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Shure SM57 vs. SM58 | A SHURE THING!

Hi friend and Welcome!

I’ve been wanting to review both the Shure SM57 vs. SM58 for a long time, so I’m really excited to bring you this review! Before we get started though, grab a snack, sit back and relax because..

You’ve come to the right place!!

Shure SM57 vs. SM58

Shure SM57 vs. SM58

What I will bring you in this review

of each microphone

  1. Best Price/Ratings
  2. Specifications
  3. Summary
  4. Pros
  5. Cons
  6. The mic is good for/not good for
  7. What you will need?
  8. Thoughts from Stu’s notepad
  9. Consensus/Conclusion
  10. Similarities & Differences
  11. Comparison Video
  12. Final Word

Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!

Shure SM57

Ratings/Best Price

  • Amazon: 4.7/5 (Over 200 reviews) | Check eBay! | Check zZOUNDS!
  • Sweetwater: 4.6/5 (Over 110 reviews)
  • Guitar Center: 5/5 (Over 60 reviews)
  • Musicians Friend: 5/5 (Over 189 reviews)
  • B&H Photo Video: 5/5 (Over 60 reviews)

Specifications

  • Type: Dynamic
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid.
  • Frequency Response: 40Hz-15kHz
  • Output Impedance: 150 Ohms
  • Color: Black
  • Connector: XLR. What is XLR?
  • Weight: 0.63 lbs.
  • Accessories: Mic Clip
  • Manufacturer Part Number: SM57-LC
Shure SM57

Shure SM57

Summary

So much has been said about this mic over the years that it’s hard to summarize! First and foremost, SM57 is about as durable as it gets. It can withstand abuse like you wouldn’t believe. Anything from drops, throws, being trampled on, spills, bumps, bent screens, and anything in between. It always comes out on top, and has stood the test of time for decades. In fact, it’s even used in most presidential speeches and addresses! That’s right, the president of the United States of America relies on the Sm57. Pretty amazing.

What’s more, it’s extremely versatile as well, but primarily functions as a phenomenal instrument and guitar amp cabinet mic. I’ve seen it endorsed for nearly everything though (more on that in a bit), and it’s most notably famous for recording the famous snare drum.

It’s a dynamic mic, and works well in studio and live on stage. Most were saying however that it’s at it’s best in live setting. Because it has a high SPL (sound pressure level), you’re able to scream into the mic with no problem. Unfortunately one of the shortcomings of it is just that; you will need to turn up the input gain on your device quite a bit to get the best results.

Overall, it’s perfect for the beginner to the advanced, and records clean as a whistle. The highs are particularly noteworthy here, and come through with startling clarity. You may be aware that a condenser microphone is typically very sensitive, picking up a lot of sound outside of it’s immediate vicinity. The Sm57 blocks out a lot of that, being a dynamic. Condenser mic vs. Dynamic mic.

One last very important note: There are a lot of counterfeit models floating around from China especially. Be on the extreme lookout. Make sure that you’re buying from a reputable, authorized seller on amazon.

Pros

  • All purpose dynamic mic. Extremely versatile. Best for instruments, but can be used with just about anything successfully.
  • Perhaps the most durable mic in existence. Called indestructible.
  • Does surprisingly well with vocals in studio.
  • Good for beginners and advanced folk.
  • Blocks out background noise.
  • Clean sound, records high notes very well.
  • Used by the President of the USA.
  • Captures the tone of your amp remarkably. It doesn’t favor any particular frequency over another.
  • Not neutral. It does warm the sound up a bit, particularly with guitars.

Cons

  • No power switch.
  • Some say it’s a bit bassy. You can set the low end EQ to -5db to counteract this issue.
  • Low gain. Your amp must be loud when recording guitar. The input gain needs to be higher on your device to get optimal sound.

