a number of good reasons,

    First its got a proximity response and pickup pattern that isolates the mic from picking up bleedover and background noise from other instruments.
    This is great when recording live or in studio with other musicians. If you record solo then you don't have the bleedover issue.

    Second the mic has an ideal frequency response for recording guitar. It rolls off lows and highs where they are supposed to has a bump in the 4~5K region where the guitar needs to cut through and sit properly in a mix. Doesn't sound bad for snare, toms and vocals either.

    In all, you can record guitar and the track needs minimal tweaking to have it sound good. In a way it can be a trusted standard you build the rest of your mix around. In a way the mic is a truth detector. What you get is what you're actually sounding like.

    If you're unable to get a decent track from it then you likely have other issues you need to deal with. You mentioned the tracks aren't clear. This can be a problem with what you are actually projecting from your amp. You don't hear it because you're hearing the sound from a distance and hearing all the reflection in the room. Raise the amp up to ear level and all of a sudden you hear why the mic is producing unclear tones. Its because your amp and pedals are producing unclear tones.

    More importantly - your mix is likely lacking a good balance. As I said, if a track recorded with the mic doesn't fit right in a mix, then maybe the rest of your mix needs work. Guitar is only one instrument that fills some midrange bands within the audio spectrum. The 57 targets the correct mid bands for most guitars and music genres.

    If you have an oddball mix and want the guitar to sit in a different range then a mix with a different frequency response may be needed, but I can say, any recordings I've done with a 57 captures enough frequency where you can EQ the track anyplace you need it. It may be your recorder lacks the ability to tweak the recorded tracks as needed, or you just haven't figure out how to do it well.

    Most importantly, a Boss BR-800 is only going to be able to get you a basic demo quality recording. You still have to mix that recording down to a stereo track then master it before it comes alive and sounds professional. Most recordings sound tame and often times less clear then you want before they are mastered. Its only when you pass the recording through some important mastering tools like multiband compressors, exciters and brick wall limiters that the finished recording takes on a professional sounding gloss. There are all kinds of tools used to remove noise and digital artifacts used to clean up noise. Some can be used on tracks too. DeEssers and gates are commonly used to get rid of unwanted noise between notes.

    Unless these things are done and done properly its isn't going to matter what mic you might use. You may find another mic with an extended range so that initial track sounds fuller, but you'll only wind up having to remove that fullness mixing to make the guitar sit properly in a mix. That's the magic of the 57. It doesn't put a bunch of response there you only wind up having to remove later and in the process of removing it you add digital artifacts and phase issues when you do allot of EQing.

    There's allot more to this methodology - unfortunately you probably aren't going to be able to learn it very well on a stand alone recorder like that and be stuck struggling to get decent recordings on a very slow learning curve.

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    • #3
      Hopefully you have a genuine Shure SM57 and not a cheap look-alike copy. I've read that Shure mics are widely counterfeited.

      POSITIONING the microphone in relation to the cab and speaker is critical in getting the right sound. Do some reading on the internet, I'm sure there are resources here on this website as well as others. Search for "micing guitar amp" and do some studying. In general you should get a usable tone by pointing the mic at the center of the speaker cone, and within an inch (3 cm) of the speaker grille. Moving the mic or changing the angle or where it's pointed at the speaker cone can give a lot of variation.

      If you want something more "clear", then try a condenser microphone.
      This space left intentionally blank.

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      • #4
        The sm57 is what it is and what it does it does not badly at all. It's a classic mic to have around.

        A nice tube pre amp will help it shine.
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        • #5
          "What should i do with my shure sm57 mic?"
          A question one should not ask in OJ...

          Look, the '57' is the classic 'close mic' used in studios every where for guitar amps, overhead for cybals and ambient room use. Essentially a '58' with a more forward focused pick-up pattern, it is a workhorse, and can be used as a vocal hand held mic in a pinch as well. Keep it. as you get more into recording, unless it is all digital, the '57' will come in handy. $99 well spent, IMHO...I've had one for DECADES, and it is always in my PA mic bag...
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          • #6
            Keep it.

            It's a classic guitar amp and drum mic, and it can be used for other purposes as well. I have a lot of microphones (several dozen) and many that cost more, but I still have a few SM57's in my mic locker.