What this mic is good for/not good for

Good for

Everything. I’ve seen it mentioned with all of the following:

  • Miking guitar amp cabinets. *Industry Standard*
  • Snares*
  • Toms*
  • Pipe organ
  • Piano
  • Classical Sax
  • Deep voices
  • Guitar
  • Violin
  • Tambourine
  • Shakers
  • Mandolin
  • Flute
  • Choir
  • Voice-over
  • Percussion
  • Brass
  • Woodwind
  • Ukelele
  • Bass
  • Marimba
  • Congas
  • Vox
  • Wood block
  • Industrial sounds like power tools

Not as good for

  • Cymbals
  • Kicks. It does decent with kicks, but not as good as the above mentioned.

What you will need?

You could go a few different routes:

  1. The X2U adapter enables you to plug right into your laptop or PC. The easiest path.
  2. A better and more versatile option would be a mixing board like the Yamaha MG06X. A much more flexible system.
  3. A third option is an Audio Interface. I have the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 and love it. Another option is the Steinberg UR22, which has MIDI capabilities and supposedly better built in preamps. What is MIDI? You may or may not need MIDI however. Preamp vs. Interface. Either would work fine with the SM57! What does an audio interface do?

Check out the simple video on how to hook it up to your X2U!

Thoughts from Stu’s notepad

This section will be for miscellaneous tidbits and stuff that I’ve read about the product from others. Just some notes that I took down.

  • Needs a 3 pin XLR to XLR to provide the best balanced signal, and a mixing console. So a mixer may be your best bet!
  • It sounds similar to an SM7B, which is perhaps the best microphone for vocals in studio. But only if you put a windscreen on it and stand about 2 inches away.
  • Classic workhorse, Gold standard.
  • The Shure A2WS Windscreen or A81WS was most recommended by reviewers. The A81WS makes the 57 sound especially good.
  • The SM57 has one of the most pronounced proximity effects. 1 or 2 inches away and you should be golden.
  • It can handle vocals too, but just don’t expect it to be your best option for that.
  • “I’d guess that 75% of all contemporary recordings there’s a 57 pointed at the snare drum head, because they handle peak transients so well.” -Amazon Reviewer
  • SM57 is warm, but doesn’t favor any particular frequency over another.
  • If there was ever a mic to buy in bulk, this would be it. A lot of people buy 2, 3, or even 4 of them!

Consensus/Conclusion

I think you know by now. This mic has been around for decades and doesn’t plan on leaving any time soon. It’s about the most sure thing you can get if you’re just starting out. For SHURE!! Lol.

Onto..

Shure SM58

Ratings/Best Price

  • Amazon: 4.6/5 (Over 475 Reviews) | Check eBay! | Check zZOUNDS!
  • Sweetwater: 4.5/5 (Over 110 Reviews)
  • Guitar Center: 5/5 (Over 55 reviews)
  • Musicians Friend: 4.5/5 (Over 250 Reviews)
  • B&H Photo Video: 5/5 (Over 95 reviews)

Specifications

  • Type: Dynamic
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid.
  • Frequency Response: 50Hz-15kHz
  • Output Impedance: 150 Ohms
  • Color: Black
  • Connector: XLR.
  • Weight: 0.66 lbs.
  • Manufacturer Part Number: SM58-LC
Shure SM58

Shure SM58

Summary

To start off, there are 4 different versions of the 58, but they come with subtle differences.

  1. SM58-CN (Cable included).
  2. SM58-LC (Cable not included).
  3. SM58S (On/Off Switch included).
  4. SM58-X2U (XLR to USB signal adapter, same as with Sm57).

The SM58 is the best on stage vocal mic you can buy. It’s the other industry standard for live sound. Like the Sm57, it’s about as durable as it gets. Need a hammer for your next DIY project? Use the SM58. Lol. Frustrated with your drummer? Throw the SM58 at him. Need a tool for self defense after live gigs in back alleys? Get an SM58. It won’t fail! Just know that it’s primary use will be with vocals, backing vocals, etc.

Same important note as with the Sm57: Beware of counterfeits. Use extreme caution when buying, and only buy from reputable, authorized amazon sellers!

Pros

  • Extremely durable. Like hammer. “Don’t you know what a hammer is?!” -Hank Hill.
  • The industry standard for on stage vocals. There is no other option more sought after for this purpose.
  • Price to performance ratio through the roof.
  • Ball shaped grilles are very sturdy.
  • No feedback issues. High SPL (Sound pressure level).
  • Comes with internal shock-mount and windscreen, but you may need a stand, foam windscreen/pop filter for in studio.
  • Recordings are faithful to the performers vocals.

Cons

  • Some don’t like the power switch that comes with SM58S, saying it’s too loose, and kind of cheap.
  • Muddiness around 250 db.
  • The high end isn’t as pristine as some other expensive dynamics. May be a bit shrill/sibilant. What does sibilant mean?
  • Gain may have to be turned up a lot to get the most out of it.
  • Some say the mic holder is a bit cheap.

What this mic is good for/not good for

Good for

  • Speech
  • Singing
  • Chanting
  • Beatboxing
  • An interesting one: Turning regular sounds or instrument sounds into sound effects.
  • Interviews
  • Church praise and worship, bible study, etc.
  • It’s perfect for pod-casting, just make sure to get a windscreen.

Not as good for

  • Instruments
  • Sax
  • Guitar

What you will need?

Any of the same options as with the SM57!

Thoughts from Stu’s notepad

  • Mic is designed to be kissed. Not in that way 😛 Most people enjoy it right up against their mouth. You should get pretty intimate with it.
  • If you have a softer or weaker voice, the 58 will do you well.
  • It’s a highly directional mic, and has a noticeable but manageable proximity effect. The bass increases the closer you are.
  • It has a prominent frequency boost in the upper mid-range, but the top end rolls off right after that. It helps keep feedback low, but may not give off that hi-fi sound as with other mics. The top end may lack that “sparkle.”
  • It can be turned up louder than almost any other mic without that annoying PA squeal. Feedback is quite low as mentioned in the Pros.
  • You may end up taking this mic to the casket with you. It just holds up incredibly well. Someone even said it still worked after they accidentally ran it over. Wow.
  • Mic stand highly recommended for in studio.

Consensus/Conclusion

It’s pretty easy to sum this baby boo up. It’s durable like a Hank Hill hammer, at it’s best live on stage. VOCALS!

Similarities & Differences

Similarities

  • Both mics are extremely durable.
  • Both do very well with miking guitar cabinets
  • Both have the same capsule. What is a cardioid capsule?

Differences

  • The polar pattern on the SM57 is uni-directional in contrast to the omni-directional pattern on the SM58.
  • The SM57 is said to be more versatile than the 58. The Sm58 is mostly for singing/vocals, while the 57 has been endorsed for nearly everything.
  • The SM57 has crisper vocals on the highs, and is fuller on the low end. It’s more natural on vocals and never muddy or muffled.
  • The SM57 is more open on the top end
  • The look of each is vastly different, from the grille, shape, color, etc.
  • The SM57 sounds best a few inches away from your mouth, while the 58 can be shoved in your mouth and sound fine.
  • The SM57 does better with deep voices than the Sm58. The 57 has a better low frequency response.
  • In general, the Sm58 is more suited for vocal performances while the Sm57 is best with instruments and amp cabinets.

Check out the comparison video!!

Final Word

So to keep this simple, if you’re looking for a lifelong partner for live performances, pod-casting, or church choir type things, the SM58 is your best bet. It’s best suited for vocals.

SEE THE SM58 FOR YOURSELF ON AMAZON!!

If you want more of an all purpose mic that does extremely well with instruments, the Shure Sm57 is the way to go. It can also handle vocals but don’t buy it primarily for this purpose.

SEE THE SM57 FOR YOURSELF ON AMAZON!!


Well that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you came away with a better idea of the Shure Sm57 vs. SM58 and what they’re all about!

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Let me know down below or Contact me!

Which of these suits your needs more? I would love to hear from you..

Until next time, all the best and God bless..

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Be sure to check out my Reviews and Resources page for more helpful and informative articles!

 

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