            As far as it not sounding "clear", well, it's a dynamic mic and not a condenser, so the highs are not going to be as extended and the transient response isn't as fast as a condenser, but it you should still be able to get good sounding recordings from it.
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            • #7
              What are you using it on? Are you just recording vocals? If so sell it. You will never like it on vocals unless its gritty rock and roll.



              www.azmythmusictech.com

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Bugster View Post
                What are you using it on? Are you just recording vocals? If so sell it. You will never like it on vocals unless its gritty rock and roll.



                www.azmythmusictech.com

                I bought it to record guitars with my Boss BR-800 recorder. It doesn't sound good. It lacks clarity. I think my recorder mic inputs suck or something.

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                • #9
                  You lack the ability to mix and master well on a stand alone recorder, that's your problem, not the mic. The inherent issue you have with stand alone recorders is you only have one set of audio tools. One EQ, One compressor, one reverb etc. If the EQ doesn't enhance the mic properly, its not like you can chose another that will do the job differently or better.

                  I must have 25 different EQ's available, all different kids from simple to complex, graphic EQ's, Parametric EQ's, band pass etc. Some even have built in frequency analyzers so you can visually see what frequencies you're cutting and boosting. The quality of the tools are as good as your best hardware devices out there too.

                  You also have tools for mastering which are essential for making the recordings sound professional and most come with guides that teach you how to use them. I listened to the recordings you posted in another thread and its obvious you need that instruction. What you need to do is install a DAW program on your computer. You need an interface to do that. Your Boss may even work as an interface, Check your manual. Or you can buy one as cheap as $25 on eBay or get one for around $50 new.

                  Once you have the interface connected you can install a DAW setup. The power of even your free DAW programs is like installing a quarter million dollar studio on your computer. You can also import your tracks from your stand alone recorder then start mixing in the box and start focusing on the mixing process and stop blaming the problems you're having on your gear. Many people have lower quality gear and get professional sounding music.

                  You still have to learn how its done however. Audio engineering techniques aren't purchased with the gear any more then the ability to be able to paint comes with the art supplies you buy to paint a picture. You don't instantly granted those skills because you leaned to play an instrument either. Engineering and musical skills have a few similarities because they deal with sound, but there are basic fundamental laws you have to work with in order to become creative.

                  Your biggest handicap is you cant explore the tools very well on a stand alone. If you had started on a DAW first then moved to a stand alone it would be a different matter. Its not unique to you either. I recorded analog to tape for a solid 30 years before moving to digital. I had to reeducate myself on many levels over several years to get my digital recordings to sound as good as what I had done on tape. I succeeded in going far beyond anything I could have done on tape.

                  You could do the same. You have some decent playing chops, the question is do you have the passion to make it a reality. That is what separates the men from the boys. All the tools are out there and don't cost you a dime. No one can give you that skill any more then one musician can gift you with their playing skills. They can steer you in the right direction, give you tips and tricks like I am doing now, but you need to be able to recognize that help when its given and at least attempt to learn, otherwise you just wont be taken seriously by those who can help you the most.

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                  • #10
                    I've read recently that the SM57 starts to really shine when loaded properly.

                    Here is an interesting article about this:
                    http://www.recordingmag.com/resource...etail/330.html
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by E-money View Post
                      I've read recently that the SM57 starts to really shine when loaded properly.

                      Here is an interesting article about this:
                      http://www.recordingmag.com/resource...etail/330.html
                      That article was plagued with so many misconceptions I don't know where to begin, other then to say the guy who wrote it doesn't know his arse from a hole in the ground which goes to prove, just because something is written on the internet doesn't make it true.

                      He essentially learned preamp intendance affects frequency response then comes up with this twisted interpretation as to why. From what I read its its crappy preamp that's the problem not the mic.

                      One thing I will say - Impedance is not based on static DC resistance and his idea of using fixed resistors may color the sound but its not the way its properly done. Fixed resistors my only affect a certain frequency, not the entire bandwidth.

                      Yes back in the day Transformers were used in both the mixer and mic. The mic diaphragm coil outputs a high impedance signal. The reason a voltage step up transformer in the mic capsule is used is the same reason they step up voltage in high voltage AC Transmission lines. Current is affected by cable resistance so they step the voltage up and current down and the signal travels long distance with now loss and low noise levels.

                      When the signal gets to the mixer it needs to be converted back to a high impedance signal so it can be properly amplified. Older high quality mixers and preamps used the same transformers you had in mics simply working in reverse to step the voltage down and current up.

                      Many newer preamps and mixers use solid state circuitry and take the low impedance signal and amplify it without converting it back to high impedance first. The quality of the circuit is key here. Some are excellent and some are complete garbage.

                      What the guy in the article should have tried was using a low to high impedance transformer, then amplify the signal as a high impedance signal. you can buy these transformers for as low as $12. This would bypass the first high impedance amplification stage in the mixer (depending on the mixers quality) and the transformer will taper the high end off on a mic. This would remove the nasty edge he has because of his crappy preamp that gives him an edgy sound.



                      Anyone who knows about mics and preamps know they are interdependent on one another. Preamps tend to color mic responses and its simply a matter of the combination of the two which can yield the results you want/need. You really cant compare budget preamps against Real preamps. There are few below the $300 that can produce professional results and if your mic sounds like garbage, the preamp is most likely the cause.

                      The difference between a budget and pro preamp is like day and night. I have no idea what the author in the article was using but his other flaw in his methodology was recording solo instruments and judging the tracks by that solo instrument. Anyone whose done any kind of mixing knows a well mixed track that fits into a mix properly can sound like crap when soloed. Its a matter of tone stacking your instruments and narrowing down the frequency responses to minimize masking. I saw none of that reflected in his article so I simply have to blow it off as being another amateur trying to explain things he simply hasn't got a clue about.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by WRGKMC View Post

                        That article was plagued with so many misconceptions I don't know where to begin, other then to say the guy who wrote it doesn't know his arse from a hole in the ground which goes to prove, just because something is written on the internet doesn't make it true...
                        That's a bit harsh.


                        … Yes back in the day Transformers were used in both the mixer and mic. The mic diaphragm coil outputs a high impedance signal. The reason a voltage step up transformer in the mic capsule is used is the same reason they step up voltage in high voltage AC Transmission lines. Current is affected by cable resistance so they step the voltage up and current down and the signal travels long distance with now loss and low noise levels.
                        Rather than describing it that way I'm more inclined to say that, because the level of current generated by the moving coil of a dynamic microphone (or by a passive guitar pickup) is so small, it requires a load with a high enough impedance to generate useable voltages across that load.

                        Low impedance amplifier inputs are desirable because any undesirable current (noise) that is generated in the line will not produce a very high voltage across the input.


                        When the signal gets to the mixer it needs to be converted back to a high impedance signal so it can be properly amplified. Older high quality mixers and preamps used the same transformers you had in mics simply working in reverse to step the voltage down and current up...
                        I believe you have that backwards.


                        The difference between a budget and pro preamp is like day and night. I have no idea what the author in the article was using but his other flaw in his methodology was recording solo instruments and judging the tracks by that solo instrument.
                        I would not consider the Universal Audio 2-610 (the interface described in the article) a 'budget' preamp but then I may not be as well heeled as you are.

                        Anyone whose done any kind of mixing knows a well mixed track that fits into a mix properly can sound like crap when soloed. Its a matter of tone stacking your instruments and narrowing down the frequency responses to minimize masking. I saw none of that reflected in his article so I simply have to blow it off as being another amateur trying to explain things he simply hasn't got a clue about.
                        Again, I find that a bit harsh (all things considered).


                        I thought the article simply explained in detail some experiments that were carried out during a recording class at a university - presented as food for thought.




                        Last edited by onelife; 11-30-2016, 08:43 PM.
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by onelife View Post

                          I believe you have that backwards.

                          Definitely Not. From the manual
                          SM57 Impedance
                          Rated impedance is 150 ohm(310 ohm actual) for connection to microphone inputs rated low impedance.

                          Dynamic mics are typically low impedance 600 ohms and below. The transformer inside a dynamic mic takes the unbalanced signal from the diaphragm steps the voltage up and current down and makes it a balanced signal. The High voltage low current is what needed for long distance transmission. At the preamp you'd commonly have a transformer with a 200~600 ohm primary and a 15~50K ohm secondary depending on the type of amp.




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                          • onelife
                            onelife commented
                            Editing a comment
                            What is the impedance of the voice coil in an SM57?
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